About PCS Italy

Welcome to PCS Italy!

Until a year ago, my life was pretty average. In February 2010, my husband received the news that we would be leaving our quiet life in Kansas for Italy. While in the Army, my husband had spent a good deal of time in Germany (before me, of course).  Now as a Department of the Army (DOA) Civilian, he’d be heading back to Europe.

Italy had been on his “dream sheet” of assignments, but I never thought we’d actually get to go. After a few months of frazzled nerves, some really unpleasant flights and a good deal of paperwork; we made it to our new duty station in Vicenza, Italy.

I am a natural researcher. I like to know what I am getting myself into before starting a new project. I did find a good deal of information, but it was scattered here and there. I decided it would be nice to put the information I have learned in one place. This information and website is not at all associated with the U.S. Army and doesn’t provide any professional or legal advice. However, I have learned a  bit of information about life in Italy, the Vicenza area and Caserma Ederle. I hope someone discovers this blog and it helps them in their transition.

Italy is a beautiful place with opportunities to experience history in a way impossible in the United States. Sharing my experience and knowledge is a way to give others a glimpse into Italy. This information will be great for visitors to the area or for those who make Caserma Ederle home for a few years.

June 2011 –  I have closed comments on this page to compile your questions and comments all in one location. Please use the questions page or the individual post to leave questions and comments. Thanks!


12 Comments on “About PCS Italy”

  1. Peg,

    Thank you for providing so much information about Vicenza! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blogs and loved your photos. I’m so happy to tell you that my husband just received orders for a civilian job there a few days ago (6/24). With everything that I’ve read, it will probably be 3 to 5 months before we actually move. We have a daughter (soon to be 9yrs old) and son (7yrs old) that are just as excited.

    I had a few questions that I thought you may be able to shed some light on:
    – Are there private elementary schools (Catholic preferred) that I would be able to send my children? Cost?
    – Would I be able to work off base? I am a tax preparer for H&R Block and noticed that they have an office in Vicenza.

    My husband has a sponsor assigned to him already. Hopefully, we’ll be well prepared for our move there!

    Thanks again!

    • Peg Crippen says:

      I am glad to hear you are coming here. It is an amazing place. You will need the time before you move to prepare. It seems like a long process of hurry up and wait for the paperwork..

      I am not sure about private schools. I know some of the local parishes sponsor school, but I have not tried to gather information. Sounds as though I need to do some research. Language would be an issue, so start working on basic Italian now!

      I am not 100 percent sure that you can work off base, but I know Americans who work with contractors. I can not see that it would be any different to work for H & R Block. I believe your soggiorno permit allows you to work here.

      A good sponsor can really help you out. Our sponsors sold us many of the household goods we would need and it was very helpful. Unfortunately, our sponsors left the same time my husband arrived, so we did not have time for much information sharing in person.

      Good luck on your move!

  2. Now I’m scared to death about the possibility of moving to Vicenza this fall due to reading all bout the gypsies breaking into homes, gassing you while you sleep, etc on your blog. We have young children and one handicapped with Autism. I am afraid that when my husband has to travel, we will be a target. How will I ever sleep at night or feel safe walking anywhere in the day? I certainly do not want to think we are in danger of strangers entering our home any time they want or possibly kidnapping our beautiful children. YIKES!!! We had been told by the people interviewing my husband for this position and by people he knows who have been here that this is a great place to bring your family. The safety of my children are my number one priority. We do have a German Shepherd that would come with us and now I would pay to have an alarm installed, but those are probably just false senses of security.

    • I don’t think you need to worry so much. We have had no problems so far (6 months). Having a dog is a big deterrent from anyone breaking in. It’s also good to have an alarm system and use it. Pay attention to where you are moving–the neighborhood you are in. Having neighbors that watch out for you, a fenced area for your children to play in, a secure place to park, etc. Just like any place, there are some that are worse than others. Just like any city, be aware of your surroundings–don’t advertise to the world when you will be gone. I have felt very safe here. The biggest issue for us has been lack of sidewalks–but I’ll admit that people walk and ride in the street and typically have few problems. I’d encourage you to be on good terms with your landlord and try hard to connect with your neighbors, who will help watch out for you.

    • Peg Crippen says:

      Oh NO! My intention was never to scare anyone. I would have replied earlier, but I was travelling and did not have internet connection. Karrin gave a great reply to you. I want you to know I have always felt safe here from day one.

      I have seen the gypsy markings in downtown Vicenza and always wondered what they were. I thought if people were house hunting, they may want to avoid the neighborhoods they see those markings.

      I have felt much safer in Italy than in many parts of the U.S. It is a safe place over all. My husband has traveled and I never worry about my safety. Common sense rules, of course. I do not advertise I am home alone, lock doors, etc… but no one in my area has ever made me feel unsafe. I have walked my son to the bus stop while it is just getting light and back home by myself and never felt nervous about it.

      Unfortunately, crime happens everywhere. If you are used to taking precautions, it is not any different than anywhere else. Please don’t avoid coming to Italy because of this! There are good and bad people in any location.

      Additionally, there are great services for children and your son with Autism will likely have a great educational team. Italians love children and will without fail welcome your children. Adults will talk to your kids and not mind if they don’t know Italian, because they really do enjoy them.

      I hope you do not choose to avoid Italy because of my post. Good luck to you and your family.

  3. Ashlee Wilson says:

    Hi Peg!

    I just happened upon your blog and it couldn’t have come at a better time. My husband got orders for Italy at the end of April and we are set to arrive in August. So many of my unanswered questions are posted here on your blog and I am starting to feel much better. I am at the point of wishing I could snap my fingers and be there already. This process has been long and drawn out and we still have weeks to go…

    Thank you for all of your great information…..it is truly helping me out!


    • Peg Crippen says:

      Ashlee, I understand the feeling of wanting to snap your fingers and have the process complete. It is tough moving and even tougher moving to another continent. Good luck in your move, I am glad I have helped you some.

  4. Nicole McNeil says:

    I’m glad to find your blog. We just arrived yesterday, and I plan on reading all your posts tonight! Thanks. -Nicole

  5. Kaarin Engelmann says:

    Thanks for your blog! It is very helpful. I’m also the wife of a DoA civilian who is working at Ederle. We arrived in December 2010.