I’ve been plodding along with PCS Italy for four years now. I wanted to make sure others who are moving to Vicenza have more information than I had when I got here. I hope all the information is helpful to you.
I found out it is our family’s time to leave Italy and return to the states. So, I am preparing my family to move.
I won’t be doing more than one or two more updates on this blog, but will leave it up so hopefully others find it helpful. I’m closing the comments in some sections, because I don’t know if I will have time to keep answering or if I will have the correct information to give out.
It is sad for me to leave, because living in Italy has been the adventure of a lifetime. The travel opportunities are amazing and living in a different culture has changed how I look at the world. At the same time, I do know that I will be happy to be able to shop in the afternoons, pop in to a convenience store at 10PM and not carry a language dictionary around!
I appreciate that you took the time to read what I write and hope it helped you at least a little!
Ciao for now!
A while back (like in 2012) I did a review about the Living in Vicenza website. I want to revisit it, because the site has grown and has a bunch more on it now than it did.
What is “Living in Vicenza” all about?
This website dedicates itself to providing information about Vicenza in English. They provide information on the area that no one else has in English. Yeah!!! I have VERY basic skills in Italian, but I have two kids and the caserma (post) is nearby. I do not work near as hard as I’d like to on learning Italian. So, I am happy to be able to read about what is going on in English.
Information Available on “Living in Vicenza”
Living in Vicenza has information on topics ranging from accommodations and events to art and culture. There are listings for businesses such as bike shops, pet care, auto parts, dentists, and restaurants.
My favorite part of the website is that up-to-date information about local events. The home page has an agenda section with a calendar of what is happening in Vicenza on the same day. Want to know what is happening the next weekend? Just click on the “choose the day” option on the calendar to the left of the page. You will get a list of what is going on nearby, so you can plan. Special tours and trips are available on a fairly regular basis, as well.
A map is almost always included on individual entries, so you can find your way to each event from Caserma Ederle. For me, this is helpful. Sometimes my GPS comes up with creative routes, so if I have an idea of where I am going I’m less likely to get lost!
My Final Thoughts
This website is worth taking the time to bookmark and “like” on Facebook.
I love that I can read what is going on in English, because it is easier than Google Translate. :) They are trying very hard to offer a service to the English-speaking population. I for one wish to support that effort! Nothing like this existed when I arrived and I appreciate this website. Keep up the good work “Living in Vicenza.”
In the past, the military used a website called AHRN to allow people to look for private rental housing around Vicenza. This website is no more. Now, there is a new site that will give you much the same information.
The new website, creatively named “Off Post Housing” or OPH, is pretty functional and I actually like it better than AHRN. First off, there is no registration involved. You can just navigate to the website and house hunt.
There are many search features that can narrow down your housing. Search by the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, if you like. You can additionally search by location or type of house. So, if you want a 3-bedroom apartment in downtown Vicenza, you can take a look at all the possibilities available at the moment. If you know what your housing allowance will be, you can even look at rentals by price.
For those of you who haven’t arrived in Italy yet, use the website to learn about the types of homes that are available. Don’t fall in love with a specific home, because there is a good chance it might not be available when you arrive. Knowing what the housing situation is here in Vicenza will help you make decisions about what to pack and what to store. It helps prepare you for the quirks and costs of life in Italy.
If you want to know post housing policies, you can take a look at the official housing policy memo here. In some situations, you will have few options in selecting your housing, but in other situations you have more choices. This memo spells it all out.
This website is a great tool whether you are still in the planning stage of your move or you are sitting in a hotel room waiting to find that perfect home. Good luck on your move!
Once you get to Vicenza and spend a couple of days getting adjusted and in-processed; you will probably start to feel a bit claustrophobic living in a small hotel room. Many of you will still be waiting for your car to catch up with you. One option is to use the Vicenza public transportation system.
Riding the bus is sometimes overwhelming for those of us who are not accustomed to using public transportation. I finally figured out that I could use Google Maps to figure out which bus to take to get to a particular destination. Here is a short tutorial on using Google Maps to figure out the bus schedule.
Step 1. Go to Google Maps.
Step 2. Put in your address.
You can use either the search bar or the bar indicated on the left side to enter your address.
Step 3. Click on “Get Directions”.
This step is pretty obvious! :) The second box appears when you click on the “Get directions” button.
Step 4. Click on the “Bus” button.
If you don’t click on the bus icon, you will get driving directions.
Step 5. Enter your destination address.
The second line is where you put the place you want to go. If you don’t know the address, you can sometimes just put the name and google maps finds the address for you! This works for many museums and historical locations, sometimes for restaurants and shops.
Step 6. Enter the time you want to leave.
If you want to find the times the bus will arrive at a particular place just click on the down arrow in the box on the far right. It will show you the times the bus leaves. If you don’t tell the computer the time you want to leave, it will tell you the next time the bus leaves. If you are getting the schedule for another day, just put the date in the middle box. Sometimes bus schedules change for weekends and holidays, so this could be an important step if you want an accurate schedule.
Step 7. Click on the blue “Get Directions” button.
Another pretty self-explanatory step.
Step 8. All done! Read your directions and go!
You can see several options. The bus you will take is bus 1. It stops every ten minutes at this particular stop. Your bus ride will be about 8 minutes. When you see the little walking guy, you know you will have to walk some to get to the exact location you are headed.
Example of Google Map Search
This route is from the bus stop in front of Caserma Ederle Chapel Gate to Teatro Olimpico. You can see that the bus will stop several times before you get off. After getting off the bus, the black route shows where you will walk to get to your destination. Along the right side, the directions are written out with the time it takes to get from one location to the next.
As you can see, google maps are easy to use and will help you get where you want to go whether in a car or taking the bus. The one limitation of using google maps is that only the Vicenza AIM buses are available. If you live in an outlying area, you will have to figure out the local bus schedule to get to Vicenza before you can use the google map information. Hopefully, in the future, all the areas served by the blue SITA buses will be included.
So, you make it through the paperwork, the flight and have managed to settle into your cramped hotel room in Vicenza. There are so many things to get used to when you arrive, but if you are anything like I am all you can think about is getting some wheels so you can learn about your new city. Unless you shipped your car early, you probably have a few weeks without your POV. That leaves you with the options of using public transportation, walking or renting a car. There is nothing wrong with the first two, but most Americans are not used to living without a vehicle, so the third option is pretty attractive.
Get A SETAF Driver’s License First
First of all, you run to the lovely yellow in-processing building by the Ederle Inn and take a class for your driver’s license. Then take the test. If you are here because you are military, you need to have the SETAF Driver’s License before you drive a car on post. It doesn’t do a lot of good to have a car and then be forced to park it outside of post each time you have to be on post. Even worse if you are staying in the Ederle Inn for obvious reasons.
Car Rental Options
I stumbled upon this video some kind person did to show others what the post housing looks like here in Vicenza. I thought it would be helpful to anyone moving. If you want to know more about housing, you can check out this post or this post. I am past due for writing another post on housing, so that is coming soon!
Here is the video:
One of the hardest things about moving overseas is figuring out whether or not to ship your car. If you decide not to ship the car; then you need to decide how you will get from place to place. You can choose to take public transportation (i.e. the bus and trains) and walk a lot. Your other option is to buy a car once you arrive in Vicenza. Here are some thoughts about deciding where to buy a car in Vicenza.
New or Used Car?
Only you know your budget for purchasing a car. There are places you can buy new vehicles. You can find some decent used cars for sale by people. There are also plenty of “hoopty” cars available. In case you have never heard the term “hoopty”, it is a less than impressive get around car. These cars often need repairs or are not meant to drive on your exploration trips around Europe.
New Car Dealers
There are several places to get a brand new car here in Vicenza. If you don’t plan on keeping your car when you go back to the states, you can go to any of the local car dealers. Most of these will not sell cars with U.S. specs. There are a couple of places that do sell new cars that are legal to drive in the U.S. Pentagon Car Sales sells both new and used cars and is fairly close to post. If you want a BMW, this is a good place to get it. The other place that is easiest to get to is AAFES Auto Sales. It is on post and you can browse the tiny lot of a variety of car makes. Or you can order a new car if you are in no hurry. Auto Exchange sells Audi, Toyota and Volkswagen. If you go in the main gate, you have to drive right past Auto Exchange to get there.
Finding a good used car can take a bit more patience and a lot more searching. The three ways people typically find used cars are by cruising past the used car resale lot, word of mouth, or by looking online. If you are lucky, someone you meet will be wanting to sell a reliable car prior to PCS. That does not happen to often, but put the word out so that you are the first person that comes to mind when someone is selling a car. The car resale lot is tucked back in the middle of post. Sometimes there are a lot of good cars other times, none. It is worth a drive by, though. There are several online sites that you can find used cars. Vicenza Bookoo, Vicenza MWR Marketplace and the Facebook Yard sale groups are the ones I can name quickly.
Hopefully this gives you a place to start in your search. Usually you can find cars that fit all budgets, but as always if you plan on buying the cheapest car you can find plan on making repairs! Happy Car Shopping!