Many people dream of escaping to their very own casa campagna in rural Italy – and understandably so. Fresh air, homegrown food, great views, and lots of peace and quiet. What's not to love?
READ ALSO: Finding a home in the Italian countryside: a survivors' guide
But as those who've made the move already know, there are some potential downsides.
Many people considering their own move contact The Local or post in our Facebook group with questions about issues that could come with moving to a new country, and one questions we often get is about safety in rural areas.
So if you're wondering the same thing, here are a few tips on staying safe, secure, and happy in your new Italian home, from those who've already made the move.
Puglia's Val D'Itria is a popular second home location. Photo: Depositphotos
Safe as houses?
One member of The Local's Living in Italy Facebook group, asks: “Aren't you all afraid of burglars? How do you manage to keep your property safe when you go back home?”
While some members say burglary is almost unheard of in their region, for others it's a real concern.
Burglaries in rural Puglia, where I currently live, are depressingly common – more so during the winter months. Our family's casa campagna has been broken into twice this year alone.
But I wasn't worried about moving in for the summer. Why not? The house had been neglected and simply needed a new security system and stronger doors, which we've now installed.
However, the cost of these improvements ran to thousands of euros, and many rural properties will need much more work than this to make them secure.
And of course, many commenters tell us they have dogs – as many as nine – on guard at their rural properties.
A few basic precautions such as these should put off all but the most determined thieves.
“In our area, window grates and entry gates are part of the ancient mentality of resisting invaders, but really they just keep out the honest, and the casual pilferers. If serious thieves believe you have valuables no porta blindata or inferriata will stop them,” comments Toni Hilton, who lives in a rural part of Piemonte.
“In short, I think the best security defense is to not be a target. Fancy cars, jewelery, swimming pools, foreign car plates, attract attention.”
Some homeowners say that living the countryside feels safer than life in Italy's towns or cities.
READ ALSO: Which cities in Italy have the highest crime rates?
However, second homes left empty over winter are seen as an easy target for would-be burglars.
Others say the wildlife is a bigger problem.
Here in Puglia, as well as foxes regularly attempting raids on our chicken coop, our dogs have been attacked by wolves - which have recently returned to this part of the country.
If you're not sure what you can do about this type of unwanted night-time visitor, chances are your neighbours will have plenty of advice. Which brings us on to our next point.
What about the isolation?
Some people are already used to living far from their nearest neighbours, while others just dream of escaping theirs.
But whether you relish the idea of being isolated or not, members pointed out that getting to know your new Italian neighbours will be essential.
And there are plenty of other practical issues to consider when moving to rural Italy, especially if you're not accustomed to country living.
Overall, most commenters tell us they haven't had any major problems. It looks like a new life in rural Italy really can be idyllic – as long as you know what you're getting yourself into!
Have you already made the move to Italy? Or are you thinking of doing so? Share your experiences, thoughts or questions with us by email or sign in to leave a comment below.