What life is like in Italy for Army family Liz, serving husband Adam, Imogen (8), Lucas (6), dog Gemma and Adam’s two older children who visit during school holidays…

How long have you been an Army family?
11 years.

Time in Milan:
Two-and-a-half years.

How many other military families live in Milan?
Numbers vary but there are fewer than 20.

What’s your quarter like?
Very unlike a typical UK quarter! We are lucky to live in a large, privately-rented Italian villa with lots of outdoor space. Whilst it’s definitely in need of some repair, it’s been a wonderful home and has made it easy having friends and family to stay.

Can spouses and partners work?
It’s tricky due to the language barrier. Some people teach English informally within the large ex-pat community here and some have the qualifications to teach in schools. Others have been able to maintain existing jobs by working remotely. I run my own health and wellness business from home, which I move with me whenever the family is posted.

What about schools?
Our children attend a European school run by the EU in Brussels and split into sections according to their first language. It’s a wonderfully rich cultural experience for them.

Where do Army families get together?
People informally organise their own activities and there are a number of organised events such as a monthly coffee morning, walks, evenings out and cookery classes. There’s also a NATO wives’ club which puts on cultural visits, charity events and children’s parties. 

Who supports families?
We have a National Support Element based at the barracks, with a locally-employed native Italian speaker to assist. Housing issues are dealt with by a team in Naples. There are also two part-time community coordinators, both wives of serving soldiers, who provide support and organisation, including collecting the all-important BFPO mail.

What’s the best thing about living in Milan?
The opportunities to travel, explore and enjoy an outdoor lifestyle! Living in the Italian Lakes region has been even more enjoyable than we could ever have imagined. There’s so much to do, from swimming in the lakes in the summer to skiing in the winter. We will certainly miss it when we move to Belgium next!

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