The Richardson family – Scottie, Kelly, Harrie (14) and three-year-old Border Collie Zac – nail down the pros and cons of army life in Naples, Italy… 

How long have you been an army family?

20 years.

Time in Naples?

Since January 2019.

How many other military families live there?

There are around 150 other families here – it’s a tri-service environment.

What’s your quarter like?

We live in an unfurnished house on four floors near the base. Properties tend to be much larger than in the UK, although gardens tend to be smaller – many are on parcos (estates) and some have swimming pools.

Are there any employment/ training opportunities?

There are opportunities such as supply teachers and bus escorts at the British forces school, vacancies at the British post office and admin staff at the medical centre, to name but a few.

What about schools and childcare?

There’s an MOD primary school close to the NATO base, and secondary age children either board back in the UK or attend the US secondary school. Buses are provided from the parcos to both schools. The Italian nursery takes children from six months old; the staff speak three languages and there’s a walking bus, which has recently been introduced from school.

Where do you meet and who supports you?

We have a wonderful community centre, which houses the HIVE and the community liaison officers. It’s a great space, which has a children’s play area as well as a bar and a pool. There’s also a Facebook page, book clubs, Bunco, walking groups, tennis, an excellent gym and 50m pool on camp, which we can use during the summer months. There’s also an active international club, which provides a multitude of events and activities, from cookery groups to days out. In the last 12 months, I’ve been to a chocolate factory, pasta factory, Christmas markets, underground tours of Naples and to the beautiful town of Sorrento.

How do you find the cost of living there?

Some items are very expensive, such as car insurance but the Local Overseas Allowance helps and if you like to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables, they can be significantly cheaper in the local markets.

What’s the best thing about living in Naples?

The opportunity to discover Italy is by far the most exciting part about being here. You can be in Rome in an hour on the fast train and the Amalfi coast is beautiful. Summers can be spent hiring a boat to explore the islands and in winter I walk the dog on the beach – a mile from our house.

Would you recommend it as a family posting?

Yes – for independent families who love to travel and eat Italian food!

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