Abruzzo is the World’s Best Place to Retire…or maybe not (only)
Apparently, Abruzzo has just made the list of the World’s Best Places to retire – there are just 21 of them in this list by the Huffington Post, although in no particular order. In fact, if you haven’t personally experienced all of them, it would make little sense to choose Belize or Panama or the Philippines or the humble charms of Abruzzo…I think the list is more of a nice collection of postcards.
At a first glance, many of these places share the same characteristics: mild climate, uncontaminated nature, a mix of landscapes, low cost of living and a decent healthcare system (I guess this is more of a concern when you get to retirement age). I would say Abruzzo ticks all these boxes and few more (cue delicious food!).
I would like to know where the Abruzzo image the HuffPo chose comes from and which location it depicts- my guess is that the image comes from Barrea or some other small town around this pretty, green lake enclosed by mountains in the L’Aquila province, near the Cinquemiglia plateau.
I have mixed feelings about the appearance of Abruzzo in the list of the World’s Best Place to Retire in a major international publication such as the HuffPo. On one hand, I am happy that more and more foreign people will get to know (and love) our region- which is very much the goal of the Loveabruzzo.com project. During the recent Blogaway “Let’s Blog Abruzzo” event, I was blown away by the passion with which people from the U.K., U.S. and further away have embrace the Abruzzo way of life, and can only be grateful for that. Sammy Dunham of LifeinAbruzzo is a wonderful example of someone who came from abroad and now understands and narrates Abruzzo even better that the locals!
On the other hand, though, looking at this Worl’s Best places for retirement list, I feel a sense of rejection. It would sadden me if Abruzzo came to be seen exclusively as a place for old people to retire, a sort of “golden sunset” paradise with closed enclaves for retirees from other countries- maybe with American supermarkets, like it happens in Spain with areas popular with British tourists.
This type of situation, with people living in a place but with little interest in the local culture, food and history, is not what I wish for my Abruzzo (or Belize, or Chile, or any other place for that matter). I’d really like to see young and old people, from Abruzzo and from elsewhere, thriving side by side. With youth unemployment steadily at double digits since many years and many people my age moving to Northern Italy or abroad, this may seem more of a dream, but I still want to believe it’s possible.
I am sure that many people, local, italians and foreigners who love Abruzzo would like to see it a list of “The World’s Best Places to Live” (not just retire). What do you think? Let me know in the comments!