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Popoli, Italy

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Set among the mountains and rolling hills Popoli is a part of Italy which has remained untouched by globalization. By coming here you are putting a big distance, both literally and metaphorically between yourself and the modern world.

Popoli is a medieval town, home to 5,000 residents, situated deep in protected national parkland. Known as the Citta Del Acqua (City of Water) and also as “the Lady of the Waters,” brooks wind through the city and across the mountainsides. A dormant volcano underneath heats thermal springs which have people have been visiting for healing since Roman times.

The strategic position of Popoli, which offers long views across the landscape, has made it an important location throughout history. Archeologists have shown that there was a settlement on the modern town back in Stone Age times.

The town’s major focal point is its sulfur springs. A healing center was built on the site in 1885 but it was razed during the WWII bombings. The current health and treatment center, the Terme di Popoli, is a modern center spanning over 3,000 square feet. It was opened in 1998 and can treat dozens of ailments. You can also buy healing water from the Valle Real spring.

Popoli is an interesting city for expats looking for bargain real estate. Over the last few decades, the younger generations have been leaving the town, heading to the big cities for better job opportunities. The lack of demand for properties here have led to some outrageous bargains. 5,000 euros for a 50-to-60-square-meter property from the 15th century bargains. You can even expect tax breaks if you are willing to buy and fix up these old properties.

Abruzzo offers two types of climate: coastal and mountainous. By the sea, Abruzzo has the typical Mediterranean climate, and as you head into the mountains it gets cooler. Popoli is only about 250 meters above sea level, but the summers are much milder and the winters bring heavy snow. Humidity remains throughout the year.

Italy is ranked number #2 in the World Health Organizations health care rankings. The country also has the 14th highest life expectancy. Private health care is considerably better than public health care. The public health care in Abruzzo is good enough for the minor ailments and provides a fast and effective service. If you have an existing health condition or are likely to need more specialist treatments, medical insurance for the private health care is a must. Most over-the-counter medicines are expensive in Italy, and only medicines considered life-saving are available for free.

English is not commonly spoken in Popoli. Most of the tourism is domestic. You may find some of the younger professionals speak a little English. The library offers free Italian lessons and you will need to speak some Italian if you want to make the best of your life here. There are not many expats in Abruzzo, and as far as we know none in Popoli. The Abruzzolutely forum is the best way to keep in touch with expats in the region.

Infrastructure in Popoli is good with fast internet and reliable electricity. However, you’ll need a car if living in Popoli. There is a regular bus service you can use and also a train station, although the trains are infrequent. The town is built on the side of a mountain, and lots of the streets are steep. If you have a mobility problem you might struggle living here.

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