Items to Bring
In Italy, an unfurnished apartment or villa is just that, unfurnished. Usually there are no kitchen cabinets, clothes closets, screens, or medicine cabinets in bathrooms. There are also usually no light fixtures. In some cases you may be able to purchase these items from the previous tenant but for the most part, setting up a house in Italy will cost more than in most places.
A program has been implemented for personnel reporting on board with command sponsored family members. The Partial Full Tour Furnishings program authorizes the following items be issued to families reporting: refrigerator, gas stove, washer/dryer (gas), microwave, a two- or three-door kitchen hutch, two transformers, freezer, two pedestal fans, and one wardrobe for each family member plus one additional wardrobe per family. One additional wardrobe is also issued for dual military and GS-12 civilian and above.
Household items for sale by departing personnel are advertised each week in the base newspaper, Panorama.
The following are some suggestions concerning individual types of household appliances and fixtures. Once again, utilize your sponsor if your individual questions are not answered. Use this list to decide what you will put into storage before coming to Italy. Contact your personal property office to get more information on storage provided by the government during an overseas move.
Light Fixtures: You should bring all the lamps and ceiling fixtures that you own. Light fixtures are adapted to Italian current simply by replacing American bulbs with Italian ones. Additional fixtures can be purchased at the Navy Exchange or through mail order catalogues. If you are looking for fixtures to take back to the U.S., there are excellent buys at fine shops in Naples.
Medicine Cabinets: Available locally, both new and used at a reasonable cost.
Beds and Mattresses: If you have them, bring them. Beds are normally available in the Exchange. If not, they can be ordered, but you may encounter a long waiting period. Beds are available on the economy but are different sizes than American beds, and the sheets you now own won’t fit.
Rugs: In a move to Italy, rugs often become a major expense. Floors here are hard tile or marble. Bring all the carpets and rugs you own. If you don’t already have rugs, you may want to buy a few inexpensive room-size carpets (9x12,9x15, etc.). Average quality rugs and padding in standard sizes are available in the Navy Exchange. Also, a wide variety of rugs can be found on the Italian economy.
Draperies: Drapes from your last home probably will be too short here because of the extremely high windows and ceilings. But it’s worth bringing them because there may be a way to alter them. You can purchase fabric on the economy, or it can be mail-ordered from the States. You may not require drapes immediately because the “persiane” (blinds that raise and lower much like a rolltop desk to cover windows) are standard in most Italian dwellings.
Carpenter’s Tools and Do-It-Yourself Equipment: If you have them, bring them. A limited selection is available through the Navy Exchange. Wood bought on the local economy is extremely expensive.
Old Desks, Dressers, and Other “Stuff”: Anything that can be used to store things will come in handy. In your new home, there will be many areas where you can put small tables, desks, dressers, and boxes.
Dishwashers: Many manufacturers have these available; purchase one if you can. Dishwashers with 50-60 cycle options are available in the Country Store or the Audio Video & Appliance Store in AFSouth’s Save Center.
Air Conditioners: It is not recommended that you bring an air conditioner. Few Italian homes use air conditioning because in most areas the power supply is inadequate to carry the load, and it’s cost prohibitive to run one.
Dehumidifiers: Naples can be very damp, particularly during the winter months. A dehumidifier will help make your home easier to keep warm and avoid mildew problems. They are usually available in the Navy Exchange, or you may want to include one or two in your household goods shipment.
Microwave Ovens: Microwave ovens sold in the United States are generally 60 cycles and cannot be converted. Unless specifically designated 50/60Hz, they cannot be used without damage to the magnetron tube. Units sold in the Navy Exchange are 50/60Hz and are ready to use with a transformer. When you are returning to the States, they may be adjusted to 60Hz for stateside use Keep in mind that microwaves are provided as part of the Partial Full Tour Furnishings Program.
Small Electrical Appliances: Generally speaking (except for electrical clocks) small electrical appliances adapt to use on transformers. Should you find it preferable to purchase a new or 220 volt item, it is available on the local economy.
Electrical Clocks: These are not practical because they will not keep accurate time due to the 50 cycle current (the hands travel five-sixths of an hour every 60 minutes). Also, many areas experience brief power outages which will throw the time off. They are not reliable. Wind-up or battery powered clocks are your best bet.
Television: The sound system of the Italian television broadcast is on a different frequency than the United States. With a minor adjustment of the receiver, you may be able to pick up the Italian sound, but the picture will appear in black and white. If you own a cable-ready or U.S.-standard television, you will be able to receive American television broadcast by American Forces Network (AFN). A multi-system TV can receive both the Italian and American signals. The Navy Exchange has a complete stock of antennas, amplifiers and multi-system TVs available. If you plan to use your TV only with a video player, conversion is not required.
Radio: A portable radio is invaluable - especially in the hotel. Electric models work well, but if you experience electrical outages, the portable should be there as a back-up. Radios with AM/FM bands are best. The clock portion of clock radios will not work because of the difference in current.
Other Audio/Video Equipment: A full range of popular brand stereo and video equipment is available at the Navy Exchange and at the Audio and Video Store at the AFSouth Save Center. Before bringing your present stereo/video equipment, check with the manufacturer for required parts for conversion to 50Hz on turntables, cassette/tape decks and timers. Purely electronic items are not affected by the “cycle problem”. Adjustment of equipment to 60Hz is easily made with proper parts. You will find a good selection of video tapes, cassettes and CDs in the Music Express, and there are active video tape clubs in the area.
Lawn Mowers: Several years ago, it was unheard of for Americans to bring a lawn mower to Naples because everybody lived in apartments overlooking the Bay of Naples. However, with the exodus to the suburbs, more families live in villas with lawns. New lawn mowers are available at the Navy Exchange Country Store on a limited basis. Some common replacement parts are available, but due to the variety of models manufactured, it is recommended that if you ship your mower you also ship extra blades, plugs, and “tune-up” kits.
Lawn Furniture: Even with an apartment, you will have balconies and will be able to use lawn furniture. The Navy Exchange carries an assortment and wicker furniture is available locally on the Italian market. If you want to buy some high quality lawn items, Italy is famous for exporting a wide variety.
Bicycles: Because of the traffic, it is unsafe for young children to ride bikes in city streets. However, most suburban areas have relatively quiet streets where bicycles can be safely ridden.
Catalogues: Stateside mail order catalogues will prove helpful in outfitting the household or the family throughout your tour. Most large companies produce a special APO/FPO edition which makes ordering easier. You may want to collect the catalogues before you leave the States. The NEX Bookstore also carries a variety of catalogues.
Note: Measure all your large kitchen appliances and big pieces of furniture before coming to Naples; this could be critical when house-hunting.