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We stayed for a week in Padua (where this couple lives) in 2019. It's a wonderful university-centered small city. We stayed on the top floor of a family's villa two blocks from Piazza Signori (where the couple in the story lives). Our take-away from our brief experience matches that of the couple in the story completely: we'd be very happy to live in Padua--and in fact we'd re-booked the apartment for May 2020 but then Covid turned the world upside down.

Padua was ground zero for the worst of the initial Covid hit in Italy. We're reluctant to consider seriously a long-term move to Europe until the pandemic situation resolves a bit more. But DW and I talk almost weekly about renting the Padua apartment for 2 or 3 months to get a better feel for life there.

I took 3 semesters of Italian as an undergrad. It comes back (sort of) when I'm there. I'd be happy to sharpen it up. Of course, almost everyone in Padua speaks at least some English.
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