by Melinda Gallo

Finally warm at home

Last year we were often cold in our apartment. Our building is quite old so we're not lucky enough to have riscaldamento centralizzato (central heating), which consists of radiators installed throughout the apartment. We have riscaldamento autonomo (autonomous heating), which basically means you have to fend for yourself. We have a few heaters/air conditioners installed high on the wall, but we don't use them any more because the heat only goes higher and the air is still cold.

The condominio (apartment building) manages the riscaldamento centralizzato and the time of year that it is turned on and off is regulated by the government. There is a specific date, or possibly range of dates, when it is supposed to be turned on and off for the year. During the winter, the riscaldamento centralizzato turns on in the morning and turns off at night.

With our riscaldamento autonomo, we have to install heaters or buy stand-alone heaters for the apartment. We have three different heaters that we've plugged in the room where Dave and I both work. One of them has two fans (one blowing toward him and one toward me), another one that is next to Dave near the glass doors that lead out to the terrace, and finally a radiator that sits next to me. My radiator used to be in our bedroom, but never used it. In its new location, it blocks the cold cement wall from emanating too much cold air toward me, which is wonderful.

I don't believe the walls of our apartment have any insulation. I think they are just made of cement. We have hard wood floors and brick and wood ceilings, so our apartment is cool in the summer since our apartment doesn't retain heat (the cement walls are still cold in the summer), but in the winter, we feel like we're living in an igloo.

Everywhere I go people seem to talk about the cold weather and that there is no tregua (break/respite). When I went to the mercato (market) yesterday, even the woman at the alimentari (grocer's) told me how Wednesday was colder than Thursday, but Monday and Tuesday were even worse. At the gym each time I'm in the locker room, the women all talk about how cold it is.

We are all hoping that the cold weather will ease up just a little bit, but I'm just happy that I'm finally warm sitting at my desk when I work.

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