Italians love the smart home, according to Netatmo

Italians love the smart home, according to Netatmo

Italians love the smart home

The analysis carried out by Netatmo on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of its foundation, highlights how the Bel Paese is far ahead in the field of smart home than one might think, and how the trend for the future indicates that it is always aiming for more about sustainability.

Fred Potter, founder of Netatmo, can undoubtedly believe that he achieved the goal he set himself when, ten years ago, he decided to found his company: make it accessible to substantially anyone. Ten years later we can safely say that the company has managed to establish itself as one of the leaders in the sector, providing a range of products that covers all household appliances.

The success (also confirmed by the fact that in 2020 'increase in sales was recorded in double figures) derives not only from the quality of the products, but also from the ease of installation and use that distinguishes Netatmo devices from the beginning. In addition to the quality in terms of use and design, in the last period the company has also focused particularly on protecting the privacy of its customers: a clear example of this is the Smart Cameras (indoor and outdoor) equipped with a filing system local, in order to avoid the possible theft of material saved in the cloud.

As for our nation, the survey conducted by Netatmo in collaboration with Dynata (market research company) shows that 64% of Italians between 25 and 55 years old have a smart device at home, while only 4% have no idea what smart home products are. Of the former, 62% own a speaker, while 44% rely on lighting products. Young people, between the ages of 25 and 34, are particularly inclined to purchase products that improve air quality (32%), for outdoor use and for gardening (24%).

Although the benefits of these devices are significant, there is still a good part of the population reluctant to buy: 36% simply say they do not need them, while 40% are blocked by the cost of the devices. There are also those who care about their privacy (24%) and fear that these devices may steal their personal data (we could write a book about it), while those who fear that the installation is a difficult procedure represents only 6% of the sample on which the survey was carried out.

The purchase of devices to make one's home smart is mainly dictated by the desire to improve one's home comfort, in addition to wanting to increase the safety level of one's own home and to remotely control household appliances. The survey also revealed that we Italians are particularly sensitive to environmental aspects: 1 in 3 Italians declared that they had purchased a smart device to make their home more sustainable.

The purchase intention: 77% of the sample is inclined to buy a new smart product, showing a great interest in household appliances and lighting devices. The percentage decreases slightly (24%) as regards devices for safety, for air quality (23%) and for heating (20%).

The pandemic has also made its contribution to diffusion of smart home devices: forced to spend much more time at home than in normal periods, it has been noted that the female gender in the age group between 35 and 55 years has shown itself to be more sensitive to issues such as sustainability, efficiency energy, air quality and home comfort. 53% of the sample said they bought smart devices during the pandemic, mainly dividing between the terrace (16%) and the living room (14%).

Fred Potter described the results of this survey:

“The results of the survey confirm an idea that I have had for some time, namely that Italians are very enthusiastic about smart home products. The pandemic has certainly affected the habits of our users, but at the same time it has highlighted a great need for home comfort. For this reason I am sure that the percentage of people who rely on smart solutions will increase in the near future. We at Netatmo will continue to strive to best follow the constantly evolving market trends. "

Speaking of smart devices, Echo Dot (3rd generation) is currently on offer at 30% on Amazon!

These beautiful Italian towns will pay you to work remotely

an old stone building © Comune Santa Fiora

Remote working has become a possibility for many during the pandemic, meaning the office can now be anywhere from a kitchen table to a sandy beach on the other side of the world.

And while relocating to a picturesque Italian town might also factor on many people's lists, that prospect just got even better with two destinations offering to pay workers who make the move.

In an attempt to lure newcomers, Santa Fiora in Tuscany and Rieti in Lazio will pay up to 50% of the rent of anyone who decides to move and telecommute on a long-term basis.

Rents are already relatively low, so the deal is potentially very attractive, but make no mistake, this is no paid vacation.

Applicants must have an 'active' job, even if they can do it in front of a laptop on a panoramic terrace overlooking olive groves while sipping a glass of red wine.

It doesn't matter what you do for a living, as long as you're tech-savvy enough to do it anywhere.

Although Italy is still slowly emerging from its latest pandemic wave, it hopes to reopen properly to travelers over the next few weeks, raising the tantalizing prospect of a proper Italian summer.

And while Covid has hit Italy particularly hard compared with some of its European neighbors, one silver lining has been that people have been relocating to previously depopulated towns, bringing new life to previously declining areas that now offer social distancing and lower contagion rates.

So-called 'smart working villages' are now flourishing in Italy as local authorities grasp the potential of boosting high-speed internet and setting up equipped 'labs' for telecommuters.

Santa Fiora

Located in the heart of wild Tuscany, the medieval village of Santa Fiora is nestled in the Monte Amiata natural reserve and is close to the wonderful Val D'Orcia Valley, Montepulciano's wine heaven, and Siena.

Today the population is down to barely 2,500 residents but mayor Federico Balocchi believes technology and virtual work can revolutionize the future of his hometown.

Teleworkers willing to relocate and rent a house here under the Tuscan sun will be given up to €200 ($240) or 50% of the total rent for long-term stays of between two and six months.

Local rentals are typically in the range of €300 to €500 monthly, meaning anyone who moves here might end up paying as little as €100 per month.

To help outsiders find their ideal type of accommodation -- be it a cozy stone cottage in the historical center or a little villa in the surrounding green rolling hills -- the town hall has launched a website ( to advertise rentals alongside a list of useful services and contacts of plumbers, baby sitters, doctors, electricians and food delivery to make newcomers feel instantly at home.

There are also links to local estate agencies for a wider choice of houses.

But don't think you'll get paid to laze around gorging on delicious pasta dishes and going on sightseeing sprees around Tuscany. Balocchi is keen to stress that the rental voucher is not a partly paid-for-vacation. Potential tenants must prove that they will be actually working remotely.

'It's not targeted at occasional touch-and-go tourists, but people who really want to experiment with our village life,' he tells CNN.

'The goal is to incentivize people to move in and virtually work from here. We want Santa Fiora to become their flexible office. Each time a youth leaves to search for a job elsewhere a piece of our village is taken away.

'This is only the first step of our smart village project, focused on connectivity and technology to lure new residents and firms.'

The village has just been cabled with high-speed fiber internet and 'working stations' are being identified amid its narrow cobblestone alleys and Renaissance palazzos.

Beyond the broadband connection, the pace of life in Santa Fiora is slow, offering a sojourn far from city chaos and smog.

It's ideal for people wishing to spend a part of the year in a quiet and relaxing place surrounded by nature.

So what's the catch?

First, you must be really teleworking and prove it through a detailed document of what exactly it is you do for a living -- be it architecture, design, poetry, freelance reporting, online cooking lessons or brokering world peace. It must be forwarded together with your application form.

People on a pension are welcome to move in but won't benefit from the voucher unless they're still working as independent contractors, professionals or online consultants.

Secondly, once you find somewhere in the town, you'll need to forward proof of rental with contract details and your new address. The €200 monthly vouchers work as reimbursements to be paid only after you send rent receipts to the mayor's office.

Visiting Santa Fiora as soon as global travel resumes might be a good way to get a feel of the village life and personally search for your perfect abode.

Balocchi assures the town's tourist office will be happy to assist in all procedures and paperwork.

Tenants are of course free to prolong their stay beyond six months, albeit at their own expense, with the mayor hoping that some might fall in love with the village and stay forever.

And if they decide to invest in the local tourist sector, Santa Fiora is willing to give them up to €30,000 to open a B&B or restyle an old dwelling to turn into a hotel or hostel.

There's even a baby bonus of up to €1,500 for each newborn if anyone decides to take up residency and have a kid.

'That would be great if new families actually settled in,' says Balocchi.

'This place is perfect for remote workers who must balance jobs and kids. We have low kindergarten fees, free school shuttle buses and many activities for children to allow parents time to breathe.'

A former mining center, Santa Fiora is an idyllic Tuscan hilltop village where nature and art perfectly combine. There are towers, fountains, panoramic piazzas overlooking the hilly landscape, museums and works of Renaissance artists.

Cut through by the river Fiora it's surrounded by chestnut forests and a network of streams, waterfalls and pristine springs. There's an ancient spectacular fish pond surrounded by a lush garden of pine trees, magnolia and orchards enclosed by lavish palazzos and a castle.

Top outdoor activities include horseback riding, biking and trekking along mountain trails.

Santa Fiora has a popular international music festival in summer and regular food fairs starring local mushrooms, onions and chestnuts.

More info and application details can be found here:


For those who'd rather be closer to Rome, stunning Rieti has a similar deal but for a minimum of a three months stay. Eclipsed by the fame and allure of the Eternal City, it's an under-the-radar destination worth seeing.

Even though Rieti has some 50,000 inhabitants and is one of the largest cities in the Lazio region, its population isn't growing.

'We're kind of stuck,' says deputy mayor Daniele Sinibaldi. 'Young people still keep fleeing to Rome in search of work so we've embarked on a mission to lure remote workers who will turn Rieti into their smart office and revitalize our city.'

Rieti's housing offer is even more appealing.

Rent vouchers could be extended beyond six months and a preliminary lease agreement is all the proof needed to get the ball rolling, says Sinibaldi. Teleworkers are free to pick a property even in nearby rural districts where rents are lower compared to the city.

Finding a place might be trickier as there's no town hall website with available properties. Applicants will need to get in touch directly with agencies or online rental platforms (such as;;

Employees will need a letter from their boss to prove their status as a remote worker, but freelancers can simply provide a description of their professional work.

Sinibaldi is confident telecommuting will revitalize sleepy Rieti.

'Rents in town are in the range of €250 to €500,' he says. 'For €600 you can have an entire little villa in the peaceful countryside. Also, the voucher can be used in the entire territory of Rieti, including the rural hamlets of Sant'Elia, Cerchiara and the skiing resort of Terminillo but we'd love to have people move in to live in the historical center.'

Rieti's origins are steeped in legend. It was founded by the fiery Italic tribes of the Sabines who inhabited the wild hills and forests of the area but were forced to bend the knee to ancient Rome after a series of bloody massacres.

During Roman times Rieti was a strategic outpost along the Via Salaria salt route, one of the main highways of the Empire.

Enclosed within protective medieval walls and turrets along the pristine Velino river, Rieti is locally known as 'the freshwater Venice' for its network of streams, ponds, springs and luxuriant lake reserves.

It's a mix of medieval, Renaissance, baroque and modern architecture where monumental piazzas, fortified walls and aristocratic palaces are connected by narrow picturesque alleys.

Standing on the majestic Roman bridge to admire deep red sunsets that set the river ablaze is a popular evening activity.

Since the Roman age Rieti claims to be the so-called Umbilicus Italiae, aka 'Italy's belly button,' the exact geographical center of the country.

The supposed dead center is apparently embodied by a historical billiard table located inside a tiny bar on the main piazza, where a round-shaped monument dubbed 'la caciotta' ('the cheese form') marks Italy's navel.

Fascinating treasures are hidden from sight. Strolling along via Roma, the main shopping street, you'd never guess that right beneath your feet runs another ancient Roman overpass from which the city grew and flourished.

The viaduct was built in the third century BCE to prevent flooding on the Via Salaria. The underground city is made of arches that are incorporated into noble residences.

Many dwellings in the historical center boast Roman walls and secret passageways to underground chambers.

Local food specialties include Fregnacce alla reatina, a diamond-shaped pasta with a tasty sauce of softened lard, celery, onion, chopped tomatoes, salt and chili. Pizzicotti are 'pinched' gnocchi served with a spicy tomato, garlic and olive oil sauce. Stracciatella are eggs cooked in veal broth while spaghetti alla carrettiera are made with seasoned pecorino cheese and chili pepper.

a train is coming down the mountain: Santa Fiora

Santa Fiora's mayor hopes good internet connections will lure remote workers.

© Comune Santa Fiora

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