Passions & Places




Le Marche for a long & healthy life

Not surprisingly in paradise possible, the Marche has one of the highest rates of longevity in the world and the word "youngster" often seems to include the over-70's. But should you fall ill, you will find yourself in good hands whether as a tourist or a resident.
Contrary to popular opinion, the Italian public health service, at least in the Marche, works well. A modern, well-run network of hospitals covers the whole region and even in the most out-of-the-way corners you'll never be far from emergency treatment should you need it.

In the event of serious illness or injury, head for the 24-hour first aid, pronto soccorso, at any hospital. For minor aches and pains make straight for the farmacia, or pharmacy. They keep normal shop hours and can be spotted by a green cross outside; they also operate an emergency 24-hour service on a rotating shift basis, details of which are displayed in the window.

Travellers' Health
European Union tourists should carry the E111 form entitling them to reciprocal health care in other EU states. In practice, the bureaucratic fuss involved in using the E111 (make for the local A.S.L. - Azienda Sanitaria Locale - office if you need to use it) makes it only worthwhile if you need costly treatment. Travellers can also try contacting the new Travel Medicine centre run by the Ancona Health Authority to help tourists and pilgrims visiting the area. Contact them by phone on 071 596 5547 or by fax on 071 596 5544.

Becoming Resident
If you decide to live in the Marche you will have to sign up with a local general practitioner (medico di famiglia) through the local A.S.L. office and if you are earning you'll have to pay your regular "national insurance" contributions (INPS in Italian). Unless you are elderly or chronically ill, you'll have to pay a relatively small contribution for prescriptions, laboratory analyses and hospital out-patient treatment. Dental treatment and opticians in the Marche, as in much of Italy, are excellent but can be expensive and are not covered by the public health service.

Spa towns
Since the days of Ancient Rome, Italians have been keen believers in the curative effects of "taking the waters" and the Marche boasts a number of spa towns - you can even get your doctor to prescribe a course of treatment at a spa, although you'll have to pay the accommodation bill. Spa towns in the region include Acquasanta Terme and Sarnano in the south, Tolentino and Fermo in the centre and Carignano Terme near Fano in the north


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