Whether you’re moving to Italy or just travelling there for a holiday, there are many small technicalities you’ll need to get in order before you go. Obviously the first is official permission to enter the country. Make sure your passport is up-to-date, and if it’s not a European Union passport, you’ll need to arrange an appropriate visa for your stay. All travellers should be sure to pack photocopies of passports and any visas separately from the originals, so that if worse comes to worst, you have back-up evidence of who you are and where you’ve come from.

Under Italian law, every foreigner in the country is classed either as a tourist or a resident. A tourist is anyone staying for less than three months (even if they’re a student, a business traveller, or so on), and a resident is anyone staying for more than three months. Non-EU citizens staying for up to five years should secure a “Permesso di Soggiorno” (and for even longer, a “Permesso di Soggiorno per Soggiornanti di Lungo Periodo”).

But what other documents should you make sure you have before you go to Italy? Of course you’ll want some sort of travel and health insurance. Italy has an excellent, state-provided healthcare system, and while EU citizens with a free EHIC card can take full advantage of it (easily accessing free or reduced-cost treatment), non-EU citizens may not be eligible for full coverage. Make sure your travel insurance policy covers you for emergency treatment and evacuation, or get extra health insurance. Again, pack photocopies of insurance documents separately from originals, so you have back-up. If you or anyone you’re travelling with takes a prescription medicine, be sure to secure extra quantities of this to take with you to Italy, just in case it’s not so convenient to get hold of more supplies while you’re there. And of course, carry these medicines in your hand luggage rather than taking the tiny risk of them getting lost with luggage stored in an aircraft’s hold.

If you’re relocating to Italy, look into international personal property insurance, which protects items from their departure from one home to their arrival at another. Some insurance providers specialise in relocation and expatriate insurance. You should plan well ahead when scheduling the shipment of your belongings to another country, as it can sometimes take more than a month for all goods to be transported. Contact several international moving and shipping companies to get the best quote for your job. People making a permanent move to Italy should naturally also notify their bank, and consider online international banking options. Note that driving licenses issued from any EU country are valid in Italy, but drivers from elsewhere should look into how to convert their license, or consider getting an international driving permit/license (IDP/L). You’ll need to look into your tax affairs if you’re moving to Italy, of course, and finalize in which country you’ll be paying them. And finally, don’t forget to cancel any magazine subscriptions and register at your post office to get all mail forwarded to your new address!