Many of you dream of a second life in Italy. And who could blame you? The country of delicious food, ancient history and traditions, sun and sea has been sung and loved by poets and writers of all times.
But moving to a new country means also adapting to a new language and culture, and learning the deep and fundamental mechanisms its people live by. Despite this, many have made their dream come true and are now happily settled in Italy!
How? We’ve asked the expats in our Community (grazie mille!!!). Here are their top tips:
Don’t run away from yourself
From North Wales to Piedmont – close to Nizza Monferrato
Have the correct mindset when leaving your native country. You need to be happy and content with your life and move to Italy with the belief it can make it better. Basically everything that annoyed you about your last country may still be here but there should be other things that make it more bearable. So many people are running from something, a change of place does not help it actually can magnify the issues. If you are happy with your lot this place just makes it better.
From Belgium to Piedmont
Realise that the one thing you always have to take with you is: you. You will not become a calm and stress-free person just because you move to another country. You can run from a lot of things but not from yourself. That’s not only important when you move to Italy but for every decision you make in your life of course.
Location, location, location: Know what you want
From the Netherlands to Tuscany
Having lived in Italy for 44 years now, I think it is important to know what you want.
Culture? City, or nearby areas are ideal if you want to go to concerts and museums, for example.
Sea? That is ok for about 4 months a year, the rest of the time many places are mostly empty and the climate is quite humid. Housing will be more expensive just for being near the sea and everything else is more expensive too, restaurants, supermarkets, etc. Noisy nights!
Nature? Countryside/hills. Same prices all year-round, liveable in the winter too. Silence (I hear owls at night and singing birds in the mornings!). Doctors, hospitals and pharmacies all-year round too, not unimportant when you have retired. Services available, schools with children, soo nice to see!
Have a thick list
From UK to Le Marche
Be practical and have a huge tick list. Think of infrastructure, access to trains (excellent and cheap in Italy) and airports. Think of doctors, dentists, hospitals. Think of heating and access to your new home, you don’t want to be 2 km up a white road when there is 2 metres of snow. It may be wonderful to have no neighbours (for a while) and be distant from a village, but consider how isolated you want to be, and consider the support systems you may need. Having done all that, enjoy, Italy is a warm and welcoming country, but remove the rose tinted glasses and be realistic!
Do your research and visit the area before moving
From UK to Maremma area (southern Tuscany)
My advice is do A LOT of research about all the areas that interest you. From nearest airport to internet connection speed to even are there any other expats nearby!
Italy’s regions are so diverse that you definitely need to narrow it down and then visit in both summer and winter.
When you find a place you like make sure you stay there for a few nights and visit the property a few times at different times of the day. What can be lovely and peaceful first thing in the morning can be loud and busy later on ! Yappy dogs and noisy neighbours can be a nightmare.
Local connections: they’ll make your life easier
From Canada to Piedmont – Turin
Just moved to Turin from Canada with my 4 dogs and 4 kids and hubby. Paperwork is never ending and Italian friends are worth their weight in gold!! They have helped us so much and are wonderful people. We would be swimming under a sea of paperwork and problems if it was not for them!
4 golden rules: no.1 learn Italian
From UK to Sardinia
1. Language course before you come. If you have the chance, take it. We didn’t and we wish we had, we’re still struggling after three years. Although we live secluded so don’t converse as much as I would like.
2. Don’t underestimate the amount of money you need, the exchange rate can make a big difference to your money and leave you struggling.
3. Keep a mailing address at home, son/daughter, etc.
4. Take off your rose tinted glasses!
Follow these advice and live in Italy happily ever after in your perfect retreat in the sun: