It is a dream for many, live in Italy, in a city or most likely the countryside. Have those wonderful French doors and white long curtains softly swaying in the gentle summer breeze.
What most people forget that it can be very cold in Italy. Actually, when I write this article I am under a blanket, while the heating is on and the Italian apartment is stone cold.
But let’s run through the paperwork together, right?
After all, it is your dream, so let’s make your dream a bit more realistic.
Registration and/or visa
For European citizens, it is very easy to live in Italy. After 90 days you have to register at the town hall of your city or village. Be prepared that when you are without a job they might want to ask you for proof of sufficient means to support yourself financially.
If you are not from 1 of the 27 European countries that have the right to work and live anywhere within those countries you have to get a visa. For once your Schengen visa expires, you are illegal in the country.
Italy as a country does not issue visa’s you have to go to the Italian consulate in your own country (of residence) to obtain the right visa for a long stay in Italy.
Finding a job
So, that makes it clear that you need a job. To obtain one in Italy you need to start networking unless your company moves you to Italy for a project or outplacement.
Find a job through online job-agencies and recruiters. IT business might give you a good chance. Maybe LinkedIn can come in handy here to find headhunters.
Another option is to work online and support yourself that way, Not all digital nomads work from Chiang Mai.
Learn the Language
Italians do not speak English a lot, very well or easily. they love it when you speak Italian. So when you want to work in Italy it might be a good idea to learn at least some of the language.
Even when you work from home, the integration will be easier when you speak Italian.
Because of the many immigrants in Italy Italians are not always open-minded and friendly towards foreigners. So brace yourself for a hard integration process.
The cost of living in Italy
Italy is expensive, especially in the city. Tourism drives the prices up and up. A regular coke in a cafe in 2019 costs between 3-7.50 euros per glass. On the other hand, pasta and pizza are fairly affordable, around 8 euro a serving.
Living in a small town in the countryside is more affordable
The price of housing in the cities is insane. A small 1 bedroom apartment or studio will cost you 850 euros at least when you consider living in places like Rome or Milan.
The city versus the countryside
There are articles on the internet about villages in Italy selling houses for 1 euro per house. And that sounds very idyllic and maybe even too good to be true. And it is in most cases too good to be true.
When buying a 1 euro property there are a lot of rules you have to play by and you have to deal with the Italian bureaucracy that can work against you in the race in lawful agreed time to get the house restored.
The countryside may sound idyllic but there are a few cons:
- The internet usually is not the best of there is any
- it will be harder to find a job in the countryside
- it will be harder to integrate into a small town with mostly older people since all the younger people are moving to the city or other countries to find their luck elsewhere.
- No shops, only 1 or 2 restaurants, and no nightlife.
How to find a house?
Searching for a house on the internet might be tricky for most websites are not updated. So you see a house you really like and it is long gone. yet it seems to be the best way to find a house. You will need help from a real estate agency and/or a lawyer to set up a good lease contract.
Houses and properties are not often documented very well and few photos are available.
And you might be dealing with one real estate agent for renting a house, while it is rented out at the same time through another realtor. Selling and renting out properties is not an exclusive job for one realtor.
You most likely have to pay 1-2 months’ rent to the real estate agent as commission.
Make sure that you know upfront if the owner is paying this or you are the one to pay this.
Make sure you know about the rights when renting or buying, a few tips:
- I strongly advise you to hire a lawyer or an accountant to get the right information, do not trust online information on leases, purchasing property, or tax laws, it is probably outdated or one-sided.
- Ask your landlord for proof of registration of the lease contract with the tax authorities
- Do not think the law in Italy is not enforced, they might not work very fast, but they do catch up with you sooner or later when you try to do things your own way.
- When in doubt about your contract ask or get a second opinion!
Exactly one year after you went to the town hall to register for your citizenship in Italy you need to get an Italian driver’s license. Unless you come from one of the countries that have an agreement with Italy.
Yet another good reason to study Italian for the test is only done in Italian unless you live in areas where they speak French or German.
You can enlist at a driving school as soon as your residency has been confirmed and you received your Italian ID card.
Living in a foreign country
Relocating to a foreign country can be challenging and even when you are from Europe, Italy is still a foreign country. Do not underestimate the challenges you will be facing.
On Leaving Holland I want to be realistic about your future plans, I have no intentions to ruin your dreams or burst your bubble, but you have to know that there are way too many people on the internet expressing an unrealistic view of living in a foreign country.
As a nomad, I have lived in many, and I know how hard it can be to adapt and how lonely and detached you can feel.
When moving to another country you will experience culture shock, feelings of loneliness, isolation or detachment, and the frustration of having to deal with a foreign bureaucracy.
Italians, for example, are very proud people, some will call them arrogant. But once you connect to them they are very friendly and open. But to connect with them you have to earn certain respect. Speaking the language might help a lot in this case.
Italians love to eat outdoors, and bars and restaurants are packed during lunch and dinnertime. And even for breakfast. A quick coffee and browsing through the newspaper, standing at the bar, for that saves money. The moment you sit down in a restaurant food gets more expensive when you stand at the bar eating and drinking you pay less. This can be as much as 1.50-3.00 euro per item.
Moving to another country can be a fresh start. But be aware that you take yourself with you where ever you go. And a new country might emphasize other character trades in you, but it will not change who you are deep down inside. And every country comes with its own set of weird or even downright frustrating things that you have to deal with.
The Ebook ” Create your Emigration Profile” can help prepare for a smooth and successful move to a foreign country.
Articles about Italy