Living in Italy?

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Brandon Le Clerk

Living in Italy, from South Africa

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Li Wang

Living in Italy, from China

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Italy at a Glance

Living in Italy

When staying in Italy, you may indeed experience la dolce vita. Do you also want to settle under the Tuscan sun and mingle with the locals? Our InterNations article on life in Italy has just the information you need on housing, healthcare, and education for expats and their families.

Italy’s scenery is breathtaking, the people are friendly and open, and the cuisine and wines are renowned around the globe. In short, you will love being an expat in Italy!

Getting up in the morning to a fine cup of cappuccino; taking a stroll through the fashion district in Milan; grabbing a plate of prosciutto cotto and a glass of Trebbiano for lunch; visiting a museum, or finishing the day with linguine frutti di mare and a glass of Montepulciano in the Piazza Navona. Those are just some scenes you may experience living here.

The historic and artistic heritage of Italy’s cities combined with up-and-coming tourist attractions, as well as ancient family traditions in the rural areas, show how diverse life in this country can be. If this sounds tempting, why not try living in Italy yourself? If you are thinking about an expat assignment in Italy, here’s some background information to help you make a decision.

Environmental Issues

Regardless of the region, urban life in Italy can be very chaotic, with a lot of noise and pollution. Unfortunately, Italy is also one of the least developed countries in Europe as far as environmental protection is concerned.

City life is full of greenhouse gases due to the immense overload of traffic. Waste disposal in general is a bit underdeveloped, and the country has yet to take charge of factories that dispose of their sewage and waste into the Po River.

The good news is that the Italian government, spurred on by the European Union and the UNESCO, is looking into environmentally friendly solutions to the above listed problems. This should make life in Italy a lot greener in the future.

Accommodation for Expats

Where you begin your life in Italy depends on whether you plan on settling in Italy’s countryside or a city. Economically speaking, people residing in Italy’s north are much more affluent then those in the south.

When it comes to accommodation for your stay in Italy, it is more common to rent than buy in Italian cities. The average tenancy contract has a rental period of circa four years. Although expat living in Italy is less expensive than, for instance, Switzerland, Scandinavia, or the UK, be prepared to spend a considerable amount on rent. After places like London or Paris, it’s Milan, Rome, and Venice that claim some of the highest rents in all of Europe.

If your idea of life in Italy includes a quaint country home in a small rural village, Italy has enough to offer. Quite a few expats who are not interested in living in Italy’s large overpopulated cites – especially self-made expatriates – move to smaller rural towns, for example, in Tuscany.

Many who choose this option open a bed & breakfast, offering tourists the chance to experience a different kind of life in Italy. Before you embark on this adventure, however, be sure that you are financially independent and stable, and have a good idea of what running a pension involves. There is no guarantee that this will completely cover the cost of living in Italy for you and your family.

InterNations Expat Magazine