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Living in Italy

Looking to settle in the sun, enjoy a slower pace of life and mingle with the friendly locals? A move to Italy means you will likely experience the so-called dolce vita. Our InterNations guide has just the information you need on housing, healthcare, and education in Italy.
Italian cuisine is part of many an expat's dream of La Dolce Vita.

At a Glance:

  • Italian cities are amongst the worst in Europe for pollution, but the government are taking measures to improve the environmental situation.
  • Italy has a well-developed road network, with nearly 7,000 km of motorway connecting all corners of the nation.
  • While the Italian education system is of a high standard, many expats decide to send their children to one of the countries’ several international schools.
  • The health service in Italy — the SSN — is one of the best in Europe, and healthcare coverage is guaranteed for all citizens.


Breathtaking scenery, friendly locals, world-renowned food and wine — life in Italy appears to have almost everything an expat could dream of.

Wake up each morning with a cup of the best Italian cappuccino, take a stroll through Milan’s upmarket fashion district, enjoy a plate of prosciutto cotto and a glass of Trebbiano for lunch, visit one of the countless museums and galleries, and finish the day eating a dinner of linguine frutti di mare in the Piazza Navona in Rome. Sound appealing? Then la dolce vita might be the lifestyle for you.

If you are considering accepting an expat assignment in Italy, or simply just want a change of scene, read on for some background information to help you make an informed decision about your move.

Troubles with Trash and Traffic

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

Italy’s cities are very polluted, with smog being a regular issue due to the immense amount of traffic. Milan is among the most polluted cities on the continent. Often, vehicle restrictions are imposed in order to bring down air pollution levels. Waste disposal is also rather underdeveloped, with the country failing to properly deal with factories dumping sewage and waste into the Po River.

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

Finding a Roof over Your Head

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 around 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 have some of the highest rents in all of Europe.

If your idea of life in Italy is more rural, in a quaint country home, Italy has plenty to offer. Quite a few expats who are not interested in living in Italy’s large overpopulated cities — especially self-made expatriates — move to smaller and quieter rural towns in regions like Tuscany.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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