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Moving to Italy? A Guide to Italian Living, An Expat’s Guide

The First Steps

Italy, like all places, requires a visa or permit to enter. Italy offers several different visa options and, depending on what you’re planning to do in Italy and how long you want to live in the country, you’ll need to obtain the correct visa for your situation. For example, if you’re interested in moving to Italy for a six-month vacation, a short-stay permit will suffice. After six months, however, you’ll be required to apply for a long-stay permit or visa in Italy. This requires you to have obtained a visa from the Italian Embassy before you submit an application for a long-stay permit. Keep in mind that Italy, like Germany, is a participant in the Schengen Agreement. This agreement allows residents of the U.S. to spent 90 days in the country before a visa or permit becomes necessary. Keep in mind, though, that Italy’s immigration laws are complex and ever-changing, and it’s important to speak to the correct Italian officials before committing to your trip. To avoid snafus upon entering the country, conduct your visa-related research far in advance. This will help you avoid finding that you don’t have the correct paperwork or documentation needed. Additionally, you’ll need to remember that you’ll have to have all necessary paperwork like passports, marriage certificates, and documentation ready as you begin the visa application process.

Finding a Rental in Italy

Depending on where you want to live, finding a rental in Italy can either be simple or amazingly complex. While rentals dot the cities and towns throughout the entire country, affordable housing can be difficult to find, and expats from certain countries may find themselves taken aback by the fact that their unfurnished apartment doesn’t even include a kitchen sink.

With this in mind, it’s wise to spend plenty of time pursuing your rental options and ensuring that the rental you choose is one that will suit your needs for the long term. These are the most common types of housing available in Italy:

5 Fantastic Italian Cities

1. Florence
Some call Florence “The Birthplace of the Renaissance,” which should be a big enough claim to get virtually anyone to visit. While Florence is relatively small (with approximately 361,000 citizens) compared to some of Italy’s other major cities, this is one place that residents and visitors alike love to continue exploring. Home to some of Italy’s most renounced art, Florence is also the center of Italian fashion and is the hometown of both Gucci and Roberto Cavalli. If being in the city isn’t your cup of tea, it’s easy to find a beautiful, quiet place in the vineyard-filled hills surrounding Florence.
When it comes to the historical and cultural attractions of Florence, the riches are almost too numerous to name: The Baptistery, the Uffizi, the Academia, and the church of Santa Croce are a few of the most popular. Residents of this beautiful city also enjoy strolls along the Arno River and the scenic Boboli Gardens. 

2. Rome
One of Italy’s most iconic cities, Rome is a place where ancient meets modern. The capital of the country, Rome boasts world-class museums, stunning architecture, and a history that runs back more than 3,000 years. Once the seat of the Roman people, Rome boasts the Colosseum, The Pantheon, and ancient catacombs that establish it as one of the centers of early Christianity. In addition to its ample history and ancient artifacts, Rome is also a modern city that’s chock-full of open-air cafes, piazzas, and restaurants. There’s a little something for everyone here, and it’s not at all difficult to find live music, stunning art, beautiful designers, or breathtaking nature in and around the city.

3. Venice
Venice is where the Italian Gondola ride became synonymous with romance and beauty. Known around the world for its mouth-watering seafood, tapas, and bubbly, refreshing prosecco, Venice is an epic city run through with water. Once a hotbed of unique fashion and underground publishers, Venice stands out today as one of Italy’s quirkier cities, boasting everything from beautiful marble buildings to art galleries and plenty of unique shops, cafes, and bookstores to keep any traveler or resident busy for years.

4. Milan
Known as one of the most elegant cities in all of Italy, Milan is home to the country’s stock exchange, and its bustling fashion scene. Many people move to this city to work in the many industry positions available while financial professionals live here for the proximity to the stock exchange.
Having produced several world-class fashion designers in its time, Milan has earned a name for itself as a hotbed of nightlife, culture, food, and success. Busy, brash, and bold, this bustling city is ideal for the ambitious expat who wants to see it all.

5. Naples
The third-largest city in Italy, Naples boasts a city center that’s also a Unesco World Heritage Site. Established on a hotbed of volcanic rock and soil, Naples has one of the most generous growing seasons in the world and, because of this, it stands out in even Italy’s astounding food culture. Visitors and residents in the area will find everything from the country’s best pizza (a large claim, to be sure, but not an undeserved one), mouthwatering pasta, creamy coffee, beautiful, fresh seafood, and plenty of unique street food.
While Naples is one of the most historic and intriguing cities in all of Italy, it’s also one of the grittiest – with graffiti lining alleys and sprawl that is often intimidating to newcomers. Expats who refuse to let this stop them, however, will be rewarded with a place in one of Italy’s most iconic and most exciting cities.

The Cost of Living in Italy

Italy is an expensive place to live and generally costs more than many other countries in the E.U. While the expenses will vary depending on where in Italy you choose to live, it’s wise to expect the cost of living to be high and to prepare adequately for it. Cities like Millan are the most expensive while places like Rome tend to be just slightly less expensive, although not by much. Ideally, you can cut the cost of living in Italy by shopping at local markets for fresh produce and learning to cook beautiful Italian cuisine in the comfort of your Italian home.

Quality of Life in Italy

Italy offers an incredible quality of life. Known for being developed, rich in culture and history, and friendly to newcomers, Italian people value their family ties and make time for long, luxurious dinners with the people they love. Coffee is a critical component of Italian culture and expats not used to drinking the stuff will do well to adopt the habit as soon as possible.

Weather

The climate in Italy is a Mediterranean one. The summers are hot and dry while the winter season is cooler and wet, with occasional snow in the Northern parts of the country. While summer in the hilly portions of the country is mild and pleasant, temperatures in the south of the country can be hot.

The Pros and Cons of Living in Italy

For expats looking for a nice place to set up shop, Italy is a fantastic option. While the beautiful country offers plenty of incredible things to do, see, and experience, there are some definite cons to the move, as well. Before you make the decision to go to Italy, it’s wise to be aware of both:

Pros

Cons

Italy: A Hotbed of Food, Culture, and Beauty

Italy is one of the oldest and most statuesque countries in the world, and it’s known for much more than just its delicious food. From its high-profile art and fashion scenes to its ample and exciting attractions and unique features, Italy is truly a once-in-a-lifetime place. Ideal for any expat who wants to experience a high quality of life while also living close to some of the true wonders of the world, Italy is ideal. Plus, with more than enough delicious food and wine to make anyone want to stay forever, Italy is a fantastic place to set up shop for the foreseeable future.