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I moved to Italy alone when I was 16, and now I want to help you do the same at any age! I’m going to walk you through the pros and cons of living in Italy as a foreigner or expat so you can decide whether this is the country for you.
When it comes to making the decision of whether or not to move to Italy, there are a lot of factors to consider.
On one hand, there are many pros to living in this amazing country. The main one is, of course, unlimited pizza literal steps from your door.
But on the other hand, there are also some cons that should be taken into account. It’s not all Roman Holiday adventures.
In fact, living in Italy can be quite challenging at times.
So before you up and move to Italy, make sure you weigh the pros and cons carefully. I’ll take you through some of the most important ones to consider, and the reasons I didn’t end up staying in Italy long term.
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My Experience Moving to Italy as a Foreigner
I moved to Italy when I was 16.
I know, pretty young to decide you’re ready to jet off alone.
I guess I was technically even younger because I turned 16 while living in Italy, but 15 sounds a bit like my parents were negligent (which they weren’t!). So we’ll stick with 16.
When I was 16, I was the quiet, shy girl who legitimately didn’t speak more than 10 words in the first two years I attended my high school.
Luckily I went to an art school and year one was just mime, so they all thought I was just very in character.
I just wasn’t happy with where my life was, and I needed a change.
So when I found out about a program through Centro Scuola (that no longer exists, unfortunately), I knew I had to sign up.
It was a hybrid study abroad program run by an Italian man who wanted to share his homeland with Canadians.
I knew I had to go. And luckily my mom, the travel lover she is, agreed to shell out for me to have a dream Italian adventure.
The program wasn’t a traditional study abroad or exchange, like one of the ones my step-sister had done four years earlier.
No one came back to Canada in my place.
I didn’t live with a family.
We even brought our own teachers, since the small Italian town legitimately couldn’t accommodate us in the school.
I credit it as the starting point of my new life – one where I’ve never stopped talking or travelling.
Moving to Italy Alone
I’d love to say I was ready to move to Italy.
But I wasn’t.
I was fucking terrified.
I remember crying on the floor of my bedroom surrounded by suitcases and piles of clothes, telling my mom she was forcing me to go because she wanted to get rid of me.
Why the hell did I do that when I had been die-hard ready to go before?
Because I was scared.
It was the first time I’d be fully on my own, without knowing anyone or having a support system as I did in Canada.
I didn’t even speak Italian!
Back then, there wasn’t an option to get a foreign sim card to call home. We didn’t even really have internet except in one stairwell of the hotel we lived in, and we could only have one person using it at a time.
I could email once in a while, but that would be the only connection I’d have to my life in Canada for months.
Book cheap airline tickets and accommodations with Booking.com to save money when you’re moving abroad!
What It’s Like Living in Italy as a Foreigner
I moved to a small town called Atri.
If you picture the boot of Italy, it’s basically where the Achilles Heel is on the Eastern Coast.
The town is tiny. There were like 500 people living there when I was living in it.
Everyone knew everyone – and they all knew the group of 12 Canadian students who had come to stay.
Living in a small town is very different than staying in Florence or Rome, both cities I’d spent a few weeks in years before.
It has a slower, more charming way of life.
Every Monday there was a market with fresh produce and meat, amazing food stalls, and handmade clothing you could buy.
Every day from 1-3, the town closed down to people could spend time at home with their loved ones.
And every day on my solo walks throughout the streets, I’d stumble upon some ancient relic that was older than my home country.
Literally, one time I got drunk in the town’s colosseum. Apparently, every town in Rome has one, and this one was so nondescript that they didn’t even rope it off!
Other days, I’d write novels while sitting in the emptied aqueducts overlooking the farms beneath our mountain town.
It was a serene way of life that made me feel more centred than I’d ever been. Slowing down and opening myself up to the locals helped me find myself.
Ever since, I’ve been a better Nina.
Find the best local tours with this search engine (and the best deals)!
Why I Left Italy
There are a few reasons that I left Italy.
The first was that I had to come back to Canada to finish high school.
But I could have gone back later.
Although my Italian isn’t perfect, I learned a lot living there and could definitely get by if I needed to.
But it didn’t feel like a permanent home for me.
It felt like a stepping stone on the path to figuring myself out.
Which is why, with all the countries I’ve lived in in the decade since, I haven’t added Italy back to my list.
Also, I’m so scared of driving there. Italians are insane when you put them behind a wheel. And I know I’d want to adventure, so I’d have to somehow conquer that fear.
I feel like Italy could be waiting for me when I want to slow down a bit more and live a more relaxing lifestyle.
But for now, I’m keen to keep country-hopping and unlocking new facets of my personality.
44 Pros and Cons of Living in Italy as an Expat
Pro: Italy is Stunning
The first pro of living in Italy as an expat is that the country is absolutely stunning.
From the picturesque rolling hills of Tuscany to the crystal clear waters of Sardinia, there is no shortage of natural beauty to admire in Italy.
And of course, let’s not forget about some of the world-famous cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice.
No matter where you are in Italy, you’re sure to find yourself surrounded by breathtaking scenery.
I recommend this tour of Italy to explore the country!
Con: Big Cities Are Grimey
Although the big cities in Italy are some of the most beautiful in the world, they can also be quite grimey and dirty.
I’d say it’s not as bad as grime and dirt in the US, but it’s still not what you expect from movie depictions of the cities.
Rome, in particular, is notorious for its pollution and garbage-strewn streets around the popular tourist attractions.
So if you’re planning on living in one of Italy’s major metropolitan areas, just be prepared for some less-than-perfect conditions.
Pro: Full of History and Culture
Another great thing about Italy is that the country is absolutely full of history and culture.
You can’t go anywhere without running into some ancient ruins or a beautiful piece of Renaissance art.
And with so many different regions, each with its own unique traditions, there’s always something new to learn about in Italy.
Check out this epic tour of Italy!
Con: South vs. North Divide
However, all that history and culture can also be a bit of a double-edged sword.
Since Italy is such an old country with a lot of regional differences, there’s a strong divide between the more developed north and the poorer south.
This divide is especially apparent in terms of economic opportunity and quality of life.
You’ll hear northerners often dissing the Sicilians and vice versa.
I love this tour of Sicily.
Pro: Amazing Italian Food (and it’s cheap!)
One of the best things about living in Italy is the food.
Not only is Italian food some of the best in the world, but it’s also surprisingly affordable.
You can get a delicious three-course meal for under 20 euros in most places.
I ate like a queen when I lived in Italy.
Even the simple prosciutto sandwiches from the deli were somehow like Michelin star meals!
While you may know stars like pizza and pasta, be prepared for some under-the-radar gems, like Florentine cookies and homemade affogato desserts.
Con: Difficult to Find International Food
But of course, with such great Italian food comes the downside that it can be difficult to find international cuisine.
If you get homesick for a taste of home or you simply want to try something new, you may have to search a bit harder (and pay a bit more) to find it in Italy.
International grocery stores are few and far between.
I recommend packing some nostalgic food from home to bring with you, and maybe have some loved ones on standby to send you more supplies when you’re desperately craving a pumpkin pie or American cereal.
Pro: The Best Produce Around
One of the things I really missed after leaving Italy was the produce.
The fruit and vegetables in Italy are unlike anything I’ve ever had before – they’re so fresh and flavorful!
I legit ate a tomato like an apple once because it was so fresh and delicious.
I’ve yet to have produce that tasted as good since – even if it’s organic or homegrown.
If you love to cook, then you’ll definitely appreciate having such great ingredients at your disposal.
Con: Hard for Gluten Free and Dairy Free Expats
However, if you’re gluten-free or dairy-free like me, then Italy can be a bit of a challenge.
While there are some options available, they can be quite limited and expensive.
In general, Italian cuisine is very carb-heavy and relies heavily on cheese, so it can be tough to find dishes that fit into a gluten-free or dairy-free diet.
Luckily when I lived there, I didn’t know about my dietary requirements yet.
And to be honest, the dairy didn’t affect me the way most dairy does, so I was able to eat it pretty easily.
Pro: Italians Speak English in the Cities
One thing that definitely makes life easier for expats in Italy is the fact that most Italians speak English.
This isn’t always the case in more rural areas, but in the major cities, you’ll be able to get by just fine with English.
This definitely made it easier for me when I was first starting to learn Italian – I could practice with locals without feeling completely lost.
Con: You’ll Need to Learn Some Italian
However, while it’s nice that Italians can speak English, it’s definitely worth learning some Italian while you’re living there.
Not only will it make life easier for you, but it will also make your experience in Italy that much more rewarding.
Need help learning a new language? I recommend iTalki! I’ve tried ALL the apps, but iTalki is the only way I’ve managed to learn as much as living in the local country.
Pro: Italian is Easy to Learn!
And speaking of learning Italian, I actually found the language to be surprisingly easy to learn.
I think this is because Italian shares a lot of similarities with English.
So if you’re already familiar with Latin-based languages, then you’ll probably have an easier time picking up Italian than other Romance languages.
It’s also so easy to learn when you’re immersed in it.
Then start challenging yourself to order your coffee only in Italian.
You’ll find you advance very quickly!
Con: But the Paperwork is Not
However, one of the not-so-easy things about living in Italy is the paperwork.
Getting a residency permit, registering your car, opening a bank account – it can all be quite daunting and time-consuming.
Italians have a lot of bureaucracy to deal with, so as an expat, you’ll definitely feel the brunt of it.
But with a lot of perseverance (and maybe some help from a friend who’s already been through the process), you’ll eventually get everything sorted out.
Pro: The Climate
One of the things I really loved about living in Italy was the climate.
The weather is generally quite mild, especially in the north.
I also really loved the changing seasons – it was so beautiful to see the leaves change color in the fall and watch the snowfall in the winter.
Depending on where you are, you may get a more Mediterranean climate. While in the mountains and up in the Dolomites, you should expect cooler temperatures.
I lived in the mountains and was able to wear shorts well into November. It was only cold in December because of the wind, but we never saw any snow.
Con: The Climate (Especially in Summer)
However, while the climate is generally quite pleasant, there are definitely some downsides.
The heat in the summer can be unbearable, especially in the south.
There’s a reason that Italians flee Rome in the summer to head to the countryside.
If you visit, you’ll find the city empty of locals, except those working in the tourism industry.
Pro: Buzzing Nightlife
If you’re looking for a lively nightlife scene, then Italy is the place for you.
There are so many bars and clubs to choose from, and Italians know how to party!
One thing to note, however, is that the nightlife in Italy doesn’t really get going until late – most bars don’t get going until after 10pm.
But if you’re up for a night of dancing and drinking, then you’ll definitely find it in Italy.
Even as a student (and thanks to Italy’s incredibly low and relaxed drinking age), we partied very regularly at school dances and at the local bar.
It wasn’t uncommon for us to get home well past 2am, crawl into bed, then have to get up for church the next morning at 9am (avoid going to Catholic school y’all if you want to get very drunk on weekends).
Con: High Unemployment Rate
Another downside to living in Italy is the high unemployment rate.
Especially if you don’t have any skills in Italian, it can be quite difficult to find a job.
The good news is that there are plenty of English teaching opportunities, but if you’re looking for something else, your options may be limited.
Italians themselves find it hard to find work, especially outside of the cities.
You’ll do best if you’re bilingual and have a specialized skill of some sort.
I recommend this platform to find jobs as a foreigner.
Pro: You’ll Feel Like Family
In Italy, family is everything.
If you’re married to an Italian or have Italian friends, you’ll definitely feel like part of the family.
You’ll be invited to all the family gatherings and treated like one of their own.
This is one of the things I loved most about living in Italy.
In the small town, we were immediately enveloped in the local families.
I’d go for walks and people would have their doors open, waving me into their house to sit for a coffee or to hand me some cookies.
I didn’t speak Italian well enough to feel comfortable staying, but my two teachers did so regularly and were quickly made part of the local family groups.
👉 Want to make friends around the world? Join Meetups today for free!
Con: Italians are Not Politically Correct
If you’re easily offended, then Italy is probably not the place for you.
The Italians are definitely not politically correct and they will say whatever is on their mind.
This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your perspective.
While it’s nice that the people are very genuine about whether or not you have food on your face, it’s not great from a racism perspective.
If you’re different in any way, they will point it out.
Even my friend who was blonde would get screamed at from across the street with people just saying “blondie!”.
Women are powerful in Italy, but you’ll still face misogyny.
As a young woman, it was really hard to deal with. Now, being more comfortable taking on people like that, I’d feel more equipped to handle the comments.
Pro: Country Living is at a Slower Pace
One of the things I really loved about living in Italy as a foreigner was the slower pace of life.
Everything just seemed to move a little bit slower and people were more relaxed.
Of course, this is definitely not true of all of Italy – especially not the big cities.
But in the smaller towns and villages, life definitely moves at a slower pace.
This can be really nice after living in a big city where everything is constantly moving.
Find the best local tours with this search engine (and the best deals)!
Con: Erratic Closing Times
While the slower pace of life can be really nice, it can also be frustrating when you’re trying to get things done.
For example, stores and businesses in Italy have very erratic closing times.
It’s not uncommon for a store to close for a few hours in the middle of the day for a break and then reopen.
Or for shops to close at 7pm one day and not close again until the next day.
Usually, you get used to the ebb and flow, especially when you find out there’s a football match on (expect everything but bars to be shut for at least a few hours before, and maybe even half the day after if they’ve been celebrating).
But without the rushed feeling of a city, you can handle these closings better.
Pro: Cost of Living in Italy Isn’t Too Expensive
The cost of living in Italy definitely isn’t cheap, but it’s not as expensive as some other parts of Europe.
Rent prices are reasonable, especially if you live outside of the city. Even in Rome, rent is under 1,000 euros a month (outside of the tourist district).
Food and transportation costs are also relatively affordable.
My food budget was nearly non-existent when I lived in Italy. Gelato only cost a couple euros, and groceries were incredibly cheap.
Of course, this all depends on your lifestyle.
If you’re eating out all the time, you’ll definitely spend more than if you cook at home. But with meals being very cheap, you won’t go bankrupt quickly.
Con: Amenities Are Very Expensive
While the cost of living may not be too expensive, the amenities definitely are.
For example, internet and phone plans are incredibly expensive.
In the small town I was in, it wasn’t an option to get an internet plan separately or to get a temporary SIM card.
Nowadays, you can.
But to settle in Italy, you should expect to pay around 60 euros a month for your internet and phone plan.
And that’s without a data plan!
If you want data, you’re looking at an additional 20-30 euros per month.
Electricity, television, and water can cost even more. You’ll likely be paying a few hundred euros by the time you’re done setting up basic amenities in your one-bedroom home.
Pro: High-Quality Healthcare for Cheap
One of the best things about living in Italy is the healthcare system.
It’s high quality and it’s very cheap.
I needed to see a doctor in our small town for an emergency, and he offered amazing care. I was in and out in less than an hour with a concrete diagnosis – which is far faster than I’d ever had in Canada or New Zealand.
And he was right! He wasn’t just making up something to get us out of there.
I will say, he didn’t know a lot of English, and having to Google translate the names for organs was a bit disconcerting at first, but we made do.
I’ve always felt incredibly safe in the hands of the Italian medical system.
Con: Long Waits for Healthcare
However, one downside to the healthcare system is the long wait times.
If you need to see a specialist, you could be waiting months.
There aren’t a ton of specialists available, and since many can afford to go on long vacations, they can often be out of town for prolonged periods.
Expect long waits for specialized treatment, or to pay to expedite treatment with a private practitioner.
Pro: Public Transport in Some Areas Is Excellent
Public transport in Italy can be excellent – if you live in the right area.
For example, Rome has an extensive and efficient metro system that makes getting around the city a breeze.
Milan also has an efficient public transport system with an underground metro, trams, and buses.
Smaller towns may only have a bus system, which can be less than ideal.
But overall, public transport in Italy is better than in a lot of other countries.
There are regularly greyhound-style coach buses between most cities and towns as well.
Con: Driving is Death Defying (But Essential)
If you’re not used to Italian driving, it can be death defying.
The roads are narrow, the drivers are aggressive, and there’s a lot of honking.
But it’s the only way to get around in some areas, so you’ll eventually have to learn.
Just be prepared for your heart rate to be through the roof when driving in Italy.
Also just avoid driving in old towns or up hills if you have a small car.
Old towns have tiny passages that seem impossible to navigate. Just park outside the city centre and walk to save yourself the jump scare of turning a corner and coming face-to-face with another car in a one-lane alley.
And get a car that can actually go uphill.
My poor mom had to come visit me in a tiny Fiat 500 that she lovingly called a “toaster” because it was so square. The engine was definitely not prepared for the climb uphill to Atri.
Instead, invest in a good car that can handle the roads, and avoid the tighter spaces where you can get your car stuck between buildings (it seriously happens! There’s a whole Top Gear episode about it).
Vespas are a much better idea if you’ll be going through town squares regularly.
Looking to get around via car? Find the cheapest car rentals here!
Pro: EU Passport Opens Doors to Easy Travel
If you’re an EU citizen, living in Italy is a breeze.
You don’t need a visa to stay, and you can easily travel to other countries in the Schengen Area.
This area includes most of Europe, and it’s great for weekend getaways or longer trips.
There are some exceptions, like the UK and Ireland, but overall it’s very easy to travel around Europe when you live in Italy.
It’s also easy to move and work in other areas.
I’ve always dreamed of having an EU passport for the ease of mobility. You can pop to a new country to work every year without the mountain of paperwork I always end up dealing with.
Pro: Easier to Get Citizenship
Italy makes it relatively easy to become a citizen.
You don’t need to have been married to an Italian citizen for years, or have a ton of money.
All you need is proof that you’ve been living in the country legally for five years and that you’re of good character.
After eight years of living in the country, you can apply for citizenship.
Compare that to the United States, where you have to be a legal resident for at least five years and go through a long process, or Spain, where you have to be married to a Spanish citizen for four years.
It’s much easier to become a citizen of Italy than many other countries.
Con: Hard to Get a Visa if Self-Employed
If you’re self-employed, it can be quite hard to get a visa to live in Italy.
You need to prove that you have enough money to support yourself, and that you have health insurance.
They don’t want people to show up self-employed and then not be able to support themselves, because then you’re a drain on the country’s resources.
Pro: Easy to Open a Bank Account
It’s very easy to open a bank account in Italy.
You need your passport, proof of address, and sometimes a work contract.
Unlike the UK and New Zealand where I spent literal months fighting to open a bank account I legally had a right to with my visa, you just have to sign some forms in Italy and you’re on your way.
Con: Only When You’re Physically in Italy
One downside to this is that you have to be in Italy to open the account.
So if you’re moving from another country, you’ll need to open a travel money card or use your home bank’s international features until you can get to Italy and open an account there.
I use Wise.com for these purposes.
Their multi-currency bank accounts are free to use and ensure you’ll have some euros to get by in Italy before you have your bank account on the ground ready.
Opening a bank account is so much EASIER by creating a free multi-currency account here.
Pro: Excellent and Accessible Education
Education in Italy is excellent, and it’s accessible to everyone.
There are universities and colleges for all levels of education, and the fees are relatively low when compared to other countries.
There are amazing universities like the University of Bologna, which is the oldest university in the world, and other top institutions like Sapienza University of Rome.
If you want to study in Italy, there are plenty of options available.
Con: Highschoolers Have to Specialize Early
One downside is that high school students have to specialize early.
They have to choose what they want to study, and they can’t change their minds later.
This can be a big decision for a teenager, and it’s not always easy to know what you want to do with your life at that age.
At 14 you’re kind of locking yourself into a career path, or at least narrowing it down significantly.
I would not have been prepared for that decision at 14.
Pro: Most Delicious and Cheapest Wine You’ll Find
The wine in Italy is some of the most delicious and cheapest you’ll find.
A bottle of wine from the grocery store costs around 2-3 euros, and it’s usually pretty good quality.
Of course, you can find cheaper wine, but it’s not always the best quality.
If you want to splurge, you can go to a wine bar and get a glass of wine for 5-10 euros.
But even then, the wine is much cheaper than in other countries.
It’s very easy to drink in Italy and it’s so affordable.
There’s a reason Italians can party so hard!
Con: High Taxes
Italy has high taxes, and it’s not always easy to get out of paying them.
If you’re an expat, you’re automatically taxed at a higher rate than locals.
You also have to declare all of your income, even if it’s from outside of Italy.
This can be a bit of a pain, especially if you’re freelancing or have multiple income streams.
The government is also known for being quite corrupt, so it’s not always easy to get things done.
Pro: Easy to Travel Around
Italy is a small country, and it’s very easy to travel around.
You can get to most places in a few hours by train or bus.
This makes it easy to explore the country, and you can see a lot of different places in a short amount of time.
It’s also really affordable to travel abroad.
You can get a flight to another country for around 30 euros if you book in advance.
Book cheap airline tickets and accommodations with Booking.com to save money when you’re moving abroad!
Con: Locked Into Long Leases
If you’re renting an apartment in Italy, you’re locked into a lease for a long time.
Most leases are for 18 months to 3 years, which can be tough if you want to move around a lot.
This is not the case in all parts of Italy, but it’s something to be aware of.
Pro: Safe Country
Italy is a safe country, and it’s very easy to feel at home there.
The people are friendly and welcoming, and it’s a great place to raise a family.
There is a low crime rate, and you don’t have to worry about safety issues when you’re out and about.
Con: Except for Pickpockets
The only downside is that pickpockets are quite common in Italy.
They target tourists, so be sure to keep your valuables safe and secure.
I recommend getting a money belt to wear under your clothes, or keeping your things in a secure bag.
Pro: Not Hard to Buy Property
It’s not hard to buy property in Italy, and the process is relatively straightforward.
You don’t need a lot of money to buy a property, but the paperwork is all done in Italian.
This can be a bit daunting if you don’t know the language, but it’s definitely doable with some help from a translator.
Con: Slow Internet
Italy has slow internet, which can be frustrating if you’re used to high speeds.
The average speed is around 10 Mbps, but it can be much slower in rural areas.
This can make it tough to work from home or to upload large files.
Cities like Rome are better, but it’s still not as fast as in America.
Pro: You’ll Never Be Bored
There’s always something to do in Italy, and you’ll never be bored.
The country is full of culture and history, and there are always festivals and events happening.
It’s a great place to live if you want to be constantly entertained.
Find the best local tours with this search engine (and the best deals)!
Con: The Fashion May Bankrupt You
The fashion in Italy is some of the most expensive in the world.
If you’re not careful, you can easily spend a fortune on clothes and shoes.
This is especially true in cities like Milan and Rome, where the fashionistas reign supreme.
Pro: Amazing Quality of Life in Italy
Despite the few drawbacks, the quality of life in Italy is amazing.
The food is delicious, the people are friendly, and it’s a great place to raise a family.
It’s definitely worth considering if you’re thinking about moving abroad.
Best Places to Live in Italy for Expats
When it comes to choosing a place to live in Italy as an expat, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Each part of the country has its own unique charm, and you may want to consider your lifestyle and needs when making a decision.
Here are a few of the best places to live in Italy for expats:
1. Rome – If you want to experience the true Italian lifestyle, then Rome is the place for you.
The city is full of beautiful architecture, and there’s always something to do.
2. Florence – Florence is a smaller city, but it’s full of culture and history.
It’s a great place to live if you want to be surrounded by art and culture.
3. Naples – Naples is a vibrant city with a lot of energy.
It’s perfect for people who are looking for a lively and exciting lifestyle.
4. Milan – Milan is the fashion capital of Italy, and it’s home to some of the most stylish people in the world.
If you’re into fashion, then this is the place for you.
5. Turin – Turin is a beautiful city with a lot to offer.
It’s perfect for people who want to live in a more laid-back and relaxed environment.
Side note: I didn’t live in Sicily but I really enjoyed visiting and have heard excellent things from expats!
Jobs in Italy for Expats
If you’re looking for a job in Italy as an expat, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The job market is competitive, and you’ll need to be fluent in Italian to stand a chance at local firms.
That being said, there are plenty of opportunities for English speakers in Italy.
Here are a few of the best jobs for expats in Italy:
1. Teaching English – Teaching English is a great way to make money in Italy.
There are plenty of opportunities for English teachers, and you don’t need to be fluent in Italian.
2. Editing and Translating – Editing and translating are great options for people who want to work in the publishing or corporate world.
There are many multinational firms in Italy that are looking for English speakers.
3. Hospitality – The hospitality industry is booming in Italy, and there are plenty of opportunities for people who speak English.
4. Marketing – With so many international companies headquartered in Italy, there is a demand for marketing professionals who can speak English.
5. Sales – If you’re a people person, then a career in sales could be perfect for you.
There are many opportunities for salespeople in Italy, and you can make a good living if you’re successful.
I recommend this platform to find jobs as a foreigner.
Best Books About Life in Italy for Expats
If you’re looking for some good books about life in Italy for expats, then look no further.
These books will give you a glimpse into the Italian lifestyle, and they’ll help you understand the culture and customs:
- Living in Italy: The Real Deal – A hilarious tale of expats Stef and Nico as they uproot their lives to live the Italian dream.
- Living in a Foreign Language – After spotting a cottage on their trip through Italy, an empty nest couple make the spur of the moment decision to leave America behind. Follow their journey in finding home thousands of miles away from their native land.
- Moon: Living in Italy Travel Guide – The famed guidebook series does it again, breaking down how you too can move abroad with actionable steps and visa plans.
- How to Become an American in Italy – Avoid looking like a tourist or floundering for McDonalds with this helpful guide to assimilating into Italian life (and the Italian language) seemlessly.
Wrap Up: How is living in Italy as a foreigner?
Overall, living in Italy as a foreigner can be both positive and negative.
There are many amazing things about the country, but there are also some drawbacks that you should be aware of.
If you’re thinking about moving to Italy, then make sure to do your research and decide whether these pros and cons are right for you.
Some people thrive in a slower-paced lifestyle, while others will be put off the cost of amenities.
There is a lot to consider when moving to Italy as an expat, but it ultimately comes down to what you’re looking for in a new home.
I recommend visiting Italy before you decide if living there as a foreigner is right for you.
FAQs about Living in Italy
Cost of Living in Italy vs US
The cost of living in Italy is generally cheaper than in the US.
Rent and food costs are lower, and transportation costs are about the same.
Utilities will cost more in Italy, but you’ll still be paying less overall than you would to rent and live in a city like New York versus Rome.
Living in Italy vs UK
There are pros and cons to living in both Italy and the UK, but ultimately it depends on the individual’s preferences and needs. Some people might prefer the slower-paced lifestyle of Italy, while others might find the hustle and bustle of London more stimulating.
The UK has a cooler climate, but a bigger economy. While Italy has a warmer climate, especially near the ocean, but suffers from high rates of unemployment.
Living in Italy vs France
France is often seen as the most beautiful country in Europe, but it also has a high cost of living. Italy is slightly less expensive than France, and has a more relaxed lifestyle.
Both countries have delicious food that don’t always cater to dietary conditions well.
French people are slightly less welcoming than Italians.
Living in Italy vs US
The US is a much bigger country than either Italy, with more job opportunities and a wider range of climates.
However, the cost of living is higher in the US, and healthcare is not as affordable as it is in Italy.
Italians are known for their hospitality and friendliness, while Americans are more individualistic.
Living in Italy vs Canada
Canada is a much bigger country than Italy, with more job opportunities and a wider range of climates.
However, the cost of living is higher in Canada. Healthcare is more affordable and utilities cost less in Canada.
Italians are known for their hospitality and friendliness, while Canadians are more reserved.
Living in Italy vs New Zealand
New Zealand is a much smaller country than Italy, with fewer job opportunities and a narrower range of climates.
However, the cost of living is lower in New Zealand. Healthcare is more affordable and utilities cost less in New Zealand.
Both countries are laidback with amazing landscapes, and great wine.
What are the cheapest places to live in Italy?
The cheapest places to live in Italy are rural areas in the south, such as Calabria and Basilicata. However, these areas can be quite dangerous and are not always well-connected to the rest of the country.
The best options for expats are small towns or villages in Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, or Umbria, where the cost of living is relatively high but the quality of life is good.
What are the disadvantages of living in Italy?
The disadvantages of living in Italy include the high cost of living, the lack of job opportunities, and the poor infrastructure. Italians are also known for being laid back and sometimes unreliable, which can be frustrating for foreigners who are used to a more fast-paced lifestyle.
What should I avoid in Italy?
Some things to avoid in Italy include getting scammed by street vendors, pickpockets, and taxi drivers.
Petty crime rates are relatively high in Italy in major cities, so it is best to avoid walking around alone at night or in deserted areas.
Is Italy a nice place to live?
Italy is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture. The food is amazing, and the people are friendly and welcoming. However, the high cost of living and lack of job opportunities can be a challenge for expats.
How much money do you need to live comfortably in Italy?
To live comfortably in Italy, you would need at least €2000 per month. This would cover your rent, food, utilities, and transportation costs.
If you are planning on buying a car or travelling often, you would need to budget for additional costs.
What’s it like living in Italy as an American?
As an American, you may find the slower pace of life in Italy frustrating. Italians are known for being laid back and relaxed, which can be a culture shock for Americans who are used to a more fast-paced lifestyle.
However, you will likely enjoy the amazing food, beautiful scenery, and friendly people.
What is the cost to move to Italy?
The cost of moving to Italy will depend on your individual circumstances. If you are moving from the US, you can expect to spend at least $2000 on flight costs alone with your baggage.
Other costs, such as renting an apartment, buying furniture, and getting a visa, will vary depending on your needs.
How to make friends living in Italy as a foreigner?
The best way to make friends living in Italy as a foreigner is by joining social clubs or groups that match your interests. There are also online forums and websites specifically for expats, which can be a great way to connect with people from all over the world.
I recommend Meetup.com as a great way to find social events happening near you. You can also try Couchsurfing, which is a website that connects travellers with locals who are willing to offer them a place to stay.
Is living in Italy for one year enough?
Yes, living in Italy for one year is enough to get a good feel for the country and its culture. However, if you want to learn the language or build a career, you’ll want to stay longer.
I felt like my semester in Italy went by too fast. 4 months felt like far too short a time, but it also was the perfect amount for me.
I want to live in Italy, now what do I do?
If you want to live in Italy, the first step is to research the Italian visa requirements. You will likely need a student visa if you plan on studying, or a work visa if you have secured a job.
Once you have your visa, you can start looking for apartments and planning your move.
Pros and cons of retiring in Italy
The pros of retiring in Italy include the beautiful scenery, the delicious food, and the relaxed lifestyle. The cons include the high cost of living and the lack of job opportunities. If you are retired, you may find it difficult to make ends meet on a fixed income.
Overall, Italy is a great place to retire, but it is important to be aware of the potential challenges you may face.
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🌎 What is the best country to live in as an expat?
It depends – the best country to live in as an expat will depend on your unique needs. I developed this free quiz to help you figure out where is right for you!
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👯♀️ How do you make friends abroad?
Meetup.com – Meet likeminded people who share a similar hobby with Meetup! It’s free to join, but some activities may cost money, like if you go to a cafe and get a coffee.
🙀 I don’t speak the language. Can I still live abroad?
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💻 Do I need a VPN?
Yes! – VPNs allow you to access more of the internet. From US Netflix in the UK to social media sites banned in Asia. It’s a really helpful and cheap thing to ensure your online activities aren’t restricted.
🧳 What’s the best luggage for living abroad?
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Take this $7 course and learn the exact script I used to tell my family I was moving abroad … and then when I did it again. I even include tips for prepping your family, and for how to handle family who aren’t supportive.
✈️ What’s the best site to buy cheap flights?
🏨 What’s the best site to find cheap hotels?
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🚗 What’s the best site to rent cars abroad?
To find cheap rental cars, I recommend Discover Cars.
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To find epic tours, I recommend Viator.