Moving to Italy
Moving to a new home can be a stressful time for anyone whether you are moving round the corner, down the road or to a new town or village. Imagine how much more is involved in moving to a new country, especially when you don’t speak the language or know the country that well. You may have been lucky enough to visit Italy on vacation or for business but how well do you really know it? Well if you are considering the prospect, or are in the process, of moving yourself or you and your family to Italy then there a number of factors that you will need to consider starting with where you will live.
From choosing the best location to move you or your family to through to booking your international moving company let’s look at the list of things you need to consider and the research you should carry out before you take the plunge. For some of you that may be relocating with your job, a lot of the work may have been done for you but there are still things that you will want to research yourself. After all you won’t be at work all of the time! If you are moving for a lifestyle choice then what are you looking for in your new home and what does Italy have to offer you and your family, including your children whatever age they may be?
What does Italy has to offer?
When you think of Italy you probably think of sunshine, beautiful landscapes, lakes, historic sites and food and drink. Italy has a lot of everything in abundance and is a very popular expat location. As one of the founding members of the EU it is easy to move to and work in Italy as an EU resident. If you are from outside of the EU then you will need to apply for a visa. Many people who are moving to Italy for business tend to move to either Rome or Milan with the more rural areas suiting those who are after a quieter life. Many people retire to the rural areas of Italy which are steeped in vineyards, olive orchards and the general romance you would expect from this Mediterranean hot spot.
If you are moving to Italy to start a business then it is important to know that business is done socially in Italy, it is very relaxed and it is more a case of who you know and not what you know so be prepared to sit round drinking coffee. You also need to consider that income tax and social security requirements in Italy are amongst the highest in the EU. When deciding between the north and the south you will also need to be aware that the cost of living varies between the two with Northern Italy being more expensive.
When is the best time to move to Italy?
Is there a best time to move to Italy or does it matter whether you rock up in the height of summer or over the Christmas holidays? Like any country Italy will have its festivals and public holidays where everywhere will shut up shop. Liberation Day takes place on the 25th April and Republic Day is on the 2nd June in addition to this the various towns have public holidays for the festival of the local patron saint. If you have a location in mind it is important to ensure that you are aware of these public holidays.
Logistically you may want to consider moving early week so that you can get everything organised in time for the weekend. You also need to work out when you want your furniture to arrive. It’s one thing to be without the essentials for one or two nights but as most rented accommodation comes unfurnished in Italy you won’t want to be without beds and other essentials for too long. If you are going ahead of the family to get things set up you may have a hotel or holiday accommodation booked temporarily whilst you prepare for the arrival of your family and the international moving company with your furniture.
Where should you live when moving to Italy?
Whilst you may think of Italy as a hot and sunny destination it does vary significantly between the north and the south when it comes to the weather. The summers are dry and hot with a lot of rainfall in the winter and snow in the north. Summers in the south are much hotter as you would expect. There is very much a north south divide when it comes to living in Italy especially when it comes to the standard of living and the cost of living. The north has a higher cost of living with Milan being an expensive place to live whereas the south of the country is a lot poorer with high unemployment rates. In fact if you are looking to move to the south if Italy you are strongly advised to seek work before you move.
Italy is of course steeped in culture and history wherever you go – Florence, Venice, Rome, Milan, Vatican City, museums, monuments, art……..and that is before we even mention the food. Italians love their food and are renowned for good food and wine. You won’t struggle to find pizza or pasta the length and breadth of the country. The country is awash with vineyard, places of interest, world class restaurants and things to see and do with beautiful mountains and lakes in the north and beaches in the south.
Things to consider before moving to Italy
The language barrier – As a popular tourism location, like Spain and other EU countries, many Italians are used to English speaking people however if you plan to work or have children that will go to school it is advisable to try and learn the language before you go.
Applying for a Visa –If you are moving to Italy from outside of the EU, from a destination like the US or Australia for example then you will need to apply for a visa. It is important to ensure that you know the requirements for a visa before you travel all of which can be found on the country’s official website.
Schools – If you are moving to Italy with your family and need to make your own arrangements for schooling (outside of any relocation packages) then you will be pleased to know that education is offered free to all children who are a resident of Italy, regardless of their nationality, and is compulsory for all children aged between 6 and 16. A list of English speaking/International schools can be found here. The list includes nursery, primary and secondary schools.
Register your arrival – Upon arrival you will need to register your arrival with the authorities. Failure to do so could lead to problems further down the line.
Administration – An Italian bank account is important if you are going to be a resident of Italy. To open an account you will need your passport and relevant documents and then you will want to register with Transferwise to ensure that you can easily transfer money between your existing bank account and your new Italian bank account.
Removals and storage – Most accommodation in Italy comes unfurnished and no doubt you will have your own home comforts that you would like to have around you unless your job offers you furnished accommodation as part of your relocation. If you are going to be putting your furniture into storage in your home country for a period of a few months to a few years then you will need to find a reliable storage company. Otherwise you need to book an international moving company to transfer your belongings to your new home.
Transport – The first thing that comes to mind for many when you think of Italian transport is probably a moped but take care on the roads – it can get a bit crazy in the city centres. Italy does have a very good transport network which includes buses, three different types of trains, ferries for visiting the islands around Italy, and a motorway network so it shouldn’t be a problem getting around. You may decide to take your own car, hire a car or indeed buy a car when you get there if you aren’t being supplied one with your job. Even so check out your options and what transport networks are available for your chosen destination.
Connectivity – Such a small thing but at the same time so important to keep you connected with the outside world. You need internet, phone coverage, WiFi and a telephone line not to mention cable or satellite television – especially when you are finding your feet. Despite being the 4th country in Europe to get internet Italy is still amongst the slowest in the EU. The main providers in Italy are Alice from Telecom Italia, Liberon, Tiscali and Fastweb with Alice ADSL being able to combine your internet and TV service. For mobile network service the leading provider is TIM followed by Vodafone. It is strongly recommended that you try and arrange these services before you arrive in Italy after all without WiFi and connectivity you will have a much harder time arranging it when you get there.
Finding out more about moving to Italy
If you are only considering a move to Italy at this stage there is a lot to consider and much research to be done. If it is further down the line and you are already aware of when and where you will be moving to then make sure you have covered everything from where the kids will go to school to whether you can get a takeaway at the end of a busy week. Whether you are travelling alone with work or moving your family as part of a lifestyle change then have fun doing your research and planning your new life.