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Things to Consider Before Moving to Italy

Updated: Jan 11

Italy is a popular destination for expats, offering equal access to both a cosmopolitan and rural way of life depending on preference. However, anyone who is thinking of moving to Italy should be aware that there are things to consider and that the country is a little different from the UK with regard to some of the customs and rules you may experience. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what you need to know.

Moving to Italy

As an expat, you’ll need to do more than sort out a work visa. The length of your stay will influence what you need to do. If you’re planning to move to Italy and stay there, then your best bet will be to apply for a certificate called “attestato di iscrizione anagrafica”. This covers all visits between three months and five years, and this can be done at the nearest town hall.

Your work visa can vary depending on how you’re coming to Italy and what your intentions are. You can have a salaried employment visa which is approved by your employer, a self-employment visa, a working holiday visa, long and short-term seasonal work visa, and a scientific research visa. It’s important to choose the right one for you.

Jobs in Italy

If you’re an expat who is moving to Italy, it would be sensible to secure a job before you move. Italy has historically had one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe. The rate dropped to around 6% in 2010. However, youth unemployment continues to be an ongoing issue. The rate for young people in Italy is around 20%.

Many expats who move to Italy notice that Italian work culture is unique. Within the private sector, it is normal for long days, ranging from 9:00 AM to around 7:00 PM. However, this is counterbalanced by longer and more relaxed lunch periods, meaning that you may find yourself taking more than the regimented hour laid down by UK employers.

Within the public sector, the average workweek is roughly 36 hours. However, this is a longer working week than most might be used to, as it runs from Monday to Saturday. Average times are 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

There are a number of high-paying jobs in Italy available for expats who have training and skills within certain disciplines. The typical salary for an Italian citizen falls between 1600 - 1800 Euros each month. This is a gross figure and the net value is actually closer to 1500 Euros. However, this is for a typically unskilled role. If you have a specialised skill set, you may find that you can earn more.

Some of the best paying jobs most accessible to expats include a college professor, who can make between 4000 and 10,000 Euros per month, and a marketing director, who can pull in up to 7000 Euros each month. You’ll want to head to Rome or Tuscany for work, as these are the most prosperous areas with the lowest unemployment levels.

Italian Costs of Living

There are both good points and bad points when it comes to living in Italy. On the one hand, Italy can be an inexpensive place to live if you’re willing to be frugal. The annual expenses for a single person - not counting rent - can be as low as 10,000 Euros or less. There is affordable accommodation in each major city, including places like Rome, so you can live wherever you choose. Thanks to inexpensive public transport, you also don’t need a car.

You can enjoy a good standard of living in Italy without having to spend a lot of money. Some of the finest Italian cuisine in the world is freely available at low prices, so it isn’t difficult to enjoy good food without breaking the bank. There is also plenty of affordable access to vacations to coastal and mountainous areas depending on your preference. Plus, as is the case with many parts of Europe, amazing art is made public for your enjoyment.

The only real downside to all of this is that the taxes in Italy can be quite high. The taxation rates are such that Italy has earned a reputation as being one of the more expensive countries for an expat to live in - after paying for taxes and rent you may not have an abundance of money left.

Italian Healthcare

If you’re going to move to Italy then you will probably benefit from having access to its version of the NHS, which is called the Servizo Sanitario Nazionale.

This is one of the better healthcare systems in the world, as it is ranked 17th on the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index - for reference, the UK is six places below Italy in terms of healthcare, and the list comprises 166 countries.

With that being said, the level of care that you will get in Italy can be different depending on where you are in the area. The northern parts of Italy are typically better than the southern areas.

Further compounding the issue for a lot of people is the fact that Italy has an aging population - much like the rest of Europe - which has been known to put more pressure on the health services available to the public.

While signing up for the SSN is a mandatory process for all citizens of Italy - EU citizens or not - you may find that private health insurance is also recommended, with many expats choosing to make an investment.

Italian Coffee Culture

This may sound like something of a joke or even a flippant talking point, but we’re being very sincere - coffee is an important part of Italian culture, perhaps more so than other parts of Europe, and an expat wishing to fit in will need to understand the rules.

Italians, generally speaking, are extremely fond of coffee. With a heritage which traces back to Venetian ports in the 16th century - a gift of coffee beans from the Middle East - Italy has built coffee into both its cultural and social life.

Typical consumption can be up to seven shots of espresso in a single day, and there are numerous rules surrounding coffee which are considered “unspoken” - get them wrong at your own peril. Let’s take a look:

● The word for having a coffee is “un caffè”, and this is simply a small espresso shot. Italian culture - generally speaking - doesn’t include large cups of watered-down coffee as you’d see in most parts of the UK.

● If you do want a larger coffee, ask for a “un caffè lungo”. You’ll get an espresso shot with a bit of hot water.

● A typical cafe is a bar, not a series of tables. You won’t find a lot of people engaging in a sit-down coffee.

● The cappuccino is a drink served with breakfast - it’s not considered good form to have one after 11:00 AM.

Italian Accommodation

Rental accomodation within Italy is generally considered to be quite affordable. However, it can get expensive depending on the job you have and the salary you bring in. In most cases, you’ll find that estate agents are here to help new residents find temporary accommodation.

A typical Italian lease is much longer than an average lease. Even a temporary lease can be up to 18 months long. The standard lease is at least three years, and breaking it can be an expensive process.

A normal way for expats to do things is to rent out a spare bedroom from someone for a few months to assess what type of accomodation they have and the accomodation they want moving forward. It’s a good way to trial the process.

A sensible option which most expats opt for is buying their own property when they come to Italy. Nearly 70% of all Italians own their property - most communities are geared around buyers and not renters.

You should be wary of the long-standing tales about people who purchase property in Italy for a couple of Euros and live happily ever after - this type of property does exist but it comes with a long list of conditions.

You’ll have to pay property taxes and make a commitment to stay in the area for a fixed period. These types of properties also often have considerable repairs that need doing and the home is often expensive to make habitable. It is a possible way to afford a property but it’s worth keeping in mind this isn’t a cheap workaround for owning your home.

Italian Education

Italy offers a free public education system which is noted for being of an excellent standard. All children are required to attend primary school from the age of six.

The Italian high school experience is markedly different from a British or even American school. Students are expected to choose a specialised series of subjects split up into groups - like theoretical or practical knowledge.

Banking and Finances

Thankfully, it isn’t too difficult to set up a bank account in Italy. You have three different types of institutions that you can pick from - your credit banks, cooperative credit banks, and cooperative banks.

If you want to open an account, you have to go to the bank yourself. You’ll need to be able to give them a passport, proof of your address, your residence card or your employment contracts. You may also need your tax identification number.

There’s multiple banking accounts to pick from. There are many common options to pick from, including the following:

● The Conto Corrente is an account which is used mostly for daily transactions.

● The Conto Corrente Cointestato is the same as a daily account but is for an account you intend to share with someone else.

● The Conto di Risparmio is a normal savings account.

● The Conto di Deposito is a savings account which has a higher rate of interest than others.

It is worth pointing out that not all residents have a specific tax identification number, known to many as a “codice fiscal”. However, long-term expats suggest that newcomers get one of these numbers immediately.

It is essential to do most things in Italy - ranging from things like getting a rental property to a phone number. As you’ll need to give out this number multiple times, it’s important to get one sooner rather than later.

Moving to Italy

As removal experts with experience in moving people to the EU, Pinnacle Removals would be happy to help facilitate your new life in Italy.

There is no denying that Italy is a wonderful place to live, and it can offer many advantages for people. However, there are definitely considerations to keep in mind, and the way that you approach moving to Italy will influence how easy or difficult the process is.

The primary challenge for moving to Italy would seem to be about securing a high-paying job. Taxation can leave you with limited money to live on if you aren’t in a senior position, so you need to cultivate a skill set before you move. It is worth noting that this should not serve as a deterrent. Instead, it is simply a consideration to keep in mind. Many people are self-employed, and this means that they can create large amounts of income without having to worry about finding a job.

Please contact us if you have any questions about moving. We’re happy to provide assistance and move you in a fast, efficient way. We can also generate a no-obligation quote for you to help you make an informed decision.

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