Here's how: Everything you need to know before moving to Italy!
Thea Duncan is a Milan-based American woman who fell in love with Italy two decades ago and decided to make it home. Her company, Doing Italy, was founded to help you create the life of your dreams in Italy, on your terms, and avoid the pitfalls that plague so many expats when they move abroad.
Thea's Move to Italy services include: one-hour consultations, a group masterclass, private coaching and freelancing in Italy.
You can find Doing Italy on Instagram and Facebook.
You can certainly handle a move to Italy by yourself, but Thea has made this her profession and has thought through all the details so why reinvent the wheel when she already has the answers on the most important issues? The best approach would be to reach out to her for a one hour consultation.
Begin with lots of reading and research. Housing Anywhere has created an excellent Moving to Italy: Your ultimate relocation checklist so read through this checklist in detail. Internations also has a Move to Italy guide.
Everyone loves the idea of beautiful Italy, the delicious food and abundance of culture and art, but living in Italy is an entirely different thing. I've been here for nearly 40 years, and I don't think I could live anywhere else but many aspects of life in Italy are a challenge, so think it through in depth.
Work out a plan and decide if life in Italy suits your needs.
Wanted In Rome is a fabulous online magazine that's been around for decades. I love it, and I swear by it and read every single issue from beginning to end. There's a wealth of cultural information in the magazine, and lots of classifieds as well. Definitely check it out!
Use a company or lawyer to walk you through the move process
Thea can help you out with this and she has a team of dedicated professional assistants including lawyers, housing and immigration specialists.
You can also check out Mum Abroad, Wander Onwards, or Arletti Partners,
Decide where you want to live
There are so many wonderful places to live in Italy, but you have to think it through and choose a place that's suited to you. You may be a country person at heart, but if you choose a place in the countryside knowing Italian becomes even more important because it's less likely you'll have English speakers where you live.
Also, think about transportation if you decide to live out of a city center. For the most part Italy is very well-connected with buses and trains so it shouldn't be a problem but it's still something you need to look into.
Research what rental and home-buying costs are in various places in Italy. The historic center of some of Italy's cities can be quite costly, but if you look more towards peripheral areas of cities you'll find better prices.
If you're looking for great Italian weather, and lots of sunshine, you might want to focus more on Central and southern Italy. Northern cities like Torino and Milan can be chilly and foggy throughout the winter.
Take advantage of one of the unique housing opportunities offered in Italy
Not infrequently some locations in Italy that would like to build up their population, or have assistance with building restoration reach out with great offers to lure new residents to their area. You might find a completely free home, but with the restriction that you completely restore the building you live in. Keep your eye out for these opportunities as they pop up sporadically.
Here are a few I've found:
This sunny southern Italian town will pay you €30,000 to move there. What’s the catch?
Presicce in Puglia.
The tiny delightful Molise region.
The Abruzzo region, Molise's neighbor.
Move to the Italian island of Sardinia.
The financial side of a move to Italy
Look carefully at your finances, and prepare a worst-case scenario budget for your move to Italy. Maybe you won't find reasonably priced housing right away, or a job won't pop up quickly. You may run into some unforeseen costs. The bottom line is to make a generous budget for yourself so that you feel financially comfortable moving to Italy and supporting yourself for your first six months to a year.
Getting a job in Italy
Work from home or become a digital nomad
Read this about how to move to Italy and get a job.
The digital nomad visa has been approved in Italy but it's not yet become official. Read this and keep your eyes out for important changes and updates in this visa format.
Research what's involved in getting a visa and a residence permit.
Do you plan to work in Italy? If so, do you have a job already lined up? Maybe you're thinking of continuing to work from home or getting a digital nomad visa. If you plan to look for work in Italy, make sure you have a plan. There are a number of organizations in cities throughout Italy you might reach out to.
If you're a woman start with one of the FAWCO clubs (Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas) – there are roughly 8 throughout Italy from north to south. I'm the President of AWAR (the American Women's Association of Rome) and our club can help you with just about any "move to Italy" question. We have a social side, but also helpful groups like Italian conversation, business networking, and a dedicated email – Resources – where you can ask just about any question and get a quick answer from the membership. Want to know more? Contact me directly.
Getting an Italian residence permit OR Italian citizenship
Health care in Italy
Health insurance is another issue you'll need to address. Italy has a wonderful national health system and once you have a residence permit, you can take advantage of Italian health care. Alternatively, if you have your own private health insurance program, you can stick with that.
Read more here.
I can't emphasize enough the importance of speaking the language. You don't have to be fluent but at the very least make sure you have a working knowledge of Italian so that you can communicate enough to take care of basic bureaucratic issues like your residence permit, a rental contract, and getting set up with utilities. These days learning Italian is a reasonably simple matter thanks to all the online courses that are available.
You might find a good Italian language class right in the area where you live. Perhaps there's an Italian consulate or cultural organization near you and they often have events where Italian is spoken that you can participate in.
Alternatively, try an online course. One free course people love is Duolingo.
The one I recommend highly is this Italian language course with Davide. You can purchase a beginner, intermediate, or advanced package and learn entirely at your own pace. Once you've purchased the course it's yours forever so you can go back and do some refreshing, even on specific topics. The great thing about his course is that you learn practical stuff – the things you really need to communicate with Italians in real life situations. Contact me for details!