Whether you’re looking to buy property, learn about healthcare or secure yourself a shiny Italian passport, our guide on moving to Italy will tell you all you need to know.
Italy is a European dreamland and has been an expat favourite for generations. The home of pizza, pasta and pesto houses tens of thousands of UK expats.
From mountain ranges to islands, bustling cities to peaceful countryside, Italy’s famous food and drink can be enjoyed all over the country.
So, if you’re looking for la dolce vita, look no further than Italy.
How to get Italian citizenship
If you have family ties in Italy or simply spend enough time there, you might be eligible for Italian citizenship.
To get Italian citizenship without a family relation means living in Italy for a good while. If you’re moving to Italy from a country outside of the EU/EEA, you’ll need to secure a visa.
First, sort out an Italian residence permit (Permesso di Soggiorno) and a long-stay visa. This will allow you to live, work and study in Italy for longer than three months. An Italian long-stay visa grants you access to enter Italy, and a residence permit authorises your stay for 90 days or more.
The Italian government website will tell you what visa you’ll need and how to apply.
Once you’ve lived in Italy for more than five years with your current permits, you can apply for an Italian Permanent Residence Permit. This gives you similar rights to Italian citizens, such as making you eligible for state benefits. You’ll also have permission to live and work in other EU countries without a visa or permit.
After living the Italian life with a permanent residence permit for ten years, you’re good to go for Italian citizenship.
Italian citizens experience one of the best healthcare systems in Europe. The Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN) is funded by the government through payroll taxes. Those who use Italy’s public health system can see a doctor for free and pay nothing for in-patient and primary care.
Along with its free care, the SSN also has a co-pay system. Prescription medications and diagnostic treatments do cost the public money, but they don’t pay the whole fee. Under the co-pay system, Italian’s are charged up to 30% of the fee; pregnant women, children and the elderly are exempt.
Private healthcare does exist in Italy but is not hugely popular. It works differently from other western countries and is split into two categories: corporate and non-corporate. The main benefits of private health insurance are shorter waiting times for care and an increased likelihood of doctors and nurses speaking English (this can be attractive for expats moving to Italy).
Best places to live in Italy
Italy is a nation with a myriad of landscapes and lifestyles. You’ll find almost completely different approaches to food, festivals and dialects in the north and south of the country.
From busy cities to hidden gems, our little list will give you some inspiration for your perfect location.
One of the fashion capitals of the world, Milan’s dynamic urban nature is great for busy city lovers. There’s entertainment all year round and restaurants serving food from every corner of the world.
Milan is also a working, business environment with fantastic transport links both within and outside the city. Despite its global connections and modern touch, Milan holds on tightly to its historical roots. It’s rich in ancient history, with Roman walls still circulating the city.
You may never have heard of Padua, and there’s a big reason why. Situated in northwest Italy, Padua is often overshadowed by its neighbour – Venice. Venice is unquestionably one of the most beautiful places in the country but is expensive, crowded with tourists and at risk of flooding.
Head just 40km inland and you’ll find Padua; it’s a quaint, attractive and welcoming city. Rent is cheaper than many other areas in Italy and you’ll pay less for a beer too.
The city is small and well connected; almost everything you’ll need is within walking distance, but bicycles and public transport are popular as well.
The stunning region of Tuscany harnesses the very essence of Italy. Located in the mountainous area of the region sits Chianti. It offers a more peaceful and laid-back Tuscany experience than the likes of Florence and Pisa and, yes, it is where they make the wine.
It will come as no surprise to hear that vineyards are at the heart of the area, so look no further if you’re moving to Italy for its wine. As well as growing grapes for purpose, the vineyards help to create a beautiful, vibrant landscape. Olive groves are popular too, along with forests, historical buildings and hilltop towns.
Chianti is a favourable area among expats, so it isn’t exactly cheap. However, the food and wine festivals and tranquil way of living mean many foreigners are happy to pay the extra bit.
It’s surprising we got this far down the list without mentioning Italy’s weather – but now’s the time. Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean and you won’t find more sun and less rain anywhere else in the country.
It’s a particularly popular destination for expat retirees. The warm weather is a factor, as is Sardinia’s good healthcare, dazzling beaches, affordable cost of living and tasty food.
It’s also not as expensive as you might think – especially in the south. South Sardinia is slightly quieter and cheaper than the north and is home to more sandy beaches.
For an extended list, read our guide on the best places to live in Italy in 2021.
Buying property in Italy
Italy is a fantastic place to live and buy property. Its iconic areas like Milan, Venice and Florence might be on the expensive side, but much of Italy is very affordable.
It also has plenty locations to choose from. Property is available in mountain ranges, lush green hills, busy towns and golden coastline. The cost of living is good value too, almost 30% cheaper than the UK overall.
Italy has some restrictions on who can buy property, but there are many exemptions. Citizens from the UK, for example, can buy property in Italy without living there.
The buying process in Italy takes around six months. You’ll need a team to accompany you on your buying journey; this usually includes an estate agent, solicitor and currency specialist. You could also seek some support from a mortgage advisor and financial advisor.
Once you’ve found a property, make an offer and get a sale contract. The contract will need to be reviewed and approved by an Italian notary, called a notaio. Get your contract signed and pay all the necessary taxes and you’re ready to seal the deal.
Read our article for more on buying property in Italy
Sending money to Italy
The prospect of moving to Italy is an exciting one. There are, however, plenty of stresses that could ruin the party – and money could be one of them.
Whether you’re buying property, applying for citizenship or just need to transfer your pounds into euros, we can help.
Our personal service guides you through the process of your transfer and our market-leading exchange rates ensure you get the most for your money.
We also offer a range of strategies and solutions, moving your money safely at a time that suits you best.
Interested? Book a meeting with a Privalgo Currency Specialist and find out more about what we can do for you.Book a chat with a Currency Specialist