By in Country Guides January 10, 2018

Have you dreamed about moving abroad and living the sweet and fancy Italian lifestyle? Or reveling in the well-known cuisine and fashion? However, what you witnessed in movies and experienced in Italian restaurants can differ from the reality you will face if you decide to pack your household and venture into international moving.

Moving to Italy cannot be a decision made solely based on your favorite movie or your favorite dish, because there is a lot more to it. If you have firmly decided that you want to move to Europe and you chose this land as your new home, there are certain things you need to take into account.

The land of fashion, pizza, pasta, and history is yearning for you as well – take care of everything before you decide that you’re moving overseas. Whether you’re moving abroad alone or with your family, get familiar with the most important tips and moving to Italy from the USA will be enjoyable.

Essential Tips for Moving to Italy

As an American moving to Italy from the USA, there are quite a few things you should know about this place. Since you’re considering relocating there, you surely know some facts already (probably about pasta), but it doesn’t hurt to know a bit more.

What you need to know when moving to Italy from the US

First things first – you must know if you can afford to be a resident in the place you’re relocating to. According to Numbeo, the website that compares the cost of living in places all around the world, the cost of living index in the USA is higher than in Italy. The rent is also more expensive in the US, but for example, the restaurant prices are on par. Keep that in mind when planning your budget.

Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN) services the whole country, but it isn’t the same everywhere. The North outperforms the South part, so you might as well consider getting private health insurance.

This is also important when choosing where you will reside when moving to Italy. This huge imbalance is visible everywhere – the North region is wealthier, more developed, cosmopolitan, and industrialized, while the South is more agricultural, slow-paced, and traditional.

This fact impacts almost everything here – from tradition and public feasts to interpersonal relations. It isn’t as big as it was back in the 1970s, but it’s still very visible. Italy is home to the Pope, Vatican City, and the remnants of the Roman empire. However, today only around 15-20% of Catholics go to mass each Sunday, which is a lot less than before.

Italians have a very strong bond between mothers and sons. Unlike in the States, Italian men stay with their parents until their late twenties or early thirties. This phenomenon is also known as “mammisimo.”

Man looking at a laptop
Prepare yourself by learning as much as you can before moving to Italy

Becoming an Italian Citizen

If you have a European passport and you want to move to Italy, you’d do it in a minute. But when moving to Italy from the USA, things work a bit differently. To become a citizen, you have to deal with a lot more than international moving. As you plan an international relocation to this beautiful land, you have to check the legal requirements for staying there. Get familiar with all the options before you physically move there.

How Can I Migrate to Italy?

Except for a valid passport, as an American, you should get an entrance visa at an Italian consulate. Staying less than three months is still considered a visit, but if you wish to stay more, you must gain resident status. Don’t do this at the last moment – getting this visa could take up to several weeks, so be sure to apply well before the day of the move.

If you were wondering Can a US citizen live in Italy, the answer is yes, and the process is very simple – once you come, obtain a permesso di soggiorno (permit of stay) at a national post office. When you fill it out, return it to one of the designated Post Office acceptance locations.

Within 20 days of receiving the permit to stay in Italy, you must go to the local Vital Statistics Bureau, Anagrafe of the Commune, and apply for residency. It usually takes one to two months to receive the certificate of residence (Certificato di Residenza).

More Info About Visas – What Are the Requirements

If you are asking yourself How long do you have to live in Italy to become a citizen and thinking about getting a residency visa, you would need to prove that you have enough means to support yourself and your family. The assets you have should not come from income in Italy.

In case you are thinking about getting a work visa, you need to put in a lot of effort and get familiar with different worker visas. If you have landed a job in Italy, it is most likely that your company will provide you with one. Talk to your supervisor and go over the most important relocation questions to ask the employer, such as the necessary visa paperwork.

Your Pet Is Coming Along? What Should You Do If You’re Moving to Italy With a Dog

Just like yourself, your furry friend needs the required documentation to change the place of residence. If you’re moving with dogs, make sure you have a valid Veterinary Certificate that’s stating the owner’s details, a description of the animal, details of identification and vaccinations, a valid rabies vaccine, and a tattoo or a microchip. The carrier in which the dog will travel must be labeled with the owner’s name and their address and contact numbers in Italy. Once you arrive, a vet here can issue an EU Pet Passport allowing traveling within Europe.  If you have a puppy, keep in mind that the animal must be over three months old to enter the territory of Italy.

 A passport on a visa application
Get the necessary documentation on time

How High Is the Cost of Living in Italy?

The economy is not in its best shape. Still, the costs of living don’t differ too much from the rest of Europe. So the answer to Is living in Italy expensive depends on what you compare it to. Bigger cities in the north are more expensive for sure, but if you choose Verona or other smaller towns, you won’t have to make ends meet every month.

According to Numbeo’s diagram of costs, most money from an average monthly salary of $1,700 goes for groceries at the markets – almost 32%. Only 23% is for rent, while restaurants and transportation costs take up the rest.

Before Moving to Italy, You Should Also Know This: How Housing Affects the Italian Cost of Living

Most people live in the same home even after 30 years, and the reason for that is expensive housing. Even though the buildings here have vintage looks, the apartments still go for a premium cost. Even if you can afford to buy your own place, the bureaucratic system can drive you crazy.

Don’t look for the place after you move, start digging right away and get in touch with a real estate agent. If you cannot decide before you go there, rent a nice place, spend some months researching the market, and then decide. Keep in mind that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is $720, while you can choose a three-bedroom place outside of the center for just $200 more.

Person holding a piggy bank and a house
Renting or buying? Think how will your decision affect your budget

Is It Easy to Find a Job When Moving to Italy?

Apart from knowing the prices, you will also require a way to earn money to pay for them. Finding work as a qualified and experienced worker is never a problem, but you can also get employed if you don’t have strong recommendations. Since this is a tourist destination, finding a job in hotels, restaurants, and shops is always doable.

If you wish to be living in Europe as an American, especially here in Italy, you must be familiar with the language. That will surely improve your chances. Sticking with English only won’t be a good way to approach the job search and win out the competition.

The market can be competitive sometimes – you are in the race with other expats who came before you, but don’t worry. Just make yourself presentable, and everything will work out fine. Update your CV and be the best version of yourself. With proficient English skills and an advanced level of Italian, you have no reason to stress out.

A waiter holding drinks
Seasonal jobs are an amazing opportunity to earn a nice sum

Healthcare in Italy Is Free and It Ranks as One of the Best

This country ranks among the World Health Organization’s top ten countries when it comes to the quality of health services. There are 3.8 doctors per 1,000 people, which is a very high rate. Healthcare in Italy is considered a right and not a privilege, and the national health plan is designed to provide free healthcare for all Italian citizens and residents. This would also apply to residents who are originally from the US and Canada. Italy’s healthcare system is free of charge at the point of delivery. The system is financed through federal and regional general taxation, such as income tax.

With all these good things, it can be confusing why so many people use private health insurance. The truth is that the standard of the service varies depending on the location, so you won’t get the same quality everywhere. Another problem is that the population is aging, so there’s more pressure on the healthcare system every year.

Health insurance with a stethoscope
Choose between private and national health insurances

Cities Here Provide Outstanding Education Opportunities

Schooling is in the heart of this country as the oldest university in the world is located in the city of Bologna. The public school system is free and your kids can receive a really good education. Students get excellent schooling in the sciences, arts, and history fields. Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa is another amazing option for business, economic, legal, political, agricultural, or medical sciences, industrial engineering, and information engineering. The fifth oldest university in the world, the University of Padua offers great opportunities for those who want to study law.

Learn About the Popular Italian Lifestyle

We all saw it in the movies and TV shows – people here know how to enjoy life. If that is one of your reasons for moving overseas, we prepared a mini-guide that will help you with adjusting to a new country and give you some ideas about what you can do when living overseas in Italy.

  • Italians are extremely social. Only torrential rain can keep them indoors. You can find coffee places full of people even late at night. There are always clubs open during the entire night.
  • You can visit different cities and feel like you have gone to another state. The south and north differ a lot and sometimes really seem like two different countries. If you love driving, rent a car and start your tour around the beautiful Toscana, or head to Cinque Terre, a group of ancient seaside villages on the Ligurian coastline.
  • What says Italy better than gelato? If you are a big fan of the ice-cream, pasta, pizza, and sauces, this is the perfect place for you. The cuisine is well-known, and many Italians claim that no other nation has the same pizza as they do.
  • France, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany are so close that you can take the opportunity to visit the nearby countries in your free time – it will be just a few hours’ drive to some of them. Take a tour and treat yourself with a true European experience.
  • If you enjoy speaking your mother tongue and have no knowledge of any other, you will have to change your attitude since very few Italians are fluent in English. If you live in a metropolis, the situation will be better for sure. Still, even the ones who do speak English are hard to understand sometimes. Before you start the relocation process, enroll in a few beginner language courses, and follow some tips for learning a new language such as buying newspapers or reading them online, and interacting with other people.
  • There’s something for both boys and girls – Italy is also a well-known hub for fashion and soccer. Italians love their sports teams, and they have one of the best soccer players in the world. Following the latest fashion trends (and setting them) as well as winning World Cups in soccer is what Italy excels at.
  • If you love art, architecture, history, and culture in general, you will love Italy as well. This is the birthplace of many who shaped the history of the whole world. Visiting museums, art galleries, or cathedrals will be just another amazing option you will have when residing here. Sightseeing and traveling will become one of your favorite activities in this Mediterranean country.

How Does a Place Like Florence Compare to an American City?

Italy is home to some of the most beautiful and culturally rich places in Europe, even in the whole world. Nonetheless, you have to decide where you want to go. Moving to Italy and enjoying the sweet life may commence in Rome, Milan, Florence, or some other city – you have to choose.

If you think that US cities are diverse, wait till you see their counterparts here. If you want to follow in the steps of other expats, you may as well choose Genoa, Naples, Turin, Venice, or Palermo.

The capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence, home to unforgettable sights such as the Duomo, is the birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci. It’s also where the piano was made, where the opera was invented, and where the famous fashion brand Gucci was founded.

Venice, for example, will take your breath away with its canal system, which makes river passages function just as the streets do. You just need a gondola to cross from one part of the city to the other.

Take some time to create a strategy before moving internationally, read all about the lifestyle of each city, and choose the best place for your upcoming stay.

If You’re Considering a New Life in the Countryside, Weigh the Pros and Cons

Have you been thinking about hiring an international moving company and starting your life over in a remote part of the land? If you are not a fan of crowded tourist places, the countryside can be a perfect choice. Nonetheless, residing in the village has some major drawbacks. Beautiful as they are, you should know that these places usually have a poor internet connection, and you might feel like being cut off from the entire world. If you are really into the provincial lifestyle, you should get familiar with it before you go there. There are almost no work opportunities in rural areas, so the question isn’t how to get a job in Europe as an American, but how to find a job at all. In exchange for a peaceful life, you will have to change your daily habits completely.

Rome
There are plenty of amazing spots in Italy

Moving to Italy From the USA – How Will You Move Your Household?

If you are seriously thinking about hiring an overseas moving company, you have to take into account that the shipping prices will go up. You will probably have to reach out to a professional relocation company to provide you with international moving services and help you settle into a new home. So before you even think about what your life will look like if you move across the world, try to find the best way to get there. The sooner you start with the preparations and the planning process, the easier it will be. Learn what to pack when moving abroad and how to live in another country. Your future sweet life is just an overseas relocation away.