Our comprehensive guides provide essential information and advice to help you throughout your life as an expat.

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Becoming an Expat in Italy

YOU ARE MOVING TO ITALY. Excited right? You are discovering a new country, meeting a ton of interesting people, visiting many beautiful cities and learning many more things about local culture. We cannot blame you, but there are a few things you need to prepared about, such as cultural shock, having to deal with different ways to manage finances and probably things such as the language or the weather or… the way and frequency you will drink coffee. 

As long as you are open-minded and adaptable you will be able to enjoy every single instant of your time in Italy, even in the more difficult period, which you will have, no matter how hard you will try. You will find yourself laughing or crying with no apparent reason and only when you will be recalling those moments in the future, you will be able to make sense out of it.

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Figure 1 View from Canal Grande in Venice

Table of Contents

Living in Italy

Italy for expatriates

10 things you need to know before becoming an expat in Italy

Before you Leave

What do you need to know to become an expat?


Best places to live for Explorers

Exploring the country

Friends, meetups and sports

Shopping on a budget

Sharing the house

Casual jobs

Deals and discounts for the young


Healthcare, Pension and Taxes

Documentation required for retiring in Italy

Cost of living as a Retiree in Italy

Best Places for Retirees

Social events and Volunteering for Retirees

Puppies can be your best friend

Expat Families

Living in Italy with your family

Schools and education

Integration groups

Cost of Living for Families

Career Expat

Organising Removals

Company Benefits for Career Expats

Business Cities in Italy

Where and why to Invest in Italy


Links and (R)eferences

Family life and culture in Italy


Parental Leave

Family Allowances

Childcare system in Italy

The Child Health Care System in Italy

Early Childhood Education

Nannies and au pair

Baby Parking

Asilo Nido (Day Care)


Asilo Nido in Famiglia (Day Care in a Family)

Asilo Nido Aziendale (Company’s Day Care)

Bonus Asilo Nido

Pre-Primary Education: Scuola dell’Infanzia (Kindergarten)

Accessibility and Admission Requirements

Age levels

Organisation of time

Teaching methods and Assessment

Reggio Emilia approach

Maria Montessori Method

Catholic teaching

Recreational Activities

Links and References

Living in Italy

La Dolce Vita is a lifestyle renowned throughout the world and the reasons why you may choose Italy as your destination as an expat may range from culture, food, language or job opportunities and who knows what else. You will have much to choose from and everything will be at close hand, from mountains to beautiful beaches, from history to modern design, from busy cities to relaxing villages.

Italy can really become your relocation dream place. Imagine yourself sipping a glass of Chianti on the Tuscan hills or having the best pizza ever while looking at Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples. These are not just touristy things; on the contrary, you will fall in love with them and be pleased to find out that they can be part of your daily routine: you will live in your own little Roman Holiday movie.

Italy offers a life full of charming history, art and culture and it is surrounded by an aura of romanticism coming from some of the dreamiest cities in the world like Verona or Venice. No matter which town you move to, every village is going to be unique and special and will tell you a different chapter of the Italian tradition. You will never be bored because at every inch you will find a new church, an ancient palace, a Medieval castle or a museum to visit.

Whatever your age, you may become an expat in Italy for studying purposes, for work, fun or retirement. Italy is one of the preferred destination for people moving abroad, which means, you will not be ‘one of the few’ (especially if you choose regions such as Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy and Lazio). The Southern regions are most appealing for retired people instead: “rush” is a word that is not in the dictionary there and the motto is more like keep calm and relax (or eat our amazingly delicious food).

People in Italy are famous for the importance they give to their family and their relatives, with whom they also share another major cultural trait: food. Each Region will guide you through its own cooking specialty with mouth-watering recipes and dishes. Do not forget the importance of wine and coffee. Espresso has to be drink as a shot and do not dare to drink Cappuccino at anytime but in the morning!

Italian Culture Smartexpat

Figure 2 Videos on Italian excellencies (youtube)

Italy for expatriates

Italy is part of the European Union and it counts a population of 60 million of people. Just 6% of the population are expatriates from other European Countries. Most expatriates in Italy are students or workers and they usually enjoy relatively high standard of life. Expatriates usually live in the main cities such as Rome and Milan (because they are more cosmopolitan) but also regions such as Emilia Romagna and Marche present big expatriates’ communities. There are also many retirees that choose to live close to the beaches or in most rural areas seeking calm and relaxation.

Italy is divided into 20 Regions. Regions do not define just a geographical partition, but they also determine many traditions and customs. This type of settlement is a consequence of the long history of the country, which is also reflected in art and architecture.

Living in Italy is an enjoyable experience and it is all about personal connections and relationships. It is not difficult to make friends in Italy as you will notice it is a welcoming nation, but Italian people need to see you as somebody genuinely interested in being integrated with them.

You will find getting around Italy quite easy, thanks to its boot-like shape, Italy has a great railway service: it is reasonably priced, fares are quite frequent and high-speed trains connect the main cities. Italian cities are also well connected via toll highways.

10 things you need to know before becoming an expat in Italy

Italian: literally. You need to know at least the basis of the Italian language if you want to move to Italy and make some friends. English is starting to kick-in between younger generations, but many people still struggle to understand it, so do not rely on it because (surprise surprise) it won’t work.

If you want to move to Italy and you are not from a European country, you will need a visa and a residence permit. The best way to obtain it, is through finding a job.

Burglars are a thing: this is not one of the best piece of news you are going to hear but, unfortunately, burglaries in Italy are rather frequent (there were 234.726 cases of residential burglaries in Italy in 2015), and this is not true only for those who own big manors. Do not keep anything too valuable in obvious places and avoid keeping large sums of cash in your house.

Public education and health care is free for everybody: you heard it right. You will not have to pay for your child’s education until University and you do not need to be a citizen to have this right. Also, the Government will take care of you in case of any unexpected illness.

Not always hot and sunny: you will probably have this Instagram image in your mind of a sunny landscape on Italian hills but you have to bear in mind that, depending on your geographic location, climate is going to change quite radically especially as far as temperature are concerned. The north will generally be more humid and cold, whereas the south is warmer, and especially in summer, your days will be much longer.

The apericena: if you refuse an apericena invite, you might as well go back to your country. It is a trend that has mostly developed in the last decade. You go to a bar where there is a big buffet, you pay for your drink and then you can eat all you want. It is not a complete dinner but neither a happy hour with only a few snacks. It is both… simply amazing!

Be patient: there are mainly two cases where you will need to find your inner-peace: when you are dealing with the bureaucratic system and when you are waiting (for something or someone). People are usually late and not just when you must meet with a friend but also (and foremost) when you take appointment at any public office. Not to mention the train situation where it is very rare for them to arrive (or depart) on time.

Italian bureaucracy is another sore point. Prepare to have to sign many papers, to have to handle them in person and to have to get in touch with tens of different offices to obtain the information you need. Once again: as long as you adopt a ‘go-with-the-flow’ mantra you will do just fine.

Football life: a great way to get into the Italian spirit is to choose an Italian football team and start to cheer for it. You will be invited to matches and will be included in many conversations, especially on Mondays (Sunday is when most of the matches are played) when people really wish they were not in the office.

In Italy there is a form of courtesy to be used when you talk to someone you do not know or that is older than you. You will find yourself using different words (even salutations) and in certain places (such as schools) people are more formal with one another. It is all a matter of respecting hierarchies and the south is stricter than the north.

Save your money: you will soon notice that Italian people do not really like to spend huge amount of money for mundane things. Everything that is a debt is not as common as in other countries (letting, renting, leasing is often done only if there is no other option). An average night out with dinner and nightclub could cost you less than 30 euros: happy days!

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Figure 3 Espresso by the beach in Italy

Before you Leave

Your welcome! You will be very grateful for the following printable checklist to put on your fridge on the months prior to your expatriation. There are many things to think about, but we sorted them out for you.

First thing you must remember, is to fix your visa requirements. Do a bit of research (move through our menu here) and find out how much in advance you need to apply for visas and what the documents you need to bring with you are. Find out if any certificate of yours needs to be translated and what agencies are allowed to certify it.

Settle your accommodation obligations. You might need to end your rent contract or to put your property on sale. If you want to remove your furniture to your new country, find out the length of the process and how the duties work. If you do not know where you will be living yet, look on the local website on how to book your home visits and remember to reserve a hotel room for your first days.

Do a bit of math. Transfer your money, inform your bank that you are moving and find out how to stop your direct debits or how to deal with taxes. Create a small budgeting list and save some money in case something does not go as expected in the first months.

Arrange your medical insurance and Social Security by communicating to any GP or dentist that you are moving. Suspend or change your health insurance and check if any vaccination is compulsory for the country you are moving to.

Close or settle anything that has to do with you phone bill, internet provider and other bills such as gas, electricity or even council tax.

You remember to do all that and you are good to go.

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Figure 4 Before you leave to do checklist

What do you need to know to become an expat?

Who are you? What are you looking for? These are not existential questions but the two main things you should know if you want to move somewhere (or at least knowing them will ease the overall process). Once you know what you want from your expat experience, it will be much easier to organize your departure and stay in the new country.

If you are 18, you will probably be more interested in looking for some part-time or casual job which allows you to travel more or events near you. If you are moving with your family you will be more worried on how to integrate your child in the new culture or what are the safer neighbourhoods to live in.

Your budget and your ambitions will be different if you are moving for economic reasons or because you want to find the right retirement place and so you might opt for certain cities based on the opportunities you may encounter and the cost of living.

Identify yourself with one of the following personas and have a look of some interesting facts you might have to take into consideration once you become and expatriate.


If you are a student, you are planning a gap year abroad and you desire to visit as many places as you can, you will find a large community of like-minded people living and traveling all over Italy. Here, we will try to answer some of your greatest doubts give you a bit of clarity.

As an Explorer you are:

Likely (but not necessarily) young, without ties in terms of family or job;

You are changing your life, wanting to explore more places;

You are adventurous;

You like to meet new people;

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Figure 5 Young explorers at a festival

Best places to live for Explorers

If you are a explorer and want to be part of a community where to find people with your same passions and hobbies we suggest you choose a city with a big university culture; lucky for you, Italy has got some of the oldest universities in the world - the University of Bologna was founded in 1088 (not a young lad eh?)


Figure 6 Table on the best cities for explorers

Exploring the country

Exploring Italy is quite easy, even on a budget. The best way to move is probably by train. In addition, in the last few years a very good high-speed line has been developed and you can go from Milan to Naples in about 4 hours. If you book in advance you will be able to find good deals at more than half of the price.

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Figure 7 Exploring Italy

If you want to feel the spirit of ‘la Dolce Vita’ do not make the mistake of travelling only to the bigger cities but stop in the small villages too: local people will be happy to share their stories with you by giving you tips and anecdotes on their area. Enjoy gastronomic trips as well. You do not need to be a millionaire to savour the specialities of the different regions. Moreover, Italian people are very proud of their cuisine and they will be happy to guide you through the history of it (and maybe even make you taste some of the homemade delicious cakes by granny).

Be careful on when you decide to travel where. If you want to avoid the boiling sun, we suggest to avoid the southern regions in July and August and if you are not really a winter person, remember that on the Alps, January and February are likely to be very snowy (Christmas markets and winter atmosphere will make you feel like you’re in a Presepio-nativity scene that Italian people use to recreate in their home during Christmas time!) 

Friends, meetups and sports

Italians are very social people but keep in mind that there are some occasions that MUST be spent with family. Italians will be more than happy to welcome you in family traditional meetups but do not be offended if they refuse one of your invitation because of previous family commitments. They just consider them as a priority.

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Figure 8 A group of friends

Italian young people usually go out on Friday and Saturday night and, if you are a student, every city will have a ‘midweek’ night out where events and social meetup use to take place. Alcohol is not a crucial ingredient for when you go out, especially during the week, but people do enjoy a beer or a glass of wine.

People tend to make arrangements without planning much in advance, so expect your friends to call you at 6pm to meet you at 9pm. And no, you will not go out earlier than at 8.30pm for a dinner out; if you go to a club, do not arrive earlier than midnight because it will be embarrassingly empty.

Shopping on a budget

In Italy you will find many shops and supermarkets where to buy cheap clothes and food. Count on the bigger chains and discounts shop (like Lidl but remember that depending on the region you will find different brands). Local boutiques will have higher prices, but better quality and you will help local economic growth. Every city has also several bazars where you will find the most absurd things at very paltry prices. Amazon offers a very good and cheap service too, if you do not wish to move from your home but bear in mind that home delivery is not very common in Italy as far as grocery is concerned.

Sharing the house

Rents are much lower in Italy than in many other countries (except in Milan and Rome) and if you share an apartment you may spend around 200 euros per month (bills excluded). There are many websites where you can find roommates but pop on a local property agency or use your personal connections to get better deals. Wherever there are universities, prices varies a lot, so do a bit of research and do not settle for the first option you are offered.

Casual jobs

Casual jobs are moderately frequent in Italy but also, it is common that you will be offered to work illegally (so that the employer will not have to pay taxes). Bear in mind that if you are not regularly paid you will not have any legal protection.

A great casual job for Expats is to offer private tutoring lesson (languages are very much required) or babysitting. Handcrafting is also a thing in Italy and you can join local farmers markets and get some money for your creativity.

Deals and discounts for the young

Italy offers a lot of deals for young people and students: from museum tickets, mobile deals, bank account and transport passes. Every city will have their own deals and it could be a good idea to visit a tourist information centre to get the best offers, or talk to your more experienced acquaintances, Italian guys are usually well informed on how to spare some money.


You spent your life working and caring about your dear ones, but now it is time for you to take some time just for yourself. Italy is a great place to start with. You will find a lot of places where to find tranquillity and peace, immersed in a world of culture and art.

As a Retiree you are:

Probably married with grandchildren;

Enjoy a slower pace of life;

Looking for stability in a home of your property;

Wants to be part of a community of people of your age;

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Figure 9 Elderly people enjoying the beach

If you want to retire in Italy, the most common visa you will look for is the Elective Residency Visa. You can apply for it if you have an income coming from your home pension or retirement plan. You will have to go to the Italian consulate in your country and apply for the visa before moving to Italy. To prove that you can subsist while living in Italy with no employment you will have to present financial statements from you bank, Social Security proof and other documents. You will not be able to work in Italy with that visa.

Opportunities for social meeting are quite common and you will soon learn how to play local card games and play bowls. Italian people have a great respect of elderly people and they care much about them. You will see that many family nucleuses includes one or two grandparent and hospices and nursing homes are very expensive.

The main thing you better take into consideration is that the older generation of Italian’s do not tend to have learned English, therefore, it will be up to you to learn the Italian language: you will have hard times communicating otherwise.

Healthcare, Pension and Taxes

You will be very happy to know that health is provided by the government at no extra cost in Italy, meaning that you will not have to pay for health insurance. Drugs are quite expensive, but the government will refund part of the money you spent on the prescribed ones depending on your income.

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Figure 10 healthcare in Italy

Your source of income will probably come from abroad, but even so you will need to file a tax return every year (in Italy) and other possible documentation depending on your country of origin. It is advisable for you to consult an accountant to get information on regulations between Italy and your country and how to comply with your home country and local taxes.

Public hospitals usually offer a good service, even if sometimes they are crowded and the waiting could be a bit long and frustrating.

Documentation required for retiring in Italy

If you plan to stay in the country less than 3 months you do not need any visa but otherwise you will have to apply for an elective residency visa at the Italian consulate in your home country and apply for a residence permit once in Italy.

To obtain your permit you will have to prove that you have enough financial holdings and that you get a passive income such as a pension, bank investments and so on. You will also be required to demonstrate your residency.

Income sources for your retirement that are accepted are pensions, social security checks, investments and real estates.

Cost of living as a Retiree in Italy

If you choose to live in Rome or Milan, it may not be the most convenient option. If you are an affluent retiree go for it, otherwise opt for more modest cities. Countryside and Southern regions are more affordable: grocery is cheaper, as well as renting or buying a house. If you have at least €150.000 and a pension of around €1500 per month you will be quite comfortable and settled wherever you go. Note that if you are thinking in buying a house, it is better you start early, bureaucracy is going to be a long process and there are always delays for one reason or another.

Best Places for Retirees

Rome, Milan and Florence are the preferred cities for retirees but if you want to save money and enjoy the most real Italian tradition you can pick Puglia, Tuscany or Sardinia.

Puglia is a region in the Southern Italy with beautiful beaches, it is close to Greece and it has amazing seafood tradition. Lifestyle is very easy-going and cheap.

In Tuscany you will have a wide range of landscapes and sceneries, it is famous for its olive oil and its wines. You will always discover some new aspect of Italian history and you will be able to move from the mountain to the seaside in a couple of hours.

Sardinia is one of the two biggest isles of Italy. It is cheap and simply beautiful. It is quite rural and maybe not very easy to reach but flight connections are quite frequent from many cities in Italy and in Europe.

Social events and Volunteering for Retirees

Social events for retirees are usually organized by town councils or parishes. The Catholic tradition is deeply-rooted in Italy and it is a good way to know a lot of people. Chess, card games and bowl games are some of the most loved social activities, but many associations also organize manual handcraft courses or cooking classes. In Italy, it is not common to find elderly people going to a pub or having dinner with friends, they much more enjoy spending time at each other houses by chatting and telling stories about their past.

Three are a number of volunteering opportunities as well, especially for social purposes like helping at the town canteen. Many people decide to join the Centro Diurno of their town. These are community centres open during the day and they organize recreational activities under a small cost.

Puppies can be your best friend

Elderly people in Italy love to have a dog or a kitty in their apartment and it is not usually a problem even if you rent your house. There are a lot of shelters and breeders in every city. Parks are quite common, but it is not part of the culture to train you dog, therefore you will have to use the leash for your pet.

The most usual pets are cats and dogs, but you may find canaries, red fishes and rabbits. Animal food shops are quite expensive, but you can find everything you need in the supermarkets too.

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Figure 11 Old person with a puppy

Expat Families

Moving with the family is always a bit trickier as you have to arrange many more people’s schedules, needs and desires, however, Italian family culture is very strong, and you will love how social life rotate around the familiar nucleus. 

As an expat Family you are:

Relatively young with one or more kids;

Workers with moderate household income;

Looking for stability and to raise your kids in the host country.

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Figure 12 Italian Family at a traditional lunch

Italy is a family-friendly country. Education is very important and social relations are very much based on the role and function of the family.

Living in Italy with your family

There is no “best place” to live in Italy with your family, but usually Italian people tend to choose the countryside and avoid the city centres because they are quieter and safer places. Every town has one or more school or kindergarten and you can choose between private and public ones.

There are many activities for you child especially in sports and recreative sectors. Usually activities are external to the school and the most popular ones are music classes and sports like skating, volleyball or dancing for girls and football or swimming for boys.

You will be asked to pay per month, trimester or annum and there is quite a price gap between the different sport: team ones are far cheaper than individuals.

Schools and education

One of the biggest concern for expatriates’ families is school and education. You will worry about finding somewhere where your kid can be educated and formed in a comprehensive way.

Your kid will be obliged to go to school from 6 until 16 years old but only a small percentage of students stop at this age. Scuola secondaria, in fact, ends when the students are 19 years old. More information can be found in How to Guide: Schools in Italy

Three are four educational levels in Italy:


Figure 13 Education system in Italy

 Private education sector is smaller and less developed than public schooling in Italy. Public schools are free in Italy and you will only have to pay a small amount of taxes each year. The Italian education system is centralised and defined according to strict laws. Education should be uniform all over Italy, but it is known that in the south the standard is lower. The teaching language is Italian, whereas English is taught as a second language.

Classes are quite numerous, and your kid will quickly adapt to the new environment, friends and language (intensive classes are also offered for new students).

Private schools in Italy are mainly managed by Catholic institutions. The education level usually does not vary from public schools as both have to follow the standards defined by the law but sometimes, for the Scuola Secondaria, the level is a bit lower: parents pay a lot of money for them and they do not expect their kids to repeat a year! You also have to take into account that the cost will be very high (especially compared to the free state education). A positive aspect of private schools are the extra-curricular activities that are always lacking in the public sector.

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Figure 14 World flags

International schools are not very common in Italy, apart from the bigger cities, but it could be a good option for your kid if you plan to live in Italy for a shorter period of time and want to follow a more international approach to education. Nevertheless, it is better you consider the downside of an international school. You could think that the transition will be easier for your kid, but it might create a bit of a confusing effect by slowing down the adaptation process to the new country. If you opt for international school remember to enrol your kid quite in advance as the places are limited.

Integration groups

Your kid will soon be able to learn the new language. Each school provide private classes for the children that start from zero or very basic knowledge and sometimes there are local programs to support the integration in the new environment.

In the capital and other bigger cities, you will find expat communities ready to make you feel at home and more rapidly adapt to the new country. Their aim is to support in reaching out similar minded people and understanding the Italian way of living.

Cost of Living for Families

Living costs in Italy should be considered when moving, especially with a family of 3 or more people. One factor that will impact on your expenses is the currency conversion, so read some information and contact your bank to know what your options are.

Renting and buying a house will be more or less expensive depending on your location. Milan and Rome are the most expensive cities but still, they are under the average cost of others European cities.

You will probably think that the expense and overall cost of living is not too bad in Italy but bear in mind that the average salary is also lower. Thanks to the government benefits and incentives, a family with two average wages in Italy is able to live comfortably. Italian healthcare system is rated as one of the best in the world and residents do not have to pay for it. Nonetheless, if you decide to opt for private facilities you will have to pay quite high fees (you will also be less likely to wait ages to get your next appointment).

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Figure 15 Cost of living in Italy

Travelling will not affect much on your monthly expenses but keep in mind that petrol is quite expensive, whereas trains and buses are generally convenient.

Grocery shopping is cheaper if you opt for local and seasonal products whereas imported goods are costlier (and rare to find). Clothing range from very expensive to very cheap and you will be able to find good deals for luxury products in the so called outlets.

Dining and entertainment largely depends on the location and the type of restaurant you go to. Once again, ethnic restaurants will be more expensive than local ones. Theatres, museums and attractions are medium priced.

Career Expat

Once you have a job in Italy, you will find the country pretty exciting. You will have the chance of enhancing your general culture by attending one of the many cultural events and exhibition all around Italy, you will have the chance to get to know many people and you will be able to balance your job with your private life by enjoying every moment.

As a Career Expat you:

Have a job, visa and permits sorted out;

Probably single and with little ties to your home country;

Interested in growing professionally and knowing locals.

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Figure 16 Business women in Italy

Organising Removals

These are going to be the most annoying errands, but after that you will really be able to enjoy yourself.

Moving your stuff and shipping it to Italy will not be a great problem. There are many companies that offer that service and the price range varies a lot and from city to city. If you rely on the big International companies, you will be sure no mistake is done but even smaller companies are safe nowadays.

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Figure 17 Removals in Italy

You will be able to quickly arrange door-to door removal for bigger furniture and have your items insured and coordinated by professionals. You can opt for more tailored made services and tracking numbers will help you keep an eye on how things are going. Usually, from other European countries the removal and shipment will be done via train or truck whereas for global shipments there will be aerial or naval option, depending on your budget and schedule.

Company Benefits for Career Expats

Italian employees are fairly paid and enjoy a high standard of living. Your company will inform you on all the different benefits you will have, but prepare to adapt to the Italian working culture. Working hours and working days depend on your career, company and ambitions, as well as on sector and employer. 

If you are moving with your home company, have a brainstorm of what incentives and benefits you might need and expect from it and ask for whatever you may think you need. Speak to other people who have made a similar move and find out what the potential pitfalls are. You might want support in finding accommodation, purchasing a house or a car, you might want a bonus if you are moving with your family or you may be expecting support from the headquarters of your company as far as integration or economic adjustments are concerned.

Try to convert your economic and personal needs to the Italian reality and understand how convenient or not it is to move to Italy in your situation.

Italy was famous in the past for the generous pension scheme and early retirement age, but the economic crisis brought to a rapid change on that. The age at which you will be able to retire will depend on how many years you have worked and the amount of money you put on the public pension scheme. The system is mainly public and occupational or private provision plans are less frequent.

In Italy you can rely a lot on Unions which have had a very relevant role in shaping the economy and defining the worker’s rights. While it is not compulsory to be a member of any union, you will get incentives and you will be more safeguarded for unfair treatments. You cannot be discriminated because of your membership in a Union.

Business Cities in Italy

Italy is very heterogeneous, so it is difficult to generalize on what is the best city to move to for business reasons, in fact, it will depend on what is it that you mean with business: are you opening a start-up or are you a university professor that want to do research?

Yet, if you want to become and expat in Italy for business reason there is one city that covers it all, and this city is Milan.

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Figure 18 Milano Porta Nuova business district

1/5 of the GDP of the country is produced in Lombardy and it was one of the less affected Italian cities by the crisis of 2008. Milan is slowly becoming competition for London and other main financial cities in Europe. It is already the Italian financial hub and hosts one of the top-rated universities for business in Europe, Bocconi University. It is a fashion capital and part of the Quadrilatero d’Oro. It differs from other Italian cities for its multiethnicity and the more global and innovative atmosphere. It is a small city compared to its ‘sisters’ in Europe but is starting to become a top league one. It is well connected not only to other Italian cities but also to other European countries and there are 3 airports to connect it with the world. 

If you are an expat looking for continual stimulus, Milan is the right city for you.

Where and why to Invest in Italy

Italy is a great country for investing and developing a business. It is one of the 10 top economies in the world counting a population of 60 million and a total GDP of more than 2.1 trillion dollars, it is a very attractive country for investments. In addition, Italian people do not tend to run into debt and usually maintain a good general net wealth.

Where to Invest  in Italy Smartexpat

Figure 19 Videos on Investments in Italy (youtube)

Italy is a key player in the manufacturing and international trade sector and its competitiveness stand in the luxury sectors that include fashion and automotive production. It is a good strategic hub as it is one of the main thoroughfares for southern, eastern and northern Europe. Its topography and well-developed railway and motorways systems, together with the ports, make it easy to connect with many parts of the world.

The Italian workforce is very skilled, competent and cheaper than the Eurozone average. Universities are very well ranked in the global picture and there are about 300,000 graduates per year. In the last few decades Italy is very much investing in research and innovation especially in sciences, physics and engineering together with fields such as social sciences and humanities.

The quality of life is unparalleled thanks to the many natural and historic treasures of the country. Tourism is a very important sector promoting the country as unique and attractive.

Reform strategies are improving, and an effort is being put in traying to simplify the bureaucracy. Other fields of focus are education, justice, and foreign investments.


Italy is an exciting place for expatriates (and not only them). You will have to approach the new culture with consciousness and willingness to learn about the new culture and understand that you are a guest.

Italian atmosphere is welcoming and miscellaneous and based on your priorities, you will have a long list of cities and options to choose from. Every region will have something to offer and you can find in which one you would fit better, by looking what into a macro group is more like yourself and everything will naturally follow.

Even if you will be overwhelmed by the idea of moving to a new country, do not lose your focus and remember the things you have to have sort out before your departure.

Find your place: understand what your necessities are and figure out what a standard cost of living you might have. Find out more about how to make friends and what are the best places to live and enjoy.

In other words, prepare yourself and go. You will not be sorry.

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