Ooooh! Retire in Italy! A full-time retirement or an extended stay in Italy is the dream of so many travelers! It has drawn those in search of culture, romance, the arts, education, religion, fashion, industry, and the sun for centuries.
Italy is both ancient and modern and this often surprises visitors expecting to see just the old. Actually, Italy is a relatively new country that wasn’t unified until 1861. Before then, it consisted of several states that had not been united since the Roman Empire.
The big cities of Rome, Venice, Milan Genoa, Florence, Naples draw million of visitors every year. Those lucky enough to stay for a time venture out into the regions of the Almafi coast, Tuscany, Sicily and even to the island of Sardinia. Each of the 20 regions are as unique in landscape as they are in history and culture. What they all have in common, however, is friendly people and a welcoming attitude. We don’t know anyone who, once having visited Italy, doesn’t wish to return.
It is estimated that 50,000 American citizens live in Italy. Some came for an education and never left, some came to retire, and some came for to work and decided to stay. Whatever the case, if you make your permanent address in Italy you will pay income tax, starting at 23% for up to $36,000 per year income and as high as 45% for incomes over $120k per year. There is also a sales tax and property tax. The rents and home prices vary from region to region, city to city. A one bedroom flat in Rome city center will run an average of $1,800 per month unfurnished – which means no cabinets, countertops, appliances. Restaurants are quite expensive. Now the same apartment in Naples is $1,200 US per month.
We think everyone should see Italy at least once. Take a gondola ride in Venice, visit the Sistine Chapel and marvel at the works of Michelangelo, sit on the Spanish Steps with a gelato. Wander a town square in the evening and enjoy a glass of wine. If Italy captivates you, as it does so many, consider an extended stay.
However, Italy isn’t all it appears to be. There is a public face for the tourist trade and a resident face for the locals. The pace is slow, both a positive and negative. The petty crime in some areas has become quite high with the economic downturn. The traffic is horrible in the cities – somehow the ancient planners didn’t build roads to accommodate millions of cars and trucks and tourists! There is also a huge problem with garbage. It doesn’t always get picked up and can accumulate in the streets. Italy isn’t for everyone. After many discussions with family who have lived here for several years, they still think it’s a great place to visit. Not their favorite place to live.
We, however, love Italy and would certainly like to spend more time here!
Tell us what you think about living in Italy! Is it everything you expected? What surprised you?
Living in Italy
Pros: Historical sites, the landscape, weather, people
Cons: Language, can be very hot in the summer, taxes
Best Places to Live: Impossible to pick! But not in a big city due to traffic.
Did You Know: Rome is further north than New York City!
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