Another Newcomer to Italy!

06/10/2010 - 08:14

ANOTHER NEWCOMER! Hi everybody, I am about to move to Italy to live and start a new life. I am a UK citizen, I have been living in Poland for the past 8 months but I have just inherited a house in the mountains in central Italy. I am so excited, scared, exhilarated and READY! I’m sure over the coming months I will have questions to ask and I look forward to discussions and threads on the forum. So here is the first question, what advise would you give to somebody about to step off the plane and start a new life in Italy…..?


Hi Omalley, cannot give you any advice but thought I'd say hello anyways and wish you good luck with the move.  I have family in Valvori, village in the mountains which overlooks Cassino, its a lovely place where abouts are you moving too if you dont mind me asking? Kevin

In reply to by Malty

Hi Kevin Thanx for the reply. I will be moving to a little mountain village called San Michele. Like your village it overlooks Cassino.

We have been here 4 years and the best advice I can give you is to learn the language (if you don't already speak Italian) and even before you can hold a conversation, smile and greet all the locals.  We were initially met with a little suspicion (we did arrive just as Germany v Italy world cup was happening and my husband being tall and blonde was mistaken as German), but from day one we made the effort and it was rewarded tremendously.  We now have some fantastic friends and life is so much more rewarding than if we just huddled in some little ex-pat group (difficult here as not many of us:)).  We are now well known and that has led to work referrals and from that more friends ............ There are always frustrations - our most recent being that Vodafone decided to just stop collecting payment for my mobile internet.  Within days I then received a message saying they were going to suspend the servcie (only then did I check and find payment not taken or requested).   Half a day wasted and 50km round trip to vodafone store to be told.."oh they do that sometimes for no reason".  We then had to arrange manual payment - no explanation, reassurance that it wouldn't happen again or apology for our wasted time and expense.  My point being that you also have to learn to roll with these frustrations and not compare to UK. We wish you well in your new life.

Hi, Omalley and welcome.  You must be very excited.  I agree with Karen that the most important thing is to learn the language, if you are not already an Italian speaker.  Other than that, I would say be prepared for a change of pace and accept that official procedures take longer in Italy.  For every frustration, there is a compensating delight. Good luck. Pat

Welcome to S Lazio and congratulations on inheritance, why do these things never happen to me - or maybe they do otherwise I would not be in Italy with ID card etc. If an Italian says something is almost impossible then he/she means all will be well eventually. So relax and take the long view. Get your residence sorted out and then make sure you are paying for your electricity at the residential rate, you will need to supply buckets of paper-work but the reduction will be back dated! Oh and yes you will need a TV licence! Buona fortuna!

I think it was Tim Parks who described how to establish yourself in an Italian community (or maybe it was some wise person here) Anyway, the point is that you are expected to "carve out a space for yourself".  In other words, it's no good being polite and British and reserved and sidling into the local bar trying not to be noticed.  Although perfectly acceptable behaviour in Blighty - it just creeps out the Italians who won't know how to react. I don't mean the alternative is to thrown your weight around - but you do need to be visible.  Attempting to speak the language is obviously essential - if only so you can ask for help on some little things (where to get logs for winter/buy chickens/eat the best pizza) which will immediately engage people Don't want to deal in stereotypes, and maybe this "English reserve" thing isn't an issue for you Omalley (I'm assuming Italian/Irish ancestry - probably got that totally wrong!).  The "carve out your space" illustration was a lightbulb moment for me. Good luck on your new adventure!