I am interested in moving to Italy when

08/18/2014 - 13:45

I am interested in moving to Italy when I retire.  I am not sure if I should buy or rent, or what part of Italy to move to.  I love Tuscany, but not sure if I shouls move to a city or the country.  I will be moving by myself.  I am hoping someone can advise me.  Thanks



Read, read and read more... Think you are more than a little brave moving here on your own, but do know many that did or have ended up on their own... I would have moved to Tuscany no bother, but it is expensive... unless you go to the North ... Definitely rent... City or rural, I would have said large village or town, but it depends on what you want to do while here... Get a book on moving here, look up Modicasa on here... I've read so many good posts by him over 5-6 years, but only just found out he has a book on the subject.. http://www.modicasa.com/  that's his site... Long journey, very best wishes, it's well worth it!

Have you traveled to Italy at all? Have you opted which region to relocate to? What type of home or apartment are you looking for? Desire for a city or country property? Do you want a garden? farm? mountain or water property?There are some folks I know that are working together on properties together to insure a successful retirement together. How often have you traveled and when was the last time you were there? Interested in going again? You are welcome to join us when we go again, we're bringing others with us to show them some areas to help them enjoy a vacation, decide on some areas and enjoy some more culture, food & the love regions with sweet people.Kindest regards.

Yes, Loisp27, we are in RI too, and are expecting to spend 6 mos in Italy in 2016 or 2017 when retired. I have read that it is easy to go there for 6 mos,  but for a whole year it is a hassle with the bureaucratic requirements. Unless you are can be an Italian citizen, that is. We have been there 8 times visiting 2- 3 weeks each time.

Hi Simonetta,Thank you for replying to my post.  I have actually looked on the Immobiliare website.  I am at a very confusing stage.  I am not sure if I want to rent or buy.  I would like something centrally located so I do not have to purchase a car right away.  I love Florence but it seems pretty expensive.  There are only 3 things that are "must haves", air-conditioning, kitchan and safe location.  Would you have an e-mail address that I may contact you? Sincerely,Lois

I would say if you are used to city life, stick with the city life when you retire, too much of a culture shock being in a small/rural village or town in Italy, we have a place in Sardinia, and as much as we love it, we know we would be driven mad by the peace and quiet if we lived there - I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. If you are used to everything being on your doorstep, you will miss it, simple as that.

You can still find smaller towns around major cities which will give you the best of both worlds at a fraction of the price and in a more pleasant environment. Many have trains and buses which will take you to the city. It is a matter of doing some research. It took us a couple of years to find what we wanted.My advice is: do not rush! smiley

We just returned, this week, from a trip to the Marche region.  I have to say we enjoyed our stay in Sarnano and had an even better time in Senigalia.  We are looking at places to buy as well.  Marche has many reasonable properties but our plan is to visit as much as possible and rent until we are comfortable with where we are.  Marche is nice as there are not only great prices on the properties and fewer tourists but also large diveristy in the landscape from mountains and snow to the sunny beaches on the Adriatic.  Another area we are interested in (though mostly from a summer perspective) is Trieste in the north.  There is a very good university there, wonderful forests and caves for little ones to explore and just a really comfortable atmosphere.We are trying to stay away from high traffic tourist areas as much as possible just so we can get to know the people in the communities better and to understand the difference in the way of life.Hope that helps - 

We spent some time last year in the LeMarche region,  in Senigalia and in the lovely beach town of San Benedetto da Tronto, on the Abruzzo border. It was overall wonderful, and friendly and they do not often see Americans. We tended to stay near the coast while there. Loved it and would consider going back. Two yeaars earlier we spent some time in Calabria (tropea) and were very impressed with it overall too. They never see Americans there and in these places not a lot of people speak English.

I think it also depends on what stage you are at with regards to your retirement planning.  If you are 30 years or more away then my advice would be taking as many trips to the various regions as you can before you retire is the best way to start.  If you are within 10 - 15 years of retirement I would still start with the actual trips but to make the best use of your time really research the various regions.  Ask yourself questions like 'When I retire am I looking forward to the seasons changing?, Do I want to experience on a regular basis warm weather or cooler weather, humid or dry?  Compared to where I live now what do and don't I enjoy?, How far from an airport am I comfortable being?  Do/could I have any medical conditions that would require regular visits or consulations?"  All of these questions are good because they help you understand where you are today vs where you are going to be comfortable being in the future no matter when your retirement may come (30 years or tomorrow).These questions and others you think of also help you target if you are looking for a large city apartment, country farm house or a suburb type of town in the middle.  I would also encourage you to check out some sites online that allow you to engage in conversation with people living in Italy. I know of one hosted by the site http://www.mylanguageexchange.com/Pen-pals/Language/Italian.asp  I can't say anything other than I have had some good exchanges with folks as my husband and I planned our last trip.  I am not sure about any other sites and I am certainly not an expert regarding that site.If your retirement is anywhere at or under the 5 year mark then research, discussion on boards/posts (like these) and self questions are even more important.  Good luck on your journey and keep us informed on your travels! 

For those looking at Tuscany for retirement and prefering to live in a city, I would strongly recommend Lucca. A wonderful city, with full facilities andgreat communications, about 1 hour away from Florence by train, with not as many tourists as Florence, a great atmosphere. I simply love it! We chose Bagni di Lucca (25 minutes away) as we did not want city life, but it is an excellent choice and we go there at least twice every week. I was there on Saturday and I picked up some real estate brochures out of curiosity. Going through them, I realized that property prices have dropped a lot from the levels they were some 7 years ago, so it is a buyers market. Those prices can only go up as soon as the Italian economy will pick up. A good investment! smiley

Hello.  We retired to Tuscany four years ago, after having lost absolutely everything in the U.K thanks to the recession.  Property here is not expensive and the cost of living  very cheap.  We live in a small medieval hillside village called Orciatico, which is in the Commune of Lajatico, home to Andrea Bocelli.  Life here is wonderful and the people very friendly and welcoming.  It is possible to buy a small one bedroom apartment here for less than 80,000 EURO, usually fully furnished and with central heating.  We too thought it would be impossibly expensive to live in this area but were very pleasantly surprised.  I even managed to buy another apartment to rent out and this brings in a little extra income over and above our U.K state pension. If you wish to try out this area I would be very happy to rent out the apartment to you so that you could look around.  We are only one hour from Pisa, Florence, Siena and the coast.  Very central location and many tourists come back time and time again.

Hello, I would also be interested in renting your apt.  I would like to retire in Italy as well.  My first trip to Italy was in 2008.  I have visited 3 times since then.  I would like more info on renting your apt.  Please email me at caliwinegal@gmail.com.  Thank you.  Dianne

After the time I've spent considering the positives and negatives, I've pretty much decided that the unpredictable healthcare is going to nix Italy for me. I know that if I lived in Milan or Rome, I'd be fine medically. But I don't want to live in a large city, and even if i did, I could not afford it.

Other considerations that have made me step back would be the conversion of US dollar to euros, the insane bank account problems Americans are having, and the driving conditions in Italy.

I still have the dream, but it is likely only a dream now.

Thank you for your offer.  I would love to talk with you regarding this.  I want to visit next year as my cousin is having a baby and I want to visit.  I was planning on spending a week with them and then a week in Tuscany.  My email is tuscany0427@gmail.com, I would love to know more about your place.  Thank you PS:  Cute dog!

Hi/  My apartment is called Cristina and has a page on fb Apartment Cristina.  On this page you can see some pics of the inside of the apartment. Apartment Cristina  is located in the old medieval village of Orciatico, which lies in the hills, 16 km from Volterra and in the centre of an area in which lie the most important art cities of Tuscany, such as Pisa, Florence, Siena, Lucca, San Gimignano and only 40 km from the coast.  The village is surrounded by forests and is the starting point for walks or bike rides in unspoiled countryside which is also rich in ruins from the past.  The village has two grocery shops, bar, restaurant and ATM machine.  All main supermarkets are 20 to 30 minutes away. FREE INTERNET NOW AVAILABLE JUST ACROSS THE ROAD IN THE LOCAL BAR.  The apartment  will accommodate up to 4 people.  FULL GAS CENTRAL HEATING.  Fully equipped kitchen and sitting area with microwave, toaster, kettle, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery, coffee machine.  4 ring gas hob and electric oven.   Dining table and chairs, TV/DVD player. Washing machine, ironing board and iron. Sofa bed,  Double bedroom with double wardrobes and drawers and electric fan. Fully fitted bathroom with shower, bidet and hairdrier.If you think you are interested please contact me again and we can chat about things.

Hi Lois!
I read your post and all the interesting comments you've received. Just in case you're still not sure of what part of Italy moving to I suggest another beautiful italian region to think about: Piedmont (and, most of all, the Langhe and Monferrato areas).
Have a look at this link: http://www.paesaggivitivinicoli.it/index.php/en/photogallery ..there are some nice pics of the areas I told you about.
All Italian regions have something wonderful to them; Piedmont is less known by foreigners but it's as beautiful and amazing as other regions …. probably a little cheaper yet rich in history and culture.
I live in Asti (Piedmont), a little city close to Turin and to these wonderful hills (that have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List).
If you need more information, just let me know!

Good luck for your decision,


Hi Elisabetta,Thank you for sharing.  I have not thought about the Piedmont region.  I am going to do some research on the internet. Do you feel the area is safe?  I plan on going alone.  That is major worry for me.  I am not sure if I should buy or rent.  I only have 2 requirement, a kitchen already in place and air conditioning.  I know, spoiled, LOL!  Any information you could provide me would be greatly appreciated.Thank you again.Lois

My husband and I are almost at the end of getting dual citizenship. We plan on next year (March/April) to live 4 months renting in the north (perhaps Parma), central and southern to get an idea of each region before we make a final decision. In each of these 3 areas, we will have time to explore the area. We've been twice to Italy in the last 4 years. Started a blog www.ouritalianjourney.blogspot.com for this reason. Hope our thought process might shed some light for you.

I would advise you to live in the city. The Italian, esp Tuscan, countryside is marvelous, but it's not easy to make friends. I'm not saying it's impossible, but cities like Florence and Rome have expat communities in place that can help you get settled in. In the countryside, especially people of a "certain generation" (ie older) are unlikely to open up and welcome you to their bridge parties (which are likely burracco, not bridge), let alone be people you can depend on in an emergency. Nothing against them, and it's not impossible, but chances are better in the city for this kind of personal connection. IMO.

Hi Lois,If you can manage it, you might consider renting a place for a year or so and dedicate some time to getting to know different areas of Italy before you commit to buying. In the long run, if you decide you definitely want to retire here permanently, then obviously buying has its advantages.As my friend Alexandra noted, in cities like Florence and Rome you are sure to build a satisfying social life and support network, make friends and connections. Moreover you’ll have easy access to endless cultural events, museums and other attractions, libraries, medical facilities, etc. However, I would add that life in those cities will of course be loud, smoggy, and at times very hectic. Depending on where you live, you might never have a peaceful night’s sleep, and routine errands like picking up groceries can be a challenge. In summer you’ll be surrounded by swarms of people, which is great for some, but others don’t like this at all. Like any city then, Italian cities offer much in the way of entertainment and culture, great places to eat out, and so on, yet life in them can be frenzied and frustrating.Life in country villages in Italy can be altogether sleepy, laid-back, and sometimes too intimate (as in everyone knows everyone’s business!), but in a small town—not a village and not a city, but a mid-sized town not so attractive to tourists—you can have the best of everything, such as proximity to a good hospital and clinic, library, a handful of good restaurants, a market day, and bus and/or train service. And quiet evenings and clean air, if these are important to you. So a lot depends on what kind of lifestyle you are hoping for. And it goes without saying that your rent/mortgage budget will go much farther in a small, lesser-known town.Will you have a car? If yes, in the city a car can be both a burden and a necessity. In the country, a car would be essential. Many smaller towns are well connected with bus services, but they tend to end service by 8pm. Considering that you’ll be living alone, having a small reliable car so you can be independent, do shopping as you need to, etc, would be wise, I think. Parking/storage would not be an issue in a more rural area, but in the city a car can become quite difficult (though not impossible) to manage.Regarding location—and this is my personal opinion after having lived in small towns in Tuscany for 14 years; I lived in Florence for only one year—Tuscany is overrated. Yes it’s beautiful and full of interesting, lovely places, but that can be said for any Italian Region. Property here is much more expensive than even in bordering regions and, frankly, Tuscans are a reserved, hard-to-know people (generally, of course). This speaks to another point Alexandra made, about getting to know people. I do not think, honestly, you’d have that issue in the Romagna for instance, or up north in Piedmont, and so on. Whenever I leave Tuscany to spend time in other regions this is one of the first things I’m struck by: how open and friendly the people of other regions are compared to Tuscans. That said, here in the very small town I live in, in northeast Tuscany, I’ve been able to make friendly connections and can now say I feel part of this community. It did take some time, though.Lastly, for what it’s worth, I feel far safer in my village than I ever did living alone in Florence! I would not recommend getting a completely isolated place far into the hills, for instance, because in such a location you’d naturally not always feel safe, being on your own. But in a small town, you get to know your closest neighbors, and people look out for one another in a way that’s harder to come by in big cities, in my experience. Something to consider.In short, explore some areas, maybe check out some well-connected, mid-sized towns with access to facilities, and consider what you want out of your budget. Best of luck! Amy 

My wife & I moved to Italy 4 years ago from Australia, everyone here thinks we are mad moving from Australia to Italy!! But we have loved every moment, we have been running a bed & brekfast in the Emilia Romagna Region www.cherryhouseinitaly.com for the last 2 years.We are at an altitude of 800 metres in the Appennines and we really have all 4 seasons. We are in the small town of Polinago but close to other major towns that have all the servies you would require. It is a deligtful community with a very long history. The scenery here is unlike any other in Italy with the summers being quite pleasant as we are normally 8-10 degrees cooler than on the pianora. In Winter we do get snow which gives the region a great look.I really would suggest renting first so you can see if you like the area and the people. After living in a city in Australia we wanted a quieter life where friends and family can visit. We have had more than 200 quests through our B&B, with many having been more than once.We have had many ups & downs during our time and have learnt very much and we would be happy to help with any questions. You can look into it as much as you like but untill you are here it will be very hard to decide.Good luck with your quest.David

Hi, such a lot of replies. I'm not sure whether the Abruzzo region has been mentioned. For nearly 8 years I have been living most of my time in a small medieval village near Sulmona, in Abruzzo. Well, what a find!
Coming from New Zealand, and not having been to Italy before, I bought my house within a week of arriving and have never regretted it. Abruzzo is an amazing and an undiscovered part of Italy. Very ancient villages, friendly locals and reasonably priced houses. Sometimes in life you just have to go and do it. That's if it feels right and depending on what you are yearning for in life....everyone is so different.
I rent my house some parts of the year if you want to check out our region.
I have a blog on my ramblings, living in NZ and Italy here: www.artfibredesignz.blogspot.com
All the best for your journey.

This has indeed been a great subject - posts and replies. I am keeping a great deal of this information for later on in the year and will be getting back in touch (more than likely) with several of you for rental information. Thank you so much, everyone!!(We have not only created, as mentioned previously our blog:  ouritalianjourney.blogspot.com but a FB Page Our Italian Journey, ID#261124297239337) We are posting things about our efforts to obtain dual citizenship to move next year along with helpful information (according to some) and plan to use the blog more when we arrive in Italy. This site seems like great information and great people. Would love for any of you to "Like" us and follow and also add your information. Thanks!!!!!

Greetings to all you ! I'am real estate Agent and consultant in Tuscany , Simonetta Cecchini, and I can be of assistance for you . The Tuscany is the region most sought and loved by foreign tourists. You can see my web sit www.villainversilia.it , where are only examples of what I propose. For those who wants to stay in B&B I have chance near Lucca, San Gennaro country, for those who only wants a room close to the sea, I rent a room with a bathroom private use . I will glad to help . Happy holidays . Simonetta

Hi LoispI live and work in Umbria close to the Tuscany border, life is lovely here the people are great and gentle. Like Britain was 30-40 years ago, the same can be said of the roads driving can become a pleasure again. As with lots of countrys some thing cost more and some a lot less so i feel that on the whole the cost of living is similar to the UK. The weather is a major factor for living here i think, the winters are milder, drier, and much shorter here ive been wearing shorts and tee for the last 5-6 weeks only needing a sweater late evening which brings me to the point of city living, cities are hot in the summer the climate here in rural Umbria is cooler and im 400m above sea level which makes the hottest days easily bearable. Hmm something to think about!The cost of houses is very varied and in most cases similar to UK prices unless you look at propertys aimed at non Italian buyers which can be quite a bit more expensive, these houses might appeal to you if your thinking of renting part of it out as a holiday rental to boost your income or as an occupation whilst living here.Renting is quite similar i see propertys for rent often some with very low rents, for example a three bedroom apartment with balcony, office, two bathrooms, amazing views, furnished with good parking for just €400.00 pmI run a company which provides a huge range of services to home owners of all kinds from finding the right property right through to maintaining it, please have a look if its of interest keep a note of us.http://ermilabe.wix.com/italian-houseThe above link is for my company, The Italian house management Co just copy and past it to your browser.Hope this is of some help.Eric

Hi Lois,
I can tell you, without any doubt, that Piedmont in general is a safe region, especially the area where I live and I told you about (Monferrato-Roero and Langhe).
Your decision between renting or buying is a great dilemma. It depends on many elements: renting is a good option, in the long run it can be quite expensive but it allows you to live without being obliged to face all the tax problems and to not care about costs for ordinary maintenance and repair works.
On the other hand, buying a property can be a very good investment: once you've found a place that inspires you, you can change and adapt your house until it's exactly what you want and desire but you'll have to deal with italian rules and taxes and you'll have to take care of the maintenance of the building.
If you are unsure about the region to move to, you should have a little trip around Italy to see and enjoy some of what my Country can offer, and I would be happy to show you something of my beautiful region.
If I had to describe Piedmont, I would say that it is a great place to live: its hills are quiet and offer breathtaking views with all the vineyards. It is studded by little villages rich in history and culture, most small towns (like Asti or Alba) are lively and active, all year around. Piedmont is extremely close to the Mediterranean sea as well as to some amazing ski slopes in the middle of the Alps mountains. Plus, it borders with France and Switzerland.
P.s. Your requirements wouldn't be so hard to be satisfied and I can help you if you need it!


I am also considering retiring to Tuscany in 2-3 years. Would like to hear from you and others thinking of retiring and buying or renting in Italy to exchange information and conversations. Would be great to create a group  of like individuals for discussions.Please contact me through Community to exchange contact information.