Hello!My husband and I are thinking

08/30/2017 - 20:47

Hello!My husband and I are thinking about leaving the US and moving to Italy. I wonder what area houses the most Americans and/or where is the most affordable area to live for retirees on Social Security? Also, is there a real estate office you would recommend? I've been looking into Abruzzo but open to suggestions of nice areas with affordable rental properties.This is an idea we've been kicking around for some time and with the current state of our government and the desire to live more affordable on the limited income, we bring in ... well, it's time to make a move!Thanks in advance for your suggestions, advice, and help!Carolyn



If you are thinking about Abruzzo then have a look at Sulmona. It is 2 hours from Rome and well placed for both sea and mountains with a thriving cultural community - plus a few expats if that makes you feel comfy.  There is a very good English language website all about the city if you Google it.

As we have answered similar inquiries, we offer this:As a non-EU citizen you are restricted to 90 day stays in the EU unless you get an extension from the Italian Consulate in the US for an additional 90 days. The regulation is that after a 90 day stay in the EU you must leave the EU for a period of at least 90 days before you can return. Past enforcement in various countries has been relatively lax, however, given the increase in terrorism in Europe, would expect a tightening in enforcement. If you plan to have longer stays in Italy you can apply for a form of residency. A number of non-EU folks on this Forum have opted for this process and can give you more precise information.There are several “flight paths” from the US to Pisa via Munich, Paris,  Rome, or London via various carriers. We travel annually from LAX to Pisa via Munich.You might have a look at Fivizzano and environs in Lunigiana. It is 30-40 minutes from the autostrada at Aulla on a well maintained “highway.”  About 1.5 hour drive from Pisa airport. It is a fortress city, historical, good medical facilities including a hospital, etc., a train depot in another village a few miles away, good bus service, a number of restaurants, bars, including Elvetica which hosts the English book library, Oxfam English library and store, active Expat community, small “supermarket,” gas station, a pharmacy, bank, and a number of small shops. An ideal location for someone who wants to be out of the tourist traffic, yet not too far from "civilization."  They also have an extensive market in the square every Tuesday, I think.  There is a wide range of properties; from city apts. to town houses, to detached houses with small land areas just outside town, and some estate type properties with vineyards, boscos, etc. in the general area. Check out properties at Lunigiana2000.comIt is just below the mountain range that has a fairly good ski resort. Not sure of winter snowfall ,in town, if any, or temps. Maybe someone from there might weigh in on that subject.Good luck,Fred 

In reply to by CNRobin62

Go to any Italian Consulate General office online  I go to italianconsulatelosangeles and type in the question area. retire to Italy from the USA   The following are the requitements you must meet and have in your hand before you make an appointment to apply for a resident visa.APPLICANTS MUST MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO APPLY FOR A VISA.(Click here for booking your online appointment)PLEASE NOTE: IF YOUR DO NOT FIND AN APPOINTMENT, due to the high demand of requests, we suggest that you patiently CHECK DAILY our appointment system for cancellations. Appointments become available from 3:00 pm (local time)REQUIREMENTS FOR AN ITALIAN ELECTIVE RESIDENCE VISAThe Italian Elective Residence Visa is for foreigners – retired persons, persons with high self-sustaining incomes and financial assets - who have chosen Italy as the country of permanent residence and who are able to support themselves autonomously, without having to rely on employment while in Italy, whether as dependent employees, as self-employed employees or employees working remotely online. You cannot finance your residence in Italy through any type of work.This Consulate General will accept visa applications from legal residents of ARIZONA, NEW MEXICO, NEVADA and of the following counties in the state of CALIFORNIA: S. Luis Obispo, Kern, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial Valley, Orange. Visa applicants must appear in person and submit the following documents (1 original and 1 copy):1. United States passport, or passport and Alien Registration Card. Passport must be valid for at least 3 (three) months beyong the validity date of the requested visa, and must have a blank page available for the visa.2. One National (Italian) Visa Application Form, completely and clearly filled out, and to be signed in thepresence of a Consular Officer.3. Two recent passport size photographs (2x2 inches in size, full face, front view, in color).4. A letter from the applicant where he/she specifies the reason for his/her stay in Italy, length of stay, place of residence in Italy, name of persons accompanying the applicant such as spouse and children. The signature on the letter must be notarized.5. Documented and detailed guarantee of substantial and steady economic resources.- Letters from banking institutions stating current available funds . The type of account, the account balance and monthly earnings.These funds must be more than substantial and must generate revenues.- Documents from other sources that will provide you with additional financial revenues. Such as Social Security pension or other type of pension, property ownership and lease agreements, business ownership and related documentation.The visa applicant must show solid bank account/s and a set monthly income.For example a single applicant must have a monthly income of minimum Euro 2,596.60 (at an exchange rate of $1.30 equals $3,375.58).6. Documentation regarding dwelling in the city where you will reside: a signed rental agreement according to Italian rental regulations, , ownership of a livable apartment or home in Italy. Multiple bookings for houses/hotels and third party offer of hospitality cannot be accepted for this type of visa.7. Certified copy of marriage certificate and birth certificate/s (of children), if it applies.8. Handling visa fee (please refer to the list of references on the right hand side of this page) will be paid in exact amount in cash, money order or cashier’s check made out to the Consulate General of Italy.9. Provide a self-addressed (from – to yourself) pre-paid envelope (FedEx or Express Mail), if you wish to have your passport mailed back to you. The authorization form must be filled out.The processing time for this visa may be up to 90 (ninety days). Therefore it is advisable to submit a visa request ninety days prior the expected departure date. Rush processing is not possible.The foreigner holding an “Italian Elective Residence” visa is not allowed to work or seek employment under any conditions.This Consulate General will evaluate the documents submitted and may request additional ones at its discretion.Furthermore, you should also be aware that submitting all required documentation does not automatically guarantee the issuance of a visa.Please note that:

  • Within 8 days upon arrival in Italy, you must register with the local Police Department (Questura) to obtain the “Declaration of Stay” (Permesso di Soggiorno), which is the only legal document that legitimizes your stay in the country.
  • You must keep a copy of all documents that have been submitted with the visa application. 

Of course it depends on what you want to purchase, but I paid 30,000 euros for my 3 bedroom 2 bath home. I am spending about 10,000 euros on renovation. The house was renovated, but I wanted a new kitchen and to have the heat installed. I purchased a pellet stove for the upstairs, it is economical and very environmentally friendly. I had to purchase a new hot water boiler as well. It depends on the village, the price. Penne, is beautiful but a tiny bit more expensive. Prepare to see houses or apartments for 45,000 to 60,000. You can bargain with the owner about the cost. My realtor did that for me. Renting is an option also until you find the right town to live in. I am in Abruzzo. Renting is very cheap. You can rent a town house for 250 to 300 euros a month. I hope you do move to Abruzzo. I love it, it is so beautiful and the people are helpful and friendly. Food is amazing. I made friends easily. I would not trade my decision to move from the USA. Everything is less expensive. That is my experience. 

In reply to by CNRobin62

Carolyn, the information provided by Katie and Sean pretty much covers what is necessary to obtain residency in Italy for a non-EU citizen. It may seem daunting at the outset so be prepared for doing some "due diligence" and paper shuffling. Good luck.Fred

Fred also has a great house for sale on the site he mentions and it's at a great price.Have a look here on casa.it to get an idea of the rental costs in different areas. Not too sure how much research you have made regards exchange rates, tax, permission to be here etc. Some great advice from Fred above on the latter. Do you have any connection with Italy?

Hi CNRobin62I am Johnny and I live in Lunigiana, a place situated in north Tuscany which is rather cheap compared with the other Tuscany's areas as such as Chianti or Florence but still wonderful, located between the Apuane Alps and the Ligurian sea.I work here in the building environment offering to expats every kind of services regarding estates, from purchase assistance to project and restoration. If you like we can discuss about  what you really want and need, what really suits you so I send you my details.I strongly recommend you looking on the internet about the place of Lunigiana, you may fall in love as many before.good luck for your searchByehttps://www.lunigianabuilders.com/

I purchased a home in Tocco ca Casauria, Abruzzo last Spring. I had the best experience purchasing the house, and my real estate company is helping me find people to do renovations. I could not be more pleased. Yes it is a 90 day stay for now, but as soon as I get social security with my pension I can apply for a permanent resident permit. Read the requirements on the Consulate website. If there are two of you, I am sure you have enough money coming in each month that meets the requirement of the Italian Government. I am alone and I will qualify. It is the best thing I ever did for myself. It is in a relatively small village, 3,000 people, but 15 20 minutes away is a thriving fairly large city, Pescara. It has everything. Tocco has everything I need, mostly. I wish you well on your journey. My realtor speaks very good english and has helped me meet people, make friends,  live the life. Cheers

Hi Carolyn, You're right that you'll generally find prices to be lower in the south, however there are many small towns even throughout the country, including Tuscany, which are affordable as they are less well known. You'll also find the climate is generally better starting in Tuscany / Umbria / Le Marche and going further south. You might want to think about earthquake areas (perhaps not a big issue IF you choose a building is up to current spec) and public services such as, but not limited to, healthcare, which are generally, with all the exceptions possible, better north of Rome. If you work with a real estate agent, make sure they're licensed. I recently put together a guide on where to live in Italy for those thinking of relocating to Italy, it reflects my experience living in 3 regions over 20+ years. Hopeful you'll find it helpful. There is also a guide to buying property to Italy which may contain some information useful to you, for example, regarding the Elective Residence Visa.  The more homework you do before you dive in, the better your experience will be. Good luck with your Italian adventure! - Sean Carlos

... and it is not just the buying process! I also came across your document checklist on selling, not something you tend to get discussed on these forums for obvious reasons. No doubt things have changed a little since we bought here over 6 years ago and likely things the agent took care of that we were not aware of. I'm quite surprised at the number of documents you need to buy and sell these days. One thing I did note in you excellent list was "The notary act" source is not mentioned, is this available officially or is it just the original signed at the act you need?  Unfortunately we know of a few people selling up and I'm sure you will not mind if I point then in the direction of your checklist?

When writing guides one tries to touch sufficiently on each pertainent area in order to be useful but not write so much the text becomes dense and overwhelming. It isn't easy... especially in the TL;DR era. More recent records are availabe in electronic format; older records are limited to paper versions. Sure, do feel free to share the checklist.

In reply to by Sean Carlos

Hi Sean, My wife and I are totally in love with Italy been there many times and now started thinking about buying a retirement property. Do you have any information regarding the health insurance in Italy?  Any information is much appretiated. 

It depends on your situation... if you are completely in the Italian system, a resident paying taxes in Italy, perhaps in part on income from elsewhere, you'll be entited to coverage under the Italian national health service which is very good to excellent.  If you are coming as a tourist (90 days at a time) or using the Elective Residency Visa (you prove to the Italian government you have sufficient means to support yourself, be it royalties, pension etc), than you have to buy your own coverage. I'm not an expert in that area, I generally refer people to an American woman in Rome who is an Insurance broker.

Hello Carolyn, my name is Emiliana I'm an italian real estate agent and work in the Molise region. It's one of the cheapest area in Italy. I think you will enjoy browse my website www.propertymolise.com and fall in love with this region! Feel free to contact me for any further help or information needed.
Hope to hear back from you! Ciao!

Hello, Emiliana!Thank you for your post. We would be looking for a single house with at least 2 bedrooms and 1+ bathrooms to rent on an annual basis. If there is an owner who wants to sell and is interested in a 'rent to own' option (where a portion of the rent would be placed in escrow as downpayment) that would be awesome for us.Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you!Carolyn

If she is interested in Abruzzo
We have several solutions also of newly renovated properties,
I send you a link
For the price of this property you can discuss as the owner is interested in selling.
However, take a look at these properties
Good luck

Hi Carolyn,
I've selected the following houses to give you a general idea of what is available:


Wish you a good week!

Hi Carolyn, Why you dont also consider Le Marche Region!!! Life is great, cities are not very big but at the same time you can do a lot of activities. During summer time Macera and Pesaro have two of the most important Opera festival in Italy. Plenty of small town to visit full of history, culture and art. Beautiful countryside for a day out. Ancona has also an airport and you can reach London and other European destinations easily. Rome and Milan are  3 hours away with a high speed train. Beaches are amazing, food and wine are extraordinary. I dont know you interest but I'm sure you will fine something to fall in love with. The quality of life in The Marche is very high although the price is of apartment is low, it's easy to find a flat to rent with  small budget.  If you need any help or more information please let me know and I will be very happy to help. Good luck.

hi LargeLewis ,as usual, it is not required, but it is necessary to have an energy certificate, the technician who issues this certificate will probably need the certificate of habitability

I moved out of the US this year. I should have done it sooner. I have never been happier. A Few tips, Do not listen to all the negative things some expats who are disillusioned. There always will be nay sayers. Find a place you think meets all your needs. And follow your heart. I live in Abruzzo. Tocco da Casauria. There are numerous properties for sale. I love the people in this town, It has beauty you will see every day. I would not trade it for any other place. 

I agree Katie, Abruzzo is a lovely place. But those "nay sayers" have probably provided me,  you and others with a lot of good advice. "Don't knock it until you have tried it", is a great saying, you and I have not lived here long enough to question their wisdom IMHO...blush

So sorry if I offended you, but I want my opinions about italy to be my own. I don't think people who put down a country they chose to live in, and always have something negative to say, should just be quiet. I have lived on this earth long enough to know one thing. Live and experience it for yourself. I found negative people to be royal pains in the arse who are unhappy with their own decisions. Ciao

The most appropriate option is still Abruzzo. The cost of living here is 30-70% lower than in Tuscany or Umbria. A couple of retirees here can live on $ 1400 including rental properties. In the mountains, ski resorts and bases work in the winter, and in the summer holidays on the Adriatic coast are popular.

Dedicated to those looking for a home in Italyhere is an interesting link for the searchhttps://www.lavorofisco.it/osservatorio-mercato-immobiliare-in-rete-i-dati-del-1-semestre-2018.htmlJust type in the browser the address http://m.geopoi.it/php/mobileOMI/index.phpa window opens with a geolocation signalclick on oka map appears - at the top right, click on SEARCHin the opening file, write the region, or the city, or the city and the area of that city that interests youa square highlighted in green appears, click on the boxclick on residentialopens a page with the reference values, taken from the revenue agency, on the basis of the trades registered in the last 6 monthsGood hunting

I have a place in a hill town in Calabria. We have owned it for 7 yars and love it. We are going to retire there soon. There are several Americans living there along with people from the UK, and Russia. All are part of the community and Santa Domencia Talao (our village) welcomes new comers very warmly. If you are unfamiliar with Calabria, it has some of the msot stunning beaches on the planet and the best food anywhere. Most of the food is very fresh and organic. And everything is incredibly inexpensive. If you are looking for someplace where property is very inexpensive, Calabria is the best. Down the hill from us is the resort town of Scalea and you can ifnd apartments there for 30K euros, In my village on top of the hill with sweeping views of the Mediterranean, there are beautiful properties available and comparable with Scalea. If you are interested in looking, my friend Ivan can help you, we have known him for years and he is working with us on our BNB project. let him know I sent you!you can find him at the Calabria Realty Group