Looking to Move to Italy? Here’s Just the Retreat to Help You

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| Tue, 02/22/2022 - 02:02
Group shot at the D&G Design Move to Italy retreat
Group shot from D&G Design’s Move to Italy retreat

Who hasn’t spent time imagining what life would be like in an idyllic faraway place, especially in a country that is so well known for its laid-back lifestyle, stunning landscapes, seasonal cuisine, and close community life? I sometimes wonder if there is anyone who hasn’t dreamed of moving to Italy at one point or another, whether for retirement, remote work, a home away from home or a full-blown transition into full-time life in the Bel Paese.

With the arrival of remote work being a reality for so many, it can almost seem like a no-brainer to imagine investing in a new life here, or at least in a decent vacation home. Movies such as Under the Tuscan Sun featuring a protagonist who renovates a villa in the Cortona area of Italy only further inspire many of us to start researching properties on sale online and picturing a life there for ourselves.

Of course, real life is a little different than what movies and books portray. The grunt work of transferring your life to another country, even temporarily, is much more complicated than you might imagine. Without speaking the local language or having experience dealing with administrative issues in Italy, it can be a jarring endeavor to do anything on your own without a fair amount of help and funds. In addition, you need to consider your budget, availability, proximity to bigger cities and airports, and so much more if this is a serious prospect for you and your family. 

Meet Davide and Gary, who made their own dream home in Italy come to fruition 

Luckily help is out there for those serious about investing in a new life in Italy in some capacity. Gary and Davide are two people who have used their extensive experience in interior design and renovation to make their own dream home come true and help others do the same through their company D&G Design. Italian-born Davide is a skilled craftsman who has spent 20 years specializing in historic building restoration and conservation. Gary, from Britain, is a hands-on decorator and interior stylist with the practical skills to match his design flair.

Davide and Gary of D&G Design
Davide and Gary of D&G Design

"When we bought and restored our house in Le Marche in 2016, we realized how complex the whole process can be if you don't have the right people to support you," Gary shared.

"Davide is Italian so we didn't have to deal with a language barrier, but there is so much conflicting information online that we were grateful to work with a team of experts that we could trust to take us through the house sale, as well as explain the rules around renovations and tax implications. Thanks to them, our process was very smooth, and we completed the sale in less than two months, which isn't all that common here."

Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno, Le Marche
Piazza del Popolo in Ascoli Piceno, Le Marche

Move to Italy retreat: Come to Le Marche for five days 

Thanks to this positive experience, the idea for their Move to Italy retreat was born. In the most recent edition, Gary and Davide hosted guests from South Africa, the United States and Northern Ireland, all eager to own a home in Italy for different reasons, all united in taking their exciting first step toward this goal. What better way for Gary and Davide to make use of their own knowledge than to have their attendees to meet the same experts who helped them buy their home in a beautiful setting in Le Marche?

"The horror stories we've all read about don't apply here. The real estate agents we introduce vet all properties and ensure that each one has all of the required documentation before it's listed, ensuring that there are no surprises further down the line," Gary says. "The day of house-hunting also enables everyone to explore some of the region's beautiful towns, villages and take in the breathtaking countryside."

As part of the workshop, the property lawyer and tax specialists that worked with Gary and Davide explain all of the nitty-gritty red-tape over aperitivo, and fellow expats tell their stories and share information on how they find life in Italy.

Exploring Le Marche during the Move to Italy retreat
Exploring Le Marche during the Move to Italy retreat

"We've told them not to leave out any parts that they found frustrating, as our clients need to go in with their eyes open," Gary says. "Our first event in 2019 was a great success with everyone meeting important contacts who assisted them once they had returned home, and a few months later, two separate attendees bought homes here in Le Marche!"

The event takes place over five days in idyllic Le Marche, a much more diverse and humble region in Italy than Tuscany could ever be. This central Italian region is known for its breathtaking hilltop towns, friendly residents, a glittering seaside, and mysterious mountain ranges — all of which are home to a more authentic side to Italy. 

This five-day event allows you to discover this region and view homes for sale, living like a local at the same time. You will stay at a restored farmhouse, dine on organic Italian cuisine, meet realtors, lawyers, and fellow expats who will offer a truthful insight into life in Italy. It is an honest, informative, and humorous workshop that aims to arm you with the tools and information needed before embarking on your Italian adventure. There is no expectation that you commit to buying a property during this trip, but you will walk away with plenty of insider knowledge and some new friends.

Four-course evening meals (with wine!) are all part of the experience

What you can expect during the Move to Italy retreat:

  • Unwind at a 17th-century farmhouse in the hills of Le Marche
  • Meet trusted real estate agents & view houses for sale
  • Learn all of the legalities during a seminar with an expert property lawyer
  • Get the facts around renovations from Davide, Gary & their geometra
  • Gain advice from fellow expats who moved to Italy
  • Dine on delicious, organic Italian food during breakfast, evening aperitivo & four-course evening meals with wine

What past guests are saying about the Move to Italy retreat:

“The retreat exceeded our expectations. We learned an incredible amount in a short space of time, got a real sense of the region, the people and the way of life. A real bonus was the huge amount of fun we all had in the process.”

— Adrienne & Michael, South Africa

“This was a fantastic experience! The venue was beautiful, the food was brilliant and the company was great. Gary and Davide were excellent hosts and I would have no hesitation in recommending anyone who is interested in buying in Italy to go on this retreat.”

— Peter & Linda, Northern Ireland

“Not only did we learn everything we need to know on the logistical side, but Davide and Gary also really took care to show us how incredibly special this region is. These two are true gems who I can’t recommend highly enough.”

— Seneca, France

Next available dates

May 1-5, 2024
May 5-9, 2024
May 9-13, 2024

Spaces are limited to ten people only, so sign up now to reserve your spot. There’s even a special offer for Italy Magazine readers, who can save €100 per person. Taking action on your dolce vita dream starts now!

Ed.: This article was amended in January 2024 with updated retreat information.