Hi Everyone,My husband and I are

11/12/2014 - 12:00

Hi Everyone,My husband and I are planning to retire in Sicily in a few years.  We are looking at places to buy in Giardini-Naxos.  We have visited a few times and we would definately rent for a while first.   I have many cousins who live on the island in Francofonte and I also have dual citizenship (USA and Italy), that I think will make purchasing property and living there a little easier.  But I am hoping to find other expats who live in Sicily and find out what, if any, struggles or difficulties they have encountered.  I would love to learn from your experiences.  Thank you!



Ciao Cannoli!What a wonderful project/idea to retire to Sicily. I'm an Australian expat living in Sicily, in the province of Messina and I can say Sicily is a great place to retire, Giardini is so near Taormina you can go up everyday if you want and there will always be many expats around and the social/cultural life will be great for you. Giardini is a great little town but can get hectic and muggy in the summer. Be sure to do all of your research, get some legal advice and find an honest geometra/avvocato to help you in Sicily, perhaps you can ask your relatives to reccomend someone.Be sure to test the waters as nothing will prepare you for living in Sicily as it is completely different from visiting.I recently wrote a post about making the move to Sicily which might be helpful: http://unwillingexpat.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/dont-move-to-sicily/Good luck with everything and be sure to drop me a line ...Rochelle Del BorrelloBlogger on http://unwillingexpat.wordpress.com/ and Expat living in Sicily

Hi Cannoli Girl,First problem could be too much cannoliwink!  It is always hard to reply to this kind of questions as it depends a lot on your expectations. It is also quite easy to fall into stereotypes and generalisation about places and people.It also depends on the area you choose, Giardini is in a nice location, not far from Catania (with theatres, cinemas, museums, markets, restaurants, shops, etc) and Catania's airport, Etna, Taormina and the Alcantara river. Rochelle is right that it gets busy in the summer though. In any case, I think you are planning the move in a smart way, rent a house first, live here for a while to see if you like it and take advantage of this initial period to improve your language skills and make new friends. We did the same when we moved back to Sicily 10 years ago and we are still here. If you decide to buy a property then you can have a look at the following articles for advice: https://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/six-things-consider-buying-property-italyhttps://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/buying-property-italy-part-onehttps://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/buying-property-italy-part-2https://www.italymagazine.com/news/restoring-property-italy-useful-tips-vocabulary

Thank you both for your insight and suggestions.  The article links were especially helpful and I appreciate you both taking the time to post your comments.  I understand it’s difficult to advise someone you know little about, so here’s my story. All four of my grandparents were born in Sicily and that’s how I acquired dual citizenship.  At the time, I didn’t have any plans to use it; it just felt like an important thing to do.  Next, I decided to see if I could locate relatives.  I knew some of my ancestors immigrated to Melbourne, Australia and owned a winery, others came to the USA (my branch of the family), while many more stayed on the island.  I Googled my way to a news article about wineries near Melbourne and stumbled across an interview with a fellow who said he emigrated from a small village in Sicily.  I took a chance and emailed the winery and it turned out they were, in fact, my family.  They provided me with the name and address of a cousin in Sicily to whom I wrote a letter.  Just two weeks passed before I got a response and we began corresponding.A few months later my husband and I went to Sicily.  We explored the Taormina area and fell in love with Giardini-Naxos.  I felt at home, at peace, and very comfortable in a way that’s hard to explain and unlike I’ve felt on any of our previous trips to Europe.  Next, we rented a car and drove an hour and a half to meet my cousins who live in the country.  To our surprise, we were warmly greeted by 25 cousins, a welcome home party, a 5-course meal, and an invitation to stay with them, which we did for several days.  Much of that time was spent looking through old photo albums, working on the family tree, and visiting cemeteries.  Of course, there was also lots of eating and drinking!  I cried when it was time to say goodbye.  Now I am obsessed with going back.In five years I will retire from federal employment and my husband will retire from state employment.  We don’t want to stay in Oregon and watch the moss grow.  We want to live near the beach but Southern California and Hawaii are too expensive for us.  We are also ready for an adventure, a change of environment, and a different way of life, so we’ve decided on Giardini-Naxos.  After much contemplation and some research, we are thinking that a small 2 or 3 level home would be ideal.  This way, we can live on one floor, have one for visiting family and friends, and possibly rent to tourists to supplement our retirement income.  This, and a terrace for gardening, would keep us occupied and content, I think. The articles warn readers about the bureaucracy there.  I have no doubt its bad but this is a problem where we live now and at least there we will have better weather and food.  Case in point, just last week I spent 40 very frustrating minutes on the phone with my credit union trying to get them to divulge my member number.  Regardless of all the passwords, security questions, mother’s maiden name, account number, social security number, etc., that I gave them they said they are not authorized to give me that information.  The purpose for the call was because they upgraded their online banking website and first time users to the new system must enter a member number.  Their website read “If you don’t know your member number, please give us a call.”  After trying various menu options, being put on hold three times, and receiving poor customer service at its best,  the woman on the phone gave me a number to call where someone could help me.  It was the same number I called to get her.This is one example, but similar scenarios are common whenever dealing with the post office, utility companies, or government agencies.  We’ve dealt with unscrupulous real estate agents and merchants,  ridiculous property covenants, and found that renting a car or boat here is way more complicated than it was in Sicily.  As government employees, both my husband and I can attest to the fact that incompetence, inefficiency, and nepotism are alive and well in the United States.  There is a high level of homelessness, crime, and drug problems here and we rank much lower than Italy in health care, according to the World Health Organization.I could be completely wrong and in for quite a shock, which is why I am more than willing to listen to your advice and  plan to rent for six months to a year before committing.  I’m hoping that citizenship and family will make the adjustment a little easier and although my cousins are anxious to help, they cannot know what it’s like to be an expat there.Thank you!