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Moving to Italy

World famous cuisine, breathtaking landscapes, vivacious culture, the list goes on - Italy, or “bel paese” is the ultimate place to rediscover your passion and taste for life. Standing out within the European Union for effortlessly combining la dolce vita with professional and family life, Italy increasingly attracts new residents to its shores and within. Accordingly, the Italian Government has made significant strides in both immigration and tax reforms to encourage foreign business and investment, stimulate its own economy, and maintain its position as a top global destination.   

For centuries, Italy and its endless blue coastline have stood at the crosswords of commerce and culture. It is a country overflowing with historic richness. Cities like Milan, Udine, Torino, Bologna, and Trento are top destinations for businesses and startups. Milan provides Italy with its metropolitan, international pulse. Rome remains the Eternal City, dense with history and a welcoming southern Italian-vibe. Florence invented banking almost a thousand years ago and continues to hold close her precious art and renaissance treasures. Venice and her canals still thrive along the Adriatic and within the imaginations of dreamers around the world.  

Italian Cities

Below we’ve compiled a quick overview of some of Italy’s most desirable cities for relocation.  

As the capital of Italy, Rome reigns supreme. Its seemingly endless boulevards and neighborhoods maintain something for every seeker, from the boisterous zone of Trastevere to the more sedate Piazza Navona and the long promenade of Via della Coronazione.

An international city, Rome, rightfully holds its own with other cosmopolitan cities around the world. You’re never at a loss for an international film or worldly cuisine – from street kebabs and fine French dining to Roman specialties like saltimbocca.  Distractions away from work are virtually unlimited and available all year long, from the Spanish Steps to the Pantheon, the Vatican Museum to the Coliseum. 

Rome also offers several co-working options for digital nomads and boasts a vibrant office culture as evidenced by the small armies of Italians in tailored suits. Tourism and hospitality are Roman mainstays. Apartments are plentiful, sure to fit your budget and timeframe. You’ll fit right in as soon as you can throw a euro down on the marble counter, order an espresso and drink it standing at the bar. 


Relocating to Italy

If you’re planning to be in Italy for a period of longer than 90 days, you’ll need to put your building blocks in place, starting with getting the right type of visa before you depart and signing a lease or buying a home.   

Relocating to Italy requires a clear immigration strategy and careful advance planning. Options exist if you know where to look but navigating Italian immigration bureaucracy can be a complex and time-consuming process, even for current residents and those who speak the language.  

Upon arrival, you may wish to purchase local cellular service, open a bank account, or lease an office space. A carta d’identità can be requested at the Anagrafe della Comune to use as an identification document. You will certainly need to apply for your permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay) at your local questura, and for your codice fiscale at the Agenzia dell'Entrate. If you intend to enroll in the Italian SSN (Sistema Sanitaria Nazionale, or healthcare system) or plan to put your children in local schools, you’ll first need a certificato di residenza from the Anagrafe della Comune. Remember, only qualifying Italian residences can be used as a basis for the certificato di residenza.  

Italian Immigration

Italian Visas

You may be able to enter freely as a tourist if you hold a passport from a country which maintains tourist visa reciprocity with Italy. Tourists visas last up to 90 days, but you won’t be able to work while under this visa.     To obtain work authorization in Italy, you must first apply for and receive a permit to stay (i.e. permesso di soggiorno). After you secure your residence permit, you become eligible for many benefits, including the ability to legally work. Possible Italian visas include categories for elective residency, representative-office (for starting a company in Italy) and self-employment visas in four categories:    

  • Officers and administrators of Italian companies  
  • Entrepreneurs 
  • Freelance professionals 
  • Founders of startup companies 

Italian Citizenship

There are three basic paths to Italian citizenship: qualifying Italian ancestry, marriage to an Italian citizen, or ten years of lawful Italian residency (with a permesso di soggiorno). 

Do you have Italian ancestry and interest in becoming an Italian citizen? Connect with an Italian dual citizenship expert to learn how you might qualify for an Italian passport, incurring no Italian tax liability unless you establish residency in Italy. Blood descendants do not need to verify Italian language proficiency either. If you have even one Italian great-grandparent, it’s well worth looking into.   

Spouses of Italian citizens, including same-sex spouses, are eligible to apply for Italian citizenship through marriage.  Individuals who do not have Italian heritage in their family tree must lawfully reside in Italy for at least ten consecutive years before becoming eligible to apply for Italian citizenship.  

Overall, there are many good reasons why you might be considering Italy as your next destination. We've outlined a few below and provided some insight into what to consider next:

As Italian cities brim with idyllic landscapes and Renaissance art, it’s the high quality of life and low cost of living which make buying a property seem like the next logical step. Be forewarned: purchasing real estate in Italy will open the door to a labyrinth almost impossible to navigate without a competent legal expert to support you throughout the process.  

Availability exists everywhere in the search for a new Italian address. However, one must be reminded, lawful immigration status in Italy depends on a certificato di residenza which is only obtainable on a residence which you are lawfully registered, whether rental or purchase.  

The Italian real estate market, for sale and rent, can easily be viewed in multiple languages on some major online real-estate platforms.   

It is suggested to first familiarize yourself with the market online and potentially shortlist options to visit in person. Also notable, renters enjoy many protected rights in Italy, and contracts come in a few basic formats as permitted under the law.  Home furnishings and linens are widely available and are of high quality throughout Italy, so there is no need to ship yourself a container of household goods. The sheets won’t fit, and your appliances will likely melt down or continuously throw your circuit breakers due to the higher voltage system.  

A Rich Culture  

Curious about Italian culture? Of course, it depends on which area of Italy you find yourself in – culture is all relative - but overall, you can expect Italians to be warm, welcoming, and patient. The pace of life is manageable and geared to the rhythms of meals, the workday or school day, family, friends, and refreshment.

At heart, Italy is a homogenous culture, and institutions and processes such as: enrolling in school or daycare, opening a bank account, or going to the post office or questura can feel confusing to new arrivals. You might question where all the friendly Italians went once you begin dealing with the immovable bureaucracy.

Italians tend to take setbacks and delays with a grain of salt. The attitude at large is: if it doesn't get done today, it will get done tomorrow, and tomorrow is almost always acceptable. In the meantime, feel free to have a coffee or a cocktail. This can feel especially frustrating for some people from other cultures where efficiency and meeting deadlines are highly valued.

Holidays and local festivals are important to Italians, and ferragosto - the two weeks of vacation in August - are sacrosanct. The settimana bianca, or white week, is a customary annual ski week held on the calendar in late January or in February. A handy proverb helps Italians remember some basic holiday planning rules: Natale con i tuoi, Pasquale con chi vuoi (Christmas with your family, Easter with whomever you wish).


Learn More About Italy

Relocating to a new destination is exciting and life changing. Find support in your journey through Relocate. Dig-deeper to read topic specific articles about Italy and connect with qualified Advisors who can help you navigate your personalized Italian immigration needs.

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