Expat Italy

If you are looking for art, culture, warm and friendly people, great, food, architecture and so much more, only a few places in the world can deliver, however one of them is Italy. Italy truly has it all for anyone looking to settle down for a few months, several years or even a lifetime. For many American expats, Italy makes perfect sense for a home away from home. It has almost anything one can want from a country. For instance, for artists and those seeking inspiration, Italy offers some of the best and most renowned artworks. In addition, for those that are passionate about life, Italy has so much more than most countries including parts of the US. If you are looking to live and feel passion, check out Italy.


Italy’s climate is usually very comfortable for those seeking to have an outdoor lifestyle. There are three types of geographical regions that create three distinct climates. They consist of the Northern Alps which are cold and wet. During the winter time, the northern Alpine climate draws millions of people to enjoy many different winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. In fact, Italy has one of the best alpine regions in all of Europe, even hosting the 2006 winter Olympics in Torino (Turin).

While the wet and winter climate in the north might be great for some, if you are looking for mild to warm temperatures consistently year round, the central part of Italy will suffice. The central part of Italy is usually warm and mild with moderate amounts of humidity. One area that is extremely mild and a little drier than others is Tuscany. The climate of Tuscany makes it perfect for growing grapes for wine and delicious vegetables of all kind.

Going down to the southern part of Italy, the climate tends to be warmer and breezes generated by the Mediterranean Sea are very comfortable. Generally speaking the wettest month of the year for Italy is November, the driest is in July. The summer months can be very hot in some regions, especially when adding in the humidity. For instance, Rome is notoriously uncomfortable during the months of July and August. If you are a tourist during these months, you will notice far fewer Romans in the city, mainly due to no air conditioning in many flats; they all seek the comfort of the cooler climates on the coastline.


The government of Italy is a parliamentary republic. While it is known as having scrapped their constitution numerous times, generally speaking Italy is a very stable and safe place to live. For many expats, most people that travel throughout Italy will notice that wealth is much more prevalent in the north than the south. Places like Tuscany, Florence, Rome, Venice, Milan, etc will have a higher standard of living and usually be much safer and stable to live in. In areas of the south such as Sicily, Bari and Naples, you will find more poverty and unfortunately more crime. While corruption is seen as being significant in many areas of Italy, most expats unless starting a business should not have to worry about corruption influencing decisions.

For expats looking to live in Italy, one of the easiest ways to try Italy out is to live in Italy for a few short months. You can easily gain entry to Italy for 90 days with just an American passport. Many expats that stay for a longer period of time, leave the country to get their passport stamped and then return to Italy in which they can continue to stay for another 90 days. If you are interested in staying for a longer period of time or start a business, the process is usually straight forward and in most cases very doable. You can find out more information regarding the government of Italy at the Embassy of Italy in the United States. You can also contact the United States Diplomatic Mission to Italy.

Tax System

Italy has a notorious high tax rate; which puts it in the league of France and Germany. The top individual income tax rate is 43%. Since in many parts of the country the wages can be low, this tax rate may be perceived as higher than even in Germany and France, where historically high wages have been paid. For corporate taxes, expect a top rate of 33%. It should be noted that there may be specific programs throughout the country which lowers the tax rate for corporations that invest in certain areas of the country. You can contact the embassy for more information. Besides income taxes, there is also a value added tax (VAT), a tax on interest and even an advertising tax.

Medical Care

The medical care in Italy can vary by region. For instance, in the northern part of the country and in major cities such as Rome, Florence, etc medical care is extremely adequate with modern and clean facilities. As you venture into the southern area of Italy, the medical care tends to be less modern and the infrastructure tends to need an overhaul. Hospitals and clinics in the cities and towns in the south are usually less adequate, especially for westernized Americans.

For the most part, if you are employed by a company in Italy, they will provide you with health care. For most expats that are considered visitors, your best bet is to pay out of pocket at the many clinics that focus on foreigners. In addition, you can choose to purchase international travel insurance which in most cases covers serious illnesses, injuries and hospitalization. Many policies also include a medical evacuation clause, so if you become very ill, you can easily be transported to your home country. However, for the vast majority of expats, medical care is more than adequate, easily accessible and for the most part affordable in Italy.

Real Estate

If you are looking to buy or invest in Italy, for the most part it will be straightforward and will not take a long period of time to close. Property costs can be expensive in many areas, especially if you are looking to purchase real estate in major cities such as Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, etc. If you are looking to buy coastal property or a small cottage near the sea, the price can also be expensive, especially if it is located in the most popular areas.

For those that just want to rent an apartment in main cities, expect to pay around 800 to 1200 euros per month. In many cases much more. For most expats, living with a friend or a bunch of flat mates are a popular option In this case, your rent can cost as low as 300 euros per month, but in most cases will be more.

It should be noted that most flats for rent are not as modern or include amenities found in many American apartments, especially if the building you live in is old. Most flats are also much smaller than most expats are used to. For many Italians, a flat is only used for sleeping and to keep their belongings, for the most part, many Italians enjoy sitting in the cafe or at a park.


In Italy, you will find plenty of shopping available. Italy is known throughout the world for having wonderful boutiques and shops that carry special goods and that are on the cutting edge of fashion. Besides clothing, you can find practically anything your heart desires and there are many modern stores and malls throughout the country.

If you are a lover of food and wine, you will be in heaven in Italy. Italian food is some of the most popular throughout the world and while pizza and pasta are big specialties, you will also find fresh fruits and vegetables, delicious meats and cheeses and some of the best wine and spirits in the world.

If you are interested in entertainment, Italy will definitely excite you. There are plenty of clubs, nightlife, live music, street performers, museums, exhibitions, etc. You can spend a lifetime in Italy and still not see all of her treasures. If you are looking for a place that offers so much, Italy is definitely it.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Italy can be extremely expensive or very low depending on how you choose to live. Obviously if you are living in the major cities, expect your costs to be much more. Rent is perhaps most peoples largest expense, however if you love to eat and drink wine, this can easily eclipse it. If you choose to live in the southern part of Italy, wages are much lower and rents are more affordable as well. For expats that love Italy, but do not have enough resources, Southern Italy is a wonderful choice. Most expats can save 50% or more just by living in Southern Italy compared to a big city in Northern Italy.

For most expats, a salary of 2K to 3K will allow you to enjoy the majority of attractions in Italy, however if you love to shop, eat at the best restaurants and live in a fancy apartment, make sure you bring all your savings or have a very high paying salary.

Web Sites for Expats in Italy

The Informer

The Informer’s mission for the last 18 years has been to help expatriates settle into Italy and enjoy their lives here more by trying to resolve their problems, especially those to do with Italian bureaucracy.

Italy Country Guide

Country guide to Italy from ExpatForum.com.


AngloINFO provides the English-language information you need for life in Italy.

Extradition from Italy

The Extradition treaty between Italy and the United States of America was signed on October 13, 1983

This treaty was entered into force on September 2, 1984

Map of Italy