Moving to Naples
Italians say that if Rome is Italy’s heart, then Naples is its soul. The southern city’s washing-strung streets and stylish teenagers cruising around on Vespas create perhaps the most enduring image of Italy as a whole.
Naples also has a darker side and has earned itself a global reputation for bloody Mafia wars, corruption, and prolific crime. But beneath its tarnished image lies a buzzing city with stunning architecture and characterful, generous residents.
If you can't wait to move to Naples, fill in this quick form to receive free quotes from trusted specialists for shipping your belongings to Italy.
Take one look at Naples from a high viewpoint, and you'll fall in love
With its population of four million people, Naples (Napoli in Italian) is the country's third-largest city, and is seen as the capital of not only the Campania region but of all southern Italy.
Although it suffered greatly during the first decade of this century, the city’s economy remains one of the biggest in the country.
The Port of Naples is also one of the most important shipping hubs worldwide and the city contains a NATO military command base.
The vast urban sprawl of the city hugs the crescent of the Bay of Naples and is loomed over by the brooding Mount Vesuvius, which last erupted in 1944. The city is also within striking distance of Pompeii and Herculaneum, two of the most important Roman archaeological sites in the world.
A high-speed ferry from the port will take you to the jewel-like islands of Capri and Ischia and the beguiling Amalfi Coast is an hour away by train.
With its hot Mediterranean climate, coastal location and singular culture, Naples has a lot to offer expats wishing to live somewhere other than Rome.
And then there’s the pizza. Invented in Naples and covered by its own legislation, the sublime Neapolitan margherita is reason enough to move to there.
Naples has a high unemployment rate, and the city is one of the poorer in the EU. Unless you are moving to Naples for your military career, you'll find intense competition for jobs.
The 2009 economic downturn caused the rate of working-age people with jobs to drop massively, leading to an exodus of young people to northern Italy.
Tourism, education, finance, and international business are the main job sectors open to foreigners (unless you are serving with NATO).
Expats wishing to work in the tourist industry will have more luck in nearby Sorrento, a major tourist destination on the coast.
Make sure you have a good grasp of Italian when competing for jobs in Naples.
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Can you still move to Italy after Brexit?
You can still live in Italy, though it’s a two-stage process to make your move permanent.
First, you need to successfully apply for a Long Stay visa. Fill in this form created by the Italian government to see whether you’re able to apply, then be prepared to pay €116 (£102) if you choose to go ahead with the application.
A Long Stay visa is available to anyone who’s moving for work, education, family reunification or adoption, retirement, or religious purposes – but they’re not permanent.
You’ll be allowed to stay in Italy for a specific length of time, depending on which of the above reasons applies to you. The length of visas varies from three months to two years.
If you want to stay in Italy for longer, you must apply for a residence permit at what’s known as an ‘immigration one-stop shop’ and a police station – in that order – within eight working days of arriving in the country.
You should be able to book your appointment at the one-stop shop online, depending on where your local one is.
If you’re moving for work, you’ll need an Italian employer to get you a work permit, at which point you can apply for a work visa – as long as Italy is allowing foreign workers in, and as long as the national quota hasn’t been filled up.
Ask your local Italian Embassy about the quota’s current state before you apply.
Before your big move to Naples, it's wise to think about medical cover for when you're out there.
That way, you'll be prepared when you arrive.
Like other southern Italian cities, the cost of living in Naples is much lower than in Rome, Milan and Florence. However, the average monthly salary is low, resulting in less purchasing power.
Renting in Naples is relatively cheap. You'll pay an average of €630-€1,080 (£550-£940) per month for a one to three-bedroom apartment in the city centre, according to Numbeo.
Outside the centre, a one-bedroom property is €430 (£370) per month, on average, while a three-bedroom will cost around €710 (£620) per month.
Groceries, eating out and transport are also much less than other major cities worldwide. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant will cost around €10 (£9) and a mid-range bottle of wine will be about €5 (£4).
The San Domenico Maggiore church is around 700 years old
Transferring money to Naples
If you’re thinking of moving to Naples, you’ll probably need to convert some of your British pounds into euros.
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Italian house prices have recovered since the Great Recession, as the economy at large has ticked upwards.
However, the property market in Naples was among the worst hit in Italy, and prices remain attractively low. This is good news for potential foreigner buyers and renters.
Neapolitans live in apartments and the city is surrounded by vast configurations of tower blocks. Property is more expensive the closer you get to the seafront and further afield to the exclusive Amalfi Coast.
A flat in the city centre costs around €3,900 (£3,380) per square metre, while you can expect to pay around €2,000 (£1,740) per square metre outside the centre.
Rental prices vary according to where you live, but are usually cheaper than other big Italian cities.
Finding a property in Naples can be complicated. Neapolitans generally dislike paying estate agency fees, and prefer to advertise in the local newspaper or simply by hanging a sign in the window.
It is advisable to spend some time in the city to secure accommodation. Having some knowledge of the language will also help when negotiating through the tangle of Italian bureaucracy.
Naples is a huge city that is divided into 30 quarters (quartieri), each contained within 10 administrative boroughs. Covering 4,200 acres, the city centre of Naples is the largest in Europe.
The city is served by a two-line metro system and a treno alta velocità (high speed train) from the enormous Napoli Centrale station will take you to Rome in just an hour and 10 minutes.
- Family Friendly: Pozzuoli, an area 24km to the west of the city centre that's near the Parco Regionale dei Campi Flegrei, and is connected with the city centre by Metro.
- Upmarket: Positano on the Amalfi coast is where you will find celebrities, fashionistas and wealthy jet-setters. Also check out Chiaia, a hillside enclave overlooking the bay where you can find wealthy northern Italians' summer homes.
- Hip and Trendy: You will find a buzzing night scene around the Piazza Bellini, or head to the area of Vomero for more laid-back bars and vintage music shops.
- Up and Coming: Santa Lucia, formerly the fishermen's quarter, has been regenerated with quiet residential areas. Also, Marano di Napoli is a small commune north east of the city that has seen massive investment in recent years.
Cost of moving
The shipping costs of moving to Naples vary from inside and outside mainland Europe. A 20ft container will cost around €1,650 (£1,430) from the major European cities such as London, Paris or Madrid.
From somewhere further afield such as New York, Dubai, Sydney, and Melbourne, you'll usually pay between €6,600 (£5,730) and €7,700 (£6,680).
Schools and education
Education in Italy is free from age three, up to and including university. The school system is divided into pre-school (kindergarten), primary, junior and secondary or high school. Children are not legally required to start school until age six.
Expat parents moving to Naples can choose to send their children to one of the 850 public schools, which are free to non-Italians, or to a private international school.
The International School of Naples is centrally located and offers tuition in English and Italian. Students work towards the American High School Diploma.
There is also a range of schools catering for the children of military personnel, including the Anglo-Italian School.
Naples has a number of higher education institutions, the most prominent being the University of Naples Federico II.
Founded in 1224, it is thought to be the oldest state university in the world. It is also one of the largest in Europe.
The university has 13 faculties and is rated highly in the QS Top University Rankings.
Ranking against the world
Naples has one of the largest economies in Italy, although the closure of a number of factories, unemployment, and corruption has dented the city's productivity over the years.
Throughout history, Naples has been a significant shipping and military hub.
The vast Port of Naples remains an important global sea gateway with the second-highest level of passenger flow in the world, after Hong Kong.
The city is also home to the NATO Allied Joint Force Command and a large number of military personnel from around the world.
It's also a UNESCO World Heritage site and City of Literature, due to its rich history and cultural legacy.
Compared to bigger cities like London and Rome, Neapolitans generally report higher crime and pollution levels, and poorer standards of health.
A day in the life
Nothing about Naples exudes calm, and daily life here can be frenetic.
Traffic is lawless, organised crime is a fixture, and the rubbish flutters around the streets alongside magnificent architecture and a shrine to the late Diego Maradona (which includes a hair from his head).
Naples is nothing but unique. Yet despite its reputation, expats often become fiercely loyal to the city and the warm-hearted Neapolitans, so maybe chaos is part of the city's charm.
A normal working day in Naples could start with you catching the Metro to work, grabbing an eye-wateringly strong shot of Neapolitan espresso as you go.
The traditional two-hour lunch break in much of southern Italy means that you may join the hundreds of workers who return home for spaghetti alla napoletana.
After work, you could head to the ancient pizza district located around the San Domenico Maggiore church for a traditional margherita and a bottle of Greco di Tufo wine, or simply people-watch with a cold beer in the Piazza Bellini.
You could then catch some live music and watch the sun set over the bay at the famous Arenile beach club. Beautiful.
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