Moving to Italy from the US
Are you ready to savour la dolce vita (the sweet life) in Italy? Living in Italy will give you a culturally rich life filled with mouthwatering cuisine, world famous art and architecture, wonderful wines and a romantic atmosphere. The quality of life is relaxed and enjoyable, and Italians are warm and friendly – so before long you will feel right at home.
Popular Italian cities vs US cities
Perhaps the rolling hills and vineyards of Tuscany might remind you of the Napa Valley in California. Venice, California has the canals and artistic vibe of its Italian namesake. However, there are no cities in America that have the ancient ruins and historic architecture that most Italian cities have. It’s an ancient country with a very different heritage, so it’s hard to compare the two!
Becoming an Italian citizen
There are a few ways that you can become an Italian citizen – having an Italian parent, marrying an Italian citizen or through naturalization. Since Italy is a member of the European Union, once you become an Italian citizen you can live anywhere in Europe.
If you have married an Italian you will need to legally reside in Italy for a period of at least two years before you qualify for citizenship. However, there is no need to speak Italian or pass any tests. Also, if you have been employed in the service of the Italian Republic for at least 5 years you won’t require a period of legal residence.
Also, if you are a non-EU citizen and you have lived in Italy for ten years, you may apply for citizenship. When applying for Italian citizenship, you will need to provide a lot of paperwork including your birth certificate, a criminal record check, copy of your passport, copy of your residence permit and much more. You can see a detailed outline of the process on the official government website.
Italy has the ninth largest economy in the world, however it’s and competition for jobs can be quite high. If you have the right skills, experience and connections then you will be able to find work opportunities. In fact, in some ways the economy in Italy is better than in the USA. Networking is the best way to find a job in Italy – it’s more about who you know than what you know.
Northern Italy produces around 75% of the country’s wealth, and the majority of jobs are found within the industrial sector where there’s an abundance of private companies. Farming and architecture is more popular in southern Italy. The services sector also dominates the economy in Italy with retail sales, wholesale and transportation. Some of the major industries in Italy include fashion, chemicals, food processing, iron and steel and textiles. English as a foreign language teachers are also in high demand in Italy, especially in the large towns and cities.
House prices and renting
Rent is more expensive in America than in Italy. For example, the average cost of a one bedroom apartment in a city centre in Italy is $619 compared with $1,188 in America.
House prices in Italy have been declining for around seven years, whereas average salaries have increased by more than 2% in the last year making it one of the best countries to buy property overseas. US buyers might find them quite affordable compared to prices in America. The Italian property market is recovering, but it still has a lower growth than the European average so it’s a great time to buy property!
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The state provides free education for all students, from nursery school to university. State education is also free for children of foreigners living in Italy, whether or not they are registered residents. School is compulsory from 6 to 16 years of age.
Scuola Elementare (elementary school) lasts for five years and is preceded by three years of kindergarten which is non-compulsory. Secondary education lasts for 8 years and is divided into Scuola Secondaria di Primo Grado and Scuola Media Inferiore. Italian universities are excellent and are among the oldest in the world. Many of the universities are state supported.
Italy is home to thousands of years of culture, from the ruins of ancient Rome to Michelangelo’s David to the modern art galleries and fashions of Milan. Within the halls of the Vatican you’ll find a dazzling wealth of treasures from throughout the ages – including the iconic Sistine Chapel. Also, don’t miss the Borghese Gallery in Rome, a 17th century villa home to works by some of the greatest artists including Raphael, Caravaggio and Bernini.
Other notable galleries in Italy include the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Gallery of the Academy of Florence, the National Gallery of Umbria, The Academy Gallery in Venice and many more.
Food and drink
Mouthwatering pizzas with fresh toppings and crisp thin crust, rich pastas made with flavourful sauces, juicy risotto, olive oil and vegetables, sweet and silky gelato – you’ll want to feast every day when you live in Italy. Italy is known throughout the world for its superb cuisine. Cuisine is considered an art, and Italians are proud of their culinary tradition.
Often the American interpretations of Italian dishes are heavy on the meat and cheese, so you might be surprised to find that the traditional food here is quite light, fresh and healthy. It is bold and satisfying without being too heavy, and it relies on locally grown produce, herbs, spices and meats.
Keep in mind that the dinner is often eaten quite late, usually after 8pm. If you’re in a restaurant earlier than this, you are likely to be eating on your own. It’s common to see families dining until after 10pm, even with young children.
Italy has a rich and exciting nightlife. Some of the most vibrant nights out can be had in the university cities such as Rome, Naples, Bologna and Milan. The bars usually open around 9pm and stay open until the early hours of the morning. In the summer months there is a great beach bar scene in locations such as Grado and Rimini. There are also excellent open air concerts throughout the summer in Rome, Verona, Venice, Florence and other cities.
The LGBT nightlife scene is excellent, especially in the large cities such as Rome and Milan. There are also a few laid back beach destinations that have great gay nightlife scenes,such as Gallipoli, Catania, Torre del Lago and Taormina. The Gay Pride festival in Rome takes place in June.