Moving to Italy from the US

Considering moving to Italy? Le mie congratulazioni (congratulations)!

You’ll love living in this beautiful, culturally fascinating country that dates back thousands of years, and comes with some of the best food, fashion, and art on the planet.

Whether you’re moving to Italy alone, or moving to Italy with a family, we’ve got you covered – right through from healthcare to where you should live.

We can also offer you free quotes for shipping your possessions. If you fill in this form, you can see how much moving your life to Italy would cost.

The ruins of Taormina Theater in Sicily

Sicily's Ancient Taormina Theatre and pretty mountains will blow you away

7 quick facts about Italy

  • Italy only unified as a country in 1871, making it technically younger than the US
  • There are more UNESCO World Heritage sites here than in any other country
  • It surrounds the smallest nation on Earth, the Vatican City, which is 0.19 square miles
  • The average Italian eats 23.5 kg of pasta per year – 2.6 times more than Americans
  • The Gregorian calendar, used in most of the world, was created in Italy
  • Italians drink two to three cups of coffee per day, on average
  • Italian musician Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the piano

Cost of shipping to Italy from the US

We’ve calculated the average international shipping rates for some of our most sought-after journeys from major US cities to popular destinations in Italy.

Bear in mind these are estimates only. If you’d like a more accurate idea of how much shipping to Italy will cost you, just pop your details into this form, and our suppliers will get back to you.

RouteCostDuration
New York to Napoli$91613.4 days
Houston to Civitavecchia (near Rome)$1,37518 days
Los Angeles to La Spezia$3,28026.3 days

Please note: these container shipping costs exclude typical add-ons such as door-to-door delivery, professional packing/unpacking, and basic insurance cover. Our shipping suppliers normally incorporate these services into their prices, so expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.

The rates are sourced from iContainers.com, and are based on the port-to-port transportation of a 20ft container of used furniture worth £41,056 ($56,400) – the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance).

The durations are sourced from Searates.com.

This information was last updated in October 2021.

Cost of flying goods to Italy from the US

While air freight is undoubtedly faster than other methods, it’s also 12-16 times more expensive than shipping your possessions, according to the World Bank – and in this specific case, shipping could save you up to $584.

RouteCostDuration
New York to Rome$1,5008 hours
Houston to Milan$1,17010 hours
Los Angeles to Rome$1,47512 hours

These rates are sourced from Shipa Freight.

They’re based on the airport-to-airport transportation of 500 kg of household goods, worth $56,400, from New York, Houston, and Los Angeles to Rome and Milan.

The durations are sourced from Searates.com.

boats in a bay in Portofino, Liguria, Italy

This beautiful bay is in Portofino, in the north-west region of Liguria

Healthcare in Italy

The country’s universal healthcare system, the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), is available to citizens and foreign-born residents.

This taxpayer-funded program makes Italy’s healthcare the 9th-best in the world, according to a 2018 study published in The Lancet and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

You can access services like medical tests, surgeries, medications, visits to the family doctor, and specialist treatments, though you’ll need private insurance to cover areas like dentistry and psychology.

It may be worth taking out a private policy anyway, since out-of-pocket payments make up twice as much of healthcare costs, at 23.6%, as they do in the US, where 10.8% of your costs will be out of pocket.

If you want to learn more about the system, check out our guide to Healthcare in Italy.

Before your big move to Italy, it’s wise to consider whether you’ll need medical cover for when you’re out there.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Cigna for private medical insurance in Italy. With four levels of annual cover to choose from and extra modules for more flexibility, Cigna will sort you out with a plan that suits your needs.

Start building a customised plan with a free quote to protect your most important assets – you and your family.

Cost of living in Italy

Good / serviceAverage cost
A pint of beer$5.20
A monthly gym subscription$53.14
1 gallon of gas$0.47
A bottle of wine $5.78
1 litre of milk$1.32
A loaf of bread$1.80
12 eggs$3.22
Single ticket on public transport$1.73
1-bedroom flat monthly rent$592
3-bedroom flat monthly rent$1,005

(Data sourced from Numbeo)

Transferring money to Italy

Speaking of living costs, if you’re thinking of moving to Italy, you’ll probably need to convert some of your savings into euros.

However, it’s best to avoid using high street banks for this process, as you’ll usually have to pay high fees, and you won’t get the best exchange rate.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Wise, an online international money transfer service which uses the real exchange rate, and charges low fees. How much could you save? Well, this service can be up to 8x cheaper than high street banks.

Join more than 7 million people and start using Wise today.

Working in Italy

Italy punches above its weight, with the 8th-biggest GDP (gross domestic product) in the world despite being 71st in terms of size.

It’s also perfectly located in the centre of Europe – but still just a short plane ride away from the US.

Getting a work visa for Italy

It’s relatively easy to secure a visa to work in Italy. You’ll need to apply for a work visa (Nulla Osta), and your employer in Italy will need to secure you a work permit.

At various points in this process, you and your employer will require some or all of the following documents:

  • A copy of your employment contract
  • Your application for a work visa
  • Your passport, which must contain at least two blank pages and be valid for at least three months after the visa is set to end
  • Passport pictures
  • Proof you have enough money to support yourself in Italy
  • Proof you have a place to stay in Italy
  • Proof you’ve paid the visa fee
  • Evidence of your academic and professional qualifications

Your work visa may last anywhere between three months and two years initially, but can be renewed for up to five years.

You must apply for a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) within eight working days of arriving in the country.

You can pick up an application kit at one of 14,000 post offices (Poste Italiane), before dropping off your completed forms at any of the 5,332 accepted locations.

And within 20 days of having received a residence permit, you must go to your local Vital Statistics Bureau office (Anagrafe) to apply for your certificate of residence (Certificato di Residenza).

If you’re planning on staying in Italy for longer than 12 months, you have to sign an integration agreement in which you promise to take classes and pass tests on the Italian language, culture, and civil structure.

If you fail to satisfactorily complete the course, you’ll be expelled.

Average salary in Italy

The average salary in Italy is €27,997 ($32,300), according to OECD figures from 2020.

However, 2020 marked the first serious drop in that number for decades. Italy should quickly recover to its pre-pandemic average salary, which was a higher €29,828 ($34,500).

Income tax in Italy

There are three levels of personal income tax in Italy: national, regional, and municipal.

The national income tax is collected on a progressive basis, with a total of five bands, according to PwC.

This is the current breakdown:

Income bandTax rate (%)
€0 - €15,00023
€15,001 - €28,00027
€28,001 - €55,00038
€55,001 - €75,00041
€75,001+43

You’ll only be charged on the money you make in Italy, so don’t worry about paying the Italian government for income you gain on the other side of the Atlantic.

Your income may also be taxed by your regional and municipal governments, though the exact percentages depend on where you live.

Your regional income tax rate will be anywhere from 1.23% to 3.33%, while your municipal tax rate will range from zero to 0.8%.

Job-hunting in Italy

If you need to find a job in Italy before you move, there are lots of sites you can use to seek out that perfect role.

Look through expat employment specialists Xpat Jobs and expat.com, before moving on to job-finding giants like Indeed and Reed.

Climate in Italy

Italy is home to several different climate zones, but all of them are relatively mild, with an average temperature of between 52°F and 61°F.

You can expect cooler winters – though it rarely gets below 30°F – and hot summers, though the thermostat usually stays around 80°F to 90°F.

In cities with a more tropical climate, like Genoa, Milan, and Venice, you’ll experience hotter, wetter summers that feature frequent thunderstorms, as well as more humidity year round.

In any case, you’ll have plenty of time to soak up the sun. Italian cities enjoy around 2,000 to 3,000 hours of sun per year – the same range as Atlanta, Detroit, and Louisville.

Does it snow in Italy?

Yes, it snows in Italy – in fact, it snows so often that the country boasts around 300 ski resorts.

Most of these are in northern Italy, in the Alps, but there are dozens of resorts scattered around the country, wherever the mountains are high enough to receive regular snow.

Most cities experience some snow every year, but generally not in such volume that it disrupts daily life – unless you live near the Alps.

The best places to live in Italy

There are plenty of beautiful, interesting towns and cities to live in across Italy. Rome and Milan usually dominate the discussion – for good reason – but there are lots of other excellent places worth consideration.

Rome: best for work

Predictably, Italy’s capital is your best bet for finding a new job, dollars to doughnuts.

Unlike in many countries, living in the capital doesn’t mean paying inflated prices, plus it plays host to more big companies’ headquarters than any other city.

And it doesn’t hurt that there are countless ways to enjoy spending your hard-earned cash, from world class restaurants and museums to soccer matches and nightclubs.

And unlike many major cities, Rome has many green spaces where you can relax and recharge, such as the gorgeous Villa Aldobrandini and the stunning Parco degli Acquedotti.

There are even multiple beaches located just an hour from the city centre. Perfect.

Milan: best for students

This centre of fashion, design, and modern architecture has four of the top 13 universities in Italy, according to The Times.

There’s no better place in the country to appreciate art, thanks largely to Leonardo da Vinci, but also because of contemporary museums like the Museo del Novecento and Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea.

And don’t worry, there’s also plenty of less distinguished fun for students to have here, with Navigli in the south of the city currently holding our award for best neighbourhood in Italy for nightlife.

Florence: best for families

Tuscany’s capital is the best city for your little expats to receive a fantastic education, from kindergarten all the way through to graduation.

There are plenty of awe-inspiring and culturally fascinating areas to explore as a family as well, largely due to increasing efforts to create pedestrian areas in the centre of the city.

You can also enjoy the multitude of playgrounds and parks in Florence – and we’d recommend taking weekend breaks to appreciate the delightful, endless greenery of Tuscany that surrounds the city.

Next steps

You’re now prepared to enjoy all the wonders that Italy has to offer – from its magnificent beaches and architectural creations to its delicious food and universal healthcare system.

You can take the next step by filling in this form for free shipping quotes from trusted specialists, who can move your belongings to your new home.