Italy is a dream destination for a number of aspiring expats thanks to the nation’s iconic culture and amazing food.
However, while Italy enjoys abundant sunshine and is famed for its beauty, there are some things about the nation that you should consider before making the decision to move there.
Many expats are likely to find that the cost of living in Italy can be comparatively high. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive countries in the EU.
This is especially true in the popular northern cities of Milan, Florence and Venice where prices for a two person meal in an average restaurant can easily run as high as €75.
Consumer goods such as phones, electronics and household appliance can also be rather costly in Italy due to most goods being imported, although the recent strength of the Euro has helped to alleviate this somewhat.
On top of this, combined costs of social security, income tax and other indirect taxes can greatly lower your effective income.
Meanwhile, property can also be quite expensive in Italy, with the smaller size of many older Italian homes meaning that buyers often pay more per square metre, even in the cheaper regions. Not to mention that many older properties can require extensive repairs and restoration work after years of neglect.
However, those who are content to just rent may find that accommodation in Italy is actually quite reasonably priced, with average rent being 33% lower across Italy than it is in the UK.
If you’re thinking of moving to Italy for work, you may find that you encounter some difficulties in actually securing employment. Europe’s third largest economy was hit hard by the financial crisis and is still in the process of recovering.
It is partly because of this that the rate of unemployment remains stubbornly high in Italy, with the jobless rate still holding at over 11% despite an uptick in economic growth in recent years.
A working knowledge of Italian is also essential for almost all sectors of the labour market in Italy, apart from teaching English and some areas of IT, so be sure to know how to negotiate your stipendio and what ore lavorative are expected from you before you begin your search.
Not only this but expats -particularly those who are younger- may find themselves passed over by some employers, due to Italian employers historically favouring older locals, whose experience and local knowledge usually wins out in Italy’s competitive labour market.
Meanwhile, non-EU citizens may find it extremely difficult to obtain a work visa and you may find yourself rejected entirely if your area of expertise is not in demand, with the tourism, motor vehicles and textiles industries being some of the key employers in Italy if you have the right skills.
Also worth noting is that wages in Italy are often quite a bit lower than other neighbouring countries in Europe. For instance, the average Italian monthly salary is €1,355, 41% lower than France’s average of €1,919. So don’t be surprised to learn that you may be paid comparatively less than what you earned back home.
Due to Italy’s location as the meeting point of the Eurasian and African tectonic plates the country is often subject to considerable seismic activity, which has resulted in a number of deadly earthquakes in recent years, with the most recent occurring in January.
The earthquakes in Italy have also played havoc on many of many of Italy’s older properties, with some rural villages becoming ghost towns after earthquakes made homes too dangerous to return to.
The small town of Castelluccio in the Umbrian countryside is just one example of this, with the town’s residents still not allowed to return even a year after the earthquakes that rocked central Italy last year.
The likelihood of earthquakes in central and southern Italy also means that home insurance can be often be more expensive in these regions, so you may still feel the knock on effects of Italy’s earthquakes even if you never personally experience one yourself.
Seismic activity in Italy also appears to have risen in recent years, with 9 quakes measuring over 5.0 on the Richter scale in the past decade alone, with some experts fearing that the number of large earthquakes in Italy could swell in the coming years as the Amatrice-Monte Vettore fault system continued to break into separate segments, making the country more susceptible to ‘cascading’ earthquakes, where one earthquake sets off a number of separate earthquakes in rapid succession.
However, with earthquakes being so common in Italy, newer buildings are designed to be resistant to seismic activity. The country’s emergency services are also well equipped to deal with quakes and their after effects so you’ll be in safe hands in the event that the country is hit by any notable seismic activity.
One final consideration to make when looking to relocate to Italy (or any other country) is how you will transfer your funds into the local currency.
One way to make this a little easier (and a lot more cost effective) is to use a reputable broker to handle the transfer rather than a bank.
With the help of the right provider you’ll be able to secure a more competitive exchange rate, avoid transfer fees and benefit from services that can be tailored to suit your personal requirements.
If you’re considering relocating to Italy in the near future, find out more about your currency transfer options.
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