Living in Italy feels like a distant dream; Italian food is at your disposal, picturesque views from every angle, and a country rich with culture. The million-dollar question is how do you make your Italophile dreams come true? Get ready to pack your bags because we’re providing you with five necessary steps to make life in Italy your reality!
Get Your Visa
Arguably, the most vital part of planning your long-term residence in Italy is understanding the visa you will need to enter the country. Americans are allowed a duration of 90 days before further documentation is required to extend their stay (citizens of the European Union are also permitted a three-month stay until it’s obligatory to register yourself with the Italian government). There are several visa options and choosing the right one depends on your particular situation.
An important note - visas and any essential documents needed can take loads of time to be processed and approved, so give yourself an adequate length of time between applying and moving for all of this to take place. Dealing with Italian bureaucracy can be quite overwhelming, but keep your eye on the prize: living la dolce vita!
Find a Home and a Job
If you’re moving across the pond for work and your company is providing your housing then you’ve landed a sweet deal! However, this may not be a reality for most. Do some research to find a home that suits your needs while abroad and look into the kinds of jobs available to you. Perhaps your degree or position transfers over seamlessly. Employment opportunities can be much different in Italy than in America and the job market can vary throughout the country. Investigate if supporting yourself abroad is possible or necessary for a period of time and don’t forget to scope out an apartment to put a roof over your head!
Pack Your Bags
Of course, a trusty suitcase (or three) is required to bring your precious belongings safely to your destination. Something to keep in mind - don’t over-pack. Surely, many personal items will accompany you in your new home. Otherwise, a shocking, hefty fee will arise when checking your baggage at the airport. Similarly, inquire ahead of time about the permitted weight of your bag(s).
Also, Italy has everything you need and typically at a more reasonable price. It’s recommended to purchase any missing essentials once you arrive. Save your euros for bowls of pasta and endless gelato!
Do Your Homework
When going to a new country, there are particular things you won’t want to forget to bring with you that are often overlooked. Our first recommendation is to purchase an outlet/travel adapter. Your American cords will plug into one side of this little necessity, and the opposite end will plug into the Italian outlets, (which are shaped differently from those in America, thus making our prongs an ill fit.) Secondly, stay informed of the dollar to Euro exchange rate. Italy uses the euro for currency, and while many cities might accept American credit or debit cards, it’s good to be aware of the local currency. As much as you can feel prepared, remember to be open-minded to new experiences and customs - that’s why you’re moving to Italy after all!
Immerse Yourself in the Language
Before your departure, try to learn the language or at least common words and phrases that will be of great assistance upon arrival. While the best way to learn a language is through full immersion, there are still some things you can do to prepare for a country whose native tongue is not your own. Watching movies or TV shows in Italian is a great way to absorb new words, similar to adding subtitles to your English-speaking shows. Add Italian music to your favorite playlists and the lyrics will soon be on repeat in your head! Using a language learning app on your phone is another great tool. Some are even free and allow you to chat with individuals who speak the language you’re trying to conquer.
Sarah Talarico is a writer at heart, with a deep passion for all things Italian. Much of her writing inspiration comes from her Italian American roots that trace back to her father’s beloved hometown in Calabria. Southern Italy holds a special place in her heart, right next to homemade sauce and cappuccini. Sarah has a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and English and a desire to use her writing skills to share the timeless charm of Italy and that ‘dolce far niente’ feeling. In her downtime, she finds joy in filling the plates and seats at her dining room table.