Pros and cons of Italy as a favourite expat destination

Pros and cons of Italy as a favourite expat destination

Pros and cons of Italy as a favourite expat destination

The real Italy isn’t exactly how it’s portrayed in American movies, but it’s a favourite destination for expats looking for history, culture, spectacular natural beauty, iconic remnants of ancient civilisations and an appreciation of romance and music unequalled in the whole of Europe.

As do all major world countries, Italy has its faults as an expat destination, but they’re compensated beyond belief by its advantages. The Italians themselves are as unique as their country, incredibly social and proud of their heritage including its delicious cuisine and wines. English is spoken in the major cities but, for expats looking to a rural retreat, learning the Italian language is essential. Luckily, it’s one of Europe’s easiest and most musical tongues and can actually be fun to learn.

The overall cost of living depends largely on expats’ choice of location, with Rome, Milan and other major tourism hubs on the expensive side and lesser-known towns affordable on a basic pension. For expats looking to cook their favourite Italian dishes, many quality ingredients will be far cheaper than in the home country as well as far fresher. If boiling an egg represents your culinary skills, Italy’s trattorias and local cafes are a dream come true for their local specialities and all-time favourites. Unfortunately, the cost of utilities such as gas, electricity and fuel is high, while service from providers is scrappy at best, and all imported goods are overpriced due to import taxes.

For expat families with very young children, pre-school reading and writing classes begins at the age of three. Public education comes for free and includes a well-rounded curriculum including history, the arts and science, and school meals are nutritious and varied. In general, international schools are reputable but are also very expensive. Once a child gets to secondary school level, the curriculum changes to holistic, meaning older kids can be taught the subjects in which they’ve most interest even although this choice can affect future degree studies.

Public transport in Italy is inexpensive and more reliable and safe than its reputation would suggest, even although punctuality isn’t its strongest point. These days, finding a position is harder than in the past as thousands of Italian university graduates hit the jobs market every year. Expats determined to work in the country are best advised to find a job before they leave the home country. One serious downside of this fascinating country is its frustrating, confusing and long-drawn-out bureaucracy, with expats urged to use a lawyer wherever possible!

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