La Dolce Vita Means "the sweet life..." and Life Gets no Sweeter Than in Sunny Italy
Italy has a staggering amount to offer travelers...and residents. Romantic cities. Timeless hill towns. Snowy mountains, idyllic islands, and a rivetingly beautiful coastline. Plus, outside the major cities, homes start at a mere $50,000—or less.
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View Italy in a larger mapFast Facts about Italy
View Italy in a larger map
Capital City: Rome
Climate: Predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south
Time Zone: GMT+1
Country Code: 39
Coastline: 7,600 km
Location: Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the central Mediterranean Sea
Read more articles about Italy Below
The Israeli city of Tel Aviv begins its three-day Taste of the City festival on May 1. Fine-dining establishments serve free portions and chefs line the streets offering local delicacies like malabi—a creamy pudding flavored with rose water. Saint Lucia Jazz is the most anticipated musical event in the Caribbean calendar and runs from the start of the month until May 12.
- Three Little-Known Havens in Italy, France and Spain
Posted on April 17, 2013 by Steenie Harvey
If you’re in love with classic Europe and its history, romance and culture, take heart: Spain, Italy and France aren’t only for the vacationer who saves for months just to visit. Each one of these three countries has numerous small towns and villages that lie under the radar—places with enticingly affordable properties to rent or buy
Rome is packed with art, but while most visitors queue to visit the Borghese Gallery or the Vatican museums, there are spectacular collections you can have all to yourself. The grand palaces of Rome’s noble families were built—and decorated—during the Renaissance.
Most people have to work for a living. And only a fortunate few get out of bed each day excited to go to the office. It’s sad how many Americans are unhappy with their job. In fact, I used to be one of them. Then everything changed in one day. Thanks to America’s Great Recession, I was called into HR and terminated. Immediately. “Stop what you’re doing and pack your things,” I was told.
About a year ago, we sold our home and began a new chapter in our lives in northern Italy. We rented an elegant two-bedroom apartment one block from our favorite lake, Maggiore, for just under $1,000 per month. Verbania, Italy, where we live, is home to about 31,000 people. It sits on the western shore at the southern end of the long lake, which snakes up into Switzerland. An esplanade skirts the lakefront, with cafes and bars galore.
Each summer, my husband and I perch ourselves on the house’s upper terrace and gaze out at the valley below. Shimmering there in the heat is Florence. It thrills us that beneath the haze lies a trove of Renaissance treasures: Michelangelo’s David… Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome… Botticelli’s Venus, standing tall and tranquil on her scalloped sea shell. In just 20 minutes we can be down there…
As the day begins and the sun turns the snow-capped peaks of the Alps to gold, my husband Dave and I take a leisurely stroll. With our little dog Magic, we walk along the lake front to our favorite café, where for $4 we enjoy steaming cappuccinos and fresh buttery croissants. Our dog is welcome everywhere here, in cafés and restaurants, on buses, ferries, and trains.
- The “Sweetness of Doing Nothing” in the Hills of Florence
Posted on December 20, 2012 by Barbara Diggs
Forty years ago, long before Under the Tuscan Sun was a twinkle in Frances Mayes’ eye, my parents-in-law bought a 14th-century stone house on a woodsy Tuscan hillside just outside the city of Florence. The foundation of the house dates back to the Roman period and the jagged bits of stone wall found on the lower terrace, underlining a stretch of silver-hued olive trees, is Etruscan.
- Your Own Farmhouse in Italy (That Generates an Income)
Posted on December 11, 2012 by Valerie Fortney Schneider
When American Diana Strinati Baur and her husband, Michael Baur, started dreaming of living in Italy and owning a bed and breakfast, postcard-perfect images of la dolce vita and easy-going hospitality filled their heads and fueled their plans. “Fantasy is important,” says Diana. “Unless there is fantasy there will never be a reality. But there’s a time to let the fantasy go. It’s important to reckon with reality when doing a project like ours.”
In Tuscany, it can seem nigh on impossible to find a worthy sightseeing destination where you’re not elbow-to-elbow with fellow travelers. That’s part of what makes Certaldo such a treat. The masses often whizz by this stunning hilltop town in Chianti in their rush to visit nearby Siena or San Gimignano.
When American Diana Strinati Baur and her husband, Michael Baur, started dreaming of living in Italy and owning a bed and breakfast, the postcard-perfect images of la dolce vita and easy-going hospitality filled their heads and fueled their plans. The end result has brought them greater pleasure and more opportunities than they ever imagined.
In the part of Tuscany, Italy, known as the Val de Cecina, (“Valley of The Sea”), an hour’s drive southeast of Florence, there’s a privately owned Villa where I’ve taken some of my best and most saleable photographs of Tuscany. The early spring light held me captive there, for five days, one April a few years back.
Wondering if you can afford to retire in Italy? Well, you can. Although the popular areas of Rome, Florence, and Milan are admittedly expensive, not all regions are as unaffordable as you might expect. In rural areas and small towns, plenty of homes are available for less than $100,000. Often a lot less…
Italy: The Owner’s Manual will provide you with all the information you will need to turn your dreams of moving overseas into reality.
The ancient Romans painstakingly carved out some 250,000 miles of road across Europe, every inch of which led to their home city. So the phrase, “All roads lead to Rome” was actually true. These days, though, you’ll probably arrive in the “Eternal City” via the airport.
- Europe: Now More Affordable Than Ever for North Americans
Posted on August 22, 2012 by International Living
Right now, doom and gloom in Europe runs deep. But there is a story not being told…one of opportunity borne of this crisis. A story of places where you could own your own piece of the Old World…for less than half the price of a budget family sedan. In Greece and beyond—prices are falling like a rock. And for anybody who ever mused about a European retreat, that’s the silver lining.
Forget Florence and pass on Rome…when it comes to food in Italy go straight to the source. The country’s thousand-year-old culinary traditions are best appreciated in the regions, and here, going north to south, are four of the peninsula’s best spots. Founded by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, the riverside town of Bassano del Grappa is a warren of narrow cobbled streets.
“Ever since I was young I’ve always loved ancient Italian history and ruins. In fact, I was so drawn to Italian history that I remember seeking out Roman ruins on a trip to England,” says expat Cathy Powell. It’s only fitting, then, that Cathy eventually moved to Tuscania, a small town with deep Etruscan roots in the Lazio region of Italy.
It’s 6:30 a.m. and I’m out the door for my daily run along the winding mountain roads. Cowherds and their cattle pass me; they are on their way to new grazing grounds. The salt-water wind kisses my face as I make my way past ﬁelds of wheat and myrtle. After four years of running these roads, I no longer get strange looks. The locals are used to the crazy Canadian!
- A Gastronomic Tour of Italy’s Four Best Food Towns
Posted on July 26, 2012 by Valerie Fortney Schneider
Forget Florence and pass on Rome…when it comes to food in Italy go straight to the source. The country’s thousand-year-old culinary traditions are best appreciated in the regions, and here, going north to south, are four of the peninsula’s best spots. Founded by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, the riverside town of Bassano del Grappa is a warren of narrow cobbled streets. This is the place to sip the strong, clear, grape-derived brandy called grappa. It’s a sophisticated, fragrant moonshine distilled from the left-over skins, seeds, and pulp of wine grapes.
The rocky promontory that juts out into the Mediterranean south of Naples is dotted with cliff-clutching towns and rimmed by a nerve-wracking road with jaw-dropping views of impossibly-beautiful pastel villages and sapphire seas.
If money were no object, what would your dream retirement look like? This fall, we’ll show you where you can easily make that dream your reality…for $800 or less a month. Your own cottage on a quiet beach…an apartment in a city vibrant with concerts and cafés…a mountain villa where the air is crisp…
Making the decision to transplant ourselves to Italy was easy. Making the move to Italy itself was painless. Making ourselves at home was smooth and immediate. Making a living…well, that’s another beast. I’m not going to lie to you—working in Italy can be difficult. But it’s more than worth it.
Making the decision to transplant ourselves to Italy was easy. Making the move itself was painless. Making ourselves at home was smooth and immediate. Making a living…well, that’s another beast. I’m not going to lie to you—working in Italy can be difﬁcult. But it’s more than worth it.
Long before you reach the island, you’ll see the smoking cone of its volcano rising from the sea. Off the north coast of Sicily, the permanent cloud is a giveaway that you’re nearing Stromboli, one of the seven Aeolian Islands.
- Live Happily Ever After in the Italian Countryside
Posted on February 6, 2012 by Melissa Ruttanai
Ashley and Jason Bartner were beginning a new phase in their lives. The couple had planned to settle down and buy a home in New York, but during their honeymoon, exploring cozy cafés, cobblestone avenues, and seasonal fruit markets, they fell in love with Italy.
- From Italy with Love: Nine Ways to Fall for Florence
Posted on January 19, 2012 by Steenie Harvey
Together-forever partners. Passing fancies. Torrid affairs. Love comes in many guises— and Italy was made for amore. Yet although Florence is a love song to art and culture, it doesn’t ﬁt my idea of a romantic summer getaway.
The couple’s 300-year-old Italian farmhouse is now open for business. ©Melissa Ruttanai
As newlyweds, Ashley and Jason Bartner were beginning a new phase in their lives. Jason was a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Ashley was an aspiring actress. But when they stepped off the plane for their honeymoon in Italy, they had no idea how different life was about to become.
- You Could Live in Paradise Right Now… For a Lot Less than It Costs You to Stay Home
Posted on January 10, 2012 by International Living
8th Annual Ultimate Event
May 21-25, 2013 – Playa del Carmen, Mexico
There’s plenty of opportunity–in many ways, more opportunity than ever–to live better, save money, make money, and capitalize on the genuine growth and prosperity that’s lifting certain markets, just as ours here at home slowly sinks…
Discover our top retirement destinations for 2013 at International Living’s 8th Annual Ultimate Event.
- Free Room and Board in Some of the World’s Most Exotic Locations
Posted on December 20, 2011 by Suzan Haskins
If you like spending time in the garden… love to eat healthy, organic food… and enjoy traveling, there’s a way to combine these passions—and do it all for free. WWOOF—an acronym for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms—offers you a way to travel the world for next to nothing. (Normally, you pay only to get there.) At the organization’s website, Wwoof.org, you can search the database of organic farms around the world to see who’s looking for someone to help out. You can volunteer at an organic farm next to the Podacarpus National Park in Vilcabamba, Ecuador or on an apple orchard and organic bakery in Mendoza, Argentina.
Scoring a country on its climate is difficult, because everyone has their own ideas on what sort of weather they enjoy most. But it was Italy’s ability to cater to all tastes that saw it surge to the top of the Index in this category. The weather in Italy is quite different from the stereotypical Mediterranean climate with many of its inland northern regions enjoying weather more on par with…
I’m in northern Tuscany’s Lunigiana, the “Land of 100 Castles”. Originally built in the late 12th century, Fosdinovo is one of its best. Crowning a hilltop, it’s a square, fortress-like structure with inner garden courtyards and gorgeous tapestries. Incredibly gruesome stories, too.
In October, the real attraction in Le Marche, Italy is white truffles. If you’ve never tasted a truffle, you may not see the point. After all, as the fruiting body of an underground mushroom it doesn’t sound that nice. But don’t be fooled, these “diamonds of the kitchen” are highly prized. In 2007, a single white truffle weighing 1.5 kilos fetched the record price of $330,000.
Ask any Italian about Tuscany, Lombardy, or the Veneto and they can rattle off a list of the attractions of these well-known regions. But bring up Le Marche, scrunched between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea, and they may fall silent. It’s a mystery why. Less than three hours’ drive from Rome, Le Marche features sandy beaches and great seafood on its Adriatic Coast, rolling hills topped with medieval fortified towns and villages to the west, along with snow-capped peaks in the south. You’ll find a musical heritage, too…composer Rossini was born here.
- Take a Yacht and Sail into Retirement on the Mediterranean
Posted on October 27, 2011 by Carol Witt
The only sounds are waves lapping against the hull and the occasional ﬂ ap of a sail as it captures the gentle breeze. Gliding through the turquoise waters of the Aegean aboard our yacht Destiny, we’re leaving the Greek island of Milos and heading west into the southern Ionian Sea. Our next destination is Elafonisos, one of the largest inhabited islands in the Peloponnese, known for its sandy beaches.
I’m sitting in the sun outside Concetta’s bar, sampling the local nectar. It may sound suspiciously like relaxation, but don’t be fooled. This is work—I’m researching longevity. This could be the key to rewinding my biological clock (yours too). Intense purplish-red, Cannonau certainly tastes healthy. And it’s only $2.10 a glass.
The economies of the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain) are in disarray. Europe is in the throws of a banking crisis brought on by (among other things) exposure to Greek sovereign debt. Many of you have been asking if now is the time to jump in.
- How to Fund a Trip to Italy by Creating a “Travel Tour”
Posted on October 4, 2011 by Kathy Scopin
I realized I had the expertise to share my knowledge of Italy along with the necessary skills to travel there. That’s when I considered leading tours, and I conceived the idea for my “First Trip to Italy” tour. My first tour was an 11-day Italian Sampler. My goal was to visit the major icons of Italy (Rome, Florence, and Venice) while teaching Italian-specific travel skills to first-time Italy travelers.
If Money Were No Object, What Would Your Dream Retirement Look Like?
Event Date: Sep 27, 2013
2013 Fast-Track Your Retirement Overseas Conference
September 27-29, Las Vegas,NV
While your neighbors tighten their belts and reign in their retirement dreams… you can live with less stress, more freedom, and all the comforts you’ve always imagined.
Discover the world’s best retirement havens – and pinpoint the one that’s right for you.
Welcome to IL
- Italy Real Estate
- Rolodex: Contacts in Italy
- Retire in Italy
- Live in Italy
- Italy Visa and Residency Information
- Beachfront Property in Italy
- Invest in Italy
- Taxes in Italy
- Travel in Italy
- Move to Italy
- Italy Fact File
- Health Care in Italy
- The Economy in Italy
- Making Money in Italy
- Buying Real Estate in Italy – The Buying Process
- Where to Buy Real Estate in Italy
- Renting in Italy
- Cost of Living in Italy
- Financial Matters in Italy
- Free Italy Report
- Italy Classified Ads
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