For many, retirement is their chance to live the kind of life they’ve always dreamed of. Throughout their working lives they count down the days to when they can leave the 9-to-5 behind and focus on living their ideal lifestyle, in a location that’s perfect for them.
Italy is the land of ancient culture, magnificent landscapes, and delicious food. So how can you get that bella vita (beautiful life) without the crowds and high price tag? Though big hitters like Rome, Florence, Venice, and the gorgeous Tuscan countryside are well worth the visit, they may not be the best choice for those looking to escape to Italy affordably.
With its ethereal golden hills, famous art cities, and celebrated hill towns, Tuscany certainly needs no introduction. Italy’s most illustrious region has basked in the limelight for centuries and its mere name evokes sighs from just about anybody who has visited—or wants to.
It might seem strange to say that I’m a beach person, having spent much of my adult life as a desert dweller. But every vacation during those years was to the ocean, because while I loved life in New Mexico, I craved the ocean and needed at least one week of soaking myself in salt water to regenerate.
The smell of jasmine follows me down the river on my bike ride from work. On any given night, you can find my husband, Rami, and me at the park across the street, sitting with our French Bulldog, looking out onto the city that I've chosen to call home.
"I remember arriving at Porta Nuova station," says Rosemarie. "It was late November and the weather was overcast, but the gray skies did nothing to diminish the beauty of the city's center, which features some fine examples of Baroque, Rococo, Neo-Classical, and Art Nouveau architecture.
For my husband, Bryan, and I, Italy had long been a favorite vacation spot of ours. And with each visit, we imagined what it would be like to live there. We'd return home after our two-week vacation longing for the piazzas (public squares) where folks gathered and enjoyed each other's company...
"Looking from our balcony I see the valley with the green mountains that touch the clouds in spring and summer. Our village below has stood through time and the fields above our house are filled with Alpine wildflowers of every color," says Lisa Chiodo, who, together with her husband Sam and their two children, Carina and Luca, now lives in Piedmont, Italy.
When Italy gets under your skin, it's hard to ignore the call of La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life). The country has enchanted me since I first visited in 1972, and so, in 2003—when life finally allowed—my husband Jim and I bought a home there so could we spend part of every year in the country.
You don’t have to live in Italy to get married here. Although there is quite a lot of legwork and paper chasing involved, countless American citizens have tied the knot in Florence, Rome, and many other cities. If you are thinking of an Italian wedding, check that rules haven’t changed with an Italian Consulate office in the U.S.