Italy Fast Facts

Offida, Italy

Population: 62,007,540

Capital City: Rome

Climate: Predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south

Time Zone: GMT+1

Language: Italian

Country Code: 39

Coastline: 7,600km

Live "La Dolce Vita" in Sunny Italy

Italy has a staggering amount to offer travelers…and residents. Romantic cities, timeless hill towns, snowy mountains, idyllic islands, vineyard-covered countryside, and a rivetingly beautiful coastline. Plus, outside the major cities, homes start at a mere $50,000—or less.

Expats in Italy say they love not only the art, culture, impressive architecture, world-renowned food, and easy access to the rest of Europe, but also the slower pace of life and the culture that prioritizes family and friends over work and to-do lists.

This is the very definition of the sweet life. It’s about surrounding yourself with people you love, taking the time to enjoy even the simplest things—a delicate zucchini blossom, a well-made cup of coffee, the feeling of sand between your toes—and prioritizing the important things in life.

A Slower, Simpler Italian Way of Life

Retirees report that this cultural attitude means the pace of life is slower in Italy, especially outside the main cities. They talk about long coffee breaks with Italian friends and passeggiata (strolls) through the town in the evening. One couple says that they no longer have alarm clocks in their home. Another couple adds that happiness just seems more important to the Italians.

A Surprisingly Affordable Lifestyle

These same expats report that their simpler lives in Italy come with a lower price tag than they would have expected.

In lesser-known, beautiful countryside Le Marche, one couple says their expenses are 80% cheaper than their previous life in New York. In sunny southern Calabria, another expat says a cup of coffee costs just 90 cents, a multi-course meal runs about $34 per person, and health insurance for the entire year is covered by about $230. And in Umbria—Tuscany’s pretty neighbor—one of our correspondents spent less than $2,000 in living expenses per month.

The Italian Visas That Make a Move to Italy Possible

Life in Italy sounds pretty nice…so the next question most people have is: can I do it? Is it legally and logistically possible to make the move?

And the answer is yes.

Italy offers a variety of visas for non-Italians who would like to live in the country. The one most retirees apply for is the elective residence visa, which is designed for retirees and other people who do not need to take a job in Italy. For this, you’ll need proof of financial means, a rental agreement or deed in Italy, and proof of medical insurance that covers you there. The key to this visa is proving that you don’t need to work.

And if you have Italian ancestry, you may be in even better shape. If you have a parent, grandparent, or even great-grandparent born in Italy, you may be eligible for dual citizenship.

In other words, if you’re dreaming about a move to Italy, your dream just might be more possible than you ever imagined.

From the Archives of Italy

10 Things To Do In Italy…for that Uniquely Italian Experience

10 Things To Do In Italy…for that Uniquely Italian Experience

Italy offers endless sights and historical attractions; I could list a hundred just in Rome alone. There’s so much to see no matter where you go. But part of the pleasure of “la dolce vita” is combining sightseeing, with unique only-in-Italy experiences. Here’s my 10 things to do...

Pisa, Italy

Pisa, Italy

Yes, it’s famous. In fact, it’s infamous; that inclined tower has become the symbol not just of Pisa but an iconic image of Italy itself. But Pisa proves it isn’t a one-trick pony; there is much more to the city than its tilted tower. With 91,000 people, it’s vibrant and active—further enhanced by the university students...

The Best Hill Towns in Umbria: Todi, Città della Pieve, and Città di Castello

The Best Hill Towns in Umbria: Todi, Città della Pieve, and Città di Castello

With the heady fragrance of fresh truffle wafting from the kitchen, my mouth waters as I await the plate of handmade tagliolini pasta that will soon be coming my way, while sunlight filters onto the patio. It’s easy to think that this is the perfect Italian hill town...

5 Places to Live Like a Movie Star…Without Their Bank Balance

5 Places to Live Like a Movie Star…Without Their Bank Balance

Movie producers and directors pick exotic locations with extraordinary scenery for their movies. Everyone has seen these lush jungles, deserted beaches, breathtaking mountains, quaint villages, and bustling cities on the big screen. Even as CGI and green screens become more widespread...

Lake Bracciano – Central Italy’s Appealing Lake District

Lake Bracciano – Central Italy’s Appealing Lake District

Mention Italy’s Lake District and most people will think of the northern glacial lakes—Lake Maggiore, Lake Garda, and of course Lake Como. Their glitzy reputation as a playground for the rich and famous draws lots of visitors, especially in the summer months...