Retiring in Italy: Enjoy La Dolce Vita

In a recent survey, International Living asked readers which country they preferred between Italy and France. 43% more of our readers chose Italy as their ideal destination.

Voters revealed that they love “the character of the people and their dolce vita lifestyle.” One voter even admitted that “it provides the serenity that I crave. ”

If you are one of those that have a “soul connection” with Italy then you should consider retiring there.

Italy is undeniably romantic. From the days of the grand tour when the first tourists stood in the shadow of the Coliseum, Italy has attracted expats.

As many of them have found out, it’s not all about the big draws like Venice, Rome, and Florence. There is another Italy. One full of idyllic hill towns, medieval villages, wild-flower meadows, and gurgling streams.

Whether you’re looking to retire to Europe, relocate, or simply plan an extended adventure, Italy should be at the top of your list of possibilities.

Just imagine its unspoiled countryside…its wonderful climate…its mouth-watering delicacies…its lively, dramatic, and excitable people and their zest for life…its art treasures and the architectural glories of its magnificent past.

Italy is one of the most prosperous and democratic nations in Europe. When considering retiring in Italy it is recommended that you rent a house or apartment in the area that interests you for a couple of months to gain a true perspective of Italian life.

Once you find your dream location and are ready to buy, you will need the services of a real estate agent to help you through the purchase process.

Outside of tourist areas, the cost of living reduces. How much it costs to live in Italy depends on your lifestyle and where you live. A couple can live comfortably on $870 a month, not including housing, in the village of Basilicata. City life would be more expensive.

The most common type of visa used by retirees is the Elective Residency Visa. This visa is for those who are visiting Italy for a long period of time and can afford to live here without working. To apply for this visa, you need a letter detailing the reason and duration of your stay, where you are staying and who is with you. You also need proof of financial means, a rental agreement or deed for an Italian property and proof of valid medical insurance.

Health Care in Italy: Among the Best

Italy ranks among the World Health Organization’s top 10 countries for quality health services.

Like many Italians, you do not need to rely solely on public health care and you can avail of the parallel private medical service, which caters for patients covered by private medical insurance. It is vital that visitors from the U.S. and Canada take out private medical insurance, as those relocating to Italy cannot join the National Health Plan on the day you arrive.

Italy has a great transport infrastructure so getting around is generally easy, efficient and inexpensive.

Enjoy the Italian Culture

Your Italian experience will be heightened if you take in one of the numerous festivals that the country has to offer. Italy has festivals to celebrate many different events and holidays such as opera festivals, saint’s days, medieval pageantry and food festivals.

With over 3,500 museums, art galleries and archeological sites, a lover of culture will never be disappointed. Neither will the shopaholic—with excellent shopping located all over Italy. Famous shops are located in the big cities such as Florence and Rome, but if you’re seeking bargains there are plenty of chain stores.

Italians are passionate about their food and are fiercely protective of their local produce and specialties. Therefore there is less separation between the gastronomic tourist-type menus and what the locals themselves eat.

To experience the magic of an Italian retirement, immerse yourself in the culture, history and nature of the country.

Italy’s landscapes are diverse and beautiful, with historic walled towns, gnarled olive groves and Alpine lakes scattered throughout the country.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about Italy and other countries in our daily postcard e-letter. Sign up for IL’s free daily postcards here and we’ll send you a FREE report – Italy: Europe’s Most Seductive Country.

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