We heard a great quote the other day. “If you’re not happy where you are, move! You’re not a tree.” It sounds like something a wise Italian grandmother would say. Italy has so much to offer anyone who wants to make that great escape. So take your future in your own hands and consider these 10 great reasons to move to Italy in 2019.
According to research by Knight Frank, the average property price in Italy has been falling by about 2%. Great news for property buyers! However, prices do seem to be levelling out. Between April and September 2018 prices rose by around 0.6%. According to statista.com in November 2018 the average price of a 120m2 apartment in a UK city “was approximately 23,932 per square metre, making it one of the most expensive places in Europe for residential property.” This compares to 6,589 per square metre in a major Italian city. So you can see how you can benefit from selling up in the UK while prices are high and buying in Italy while prices are relatively low.
If you want to have some money left in the bank after your move, take a tip from other expats, and buy a property in the countryside. There are many homes for sale within a few minutes’ drive of an Italian town. Here you can benefit from lower property prices and still have all the amenities you need close by. For example,162,000 might get you a one-bedroom terraced bungalow or a two-bedroom flat in Dorset, England, where I originally came from. But, for the same price in Puglia, Italy you can buy a detached three-bedroom villa with a big garden. Plus, it will be a short drive to sunny beaches, interesting towns and an airport.
Unlike in the UK, where country homes seem to cost a bomb, the best house prices in Italy are in rural areas and in the sunny south. Great news for sun-loving Brits wanting to make their home in the beautiful Italian countryside.
Lower cost of living
Major cities and tourist hotspots are the most expensive places to live, whichever country you choose to live in. However, according to numbeo.com, when you compare Rome with London, Rome costs less with lower priced rents (-47%), groceries (-2%), restaurants (-7%) and consumer prices (-13%). Even the port town of Brindisi in Puglia is cheap, compared to Poole in Dorset, England. Plus, you get all those extra sunshine hours.
Where the Italian cost of living really drops is when you buy a home in the countryside or outskirts of a small town or village. In the more rural locations local taxes are lower and fresh local produce is cheaper. Trains, buses and internal flights are also less expensive in Italy, making it cheap and easy to visit the bigger cities. One of the biggest savings you’ll make is when you become a resident in Italy, as the equivalent of council tax has been abolished on a person’s main residence and you get reduced rate electricity.
Easy to get to
It is very quick, easy and affordable to escape the UK and go to Italy. You can fly, take the fast train through France or drive down. Italy has 46 airports that have scheduled passenger services on commercial airlines. Ryanair and Easyjet both fly to 22 Italian airports from the UK, and offer very competitive prices throughout the year. British Airways also flies to the big city airports. Between them they have Italy very well covered. From London, flights to northern Italian airports usually take less than two hours and less than three hours to the south. This makes it easy for family to come and visit and the potential is there to make an income from providing holiday accommodation to tourists.
When you make the big move, there are many removals companies experienced in transporting furniture to Italy. A good network of motorways throughout the country along with spectacular scenery makes driving in Italy a pleasure. Even getting your pet there is simple with the Pet Passport scheme. You can take the ferry and drive through France – think of those lovely dog walks in the Alps! – or have them flown over by a company specialising in pet transport.
Most of Italy has a Mediterranean climate, with cool wet winters and hot, dry summers. The mildest weather is along the coast and in the southern regions, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Winter temperatures seldom drop to freezing in the south, while summers often reach 35°C or higher. In the mountains cold air from northern Europe can bring snow, even as far south as Mount Etna on Sicily. There are 294 ski resorts in Italy, mainly in the Italian Alps in the north.
Every season adds beauty to the landscape, including fields of poppies and sunflowers, autumn leaves, snow capped mountains and summer beaches. In Italy you know you are going to get plenty of sunny weather to plan days out over the summer.
The landscape of Italy is very diverse. The Alps and the Dolomites in the north have snow-covered peaks, icy glaciers and fertile valleys. In their foothills are large and beautiful lakes such as Lake Garda and Lake Como. Down through the centre of Italy the mountains are dotted with pretty hill top villages, and a short drive away you are in the flat plains that run along the coast. Within one region you can often find plains, hills, mountains and a beautiful coastline.
You will also still see small fruit orchards and vegetable patches – you might even buy one yourself!
Seven of the cultural landscapes are so outstanding that they are recognised by UNESCO. They include the vineyards of Piedmont, the Amalfi coast, Cinque Terre and the Val d’Orcia. Nature is well protected in 25 National parks and 147 nature reserves. Grapevines and olive trees grace the landscape across the country. Most of Italy’s olive oil is produced in the southern regions of Puglia, Calabria and Sicily, however, so this is where they dominate the landscape. You will also still see many small fruit orchards and vegetable patches – you might even buy one yourself!
Delicious food and wine
Italian food is fresh and simple cuisine that makes the most of what is grown locally. Many a UK TV chef has visited Italy, including Jamie Oliver and most recently Gino D’Acampo on “Gino’s Italian Coastal Escape” for ITV. Each Italian region, town and family has its own special dishes that reflect what is produced in the countryside and sea near their home. When you regularly visit your local fruit and vegetable market you become aware of what is in season and realise that the land gives you what your body needs at that time of year, such as oranges in winter. Italy is well known for its healthy Mediterranean diet, and also for pizza, pasta and gelato. The flavours in a true Italian pizza and gelato are like nothing tasted anywhere else in the world, due to those fresh Italian ingredients.
Wine, cheese and pasta are an important part of any Italian meal. Pasta comes in almost as many shapes as there are days in the year. So don’t just limit yourself to the old favourites: penne, spaghetti, linguine, fusilli and lasagne. Each region has its own pasta shape and way of serving it, so why not try some orecchiette, quadrucci, bavette…
The list of great Italian cheeses is also very long and includes Grana Padano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gorgonzola, Ricotta Romano, Pecorino Toscano and Mozzarella di bufala. Many regions produce top quality wines, some of which are famous throughout the world. Barolo, Barbaresco, Classic Chianti, Lambrusco, Sangiovese and the sparkling Prosecco to name just a few. Wine prices straight from your local winery are very affordable, so you’ll be able to raise many toasts to your new home.
Italian culture is steeped in the arts, family, architecture, religion, food and music. Italians actively strive to keep alive the traditions they are so proud of. Visit any Italian town and you will find that the historic centre still feels very Italian, with any foreign restaurants and shops allowed only on the outskirts. Even there you will find very few. Events held in the piazzas are usually annual festas that have taken place for centuries, rather than put on just for tourists.
Family time is very important to Italians. This includes, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins regularly gathering around the lunch table. It’s commonplace to see families with young children out late in the evening. Even better, youngsters respect the older generation, as their grandparents play such a big role in their daily lives. Traditional arts and crafts, songs and dances are all passed down, along with the secret family recipes.
Places to visit
If you’ll have more free time after you make the move to Italy, start thinking about all the places you can visit. One of the most exciting things about moving house is exploring the area. You’ll be amazed just how many places there are to visit just in your local area, once you start exploring by car. You’ll soon discover the best beaches and villages to take family and friends to. But don’t ignore the rest of Italy! Take a domestic flight to Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Naples, Pisa and Turin if you like, but the train and coach services are also well priced. Italy has 54 UNESCO world heritage sites, 7,600 km of coastline and many beautiful art cities. With such a long bucket list, good job the Italian lifestyle is so healthy!
Italian cities have many elegant architectural styles, including classical Roman, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical. Of course, you’ll visit some of the most famous buildings in the world, including the Colosseum, Pantheon and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Don’t let the fact that they’re so famous put you off – each is amazing. But a walk into the historic centre of any Italian town or village is like walking back in time. There are noble palazzo houses around the corner from medieval town houses. In the countryside you’ll spot palaces, castles, stone farm houses, cone shaped trulli, luxury villas and masserie (fortified farm houses).
If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, look no further than Italy. For the price of a city flat in the UK, you can buy a villa in the Italian countryside and enjoy the fresh air and outdoor lifestyle. Why not grow your own veg or buy it from the local market or farm store? It’s easy to eat well and live a healthy lifestyle, away from the temptations of all the processed food found in UK supermarkets and the city fumes and work stress.
The great Italian weather gives you more opportunities to get outside and enjoy your garden. Go for walks, cycle and enjoy relaxing past times like yoga, horse riding or swimming. There are also many sports options on offer including gyms, football, rugby, basketball, cycling, skiing and water sports. Italians also enjoy dancing as a way to keep fit, and there are dancing schools for all ages. The Italian pace of life is more relaxed, nothing is done with any urgency. Except maybe getting home for lunch!