Expats moving to Italy

How to start a new but slower, relaxing, and full of leisure time life

10-09-201306:51by
Italian countryside
Italian countryside (Credits: LUK BENIES/AFP/Getty Images)

It is becoming more and more common for American people to move to Italy for good. Since expatriates are used to choose their destinations according to the opportunities they can offer them, it is interesting to understand how and why Italy entered the U.S. top ten.

Most of the people that moved to Italy during the last ten years say they have been attracted by the simplicity, freshness, and quality of life there. Further, after spending some time in the place (usually small and medium towns) where they choose to build their new nest, and no matter they were already able to speak some Italian or not, they all felt so welcome as if they destination had always been their real hometown. With a huge difference: life in Italy is much slower, relaxing, and full of leisure time.

The Financial Times recently told the story of the Bartners, a family that decided in 2006 to move from Manhattan to Piobbico, a village of about 2,100 people in the Marche, a region in the East of Italy where it is more frequent to meet tourists rather than expats.
Capitalizing on the couple’s skills in the kitchen, the Bartners managed to open a cooking school there, La Tavola Marche, where they are now regularly welcoming local people that are curious to taste the dishes that their grandparents where used to prepare cooked by a foreigner.

According to expats, it is useless to innovate in Italian regions where most of people are local rather than foreigners. They are too loyal and linked to their traditions that they are not interested in experimenting something new. Moreover, expats’ interests in connecting to their past is broadly appreciated, sometimes recognized as a sign of respect, and this is the reason why the Bartners’ experience has been so successful.

As anywhere in the world, moving to a region like the Marche has its pros and its cons. Among the former, a beautiful and unspoilt countryside, fine food and drink, and reliably hot and sunny summer weather. Among the latter, the fact that it may be difficult to get around without a car and that in isolated areas high-speed internet access may be limited. However, it is worth adding that €100,000 are usually enough to buy a two-bedroom village house in an inland location in the region, needing full renovation, and €1m are OK to get a modern, five-bedroom home with a swimming pool in a coastal resort or in the mountains.

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