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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all~

We have decided we want to retire in Italy but have no idea where to begin. We plan on making a trip over in the next year or two to travel around and narrow down potential locations where we'd like to settle. Please give us some ideas as to what to consider, tips, pointers, etc.

Thanks much!
Steve & Bev
 

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Look at what you want from your move, to be near people or isolation. Make sure the town or village has good public transport links, if you drive and your car breaks down you will find this essential. If living somewhere isolated make sure you can get utilities. You will at some point need to see a gp, ask local comune (town hall) where you are moving to, where you can get to see a gp and when. If moving full-time and you decide to pay the lower rate of tax at purchase, make sure you start the residency proceedings as soon as you can, should you need to return (as happened to my husband) it can be difficult if not living there several weeks at a time, and you may face having to pay this tax back, plus a fine. Learn the language as soon as you can, some places have free classes. Don't trust everything the agency as gospel, use an independant geometra for survey, if work needs doing, watch and wait, see who the locals use (some people attached to agencies are terrible at 'ripping you off', charging 'london prices' When you find your dream home make a list of everything in it, fixtures,fittings,furniture etc., and make this part of the legal process. Look at what you like best about Italy, coast, countryside, hills/mountains, and climate. It is good that you plan to look around. Abruzzo seems to have everything, and property cheap. Good luck
 

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Bunty16~

Thank you very much! We think we'd like to get a flat or townhouse in a village. We want to be able to walk to where we need to go on a daily basis and save the car for major events. We really want to "live among the people." We are thinking of starting out by renting a flat for a year and spending that time exploring before we finally buy a place.

We're starting now talking language classes!

What is a gp??

What about medical facilities? We are both very healthy but is there anything we should take into consideration on that front?

Keep the information coming!!
 

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Bunty16~

Thank you very much! We think we'd like to get a flat or townhouse in a village. We want to be able to walk to where we need to go on a daily basis and save the car for major events. We really want to "live among the people." We are thinking of starting out by renting a flat for a year and spending that time exploring before we finally buy a place.

We're starting now talking language classes!

What is a gp??

What about medical facilities? We are both very healthy but is there anything we should take into consideration on that front?

Keep the information coming!!
when my husband became very ill he found the most difficulty with language, we were ok for basic health problems, we were only there a few weeks and did not expect problems, we had to get return flights to see his own gp in UK, we had to return to an almost empty house, we we just about to put it on the market and lucky we had somewhere to return to. My husband was advised to stay in UK while he underwent treatment, not saying the UK is better for treatment, but familiar. Another piece of advice is to have a 'bolt-hole', even if just a little apartment or room with family, as since my experience we learnt that what we had to do was not unheard of.

I am a member of another forum, and hear of different experiences. You will find that each area seems to have it's own way of doing things, some good hospitals etc., some awful experiences, I think that is part of the adventure/challenge,
A gp is a DR, not sure what their correct title is in Italian. When you are a resident you will get issued with a health card, if you are of retirement age you will not have to pay or get insurance, but if taking early retirement check with works and pensions re entitlement to an S1 form, this depends on recent NI contributions, so if you do not have that you may have to pay for health insurance which is very expensive.I am writing this with the view you are from the UK, more complicated if from outside the european union, re residency and it is likely you will need to have health insurance.
Good idea to rent for a while in the area you like.
 

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moving to Italy

when my husband became very ill he found the most difficulty with language, we were ok for basic health problems, we were only there a few weeks and did not expect problems, we had to get return flights to see his own gp in UK, we had to return to an almost empty house, we we just about to put it on the market and lucky we had somewhere to return to. My husband was advised to stay in UK while he underwent treatment, not saying the UK is better for treatment, but familiar. Another piece of advice is to have a 'bolt-hole', even if just a little apartment or room with family, as since my experience we learnt that what we had to do was not unheard of.

I am a member of another forum, and hear of different experiences. You will find that each area seems to have it's own way of doing things, some good hospitals etc., some awful experiences, I think that is part of the adventure/challenge,
A gp is a DR, not sure what their correct title is in Italian. When you are a resident you will get issued with a health card, if you are of retirement age you will not have to pay or get insurance, but if taking early retirement check with works and pensions re entitlement to an S1 form, this depends on recent NI contributions, so if you do not have that you may have to pay for health insurance which is very expensive.I am writing this with the view you are from the UK, more complicated if from outside the european union, re residency and it is likely you will need to have health insurance.
Good idea to rent for a while in the area you like.
Just looked back to your first thread and realise you are American. There are plenty of Americans who have made the move, so might be a good idea to fine tune your questions to the American (Italy) forum questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm sorry. I didn't realize there was a separate forum for those from the US. I certainly enjoy mixing with some of my distant cousins from the UK and look forward to establishing great friendships together in Italy! As well, we like getting a different perspective than just that of US citizens. Please continue to provide your insight!

Any words of wisdom reference specific areas to explore?
 

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Just looked back to your first thread and realise you are American. There are plenty of Americans who have made the move, so might be a good idea to fine tune your questions to the American (Italy) forum questions.

I am also new to the Expatforum. How do we find the American (Italy) forum. I have searched and cannot locate a subforum so named.

Thanks.
 

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I'm sorry. I didn't realize there was a separate forum for those from the US. I certainly enjoy mixing with some of my distant cousins from the UK and look forward to establishing great friendships together in Italy! As well, we like getting a different perspective than just that of US citizens. Please continue to provide your insight!

Any words of wisdom reference specific areas to explore?
Sorry if you misunderstood what I was saying, there is no other italian site for Americans, I meant that you could ask other Americans in Italy/planning to go to Italy, how they went about things as it is different from eu citizens planning to settle. Of course some things are the same, like location, builders, support etc., I believe from what other Americans have reported there are certain restrictions.
 

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Sorry if you misunderstood what I was saying, there is no other italian site for Americans, I meant that you could ask other Americans in Italy/planning to go to Italy, how they went about things as it is different from eu citizens planning to settle. Of course some things are the same, like location, builders, support etc., I believe from what other Americans have reported there are certain restrictions.
Basically, for non-EU citizens like Americans, you need to get a long-stay, non-work (retirement) visa for Italy, which is kind of tricky to get. There are no uniform requirements put out by Italian government, and each consulate seems to have their own interpretation of what you need to be issued with a visa, such as minimum income levels. Fundamental difference between EU and non-EU citizens is that while the former have the absolute right to live, work and retire anywhere in EU with a minimum of fuss, non-EU nationals must have non-work income, such as pensions and investments, judged sufficient to meet all foreseeable expenditure. You will also need to take out a private medical insurance, while EU citizens past retirement are automatically covered by Italian state scheme. And you cannot just work part-time or online to earn extra money without relevant work visa or permit.
 

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Hi all~

We have decided we want to retire in Italy but have no idea where to begin. We plan on making a trip over in the next year or two to travel around and narrow down potential locations where we'd like to settle. Please give us some ideas as to what to consider, tips, pointers, etc.

Thanks much!
Steve & Bev
Steve and Bev,

By no means am I qualified to suggest where you might want to start looking for a region and province in which to live, but I am the same situation as you, in that I am planning a move to Italy on or about September 1, 2012, following my retirement. I have the advantage of having lived in Northern Italy for two years courtesy of Uncle Sam, having minored in Italian in college and having already chosen a location we want to try out (Pesaro, Le Marche), where I have family.

That said, I am finding the process of establishing residency daunting and I have not even started the visa application procedure. My suggestion at this point is for you to first become EXTREMELY familiar with the requirements of your particular consulate to obtain an extended stay visa (more than 90 days). Each consulate covers certain states, not unlike the United States Courts of Appeal. Find yours, go to the web site and go to the Visti/Visa link. Memorize it. Incredibly, not all consulates have the same requirements, nor do they interpret those that are the same in the same way. I am even aware of a couple who moved out of one consulate's jurisdiction after having been denied an extended stay visa and received one from another consular jurisdiction in a relatively short time.

Once you have figured out what the requirements are to obtain the type of visa you think you want (I believe there are about 24 different visa categories), then you need to figure out if you can obtain that visa. It is my understanding that work visas are extremely difficult to come by. Fortunately, I will be retired and not looking to supplement my income.

The visa is merely a first step--and a baby one at that--to obtaining any kind of permanent residency in Italy. As with the visa, the requirements, although theoretically the same throughout Italy, may differ from province to province and from comune (city) to comune. Residency should be the subject of another thread and has probably been discussed in Expatforum a million times and presumably can be located with a word search.

Once you have become overwhelmed by the Italian bureaucracy in simply seeking and obtaining a visa, you should also familiarize yourself with the requirements of property ownership. While I have a sense of what is required, it is a subject that is far from my mind at this point. Suffice it to say, that cannot simply call up one's local realtor, ask to see a few houses in "x", make an offer and close in 30 days.

I am not going to start running Italian terms by you, as you will become familiar enough with them as time goes on. Stick close to this forum and any others that deal with expats living in Italy. Don't get discouraged. You have two years, which should be time enough to get everything accomplished you need to accomplish--as long as you spend 20 hours a day learning everything you need to know.:rolleyes:

The various regions in Italy have some really informative web sites. Try them out in order to get a feel for where you think you might like to live. I'm tired of snow, so I do not have a great deal of interest in the extreme north. I have no interest in the larger cities or those with a million tourists a year. that leaves out Rome, Milan, Torino, Florence, Naples, etc. In my case, I am really returning to my roots since both grandparents were born within miles of Pesaro and there is a hamlet bearing my surname a few miles away. At the risk of offending those who live in southern Italy, I am also nordcentric by temperment.

If you want to start getting a flavor for house prices, there are a number of Italian realty sites you can go to. If you are interested in their names, let me know. No guarantees, but they are a place to start.

Out.

JPR
 

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Hi Steve&Bev,
JPR's post seems spot on from what my wife Debra and I have experienced in our recent move to Torino. The difference is that my wife obtained a work visa which had to be sponsored by an Italian company. That process was smooth and took less than 2 months for her. My visa process, as a "Trailing Spouse", on the other hand is in its 3rd month and no status is available you just wait the time out.
Once the visa is established you can get a residence established in a city (citta) or town and you need that if you want to rent long term. For this you will also need a codice fiscale (fiscal code) which is the item that proves you are financially able (as JPR mentioned). With this number it will enable you to by larger items and open a bank account in Italy, get telephone and internet service, buy a pay as you go phone (we found this a very good idea since our AT&T service from the states would have cost a small fortune if we used it on Roaming all the time).
Then there is the big one, "permesso di soggiorno" (residence permit). This is a national document and a must for all legal expats. The process here is long and requires visits to post offices and police stations to complete.

Deb and I are in the process but on separate paths because our visas are different. I don't mean for this to sound too daunting, its just a different way to handle bureaucracy and since you are retiring you should not get stressed about anything just read all you can before setting out and you should be fine. From our brief experience the one thing I would stress is to try and get a handle on the language as much as possible. If you can't try and find an interpreter to help you with some of this. You will NOT find much, if any, of the paperwork involved in getting permissions written in English (inglese) and when face to face with Italian citizens at teller/assistance windows (sportello) in government offices English will be very hard to come by (at least it has been the case with us). The last thing you want is to not fill out a form correctly only to waste a month an have to do it all over again, and wait again.
Since you are non-EU you are only allowed to stay, legally, in EU states (Shengen states) for 90 out of every 180 days without a visa. It's not like they have an active police force looking for folks overstaying but if called on it you can get fined. So, just be aware.
One last "wrinkle" that we have encountered which may effect your decision on where to move (city or countryside). That is getting an Italian Drivers License. In fact, you can drive on your US, Non-EU license for up to a year in country. After that you MUST have and Italian license. The test is famously difficult, even for Italian citizens, and has a very high failure rate (you must score at least a 90%). The test used to be offered in English as well as Italian but in a cost saving measure Mr. Berliscone stopped that practice as of Jan 1 2011. I have heard that some regions still maintain english tests but Torino is not one of them. So, my wife and I are exploring mass transit (trains, buses, even city bikes) as alternatives to owning a car that we could only use for a year. We are still going to attempt the test once we get out Italian language skills up to snuff. The test is all true/false based on a narrative paragraph which may or may not be accompanied by a graphic.

With all that said about process Deb and I are loving it here. The quality of life is high, people don't sweat the small stuff, and it seems that everything is small stuff. That can be annoying for Americans sometimes. We are used to everything being instantly available when and where we want it. I can say that Deb and I have had more face to face conversations over dinner without the TV in the background or a computer game waiting in the wings or MSNBC & FOX news spewing BLAH BLAH all over the place. We love it and certainly hope you do as well.
Ciao for now and buona fortuna,
Gary
 

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A note on CCards

I forgot to mention that you guys may also want to take a look at obtaining a European style credit card to have when you get to Italy. Don't get me wrong our credit cards are certainly accepted here in most retail and entertainment/food establishments. However, there are some services that will require an Italian/European credit card to get service.

For instance, I was able to get a pay as you go phone, from Vodafone IT, with my Codice Fiscale and my Passport. However, the service I want (iPhone with data plan) requires a contract for service and Vodafone IT requires an Italian credit card to enter into such a contact. They will not accept US cards for this.

We have AMEX in US now and found out that they do offer AMEX EU (which is a card with a SIM chip and an accompanying pin number - used all over Europe as standard). The same constraints hold for buying things online in Italy (it is becoming much more commonplace here). US or non-EU cards are not welcome so far regarding internet purchases. We have had to use bank transfers (we have an Italian bank account, luckily, which will issue you an International Bank Number or IBAN) or our bank debit card which also has a pin. I don't know if Visa or MC or Diners Club International offers a similar service but you may want to look into it.

Later,
Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks and keep it coming!!

@ Bunty16 ~ Thanks for taking the time to write while dealing with your husband's illness. Prayers for his speedy recovery and rapid return to your life in Italy!

@ JPR ~ Please do pass on the Italian real estate websites. We would like to get an idea of what is available.

@ Greg ~ The last paragraph of your first post really summed up a large part of our reason for wanting to be there! Thanks for confirming that way of life really exists. We lived in Bad Tolz Germany (it was WEST Germany, at the time!) for three years and thoroughly enjoyed a lifestyle that one is hard pressed to find in the US. We're hoping to recreate that slower, people oriented, pace in Italy. We want off the treadmill!! You mentioned a higher standard of living....details? Cost of food, housing, etc??

@ Bunty, JPR, and Greg~

Thanks so much for all the information! Health care, transportation, visas, driver's licenses....credit cards - who would have thought it!!!.....these are all details that we had not yet delved into and greatly appreciate hearing about. Steve & I are definitely still in the infatuation/dating phase of the process.....we've fallen in love with the idea of retiring in Italy and haven't yet seen all the tedious, but necessary, details. PLEASE continue to offer up all the necessary behind-the-scenes-not-so-romantic topics that we need to start considering and planning for.

As we are still so early in the process, what we currently have on the to-do list is to start learning the language and planning an exploration trip for late summer 2012. Anything else we should add to the to-do list that we can do from here in the early stages?? Anyone have suggestions for things we should do prior to the 2012 trip (I think we're shooting for spending a month there) and/or things we should put on our itinerary for that trip? We see it as more of a "business" trip than a vacation as we want to explore the realities of living there in addition to checking out different regions. So please continue to offer up all thoughts, considerations, and words of wisdom.

Speaking of different regions….any thoughts? As JPR mentioned, we aren’t interested in the tourist cities. Our ideal situation is a smaller town or village…a place that moves at a slower pace where we might know our local florist or butcher, where there would be a good chance of running into friends in the town square, where crime is low or nonexistent, where the weather doesn’t interfere too much with outdoor activities.... I have I completely crossed over into a fantasy world?? Actually, weather is a huge consideration. We don’t particularly want to be shoveling snow in the winter. All opinions are welcome here!

Again, thanks to everyone for taking the time to provide input!:clap2:
 

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Hi Steve&Bev,
JPR's post seems spot on from what my wife Debra and I have experienced in our recent move to Torino. The difference is that my wife obtained a work visa which had to be sponsored by an Italian company. That process was smooth and took less than 2 months for her. My visa process, as a "Trailing Spouse", on the other hand is in its 3rd month and no status is available you just wait the time out.
Once the visa is established you can get a residence established in a city (citta) or town and you need that if you want to rent long term. For this you will also need a codice fiscale (fiscal code) which is the item that proves you are financially able (as JPR mentioned). With this number it will enable you to by larger items and open a bank account in Italy, get telephone and internet service, buy a pay as you go phone (we found this a very good idea since our AT&T service from the states would have cost a small fortune if we used it on Roaming all the time).
Then there is the big one, "permesso di soggiorno" (residence permit). This is a national document and a must for all legal expats. The process here is long and requires visits to post offices and police stations to complete.

I probably still cannot post URLs but another expat site focused exclusively on Italy has a very good writeup that may help - (NOTE this site may as well but I have not seen it yet): Type into you favorite browser (explorer, firefox, safari, etc.) and anything surrounded with [ ] replace with the symbol indicated

"http[colon][forwardslash][forwardslash]www[dot]expatsinitaly[dot]com[forwardslash]node[forwardslash]147"

Here is an excerpt:
"The Permesso di Soggiorno (PdiS) is your most important document if you are a non-EU citizen in Italy. It can be translated to Permit to Stay. Many places (online and in books) translate this as a residency permit which gets very confusing as there is also residency through the comune (city hall) but this is something else. The PdiS is not just for those who are planning on moving to Italy but for anyone who will be in Italy for more than 90 days. For stays less than 90 days you only need only a passport entry stamp from the Italian airport. If you entered via another European country, within 8 days you must visit the local questura (state police headquarters) and request a stamped Dichiarazione di Presenza..."

Deb and I are in the process but on separate paths because our visas are different. I don't mean for this to sound too daunting, its just a different way to handle bureaucracy and since you are retiring you should not get stressed about anything just read all you can before setting out and you should be fine. From our brief experience the one thing I would stress is to try and get a handle on the language as much as possible. If you can't try and find an interpreter to help you with some of this. You will NOT find much, if any, of the paperwork involved in getting permissions written in English (inglese) and when face to face with Italian citizens at teller/assistance windows (sportello) in government offices English will be very hard to come by (at least it has been the case with us). The last thing you want is to not fill out a form correctly only to waste a month an have to do it all over again, and wait again.
Since you are non-EU you are only allowed to stay, legally, in EU states (Shengen states) for 90 out of every 180 days without a visa. It's not like they have an active police force looking for folks overstaying but if called on it you can get fined. So, just be aware.
One last "wrinkle" that we have encountered which may effect your decision on where to move (city or countryside). That is getting an Italian Drivers License. In fact, you can drive on your US, Non-EU license for up to a year in country. After that you MUST have and Italian license. The test is famously difficult, even for Italian citizens, and has a very high failure rate (you must score at least a 90%). The test used to be offered in English as well as Italian but in a cost saving measure Mr. Berliscone stopped that practice as of Jan 1 2011. I have heard that some regions still maintain english tests but Torino is not one of them. So, my wife and I are exploring mass transit (trains, buses, even city bikes) as alternatives to owning a car that we could only use for a year. We are still going to attempt the test once we get out Italian language skills up to snuff. The test is all true/false based on a narrative paragraph which may or may not be accompanied by a graphic.

With all that said about process Deb and I are loving it here. The quality of life is high, people don't sweat the small stuff, and it seems that everything is small stuff. That can be annoying for Americans sometimes. We are used to everything being instantly available when and where we want it. I can say that Deb and I have had more face to face conversations over dinner without the TV in the background or a computer game waiting in the wings or MSNBC & FOX news spewing BLAH BLAH all over the place. We love it and certainly hope you do as well.
Ciao for now and buona fortuna,
Gary
I found the website you recommended! Fantastic! Thanks so much! I can't wait to sit down and read thru it!
 

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Steve and Bev,

Gary is a braver man than I when it comes to laying out the Full Monty of getting legal and living in Italy.:) He and his wife are obviously much further along in the process than my wife and I are. I would follow his advice and take a gander at the "other" web site he mentioned.

I'm still shown as a "Newbie" on this site, so I am limited in what I can do, including sending PMs to you, which although frowned upon in these forums, can be helpful nonetheless, after we all have exhausted our knowledge of this subject and are well on our way to boring everyone else to tears.:rolleyes:

I am running a bit late after a late night of fireworks (insert smiley for irony here), but will try to get you some of the rental sites I have been looking at today.

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Pat~

No, I haven't received anything. Did you send it via PM or did you post it in the thread?

I found some great information on the other expat site ref obtaining an extended visa. I've sent an email to the Italian consulate in Miami asking for a solid dollar figure that meets the minimum requirement for "substantial and steady economic resources." I'm hoping that doesn't mean we have to have a rich relative or win the lottery... I'll report whatever information I get back from them.

Gratzie!! Bev
 

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Pat~

No, I haven't received anything. Did you send it via PM or did you post it in the thread?

I found some great information on the other expat site ref obtaining an extended visa. I've sent an email to the Italian consulate in Miami asking for a solid dollar figure that meets the minimum requirement for "substantial and steady economic resources." I'm hoping that doesn't mean we have to have a rich relative or win the lottery... I'll report whatever information I get back from them.

Gratzie!! Bev
Bev,

I sent it via the thread. Here they are again. I will check back to see if you received them, since if you do not you won't know that I sent them:)

I will leave off www, since they all begin that way and the it, since they all have the Italy country designator. The name would be followed by dot it.

cazar
casa
immobiliare
home
soloaffitti.it

With respect to the "How much is enough?" question, I've never found an answer to that question nor nor seen a firm answer from anyone who has made the leap. I guess it's like pornography. The consular official will know it's enough when he/she sees it.

Because of the forum restrictions on including links, copyrighted articles without specific permission to reproduce, etc. if you send me your e-mail address, I can provide you with a ton of material, mostly Web based, I've been gathering.

Pat
 
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