What is it like to live in Italy? Is it worth it for a foreigner to move and live in the Bel Paese? In this video I show you the PROS and CONS of living in Italy, so that you can choose whether Italy is what you’re looking for, and most importantly, so that you know what you’re getting yourself into!
PROS of living in Italy
Let’s start with the PROS, and with the most predictable and obvious ones:
1 – Beauty
Italy is known also as “Il Bel Paese”, and not by chance. In fact, Italy holds beauty in all its shapes, a beauty that comes from art and nature as well.
First of all, the country is characterised by many different landscapes; thus, there’s for all tastes: sea, mountains, hills, lakes, beaches, rivers, big cities and the countryside.
At the same time, however, there is a lot of historical and artistic beauty: there is no need to mention cities like Rome or Florence to get the picture. Still, every region, and almost every Italian city can offer some kind of beauty.
2 – Food
Only a handful of foreigners claimed that they don’t find Italian food of their taste (taste that changed after said foreigners spent more time in Italy).
Italian cuisine is rather savoury and diverse: all the regions of Italy, form North to South, have many traditional dishes with many different ingredients (vegetables, meat, fish, pasta, …).
Who doesn’t like pizza, pasta or gelato?
Needless to say, Italian cuisine is much more and definitely worth a try!
For example, if you want to know what it would be like to eat in a three Michelin star restaurant, you can watch our video, where we’ll take you with us to Massimo Bottura’s restaurant Osteria Francescana!
3 – People
Many foreigners consider Italians as cheerful, kind, helpful and friendly people. In most cases, it’s true.
There are some exceptions, in fact, some cities are considered quite “cold”, even by Italians themselves.
In general, however, the majority of the encounters you’ll have with Italians, should be rather pleasant.
4 – Weather
Most of the time, the weather in Italy is delightful: it is neither too cold nor too hot. Obviously, in Winter, on the Dolomites, it is extremely cold, and the southernmost region of Sicily is very hot in Summer. But for the most part, the climate is mild and pleasant.
Besides, you can find a warmer or colder weather, just by moving around from one city to another!
5 – Cost of life
This clearly depends on which Country you come from, or on your currency, etc. However, it can be said that generally, the cost of life in Italy is not that high.
Needless to say, cities such as Milan, Florence or Venice are very expensive. But, except for a few exceptions, you can live respectably in Italy even with little money. And, if you have to work in one of these expensive cities, you can still opt for a flat in a smaller town in the area, where, rents and life cost way less.
In Italy, rent and food are rather cheap compared to countries from Northern Europe, while bills and gas are as expensive as the rest of Europe.
6 – Free healthcare
Many Italians complain about healthcare in the Bel Paese, and in most cases, they are right. Queues are endless, and to book a specialised medical examination, you have to wait for at least three months.
However, we should remember that, although it is not perfect, healthcare in Italy is free, which means that there are no discriminations of any kind: if you are sick, you will be treated aside from your what’s inside your wallet.
Plus, we should consider that, in the last years, the Government has cut many funds destined for healthcare, this worsened the system, and caused a more difficult situation to handle.
7 – University
Italy has many great universities, which are affordable to many, without any discrimination on personal salary.
Italian public universities are good, and fees are rather cheap, usually they depend on personal income.
If you’re thinking of moving to Italy to study, whether moving to Italy study, I strongly encourage you to do it! You will have the chance to receive a good academic background without spending a fortune.
8 – Working
Even in this case, just as for free healthcare, many Italians complain, and rightfully so.
Italy is the European country with the highest rate of unemployment, in fact, the Bel Paese isn’t exactly famous for its high number of job offers.
However, it has to be noted that, if you want to find a job in Italy, it can be possible in big cities such as Milan, Turin, Bologna, Verona and Rome.
Also, let’s not forget that workers in Italy are protected quite well. This means that, if you will be employed and sign the contract, you will receive many benefits, such as: paid holidays, paid sick days, severance pay, and tredicesima (thirteenth).
Do you know what tredicesima is? Basically, the employer pays an extra monthly pay to the worker in the month of December. It’s called tredicesima (thirteenth) because it’s like there is a thirteenth month in a year.
9 – Public transportation
Let’s be honest: public transportation in Italy is far from perfect. There are many delays and sometimes, means of transportation even skip stops.
Yet, I still decided to consider public transportation as PROS of living in Italy for many reasons.
For starters, the railway system is very extensive and efficient. This implies that there are many different trains available, there are both regional and highspeed trains.
Regional trains connect big cities to small cities and vice versa, which means that even the smallest ones do not remain isolated.
Highspeed trains, instead, offer a high-quality service at a fair price. For example, you can travel from Rome to Milan in three or four hours for around fifty euros. We made a very interesting video on the Italian railway system. Go check it out!
Additionally, you can get a railway or bus pass in the city for a few euros, which will allow you to travel (by bus or tram) how many times you want.
CONS of living in Italy
However, living in Italy has its CONS.
1 – Crisis
The Bel Paese experienced an economic growth in the second post-war period; however, this growth suffered a halt, which worsened in the disastrous economic crisis of 2008.
The situation was slowly recovering, when COVID broke out.
This influenced negatively the general well-being of the country, and the effects are still felt today.
For instance, many companies and businesses have been forced to close down, and many people have lost their jobs.
2 – Bureaucracy
Perhaps, the worst part of living in Italy is… bureaucracy! It’s scary and super stressful!
You will have to endure the longest queues you’ve ever seen for a document, just to find out that it was the wrong office. Because every Italian public office is totally disconnected from each other: there is no communication, and this causes complicated every step.
And in some cases, you will receive the long-awaited document… after a few months!
Be ready to wait in so many long queues, to send thousands of emails with no replies, to make many calls, and to have many arguments!
You should know that the bureaucratic system in Italy is anchored in tradition: sometimes you will have to go personally just for a signature, in addition, it is pretty common for offices to not reply to emails, thus you will be forced to deliver a hardcopy of a document personally.
For instance, foreigners of Italian origin who live abroad and apply for an Italian passport, have to wait five or six years to receive it!
3 – Taxes
Another flaw of the Bel Paese is taxes: fiscal pressure in Italy is pretty high. In short: Italians pay a lot of taxes.
Due to this, many businesses are forced to close down their Italian branches or are discouraged to open them.
In addition, the strong fiscal pressure causes many employers to employ labourers who work under the table, thus illegally, so that they can pay less taxes. Many self-employed people prefer to work under the table instead of having a (going from house to house) rather than having physical shop or office.
And you? What do you think? Would you live in Italy?
If you’re looking for unconventional things to see in Italy, go in search of the many big benches and take myriad of photos!
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