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The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Italy has rich history, culture, art and quality food. The sweetness in loving life (la dolce vita) is enticing and makes the country a dream home for many. Before moving to Italy, however, it is advisable to research it thoroughly. In this guide, you'll find out what you need to consider before settling in the country.

Italian, the language of music

Italian is the official language of the country and is globally recognised as the universal language of music. It is also accepted as official in the countries of Croatia, San Marino, Vatican City, Slovenia and Switzerland. The language is derived from Latin, on the basis of which the 28 dialects were formed.

This diversity may sound intimidating, but the colloquial forms are divided into several main groups - Tuscan, Neapolitan, Sicilian, Venetian, Ligurian, Sardinian and Apulian. Before making a move to Italy, ask yourself which dialect family is spoken in your chosen geographical area. By mastering it, you would fit in more quickly with the rest of the city's inhabitants.

Your knowledge of basic Italian will be of great benefit. Unlike countries like Denmark and the Netherlands, English is not widely spoken in Italy. You'd be able to live in some of the larger cities as an English speaker, but you'll certainly experience discomfort when wanting to communicate in a more sustained and meaningful way. 

Moving into a new home

Finding a suitable home in the country is a process that depends on multiple factors. Thanks to the well-developed tourist season, a good share of vacation rental options is available for villas and apartments.

There are a couple of main types of rental contracts - the temporary contract (contratto transitorio) and 3+2 or 4+4 contracts. The first one is a specialized contract lasting from 1 to 18 months. When you sign it, the specific reason for your stay in the country is recorded. It cannot be changed subsequently. 3+2 contracts are valid for three years and are automatically renewed for two more. The deposit is established following an agreement between the tenants and the landlords and ministerial decrees are taken into account. 4+4 contracts are renewed on the same principle, but the deposit is free to be determined by both parties to the contract.

Most places that are let on a short-term basis are fully furnished. Those that can be rented long term are provided without furniture and electrical appliances. If you want to move to Italy for longer, you need to think about how to transport belongings from your current home.

Properties in the country have different names according to their size and type. Studios are known as monolocale, two-bedroom homes are bilocale, and three-bedroom homes are trilocale. If you want your new home to be a house, you need to be well acquainted with the terminology of property types. If you wish to purchase one, you will find that the prices and overall conditions for acquiring a property in Italy are affordable for most immigrants.

Find your new job in Italy

Citizens of EU and EEA countries can live and work without a visa and special residence permit. Obtaining a Tax Identification Number (TIN) is compulsory for everyone who wants to work in Italy. 

If you are coming from the UK or another third country, you should familiarise yourself with the conditions for a visa, and in particular the Immigration Flows Decree (Decreto Flussi). The quota for foreign workers is announced at the beginning of each calendar year. If you intend to move to Italy, you must submit your documents within the stated period.

Once you have obtained a visa, proceed to the issuance of a residence permit according to your needs. Once you are approved for a position, your employer is responsible for submitting the necessary paperwork to the appropriate legal authorities in the area.

The average salary in Italy is around €3,650 per month. It varies greatly by experience and field of development. The area where you will live will have an impact on your salary. Northern Italy is attracting more and more innovative private companies, while people in southern Italy are oriented towards farming, agriculture and tourism.

The average working week in Italy is under 36 hours (35.6). The standard working day in private companies starts around 8/9am and ends at 6pm. Italians enjoy a lunch break of about two hours, which they spend with colleagues, doing personal tasks or going home to their families. This flexibility helps them balance their professional and personal lives well. Locals also welcome positively the idea of a four-day working week and more and more companies are testing how it affects workflow.

Take note that in the public sector, working hours are shorter - 8am to 2pm, Monday to Saturday. This feature may cause you discomfort in the first months after moving to Italy.

Moving to Italy with children

The country's education system is divided into four main levels. They are kindergarten (3-5), primary school (6-10), junior high school (11-14) and high school (15-19). Education is free and compulsory for all children aged 6 to 16. The only fees payable are contributions for meals and transport if the school provides these as options. There are public and private nurseries and kindergartens. The public ones give priority for enrolment to people with lower incomes, while the private ones are reserved for people with higher incomes.

There is a wide variety of public, private, international and Catholic schools in the country. All public and most Catholic institutions teach in Italian. This may be a hardship for your child. If he or she is not proficient in the local language, look into international and private schools that have bilingual instruction.

State universities are free for Italian citizens. All international students must pay tuition fees, which vary according to the chosen university and course. Scholarship options are available to cover the cost of study at a relevant university if certain results are achieved.

Higher education institutions teach mainly in Italian, but there are a number of private universities with an English program. For this purpose, the student must first have a certificate attesting to a high level of English.

Moving to Italy with a pet

To legally enter the country with a cat, dog or ferret, the animal must have a valid passport, a rabies vaccine and a European health certificate issued up to 10 days before crossing the border. Your pet must also have a legible tattoo or chip that meets Annex A of ISO Standard 11785, ISO Standard 11784, AVID 9 or AVID 10.

There are no banned dog breeds in this country, but there are special requirements for those that are more prone to aggression. They must be walked on a leash of up to 1.5 metres and must wear a muzzle on public transport. Registering your dog with the local pet registry (anagrafe degli animali d'affezione) is compulsory, and recommended for cats. You should then get them insured. It can cover civil and property damage to third parties as well as veterinary costs.

If you are moving to Italy with birds, fish, reptiles, frogs, etc., their health certificate must be obtained within 48 hours before departure. Entering the country with a tortoise or parrot obliges you to prove that the animal is not an endangered species. Italy has strict rules on importing birds. You can only enter with them through Rome and Milan airports with prior notice. Some of the documents require longer preparation in advance. 

View of Positano, Amalfi coast, Italy - mountain, buildings, sea and beach

Driving in the country

If you move to Italy from another EU country, you will be able to drive with your current license until it expires. You must then renew it with an Italian one without having to take a test.

All people coming from third countries can drive for up to one year with their International Driving Permit (IDP). They are also allowed to use their foreign license issued in their country, but must have an official English translation of it. After this period, they have to renew their license with an Italian, having to undergo an equivalency test.

If you want to bring your personal car into the country, you must have a residence permit issued in advance. You also need to register the car with an Italian local office within 6 months of your move to Italy.  

Health system and insurance

Italy's public health system (SSN, Servizio Sanitario Nazionale) is unified, but services are divided into separate regions. As a result, there are different conditions for receiving health care.

Health insurance is compulsory for everyone. You must register with the relevant local health centre (Azienda Sanitaria) once you move to Italy. European citizens have access to medical care for the first 90 days with their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). After this time expires, they must register with the national health service.

Some third countries such as Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have a special bilateral agreement for health care in Italy. Check if the country you are coming from has one and familiarise yourself with the process of obtaining the necessary documents from the local Italian embassy. 

Coming from a third country, you must register with the Italian healthcare system with your passport, residence permit and individual tax number. Many immigrants opt for private medical insurance, which gives access to faster service, at the expense of its higher monthly fee.

Nature and climatic conditions

Many people move to Italy because of its favourable climate. It varies in different parts of the country, but is mainly subtropical and Mediterranean. Warm summers and rainy winters are typical for Italy.

The mountainous areas offer opportunities for winter tourism, while the lowlands of the Apennines are conducive to intensified agriculture. Much of the country is landlocked, making it a favourable destination for sea sports enthusiasts. The further south you choose to live, the more you will feel the hospitality of the locals.

The country is a home to many people who have decided to rediscover the Mediterranean food and lifestyle. Before making a move to Italy, you need to plan every detail carefully. Movega Removals will assist you with organizing the entire process of transporting and storing your belongings. To book a free consultation, use our chat bot or contact form.

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