Random questions and answers about living in Italy
So you are thinking to come in live in Italy and have many questions….. wondering where to live, what to do, do I need a visa, can I move to Italy without a job, how long can or will I stay, where will I stay, will I live alone, is the Italian language hard to learn, is it safe to live in Italy, is it expensive, how much does a big mac cost, how much does a beer cost, how much does a nice meal out the cost, how much does food in the supermarkets cost, is it cheaper to live in Italy than the US.
HOW MUCH DOES A BIG MAC COST IN ITALY?
€4.30 (burger only)
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE RENT IN ITALY?
It depends on which city or town. Obviously the smaller towns will be cheaper than the bigger cities.
The average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment would be (according to www.numbeo.com:
Rome centre – €950 + expenses
Milan centre – €1150 + expenses
Florence centre – €815 + expenses
HOW MUCH EXTRA RENTAL EXPENSES IN ITALY?
Besides the rent cost you can expect to pay between €100 – €300 per month extra in expenses depending if your building has a door person, elevator, garden, and how many apartments in the building.
HOW DO I CANCEL A PROPERTY RENTAL CONTRACT?
You should send a registered letter ‘lettera raccomandata’.
WHAT IS A LETTERA RACCOMANDATA?
A lettera raccomandata is a registered letter and is the official way to cancel a rental contract.
HOW DO I SEND A LETTERA RACCOMANDATA?
You should get a pack from the post office with full instructions. Also see this article on how to send a lettera raccomandata. https://cribmed.com/blog/how-to-send-a-lettera-raccomandata-con-ricevuta-di-ritorno/
ARE UTILITIES INCLUDED IN PROPERTY RENTAL CONTRACTS IN ITALY?
NO. Utilities are not normally included in the rent. Sometimes the landlord will agree to a monthly forfeit sum to leave the utilities in their name, with any amount above this being due at the end of the tenancy. If the owner will agree to this it needs to be included in the rental contract. See this article for everything you need to know about renting in Italy.
WHAT’S THE NORMAL CANCELLATION POLICY FOR A LONG TERM PROPERTY RENTAL IN ITALY?
3 months, but could also be 6 months or even a bank guarantee. At www.CribMed.com most owners ask for only 1 or 2 months’ cancellation policy.
WHAT’S A BANK GUARANTEE?
In this particular case, a bank guarantee is when a lending institution promises to cover a loss if a tenant defaults on rent payments. It usually costs a percentage of 1 years of annual rent.
DO I NEED TO REPAINT THE WALLS AT THE END OF THE LEASE?
If the property is handed over to you freshly painted, it will need to handed back in the same condition, especially if this is a lease requirement.
WHAT ARE THE REALTOR FEES IN ITALY?
Realtor fees are normally one month’s rent, but in northern Italy, they can be two month’s rent or approximately 15% of the annual rent. In rare cases, this can also be 10 – 12% or 18%. At www.CribMed.com the Service Fee is from 8%
IS ITALY EXPENSIVE TO LIVE IN?
Italy is very cheap – certain things in Italy like fresh produce, wine, and public transport are very cheap in comparison to other countries. However, if you live in a 1st tier city like Milan and Rome, you will find that rents, especially in comparison to local salaries are very high – notably for very sought-after properties.
WHAT IS A GOOD SALARY IN ROME?
The minimum salary is around €1000 for low skilled work as a waiter, with qualified graduated people earning between €1200 to €2000 per month after tax.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED TO LIVE IN ROME?
At least €2000 per month if you intend to live by yourself for a very simple life. This assumes you will live in or near the centre. If you are a couple between €2500 to €3000 would be the ideal combined monthly income to live an enjoyable and comfortable life.
IS FOOD EXPENSIVE IN ROME?
In general no but it does depend on how much money you have or earn. Check out this supermarket flyer with prices valid from between 2020 February 28 – 2020 March 10. https://cribmed.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pim-Supermarket-Feb-2020.pdf
IS ROME SAFE TO LIVE?
Yes. The biggest danger is that you get pick-pocketed. The risk of getting shot or stabbed is very low. Be street smart and you should be fine.
IS ENGLISH WIDELY SPOKEN IN ITALY?
NO. They get by in restaurants and small chit chat but if you go to a bank, utility provider, or any online assistance you will need some Italian. Do a short course before you arrive and continue when you arrive. It could be the difference between staying here for 3 months or a few years.
ARE THERE MANY WORK OPPORTUNITIES?
NO. Due to an undynamic work market, Italy offers very little in terms of work opportunities for the spouses or partners of the worker, especially if they don’t speak Italian.
IS THE ITALIAN LANGUAGE EASY TO LEARN?
No, not if you come from an Anglo-Saxon background. The grammar has a lot more variation than English. Latin based speaking descendants find it a lot easier. You should definitely do a course when you arrive and to supplement the course I recommend the following tips to help you with your Italian while you are in Italy.
Soap Operas: Believe it or not, watching soap operas can be very helpful, as the language is simple, repetitive, and not spoken as quickly as in news shows or movies. Just what you need for everyday language!
Mix with Italians: While it may seem easier to socialize with other expatriates, this won’t really help you to learn Italian. Making friends with Italians on the other hand will.
Netflix with Subtitles: When watching Netflix, switch on the option to have subtitles in Italian. As most people respond to what they see, having the subtitles displayed will help you to memorize the spelling and the meaning of words.
IF I BUY A PROPERTY IN ITALY CAN I STAY LONG TERM IN ITALY?
NO not if you’re NON EU. Just because a Non-EU citizen buys a property in Italy or participates in one of the €1 home schemes, this does not give them the right to a long term stay visa for Italy. If they wish to stay beyond the 90 days allowed through the relevant visa, or the visa-free travel program, they will need to apply for a long-term visa to live and / or work permanently in Italy.
HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN ITALY?
For Non-EU people, if you are not a resident then you can only stay for 90 days unless you have a special permit for study, work, health, or similar. If you have obtained your residency in Italy, you can remain in Italy only until your residency permit expires. This means between 2 and 5 years.
CAN I APPLY FOR A VISA IN ITALY?
NO. Another piece of wrong information floating around on the internet is that you can apply for a visa in Italy – visas are issued in the home country or country of residency of the applicant.
IF I OVERSTAY IN ITALY WILL ANYTHING HAPPEN WHEN I LEAVE?
With the soon-to-be-introduced ETIAS travel system and given that Italy’s immigration is tied to its fellow Schengen members, overstaying is now being caught much more easily than it was in the past. Overstaying your legally permitted time in Italy is highly unadvisable.
ARE THERE REALLY HOUSES FOR SALE IN ITALY FOR €1 EURO?
YES. However they usually need to be substantially renovated and are normally located in remote areas, have little or no employment opportunities, and most of the time are located far from medical facilities. Before buying one of these properties, it is highly advisable to come on a look / see trip and to engage the services of local experts such as a lawyer, accountant, and surveyor to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the line.
IS GETTING AN ITALIAN DRIVER’S LICENSE EASY?
NO. You must take the exam in either Italian or French language. The easiest and most efficient way to get your driver’s license is to go through the autoscuola.
CAN I DRIVE WITH MY NATIVE DRIVER’S LICENSE?
YES, for up to 1 year in conjunction with an international driver’s license. However, if you come from a country that has a reciprocal agreement with Italy you can exchange your license. If not you must sit and pass the Italian drivers exam within 1 year from your arrival.
WHAT SIDE OF THE ROAD DO YOU DRIVE IN ITALY?
In Italy you drive on the right side of the road.
WHAT SIDE OF THE CAR DOES THE DRIVER SIT IN ITALY?
The driver sits on the left side of the car in Italy.
HOW MUCH IS PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN ROME, ITALY?
An individual ticket for bus, metro, tram, and trains inside the municipality of Rome is 1.50 € and is valid for 100 minutes. If you will be in Rome for an extended period of time, one can buy a seven day Metro and bus pass (called CIS) for 24 €.
HOW MUCH IS PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN MILAN, ITALY?
The single trip costs 2 € and is valid for 90 minutes. A 10-card (carnet) costs 18 € a 90 min each way.