What you need to know if you want to retire in Italy

How to retire to Italy: advice and info / Unsplash.com/@carolinehdz
How to retire to Italy: advice and info / Unsplash.com/@carolinehdz
7 March 2019, Eleonora Passetto

You want to retire to Italy, but where to start? Many foreigners have always dreamed of living in Italy and spending the autumn years of their lives here. Whether you’re British, Irish or American, everyone loves the continental climate, the incredible food and wine culture, amazing history and the proximity to the sea and the mountains. Italy is definitely one of the most popular destinations in the world, but how do you get your pension in Italy?

Read this article to find out more about retiring to Italy.

The cost of living in Italy

Is Italy an expensive country to live in? Answering this question is not easy, partly because it depends a lot on the goods and services you buy. Those who are thinking of going to live in Italy, especially pensioners, should be careful not to underestimate the cost of living as it has significantly increased over the last decade. Italy is a relatively expensive country compared to US standards and is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. That said, there is a large difference between the cost and the standard of living in the regions of Northern and Central Italy and the South, which is quite poor in comparison.

Unless you choose to live in the South or in a small town in the interior like Le Marche, famous metropolitan cities like Rome and Milan are more expensive, especially if you want to live on your own. Luxury and quality products such as cars are expensive, but food, wine and spirits are cheaper. It is difficult to calculate the average cost of living in Italy as it depends largely on your circumstances and your lifestyle.

Healthcare in Italy

One of the best things about Italy is that you don’t have to pay for health insurance. The Italian National Health Service is ranked in the Top 10 for quality care by the World Health Organization. What does this mean? That you won’t need to budget extra money for hospital trips, medical visits or treatments. Nonetheless, it's recommendable to have an EHIC European Health Insurance Card.

Live in Italy as a retiree

To live legally in this country, you have to show that you still have an income. Retirement income can come from:

  • Pension Social security cheques
  • Real Estate investments
  • Social Security cheques
  • Other types of investment

Taxation may not be the same in Italy as in your country, so ask an accountant for advice on how best to manage your tax compliance both at home and in Italy. There are even some new tax deductions for expats retiring to Italy.

If you want to claim a state pension while you're in Italy from your home country, you have to apply to the Italian National Social Security Institute (Istituto Nazionale Previdenza Sociale or INPS) and they will help you to automatically transfer the money.

Top 5 best places to retire

Beyond the biggest cities in Italy like Rome, Florence and Milan, which are great choices for their quality lifestyle, architecture, history and transport links, the following regions are really popular with pensioners:

  • Abruzzo: its strong point is definitely that it's cheaper than other areas of the country. Abruzzo is an amazing region with mountains, a coastline on the Adriatic Sea, plus plenty of national parks and nature.
  • Puglia: a big region overlooking the Adriatic Sea also known as Apulia, it is the ideal choice for a retiree with an easygoing lifestyle and a love of seafood, beaches and waves. The cost of living is lower than in the rest of the country.

Visa requirements in Italy

UK citizens don’t need a visa to enter Italy and can stay in the country without one for up to three months. But foreigners who retire to Italy and draw their income from social security or a pension should apply for an elective residency Visa. It’s also a good idea to keep a valid passport from your home country.

You can apply for an elective residency visa at the Italian consulate in your home country and then apply for a long-term permit once you arrive in Italy. You’ll also need to provide proof of residency through a rental contract or deed for property you have purchased in Italy.

Now you know all about how to retire in Italy, there's nothing to get in the way of living the retirement of your dreams in fabulous Italy!

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