Your guide to expat life in Italy

Moving to Italy

In our 2016 Expat Explorer Survey, expats living in Italy said they enjoy immersing themselves in the rich local culture.

It can take a while to get used to Italian bureaucracy and the locals’ laid-back approach to timekeeping. But there are plenty of positives to counter these frustrations, not least the sunny climate and Mediterranean cuisine. In big cities and tourist destinations, English speakers don’t usually encounter a language barrier, but it’s still worth learning some basic Italian phrases.

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Basic info

  • Population: About 60 million
  • Capital city: Rome
  • Largest city: Rome
  • Political system: Parliamentary constitutional republic
  • Main language: Italian
  • Main religion: Catholicism. Other religions include Islam, Judaism and other Christian denominations.
  • Time: GMT+1 (GMT+2 from the end of March to the end of October)
  • Electricity: European-style plugs with two or three round pins are used.
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • International dialling code: +39
  • Internet domain: .it
  • Emergency numbers: 112 (military police), 113 (police), 118 (ambulance), 115 (fire)

Next holiday

Nov

01

All Saints' Day

If a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, it’s moved to the first available weekday.

Public Holidays

2016
1 January New Year's Day
6 January Epiphany
28 March Easter Monday
25 April Liberation Day
1 May Labour Day
2 June Anniversary of the Republic
15 August Assumption of the Virgin
1 November All Saints' Day
8 December Day of Immaculate Conception
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Santo Stefano
2017
1 January New Year's Day
6 January Epiphany
17 April Easter Monday
25 April Liberation Day
1 May Labour Day
2 June Anniversary of the Republic
15 August Assumption of the Virgin
1 November All Saints' Day
8 December Day of Immaculate Conception
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Santo Stefano
2018
1 January New Year's Day
6 January Epiphany
2 April Easter Monday
25 April Liberation Day
1 May Labour Day
2 June Anniversary of the Republic
15 August Assumption of the Virgin
1 November All Saints' Day
8 December Day of Immaculate Conception
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Santo Stefano

Your relocation checklist

Moving to a new country takes a lot of planning. To help you get started, here are some of the things you need to do before you leave home – or just after you arrive.

Key phrases in Italian

  • Hello Ciao
  • Good evening Buona sera
  • Goodbye Ciao
  • How are you? Come va?
  • Thank you Grazie
  • Yes Si
  • No No
  • Do you speak English? Parla inglese?
  • Can you help me? Mi potete aiutare?
  • Sorry Mi dispiace

Top tips

View a selection of tips sourced from expats about Italy:

“Know that you are only allowed to drive on an international license 1 year after residency, then you have to get an Italian license. You also cannot buy a car until you have residency.” Added by Expat Explorer Survey respondent

“Learn Italian before you move to Italy. Visit as many places as you can, there is a huge difference between North and South Italy.” Added by Expat Explorer Survey respondent

“Take advantage of the fantastic food and drink. There is some brilliant seafood and fresh vegetables. Trips to the beach during scorching summers are very popular.” Added by Scott Bergstein, Expat Explorer guest blogger

“Be spontaneous; try to get to know local people as fast as you can; don't visit only tourist places (you have to listen to the advice of local people to see the most beautiful places).” Added by Expat Explorer Survey respondent

“Enjoy Italian food - it's healthy and delicious!” Added by Expat Explorer Survey respondent

View more hints and tips for Italy

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Try to figure out how much you can do online, whether it's arranging re-deliveries, ordering hard-to-find items in your host country's language, or simply finding more local travel options.

Ashley Thompson, Expat Explorer guest blogger

View more hints and tips for Italy

Shipping

There are many international removals companies that ship household goods to Italy by air and sea – so it’s worth shopping around for the best deal.

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Air vs sea

Air freight is the quickest option, but it’s more expensive than shipping goods to one of Italy’s many ports. If you’re moving from another European country, it might be cheaper to transport your belongings by road.

Import duties

If you’re moving to Italy from another EU country, you don’t have to pay any import duties. If you’re from outside the EU, you’ll be charged duty on new goods. Used items are duty free as long as you’ve owned them for a certain period – you’ll have to provide a detailed inventory and receipts with your customs application.

Pets

If you want to take a pet to Italy, they must be microchipped and have up-to-date vaccination records. Animals from outside the EU also need a health certificate issued by a vet in their home country.

All Expat Explorer survey data and all tips (in quotation marks) are provided by HSBC.

All other content is provided by expatarrivals.com, Globe Media Ltd and was last updated in August 2016. HSBC accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of this information.

This information does not constitute advice and no liability is accepted to recipients acting independently on its contents. The views expressed are subject to change.