Advantages of living in Italy
Here at ConnectHouses, we have helped thousands move to their ideal Italian home over the past decade. We, along with our trusted partners, will help you navigate the often tricky path to home ownership in Italy, ensuring your purchase goes smoothly.
In the following paragraphs, you will find some of the main reasons to buy a home in Italy, before we begin the step-by-step buying process.
Should you buy a house in Italy?
So, you're wondering why Italy is so great. Well, we are sure you are aware of the most well-known reasons why people want to move there, such as the delicious food and drink, the rich culture and the wonderful climate, but did you know that there are also practical reasons? You may also find the excellent health care, easy access, and a lower cost of living than the Netherlands
Not quite convinced yet? Here are some of the best advantages of living in Italy:
Italy has a reputation for being quite expensive compared to neighbouring countries like Spain and Greece. Prices in places like Venice, Milan or Florence can be steep, but much of the Italian countryside is very affordable. If you are buying a house in Italy, swap Tuscany for Umbria, for example, and you will find a property more than €400/m² cheaper.
There are many properties for sale within a few minutes' drive of an Italian town. Here you can take advantage of lower property prices and still have all the amenities you need nearby. For example, you can buy a one-bedroom terraced house or a two-bedroom flat for around €160,000 in the Netherlands. But for the same money, you can buy a three bedroom detached villa with a large garden in Puglia. And it is only a short drive to sunny beaches, interesting cities and an airport.
Unlike in the Netherlands, where country houses seem to cost a fortune, the best house prices in Italy are in rural areas and in the sunny south. Good news for Dutch people who want to settle in the beautiful Italian countryside.
You will find an overview of reasonably priced locations in the cheapest places to live in Italy, which we will cover later in this guide.
Lower cost of living
Big cities and tourist hotspots are the most expensive places to live, whichever country you live in. But where the Italian cost of living really falls is when you buy a house in the countryside or on the outskirts of a small town or village.
In more rural locations, local taxes are lower and fresh local produce is cheaper. Transport, such as trains, buses and domestic flights, is also less expensive in Italy, making it cheap and easy to get around. One of the biggest savings is when you become a resident of Italy, as the equivalent of council tax is abolished on one's main residence and you get electricity at a reduced rate.
Excellent transport connections
Italy has excellent transport links. Most expats want to maintain links with the Netherlands, especially with family back home. Italy has more than 30 international airports and most of these have low-cost flights with airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet back home. From the Netherlands, Ryanair and KLM both fly to 22 Italian airports and offer very competitive prices all year round.
From Amsterdam, flights to northern Italian airports usually take around two hours and to the south around three hours. This makes it easy for family to visit and the opportunity is there to earn an income by renting out your Italian home to tourists.
When it comes to moving your belongings to Italy, there are many moving companies with experience in transporting furniture to Italy. A good network of highways throughout the country along with spectacular scenery makes driving in Italy a pleasure. Even taking your pet is easy with the Pet Passport programme. You can drive through France - think of those wonderful dog walks in the Alps! - Or you can have them flown over by a company that specialises in transporting pets.
If you move to Italy, you can swap the 1,500 hours of sunshine of the Netherlands for the more than 2,000 of Italy. Imagine sitting on your balcony or in the garden with a drink well into November, or spending the summer at the beach or exploring the local markets - the climate is the key to la dolce vita.
Most of Italy has a Mediterranean climate, with cool wet winters and hot dry summers. The mildest weather is along the coast and in the southern regions, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Winter temperatures rarely drop below freezing in the south, while summers often reach 35°C or more. In the mountains, cold air from northern Europe can bring snow, even as far south as Mount Etna in Sicily. There are 294 ski resorts in Italy, mainly in the Italian Alps in the north.
Every season adds beauty to the landscape, such as fields of poppies and sunflowers, autumn leaves, snow-capped mountains and summer beaches. In Italy, you are sure to get enough sunny weather to plan days out in summer.
The landscape of Italy is very diverse. The Alps and the Dolomites in the north have snowy peaks, icy glaciers and fertile valleys. In their foothills, there are large and beautiful lakes, such as Lake Garda and Lake Como. In the centre of Italy, the mountains are dotted with pretty hilltop villages, and a short drive away you will find the flat plains that run along the coast. Within one region, you will often find plains, hills, mountains and a beautiful coastline.
Seven of the cultural landscapes are so remarkable that they have been recognised by UNESCO. These include the vineyards of Piedmont, the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre and Val d'Orcia. Nature is well protected in 25 national parks and 147 nature reserves. Grapevines and olive trees adorn the landscape throughout the country. However, most olive oil in Italy is produced in the southern regions of Puglia, Calabria and Sicily, so there they dominate the landscape. You will also see many small fruit orchards and vegetable plantations - you might even buy one yourself!
If you want to live somewhere with a beautiful view, check out the best places in Italy for natural beauty, which we will cover later in this guide.
Delicious food and wine
Italian food is a fresh and simple cuisine that makes the most of what is grown locally. Each region, city and family has its own special dishes that reflect what is produced in the countryside and in the sea near their homes. Italy is known for its healthy Mediterranean diet, but also for pizza, pasta and gelato. The flavours in a real Italian pizza and gelato are like nothing else tasted in the world because of those fresh Italian ingredients.
Wine, cheese and pasta are an important part of every Italian meal. Pasta comes in almost as many forms as there are days in the year. So do not limit yourself to the old favourites: penne, spaghetti, linguine, fusilli and lasagne. Each region has its own pasta shape and way of serving pasta, so why not try orecchiette, quadrucci, bavette - the list goes on!
The list of the best Italian cheeses is also very long and includes Grana Padano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gorgonzola, Ricotta Romano, Pecorino Toscano and Mozzarella di Bufala. Many regions produce top quality wines, some of which are famous the world over. Barolo, Barbaresco, classic Chianti, Lambrusco, Sangiovese and the sparkling Prosecco to name but a few. The wine prices directly from your local winemaker are very affordable, so you will be able to make many toasts to your new home.
Italian culture is steeped in art, family, architecture, religion, food and music. Italians actively work to keep the traditions they are so proud of alive. Visit any city and you will find that the historic centre still has a very Italian feel, with any foreign restaurants and shops only allowed on the outskirts. And even there you will find very few. Events in the squares are usually annual festas that have been going on for centuries, and not just for tourists.