Dear Ms. Adventures: Help Me Move to Italy!

I get mail. Lots of it. Most of the information I send back I’ve already talked about in my post Help! How to Live and Work in Italy, but of course, everyone’s situation is different. Therefore I’m going to answer a lot of these questions here on the blog so that everyone may benefit. Please do NOT leave your questions in the comments here.

(Note: some emails were shortened but all spelling and grammar errors are original to the inquirer.)

Ms. Adventures,
I have been contemplating on moving to Italy for many reasons. The major one is not being fluent in the language. In Italy, is english their second language usually? If so, that should help but I have been told that if I don’t know the language fluently, it will be hard to get around for daily use and possibly finding a job (for my wife).

My other stipulations is my family. What is your advice on bringing over my wife (speaks spanish), who doesn’t work right now(company lay off) and my 2 yr. old son, over to Roma? He will probably be 4+ years old when we move there. Is it difficult to find a quality place to live, around Roma? What are your thoughts on my situation?
Thanks for your ears,
Looking for fluency

Ciao Looking for Fluency – my ears thank you for the mention,
English is not the second language of Italians. It’s pretty dangerous to use that as a crutch while living in Italy. Depending on the region/city, you may find a lot of people that speak English or no one at all. I really encourage you to learn the language – I believe Italians are more helpful when they feel you’re trying to acclimate and are trying to speak Italian!

I can’t tell you what to do about your wife – it depends on if you’ll need her salary to live, what her skills are and how adventurous you are as a family. The short rule is that the job market in Italy is much more difficult than in the US, but it depends on the industry (and city!). As for finding places to live, I don’t think it will be a big problem, though I would try to arrange for a week or two (or a month) in temporary housing if you can to find a place you really like. Check my Milan & Italy Links page for some links to classifieds and helpful sites.

Good luck,
Ms. Adventures in Italy

Hi,
Anyway, I am actual Italian citizen & will be recieving my Italian passport in 30 days. I was able to get it through my acenestry at the Italian consulate…I guess I am looking for an opinion, on how much “easier” if at all it will be for me to find work since im italian. There is almost nothing on english only speakers who are actually italian, and i suppose rightly so. Id perfer to be in big city but can be flexible, I’ve been to Italy before & feel pretty comfortable with Rome, but have not counted out Turin, Bologna & Florence. I understand salaries are typically higher in the north, but so is the cost of lliving in general. I guess im just looking for even more thoughts and ideas

My goal is to work some crap job, weather its cleaning, assembly line/manufacturing, id even consider agriculture. I can just live minimally for a year BUT, i have to be able to support myself, have a room, be able to eat, and of course be able go out on occasion. After a year or so I’d like to try searching for a better job once i have a better command of italian.

Sincerely, Italian not in Italy

Ciao Italian not in Italy,
I do think it will be easier to find work since you’re “Italian” but really the biggest advantage you have is that you’ll have working papers (the famed “permesso di soggiorno“) and/or an Italian passport. I think the biggest challenge many English native speakers face in Italy is not having the permission to work and therefore many employers refuse to work with them for skilled jobs or sometimes even any job. I don’t think you should limit yourself to working a “crap” job as you put it, but I think it’s a great idea to try to get fluent as soon as possible to find other opportunities later. Why not try to find a “crap” job where you’ll be speaking Italian, and not English, to speed up the process?
Ms. Adventures in Italy

Hi,
Thank you for putting together a very interesting, amusing, and informative website! If you have a moment, can you please let me know of any:
1) – specific recommendation for simple lodgings in Segesta, or;
2) – any suggestions you have for finding an inexpensive place to stay in general in Sicily? Budget is always a nagging concern, but we are not interested in the “hilton” experience at all anyway, and we gravitate towards the “clever”, or “steeped in history/local ambiance” kind of locale whenever possible.

I look forward to my first visit to Sicily, your website will make it way easier, thanks! Seeking Segesta

Ciao Seeking Segesta,
Here’s two things that might help:
1. Segesta is not a town! They are the name of the Greek ancient ruins in Sicily and there is no place to stay there. The closest town is Calatafimi and I don’t think it has a hotel, either. In any case, I suggest staying somewhere else (perhaps closer to the sea like Castellamare or a bigger city like Trapani or Palermo) and going to Segesta for a day trip.
2. I stayed with friends so I don’t know any hotels in that area, sorry. I suggest looking for a “pensione” which have less amenities than a hotel and are usually cheaper. Enjoy your trip! Ms. A

Hello mate,
I would like to work and live in italy. i need help finding myself a job and a place to live in. My intrest is working in a warehouse as a logistic cause that is what i am learning. I have one year left in school then i want to go. Can you help me find a job.

Ciao mate,
The short answer is no. I can’t help you find a job. You need to find a way to get a work permit so you can work in Italy. Then I suggest starting with Monster.it to find a job.
Sorry, mate. Ms. Adventures in Italy

Hello, I’m very interested in any information that I can get my hands on about living/working in Italy. I am studying Marine Environmental technology and I will be graduating in a year, or perhaps a little more, and I dream of working in Italy. However, I’ve been having a lot of trouble finding english speaking career opportunities. I would certainly appreciate any suggestions you may have for finding work in my field, or if you could redirect me to anyone else who could help. Thank you very much.
Marined Abroad

Hello Marined Abroad,
Congrats on having an ambitious dream! There are English-speaking career opportunities in every field, but if you’re looking for your particular field, why not try to find out which of those companies are present in Italy, and email them your interest? Try starting with the English websites of these companies and see if they can direct you to someone. A good understanding of Italian will probably be necessary anyway, so I encourage you to start learning it as soon as possible. I also suggest using a site like wordreference.com to help you start deciphering Italian websites for universities, research grants, etc. The easiest way to find contact information is to look for the “Contatti” or “Chi Siamo” pages.
Ms. Adventures in Italy

Hi,
My name is Christine and I’m 21 years old. I’m currently unemployed and desperately looking for a job in Italy!!! I think more than finding a job, the problem is finding accommodation. And lets face it, one needs to have a rather high income to be able to rent even the tiniest of flats!!

I would like to hear from you and if you have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me by sending emails. If I could I would leave my country even in a few days time, but without having any certainties of where I’m going and what I’m going to do, this is obviously not possible. Please get back to me whenever you can, it would be much appreciated!!!!

Ciao Christine,
I will not hesitate to contact you by sending you emails. But, I think you should hesitate before making the move ‘in a few days time”: finding accommodation will be infinitely easier than finding a job, since it appears you have no permit to work here. Since you’re young enough, why not consider studying in Italy and applying to a program here? I wrote an article for Matador Travel about Where to Study Abroad in Italy with some good links to the English versions of Italian university websites.
Ms. Adventures in Italy

Good afternoon,
I have to say that I absolutely love your website. So far it has been extremely informative. Currently im living in the US but looking to move to Italy next year. It has always been a dream of mine to visit there. I don’t think I should have a hard time getting a visa. My grandfather is from italy & I am in the process of gathering all of his documents. I just ordered the book living studying & working in italy, & I am purchasing the level 1 rosetta stone after new years to learn the language. Can you offer me any advice on finding a really cheap studio apartment & finding work. I have a strong sales background. Thanks so much! Vis a vis1

Hi, i am planning on moving from the US to Italy for a few months. It will be a personal trip, but i want to be able to get a job there to support myself. How should I go about doing this with the whole Visa thing? Vis a vis2

Dear Vis a vis1 and Vis a vis2,
If you have the possibility of getting citizenship, I suggest putting all your efforts into finishing it as soon as possible. Note that it can take several years to complete this even after collecting all the documents, and they will only give you a visa to reside in Italy after a certain point in the process. This is the major hurdle in finding work in Italy – having the permit to actually work here.
Ms. Adventures in Italy

hi there,
just browsing your blog…. my girlfriend will be in milan for a week for work (some fashion thing) but shes too lazy to do research on good food or interesting cultural sites. i was wondering if you could recommend a restaurant or culture blog besides your own. or favorite places to eat…Lazy’s Lover

Dear Lazy’s Lover,
I’m sorry, you lost me at ‘she’s too lazy.’ I suggest Google – it’s what we call a “search engine”, or perhaps, check my archives or blogroll for inspiration.
Ms. Adventures in Italy

Hello Ms. Adventures,
I hope to move with my boyfriend to Torino in January08. He is a microbiologist and will be doing research at the University of Torino for 2 years. I’m 26, a professional in Seattle . I work in for a stock photography company managing media partner content, and I speak no Italian, so I don’t think my career will directly translate. I have some experience in graphics and web design, so I’m hoping to cobble together some work for myself when I arrive.

The main problem is I’m not sure how I can stay longer than 3 months, without either a work or student visa. I’m just taking a beginning Italian class now, so I won’t have enough language skills to actually attend university. Do you have any suggestions?

Also, do you have any suggestions for finding an apartment?, so far we’ve gotten as far as posting an ad on craigslist (which would make sense in Seattle), but I’m wondering if you know of any specifically Italian sites or perhaps something for the Milan/Torino region?
Shuttered in Seattle

Dear Shuttered in Seattle,
I think a career in web design and graphics could translate but you really do need to speak Italian to work in most companies in Italy. More importantly, since you’re not married to your boyfriend (since you could piggyback on his visa in that case) you will need to find a way to get a work or student visa.

Note that most student visas are usually given for full-time study programs, and not for an occasional language class as you might hope. In fact, most private language schools will not be able to get you any permits for their courses. There are, though, many courses for English speakers (I think Bocconi has some English courses in management, for example) so it’s best to check each university to see if they have something available. Prepare yourself for a time commitment and desire to complete the program, though. Check out that article I mentioned above.

As for apartments, I suggest starting with my Italy & Milan links Page as Craigslist and Kijiji all have city-specific sites.
Ms. Adventures in Italy

Legal talk: I am not an immigration lawyer or official. Please make sure to check your country’s regulations and rules for working and living in Italy.

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Comments

  1. says

    Sara. this is excellent advice esp. regarding speaking the language. I studied Italian before I moved (however, I’m not fluent, yet) and while all of my italian friends speak english well, to work here you must speak Italian.

    At my bank the second languages spoken are French and Spanish. At the Comune to get my residency, second languages French or German. Hardly any English speakers.

    It’s very difficult to impossible to get a job here without speaking the language. As one of my friends said, it’s one thing in a social situation, Italians are very patient as you struggle to speak. However in the work place no one has time to deal with that.

  2. says

    How funny are some of these emails!

    I often get emails asking me what company I work for and how much I get paid…. People ALWAYS email asking about my pay which I think is rather rude! They don’t beat about the bush either. What do they want? To know the company and pay so they can come and steal my job?

  3. says

    Hi – sure glad you’re back. Missed your blog these last weeks. I’m sure you know about The Informer, the site info for which you can get by googling its name (don’t want to put in the url and end up in your spam!)

    There’s lots of free info on it to help expatriates settle in Italy, and even more for those who subscribe. We found it enormously helpful when we moved here, and maybe some other of your correspondents would too. We’ve never met the fellow who writes it, who is a lawyer, by the way, and have no interest in it other than that it helped us a lot…

    love your blog!

  4. carrieitly says

    Whoa mamma! Some of those are just too funny! I’m especially fond of the the ones by people who are willing to pull roots and move to Italy with nary a visit under their belt. That take a lotta something, for sure!

  5. James says

    Great blog with good information. I would urge everyone except students not to move to Italy. Take a vacation in Italy, but don’t move to Italy with all the hazzles that anyone coming from the U.K., Canada or the USA have experienced, it is just not worth it. If someone wants to move to continental Western Europe and live in a country that functions well, (i.e. public transport that works, good medical care, new roads and infrastructure), but still has a good year round climate, move to Spain and in particular Barcelona near the border of France with good high speed trains to the rest of Europe, good airports and a great culture, that offers everything any other great European city has to offer. No large city in Italy has an overall infrastruture and quality of life that even comes close to Barcelona. My Italian friends from Tuscany and other parts of Italy are moving to Barcelona for work and they love it, after living there 2-5 years and only want to return to visit family. Mi dispiace, ma e’ cosi.

  6. says

    Please Spain and France also have crazy red tape to deal with. I have an EU/French passport. The stories I’ve heard from my relatives when dealing with the French gov’t, healthcare etc. are as bad as the one I hear from expats here.

    For Anglo expats the big leap is moving out of the U.S., Canada period. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Africa or Asia,
    it’s tough moving to a completely different culture.

    Also read up on the unemployment rates in French and Spain. While their economies might be doing better than Italy’s they have major problems, esp. when it comes to salaries, getting a full contract, immigration etc.

    If someone wants to move here, they should just do their homework. Spend as much time here before they move. Being on vacation and living in a country are two very different things.

  7. Help Needed! says

    Love your BLOG! Here is where I need help … Me, my husband & myself want to move to Italy. We have friends there (Italian). No formal employment yet. I have an appt. in 2009 w/Italian Consulate for application for Dual Citizenship. I know this is a LONG process & drama :(. I am hoping there is SOME option for us in the meantime. Please!!!!! tell me there is some light at the end of the tunnel & not a train & that we do not have to just wait years. Is there some way we can get Italian sponsorship, anything???? Your advice, help, anything will help. My Great Grandfather was Caribinieri in Lucca, is this a help or not? Thank you so very much! Keep up your GREAT work!!!!

  8. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    @Help Needed – please read my post – I prefer an email (easily located on my Contact page) and will not answer questions left in the comments! :)

  9. Katherine says

    Hi Miss.Adventures,
    I just wanted to ask if there are jobs offered to 17 year olds in Italy,even if it’s part-time.
    I’m planning on continuing my studies in Florence but I also want to work to help me on the financial side.
    I am a British citizen and I also wanted to ask what requirements I would be needing to enter Italy and to go to college there?
    Thanks,
    Katherine

  10. says

    TWO OF MY G/Grandparents came from Calatafimi and moved to the U.S.A. IN1910 and return back in1923 and my G/Gfather passed away in 1952, my other G/Grandparents came from CLAMO and I still have a few relatives living in Calatafimi. My question to you what can my wife & I do to get in touch with the official people to help support Calatafimi in any way we can? Do you have the Mayors office address or phone number or even e-mail address?
    CIAO

  11. says

    I need to phone # or fax # to the Mayors Office in
    Calatafimi,Sisily where my G/Gparents grew up. Our Family may have some support for the town of Calatafimi where my G/G parents grew up. My wife will be there somtimes in 2009 Also can you tell us when the next SS. CRUCIFIX FEAST will be held ????

  12. Leilani says

    I am an International Sales Manager for luxury hotels/resorts here in the US. I have been in Hawaii for too long and don’t like the heat or beach scene anymore and have always wanted to work and live in Italy. I am also 45 and single so it would be nice to live in an area that has great hotels, but is also not such a big city, that would not be able to meet or date men my age too.
    I have only been to Venice, so I am not familiar with other areas. I also do glass art, and know that Siena and Florence seemed nice, but again is this too isolated or too countryside for me? Any advice would be appreciate, and I would be more than happy to return the favor on advise to the US (I have lived in most major cities), or a little something from here. Aloha Leilani

  13. rick says

    Hi everybody,—-im rick,an american from san diego,but now living in the philippines with my filipina wife who has never been to the US.If anyone is an expert on any of the following questions regarding proper procedures to simply retire in italy,i would appreciate your knowledge.

    1.Im 53 retired —-if i want to retire there in italy,would it be best to get a tourist visa,or entry visa and continue the process in italy,or get the elective residency at the beginning?

    2.Has everyone that has retired in italy for lifetime,had to purchase a round trip ticket that they dont need the return on,just because the visa requires it? (can you get an onward ticket to switzerland,which is less expensive and just not go?)

    3.Am not elegible for S.S. for quite a while,so how much savings do i need to show?

    I’ve heard horror stories of this process ( i can’t even get an appointment at the embassy without purchasing plane tickets and having a rental/purchasing contract for a dwelling in italy.Any info that i can find out in the process of doing this,i will be glad to share here.

    Thank you,Rick and mildred

  14. says

    I would love to find out about some of Milan’s best restaurants that aren’t commercial!

    I also run my own blog and would love to be added to your list! All about my food adventures in Milan!

    Thank you

  15. magdel says

    Hi

    I’m from south africa but i feel that i want to expand my view, and i have my heart set on italy. Now i studied drama and i’m writing and directing plays i also did my teachers degree and i’m qualified to teach high school drama and english. I also had marketing subjects till my second year in varsity and i wrote for 2 news papers here in South africa. My passion is drama and writing. I’m looking for adventure…. in italy. what is my first step?

  16. JD101 says

    Hello Ms. Adventures in Italy
    My name is Jennifer I’m from the U.S. I’m currently studying Business Marketing Management I’m 20 and I want to come visit your country for a couple of months or a year before I move to England. My great grandparents were from Calabria, but they passed away when I was young so I did not get any traditions from them I have no connection to them other then blood and I just started studying Italian as my second Language. But I want to feel first handed what my distant heritage is all about. Do you have any advice as far as while I’m staying what I should take into experience first handed and everywhere I should visit? I do know one place I have to go is Florence and while I am applying for my passport and such. I was just wondering if you would email me or reply to my questions so I can further review destination and such Thank you Sincerely Jennifer

  17. a fool in love says

    Dear Ms. Adventures,
    I am one of those unfortunate beings who fell in love with a boy in Italy, I know, stupid right? Well my problem now is I had to come back to finish school then I am planning on going back to Italy to do more school. I guess my question is how do you find a cheap flight to Italy, if I don’t find one then I will have to not see him for a year in a half and its practically breaking me apart (again never imagined I would be ones of those women.) Any advice? thanks,
    a fool in love

  18. Cassue says

    Hi,
    My friend and I are interested in moving to Italy for six months. I was wondering how to do that. We are both from the United States and will need to work when we get there. Plus we need a relatively cheap place to live. How can we make this possible?
    hope you can help,
    Cassie

  19. Lisa says

    Hi Sara,

    I too love Italy and spend a month each summer on the Adriatic Sea. I’d love to somehow contribute to your blog so if you’re interested, please feel free to contact me.

    I’ll be leaving for Riccione, Italia on 7/3 and would love to share some experiences; let me know your thoughts.

    Lisa

  20. Ms. Adventures in Italy says

    Hi all, just a reminder I won’t answer questions left in the comments – you must email me them. Please don’t make me close comments!

  21. annie says

    ciao!!
    buona notte!! (time of the day here in the philippines)

    i would like to ask few questions and have some of your advises about some matters..

    i am still a student (communication student) and i have this dream to work in italy to practice my profession, but i have no idea where to go there. I really worked hard to do some research but i had a hard time so i stopped seraching. Thanks God i found this site.

    i am also currently working on my italian language (i am doing it on my own) i have with me my dictionary wherever i go to keep on practicing and make myself familiar on the words(italian).

    i will be graduating next year so i am seriously preparing stuffs that could help me to pursue my dreams.

    i really have no idea what italy can give me, how itcan help me on my dreams. i hope you could help me on this… grazie!!!!

  22. fad says

    Hi , i have American passport and been in italy for like 2 years coming and going and living with my boyfriend can as a former conpagno , get my permit to stay ? since he is italian and we live together ? in need of urgent answer ,
    Thanks alot

  23. Liz says

    Hey, I’m American and I’m currently an exchange student in Cremona, Italy for a year and I love it. I speak italian and go to an art school, which is my passion. I want more than anything to move back to Cremona because I feel I really have a life here. I am going into my senior year of high school when I return to America in June and afterward I may do about two or three years of college for art. But I want more than anything to move to Cremona and live here after I finish college. My art field is illustration and as an illustrator I will work from home, so obtaining a work visa would be a little confusing. How can I move to Italy?
    Grz mille.. Liz.

  24. kevin says

    hi.
    i have just found a list off running events you have posted on the web.
    i will be going to san lucido near Cosenzak on the 7th of july for a week and was looking for a race to do there .do you know off any race from 5k to half marathon.

    thanks

  25. Geri Schiavino says

    I am 61 and my daughter is 26. We are planning to live in Italy in a year or so. I am in the process of trying to obtaining dual citizenship through my father and paternal grandparents. If I don’t get dual citizenship, how do I go about living there or retiring there? My daughter is in the fashion industry and wants to work in Florence. It this a dream for us or can we make it reality?

  26. says

    As italian I’m really impressed to read here how many people want/dream to go to live in Italy. For sure Italy has great places, history, culture, art and incredible towns and places and I know that a lot of movies helped people to dream about this country. But all that is just a part of the real Italy, the other part is the day-living that can be very hard (ok, maybe not more hard to live daily in US)!
    Just some hints for people that want to move to Italy:
    - for EU citizens (UK included) there are no issues or difficulties because they don’t need Visa or working permit (Move inside EU is like to move inside US);
    - English is not the second language for italians (unfortunately), ok, a lot of people speak english, most in the north or in touristic towns (that are a lot) but italian language is widely required/mandatory for day-life, even for basic services and the best way is to learn it as soon as possible… and don’t care about mistakes, italians do not care if you are foreign, they will make their best to understand you and help you;
    - “work world” is completely different than in US or UK and that can be (or better… will be) an hard part of your life but is not impossible to find, in particular if you work as engineer, in fashion, turism, teaching. You have just to find the right place, for example, it is impossible to work as stylist in Palermo, the good towns for that field are Milan, Turin and, few places, in Rome and Veneto and Emilia Romagna regions if you are expert in shoes. Engineers can work almost every where in north and center Italy but not in the south (to be honest, south Italy is great and beautiful but the only work they have is turism, agricolture an nothing more). Then choice the right place for your job if you don’t want to waste your time and money;
    - stereotypes are always present in foreign mind about Italy and Italians and that is funny for us. In any case Italy is a modern country with a lot of differences between north and south but is a XXI century country, you won’t find mafia guys that try to shoot you or people that dance in fountains, no one drives a Gondola (unless they live in Venice and work as Gondola driver), play Mandolino or so on. Don’t be scared, it is almost a safe country (more than UK or other EU country) but, in any case, don’t call a person “mafia”, it is not funny, not romantic as you think and is quite offensive! :D
    - healthcare is universal and for free for all, kids and adult. Even if you’re a criminal that stay in Italy illegaly or if you don’t have an euro, no one leave you die in the street, and Italian healthcare system (in particular in north and center country) is one of the best in the world (ranked as 4th in the world), for that, you don’t have to scare at all!

    Hope this can help some of you in personal decision to relocate in Italy and… you are welcome to Italy! :)

  27. trexie says

    hi Good Day…

    im a filipina 27yrs.old and i have a boyfriend in italy and he want me to go to italy just to be with him, and we are planning what kind of visa do i need to get and which is easier for me to get and the most fastest to get..can u suggest me to my problem?thank u and looking forward for ur response..

  28. Adventurous says

    Hello, I find your web very helpful and exciting. I noticed you did what I was thinking about doing. Moving to Italy with no plans, by myself and make it an adventure as I go. (and yes I watched Under The Tuscan Sun). I am happy to say I ran across your website when googling and searching for information about Italy. I am very interested in hearing more about how you just picked up your life and moved there. Do you have a book out telling you story of your life besides the blog?

    • Ms. Adventures in Italy says

      @Adventurous – I don’t have a book telling my story (at the moment – never say never!) but a lot of it is shared on the site :) It’s a big leap and it’s safe to say everyone’s journey is extremely different. What worked for me won’t work for others, and I’m sure your journey will be completely different! Good luck!

  29. Joe the no longer noob chef... says

    I graduated from culinary school in late 2007, and spent two months in Sorrento in 2009. The first month was spent taking culinary classes with a local B&B, and the second month was spent working for free at a high end restaurant. I am working on my Italian via Rosetta Stone, and I have a few, as yet untapped, contacts to/in Italy.

    I wish to enhance my culinary career by working in Italy, giving myself between 2-5 years to master some of the regional cuisines. I am currently targetting the Tuscany area, and I have a contact with strong ties in Lucca.

    I am interested in general information about being a foreign chef attempting to train in Italy. Have you any experience with this kind of situation, or any advice?

    As an aside, I have nearly 17 years of professional experience in high tech IT (Information Technology), working for a Fortune 500 company for almost 10 years of that. Would that information, professionally trained American computer geek, be beneficial or detrimental to mention when I attempt to get a work visa?

    My thoughts are that if I am unsuccessful in penetrating the restaurant industry, I could resume my previous career as a computer geek rather easily based upon my vast experience…

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