We’ve been living and working full time in Italy for many years now and as such I feel we have built up a strong understanding of both the country and it’s people.
We have many clients that contact us with a view of making a permanent move here like Lesley and I have done, and understandably have many questions to ask. How easy is it to speak the language? Is it easy to find work? Is the environment good for children? Do you miss England? What are the most important factors to consider when you make the move here?
My personal opinion is that you must have a true desire to make it work and be realistic in your planning before you come over.
My Mother is Italian and although I’ve lived most of my life in England, I certainly had an advantage with the language. I feel that speaking Italian is the key to settling down here and enjoying life. Here in Piemonte there are several institutions that over free Italian lessons to foreigners and although it’s taught in a group environment I think it’s well worth doing.
Learning the language is fun, Italians are pleased to hear you make an effort and don’t make fun if you make a mistake. It’s my opinion that learning a language is like playing a musical instrument, the more you play it the better you become. A little of study and mixing with the locals is the key thing, you’ll be surprised how quickly your ears tune in to the language.
To really understand how Italy really works you need to speak the language and have a few Italian friends. You’ll find out how and where things are really done and how surprisingly efficient it is once you get to know the system. I‘m still amazed at how fantastic the Health Care system is here. My Father became very ill several years ago and the treatment he had here was truly commendable, far better than my experiences in the UK.
I think to be honest, finding work here is not easy even if you speak Italian and the salaries generally speaking are low. However, tourism is increasing all the time, particularly in this region, and good money can be made from holiday rentals etc. There’s always room more English teachers as well. Maybe running your own business could be the way to go, but please contact an Italian accountant before you start. Italian law is complicated and it’s best to be advised by an expert.
Many people ask me if I miss England. Well yes I do actually. I visit the UK a few times a year to catch up with family and friends and always have a great time. In fact since I’ve moved to Italy I have started to appreciate just what a beautiful country England really is.
I have to say though that I’m always very happy to return here to Italy where I truly believe my life belongs. Italy has been very good to us.
We now have a three year old son who is settling here very well. He is speaking both English and Italian. He goes to a nursery (which is very well priced) a few days a week where he mixes with Italian kids and speaks Italian all day. When he’s at home we speak English with him and slowly but surely he’s becoming bilingual, he just seems to soak up both languages like a sponge. I find it very interesting that even if my Mother is in the same room as us, he will speak Italian with her and English to us.
I just love the way Italians respond to children. You can take them out to restaurants and shops etc and people are only too pleased to see them. Every time we go to our local shop, the owners make such a fuss of him, it’s the same in our local bars as well. People make children feel so wanted even if they’re being a bit of a hand full.
Italy’s economic and political situation has always been a bit fragile but for me the benefits of living here outweigh any negatives and most importantly I feel that Italy has a lot to offer my son. The education system here is great, the sport facilities are wonderful and being bilingual he will have many job opportunities.
So there you have it, just a few of my thoughts, I hope you find them useful
Lovely post!! Its good to see people can really make their lives abroad. I have lived in Piemonte and will probably have to return although I have my reservations… its a hard decision.
It’s nice to hear that they’re more accepting of people who are trying to learn the language. When I tried to practise french when on holiday, people were very disrespectful about any mistakes. I’ll have to at least go on holiday to Italy.
Hi I have really enjoyed reading your post about living in Italy/Alba area. We have the opportunity to move to Alba for 2 years with my husbands work and possibility of staying there permanently. What I am struggling with is finding properties to rent as there is a lack of websites. We are debating on buying instead and going out in a few weeks time to view a few properties and considering proprieties big enough for friends and family to visit as well as perhaps a B&B business? do you have any details on rental agencies?