Now that the world economy has taken a major beating it has made some people take stock of what they actually hold to be important. Sure, maximizing profits and making sure your business and personal wealth is in good health is important but there is more to it than just that.
Over 5% of the population in the US are Italian Americans and many have visited the Old Country at least once. Many Italian Americans have very strong ties to Italian culture and now wonder what it would be like to live there.
A lot of people are moving back to where their roots were and more are following. Is it worth it to live in Italy as an American expat? Can you do business there at all?
I’ll try to answer those questions in this article.
What is the cost of living?
Unfortunately, asking what is the cost of living in Italy is like asking how long is a piece of string. It depends on where you end up and what your standards are that you wish to maintain.
For instance, if you are a minimalist and just want a small property with a little garden in a rural area then your costs are going to be very low. You can often find old farmhouses for less than $100,000 in those kinds of areas in the North and a fraction of that in the South.
If your lifestyle is more cosmopolitan and you need to be in the center of the action, then living in the middle of Milan is going to be very similar in price to someplace like Boston.
However, in general, there are many things that cost far less than in the US and many things that cost more. For instance, your healthcare is taken out of your taxes so although your taxes may end up being higher than what you used to pay, you save money by not needing to pay health insurance.
Housing outside major cities like Milan or Torino can be had for a song if you don’t mind putting some money in to modernize the house or apartment.
Everybody knows the Italian lifestyle is very relaxed. This is good news for those of you that feel burnt out and want to enjoy having more free time.
There are plenty of ways to relax in Italy so living the good life is well within reach. You can hit the beach, go skiing, or hiking in the mountains if you are a nature lover. People who love culture will enjoy the theater and opera as well as an embarrassment of riches when it comes to museums. Of course, lounging in a piazza with an espresso o gelato is never a bad idea.
In essence, it is easy to live the Dolce Vita in Italy so there is no issue there.
It is sort of business friendly
If you plan to start a business there then be ready to pay a lot for taxes. The corporate tax rate is not too high but there are a lot of additions that make the amount you pay skyrocket to over 59%.
That said, there is a lot of investment happening by the Italian government across many sectors so your high taxes may come back in the form of grants from the government. It all depends on the type of business you plan to operate.