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How to Retire in Italy


Landscapes, cuisine, historical heritage, and the good life: this is the expected program when you decide to move to Italy upon retirement.

Although European agreements simplify the settlement process, it is important not to leave anything to chance when planning to retire to Italy.

Why Retire in Italy?

An appreciable living environment

The main reason why a Foreign person decides to retire in Italy is to benefit from a pleasant environment and quality of life, while remaining close to other European countries.

It is hard to get bored in Italy, thanks to the country’s numerous museums and cities steeped in history and excursions to natural sites of breathtaking beauty. In addition to these points of interest, there is of course the local gastronomy, whose reputation is well known.

If you are looking for sunshine and mild temperatures, you should give priority to the islands, the center, and the south of the country which, unlike the north, do not experience harsh winters.

Limited tax advantages

A European person who decides to retire in Italy becomes in most cases an Italian tax resident, which may seem interesting, since the country applies a Flat Tax of 7% on pensions for 5 years.

But this is often misleading, as this advantage only applies under certain conditions (moving to a region deserted by locals) and does not apply to pensions from the compulsory system, except for retired civil servants of Italian nationality who do not have dual nationality.

Despite this, spending your retirement in Italy allows you to benefit from other significant tax advantages, in particular:

  • For the transfer of assets and inheritance
  • For the renovation of real estate purchased in the peninsula.

The purchase prices are often more interesting than the rental prices in Italy, so it is possible to move to Italy after retirement and become an owner.

The Steps to Retire in Italy

Before leaving

Italy being part of the European Union, the administrative steps that a European person must take in order to settle there are quite simple. However, it is important to be well organized.

The first thing to do is of course to prepare for your move:

  • By separating all the goods that you will not take with you
  • By having a part of it kept
  • Obtaining quotes from furniture storage and international moving companies.

With some exceptions, there are no particular customs procedures to be completed in order to move your belongings across the border when you move to Italy after retirement.

It is also important to inform the authorities of your departure abroad, i.e:

  • All your pension funds
  • The tax department
  • All other administrations with which you are in contact in order to regularize your situation.

In order to continue to receive your pension once you have settled in Italy, you must send a life certificate completed by the Italian authorities to your various pension funds every year.

In Italy

If you are an EU citizen, you do not need a visa to retire in Italy. However, for any stay of more than 3 months, you must:

  • Be registered in the census of your place of residence
  • Obtain a tax code for each member of the household from the Agenzia delle Entrate.

This number allows you to apply for a residence permit (certificato di residenza), which is essential for many procedures. The residence permit is valid for 2 to 5 years, but it is then possible to obtain permanent resident status.

Some Special Precautions before Retiring to Italy

Driving in Italy

It is not necessary to ask for an Italian or international license to drive in Italy if you have an EU driver license. On the other hand, if you move to Italy for retirement with your foreign vehicle, you must register it in Italy after 6 months of residence in the country.

Getting medical care when moving to Italy for retirement

The question of health care is of course essential when retiring in Italy, because expatriates lose their affiliation to their social security system after moving abroad.

Thanks to European agreements, it is very easy to switch to the Italian system, the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, and to benefit from the coverage of your health care in approved health care establishments, particularly for

  • Consultations
  • Medication
  • Hospitalization.

However, the care offered is not always sufficient in terms of reimbursement and care, especially in the south, where it is sometimes complicated to be treated in a public institution due to overcrowding.

It is therefore not uncommon to have to turn to the private sector for treatment, which is more expensive and not reimbursed by the Italian health insurance.

What health insurance should I take out when I retire in Italy?

To cover all your health expenses and benefit from optimal care when you retire in Italy, it is common to take out insurance at the 1st euro/dollar with a company specializing in contracts for expatriates.

There are many and varied offers on the market, some of which are specifically designed for retirees.

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This is also interesting:

What countries should I move to? The best countries to move to are not the same for everyone! Finding the ideal destination depends first of all on what is expected on a personal level.

Être rappelé·e

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