Retiring to Italy

The spectacular scenery, iconic food, varied culture and temperate weather encourages thousands of expats to take the plunge and retire in Italy. The attitude towards the elderly in Italy is also extremely welcoming and respectful. It may seem idyllic but if you’re tempted to leave England and the woes of work behind then make sure you do your research before you jet off to relaxing, sunnier climes. Before you make any big commitments ensure you really understand what Italy has to offer retiring expats!

Living Expenses

The cost of living in Italy has really increased in recent years and, as with many countries, there is a patent disparity between the cost and quality of living in different areas. However, how much your cost of living will be really does depend on the lifestyle you intend to lead. Generally speaking the north and central regions of Italy are more prosperous than those in the south and prices for amenities are averagely higher as a consequence. In northern and centrally located regions the standard of living is high and the taxes paid in Italy as a whole are some of the highest of the European Union. Food costs are often high, as are the costs of quality or luxury products, but alcohol is reasonably priced. Many public amenities and attractions offer a reduced rate for those over retirement age and it is often the case that the elderly get preferential treatment when it comes to queuing (which will really appeal to Brits!)


Life expectancy in Italy is high at 81.86 years. The main cause of death in the nation is coronary heart disease but Italian healthcare facilities are both affordable and of a high standard. Italian doctors undergo thorough training and nationwide the private hospitals are on a par with any in the world. There are some substandard state hospitals in Italy (particularly in the south) but the same can be said of most countries. Private health insurance is recommended for expatriates as it covers treatment costs and helps to combat the long waiting lists often found in state facilities.


As is often the case housing in rural areas of Italy is more reasonably priced for both renting and purchasing than in urban areas. Accommodation in the country’s most popular cities and retirement destinations can also be particularly costly. When it comes to buying an Italian property there is often a lot of bureaucracy to navigate as well as additional fees and charges to be aware of.  The Italian landscape is rich and diverse and expats are recommended to explore different regions before picking one to settle in. In Italy family values are strong and it is common for family members to care for their relatives in old age. Consequently there aren’t a huge amount of options when it comes to retirement communities but locals are renowned for their friendliness and neighbourhoods are often close.

Social and political climate

On the whole the crime rate in Italy is fairly low and below that of the UK. Of the crimes which are committed the majority are petty rather than violent crimes. As a prominent member of the European Union Italy is subject to EU laws and treaties, like the other nations involved in the union. Italy is also a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and is a firm supporter of several wide ranging international organisations, keenly advocating multilateral international politics. Despite some friction in the nation regarding the unequal distribution of wealth Italy has a relatively stable social and political climate.


Although some consider Italian infrastructure as performing less impressively than the infrastructure of other Western European nations it is still modern and efficient. The whole of the peninsula is connected by an extensive network of roads, airports, seaports, railways and expressways and much of the infrastructure is in a constant state of improvement. Passenger trains are a particularly financially viable means of transportation. The nation has several important international airports and numerous economically important seaports. Infrastructure may not be of the same quality in the poorer southern regions of the country but as a whole there are excellent links to the rest of Europe.