Guide to Moving to Italy from the United States

Moving to Italy means relocating to a beautiful country with a long and rich history of the arts and architecture, a land where food, family, music, and fashion are highly valued. Moving to this country from the U.S. is also a big decision to make—one that’s often quite fulfilling. Exciting as moving to Italy from the United States sounds, it’s smart to consider the challenges first. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide.

If you already know that you’ll relocate to Italy, Suddath can help with the process. Find advice on steps to take in our Complete Guide to the International Moving Process and you can also get a free international moving quote.

Most Popular Destinations in Italy for People Coming from the U.S.

Some of the most popular cities for those moving to Italy from the United States include:

  • Florence
  • Milan
  • Lake Como
  • Trentino
  • Brescia
  • Padua

Moving to Italy: Checklist of Important Documents

To relocate overseas, you’ll need the appropriate documents. Here are ones to have at hand when moving from the United States to Italy:

  • Your birth certificate and those of family members moving with you
  • A marriage certificate, if you are married
  • Health insurance documents
  • Medical records and documentation
  • Vaccination records for everyone in the family (including pets)
  • Educational records, such as transcripts, diplomas, and other certificates
  • Visas and work permits
  • Driver’s licenses
  • Previous two years of tax returns
  • Veterinary records and vaccination records if you are bringing pets

Making copies of these important documents and organizing them is a proactive way to keep processes moving forward when moving to Italy. Once you have the appropriate documents, you may want to open a bank account in Italy and find a place to live.

Once you know when and where you’re moving, contact an experienced international moving company to make the process as simple as possible. With Suddath, you’ll get paired with a knowledgeable move coordinator who will make your transition as smooth as it can be.

Moving to Italy: Checklist of Visas and Work Permits

Americans living in Italy are considered to be either non-resident (staying in the country for less than three months) or resident (planning to stay for more than three months). If you’re relocating there, then you’ll be considered a non-Italian resident.

  • Resident Americans must obtain an entrance visa from an Italian consulate before coming to Italy. This process takes several weeks, so plan appropriately.
  • Upon arrival, apply for a permit of stay, available through a national post office, and keep the receipt.
  • Within 20 days of receiving a permit to stay, go to the local Vital Statistics Bureau to apply for a certificate of residency.
  • When planning to stay for more than 12 months, you will need to sign an integration agreement, available at the provincial police headquarters.
  • In the document, you will be agreeing to gain an adequate understanding of the language, civil structure, and culture.
  • You’ll need to earn 30 points within two years with 16 of them earned by signing the agreement. The remaining 14 will need to be earned over a two-year period by taking classes or passing tests, among other requirements.

Bank Accounts

Documents you’ll need include your passport, tax number, proof of address, and proof of employment or your resident status. In general, you won’t need to make an appointment to open a bank account. Keep all copies of the paperwork provided.

Your tax number (known in Italian as the codice fiscale) is a 16-digit alphanumeric code that’s similar to a Social Security number in the United States.


The National Health Service is funded by taxes—corporate and value-added—and the system automatically provides healthcare for citizens and legal foreign residents. In general, primary care, inpatient care, and health screenings are free with benefits for maternity care, home care, specialty care, pharmaceuticals, and more. Copayments can be charged for specialty visits and certain outpatient medications. Residents do not pay deductibles, and there is a limited amount of private health insurance in Italy’s system.

What It’s Like to Live in Italy

In many ways, living in Italy may feel like living in the United States with many of the same comforts. There are, however, nuances that will likely be new to you.

Italy is a developed country steeped in rich history and culture—and here is more information about language, culture, cuisine, art, literature, and climate.


Italian truly is a beautiful language with a melodic rhythm. This is one of the five most prominent Romance languages, one that is derived from Vulgar Latin, and is the official language of the country. People speak in regional dialects but write in standard Italian. The sound system is fairly straightforward with most words ending in vowels—and the stereotype of Italians also speaking with hand gestures has plenty of truth.

Nearly everyone in Italy speaks the official language with more than 10 percent also speaking English. Because, as a resident, you’ll be required to learn the language adequately, taking lessons in Italian can make sense before moving to Italy.


The Renaissance period that began in Italy transitioned Europe from the Middle Ages to modern times. This was a time of extraordinary art, literature, music, and architecture along with enriched knowledge of philosophy, science, and more. This era began in the 14th century and flowered in the 15th and 16th centuries.


Italian cuisine focuses on the quality of ingredients with simple recipes allowing their flavor of them to shine through. Specific dishes vary, depending upon whether they developed in the northern or southern part of the country—with the recipes and preparation methods evolving as the cuisine spread. Traditionally, Italian families gather together for mealtimes and use them as a time to connect and converse. This is true in restaurants and in people’s homes.


From Leonardo Da Vinci to Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, Botticelli, and more, Italian Renaissance art is among the most stunning in the world. From painting to sculpting, these artists are considered to be giants in the world of art. Italy is also home to some of the most incredible art museums: The Vatican Museums, Borghese Gallery, Uffizi Gallery, and more.


Italian literature from the 14th century may have triggered the Renaissance with three writers standing out. Dante Alighieri is a poet who laid the foundation for Italy’s literature—and so did poets Francesco Petrarca and Giovanni Boccaccio. These three men were extremely influential and their work is still studied and discussed today.


Italy lies in the temperate climate zone with different weather conditions along the length of the country. In the south, the Mediterranean climate means sunny and hot summers with often dry conditions along with mild winters that can get quite rainy. In the north, the climate is less sunny, more like the rest of the European continent. Sometimes, comparisons have been made between Italy’s climate and that of parts of California.

Italy uses the Celsius scale for temperatures instead of Fahrenheit, so this can take a bit of adjustment.

Transportation: How to Get Around in Italy

Cities and towns are often connected by the country’s extensive train network with travel by train being fast, convenient, and comfortable. Train speeds go up to 185 miles per hour with snack bars and WiFi access often available.

Many villages, though, are only accessible by car. People also travel by bus in Italy although the country does not have a national train system. When traveling between the mainland and the island of Sicily and Sardinia, several ferry services are available.

Moving with Pets

Cats and dogs can go with you to Italy if they are at least three months old. You must obtain a valid veterinary certificate that lists information about you, the animal, and vaccination records, including for rabies. The animal must have a tattoo or microchip with a cage or carrier that lists your name, address, and contact number in Italy. Once the animal gets into Italy, a veterinarian in the country can provide you with an EU Pet Passport.

You can bring up to five pets into Italy from this list: birds, dogs, cats, small fish, common reptiles/frogs/lizards, small turtles, and rodents (other than rabbits and hares). You’ll need to obtain a sanitary certificate for birds and possibly meet other requirements.

Nearby Countries to Visit

When moving to Italy, you’ll be near plenty of interesting countries, ones you can travel to in a relatively short time. Here are countries that border Italy:

  • Austria
  • France
  • Slovenia
  • Switzerland

Two countries are actually inside of Italy’s borders—San Marino and the Vatican City—while Sicily and Sardinia are islands that are regions of Italy. Other nearby countries include:

  • Germany
  • Yugoslavia
  • Hungary
  • Greece

Once you’re settled into your new home in Italy, consider going on a trip to explore these countries.

Types of Housing Available in Italy

In general, homes in Italy are much older than ones in the United States. People still live in homes built in the 14th and 15th century in Italy while, in the United States, the most common age of a home is between 11 and 20 years. Homes tend to be smaller in Italy, too, averaging 871 square feet. Contrast that to the average American home at 2,600 square feet and the difference is clear.

Here’s another key difference. In the United States, about 70 percent of people live in single-family homes. In Italy, more than 50 percent of people live in apartments with more than 25 percent in large condo buildings.

Some towns and cities in Italy are making an interesting offer to help bring in new people, selling beautiful old homes that have been abandoned for just one Euro. Buyers are typically required to renovate the home.

Here are helpful terms to know:

  • Appartamenti: apartments located in urban areas, including:
  • Monolocale: studio apartments
    • Biolcale: two-bedroom apartments
    • Trilocale: three-bedroom apartments
  • Casa: house with these types:
  • Casa gemella: semi-detached house
    • Casa padronale: country house
    • Casale: farmhouse
    • Casetta: small house
    • Villa: detached home with garden/land surrounding it
    • Villino: cottage or small house with a garden

Long-term rentals typically aren’t furnished and don’t have appliances included. Rental contracts can be:

  • Contratto transitorio: This is a temporary contract that lasts from one month to 18 months. This is not a renewable contract.
  • 3+2 contracts: These contracts last for three years and are then automatically renewed for two more. The deposit can be more than the rent.
  • 4+4 contracts: These last for three years, automatically renewed for four more. Deposits are negotiable.

Rental homes and apartments are usually privately owned in Italy, so you would typically negotiate directly with them. You may decide that renting is easier when you first arrive in Italy. Then, you can make a decision about buying once you’re living in the country.

Moving to Florence

When moving to Florence (called “Firenze” in Italy with a soft “say” for the last syllable), you’ll live in the beautiful Tuscan hills, home of the Renaissance. This is where Michelangelo sculpted his timeless David. Restaurants offer delicious Italian cuisine with wine available from neighboring towns. You can also buy fresh bread, cheese, meat, and produce for your own culinary treasures.

When moving to Florence, Italy from the United States, four neighborhoods are often chosen:

  • Santo Spirito: Artists and students flock to this vibrant area—and so do expats. You can shop at a market in the piazza daily, ensuring fresh ingredients for your meals. Santo Spirito is located in a limited traffic zone and it can be a long process to get a car permit.
  • San Frediano: This neighborhood has a similar vibe to the first with in-demand cocktail bars for socializing. Because this is home to David, you can expect plenty of tourists during the daytime (although not usually at night). In San Frediano, you can stroll through a gorgeous botanical garden.
  • Sant’ Ambrogio: This neighborhood is home to an amazing produce market as well as the famous Cibreo restaurant. Sant’ Ambrogio is named after a Roman Catholic church named after Saint Ambrose. Legend says the church was built in 393 when the saint visited Florence.
  • San Marco: This is also a well-visited neighborhood so, if you choose this lovely area, know that you’ll encounter plenty of tourists. It’s home to wonderful restaurants and art galleries with the key attraction being the Church of San Marco. This 17th-century church is ornately beautiful, an historical and cultural treasure.

When moving to Florence, you’ll be in the center of timeless beauty in the midst of modern life.

Moving to Milan

When moving to Milan, you’ll live in the second largest city in Italy, the Fashion Capital of the World that’s located in the northern part of the country.

It’s close to the Austrian border and isn’t always as sunny as the parts of the county with a Mediterranean climate. This is the commercial and financial heart of Italy with a long political and cultural history. In fact, Milan was a city even before the Romans came to Italy.

Milan proper is a bustling place with about a quarter of a million people being non-Italian residents. So, you’re more likely to hear English spoken in a metropolis like this than in smaller towns and villages. Some people may speak milanese or another northern dialect.

When moving to Milan, you may decide to live in the center of the city or in the Greater Milan area (Grande Milano). The city contains more than three million people and is highly urban and more expensive to live in than many other places. The metropolitan area contains these cities and more: Bergamo, Brianza, Como, Lodi, Monza, Pavia, and Varese.

Neighborhoods that many expats find appealing include the following:

  • Brea: This trendy neighborhood contains popular restaurants, bars, art galleries, and more.
  • Isola: This district—previously an industrial one—also contains trendy restaurants and art galleries.
  • Monza: This city is a suburb of Milan, and some people prefer its less crowded feel.
  • Navagi: This district, one lined with canals, is known for its vibrant nightline.

You’ve got plenty of options when moving to Milan. So, consider them carefully and choose what fits your lifestyle and budget.

Final Thoughts

Moving to Italy from the United States can be an exciting adventure, whether you’re going for a couple of years or intend to settle down there. In either case, Suddath is here to help. From our moving to Italy checklists and information to your actual relocation, we’ll provide you with what you need for a successful move.

Suddath has earned the designation of “International Mover of the Year” five times, thanks to our experience and unsurpassed customer service. To get started, you can request a free, no-obligation international moving quote for shipping your household goods to Italy. Our expert international moving team will happily answer all of your questions about moving to Italy.