Finding work in Italy

My experience with finding work in Italy is mostly positive. Despite Italy having a high unemployment rate, especially compared to the UK, I feel it hasn’t been awfully difficult finding work in Italy. Although it depends on what type of employment you are searching for. Now if I wanted to carry on with my current career (wildlife conservation or ecology) I think I would have a much more difficult time. However, my plan for my first year was simply to find a job. Seek employment, bring in some money, learn Italian in my free time, and then in a years time re-evaluate. I was hoping my Italian in one year of living there would be sufficient to seek employment in the field I want.

That has what led me to teaching English as a foreign language. I already had a TEFL qualification from 2017 which I have never used. I have a degree (not in English studies of course) and I speak English at a mother tongue level. All of the qualifications needed for a EFL teacher in Italy.

Applying for jobs

This part was relatively straight forward. I google’d ‘English Language Schools in Bari’ and opened up the web pages for every single one of them. I looked for any application forms (and applied for the two that did have application forms). For the rest, I literally sent off a CV and a cover email to every single one of them, even if they weren’t advertising positions.

After just a few days, I had replies back off three different schools. One of them didn’t have any jobs going as a teacher in the school but she was looking for someone to help with the younger children (but I would need a car). And I had another two offering me an interview.

The interview

Actually, both interviews were pleasant. The interviews were both more of an informal style chat on Skype. Both ladies interviewing me were absolutely amazing, super nice, very warm and I had fun. That is not something that is often said about interviews – they are usually fear-inducing meetings that make your skin crawl with anxiety.

The interviewers both started off with asking me to tell them about myself. Now when they ask you to tell them about yourself, they usually don’t want you to tell them about yourself. I am sure they don’t want to know what I ate for dinner, what my hobbies are, and what I did when I was 12 years old. They want to know where I have worked and what qualifications I have. Both interviewers asked about my experience (or lack of in this case) which I elaborated on other job roles and the skills I learned during them which are important for teaching (patience, attention to detail, planning etc.)

The rest of the interview was spent talking about the school, the curriculum, the age of students that they teach, and covered stuff about actually living in Italy such as travelling, my level of Italian etc.

The first school said they needed to get in touch with their partner school but would be in touch. The second school said that when I arrive in Italy to get in contact and I can come in, visit the school and we can talk about contracts and salary.

What next?

Well this is still a work in progress. I am still hoping to hear off some more schools. I need to hear back off the first school I interviewed with (this one is in Santo Spirito so is close to home).

I will keep you all updated on my progress, so keep an eye out if you want to see how it goes.

Matera and the Sassi di Matera

Donning our sun hats, we started walking to Modugno train station. It was still early, and Modugno was quiet, there was only a couple of people walking around, going about their daily business. The train station was empty. We purchased our tickets for Matera. I am still in awe about how cheap travelling by train was in Italy. Only 5 euros for a journey that lasted around an hour. In the UK, I pay much more than that for a ticket to Cardiff which is about a 30 minute train ride. Whilst waiting for the train in the shade of a few trees (the temperature was already unbearable), I was watching a bird feeding its young in the middle of the train tracks. The young bird was able to hop up and down the little fence it was perched on, but was not able to fly yet. Every now and again its parent flew over to it, the little young bird mouth gaping wide open to accept a tasty morsel of food. We carried on watching this familiar exchange until the train arrived. It stated Gravina because we had to change, but we weren’t sure where we had to change. The guy on the train said we needed to change at Altamura. Altamura is another beautiful place to visit by the way. We visited Altamura last year.


Il viaggio

The journey on il treno itself was pleasant. It took us through the countryside so I got to see a bit of la campagna. I had always envisioned the South of Italy as this dry, arid region, brown everywhere, but there was actually a lot of greenery. First off we passed a lot of olive groves, then this turned into vast open areas filled with fattorie or farms. The train itself was quite pleasant, it was cool. and there was plenty of seats available. The change at Altamura was simple, the train was waiting already on the next platform, so it was just a case of crossing over the platform and getting straight onto it. There are several stations in Matera, and we got off at Matera Sud which was the closest station to the Sassi di Matera. Our guide for the day (a friend of Alberto’s) had instructed us to keep following the road down. We passed through areas which was clearly residential until we reached the bottom of the hill, and we arrived at the most stunning view ever! Looking over across the Sassi di Matera. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought my camera to capture the true magnitude and beauty of this view, so a couple of snaps on my phone had to suffice.

The Sassi di Matera

First of, I feel like I should provide a little background information about Matera. Matera is located in the region of Basilicata, so was actually outside of Puglia. The city of Matera is the capital of the province of Matera, and the original settlement lied between two canyons, which had been carved out by the Gravina river (now only a stream). The earlier settlement included a complex of cave dwellings that were carved directly into the canyon, leading to Matera’s nickname of la città sotterranea or the underground city.

Matera is thought to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, and Matera was believed to be first settled in the Palaeolithic region. However, the town of Matera was first founded by Lucius Caecilius Metellus in 251 BC and was named Matheola. It has been conquered by many different groups such as the Greeks, the Lombards, and the Byzantines amongst others.

Matera however, these days is famed for the Sassi di Matera, which originated as a prehistoric Troglodyte settlement. The Sassi were considered an area of extreme poverty and were known to be extremely dangerous so the government cleared them out in 1952 and they lay abandoned until the 1980’s. Now the town has a blooming tourist industry, with the Sassi being one of the biggest tourist attractions. The site is now a UNESCO site and as well as this, the city of Matera was named the European Capital of Culture.

How to study productively.

We’re all stuck in at home these days (well the majority of us). Whether you are stuck at home due to this crazy, global pandemic, or you have chosen to study at home, studying languages at home can be difficult. It is hard to find motivation. It is hard to know how to study. It is hard to find resources to study from. All of these things can stop you from being your most productive self. 

Learning a language at home and doing it completely by yourself though can give you an immense feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. ‘I did that. I learned Italian, completely by myself!’ Going through this journey alone has left me in awe most of the time. Every time I learn a new grammar tense, or realise ‘Oh wait.. I understand this’ leaves me wanting to learn more and more. I love it. There’s nothing more satisfying than reading an article in Italian and realising that suddenly you do not need to translate any of it. 

So what crazy secrets have I got to share? 

Well, none. 

Anyone can learn a language at home. There are so many resources out there these days to aid you in this challenge. 

What I can give you are some tips on how to get yourself in the right frame of mind to study languages at home.

How to focus when you have a million things going on? 

  • Plan, plan and plan. 

Planning out my studying routine helps me keep focused and motivated. I personally use two apps for this. First things first, I like to make to-do lists. I use the minimalist app that can be found on the apple store. This clean and simple design is both user friendly, and pleasant to look at. The concept is simple, you write your tasks and then swipe right on them when you complete them. I start out by listing everything I want to achieve on that day. Even things that are not study-related, such as ‘pick up prescription’. The app allows me to prioritise tasks which is great. 

Another app I use when I want even more structure in my day is a calendar app. I use Timepage for this. This one I use to block out specific times for different areas I want to study. Such as 2pm – 3pm – grammar. I don’t always use this app, but I find if I give myself too much fluidity in my schedule I end up watching youtube videos instead of focused study. 

  • Create your own sanctuary. 

A study sanctuary of course. When I was doing my undergraduate degree I used to use a laptop on my bed. This is possibly the worst idea I have ever had. A bed should be used for sleeping and private couple time only.

Having a dedicated space where you study from is absolutely vital for me. And you need to give yourself enough room to do it. I actually do not have enough room in my current set-up. I have to move my keyboard out of the way when I want to use my Ipad to study. This creates another task to do first. Clearing out space before you can study means that on days when you are less motivated, you will come up with excuses. Just like not having everything you need in reach will. So make sure you have a dedicated study place and everything you require to study set out. 

  • The Pomodoro technique. 

Have you heard of this? This is a great technique, created by someone called Francesco Cirillo in the ’80s. Basically, it involves setting out blocks of studying time, separated by short and long breaks. You set a timer (say for 25 minutes) after the timer is finished you take a short break (say 5 mins). When four sessions have passed you take a longer break (30 mins). 

I use focus keeper to aid me with this. I use the short breaks to go and grab a coffee, take a toilet break etc. Then the longer breaks I will make sure I am actively resting. This really helps me keep focused. I know I have only a short period to study so I will try to use my time more effectively. The shorter breaks mean I do not get distracted doing other activities. 

  • Cut out distractions

This is probably one of the biggest problems – distractions. Getting rid of all of the distractions helps so much. So put your phone or tablet into airplane mode. Tell your family members not to disturb you. Unplug the house phone etc. Anything you can do to get rid of them is great. If you have kids this is probably really tough. I do not have any, so I can’t really imagine the struggles. But if you can find a way to keep them distracted even just for half an hour – you can get a lot done in just 30 minutes when your really focused. You know, one of the biggest distractions for me is my cat. Shes so soft and fluffy and every time she comes in I just want to go and give her a cuddle.

Look at the little fluff ball! How can you resist that? Damn it Midnight. So if your like me, and get distracted very easily by fluffy things, then kick them out!

  • Review

Now you’ve got your space set up, you got rid of all distractions, you set your timer and you managed to achieve a focus, studying session, its time to review. Make sure you review what you have been through. I try to do this at the end of each day, and I will also recap at the start of the next day. This just renews the content in my mind and enforces it. If I didn’t review it, I would be likely to forget it. I usually will do my end of the day review tucked up in bed, and read through my notes as if I was just reading a book at the end of the day. I do nothing but read. I don’t highlight anything, I don’t make notes. And in the morning, I will quickly read over the study content from the day before, and if I am still struggling with some aspects of it, I will add it back to my to-do list for that day.

How do you guys study? Have you got any additional tips you could share? Please leave a comment if you do.

My Italian Life?

Why the name change? I realised something. The whole intention behind starting this blog was purely to document my life in Italy. It was for my friends and family back home. It was so that they could keep track of what I am doing.

My idea for the blog was to document the places I see, the things I am doing, perhaps even some Italian cooking for you. I realise now, I started this blog too soon. What is there to write about when I am not even in Italy? I never wanted this blog to become a ‘how to move to Italy’ feature.
The days are going so quick, however. Looking at my countdown, I have just over two months before I will be living in an entirely new country. Two months before I will have to struggle to get by with a less than desirable level of language. Luckily, I will not be alone making this journey. As we have delayed my move, it now corresponds with the time my parents will be travelling to Italy. I am even on the same flight as them. The week I am moving to Italy is also important for another reason. It is my mothers birthday. I won’t tell you how old she will be, especially as she is likely to be reading this right now! (Pssst. She’s 21 of course).

That week will be extremely busy of course. Moving in (too our apartment I hope), as well as organising residency, Codice Fiscale’s, bank accounts etc. However, we are planning on doing some site-seeing, and getting to experience Puglia. I am envisioning day trips to Monopoli, getting lost in the little narrow streets, having a coffee at a bar, strolling down to the marina, and of course, having a gelato (it is Summer after all). Taking a trip to Alberobello, to see all of the Trulli’s and having a nice thick hot chocolate in the evening. Maybe a day trip to Lecce to gaze upon the magnificent baroque architecture. These are the kind of things I wanted to post about, pictures and memories of my time in Italy. To record all of the beautiful sights, and wonderful times I have there. And there is never a better time than to do this than when I am surrounded by all of my favourite people.
So here we are. This is my Italian life. Or it will be in two months and eight days.

Conditional Present

There are two conditional tenses in Italian – Conditional Present and Past Conditional. Both of these tenses are verbal modes that can be used to describe situations or actions that are conditioned by other actions or situations.
The conditional present tense is used to express wishes either in the present or future tense, as well as to give advice or express opinions in a less direct way. It can also be used to ask for something politely. In English this would be created by using would + verb.
I would go to the party but I have to go to work – (Io) andrei alla festa ma devo lavorare.

Regular verbs:

To conjugate a verb such as scrivere – to write, you would remove the -ere ending and replacing with the conjugation from the column -ERE-. For example, for I (IO) this would be scriverei. For parlare – to speak it would be parlerei.

Irregular verbs – without an E:

Other verbs that follow this same pattern are: potere, dovere, sapere, vedere and cadere.

Irregular verbs – with a double R:

Irregular verbs that do not fall into the above categories:

82 days to go! 82!!

82 days, 11 weeks or just under 3 months left before move date. So far I have organised.. well absolutely zero. I have applied for two jobs in total. I have started to organise my clothes, I have some boxes ready to pack. I actually did pack my large suitcase (full of my winter clothes) which is probably going to need to be condensed even further. I honestly thought I’d be a lot more prepared than this. My Italian is still around that A2/B1 level and doesn’t seem to be improving so much lately.

Now I am a person that likes to be well organised, months in advance, so you can imagine the level of stress this is having on me. When I think of how unprepared I actually am, I start to hyperventilate. But really, there is not a lot I can do.

The one thing I have managed to achieve is to research fully the process of actually moving there. But now that is done and my Italian seems to not be progressing, I have zero motivation anymore. So my days are filled with mindless scrolling through social media and watching youtube videos and Netflix. ARGH! HELP!

It’s time to hit reset. So here goes. Time to make a list of all the things I need to do. And then get it done!

The secret of getting things done is to act!

Dante Alighieri

TO DO LIST.

  • Sort out my wardrobe (box things to donate/sell). Set aside stuff to take. THIS NEEDS TO ALL FIT INTO TWO SUITCASES!
  • Sort out my books! Why do I have so many books? Why? I don’t even read half of them. I will donate most of these to charity shops, and maybe try to sell some of my old nursing textbooks. I will be keeping all of my Italian books, and probably a selection of my recipe books.
  • Sort out and box my kitchen stuff – this is all in storage in my brother’s attic, and at the moment I am not allowed to go there due to our lock-down restrictions. Hmm.. dilemma.
  • Sort out my make-up and toiletries. This I actually did manage to achieve! YAY, GO ME! YOU ARE A STRONG, CAPABLE WOMAN AND CAN ACHIEVE THINGS! Ok ok… next…
  • Sort out all of my papers and notebooks (I have so much stuff leftover from uni. Why do I even need this?) A lot of this will be shredded and recycled. Some of then notebooks I may be able to salvage, even though I only really use my iPad to take notes now.
  • Miscellaneous items: Electronics, decorative items, and all the other stuff. This is probably the hardest section to tackle.
  • Research the best way to box up my PC. I have done a bit of this already, but I need to find the best method and to purchase any packaging material I may need. My PC will probably be one of the last things I pack, to be honest.
  • I need to do a dummy round of packing my stuff and weighing it, to get accurate quotes from the shipping company I will be using which is Pack link. I already got estimated quotes and I was pleasantly surprised with how cheap they were. My partner used this company when he moved to Spain and he recommended them.
  • SELL/DONATE all unwanted items. If I have items to sell, I need to do this fairly quickly, as they may take some time to sell.
  • I would like to get my boxes (to ship over) sorted by at least the 17th of August (apart from my PC). So this gives me… 10 weeks exactly from today.
  • Keep improving my Italian! I would love to get to a confident B1 level before moving, but I’m not sure this is attainable within the next 11 weeks. But I will try my darn hardest!
  • Exchange my money! I have no idea how I am going to do this! Really. I know there are some things you can use like transfer wise but I might just transfer it all to cash as I do not have a bank account in Italy yet. If I am transferring it to cash, I may need to do this in several transactions as I am not currently sure on the limit – CHECK THIS OUT ASAP!
  • Speaking of bank accounts.. which one do I want to use? I was torn between two choices. So I will try to decide between them. This doesn’t need to be done right away though.
  • Apply for more jobs (there are another 3 language schools I wanted to apply for) and finish the application for one of the schools which I have started (need to rewrite my CV for this). This needs to be done ASAP.
  • TODAY I am going to go through this list and try to organise it into relevant time frames, prioritising important tasks such as applying for jobs, more research etc. I may edit this post when it is done!

BTW, if anyone knows any decent resources for selling stuff (in the UK) like clothing, please leave a comment. I would be super-duper grateful. Otherwise, this will be me going to the airport in August!

Studying online and taking digital notes.

I haven’t been posting for a while because there hasn’t been much to write about. This week I have mostly been just reviewing all of my old notes on grammar and vocabulary. I have also sat a 3 day boot camp on how to move to Italy, which was great, I found out a lot about some stuff that I probably don’t have need for – visa’s, buying property etc. But the majority of the information was pretty helpful.

I have been using my iPad recently for my note taking process. And so this week i’ve been transferring all of my notes from my notebook to my iPad. For this I have been using the goodnotes 5 app. I love this app for many reasons. I can hand write all of my notes on it. Writing things by hand rather than by typing helps me remember them more. When I type, I usually tend to not pay attention to what I am writing, and it quickly leaves my memory. This is why I have always preferred to hand write my notes in a notebook.


However, after studying an MSc in Conservation, I have been becoming increasingly aware of the footprint we are having on the planet, and have been trying to shift towards a more ‘zero waste’ lifestyle. Using the iPad helps me with this step. All my notes are stored digitally, on the cloud. I no longer need to use a load of paper. And as I am planning on using this iPad for a very long time, I feel a bit more comfortable with the unfortunate plastic waste I do create with this. A small amount of plastic waste over years compared to a huge amount of daily paper waste is.. well.. a bit better I guess.

The kit




I have been using my iPad which is a standard iPad (2019 model) 10.2 inch screen as pictured and linked to the left. Mine is only a 32gb, and is in rose gold.


I also have the 1st generation apple pencil which is absolutely essential for me to hand write my notes on the iPad. The 1st generation pencil can be used on the majority of iPads, however, the 2nd generation can only be used on two of the iPad pro’s so if you want to purchase one yourself, make sure you are buying the compatible pencil.



I also bought a case similar to this, just so that I can use my iPad like an actual laptop, and I can type up my notes with a full keyboard. I find this more comfortable than using the touch screen keyboard that is on the iPad.

As well as these on my iPad, I still use my desktop for the majority of my studying. I have managed to utilise several different programs and apps to help me with this process of learning a language by myself and from home.

The software I use?

First of all, as I have said previously, I have been a frequent user of AnkiApp. I have been using this for a bit of time now, and am very fond of it. I use this as a flashcard deck to study vocabulary mostly. You can add text, images and even audio files to it, which is great if you want to record yourself saying a word or phrase, and practise with your pronunciation. I also utilise the tags in AnkiApp, and tag different categories. Verbs, Nouns, Adjectives etc. But also can tag groups as a seperate tag such as ‘animals, family, in the city’. This way I can study cards with a certain tag, like if one day I wanted to study verbs only, then I would select the verb tag.

I also have been using the Online Italian Club extensively, and really taking advantage of their fantastic free resources. You can search for resources for your specific level and you can even download a free study planner for that level. Recently I have been going back over the A2 study materials and the planner gives you the link to the material. Below is a screenshot from one of the pages from my own A2 study planner. I managed to do quite a few lessons in a day because I am already studying at a B1 level, and was just going over these again to refresh my memory.

I have also recently started using duolingo again. This is again to refresh my memory, and my father has recently taken up learning Italian and is using duolingo himself to do this, and helping him with this has renewed my interest in duolingo.

I am still using babbel and am quite fond of this app. I have been mostly doing the reviews every day and then doing a lesson now and again. However, babbel and duolingo I use only to supplement my learning.

On my iPad, for note taking I am using goodnotes 5 as I have already stated. As well as this I am using some other apps to help schedule my time. I am using the app Timepage which is created by moleskin. This is a calendar app, and I schedule all of my learning in this app, with time slots. When I schedule in learning like this, it helps me stay committed to actually doing it. I usually schedule in general blocks like ‘Review Vocabulary’ between 9:00 and 12:00 as an example.

I also create a to-do list, which I am currently using MinimalList for. This app has a really simple and sleek design. I use it in monochrome however, you can adjust the colour. It is simple to use, you drag down to add an item, drag to the right to check it off, drag to the left to delete it. I have started writing my to-do list in Italian, just because

Another app I am currently using is Focus Keeper. This app uses the pomodoro method to keep focus. It sets timed blocks of study and rest time. I have it set for 25 mins study, 5 mins short break and 30 mins long break. Every 25 mins you get a short break, but after 4 rounds of 25 mins you get one long break. You can fully customize this to suit your own schedule, and you can change the focus time, break times and the total amount of time you want to study for.

Other apps I have are of course Books on the iPad. I only have one book on here at the moment which is a grammar book. I can highlight sections and add notes on this app. I do not really use this so much at the moment. Sometimes I will read over it and highlight important sections.

An app recommended to me by my partner is PDF Expert. He uses this a lot more than me. He has a lot of medical textbooks as PDF’s and with this app he can make notes, highlight etc. I haven’t had a chance to really use this app yet, purely because I do not have any PDF’s at the moment that I am studying from but check it out if you do study from PDF’s a lot.

Books – paperback and hard back.

I have several physical books that I use to study from. The one that I use the most frequently is probably the ASSIMIL with ease (Italian). I also refer to grammar books on occasion, and I have several workbook style books to work through for a variety of different levels.

These are the books I do have:

ASSIMIL with ease series (Italian)

Collins Complete Italian

Teach Yourself Complete Italian

SOS Italian Grammar A1-A2

Streetwise Italian Dictionary/Thesaurus

Italiano plus A1-A2

Attiva il lessico A2/B1

Teach Yourself Enjoy Italian intermediate to advanced.

Preparazione al CELI 3

And I also have a few story books:

Pasta per due

Amore in Paradiso

Italian short stories

Italian bank accounts

Unicredit is a very popular choice amongst Italians. They have over 8,500 branches in most cities and towns in Italy, so you will be able to find a branch, or an ATM almost everywhere. Unicredit offer several different accounts with varying benefits and fees. For traditional bank accounts there are three levels – silver, gold and platinum. The silver account offers a prepaid card, release of check forms and SEPA transfers online, this account costs 9€ a month. The gold offers also the Flexia credit card with an annual fee and costs 12€ a month. Finally the platinum offers 2 debit cards, an additional credit card as well as the ability to transfer money from ATMS in Italy and abroad. This costs 22€ a month. They also have 2 types of investment accounts – gold and platinum, costing 5€ and 7€.

ING are a good international bank but not found in as many locations around Italy so you may not have a branch in your area. ING have the conto corrente Arancio which you can manage from an app as well. You can pay the 2€ fee for the Zero Vincoli which offers free cash withdrawals from anywhere in the EU, as well as up to 50,000€ free SEPA transfers.

HYPE is part of the Banca Sella group and is a mobile banking platform. They offer a free bank account, as well as the piano plus and the piano premium. The free bank account and the piano plus only give you a prepaid card where as the premium one gives you a debit cards. The premium account gives you other services including access to airport lounges, travel insurance, ATM theft policy purchase protection policy and even support over whatsapp. The cost for the piano plus is 1€ a month and for the piano premium it is 9.90€ a month.

Intesa Sanpaolo is a result of a merger from Banca Intesa and Sanpaolo IMI, and they have 4,825 branches across Italy so likely have one in your locality. At the moment they are offering the XME conto free for people under the age of 35 if you open by 30th of June 2020. This allows you to withdraw cash from any ATM in Italy and SEPA transfers abroad. The normal cost of this account I believe is 7.50€ a month.

Banco nazionale del lavoro is another popular choice, and is the 6th largest bank in Italy. It offers a lot of different types of bank accounts – BNLX semplifica ogni giorno (smart, powered or full) as well as i conti di base BNL, one for kids and a tennis one. The BNLX semplifica ogni giorno smart offers a debit card, as well as in branch, telephone and online banking. It is around 6€ a month but you can get a discount on this (if your under 30 it is free). However, you have to pay for ATM withdrawals. You can purchase an extra package that allows you to withdraw from ATMS twice a month and this costs 2€ a month. The powered bank account includes these 2 withdrawals a month and a credit card for a monthly fee of 9€ a month, and the full allows unlimited withdrawals worldwide and unlimited SEPA transfers. As well as unlimited counter transactions and a free cheque book. This account costs 17€ a month.

Crédit Agricole Italia provides retail and corporate banking across 10 regions of Italy. Their bank account offers you unlimited cash withdrawals from their own ATM machines and 24 cash withdrawals from other banks for free. Cash withdrawals from other banks after the 24 are 2.10€. The cards are free except for the NEXI classic credit card which costs an annual fee of 30.99€ and they charge up to 2.50€ for SEPA transfers.

There are also a load of other bank accounts that I haven’t managed to look into yet. One thing is certain, you pay for your bank accounts in Italy (which is crazy to understand coming from the UK). If you go for the cheaper options then you have to pay to withdraw money, pay for a debit/credit card etc. So its best to find one that suits your needs. Hype is good if your tech savvy, but if you want to go in person to the bank then it would not be a good choice. If you want unlimited cash withdrawals then its better to go and get a higher premium account, however, if you use a credit card a lot then go for one with a lower charge for unlimited credit card use. Just shop around.

How to move to Italy.

Always dreamed of a life in ‘Il bel paese’? Want to make the move but don’t know how? I was in the same situation just a few months ago. Here is all of the information I have managed to gather over the past year.

Do I need a visa?

This depends entirely on where you are travelling from. If you are travelling from the EU then I am sure you already know, the answer is no. You do not. If you are travelling from outside of the EU (or are from the UK like myself) then the answer may change.

As of the 31st of January 2020, the UK has formally left the EU. We are no longer a part of it. However, currently we are still within the transition period. The transition period runs until December 31st 2020. This transition period is too allow both the UK and the EU to establish a new fair trade agreement. After the transition period has ended, the UK will leave the single market and customs union. During this transition period the UK will still follow all EU rules and will maintain the same trading relationship. This also means that until December 31st 2020 we have nearly the same rights as we did before leaving the EU, including moving to countries within the EU and gaining residency. After December, all current residents in Italy will be allowed to remain in the country. This means that we have until the 31st of December to sort out all of our affairs, get residency, exchange driving licenses etc.

After the transition period then we will likely be classified as a non-EU country and will have to follow the same rules as other non-EU countries.

To live and work in Italy as a non-EU citizen then you need to have a visa and a work permit.

Work visa’s can be granted for employment, seasonal work that is related to either agriculture or tourism, scientific research, sporting activities and some other reasons related to employment. You can also get a visa for study, medical care, tourism, religion or other reasons, these visa’s do not permit you to work.

The work permit you will need to work will be completed by your employer in Italy. They will need to show a copy of your i.d documents (such as passport), a work contract, proof of accommodation, and evidence of your residence contract.

There is also the blue card for highly skilled workers. More information on that can be found out here.

Once you have a visa to live and work in Italy, your family can also apply for a visa under family reunification.

I posted a bit about the process of getting the permesso di soggiorno here.

Renting or buying a house?

Housing prices and rental prices vary vastly depending on the region you are searching for. It is important to do your research when looking for which region you want to locate to. As I am moving for a specific purpose, I have never looked up rental prices or housing prices in any other region except for Puglia. And specifically within the city of Bari in Puglia.

Rental prices vary but probably the more expensive areas are Milan, Florence and Rome.

Within cities, most of the places will be apartments or an appartamento. In Italy, apartments to rent are advertised by number of rooms monolocale, bilocale, trilocale etc. A monolocale is like a typical studio apartment in other countries. You usually have a kitchen and a bedroom/living room in one room and a bathroom. Within a bilocale the bedroom and living room is usually separate.

Rented accommodation usually comes either furnished or unfurnished.

I will be posting more about renting property in Italy in a later post.

How about healthcare?

Healthcare in Italy is generally excellent. And free to all residents in Italy. The public healthcare system in Italy is called the Servizio Sanitorio Nazionale (SSN) and you can register for it once you have your permesso di soggiorno. You sign up for the SSN in your local Azienda sanitaria locale (ASL). Once you are registered for the SSN you obtain your Tessera Sanitaria and chose your family doctor (Medico di base).

If you are employed in Italy then you will be eligible for mandatory registration, however, if you are not then you will have to pay a voluntary contribution. You will be able to find out if you are able to get mandatory registration at your local ASL. The form you get given to register for the SSN will need to be filled in and then payed for at the post office. From what I can gather, most things you need to pay for are done at the post office.

It is possible to find English speaking doctors however, you will need to research this. I find that if you ask on expat groups (in facebook) or on forums, a lot of expats from the area will be able to advise you on this.

Opening a bank account.

Just like in the UK, there are various types of bank accounts you can open in Italy. Conto corrente is a current bank account, and this is the standard type of bank account that people use for their day-to-day activities. Another common bank account is a chequing account or assegno.

Other bank accounts include joint bank accounts or Conto corrente cointestato, savings accounts Conto di risparmio and deposit accounts Conto di deposito which is similar to a savings account but with less flexibility and a higher interest rate. Bank accounts in Italy are generally not free, and you will have to pay a fee for them. All bank accounts charge different amounts so it is important to do your research on them.

To open a bank account in Italy you need to have your codice fiscale which is your tax code.

Getting a mobile phone

You can either get a pre-paid sim card called a ricaricabile or a mobile contract abbonamento. This contract is usually at a fixed monthly rate and is either a contract for 12 months or 24 months. With the pre-paid sim card you must top up your phone with vouchers ricariche which can be bought at stores, tobacconists, bars, magazine shops, ATM’s or at the store or website of the provider. Like with bank accounts, you need to have your codice fiscale to purchase a pre-paid sim card or to get a mobile phone contract.

The most popular providers in Italy are TIM, Vodafone, WIND, Fastweb or 3. All of these providers offer different packages and services so it is better to research them first to find the best deal for you.

Transport in Italy.

Trains are very cheap in Italy. Especially the regional trains (which are also slower). You can buy train tickets at the station (at the desk or at the machine) or you can also buy tickets online through mobile phone apps.

Trains are either run by Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane or by Italo.

Types of trains are Eurostar Italia or Frecce services, which are considered the fastest. Seat reservations are mandatory on these services. Intercity (IC and IC+) run across most of Italy and between cities and Large towns. You can either book first or second class on these trains. On intercity + seat reservations are mandatory but are included in the price of the ticket. And finally Regionale trains are the ones that stop in all of the smaller towns. These are cheaper in price but because they stop off in all of the small towns, they are much slower than the other train services.

Using a car in Italy can be expensive, petrol is generally quite expensive, most roads in Italy are very poor (in comparison to the UK) unless you are travelling on the Autostrada. And in my opinion, it is definitely true what they say about Italian drivers. They will force their way out into traffic, usually putting out their arm to let drivers know they are doing this.

If you are buying a car in Italy then you need to tax, MOT and insure it. Car tax (Bollo) is mandatory and you must keep the receipt in case you are stopped by the police. There is a fine if you fail to produce this. An MOT or Revisione is also required on all cars older than 4 years old. These are only required once every two years unlike in the UK where you have to do this every year.

Insurance cover will differ in cost depending on type of insurance (Casco or Responsibilità civile). The first is fully comprehensive and is very expensive, most people opt for the second which is third party. You can also add on fire and theft (incendio, furto).

Foreigners in Italy can drive for one year on their driving license but after that need to switch it over to an Italian driving license. If you are from an EU member state then you do not need to resit your driving test for this, however, if your country does not have a reciprocal agreement (USA, Canada, Australia) then you will need to sit an Italian driving test.

If you are stopped by the police in Italy then you need to produce the following documents:

  • Identification document (passport or i.d.)
  • Driving license
  • Car tax receipt
  • Insurance (at least third party)
  • Logbook (libretto) with the MOT
  • A yellow luminous jacket.

It is important you carry these documents on you at all times when driving in Italy.

There are several books you can purchase that will provide a lot more detailed information. I have personally only read the moon living book which was great, although I feel it was a little more focused towards Americans.

Moon Living Abroad Italy, 4th edition
Times New Roman
The real guide to living in Italy.

The imperative

Using the imperative in Italian allows us to either;

Give a command or an order, scold or reprimand a person or to ask somebody to do something.

To form the imperative of regular verbs you replace the infinite endings (-are, -ere, -ire) with the endings listed below.

-ARE

Tu -a

Lui/lei/Lei – i

Noi – iamo

Voi – ate

Loro – ino

-ERE

Tu – i

Lui/lei/Lei – a

Noi – iamo

Voi – ete

Loro – ano

-IRE

Tu – i

Lui/lei/Lei – a

Noi – iamo

Voi – ite

Loro – ano

When forming irregular verbs there is no rule to follow, so these need to be simply learned off by heart. The following are examples of the formation of some irregular verbs.

ESSERE

Tu sii

Lui/lei/Lei – sia

Noi – siamo

Voi – siate

Loro – siano

AVERE

Tu – abbi

Lui/lei/Lei – abbia

Noi – abbiamo

Voi – abbiate

Loro – abbiano

DIRE

Tu – di’/dì

Lui/lei/Lei – dica

Noi – diciamo

Voi – dite

Loro – dicono

FARE

Tu – fa’/fai

Lui/lei/Lei – faccia

Noi – facciamo

Voi – fate

Loro – facciano

STARE

Tu – sta’/stai

Lui/lei/Lei – stia

Noi – stiamo

Voi – state

Loro – stiano

SAPERE

Tu – sappi

Lui/lei/Lei – sappia

Noi – sappiamo

Voi – sappiate

Loro – sappiano

ANDARE

Tu – va’/vai

Lui/lei/Lei – vada

Noi – andiamo

Voi – andate

Loro – vadano

DARE

Tu – da’/dai

Lui/lei/Lei – dia

Noi – diamo

Voi – date

Loro – diano

And finally if you want to use the imperative with tonic/atonic personal pronouns then they must be combined with the imperative. An example of this would be mangia la frutta -> mangiala (eat it).