Retiring in Italy: a complete guide

1 min readLast updated May 31, 2024by Unbiased team

Discover what you need to retire in Italy and the pros and cons to consider before you make the big move.

Summary 

  • Italy is one of the most desirable vacation and retirement destinations in the EU. 

  • Healthcare in Italy is ranked as one of the best in Europe by the World Health Organization.  

  • The minimum annual income requirement is €31,000 for single adults and €38,00 for married couples. 

  • A professional financial advisor or retirement planner can help you to manage your money and retire comfortably.  

What are the pros and cons of retiring in Italy? 

Italy is a beautiful and historic country that many people choose to settle down in after leaving the workforce. With its globally renowned food scene, lush landscapes, and organized infrastructure, retiring in Italy is an excellent option for man, but it does have its ups and downs.  

Pros 

  • Food, history, and culture: As one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, you will not run out of ways to relax or entertain yourself by retiring in Italy.  

  • Excellent healthcare services: The World Health Organization (WHO) lists Italy as home to the best healthcare system in Europe, ranked higher than Germany and France.  

  • Variety of accommodation options: Italy offers comfortable retirement accommodation in both rural countryside and dynamic city environments.  

Cons 

  • Far from the US: If you have family based in the US, visiting loved ones can be expensive.  

  • Language barrier: The Italian language is complex and can be difficult to master, especially in your senior years.  

  • Complicated visa application process: Applying for a permanent residency Italian visa as a US citizen can take a long time and won’t always be granted.  

What are the best places to retire in Italy? 

There are many good places to retire in Italy. Where you choose to live depends on your lifestyle preferences and budget. Here are three of the best places to retire in Italy:  

  • Sicily: The “boot” of Italy is picturesque, quiet, and has a low cost of living compared to other parts of Italy.  

  • Lazio:  A balanced combination of Italian countryside and dynamic community is Lazio, home to many of Italy’s most classic pasta dishes.  

  • Tuscany: Tuscany provides easy access to a populated city area while still being close to beaches, mountains, and other natural and cultural perks.  

At what age can you retire in Italy? 

In Italy, the age of retirement for both men and women is 67.  

To qualify for a state pension (known locally as pensione di vecchiaia), you must have made a minimum of 20 years of Italian Social Security contributions.  

What is the average cost of retirement in Italy? 

To retire in Italy, you must meet the minimum annual income requirement of €31,000 per year, or €38,000 per year for married couples.  

The amount increases by 20% for every dependent that you might have.  

Italian expats also need to prove they have rented or purchased property in Italy before emigrating, which increases the overall cost of retirement considerably. 

Do you pay taxes after retirement in Italy? 

If you are a foreign national retiring in Italy, any income you earn will be subject to a 7% substitutive tax. This applies to annuities, pension funds, or income-based forms outside of Italy.  

When it comes to tax incentives, new residents can pay a lump sum tax fee of €100,000 on foreign income remitted to the country for fifteen years at a time.  

What programs are there for emigrating to Italy? 

Because both an elective residency visa and an entry visa are necessary for US citizens to emigrate to Italy, there are numerous programs to follow when emigrating to Italy. The elective residency visa, in particular, is known as one of the most challenging visas to obtain.  

Its waiting list can be long, and the requirements extensive, making the process costly and time-consuming.  

What visas do I need to retire in Italy? 

To gain permanent residency and successfully retire in Italy, you will need an Italian elective residency visa. This type of visa is designed for foreign nationals who will not be working or earning in the country and exclusively want to retire.  

Being granted an Italian elective residency visa is not easy, fast, or cheap. You will need a passport, proof that you have rented or purchased property in Italy, and, if you are a non-EU citizen, a basic entry visa. 

What are my healthcare options in Italy? 

Italy’s healthcare system is globally renowned for its efficiency, accessibility, and high level of technology.  

If you emigrate to Italy and become an official resident, you can apply for Italian nationalized healthcare. It is advised that you obtain private healthcare insurance for specialist fees and treatments.  

Is Italy a good place to retire? 

Italy is rated as one of the best places to travel and retire in the world.  

Its mild weather, world-class cuisine, rustic nature, and efficient public services make it a peaceful and safe place to retire.  

The application process is challenging and expensive but arguably well worth the result.  

Get expert financial advice 

Deciding where to live out your retirement years is a big decision, and although it is not one of the cheapest options in Europe, retiring in Italy is often a highly desirable option. The excellent healthcare, incredible scenery, local culture, and the multitude of accommodation options make it sought-after for those who are prepared to go through the lengthy emigration process.   

If you’re looking for retirement and financial advice, Unbiased can help. Get matched with an expert financial advisor now who can ensure you enjoy your retirement. 

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.