8 Things to Consider Before You Move to Italy

Back to blog

8 Things to Consider Before You Move to Italy


8 Things to Consider Before You Move to Italy Image

Moving to Italy will be all that you dreamed it to be and more. However, to begin enjoying the spectacular views, mouth-watering food and the ‘when in Rome’ lifestyle, first you’ll have to get there. On top of that, you’ll need to transport your possessions, sort your paperwork and of course tend to your children or significant other. To help out, here are Chappell’s 8 handy hints about moving to Italy.


  1. Moving your belongings to Italy

You can import used household goods and personal items to Italy duty-free. Goods that are unused must have duty paid and it’s worth noting that electronic items will require import permits. Thankfully for you to travel to Italy, you will only need a passport as Italy is a full member of the European Union. Inventory forms will also be needed so that customs can accurately insure and ship your belongings legally. An experienced removals firm will be able to provide inventory forms for your convenience.

  1. Customs

Italy has no oddities of note on its list of banned objects for import but the common-sense rules still apply and so do the laws of the EU. It is best to take all potential offending items off of your inventory to make your move much easier. In general, do not attempt to import any of the items listed below:

  • Alcohol & tobacco
  • Firearms & ammunition
  • Food & perishables
  • Flammable items & substances
  • Narcotics & dangerous substances
  • Offensive media
  • Protected species & goods derived from them (ivory, specific leathers)
  1. Taking your vehicle to Italy

Sometimes a car isn’t just a car, especially if it’s rare, valuable or even a family heirloom. In which case, you’ll want to import it to your new home. In Italian law, a used car is one that is over 6 months old or that has recorded over 6,000 kilometres on the odometer. If your car is used, then you don’t have to pay tax or VAT on its import. You will need to arrange the following documents to guarantee it safe and legal passage:

  • Copies of your passport (carta di identita)
  • Tax code copies (codice fiscal)
  • Certificate of permanent export, original and copies with Italian translation
  • MOT test certificate of roadworthiness with Italian translation
  • Technical specification from the manufacturer stating conformity with EU regulations
  • Receipt for all import fees

And of course, do not forget to adjust your headlights for driving on the right side of the road. You can use stick-on adjusters. However, if your move to Italy is permanent, then the adjustments to your car should be suitably permanent, too.

  1. Taking your pets to Italy

Your local vet will be invaluable if you are taking a beloved pet with you on your expat adventure. Many veterinary practices also offer authorised carriers which will guarantee your pet is transported in a container that is certified for flight. Before transporting your pet to Italy you will need:

  • Microchip
  • Proof of rabies vaccination
  • Pet passport
  • Proof of tapeworm treatment (canines only)
  1. Visas and Brexit

At the time of posting (November 2017), British citizens do not require a visa to live or work in Italy. However, with the Brexit negotiations (Britain’s exit from the European Union) still ongoing, the current visa status could change within the next few years. On the one hand, there could be tighter restrictions in place after a deal is struck, and on the other, it is likely that Italy and the UK will mutually agree to a system that’s similar to the current one. We highly recommend you keep up to date with the latest developments to stay ahead of the curve.

  1. Language

Citizens of Europe will generally be very pleased that you are attempting to understand and use their country’s language. The Spanish are very accommodating, the French insist and the Italians are known to be generous with their time and patience when a newcomer is learning Italian. Be patient and attend classes before going. Interacting with a teacher who is fluent will do wonders to your confidence in the first few weeks. Make sure to befriend Italians and this will fast track you into a basic understanding of what can be a rather hard language to grasp.

  1. Renting or buying a home?

In Italy, buying a home is the norm. The country has one of the highest homeownership rates in Europe and this should come as no surprise when you consider that Italy also has the highest rate of children in their 30s living at home. This seems odd to an outsider but makes financial sense when compared to ‘generation rent’ who are carving out a living in the rest of Europe. That doesn’t mean you can’t find good homes to rent in Italy. Stick to urban areas where estate agents with English speaking staff are readily available.

  1. Italian living

Every country has its own national identity and customs that are ingrained in the culture and are only quirky to foreigners like yourself. So, as a British expat, here are a few things you need to get used to pronto!

  • Fresh milk is not available everywhere
    Seems weird, doesn’t it? Italy (a country known for its gastronomic excellence) uses UHT milk all the time. It’s a fact. Stock up on fresh milk where you can because even the finest cappuccino from that swanky bar on the piazza contains UHT.
  • Be late to parties
    The Italians take the phrase ‘fashionably late’ very seriously. If you arrange to meet Italian friends casually, be at least 30 minutes later than the agreed time. Many expats begin by arriving on time to events and eventually understand the custom and start turning up later and later. Consider this a heads up.
  • Cash is king
    Enjoying your cashless existence? Well, say goodbye to it when you move to Italy. Superstores, chains and hotels accept debit and credit cards but everywhere else still revolves around cash. As a country of small and medium-sized businesses, using cash is considered kindness to shopkeepers, as they don’t have to pay the commission associated with using plastic.
  • Drinking too much
    British people have a reputation for binge drinking. Whether this is justified is up for debate, but if you like to drink be careful about the amount you consume in Italy. Italians err on the side of not drinking very much at all in a leisurely fashion. Especially when compared to British and French citizens. Be polite and mindful of this when socialising.
  • Washing your clothes at night
    It is not uncommon for there to be local laws governing when you can and can’t make noise, especially in flat blocks. Check with your agent or a neighbour. Using your washing machine late at night typically comes under those rules.
  • Pucker up
    Italians often kiss each other on both cheeks to say hello and goodbye. However, make sure to read the room, as it will depend on the region of Italy that you are in as to whether men partake in this ritual. In the south, you will be expected to kiss with friends and family. In the north, men will not be expected to do so.

    It goes without saying, kissing is optional and you needn’t worry if you value your personal space. If you are open to the idea, then follow the lead of the Italians in your company. If you are a complete novice, then it’s worth noting that you ‘kiss’ the air beside each cheek and not the cheek itself. Make sense? You’ll get used to it.


For more information about moving to Italy, see the gov.uk site, or to learn more about Chappell’s Removals premier European moving service, head to our dedicated European Removals page.

Chappell's Removals is the premier commercial and domestic removals provider for Weybridge, Woking and throughout Surrey. For over 40 years our team have helped innumerable families and businesses relocate to France with a timely, thorough and conscientious service. We take care of packing, loading and arranging shipment for all your belongings straight to your door in the EU country and region of your choice. For any more information, contact our team today.

Back to blog

Get a Free Quote Today by Calling 0800 865 4210

Open 8:30am - 6pm Mon to Fri, 9am - 3pm Saturday