Ex-pats in Italy – How to become a new local!

Visiting a new country when on holiday allows you to see the main features of a destination, experience the setting, the sounds, the tastes of a foreign land. It will hopefully broaden your horizons, increase your knowledge, and if you’re truly lucky, put things in your own life into perspective to make you realise just how privileged you are in this world to be able to travel, and to see that your own problems are so small in the context of the enormity of the world and the length of its history.

For some us however, this taste is not quite enough. Whether it be to seek education, ground-level everyday-living experience or for love (or to live as far as possible from crazy family members!), Italy has a large ex-pat community of native English-speakers who love calling Italy home.

Be that home-for-now or home-forever depends on the individual.

This is not a new trend either. Even in the Victorian era, Florence was famed amongst artists, poets and performers who flocked, frolicked and fluttered their way to seek Florence finery. Byron, Browning and Barrett-Browning are well-known examples.

But how does one start off in Italy as a new-comer, alone?

We are pleased to say that the English-speaking ex-pat community is extremely generous in helping out people who genuinely want to call Italy home, particularly for those who are coming here for the long-term.

If you are planning on staying in Italy temporarily, you may find it easiest to enrol in a language school or English-speaking university or alternative education course where you will find people whose job it is to help you set yourself up.

For those long-termers, the exp-pat groups can provide you with a great source of advice, friendship and cultural relief!

Angloinfo (www.angloinfo.com) is a website that provides ex-pat communities around the world with useful everyday information for those calling a foreign land home. The Florence and Tuscany Angloinfo pages are filled with information on visas, how to access medical services, English-speaking service providers, how to obtain a drivers licence, pet ownership and many other things you will need to know should you decide to call Tuscany home. There is a jobs section, classifieds pages, and a forum for information exchanges amongst the new-comer locals.

In terms of real estate, there are english-speaking companies like Pitcher & Flaccomio who can help you rent, sell and manage properties in Florence and Tuscany. Suzanne Pitcher writes a monthly newsletter that provides some tid-bits of information for ex-pats, as well as things to do. Suzanne is also involved in a great yearly charity event, Corri La Vita, raising money for breast cancer research (http://www.corrilavita.it/home.php).

Below you can see a sample of the newsletter. For more information about Pitcher & Flaccomio, contact Kim Wicks or Suzanne Pitcher at Pitcher & Flaccomio via Italian number +39 055 234 3354.

There are also monthly meets for native English-speakers, like the YAWN group (Young Anglo-Saxon Women’s Network ? you can find them on Facebook) who meets for a drink and a chat monthly, and an Australian ex-pat group too. There are similar such meets monthly in most major cities around Italy. Be aware though that whilst ex-pats are generally very happy to help new-comers, if you’re only planning on staying for a short time, you may find that you will not be invited into these groups as some do have policies to ensure they don’t have too high a turn over of members.

Here is a sample of the Pitcher & Flaccomio October newsletter:

October ? the Tuscan morning air now has a distinct chill. But all coats and sweaters are shed by noon, and the golden warmth of our afternoon sun feels like a gift from heaven. The last of the grapes are being pulled off their vines. Wine is fermenting in the cellars. Bright green oval globes of ripening olives hang heavy in the groves. And our thoughts turn to truffles, and mushrooms and to chestnut sweets?
The October calendar of events is chock full of music, exhibitions, concerts, dance, original language movies, food fairs and markets in the countryside and more.
From a golden-glowing Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia SUZANNE, CORSO, BEI, SANDRA, LORI, ANNA PIA, KIMBERLY and MARIO simply send all the best.

The Gods were looking down on us for this the 8th edition of Corri LaVita. It rained before and rained after, but during there was brilliant sunshine with a slight breeze. 20,000 T-shirts were given away with the first enrolled participants, and about 1,500 people signed-up on the morning without receiving anything. It went beyond our wildest expectations. The amount of money raised will be known a little later on.
I’ll keep you informed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who participated. It turned out to be a very joyous event and not only a show of solidarity.
I’d also like to thank the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi for letting Corri La Vita participants visit the Bronzino exhibition. As you know we chose the painting of Eleonora di Toledo and her son Giovanni as our poster for this year, and anyone wearing our distinctive purple T-shirt was given access to the show on the day of the event. Many people took this offer up and like myself thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t recommend the show enough (also for children). – Suzanne

You may also like