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If you are considering moving to Italy and aren’t sure where to start, this article can help you gather ideas and start your research. Although we think of Italy as a wholly blissful country, there are considerable variations in lifestyle and environment
You will find that the north and south are hugely different. Even neighbouring towns can feel different in their variations of dialects, customs, food, festivals, etc.
Life in provincial places will, of course, be different from big, modern Italian cities. Coastal towns might be spectacular, but they’re pricier than inland. There’s a lot to take into consideration when choosing your perfect location.
THE CHIANTI AREA
Tuscany is one of the most charming regions in Italy. It is pretty well connected for national and international travel, adding to its popularity with ex-pats.
If you love the feel of Tuscany but are looking for a more tranquil life than what cities like Florence, Lucca, and Pisa can offer, there are plenty of pretty little towns and villages between Florence and Siena area called the Chianti.
Yes, this is precisely where Chianti wine, one of the most famous and appreciated wines in the world, comes from.
The Chianti is all about vineyards, olive groves, forests, medieval castles, and cosy hilltop towns, providing its residents peace and tranquillity.
Surprisingly, this rural type of living doesn’t scare off ex-pats. In the Chianti area, foreigners live happily, even in the smallest remote villages.
However, such popularity comes with a price: there is no really “affordable” location in the Chianti. Many ex-pats think it’s worth paying extra to enjoy the area’s natural and cultural riches.
Being part of the famous wine area, many towns organise annual festivals to celebrate the vendemmia (the harvesting of wine grapes) – wine and food celebrations that attract visitors worldwide.
Greve, a busy town in the Chianti area near Florence, is quintessentially Italian and very attractive. Its quaint triangular square and beautiful hills make it the perfect home for those loGreve is conveniently close to public transport, and main roads and is about 32 km away from Florence. There’s also a bus that takes 51 min and costs €3 – €5.
18 km south of Greve, you will find Radda, another beautiful medieval town enclosed in large defensive walls.
Radda used to be the capital of the Chianti. It isn’t far from Florence to the north and Siena to the south. It is close to major sites.
Like any other location in the Chianti, Radda is a paradise for foodies. Every dish you try is designed to feature the local produce and complement the local wine for a calm and serene lifestyle.
THE AMALFI COAST
The Amalfi Coast is a stunning 50-kilometre coastline along Sorrentine Peninsula in the Campania region. It stretches between Salerno's port city and Sorrento's clifftop town. The Amalfi coast features dramatic cliffs, tiny pebbly beaches, lovely fishing villages, impressive villas, terraced vineyards, and cliffside lemon groves.
The Amalfi coast is truly stunning, and for that reason, it’s a trendy tourist destination, with all the pros and cons that come with this.
In the winter season (from November until Easter), the coast is tranquil and sees hardly any visitors. Hotels, bars and restaurants are closed, and the streets, squares and beaches become quiet.
Even during the winter, the weather is pretty mild; it gets warm for you to enjoy a lazy beach picnic.
The coast comes back to life at Easter, however. All the shops, restaurants and hotels start reopening, and the visitors start arriving in droves.
The most popular towns on the Amalfi coast are Positano, Sorrento, and Amalfi.
POSITANO, SORRENTO, AMALFI
Positano is a tiny town with quite an upscale feel to it. It’s known as a vertical city, as it clings to the side of a steep mountain. You may find that you can only reach your house from the road by climbing hundreds of steps up the hill.
Positano is extremely popular among the rich and famous. It’s centrally located, and has a beautiful – if small – sandy beach and glamorous seaside bars, restaurants, and clubs. It’s also one of the few towns on the Amalfi Coast known for its upscale shopping.
Spectacularly positioned at the top of the cliff, Sorrento boasts magnificent views across the Bay of Naples. On a gorgeous sunny day, you can see across to Naples, with Vesuvius looming over it.
Sorrento is a transport hub with railway, bus, hydrofoil and ferry connections. It can be a perfect base to explore the surrounding territories. It is an easy drive, or bus ride, to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello, and the journey itself is stunning.
Sorrento has all the services and amenities you need for a comfortable life. But it comes with a hefty price tag.
The property is expensive, as are rentals. Don’t discard the location based on Sorrento’s property prices, though. Look at the surrounding towns instead. They offer lower prices, or at least better value for money.
Amalfi is the biggest town on the Amalfi Coast. It is at the foot of Monte Cerreto, surrounded by cliffs and a spectacular coastline. The degree of exclusiveness is noticeably lower here than in Positano. It’s also somewhat cheaper and less crowded.
And yet, it’s stunningly beautiful. If you love arts, architecture, and glamorous events, Amalfi is the right place. You will find all the extravagance and magnificence of Positano without the VIP costs.
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Italian Legal Translations
I'm Natalia Bertelli, an English/Spanish to Italian legal translator. Since 2008 I have been working on contracts, judicial deeds, certificates, corporate translations for foreign clients who want to do business in Italy, get a dual citizenship or simply settle in my beautiful country.