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7 Things to Expect When Moving to Tuscany
There are so many reasons to consider moving to Tuscany, from the picturesque landscapes and world-famous wines to some of the most influential architecture and art in the world. Exploring the possibility of making your home in the Tuscan sun can open the doors to a new way of life in a rich and vibrant culture.
What should you expect as you plan a move to Tuscany? The Italians call this region Toscana, and it is a popular destination for expats and retirees. Of course, adjusting to life in a smaller town or village in Italy will be a major transition for most of us. Here are some things to expect when you live in Tuscany.
1. Be Prepared for Warm Summers and Cool Winters
Tuscany features a vast and varied landscape and dramatic seasonal changes. Summers are warm or hot, and winters may be mild or quite cold, depending on whether you live in the mountains, forests, river valleys, or coastal plains.
There are areas of Tuscany where you can hike in the snowy mountains one day and visit the seashore the next. While most areas have mild temperatures, you will want to bring along clothing and gear for all seasons when moving to Tuscany.
2. Step Off the Beaten Path Like Locals Do
You will have no problem finding historical landmarks, heritage sites, and famous wineries to visit in Tuscany, but, with the slow pace and rich culture of the region, you will soon find out that the locals are enjoying other activities like these:
- Visiting Vinci, the hometown and birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci for an informal tour and a brush with genius
- Experiencing hot springs, hot waterfalls, and famous natural spas in the area, some in use since the times of the ancient Romans
- Tasting great food and wine on the property of the famous tenor, Andrea Bocelli, at his remote multi-purpose center and open-air amphitheater
- Visiting isolated stretches of rocky coastline and natural sand dunes or exploring a remote island off the coast of Tuscany like Elba, Capraia, or Giglio
3. Become Part of a Strong Local Community
If you choose to locate in a small village or rural community, you will see a side of life in Italy that few experience. Everyone knows each other and will be interested in learning about you. When you are living in Italy, get involved in local festivals and meet your neighbors. These welcoming people may stop by with gifts of fresh produce or other edibles, as part of local tradition.
In larger cities, there is a faster pace and a vibrant nightlife. While you may not get fresh eggs or fruit as gifts, you will find that locals shop in fresh markets daily. No matter where you relocate in Tuscany, you will be part of a strong community culture.
4. Be Ready for New Foods and Familiar Italian Cuisine
Different regions in Italy have different regional dishes to taste. While you will find familiar foods to eat in Tuscany, you will also find many food and wine flavors unique to the region. Be ready to sample and find your new favorites like these:
- Chestnut breads with local honey, called Marocca di Casola
- Delicate regional olive oils with distinctive flavors
- Testarolo, which is a flat cooked cake that is boiled like gnocchi
- Regional dishes made with organ meats
- Strong Tuscan wines, sometimes called “super Tuscans”
5. Enjoy a Higher Quality of Life
Many regions of Tuscany feature the best of both worlds, in that you can enjoy the lower cost of living in a small village or rural area and still have access to beaches, mountains, and nearby cities within a few hours of driving. Public transports to popular destinations are available in most parts of Tuscany.
As part of the EU and a European country, Italy has many English-speaking natives, visitors, and settlers. Italian citizens enjoy all of the benefits of EU membership, including the ability to travel and work in any EU country. Education is provided to citizens, as well as high-quality health care.
6. Visit or Live in These Beautiful Tuscan Towns
Tuscany is a large region of Italy, and residents often visit the nearby towns. Each one has a unique history, flair, and culture to explore. Make plans to see the sights in these Tuscan Towns:
- Home to many famous artists and historical figures, Florence is known as the Cradle of the Renaissance. Operas, museums, and art galleries are popular destinations.
- This city features cobbled streets and quiet piazzas, and almost every place in Lucca can be reached by walking. Featuring historic architecture, it is called the City of 100 Churches. Fewer tourists visit Lucca, making it a less hectic and less expensive place to live or visit.
- San Gimignano. This beautiful medieval town is in the hill country, featuring 13th century walls and towers around a historic small town. Many retirees and expats choose this area for its relaxed atmosphere and abundant food and wine shops.
7. Italian Citizens Have Complete Access to Services
Before you buy property in Tuscany and plan to live in Italy full time, you should look into the possibility of becoming an Italian citizen or dual citizen. While non-citizens can apply for permits to own property in Tuscany, there are additional hurdles and challenges that EU citizens do not face.
Even if you own property in Italy, the time you are allowed to spend there may be limited, depending on what type of visa you obtain. In order to have full access to the public services and be able to transport your personal belongings without additional taxes, you will need Italian citizenship.
Gaining this valuable citizenship status might be easier than you expect if you have direct ancestors who were Italian citizens. Finding out if you qualify is relatively simple, compared to the process of applying without an Italian ancestor.
At the Italian American Citizenship Assistance Program, we can help you navigate the process and enter Italy fully prepared to purchase property and take up residence. Contact us today to find out more and see if you qualify!