Moving to Italy For Members

Ten positives to focus on if you move to Italy from the US

The Local Italy
The Local Italy - [email protected]
Ten positives to focus on if you move to Italy from the US
The town of Arrone, Umbria. Photo courtesy of Rita Graziano

We all know Italy is an amazing place to visit. But is it really still "la dolce vita" when you live here permanently? One reader who moved from the US says it is - if you focus on the positives.


Rita Graziano, an Italian-American California Bay Area native living in Umbria, Italy told The Local how, of the many striking differences she's found compared to life in the USA, it's the little things - and the positive things - that stand out to her the most.

While it's easy enough to complain about Italy's famously slow bureaucracy, and the hiccups many of us experience after moving, Rita said: “I don't dwell on those. Sometimes I am amused, sometimes frustrated, but always willing to let it be in the end.”

Rita, who works remotely and made the move alone with “dogs and cats galore”, says the slower pace of life and “the lack of the "buy, buy, buy" mentality of the US” are some of the biggest positives.

Here, Rita gives us a quick glimpse of her life in Italy by describing some of the beautiful moments and gestures which define for her what living here is really all about.

The beauty

The way you can "stumble upon" beauty anywhere. The gorgeous architecture in churches and other buildings as well as small points of beauty such as the way someone has arranged their garden flowers.

READ ALSO: Nine things to expect if you move to rural Italy

The patience

The patience of the people with my poor Italian, the way they apologise because they don't speak English! (Not necessary to apologise – this is Italy!) and the way they will say "I speak only a few words of English", and then they speak it very well in fact.

Photo: Clare Speak/The Local

The church bells

The sound of the church bells ringing, randomly as well as gloriously at 12 noon in the piazza.

The kindness

I asked the pharmacist where the health center was and she dropped everything to walk with me there so I would be sure to find it. And when I put my credit card in the wrong slot of the gas station machine, in the dark, in the pouring rain, I was able to get it back at the  Carabinieri station with four Carabinieri attentively listening to my poorly-told story, eager to help.


The friendliness

The way at holiday time, everyone greets each other with Buon Natale or Buon Anno. And how the vet's office (she is the only one for the village of Arrone) is not only a place to take your animals but is a social meeting place where people drop by to chat even while she is giving your animal a vaccination.

Rita's cat Harry, who as a kitten was saved by Arrone's vet. Photo: Rita Graziano.

The openness

The way you can meet people in a restaurant - in Spoleto my friend and I became immediate friends with a 97-year-old Navy veteran.


The history

There's too much to say here, but as an example, the town of Terni, which was bombed 120 times during the war so is not a pretty city like so many others. And in Umbria the many hilltop villages built in the middle ages, causing me to wonder every time: how on earth did they build those villages and towers perched precariously on a hilltop?

READ ALSO: Dutch, Swedish, Scottish: How these tiny Italian villages became international

The seasons

This is probably a California thing, but here in Italy every season unfolds with such beauty and is distinct and wondrous.

Photo: Clare Speak/The Local

The people

The old men sitting in cafes talking endlessly and watching the world go by. And the way every single Italian has an opinion on most things!

The security

The feeling that I am safe and never alone. People are always willing to help.

The creativity

The creativity used to make everything work...somehow.

This article was first published in 2019.


Comments (2)

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

Anonymous 2021/11/24 14:20
This is a paid subscription why are there pop up ads everywhere? It makes attempting to read the Local very frustrating
Anonymous 2021/11/23 21:01
So, so perfect! We've been here since early '18, and our Christmas cards to friends and family back in the US that first year included this "Top 10" list of "Rules for Living in Southern Italy": 10. The traffic lines on the streets are just for decoration. 9. If something happens at 3:30 instead of 2:30, it's not the end of the world. 8. Life's too short to eat fast food. 7. Life's too short to eat bad food. 6. Most big problems usually aren't. 5. You're never too busy to help someone. 4. Coffee isn't just coffee. It's an art form. 3. Same goes for cooking, only more so. 2. Life is meant to be enjoyed! 1. Family and friends are EVERYTHING!

See Also