Italy isn’t an offshore haven.
You have to be a resident in the country for 10 years before you can become naturalized… unless your grandparents were Italian… in which case you can get citizenship after 3 years of residency.
The bureaucracy in Italy is legendary. Processes like applying for residency and starting a company are cumbersome and complicated.
A friend told me recently that a friend of his living in Italy has been trying to obtain official residency in the country for three years.
The guy is a person of means and has attorneys on the case… as well as a long-term Italian girlfriend… yet he can’t break through the bureaucratic barriers.
Other friends over the years have told me how easy it was for them to gain residency in Italy. The difference, like so many things when it comes to civil law bureaucracy, seems to be the police office you work with when registering your residency request… and the staff sitting on the other side of the desk on the day.
Once you’re approved for residency and registered at the local questura, you’re a legal resident of Italy. You’re also a tax resident thanks to that registration even if you spend fewer than 183 days in the country. If you’re registered for 183 days in the year, you’re tax vulnerable… regardless how many days you’re actually physically present.
Bureaucracy also lays a heavy burden on anyone looking to start and run a business in this country, which is at least part of the reason Italy’s economy hasn’t grown much at all in the last decade and unemployment rates have been in the double digits for the same period.
So… why Italy?
Great food that is cheap.
Great history that is everywhere.
And cheap and charming country houses and apartments where you can live the Tuscan dream… if you look outside Tuscany.
The lifestyle that you can afford in Italy can be incredibly pleasing, pleasant, and rich. That’s why the friend of a friend has been trying for three years to establish official residency. He’s all in.
He could live anywhere in the world… and he wants to live in Italy.
Italy enjoyed wealth and position for centuries, which is how all those old country villas and farmhouses came into existence. In Tuscany, the prices for those properties have soared thanks to foreign interest, which historically has been focused specifically on this region.
Who wouldn’t want to be a short drive from Florence?
Other parts of Italy have been ignored… including Abruzzo.
In Abruzzo, you can buy an 80-square-meter house with a garden for less than 100,000 euros in a small town… or a 180-square-meter penthouse apartment overlooking the Adriatic in Pescara, the main town in the region, for about 500,000 euros.
These properties are move-in ready.
The countryside in this part of this country is also peppered with a great volume of old farmhouses ripe for renovation… and these can be shockingly affordable… 50,000 euros and less.
In some Italian villages, they give the places away free!
In addition to the affordable housing, affordable food, and affordable cost of living overall, Abruzzo also gives you the best of both sea and mountain living.
In winter you can be skiing in the morning and hanging out on the beach in the afternoon (although you probably won’t be getting in the water in January)… with a stop at a vineyard for lunch in between.
Tourists come to the Adriatic coast in summer, but it’s not the hordes of foreign tourists that hit Venice, Florence, and the Cinque Terre every season. It’s primarily Italian tourists who know where to go for an affordable beach vacation in their own country.
If a Mediterranean lifestyle (well, technically, it’s the Adriatic) is your thing, the opportunity to indulge in it is as good as it gets here in this unsung corner of Italy.
Yet, in Pescara, you’re only a bit more than two hours from Rome via autostrade… and from the airport in Pescara you can fly direct to London, Brussels, Warsaw…
Bottom line, Abruzzo offers the best of Italian life at an affordable price and without all the tourists.
That’s my kind of getaway.