Excited about your new life in Italy? Maybe a little nervous too? That’s understandable, but you won’t be the first to make the trip. So to prepare yourself, as well as all the ideas and information you get here of course, here are some books and blogs about life in Italy. They offer honest viewpoints from people who came, who saw, who conquered the culture shock!

Italy has a magical way of winning people’s hearts. If the amazing views, history, food and wine aren’t enough, the kindness of the people will be. But the slower, sunnier way of life in Italy can be both charming and frustrating. It takes time to adjust to the Italian way of doing things. You need to keep a sense of humour and swap your rose-tinted glasses for a glass of Italian wine. To get into the spirit and prepare yourself for some of the ups and downs of life in Italy, settle down to a bit of reading. Here are a few suggestions.

You need to keep a sense of humour and swap your rose-tinted glasses for a glass of Italian wine

Young female student dressed casually standing with books in the famous arched galleries in Bologna city in Italy. Bologna is a student city and home to the oldest university in the world

Read all about life in Italy, before you get here.

Books about life in Italy

Times New Roman: How we quit ours jobs, gave away our stuff and moved to Italy by Martha Miller

Aged 42 and 37, John and Martha decided to turn their dreams into reality and move to Rome. They learned to eat, shop, cook, dress and live like Italians in the “Eternal City”. Join them on their journey by reading Times New Roman: How we quit ours jobs, gave away our stuff and moved to Italy.

Head Over Heel: Seduced by Southern Italy by Chris Harrison

When Chris travelled from his home in Australia he never dreamt that he would fall in love with an Italian girl. Although again, he wouldn’t be the first, or last, we hope! He made the life-changing decision to follow Daniela to her hometown of Andrano in Apulia. In Head Over Heel: Seduced by Southern Italy he shares his amusing experiences of adjusting to life in a small Italian village. Read how he handles the bureaucracy, driving and Daniela’s Mamma.

A Zany Slice of Italy by Ivanka Di Felice

A Zany Slice of Italy illustrates the joys and challenges of living in Italy while keeping a sense of humour. Amusing stories include our heroes’ trip to visit her husband’s family in Abruzzo and their final escape to Tuscany. It is full of colourful characters and experiences both charming and at times frustrating. From friendly neighbours bringing gifts of vegetables to colourful Italian dinner discussions. The dolce vita the author imagined, full of art, architecture, fashion and wine, doesn’t quite work out like that. Yet she manages to laugh at herself rather than get angry. She is also warmly sympathetic to the quirky charm of the characters she meets.

Blogs about life in Italy

Ciao Mr

Most blogs about life in Italy seem to be written by American women, so I was pleased to find Ciao Mr which is written by a British guy in Milan. It is written with an honesty and humour that is rather refreshing and very British. To quote Pete “When I lived in London, I’d go abroad each year and have a sublime time in the sunshine for a fortnight. But that would be it. For the other 50 weeks, I’d fester under murky English skies. I daydreamed of moving abroad for years. Then I made it happen. Now I live a door away from the best pizzeria I’ve ever been to and a street from (allegedly) the best gelateria in the world”.

If you want something else to flick through that will be of real benefit, read our free guide, How to Negotiate Abroad. Negotiating effectively but fairly should get you a little more property for your pounds.

Renovating Italy

No city lights for Lisa and her husband Sam. Their Italian dream was to live a simple life with their two children, in a tiny medieval hamlet in Piedmont. Located in the foothills of the Italian Alps, the hamlet is home to just nine people and is a big change from their previous life in Brisbane. With a very low budget they bought a house needing renovation and Sam has been doing most of the work himself, even creating a loft apartment which they now rent out to guests. As well as the blog Lisa has set up a “Renovating Italy” Facebook Page and Group, where members share tips and stories about buying homes in Italy and restoring them.

After many lovely Italian holidays and the kindness shown to their children by the Italians, Ian and Lucy Allan, from Kent, came to the conclusion that Italy was a wonderful place to raise a family.

Masseria Giulio – An Italian Escape

After many lovely Italian holidays and the kindness shown to their children by the Italians, Ian and Lucy Allan, from Kent, came to the conclusion that Italy was a wonderful place to raise a family. So, they decided to escape their hectic, corporate lives and Ian’s commute into London. Instead, they moved to Apulia with their two daughters. On their Masseria Giulio – An Italian Escape blog you can look through an archive of entries. They take us from the viewing trip, right through the buying process and renovation work on their huge farmhouse. There are plenty of photos to show how it all came together, becoming not only a family home, but also a beautiful place to welcome holiday guests.

When you move to Italy you will hear some expats complaining. They’ll complain that the Post Office has run out of stamps. About the time it takes to get paperwork done. Tradespeople not turning up on time, and then overcharging. And of course, they’ll complain about how Italians drive. Yet they do all this while sitting on their sun terrace and admiring the view. They’ll feel proud of their little piece of Italy and staunchly defend Italy to anyone from outside who criticises it!

Few of us can imagine a better place anywhere in the world. I will leave the final words to Ian Allan “Italy is everything that the tourist brochures and magazines claim it is – great beaches, fabulous architecture, amazing history, beautiful climate, mouth-watering food and drink… But it is the people that really sets the place apart”.

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