The land of overflowing wine, heaps of pasta and stacks of pizza. This is probably what endears Italy to most individuals but there is much more to the place than just food. The country has a rich culture, beautiful cities, wonderful history, friendly folks, awe inspiring art and breathtaking architecture. What used to be the center of a great empire, Italy stands as a testament to the shaping of our modern world today.
About the Italian Peninsula
Italy is a peninsula that is located on the Southern part of Europe. Apart from the peninsula, there are also islands within its territory. Two of the largest are Sardinia and Sicily.
The territory of this country is 301,230 square kilometer – 2.3% of which is water. Apart from the 7,600km of coastline along the Adriatic, Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas, there are rivers and channels weaving itself within major cities like Venice. There is also a part of Italy that is mountainous. The Alps can be found along the northern boundary and the Apennine Mountains that stretch along the center of the peninsula.
The country has a lot of volcanoes, 4 of which are active, and there is a considerable amount of activity – both volcanic and seismic. In fact, some of the islands surrounding the peninsula is known to have emerged after volcanic activities.
Because of the quick industrial growth that the country went through, several environmental problems emerged. There have been several improvement already and they include parks and the production of renewable energy – specifically solar and wind generated energy. While all of these efforts had been made, air pollution is still a problem up in the northern area. The traffic and congestion in the metros contributed to this. With more than 60M residents and the 43M tourists that come every year, Italy remains to be one of the highest in terms of population density.
The weather in Italy is quite diverse – thanks to the position of its peninsula. The northern and central areas, the climate is a mixture of oceanic, humid subtropical and humid continental. That means they have extreme weather conditions during the winter and summer seasons. The coastal areas are commonly Mediterranean, with mild winters and dry summers.
The Italian Way of Life
There is much to be said about the way of living in Italy. The country is poses as an important center for a lot of art forms. Milan is known for being the fashion capital, jewelry is prominent in Valenza and Vicenza, glassware can be found in Venice, Florence is visited for its art and Rome is sought after for loads of books. The presence of the Vatican makes it a very important religious center compared to the other countries in Europe.
They have diverse ethnic cultures that can be traced to the specific region where it originated. Being in the center of the Roman empire, people from all over the world are fascinated by the history and culture that is represented in its very walls. One thing’s for certain, any of the cities (great and small) have something that will attract tourism to it. They have over 100,000 historical monuments that are worth visiting so retiring here will provide anyone with a lot of things to do. Museums, ruins, islands and practically every area in the country will provide you with fascinating discoveries about the past. You will also like the vineyards, natural tours and beaches in this place.
The language is mainly Italian but you will find locals speaking the English language. Of course, they are concentrated in areas where tourism is at its strongest. The more rural areas may be more difficult for non-Italian speaking folks.
The food in Italy is somewhat different from what is known in America. Apart from the pasta and pizza, roast meat is preferred in Central Italy and the Southern portions have a lot of vegetables and seafood. They have a variety of bread in their meal and wine is a staple drink.
Cost of Living
Italy is one of the European countries that has a high cost of living. You may find that it can be more expensive than most tourist destinations in Europe. However, there are parts that are more affordable than others.
The Numbeo website holds the basic information about the various expenses in Italy. It should give you an idea as to how much is needed to live in retirement in this place.
Food: Inexpensive restaurant (€15/meal), Fastfood (€7/meal), Beer (€4/0.5 liter), Soda (€2/0.33 liter), Water (€1/0.33 liter), Milk (€1.3/liter), Rice (€2/kg), Bread (€1.5/loaf), Chicken (€8/kg), Fruits (ave €1.85/kg), Egg (€2.28/dozen), Vegetables (ave €1/kg), Wine (€5/mid range)
Transportation: Local transport (€1.5/one-way, €35/monthly pass), Taxi (€5/start, €1.2/km), Gasoline (€1.8/liter)
Home: Utilities (€150), Internet (€25/Unlimited Data, 6Mbps), Rent City Centre (€600/mo/1bd, €1,200/mo/3bd), Rent Outside of Centre (€500/mo/1bd, €800/mo/3bd)
Sports and Leisure: Fitness Club (€55/month), Cinema (€8/seat)
Clothing: Jeans (ave €90/pair), Dress (ave €40/pc), Shoes (ave €110/leather, €90/rubber shoes)
These prices will vary depending on the location where you will choose to retire. All in all, the high costs can dig in deep into your pocket. But a modest way of life along the countryside should allow pensioners to afford living in Italy.