How To Move To Italy: What You Need To Know To Live The Dream Life

Noto sunset view

Are you planning a move to Italy? Maybe you’ve been to Italy and are dying to live there, be it part time or full time. Or maybe you are dreaming of retiring to Italy? Perhaps you just got home from a trip to Italy and desperately want to infuse your home life with some Italian magic? Whatever it is you are looking for or hoping to do I have all the help you need!

Some European countries, such as Holland and Portugal make it super easy to obtain long term visas. Italy on the other hand, is a complicated country to move to. The visa process is not only complicated, it is also confusing. Italy doesn’t offer many visa options for long stays or to move there. If you’ve ever looked into the Italy visa process, you’ll know it is completely overwhelming. On top of that each consulate has different rules and requirements for your visa application. The New York consulate requires different things from the Miami consulate, which is different again from the San Francisco consulate – and on it goes.

How To Move To Italy

The amount of paperwork required is staggering too. This is not a complaint – it’s just the reality. If you want to move to this amazing country you need to amass an enormous amount of paperwork, and if you arrive to your meeting at the consulate missing even one piece, your visa will be automatically denied. Consequently most of us mere mortals need help navigating these potentially treacherous waters. I’ve been working with a company that does just that – helps people like you and me move step by step through the process.

Smart Move Italy is doing a FREE 3 day bootcamp on September 12th, 13th and 14th (details here) Each day has a one hour live class, which you can watch as a replay is you can’t do it live. Each day covers a different aspect of what you need to know to successfully move to Italy.

What You’ll Learn

Some of what is covered includes:
Cost of living: 
How you can afford the lifestyle in Italy. 

Timing is everything: Why now is a great time to move to Italy 

Tips to success: The #1 reason people struggle to make the move & how to avoid it 

Save money: How your residence location can save you thousands in taxes 

Preparing is key: Top things to prepare for when buying or renting property 

Benefits: How living in the EU can have huge benefits to your lifestyle 
Visa’s & more: 
What are the pathways to legally move to Italy 

Avoiding pitfalls: The top three problems most people face when preparing to move

Save time: How you can make the move and spend less time, money and live stress free 

Smart Move Italy only offers this free Italy Bootcamp once each year. So far more than 15,000 people have attended and been helped to make the move of a lifetime. They also have programs to help you with your visa application, they can help you secure accommodation, help you wade through the paperwork needed once you’ve moved to Italy, and even have expat groups for you to join. You are immediately included into groups of other folks just like you who are in various stages of the process.

Maybe you just want more information about maybe moving to Italy some day. Or maybe you want to find out about living between Italy and your home country. Perhaps you love Italy and just want to know how to spend more time there. If you love Italy this free bootcamp is for you! You can REGISTER HERE.

If you can’t make the live event you can still watch the replays, so long as you have registered.


Samantha Wilson, CEO of Smart Move Italy has kindly agreed to do a special live Q & A session for members of my newsletter and followers of my blog. On Saturday September 16th at 7pm Italy time/ 10am Pacific Standard Time/1pm Eastern Standard Time, Samantha and I will be doing a live Q & A from Italy. Samantha will be coming to you from Florence and I will be patching in from Rome. You can ask us questions about the Italian lifestyle, how to get a deeper travel experience in Italy, how to spend more time in Italy and how to move there. You can ask specific questions about visas, getting your Permesso di Soggiorno, anything about the moving process, whether it’s a full time move or a part time move.

Sign up for our free Q & A session here

You don’t have to have done the bootcamp to join the Q & A, but I definitely recommend signing up for both, as once you’ve been to the Q & A session you will definitely want to go back and watch the replays of the bootcamp classes!

Save Big on Travel Essentials: Amazon Prime Day Deals for Travelers

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

The Amazon Prime Day Sale for 2023 is on July 11th and 12th. If you’re not familiar with Amazon Prime Day sales this is a 2 day window when Amazon offers massive discounts on millions of products in every category you can think of. If you don’t belong to Amazon Prime you can get a free 30 day trial here.

It is a fantastic opportunity to stock up on items you already use and love, and to pick up some wishlist items at brilliant discounts. You can buy things out of season, such as clothing, rainy day gear, winter coats etc, as well as current season items. If you are a traveler, whether one with an upcoming trip in the next few months or one with plans for next year or beyond, this is a great time to purchase items for your travels. It’s also a good opportunity to pick up some Christmas shopping well ahead of time, at a great price!

If you belong to my newsletter you will recognize many of the following products as my favorite travel items that I talk about all the time. Others are new things currently waiting in my shopping cart for July 11th!

Gadgets and Devices

apple air tags

Absolute MVP for anyone who uses Apple devices! I swear by my Apple AirTags. They have brought me so much peace of mind on international flights, from being able to see my suitcase made it onto the flight to being able to find it once we land. On my most recent flight my suitcase was put on the wrong luggage carousel, but thanks to the AirTag I found it within a couple of minutes. Buy a 4-pack or buy individually. See prices here.

portable travel fan

Travel device MVP #2. This small, portable hand-held fan is the top of every traveler’s most valued player list and was a lifesaver this summer in Italy on boiling hot days. With its USB charging port there are no batteries needed, and the charge lasts a surprisingly long time. See Prime day pricing here.

best travel steamer for international travel

MVP travel device #3. If you belong to my newsletter you’ll already know I bought this Conair Travel Steamer before heading to Italy in February. It is easily one of my best travel buys ever. During my May and June Glam Italia Tours I used it most days and it was a game changer! Several of my tour travelers had purchased it too and loved theirs as well. This steamer is small enough and lightweight enough to pack easily, but powerful enough to steam multiple clothing items per water change. I won’t travel without it! See Prime Day pricing here.

kindle paperwhite

For avid readers (like me) Kindles make fantastic travel companions! You can store more than 5000 books on a Kindle, so you always have endless books to read, without the bulk and weight filling up your suitcase. I do all my reading on my Kindle and would be lost without it. Buying books on a Kindle is very inexpensive – anywhere from 99cents to $9.99. You can also subscribe to Kindle Unlimited and get as many books as you want for free with your monthly subscription.

If you prefer to consume audio books, you can check out Audible pricing and a free 30 day Audible trial here.

I’ve had my Kindle Paperwhite for a few years now and swear by it. I bought it during a Prime Day sale, so got great pricing. See this year’s Prime day pricing here.

Multiple generations of Apple AirPods are expected to be available in the Prime day sale. See pricing here.

Even though I have all Apple products I wound up buying Beats Studio Buds on a previous Prime day sale. I wasn’t sure I’d like wireless headphones and was worried I would lose them. The Beats Studio Buds have been great and of course, cost much less than the Apple ones.

I’ve been using a hairdryer brush similar to this one (but in full size) for a couple of years now and always wish I had it with me when I travel. I just discovered this travel sized Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium version and have it in my cart ready for Prime Day. The Nano Titanium technology gives you a smooth blowout instead of the frizzy mess many travel dryers leave you with. I’m excited to try it! See Prime day Pricing here. My regular travel hairdryer is by the same company and is fantastic. You can see it here. I’ve been using it for years and it’s still going strong. It may be tiny but it is professional strength and dries my masses of hair quickly and smoothly.

I also have this travel sized flat iron in my Amazon cart. I bring a regular size curling iron when I travel but don’t want to take up the space or weight of a second full sized hair tool. I will be using this travel sized flat iron to tame smaller sections (like under my pony tail) that a curling iron is too big for. Check Prime Day pricing here.

iPad Amazon Prime Day deals

iPads are handy to have when traveling. Check the Apple iPad 9th Generation with bionic chip for Prime Day sales discounts. See price here.

See more travel essential gadgets on my Amazon shop page here.


I have multiple MVP travel clothing items on my Amazon page ( Check out my travel clothing page here.

The best selling anti-theft crossbody travel handbag is on sale at 41% off! Now is the time to grab the Travelon AntiTheft Crossbody bag. The body of the bag is slash proof, the shoulder strap has a cable running through it making it also slash proof, there are clips to stop the zippers being secretly opened, it has RFID blockers and several other safety functions, as well as a water bottle holder on the side. Check it out here.

The big one I’m looking for discounts on is Merino items by Icebreaker. I always check on Amazon sales days to see what prices they have on base layers and merino camis. Already on sale on Amazon are the Icebreaker Merino Crush pants, which are joggers made from merino. You can wear these in below freezing temps all the way to 75 degrees, and they are super comfy as well as holding their shape really well, so they are great to wear on long haul flights, or to take on any winter trips.

Merino is fantastic for travel. It is super thin and fine but keeps you incredibly warm. It also wicks away moisture and is smell resistant, as well as being temperature regulating. Also, merino packs down really small, making it the ideal fabric to travel with.

This May was the wettest May in Italy in 70 years. My travel umbrella saved me. This year I traveled with the Repel Umbrella in black. If you are going to be stuck with wind and rain while traveling you definitely want a sturdy umbrella that can take a beating in rotten weather and still hold up well. The Repel Travel Umbrella sells around 7000 units per month and has more than 30,000 5-star reviews. It’s well worth it. Check Prime Day pricing here.


The Perricone No Makeup Bronzer is my all time favorite bronzer. It comes in a sheer liquid that can be applied with your fingers or a synthetic brush to the areas you want to look a little tanned, such as cheekbones, nose, chin, forehead – the areas the sun would naturally hit.

You can wear it alone or under foundation/BB cream. It looks really natural and blends into the skin, unlike most powdered bronzers or cream bronzers. You can also mix it into your foundation if needed.

It is a fantastic travel product, lasts all day and doesn’t get gooey in humidity. I consider it an MVP makeup product for travel, or for any time you want to wear bronzer. Check out Prime Day sale pricing here.

The internet’s favorite hydrating serum, CosRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is one of the most effective serums in the world. (Amazon sells over 100,000 units of it per month.)

South Korea is the world leader in skin care research and development, and although this product has been around for a few years it is still one of the best hydrating serums on the market. Don’t be put off by snail mucin – it is one of the highest performing skin care ingredients in the world.

I go through about 3 bottles of this per year (it’s super concentrated), so have 3 in my Amazon cart right now. Check out the Prime Day pricing here. Fantastic for all skin types.

If travel wears your skin out (as it does mine) this TruSkin Vitamin C Serum is a great product to bring with you. Vitamin C is a daytime product, protecting your skin against environmental damage and pollutants. It absorbs into the skin beautifully, protects it and makes it look gorgeous. (You apply your daytime moisturizer and facial SPF overtop) This one has 140,000 ratings on Amazon and sells around 30,000 units per month, so clearly it’s not just me who loves it! Check out the Prime Day Pricing here.

I swear by Korean sheet masks and always travel with them. This one by CosRx is one of amazon’s biggest sellers and I love it, but I do buy others too depending on what I’m looking for. I normally want one with snail mucin for the supersonic hydration and revitalization it provides, but sometimes I’ll go for a collagen mask or a brightening mask. The key is after a long flight washing your face then kicking back for 20 minutes with one of these on. Your skin will plump up and look vibrant and healthy and you will feel like a million dollars! They also come in handy after a long day when your skin looks tired out, or after a day at the beach/ on the water / in the wind etc when your skin needs some extra nourishment and love. These individually packed masks are a travelers dream. See Prime Day Pricing here

Definitely not for travel but worth checking Prime Day pricing on, I am a huge fan of LED Masks for the face. There are tons of different ones around but in a nutshell you adjust the color for the skin concern you have. Most have a setting for curing acne, as well as settings (colors) for anti-aging, smoothing out the complexion, removing age spots and a variety of other skin concerns. I use the red setting which is all about building collagen and removing fine lines and wrinkles. Use it every night for a week (it takes 20-30 minutes) and you will see a huge difference in your skin. Check Prime Day Pricing here.

Other Items To Watch

I love my Nespresso machine and use it daily (just not for travel unless it’s a road trip). Right now Amazon has Prime Day Deals on Nespresso machines including this one which has 35% off the machine and milk brother bundle. See pricing here.

These best selling Bamboo Sheets are 39% off at the moment for a 6 piece set. With 186,546 4.5 and 5-star ratings these are one of Amazons most popular sheet sets. Silky soft, eco friendly, wrinkle free, and cooling in hot weather, it’s no wonder they are so crazy popular. Check Prime Day Pricing here.

I just ordered the new Amazon Firestick 4K on Prime Day Sale at got it for $22 instead of the normal $49.99. If you are a Firestick user this is a fantastic deal. Check Prime Day Pricing here.

How To Travel Italy On A Super Tight Budget

AZ Midday

I was just on NBC talking about travel in Italy. One of the points I mentioned but didn’t have time to get into depth on is how to travel Italy on a really tight budget.

I was a single mom and we never had money to spare, yet not only were we able able to go to Italy each year, we were able to have amazing vacations on a budget so tight it squeaked when we walked. (I also did trips on my own, kiddo free.) All it took was some planning and some strategy, both of which I am going to share with you.


1. Know When To Go

The first plan was not to travel during high season. My normal time frame to travel was late May/early June, when school had let out but the season wasn’t yet in full swing. Over the years I also traveled in December, February, March and October, depending on when I had time to go.

Mid June to mid September are high season and are a more expensive time to travel.

2. Plan Well Ahead

I always start planning my next trip to Italy on the way to the airport coming home! Long range plans give you something to look forward to but also give you more opportunity to be ready for killer deals on everything from flights to accommodation to train tickets.

Related Post: 7 Great Tips For Traveling On A Budget

3. Spend More Time In Fewer Places

Rather than planning a trip that takes you from one end of the country to the other, focus on spending more time in fewer places. Each time you move to another town or city you lose vacation time checking out, traveling and then checking in to your new accommodation. If you do vacation rentals (I do) you pay a cleaning fee each time you leave. If you think of this as €50 per move it can really add up quickly.

We would base in one place – for example San Gimignano, and spend a week or so driving all over Tuscany exploring new towns and villages. Then we would move to Rome for 4 days. One time we stayed in Sicily for 10 days and then Rome for 3. We always had an amazing time, got a feel for the town we were staying in, made friends there, and were able to explore at leisure.

Hanging out in Florence, 2021


When you apply a little strategy you can save enormous amounts of money and even travel for free.

1. Stay Outside The Hot Zones

The more touristed cities are obviously more expensive to stay in. The closer you are to the big tourist attractions, like the Colosseum, the more expensive everything is. Not only accommodation, but coffee, a glass of wine, lunch etc.

Go a neighborhood back from there and the prices go down significantly.

Piazza Grande in Arezzo

You can also save loads of money by staying in a town close by. You’ll never tear me away from Rome, but instead of staying in Florence you can cut the cost in half by staying in another Tuscan town a brief train ride away. My giant fresco apartment in Arezzo costs half the price of a shoebox in Florence. A Cappuccino and a croissant in Arezzo costs €3, which is around half the cost of central Florence. I adore Arezzo but can also whip into Florence on the train for about €5, and spend as much time as I want there strolling the museums and soaking up the magic.

Related Post: 21 Travel Books To Inspire Your Wanderlust

2. Play The Mileage Game

This is the most important trick of them all. It’s how I have gamed a free flight to Italy every year, and now it has become even easier to earn extra miles super quickly. There are two parts to the mileage game:

Part One: Earn Credit Card Miles

This is the fastest way to earn free flights and/or cancel out other travel expenses such as hotels/airbnbs, train tickets, rental car costs and much more.

The first thing to do is get a non-airline travel credit card. There are plenty out there but in the U.S the two best ones are the Chase Sapphire card and my favorite, the Capital One Venture card. Both these cards offer no international fees when you travel, and both let you earn 2 miles for every dollar spent.

The Chase points need to be used on Chase linked airlines but still is a great program.

The Capital One Venture card lets you use miles to buy flights on any airline, any flight you choose. For several years I used American Express miles to get free flights – they also have an excellent mileage program.

A regular airline credit card only lets you use miles on that airline, and has endless blackout dates. They also don’t let you use miles to buy your ideal flight plan, so you can find yourself stuck with awful flight plans and crazy layovers. When you use an airline credit card the airline has all the power in the relationship. When you build up miles on a non-airline travel credit card you choose the flights you want – you’re not sitting in the back row on some janky plane, instead you fly the airline of your choice (and build up more miles with them while you’re at it!)

Whichever travel credit card you get, you now want to run your entire life through that card. Other than mortgage/rent and car payments you can run almost all of your life expenses through your card. From groceries to gas in your car to insurance payments, paying utilities, cell phone bills – everything! Even buying a coffee or paying for parking. You’re not buying anything extra, just turning your cost of living into frequent flier miles. You will be amazed at how quickly the miles add up. You just need to be disciplined and pay the card each day/week so you don’t run up a balance.

When you purchase airline tickets or any travel related expenses your Capital One Venture card tracks them. When you want to pay the bill you hit Redeem Miles and all your travel expenses will populate, with the number of miles you need to use to cancel out each one. You can now zero out the cost of your flight, or maybe the cost of your airbnb, your train tickets – whichever travel expenses you want to cancel out. It’s brilliant! And even better, you didn’t spend extra money to get these miles, this is just rerouting your cost of living.

Related Post: How To Plan An Amazing Trip To Italy

Part Two: Get More Miles Using Shopping Portals

This is a newer way to add even more miles for doing what you were already doing anyway. The main U.S based airlines now have their own online shopping portals. (Capital One has their own portal too.)

I mostly fly with American Airlines, so use their portal the most. All you do is sign in and create an account using your airline frequent flier account number. Then every time you want to buy something online you go into the portal and type that business into the search bar. You can see the American Airlines portal here. It’s just one extra step to take you to where you were shopping anyway, but you get extra frequent flier miles in the process. It takes a while for these miles to add up, but it’s worth it when you get a free flight!

I talked about this on the Untold Italy podcast. I explained how I wanted to buy two J Crew white t-shirts. I went into the American Airlines shopping portal, typed in J Crew and it took me to the J Crew website. From there anything I bought earned me twice the dollar value in American Airlines miles. Often there are bonus days where you earn more than 2 miles per dollar. Recently I bought products from Sephora online and earned 5x miles per dollar spent. Again all you are doing is adding one more step to your online shopping process, but you are earning frequent flier miles in the process!

Double Dip For Miles

The last thing I want to tell you is to double dip for miles. In the last example where we talked about using airline shopping portals to earn airline frequent flier miles, we are now going to double our miles by using our non-airline travel credit card to make the purchase. When I bought those J Crew t-shirts I earned 2x miles with the American Airlines by using their portal, but I also earned another 2x miles with capital One by using my travel credit card. I do this for every online purchase. It doesn’t seem like much but the miles add up like crazy and before you know it you are taking yourself on free trips or trips that cost you next to nothing. You can hear more about it in the untold Italy podcast #116 (linked below). I go into depth with lots of examples and explain more about how to travel to Italy (or anywhere else you want to go) on a shoestring budget, and have an absolutely amazing trip!

Check out the Untold Italy Podcast episode where I explain more about traveling on a budget here

Want more Italy travel tips? Join the thousands of members of my monthly newsletter for updates and information on all things travel and Italy travel. Join here.

For more tips on how to plan a trip to Italy, plus information on everything from how to use the trains to which foods and wines to order where, check out my best selling book Glam Italia! How To Travel Italy: Secrets To Glamorous Travel (On A Not So Glamorous Budget). Available worldwide in paperback and eBook versions, on Amazon.

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