Your interactive family guide to Italy as recommended by local mums | Last updated 9 months ago

Schools

  • Online Shopping & Services

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    It has never been easier to shop from the comfort of your own home so whether it is a winter coat for the kids or a designer outfit for Mum, we have listed your favourite recommendations for online deliveries to Italy at the click of a mouse!
    Please help us continue to grow this popular section by sending us your suggestions

    *Online Shopping for Children*
    Online shops selling clothes, shoes & accessories for children
    Fun stuff & useful stuff for kids

    *Online Shopping for Mum*
    Online grocery stores; online book stores; ladies fashion online; online health food stores; online shoe shops

    *Online Services*
    Online services including educational services, therapists and delivery services

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  • Interviews with Mums

    If you are thinking of relocating to Italy or are interested in family life in another region then look no further than this interview section where we will be speaking to numerous mums across Italy to share with us relocation & birth stories, schooling and the general ups & downs of life with kids in their region. Please use the menu on the left hand side to choose a story

    If you are a Mum in Italy, we would love to interview you, so please do not hesitate to contact us

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  • Healthcare in Italy

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    Healthcare is a key concern for any parent when living or moving abroad and getting to grips with a new system can sometimes be confusing however well you speak a language. MumAbroad has devised a healthcare section which aims to help Mums & Dads familiarize themselves with the system from the way it is structured to interviews with Healthcare Professionals.

    The good news for those who have relocated to Italy is that in the WHOs last health care ranking in 2000, Italys healthcare system was ranked as the 2nd best in the world after France.

    All citizens are entitled to healthcare via the National Health Service “Servizio Sanitario Nazionale” and will be assigned a GP according to where they live. If you are employed in Italy your company is responsible for paying your health insurance/NI contributions. You just need to go to your local health authority “Azienda SanitELocale” to register with a doctor. You will be sent a health card and unique health number by post. The SSN is responsible for providing medical tests, medication, surgery and specialized medicine as well as the administration of medical drugs.

    In order to avoid any lengthy wait or if you want to choose a private hospital (of which there are several English/International hospitals in Italy) many Expats choose to pay for private healthcare in addition to the SSN. Most of the major international healthcare providers operate in Italy.
     

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  • Schools

    One of the most problematic issues facing international families when relocating to Italy is where to educate our children. Whether to follow the Italian system or whether to opt for one of the numerous international schools is hotly debated amongst Expats. Whatever your choice, the following sections aim to give an insight into the options available to parents here in Italy. We also offer you in an insight into homeschooling. an increasingly popular choice among expat families, as well as some options for children with special needs developmental issues.

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  • Holidays

    Recommended by Anton Morrison

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    We are currently developing this section. We would love to hear from you if you would like to recommend a family holiday in Italy

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  • Women in Business

    Many mums choose to work part-time after having children but anything but full-time employment is difficult to come by in Italy. Many women then opt to start their own businesses, so they can not only be in control of their hours but hopefully also their destiny! We are currently developing this section but if you are mum in Italy who is running their own business we would love to hear your story

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  • Turin

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    Turin, an important business and cultural centre in northern Italy, is the capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River, in front of Susa Valley and surrounded by the western Alpine arch. It is Italys fourth largest city and has an illustrious past resulting in elegant squares, world-class museums and historic cafes, flanked by 18km of colonaded walkways. Here we have listed everything we think you should know about Turin for kids, as recommended by our members, from where to shop & eat to play-groups & activities. We are constantly adding to all our sections and would love to hear your recommendations and comments.

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  • Sicily

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    Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea; along with surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Siciliana (Sicilian Region).
    Sicily is located in the central Mediterranean. It extends from the tip of the Apennine peninsula from which it is separated only by the narrow Strait of Messina, towards the North African coast. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, which is at 3,320 m, the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. The island has a typical Mediterranean climate.
    Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature, cuisine, architecture and language. Sicily also holds importance for archeological and ancient sites such as the Necropolis of Pantalica, the Valley of the Temples and Selinunte.
    Sicily and its small surrounding islands have some highly active volcanoes. Mount Etna, located in the east of mainland Sicily with a height of 3,320 m  is the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world.
    Sicily has long been noted for its fertile soil due to the volcanic eruptions in the past and present. The local agriculture is also helped by the pleasant climate of the island. The main agricultural products are wheat, citrons, oranges lemons, tomatoes (Pomodoro di Pachino IGP), olives, olive oil, artichokes,  almonds, grapes, pistachios  and wine. Cattle and sheep are raised. The cheese productions are particulary important thanks to the Ragusano DOP and the Pecorino Siciliano DOP. Ragusa is noted for its honey and chocolate  productions.

    Wikipedia 2013
     

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  • Perugia & Umbria

    Recommended by Anton Morrison

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    Umbria is a region of modern central Italy. It is one of the smallest Italian regions and the only peninsular region that is landlocked. Assisi and Norcia are historical towns associated with St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Benedict. Umbria is bordered by Tuscany to the west, Marche to the east and Lazio to the south. Mostly hilly or mountainous, its topography is dominated by the Apennines, with the highest point in the region at Monte Vettore on the border of the Marche, at 2,476 m (8,123 ft), and the Tiber valley basin, with the lowest point at Attigliano, 96 m (315 ft).

    Umbrian agriculture is noted for its tobacco, its olive oil and its vineyards, which produce excellent wines. Regional varietals include the white Orvieto, which draws agri-tourists to the vineyards in the area surrounding the medieval town of the same name. Other noted wines produced in Umbria are Torgiano and Rosso di Montefalco. Another typical Umbrian product is the black truffle found in Valnerina, an area that produces 45% of this product in Italy. As of 2008, the Italian national institute of statistics ISTAT estimated that 75,631 foreign-born immigrants live in Umbria, equal to 8.5% of the total population of the region. The food industry in Umbria produces processed pork-meats, confectionery, pasta and the traditional products of Valnerina in preserved form (truffles, lentils, cheese). The other main industries are textiles, clothing, sportswear, iron and steel, chemicals and ornamental ceramics

    Perugia  is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about 164 kilometres north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area. The city is also known as a university town, with the University of Perugia (about 34,000 students), the University for Foreigners (5,000 students), and some smaller colleges, also. There are annual festivals and events: the Eurochocolate Festival (October), the Umbria Jazz Festival, and the International Journalism Festival (in April).

    Perugia is a well-known artistic centre of Italy. The famous painter Pietro Vannucci, nicknamed Perugino, was a native of Città della Pieve near Perugia. He decorated the local Sala del Cambio with a beautiful series of frescoes; eight of his pictures can also be admired in the National Gallery of Umbria.  Perugino was the teacher of Raphael,  the great Renaissance artist who produced five paintings in Perugia (today no longer in the city) and one fresco. Another famous painter, Pinturicchio, lived in Perugia. Galeazzo Alessi is the most famous architect from Perugia. The city symbol is the griffin, which can be seen in the form of plaques and statues on buildings around the city.

    (Wikipedia 2013)

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  • Florence & Tuscany

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    Tuscany has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.8 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence. Tuscany is known for its landscapes, traditions, history, artistic legacy and its permanent influence on high culture. It is regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and has been home to many figures influential in the history of art and science. As a result, the region boasts museums (such as the Uffizi, the Pitti Palace and the Chianciano Museum of Art). Tuscany is famous for its wines, including the well-known Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino di Scansano and Brunello di Montalcino.
    Six Tuscan localities have been designated World Heritage Sites: the historic centre of Florence (1982); the historical centre of Siena (1995); the square of the Cathedral of Pisa (1987); the historical centre of San Gimignano (1990); the historical centre of Pienza (1996); and the Val dOrcia (2004). Tuscany has over 120 protected nature reserves, making Tuscany and its capital Florence popular tourist destinations that attract millions of tourists every year. Florence receives an average of 10 million tourists a year, making the city one of the most visited in the world. (In 2007, the city became the worlds 46th most visited city, with over 1.715 million arrivals).
    Roughly triangular in shape, Tuscany borders the regions of Liguria to the northwest, Emilia-Romagna to the north and east, Umbria to the east and Lazio to the southeast. The commune of Badia Tedalda, in the Tuscan Province of Arezzo, forms an enclave and exclave within Emilia-Romagna.

    Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants. Florence is most well known for its history. A centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time, Florence is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called the Athens of the Middle Ages. From 1865 to 1870 the city was also the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy.
    The historic centre of Florence attracts millions of tourists each year, and Euromonitor International ranked the city as the worlds 72nd most visited in 2009, with 1,685,000 visitors. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982. Due to Florences artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the city is noted for its history, culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace, amongst others, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics.

    Florence is also an important city in Italian fashion,  being ranked within the top fifty fashion capitals of the world. Furthermore, it is also a major national economic centre, being a tourist and industrial hub. In 2008, the city had the 17th highest average income in Italy.

    Florence is a great city for kids in general, there is so much for them to do and learn being full of interesting things to stimulate young minds.

    Wikipedia 2013

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  • Milan

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    As the second largest city in Italy and the world capital of fashion, Milan is a very popular place for Expats (an estimated 15.2% of Milans population is foreign born).The city is home to 1.3 million inhabitants and houses the Italian national treasures Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, Duomo di Milano, La Scala opera house and Castello Sforzesco as well as the Italian designers Armani, Versace, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Pucci and Gucci. Here we have listed everything we think you should know about Milan for kids, as recommended by our members, from where to shop & eat to play-groups & day-trips. We are constantly adding to all our sections and would love to hear your recommendations and comments.

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  • Rome

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    Rome is a great place for having kids. In the first place, Romans love them, which means you can take them pretty much anywhere and do almost anything as a family without receiving the disapproving looks so common, say, in the UK. Second, as one of Europes greenest cities it has a wealth of parks and gardens for children to play in. Third, as the capital of the ancient Roman empire and seat of the Roman Catholic Church it is steeped in history – much of which is visible in its museums, monuments and archaeological sites – that provides constant stimulation to curious young minds.

    It is not all a bed of roses, however. With a population of nearly 2.8 million and a surface area that puts it among the biggest cities in Europe, the Italian capital can be noisy, chaotic and frustrating. Romans may be child-friendly but the city infrastructure is not, and navigating public transport with a pram or a pushchair is a trial. So is accessing public services, including health services during pregnancy, which in Italy is highly medicalised.

    But Rome has a large expat community with various support networks centred on its many English-language churches and international schools. And its strategic position at the centre of Italy and in close proximity to the Tyrrhenian coast and Apennine mountains make it easy to get away.

    In this section is listed everything we think you should know about Rome for kids, as recommended by our members, from where to shop & eat to play-groups & day-trips.

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  • Interviews with Experts

    In this section we will interview numerous experts in Italy on topics such as reflexology, hypnotherapy, natural birth, IVF, general pediatrics as well as speech & occupational therapy, relocating to Italy, setting up a business amongst other topics. If you are an "Expert" working in Italy we would love to interview you, so please do not hesitate to contact us

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  • Moving to Italy

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    Italy’s appeal for expats is not at all hard to fathom. Rich in history and boasting picturesque cities, stunning rural scenery, fine wines, great cuisine, a decent climate and a much lauded laid-back way of life, there is little doubt that those who move to Italy can expect to experience a high standard of living.

    However, in spite of all the country has going for it, wide scale immigration to Italy is actually a relatively new phenomenon. It was only with the expansion of the EU, alongside a desperate need for cheap migrant workers in the early noughties, that Italy really opened its doors to mass immigration. By the end of 2011 there were estimated to be 4,570,317 foreign-born legal permanent residents living in the country – almost 3 million more than just eight years previously. Prior to this, Italy had mainly been popular among fairly well heeled expats, particularly those from the UK and the US who were keen to take advantage of the country’s many cultural riches.

    Given the poor state of Italy’s current economic climate, it is strange to think that less than ten years ago the Italian government was desperately trying to bring in migrants to help fill severe job shortages in the country – the result of an ageing population combined with an extremely low birth rate. Today, Italy’s economy is in the doldrums. As of August 2012 the country’s unemployment rate was 10.7 per cent, while unemployment among those aged between 15 and 24 was a staggering 35.3 per cent!

    Employment in Italy, therefore, is hard to come by and this could cause problems for non-EU residents hoping to one day make the country their home. Immigration to Italy, at least for those who live outside of the EU, is largely tied to being in possession of a work permit which in itself requires you to have a job. While EU residents do have the right to settle in Italy without having to work, providing they can prove they have the income to support themselves, a job would no doubt make the settlement process easier, especially given that the cost of living in Italy (especially in the major cities) tends to be more expensive than the EU average. For example, the country’s two largest cities, Milan and capital city Rome, were both ranked in the top 50 of Mercer’s 2012 Expat Cost of Living survey.

    It is largely for reasons of employment that most of Italy’s immigrant population, at least for those who are in need of work, tends to settle in the far more prosperous northern reaches of the country; particularly its financial hub, Milan. When it comes to money and living standards, Italy has an obvious north-south divide, with southern areas generally much poorer and less developed than the northern provinces – the major exception being the centrally located Rome.

    Fashionable Milan is comfortably Italy’s most populous and richest city; no great surprise then that it is home to far more foreign-born residents than any other town or city in the country. In addition to being one of the world’s leading financial centres, it is also a cultural hub and an extremely attractive city, boasting some of the country’s finest architecture to be found outside of Rome (and it’s up against some seriously strong competition) as well as a plethora of picturesque parks and gardens. Rome is Italy’s other main financial centre and, as a result, is also home to a fairly large expat population.

    Of course, no matter where you plan to settle, if you are going to be looking for employment – in fact, even you’re not – the whole experience of moving to Italy will be made a great deal easier if you have a decent grasp of the Italian language first. You should also be aware that in some smaller Italian towns there will be a reluctance to hire ‘outsiders’, so if you do plan to settle away from a main urban centre, you may need to do some networking and get your face known around town before applying for jobs.

    However, as alluded to in the opening paragraph, most people who choose to emigrate to Italy will be doing so more for lifestyle reasons than financial security. Italy’s ongoing economic problems do not make the country any less beautiful, the food taste worse or the weather any colder – although it should be noted that winters in some parts of northern and central Italy do get rather chilly and even experience some snowfall. What’s more, according to the World Health Organisation, Italy boasts one of the most developed and best performing healthcare systems in the world while the average life expectancy of its residents is in excess of the EU average.   

    It should come as little surprise, then, to learn that Italy is one of the world’s most popular retirement locations for expats – even non-EU citizens can retire to the country without the need of a job, so long as they can provide evidence that they can support themselves financially. Tuscany, famous for its glorious landscapes, cultural and artistic heritage and its culinary traditions, is a particular favourite among retirees, especially the region’s capital Florence which is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and was the birthplace of the Renaissance. The fact that the weather in Tuscany tends to be fairly mild throughout the year – freezing temperatures are almost unheard of and temperatures of around 10oC are not unusual even in the winter – is another factor that appeals to the elderly.

    Families who are looking to emigrate to Italy will need to consider the needs of their children when deciding on a town or city in which to settle. Although education is free for children of foreign nationals throughout the country, lessons will of course be conducted in Italian, which could cause major problems. Until your child becomes more proficient in Italian, it could be worth looking into international schools, some of which offer bilingual options where kids can eventually sit for Italian state exams as well as English and English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exams. International schools can be found in most major urban centres throughout Italy. Overall, Italy’s education system is well developed and on a par with others in the EU.

    The fact is there are many well-known destinations that expats choose when moving to Italy, such as Genoa, Naples and Turin to name only a few. Ultimately, the area in which you choose to settle will rest on a number of factors, including where you can find work (if you need to), whether you’re looking for the cultural buzz of a city or the ambience of rural village and where you can afford to live. However, with the right research and preparation you can be fairly confident that your decision to say arrivederci to your old life will be the right one.

    This article first appeared in Emigrate 2 Europe. Click here to see the original article.

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