When the beauty of the island charmed you, and suddenly, you think of moving to Sicily? Trust your gut, and do a lot of research! There are a bunch of reasons, people look to live on the island. Some for family reasons such as reuniting or a partner got a job here. Maybe another wants to discover her roots, or they hear it is a sweet escape. Something like ‘A dolce vita!’.
Setting into another place or further, a new country is a big decision. It is exciting and unfolds glorious ideas. However, it does require a lot of planning and considerations. We are discussing a guide to make the process as smooth as possible for you. You may also download the PDF copy of this checklist below.
Moving to Sicily and Getting started
Ready for the big step? A new life with endless blue sea, narrow streets, and stunning sceneries. Here are our 12 Things to Remember when getting started in Moving to Sicily.
1. Stay in Sicily for a couple of months or more
We assume you already visited Sicily and its charm amazed you. There is so much to take in on this spectacular island.
Whether you travel by car or public transport, there are so many attractions to see and experience. One day, you’ll pass by the ancient Greek temples of Agrigento, and in just one ride, you can be sitting in one corner admiring the splendid hilltop towns of Erice and Taormina. If you are into cultural trips, walking the historic centers of Palermo as well as Catania is the best. The city Cathedral, the small churches, and Sicilian Baroque buildings nearby boast a few of Sicily’s most notable architectures. In Catania, the Sant Agata Cathedral, the University square, and the landscape of Mount Etna will welcome you. Sicily is also rich in natural resources such as its beautiful beaches, lakes, hills, and volcanoes. Food adventures in this region are also not to miss. Sicilian cuisines are one of the most celebrated foods in Italy.
Visiting Sicily is different from actually moving in and living the Sicilian life. It is not always a dolce vita but experiencing the glory and hardship that comes with it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime journey.
2. Make an effort to learn the Italian language
Rosetta Stone, Youtube videos, Duolingo, one-on-one tutorials, and language schools are just some of the ways you can learn Italian before or during your visits here. Get familiar with words and forming simple sentences. Learn as you live here, listen to locals, and do not be shy to ask questions. You might find yourself picking up Sicilian dialect phrases too!
We advise making an effort to be fully immersed. Everything will be much easier for you, from studying the country, arranging your papers, talking to mostly non-English speakers to finding a job if you need one. We hope you can adjust well to a new and happier life.
3. Evaluate your finances. Will you rent or own?
We are not going to tell you to find a good realtor yet, although we can recommend a few. Moving to Sicily means you already decided to stay here long-term. The questions are for how long and what do you really plan to do here. Sicily is a great place to retire and also spend your younger years exploring the Mediterranean. Whatever your reason is for staying, you need to evaluate your finances and priorities.
If you love adventures, renting is ideal, so you cannot limit yourself to one place and keep the fun of learning new things about the island. As in any other country, city rentals are more expensive than the suburbs. However, apartment rentals in Sicily are some of the cheapest in Europe. You can get a nice two-bedroom flat in city centers for around 600 to 800 euros. Outside of the city, villas with impressive views, maybe with large fruit gardens, or near the beach are about the same or even lower.
Cheap houses in Sicily
There are a plethora of cheap houses in Sicily if you are looking to own one. Make sure to find the right person/agent to negotiate them for you. This is why we advise renting first. Then, perhaps decide to buy later when you are already familiar with the culture and really love the location. The friends you meet along the way, whether locals or foreigners, who stayed here longer can also share their valuable experiences. Find a home that will fit your needs, budget, and lifestyle.
4. Prepare your papers
To move to Sicily, basically, you should have the legal papers to live in Italy. Prepare your passport, translated and authenticated documents, and an entry visa (for work, for study and/or research, for family, etc.). You may check on your home country’s Italian Embassy or consulates the required documents to arrange your residence or work permit to live in Italy.
If one of your parents or ancestors is Italian, you may also qualify to acquire Italian citizenship. Please review the Italian nationality law for more information about jus sanguinis and other possibilities.
5. Choose your city according to your desired lifestyle
The first thing is to explore your options. Do your homework and assess your budget, so you can choose the perfect location to live for you. Everyone has a preference, needs, and dreams, the things you can’t live without. What do you need to consider? What makes you happy and alive? Once you choose the city or the village, deciding which neighborhood is also necessary.
A family with small children, perhaps, prefers somewhere near the school or a comfortable place to raise their kids. Others might choose the bustling city life with reliable public transports. You might want to live in the mountains, or with sea views and near the beach. Research, as well as personal experience, are both very important. They narrow down the best places to live in Sicily that will suit your ideal lifestyle.
6. Hire a reliable moving/removals company
Hiring a reputable moving company to Sicily is a must. Ask around what people you know already used. Getting recommendations from family and friends is always better. But, if there’s none, do a thorough search online with loads of reviews. Make sure the company is properly insured to protect your things.
The real question is, what do you like to bring over? It’s a matter of choice as well as practicality. Weigh up the cost of moving and taxes against the cost of buying them when you get to Sicily. Maybe, you can sell or donate some. But do not sacrifice the sentimental value of your belongings. Bring as much as you can, from your favorite antique furniture to your most comfortable beddings and collections. Your things, your rules!
7. Register with the local municipality
8. Get familiar with the HealthCare System in Italy
If you are coming abroad, you might find that Italian Healthcare might be a bit similar or may be different to your home country. Nevertheless, Italy offers one of the best healthcare services in the world. SSN or Servizio Sanitario Nazionale is a public system, which guarantees health care to all citizens. It works in a ticket system wherein the costs (fairly low) depends on your income, age, disability, or pathologies. From simple tests to more extensive analyses and seeing specialists, you are required to have a ticket issued by your doctor and the procedure is defined by the Region you are in. In this case, welcome to Sicily!
After you’ve registered your residency, and applied for a Codice Fiscale, you can apply for the “tessera sanitaria” health card. Choose a family doctor for yourself and in case you have children, a pediatrician for them. Consultations to both practitioners are completely free. Otherwise, foreigners legally residing in Italy, for a period exceeding three months, who are not entitled to compulsory registration, are required to insure themselves against the risk of illness, accident, and maternity, by taking out a private insurance policy.