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Italy

Italian Area Guide

Italians are very good at getting the work/life balance right. They value and enjoy the good things of life: both the simple – family, community, food and wine – and the sophisticated – music, art and opera.

This is a country of great style, good humour and many distinct cultural identities, which are a source of particular pride to all Italians. They also provide an endless source of discovery for newcomers to Italian society.

Since the 1950’s Italy has emerged as one of the top ten world economies, while at the same time, retaining many of the customs, traditions and regional allegiances of its historic and agricultural heritage. Meaning that it has mastered the art of being a forward thinking, modern nation at the same time as protecting its culture and heart.

Living in Italy

Landscape

Italy can confidently claim some of the most diverse and beautiful scenery in Europe - from snowcapped mountains, to rolling rural countryside all edged with breathtaking coastlines and azure seas.

Education

Italy is a great place to take the family for a sabbatical or longer. While your children are benefiting from a superior education and widening their horizons generally, you can enrich your own cultural life and even learn a new language. The international school system has a superb reputation worldwide among the top universities and Italy has a long and well-respected tradition of international education. One of the oldest international schools in Europe (founded in 1952) is based in Florence - The Florence ISF. In Italy, there is a varied choice of well-established educational institutions and they are to be found in all of its major cities. These include Bologna, Como, Genoa, Milan, Rome, Monza, Moderna, Naples, Trieste and Verona.

Healthcare

As a general rule the Italian healthcare system is very good with areas of specialism all over the country.

Activities/Entertainment

Mountains run the length of the country, from the Alps and Dolomites in the north, providing excellent skiing opportunities and continue along the spine of the peninsula to the Apennines. Sports are practiced avidly year-round and flora and fauna thrive in the country’s many national parks.

There are no shortages of temptation for shopping, from luxury goods to traditional local craftsmanship. Turin is known for its chocolate, Milan for famous designer clothes and furniture, Venice for glassware and lace, Florence for leather and Sicily and Perugia for ceramics.

Festivals

Hundreds of local festivals take place across the country throughout the year, celebrating anything and everything from local saints, the arts, politics, wine and horses to harvests - and taking the form of processions, pilgrimages or carnivals. Italy is also home to many large-scale international festivals such as the Venice Film Festival, the Umbria Jazz Festival, the Rossini Opera Festival and the Sagra del Vino (wine festival) in Rome.

Sport

Italy plays host to a range of national and international sporting events throughout the year. These include swimming, water polo, show jumping, rowing, cycling, marathons and tennis. Football is a national passion inspiring massive public interest. It also serves as a wonderful way to express regional loyalties.

Italy has some of the finest ski resorts in Europe, and in 2006 hosted the Winter Olympics in Turin.

The Italian Grand Prix, Italy’s round of international Formula One, is held annually at Monza. Rugby is increasingly popular – Italy takes part in the Six Nations Championship in February and March, along with England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France.

Art and Culture

The arts and high culture in Italy have a long and glorious history. In fact, Italy has the greatest concentration of art treasures in the world – many of which are displayed in fittingly spectacular cities and buildings. Every region celebrates its own rich cultural legacy and retains relics of its own artistic traditions. Tuscany alone has more classified historical monuments than any country in the world!

Cinema flourishes as an art form in Italy and its famous directors receive critical acclaim around the world: Fellini, Pasolini, de Sica, Visconti and many others.

In Italy the arts belong to everyone and people of all backgrounds attend the opera, cinema and art galleries.

Music and Opera

Almost every town of any size has its own opera house – the most famous is the Teatro alla Scala (La Scala) in Milan.

Food

Food is one of the great constants of Italian daily life and much time is given to its preparation and enjoyment. The Italian diet, particularly in the south, is among the healthiest in the world. The food of Italy is distinctly regional, varied and its quality extremely high. As a result there is no one national dish of Italy but rather a delicious array of local specialties that together form one of the most cherished cuisines in the world.

Accessibility

Airline connections link all of Italy’s major cities - Milan, Turin, Bolonga, Pisa, Florence, Verona, Rome and Venice – with the rest of the world. The north also benefits from easy access to and from Nice International Airport.

Major roads and a comprehensive network of railways provide efficient links to the rest of Europe. Within Italy, excellent road and railway links along the length and breadth of the country mean that access to and from mountains (skiing), beach, city and countryside is straightforward.

Read more about property in Italy in our Italian View publication. .