How to retire in Italy in 2022: Ultimate Expat Guide

Discover your best visa options for retiring in Italy in 2021 below…
Looking to retire in Italy in 2021 and beyond? La dolce vita awaits: discover your Italian retirement visa options below, along with the best places for retiring in Italy as an expat, or contact us now for more information.

Is there a Non Lucrative Visa For Italy?

Yes there is – the Italian Elective Residency Visa is comparable to the Spanish Non Lucrative Visa and the Portugal D7 Visa for financially self-sufficient non-EEA applicants. Find out more about this visa program here.

Minimum income requirements to retire in Italy

As of September 2020, the minimum income requirements for retiring in Italy varies based on which Italian retirement visa program you opt for, however in order to obtain the Elective Residency Visa, you’ll be expected to earn a minimum passive income of:

  • €31,160 per year (€2,5833 per month) as an individual applicant
  • €38,000 per year (€3,166 per month) as a married couple.

What does it cost to retire in Italy in 2021?

The cost of living in Italy tends to vary greatly, depending on which city you wish to retire in. As  a general guideline, however, the cost of living in the north of Italy, and in Milan and Lake Como, in particular, is significantly higher than many of the cities in the south of the country. offers detailed and up to date information on the cost of living in the various Italian cities, and can serve as a great resource if living costs are a key consideration for you in selecting the best city of town to retire in. You can get a general sense of the average living costs here.

How to retire to Italy from the USA in 2021

For US citizens, the above visa options can be used to obtain legal residency in Italy. To request a free consultation on the process, detailed requirements and cost of retiring in Italy, contact us below.

Italian Retirement Visa options 2022

Italy is internationally sought after as a retirement destination – and with good reason. Offering spectacular scenery, mouthwatering cuisine and exceptional living standards, an increasing number of wealthy retirees are opting to make Italy their primary or secondary home during their golden years.

Non-EEA nationals seeking retirement in Italy typically have two key options for obtaining Italian settlement rights and eventual permanent residency and citizenship:

  1. The Italian Golden Visa Program
  2. The Italian Elective Residence Visa Program.

We include the minimum income and key program eligibility criteria for 2021 below:

The Italian Golden Visa Program

Unlike as is the case with most of the other European Golden Visa Programs, the Italian program does not offer a real estate investment option. The investment requirements for the program were recently adjusted downwardly with a view to make the program for appealing.

As of September 2020, the following investment options are available:

  • €250,000 capital investment in an innovative, scalable start-up business
  • €1 million capital investment in an Italian LLC
  • €1 million investment in a philanthropic project or initiative
  • €2 million investment in Italian government bonds.

The Italian Elective Residence Visa Program

The Elective Residency Program offers affluent foreign retirees the ability to obtain Italian residency without the need to make a significant capital investment – but with relatively less flexibility pertaining to minimum in-country stays than more conventional Golden Visa Programs (in order to maintain the ability to renew the Elective Residency Visa, the visa holder cannot leave Italy for a period of more than 6 months).

The Elective Residence Visa is typically issued for an initial period of 12 months, after which it can become renewable at 2-year intervals, provided that the visa holder keeps on fulfilling the relevant criteria.

The program’s requirements and the mandatory process steps are notoriously badly communicated, making it very difficult to apply for this visa without professional assistance: over 96% of all independently lodged Elective Residency Visa applications ultimately fail, and once your application has once been rejected, the number of obstacles tend to mount even further.

In addition, there is a large amount of government discretion in terms of approving this particular type of visa, so working with a seasoned Italian Immigration law firm is highly advisable.

As of September 2020, the key eligibility criteria for the program include:

  1. PASSIVE INCOME: The program requires applicants to have a stable, passively generated income of no less than €31,160 for individuals and €38,000 for married couples per annum. For every dependent child under 18 added to the visa application, this requirement goes up by an additional 5%.
  2. PROOF OF ACCOMMODATION IN ITALY: Applicants have the choice of either buying a fit-for-purpose home (no minimum investment amount indicated), or renting a home, in which case a 12-month, pre-paid lease agreement can be submitted to meet this requirement.
  3. COMPREHENSIVE, EU-WIDE HEALTH INSURANCE: Each member of the family gaining Elective Residency is required to have comprehensive health insurance cover to the value of at least €30,000 per person. The cover has to be valid EU-wide, and it has to be pre-paid for a minimum period of 12 months. 

The Italia Tax-Free Pensioners Program

This program aims to incentivise both foreign and Italian pensioners to take up residency in the south of Italy, and in Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia, in particular, by offering them a 10-year tax holiday on their retirement income for spending a minimum of 6 months per year in their Italian home.

The new incentive policy is formally known as ZES-AAS (Zes-Aas (“Special Economic Zone – High Social Acceptance”), and is expected to attract around 600,000 new tax residents to the three regions, adding around 1% to Italy’s GDP and adding €17 million – €18 billion to the Italian economy.

Complete the below contact form to request more information about this program’s eligibility requirements and costs.

Contact us for more info.

Best places to retire in Italy 2022

As a retirement destination, Italy has a lot to offer. While your exact second home location will likely be influenced by personal taste, proximity to infrastructure or based on regional preference, the following 5 regions are well worth considering:

  1. Lazio: For retirees who value quality healthcare delivered in English, Lazio, and Rome, in particular, makes a lot of sense as a retirement destination. The city offers a wealth of arts, cultural, dining and leisure experiences, and the city’s healthcare infrastructure is considered some of the most sophisticated in the world.
  2. Lombardy: For retirees seeking luxury living, natural splendour and a sophisticated cultural scene, Lombardy is an excellent choice. Milan and Lake Como are both sought after as retirement destinations, however Lake Como tends to be more of a summer home destination. If you’re looking for a budget friendly region to retire in, however, you may wish to look at Sicily or more broadly at the south of Italy instead.
  3. Puglia: Internationally sought after as a less crowded travel destination, Puglia is also highly popular among expat retirees from across the globe. Offering sumptuous cuisine and spectacular beaches, as well as high quality locally produced wines, Puglia is an ideal location for a leisurely, sun-drenched retirement.
  4. Sicily: For the more budget conscious expat retiree, Sicily has a lot to offer: whether you’re into world-class gastronomy, wine festivals or relaxed island living, you’re in for a wonderful retirement experience in this southern region of Italy.
  5. Tuscany: Boasting Instagram-worthy natural vistas, excellent wines and the arts, culture and bustle of Florence, it is not surprising that many foreign expats look no further than Tuscany when choosing where to retire in Italy.
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