Thursday, June 5, 2014

Move to the Abruzzo Region of Italy has covered a variety of overseas retirement options, including locations in South and Central America, the U.S. territories, and Thailand.  Only rarely have I mentioned locations in Europe because so many of them are as expensive, and sometimes more expensive, than retiring in the United States.

Recently, however, I have learned about a few European locations that are charming, convenient and affordable!  The first one I wish to cover is the Abruzzo region of Italy.

Cost of Living in Abruzzo

According to some estimates, an American couple could live comfortably in Abruzzo for about $1500 to $1700 a month, including renting an apartment or house for about $450 to $700 a month.  (If you prefer to buy, homes can also be purchased in the $50,000 to $150,000 price range.)

In addition to rent, an estimated monthly budget would include $100 a month for local transportation, $50 for utilities, $125 for phone/internet/cable service, $125 a month for household help, $300 for groceries and $300 for entertainment and other expenses.

(Note:  I took the above figures from articles that were written in 2013 and 2014.  None-the-less, one person in the comments section suggested that the figures should be increased.  You may want to adjust these numbers substantially upward if you are planning to retire there in 2020 or later.  Even with a 20% increase, it would still be possible to live there for less than $2500 a month, an average amount for a retired couple living solely on Social Security.)

Senior citizens in Italy are frequently offered restaurant discounts and there are express lines for seniors in many public locations, including grocery stores.

Not only is the cost-of-living for Abruzzo well within the means of most American couples who are living solely on Social Security, but many couples will also be able to occasionally tour around Europe or visit the United States.  The region is only about an hour's drive away from Rome, and residents have easy access to both train and air travel.

Climate and Quality of Life in Abruzzo

Americans moving to this region of Italy will find a very appealing climate.  Summer temperatures are warm and can reach into the low 90's.  Temperatures in the spring and fall will typically range from the 60's to the 80's.  In the winter, the average daytime temperature is in the 40's or 50's, although temperatures can become colder and there is increased precipitation the further inland you are from the sea.  It is very rare for the temperatures to be freezing along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, while snow can fall in the nearby mountains.  Consequently, you can live in this area of Italy and still choose the climate you think your would prefer.

Like Southern California, in a typical Abruzzo winter it is possible to visit the mountain ski slopes in the morning and relax at the beach that afternoon.

This picturesque region is full of lovely vineyards, gorgeous castles and romantic stone villages.  There is a low crime rate and residents can expect to find friendly, caring neighbors.  The hillsides are gorgeous ... as you can tell from the above photo of fall foliage in Abruzzo.

Italian Healthcare System

Americans cannot utilize the Medicare system when they are living in another country.  It is also unlikely that you will qualify for the national health plan service in Italy.  However, you can pay privately for your medical care and it tends to be quite affordable ... about $30 for a doctor visit and $200 a night for a hospital stay.  The quality is quite high, as well.  Italy's healthcare system is ranked second in the world by the World Health Organization, far above the United State's 37th ranking.  If you have a serious, chronic condition which could require frequent treatments and doctor visits, however, it may be worth it to contact a hospital in the area to get a realistic idea of what you would need to spend per year to maintain your health.

Risks of Moving to Italy

It is important that people understand that there are risks when moving to another country and you have to take precautions to protect yourself.  In particular, you should know that you cannot buy some types of homeowner's insurance which are common in the United States.  Some types of natural disasters are not covered by insurance.  Since this could change over the years, it is important you speak with an attorney and insurance agent to learn more about specifically what would and would not be covered should your home be damaged or destroyed in a wild fire, earthquake or flood.

In addition, you should be careful about putting down what Americans call "earnest money" when purchasing a property.  According to an Italian woman who contacted me, "Tell buyers never to advance money to the realtor or to the owners. In case an advance of money is requested, go to the Notary for the "rogito" (passage of property), and always ask to send the money the the "clients account" of the Notary. Be careful in Italy. There are two forms of advance money.  One is called "accounto" and the other "caparra confirmatoria". The "acconto" goes back to the potential buyer , should he decide that he changed his mind; but if the Notary registered the advanced money as "caparra confirmatoria" the money is lost if the potential buyer steps back."

As you can see, it is very important that buyers understand the laws before entering into a real estate transaction.   The same can be true if you decide to start a business or engage in any business dealings in Italy or any other foreign country.  It is always wise to be well informed.


If you are thinking about moving to another country, you may also be interested in using this Amazon link to the book:  "How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (For Less) Abroad."

If you are making your retirement plans, use the tabs at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of articles about places to retire in the United States and overseas, financial planning, medical concerns, family relationships, and more.

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  1. As you mentioned, Abruzzo is close to Rome but it's also not far from Italy's West coast on the Tyrrhenian Sea with beautiful hill towns to visit like Positano. Abruzzo sounds ideal for anyone wanting to reside in Italy and explore easily explore more it this gorgeous country.

  2. Thank you so much for adding your helpful information about Abruzzo to this article!

  3. The cost of living figures mentioned need some adjustments!

  4. I took your advice and updated the numbers for the benefit of my readers. Thanks!

  5. Abruzzo has many treasures of culture and especially of Christian religious culture that are little known. Often they are unique or very rare in the world.
    Just a few examples: Holy Face of Jesus in Manoppello; holy stairs to get indulgences in Campli; Eucharistic Miracle in Lanciano; Holy Door in Atri; The Feast of Forgiveness in L'Aquila; Our Lady of Splendour in Giulianova; ...; San Gabriel Holy Youth at Isola del Gran Sasso; ...
    Did you know that Pontius Pilate was born in Bisenti?
    It is the region of the great poet Gabriele D'Annunzio in Pescara.
    In Civitella del Tronto there is one of the largest fortresses in Europe and it was the last stronghold of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which resisted until after the Unity of Italy.
    The cuisine of Abruzzo offers many culinary delights, food and local wines thanks to a mix of history, mountains, hills, lakes, sea and unique landscapes which are all a human dimension.
    And I could go on and on: in short, Abruzzo offers unique and priceless treasures that enrich people in body and soul. I was born in Canada from parents of Teramo (Abruzzo north) we came back to live here to enjoy all these treasures. I am a mechanical engineer, not a tourism professional, when I go with friends and relatives Americans and Canadians in this my beautiful region, I see the amazement and wonder in their eyes.

  6. my wife and I are Planning to Move to Abruzzo and have many questions. We have visited Italy in 2013 for about 25 days and ended up in Rome. we would like to take a few things with us and have researched some about shipping and the import tax. She is employed with a world wide company and we would like to find a place with many olive trees to keep myself and my son in law busy. I would greatly appreciate any information that anyone would like to provide to aid us in this new chapter in our lives.


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