An Expat Talks about Living in
Angera Castle in Angera, Italy
There is a huge expat community that comes from all over the world because of the Joint Research Centre in Ispra. So, it's easy to meet expats. It's more difficult to truly befriend the locals who are polite but guarded.
What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
How long have you lived there?
1 year +
What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?
There is a huge expat community that comes from all over the world because of the JRC in Ispra. There are many clubs, events, etc. organised through the Welcome Desk (JRC), the Club House (JRC) and other groups affiliated with the research centre. These are not held in Angera, but in Ispra and neighbouring towns.
To meet locals and integrate is quite difficult. There are local community programs that organise classes for Italian speakers/ residents for skills such as italian language, painting, rowing and masters swim clubs. These local community programs are offered by each individual town/ city and must be searched for by contacting the commune or provincia.
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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.
The locals of Angera are quiet, tolerant and private which translates to them being polite but guarded with any new comers and also with longer term residents who are not locals. I'm not able to comment on racial tolerance but generally they seem tolerant of culturally diverse people. They are not a diverse group (locals) and are generally italian, well off (there is no community housing or lower- class) and there is a large percentage of seniors in the population.
What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?
Expats mostly work at the JRC Ispra and Whirlpool near Varese. Most expats come because of contracts/ jobs already acquired. Work for partners of these expats is very difficult to find and in order to get English teaching work you must go to Milano, Varese or teach privately to people in the surrounding villages. I am not aware of any expats working in other fields in the area, regardless of their Italian language proficiency or professional background.
In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?
Locals are very private and seem to work and socialise amongst themselves with little desire to interact with expats.
There aren't many social meeting places (piazzas, bars, or other) to meet up and in the evenings after 7 or 8pm the city is very, very quiet.
During the day the many sports clubs are teeming with locals and tennis courts, rowing clubhouses and pools in other villages are always full.
As for expats, they generally come from neighbouring villages to meet at the lakefront for aperativos or dinner. There are two distinct groups (expats/ locals) who have very different lifestyles it seems.
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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.
Move to this city for your own reasons, but do not expect to befriend locals, integrate or find a job.
On the Italy Expat Forum
I, after a wonderful time in Brittany, will be returning to Italy in late summer. This time to Chianti. Part of returning is the required bank business. I had an Italian account when I was in Sicily. Which I closed and replaced with a French account. Now I need to go back to an Italian account? There must be and is a better way. I looked at a few internet banks, including N26. What kept me from going with them is the simple matter of their not allowing direct deposits from the USA. It turns out that Transferwise is now licensed in most US states, I think 48 of them, which means they will setup a direct deposit system. Additionally using them, when they hold your money as a bank, makes the process of transferring money from your account to somebody else's in Europe simple, fast and cheap. I just paid a rent deposit to my future landlord in 24 hours and at a minimal cost and at a better exchange rate. I have not yet setup direct deposit, keeping my Schwab account. What I had to do is transfer money to Transferwise using my debit card. That took less than a minute.
I bring all this up because I think it simplifies finances as an expat. All the services needed, iban number, routing number, currency exchange, debit card is all available in one place and usable anywhere in Europe, in the states and many other countries. And they speak English and answer the phone when you call. It's a breath of fresh air compared to dealing with the Italian banks.
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Beware UniCredit Banca
Until recently if I used a UniCredit ATM with my US based ATM/Debit card, I was assessed a surcharge — maybe €2. These surcharges are still relatively rare here in Italy. I don’t ordinarily use this ATM but I was a block away trying to complete a transaction and unexpectedly needed €200. For convenience sake I was ready to pay the surcharge. However, no surcharge was disclosed. Instead I was notified of “today’s exchange rate”. I never saw this before and was initially confused. Eager to get back to my pending commercial transaction, I accepted the disclosure only to realize that UniCredit exchanged my €200 to USD at a markup of 3%. That €200 withdrawal cost me €6 — much more than a surcharge of €2. I wasn’t given an option to decline their money conversion trick. It was take it of leave it. So, let’s hope this isn’t a trend — identifying people using foreign cards upon whom to foist very unfavorable exchange rates at ATMs that ordinarily offer good rates of exchange. My US bank reverses ATM surcharges, but this wasn’t a surcharge. The transaction was delivered to my US bank in USD after UniCredit pocketed €6. It wasn’t much to pay for the learning experience, but I will be vigilant going forward. An aside: EBay plays the same game. Opt out of these money conversions. Let your ATM or credit card issuer convert the currency to dollars. It is nearly always the best consumer rate available to consumers.
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Looking for a commercialista
Buon giorno a tutti! I will be retiring in Italy in 2022. I am trying to organize my US retirement accounts now, but need advice from a commercialista as to which vehicle has greater or lesser impact from Italian taxes. This forum has such great advice and it’s been tremendously helpful, but I would like to have someone I can talk to one on one. Could someone recommend a commercialista in Florence or Arezzo? I hope to get there on vacation in October. Thank you in advance!
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