Italy's villages and cities appeal to retirees for many different reasons - the beautiful beaches, breathtaking countryside, amazing food, wonderful nightlife, bustling town markets and welcoming people. In this article, we cover several of our readers' favorite places, but one of our members offered the best advice, "in over 20 years of travel to Italy from the Alps to the Aeolian Islands/Sicily, the place you want to call home should sing to you. If that hasn't happened yet, you need to remain flexible by renting an apartment that you can use as a base to explore. When I first visited Naples/Sorrento/Amalfi, I was sure THAT was where I wanted to live. When I fist visited Tuscany and its hilltop towns, surely THAT was it. Then it was the lakes region that became THAT place. As I journeyed further, I realized that all of Italy attracts me in some way; but calling a place 'home' becomes a filter. That's different from being a vacationer or traveller. I wanted the place to sing to me, to welcome me. For me that is Puglia and particularly the town and environs of Matina Franca. This has been a personal journey, the conclusion from which I determined where my new home would be -- not necessarily your your choice. Your question about places in central Italy brought to mind another one of those places I thought might have been simpatico -- Viterbo. What a brooding, spectacularly medieval town this is. The architecture, the fountains! Use your home filter and your special place in Italy will sing to you too!"
Retiring in Cianciana, Sicily
"My husband and I have just bought a retirement home in Cianciana, Sicily. It is tucked nicely into the mountains of Agrigento (not the city). The housing prices are probably the best in Italy - at least I haven't seen any cheaper - and so you can get more for your dollar or euro here. The town is clean, it has a nice, friendly ambiance, and they like foreigners! There is an English speaking doctor in town, and an English speaking dentist with a very good reputation. There is also a helipad to fly someone with a more serious problem to Agrigento or Palermo if necessary. There are two lovely outdoor pools and Eraclea Minoa, a beautiful unspoiled beach, is just 30 minutes away. The closest airport is Palermo. There is a bus to take you to and from - about a 2 hour bus ride. Trapani is a little farther - no bus but a lovely peaceful drive. Ribera, 15 minutes away, has one of the best markets in Sicily outside Palermo - it is a bit of a western Sicily secret! The old part of the town where IMHO the best choice of houses lay, is up on a hill giving almost every home a beautiful view of the village and the mountains beyond. AND there is a British-Sicilian realtor and a British contractor in town, both very reliable and I am speaking from personal experience here. I can't praise Cianciana enough. I just love it there," exclaimed a retiree in Cianciana.
Retiring in Soverato, Italy
Another retiree divulged, "some people are going to hate me for doing this because there are places in Italy that still haven't been ruined by Americans. But I would urge you to check out Soverato, in the province of Catanzaro, It's a sleepy little beach town on the east coast of Calabria. It's about an hour away from the Lamezia Terme airport. And it's paradise; a cool little community surrounded by lidos i.e. beach resorts. None of the fanfare you get in better known places like Capri and Taormina, and only the occasional German and French tourist. If you want to speak to someone in the town, I would direct you to Teresa Procopio, one of the owners of L'Ulivo, which is the town's biggest hotel. Her family also owns a lido, a beach resort. If you go to the beach resort, don't let her do what she does to me. Don't let her serve you a three course lunch with wine and give you a check for five euros; tell her you want to pay for the full value of the meal."
Retiring in The Western Riviera
In our article, 5 Great Places to Retire in Western Europe, we highlight The Western Riviera. One expat advised, "the Western Riviera is a great place to live. It is 35 miles from the Nice, France airport and the city of Nice; it is 15 miles from Monte Carlo, 60 miles from Cannes, 96 miles from Genoa. The Spring, Summer and Fall are wonderful and the winters are much milder than the rest of northern Italy. The train service ia exceptional and the autostrada is relatively close to all towns along the seacoast. My advice would be to live in Ospedaletti, Bordighera, Vallecrosia, or anywhere along the coast."
Retiring in Pineto, Italy
"We have a place that we rent in the town of Pineto. Which is about 20 minutes drive from Pescara. Pineto is an Italian seaside town that has changed little in the last 30 or so years. It attracts mainly re-tired couples or young families, has beautiful sandy beaches backed by a Pineta. The town is not too large but, hosts many restaurants and shops and all the other usual amenities, a very good gelateria being one of them. There is a also a fantastic selection of restaurants scattered among the hillside villages 5 minutes inland. I have to say we find it a very easy and relaxing holiday. The place has a relaxed feel and I have to say is one of the cleanest places I have ever come across in Italy. There is a large food market most days and a bigger mixed market on Saturdays, I would recommend having a porchetta panini at the Saturday market - delicious. Throughout the main holiday season there are events organised and the main streets are closed for pedestrian only access, so you can enjoy a nice post dinner walk and browse the weekly evening markets. There are also many Festa's in neighbouring towns and villages to enjoy," described one expat in Pineto.
Retiring in Puglia, Italy
An expat in Puglia said, "I work and live in Puglia, Monopoli to be exact. The people here are far more friendly than those of the north, but the every day working person here has little interest in conversing with a foreigner. I am surrounded by olive, cherry, and pear trees with a view of the Adriatic. I have come to love it here although it didn't start that way due to my head demanding the convenience I grew accustomed to in the USA." Another expat said, "one person's paradise is not always to another person's taste. The important thing is finding the right place for you. If you love company, nights out and a variety of food the more cosmopolitan cities of Milan or Rome will suit you, if you have children maybe you need to be conveniently situated where there is a good choice of schools and other communities of families not too far out in the sticks! The cost of living varies enormously but here in Puglia you can get a couple of pizzas and red wine for 15 euros. The beaches are free, there is a good blend of tourism and countryside and the locals are very welcoming."
Retiring in Le Marche, Italy
"I visited Le Marche last year to investigate if it would be a good choice to live for a year. I ultimately chose Umbria, but really only because I thought it would take more than a year to "crack" Le Marche. The people were kind, just so surprised that we were there, I thought it would be difficult for our children. But at the time, I thought it would be a great place to retire. The landscape is glorious, the prices are amazing (we considered renting a 5 level, 5 bedroom house within a town with a garden for what we are paying for our apartment in Umbria now), the food was incredible. I suggest a visit," recommended one member.
Retiring in Ponza, Italy
"I've spent a lot of time in big Italian cities, and now I'm finding that the small towns would be much better for more retirees. For instance, I love the island of Ponza, which is in the Tyrrhenian Sea, half way between the latitude of Rome and Naples. Real estate prices there might be off the charts, but maybe the port cities of Civitavecchia or Anzio have better deals. So you're not far from Rome, and you might find something near a port city, from where you can get to Ponza by hydrofoil in about an hour," recommended another expat.
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