With nearly 400,000 foreign residents, Tuscany is one of the most popular Italian destinations for relocating Expats from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa and Australia. The beautiful scenery, cultural heritage and magnificent climate all attract Expats and tourists from around the world who are looking for an authentic taste of the Dolce Vita.
However, it’s not just people relocating to Tuscany who make up the Expat community because according to official figures over 4000 foreign children were also born in the region over the course of 2020! This shows that the Expat population is not only thriving but that many are so comfortable in Tuscany that they are putting down roots and creating families amongst the iconic scenery of the region.
Tuscany is also ideally situated in Italy; with great transport links to other parts of the country as well as to the rest of Europe. The cost of living is relatively low, especially outside of Florence, and property prices are very affordable with plenty of opportunities for renovation projects on old farmhouses, villas and country cottages.
Where In Tuscany Are You Relocating To?
Tuscany is about the same size as the US State of New Jersey and the country of Israel. It is the 5th largest region of Italy after Sicily, Piedmont, Sardinia and Lombardy. Florence is the biggest city in Tuscany. In terms of population, Florence is the 8th largest city in Italy.
If your home base is in Tuscany and if you are planning on traveling a lot within Italy and overseas, then your proximity to Florence is important. Florence has a decent sized airport, but it is very expensive to fly to, particularly from the United States. It is much cheaper to fly to Rome or Milan and take the express train to Florence.
Volterra, where I live, is only about 75 Kilometers from Florence. It is relatively easy to drive to Florence from Volterra, but it is difficult if you are dependent on public transportation like me.
What About The Tourist Crowds In Tuscany?
Tuscany certainly does attract a lot of tourists; in fact in 2018 over 48 million tourists visited the region setting a new record! However, most of the tourists who visit Tuscany stay in and around Florence and some of the other major attractions. This means if you’re living in a rural setting or a small town you’ll hardly notice the influx.
However, even if you’re living in Florence itself during the tourist high season most of the Expats stay away from the city center and spend their time in the neighborhoods where the locals live. This means that if you want to avoid the crowds you can do so quite easily once you get to know your way around.
Why You Should Consider Relocating To Tuscany.
Italy is one of the best countries in the world for Expats with the country’s friendly society, incredible cultural heritage and iconic scenery. However, of all the regions in Italy Tuscany is undoubtedly the ideal setting for your new life abroad.
Tuscany is perfectly situated for traveling around Italy as well as other parts of Europe. Located just North of the center of the country Tuscany is right in the middle of the action! With excellent transport links, several international airports and a good network of highways and public transport you can get to Rome, Southern Italy or the Northern provinces with great ease.
Tuscany also has a particularly pleasant climate. Temperatures in the summer can sometimes exceed 30 Degrees Celsius while in the winter it rarely drops below 10 Degrees Celsius. Compared to other parts of Italy, especially in the South, the climate is much more comfortable for everyday life.
Is Tuscany A Safe Place To Live?
Crime in most parts of rural Tuscany is almost unheard of although in the larger cities there is an issue with pickpockets and opportunistic thieves. These thieves tend to target tourists and Expats in crowded locations including major train stations and some of the main tourist areas.
However, if you follow a few basic safety rules you should have nothing to worry about. For example, you should always keep your bag zipped up and on your body while you’re in a busy location where pickpockets might be at work. Similarly, you should avoid leaving valuables in your car while it’s parked.
Essentially though, Tuscany has an extremely low crime rate so it’s one of the safest regions of Italy to live in. This makes it ideal for raising a family, retirement or simply living a happy life without having to worry about becoming the victim of crime. Even in Florence the rates of crime are far lower than most US cities.
Tuscany has a very community oriented society which means that you can always ask a stranger for help if you need to. Neighbors also take care of each other so if you’re away from your property for a while you can ask people in your community to keep an eye on it for you.
Do The Locals Speak English In Tuscany?
There’s a lot of variation in the amount of people who speak English throughout Tuscany. In cities such as Florence, the vast majority of locals speak English to some degree. Many, particularly in the younger generations, are completely fluent in English however almost everyone can speak a little English.
This means if you get lost or need to ask for help you’ll be able to find someone who speaks English. In the more touristy areas of Florence everyone speaks English, including in restaurants, shops and hotels.
On the other hand, in rural parts of Tuscany there are places where hardly anyone speaks English at all! Therefore if you want to live in a rural setting it’s probably a good idea to learn a little bit of Italian. You don’t need to become fluent, although it would be an advantage, because even learning a few basic phrases will make life a lot easier for you.
If you do decide to learn Italian there are plenty of language schools to choose from, some of which tailor special classes for the Expat community.
What Are The Benefits Of Expat Life In Tuscany?
There are a few key benefits to expat life in Tuscany.
Tuscany Has A Strong Sense Of Community.
One of the nicest things about living in Tuscany is the strong sense of community. Italians are famous for the high value they put on family and friends. This means that once you start to make a few friends with the locals you’ll soon be introduced to all their friends and family! This makes settling into your life abroad much easier than it would be in other parts of the world where people are more reserved and closed to strangers.
In no time at all you’ll find that you’re friends with local shopkeepers, baristas, market vendors and your neighbors. This is especially the case in smaller towns and villages but even in the cities like Florence you’ll soon be able to strike up friendships with the people you see regularly in your own neighborhood.
Tuscany Has Great Cuisine And Wine.
Among Italy’s top selling points for Expats in Tuscany is the incredible culinary heritage of the region. The diverse and healthy food that Italians live on is relatively cheap and quite easy to cook yourself. Even if you do eat out in a restaurant you can get a fantastic 3 course meal with a bottle of wine for as little as 30 Euros per person!
Of course, Tuscany has hundreds of vineyards and wineries which produce some of the best wines in the world. This means that if you enjoy drinking a glass of wine in the evening or with your lunch you’ll be absolutely spoiled for choice in Tuscany! If you really want to immerse yourself in the wine of Tuscany you can go on tours around vineyards and attend tasting sessions to find new vintages to try.
All in all, Tuscany is a paradise for food and wine lovers. Compared to other parts of Europe, the prices for fresh organic food are incredibly affordable.
Experience The Astounding Scenery For Yourself.
With more than 100 protected natural reserves, the Tuscan landscapes are a treasured asset for the region. Tourists and visitors to Tuscany quickly find themselves enchanted by the spectacular scenery. If you like hiking there’s an abundance of trails to explore and a lot of camping sites throughout the region.
No matter where you live in Tuscany you’ll be surrounded by some of the most iconic scenery in the world.
Culture And Architecture.
Tuscany has 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Square of Miracles in Pisa, the historic center of Siena and San Gimignano. You’ll never tire of visiting the wonderful cathedrals, galleries and museums that are home to so many priceless works of art and craftsmanship that your head will spin!
As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Tuscany has been at the very heart of the development of art, architecture and culture in Europe for hundreds of years. This makes the region the ideal place for any culture vulture to relocate to.
Essential Tips For Creating A New Life In Tuscany.
The following are three essential tips for creating a new life in Tuscany:
Immerse Yourself In Your New Surroundings.
It can be easy when you first move to Tuscany to constantly compare your new situation to your life back home. Inevitably, there will be some things that you miss or think are actually better at home, despite the wonderful place that you’re now living in! This is a very natural thing to do but it can also stand in the way of you settling into your new home and stop you discovering all the unexpected treats that are waiting for you to enjoy.
Make Sure You Have A Financial Safety Net.
One of the most stressful things about moving abroad is having money worries. To avoid this you should always make sure that you have at least 6 months worth of living costs saved up before you move. This means that if you face any unexpected challenges you’ll be able to cover the costs without putting yourself at financial risk.
Part of your safety net should also include a good health insurance plan just in case you have an accident or need to get medical treatment at any point. Knowing that you have a financial and medical safety net to fall back on will take away a lot of the stress that you might otherwise have to deal with.
Try To Learn Some Basic Italian.
While you don’t need to be fluent in Italian it can be very helpful if you can at least learn a few key phases. If you’re living in a city or town you’ll find that almost everybody speaks at least a little English but in some rural parts of Tuscany there are still a lot of people who don’t speak any at all!
If you speak a little Italian you’ll be able to order food in a restaurant or, if you get lost, ask for directions and understand the answer. Being able to speak some Italian will also give you more confidence and help you to fit in more quickly with the local community.
Life For Expats In Tuscany Is Second To None.
Tuscany is renowned for its excellent quality of life. With great weather, amazing food, culture and scenery, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to live anywhere in the world!
The Expat community in Tuscany is very tight knit so if you ever need help or advice you can always reach out to other Expats. There are lots of social media Expat groups which you can join to make new friends and learn about the ways that they overcome some of the challenges that you might one day face.
With incredible scenery, superb cuisine and some of the most beautiful towns and villages in Italy, Tuscany is one of the premier destinations for Expats from all over the world.