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This should be fun. :-)

OK - I hope everyone is well - and as safe as you can be in this time.
My wife and I have decided to move to Florence. My wife is 72 - I am 77. (Excellent health both)
We are well traveled having lived and worked in 9 countries. Our love of all things Italian,
Art, food, wine, music, (Bocelli) and architecture lead us to this decision.
We are not wealthy people. We will have a fixed income of around $4,000 per month
and, after liquidating our assets, we would have approximately $200,000.00 to invest there.
Does anyone have any comments on what we might encounter as far as a permanent move?
Thanking you in advance for any consideration, i am,
Calvin Williams

Posted by
602 posts

There have been a number of threads around the concept of moving to Europe so you may want to search around on the forum a bit.

You say that you have worked in nine countries, but did you establish "residence" in nine countries? When we lived in Germany for three years the basic challenges were: visas (my wife had a job there to establish residence) finance (they wanted to tax my entire US income at German rates), medical care, insurance, communications, etc. Purchasing property is something I would be very shy about until I was sure of my decision after a year of trying it out.

Good luck.

Posted by
215 posts

I definitely would like to follow this! We would love to move either to the UK or Italy. My husbands has military retirement and would have to stay a US citizen to maintain that. I am still prime working age and not sure how you manage that. I am a nurse and since I do not speak Italian that counts it out. I could apply for a license in the UK but the pay is 1/4 of what I make in the states.

Posted by
42 posts

This is interesting:

I have been directed to a blog - 'Girl in Florence - an individual named Georgette...She has lived in Florence 11 years...............
Amazing advice.............. definitely recommend........She has a 'PROS' and 'CONS" section that is well considered.
I forget how quickly we can all communicate now -
i proceed as a skeptical optimist.... :-)


Posted by
20833 posts

A big question --- How good is your Italian? Dealing with the local government is best done in the local language. $48,000/year is not large income given that taxes and insurance need to be deducted. What do you mean by $200K to invest. Equity, real estate? Again not a large sum. The first thing you need to do is to review the requirements for a Long Stay visa. Probably find it on the internet somewhere.

Posted by
2562 posts

The impression I have gotten on this forum is that most countries in Western Europe don't want American immigrants unless you have a lot of money or an in-demand skill. They don't want American immigrants competing with their own people for jobs. Sound like another country you could name?

Posted by
6794 posts

We are not wealthy people. We will have a fixed income of around $4,000 per month
and, after liquidating our assets, we would have approximately $200,000.00 to invest there.

Preface- I have not researched the subject, but the limited incidental reading I have done causes me to put forth the following questions/comment for you to consider.

Is the $4k monthly, net or gross?

"$200,000 to invest" ---is that your net worth ? I do not know what 'means' test Italy has, but I have to believe there is one, as they do not want you moving there and then needing govt. assistance. Whether your assets would pass the test is a concern.

Are you literate and conversant in Italian? English speakers in tourist areas are plentiful, but that usually means it is a more expensive area to live. Going out to the less costly areas, will diminish the number of English speakers.

If you have not already done so, contact the Italian Embassy/Consulate for your area and ask them what the procedures and application process is for what you hope to do.

Good luck and stay well

Posted by
7077 posts

In your seventies, no time to drag your heels, but there are a few things to consider.
Citizenship—will you come back to the US, will you take Italian citizenship and renounce US?
Taxes—some countries don’t tax our retirement income when we live there. That could be an advantage. If you keep US citizenship, you’ll have to file a US tax form each year.
Housing—will you be eligible for subsidized housing eventually? If your income and net worth don’t meet the Italian minimum, they won’t give you the residence visa to begin with.
Healthcare—are you returning to the US? If so, will you pay both US and Italian insurance schemes?
Are you ready to be in an Italian rehab clinic, a long term care facility, or end-of-life situation? If yes, and you qualify for Italian healthcare, then it will be more economical for you.

Certainly there are FaceBook closed groups of Americans living in Florence or Americans retiring in Italy. If you find the groups, you’ll get a lot of info.

Posted by
8889 posts

As stated above, the first step is to qualify for a long term visa. Then figure out what it will cost you to live and see if your budget allows it. Taxes are higher in Italy. Medicare doesn not cover you outside the U.S. and you might have to pay U.S. taxes.

There are expat forums to check out. And remember, moving as a retiree is different than moving for a job.

There are people on this board who have done what you want to do and I'm sure they will chime in.

Edit: Social Security changed to Medicare. I knew this but wrote Social Security since I am in the middle of putting together the paperwork for my own social security and that was on my mind.

Posted by
6392 posts

U.S. Social Security doesn not cover you outside the U.S

Yes, it does, except for a few select countries (Italy is not one of them): See: I think the poster meant Medicare and Medicare Advantage.

Posted by
3437 posts

Agnes, Thanks for posting the link to that document. It answers a lot of questions I had never even thought I needed to know the answer to!

Posted by
42 posts

Hello Again:
Excellent information.
I love the idea that there are individuals out there that have knowledge - or at worst - solid opinions - of questions
generated on this forum.
To clarify:
1. The $4000 per month IS Social Security for myself & my wife. My previous experience out of country is the ATM machine in
recognizes the balance in my bank at home.. I do not anticipate difficulty there.
2. The $200K is what we have managed to scrape up raising five (5) daughters - not a mean feat . :-)
3. We both have MEDICARE - not MEDICAID - but - that could be a concern. I am led to understand that there is no charge for
health care in Italy. I am certain that MEDICARE would not be applicable.
4. All things considered - our best path may rest in the "frequent visitor" category.
5. I am registered for classes at two Atelier's. The Florence Studio, (with Laura Thompson), and The Florence Art Studio, (with
Gary Adcock). These classes are currently scheduled for only three months. I will look into the parameters of the
student visa and see if they might issue one, ( with a straight face), to a 77 year old.
6. Interesting - all of this. Quite possible for an individual to run their plow under a stump. Interesting.
Thank all of you for your insight - and excellent observations.
Much appreciated.

Posted by
2938 posts

As far as I know, Medicare Advantage plans are not govt. funded. They are private insurance add-ons to Medicare, and have varying terms. Ours, for example, does cover us when outside the U.S. The issue of health care is a major one for people considering taking up residence in another country. It behooves the OP to read the fine print of their insurance very carefully. The Italian officials who decide on whether to grant them a long stay visa will certainly do so.

Posted by
794 posts

If you have read the Girl in Florence blog, and other blogs she links to, you'll know you won't be able to buy a small apartment in Florence for $200K. It would pay for a number of years of rent though, if you're willing to draw it down as income instead of invest it.

I have just been through this process myself. I chose to move to central Italy (Abruzzo), where costs of living are lower and quality of life as good or better. You might have a look at the 7 central/southern regions where retirees with foreign income are eligible for a reduced 7% income tax rate for the first five years. Abruzzo is the furthest north of the eligible regions. It has beautiful villages, national parks, lower housing costs, very good health care and of course wonderful food and wine.

However, as part of the process I renounced my U.S. citizenship (I have Canadian citizenship as well.) Not because Italy required it, but to simplify my life and taxation/banking issues going forward and because after 30 years in Canada, I have no intention of moving back to the U.S. It is complicated to be an American expat these days. You will need to file a U.S. tax return forever (as well as an Italian one,) and foreign banks won't want you as a customer due to FATCA rules. You will not be able to use Medicare but will likely want to maintain your eligibility by continuing to pay premiums. You will, as stated above, still receive Social Security payments. Renunciation is NOT required or even recommended, it was my personal choice after 30 years as an expat in order to simplify my life.

Your monthly income is a little lower than I was told is necessary to obtain an elective residency visa. I was told 3000 Euros per person, not per couple, per month, plus an unspecified amount of financial assets - enough so they feel you will not need government support. I think that is somewhat variable, as your nearest Italian consulate has some flexibility in how they apply the rules. But that's the number they give out as required.

You also need a year of expat health insurance (this cost us $3000 each for a year) before you can join the Italian health care system. And finally, you need to prove you have a place to live before you can apply for a visa. Either a certified lease (registered with the town so not under the table) or a house title (not just a purchase contract, must be fully titled to you.)

After all that was in place, the visa application process went fairly smoothly. Of course we applied right as the lockdown was being announced. The Italian government extended the validity of our visa from the usual 3 months (must be in Italy 3 months from issue date) to just over a year. So as long as we can get there by end of May 2021, the visa is still valid for entry. Then we apply for residence permits. We'd love to be there by Christmas this year if at all possible.

I agree that knowing as much Italian language as possible is helpful. I was able to conduct the entire house search and purchase in Italian without a translator, which helped everyone and reduced my costs. Also, in order to renew your residence permit year over year, you will probably have to meet certain civics requirements, such as proving a designated level of Italian competence.

If you want to do this enough, it's absolutely possible. Many people have published detailed advice on blogs, just follow those who have gone before you.

Edit: two of my favourite moving-to-Italy blogs: Jed at Italywise and Karen at Barley's Grand Adventures
Edit 2: while looking for a place to live, bear in mind that your U.S. driver's licenses are only valid for one year from arrival. You will need to take a full driver's ed course and both theory and road tests IN ITALIAN ONLY to get a valid driver's license. If you don't think you will master enough Italian to do that, you need to be in a place with good public transi

Posted by
11845 posts

A question or two, Calvin? Earlier in the year you'd asked a number of questions about Florence which leads me to wonder if you've ever been there? Coincidentally, it looks like you were originally scheduled to arrive today! From your 12/09/19 post:

My wife and I are arriving in Florence on the 18th of May after a
month-long meander across the continent.

That was later changed to a 6/7 arrival but, well, that's all water under the bridge at this point, eh? Anyway what with that plus your previous unfamiliarity with the 90-day visa-waiver Schengen limit, I'm a little concerned that you're choosing to move to a place you've yet to set eyes (or feet) on, and without much background, so far, regarding the complexities of international relocation.

So, could you give us a bit more to go on? For starters, have you previously spent quality time in Florence, and which, if any, online resources have you used so far to start exploring the relocation process?

The good news is that there are some dandy resources, like Nelly, amongst the gang here but, well, the more you can tell them, the better they can help. You and your Best Girl take care and stay well too! :O)

Posted by
6392 posts

As far as I know, Medicare Advantage plans are not govt. funded. They
are private insurance add-ons to Medicare, and have varying terms.

They are indeed government funded (but administered by private insurers/plans) and they're an alternative to traditional Medicare, not add-ons. A person is covered under either Medicare or Medicare Advantage, but not both. An add-on to Medicare is supplemental insurance, whereas Medicare Advantage doesn't require supplemental insurance. Here's info about Medicare Advantage:

"Medicare pays Medicare Advantage plans a capitated (per enrollee) amount to provide all Part A and B benefits. In addition, Medicare makes a separate payment to plans for providing prescription drug benefits under Medicare Part D, just as it does for stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs). Payments to plans are adjusted for enrollees’ health status and other factors."

Posted by
2366 posts

As far as I know, Medicare Advantage plans are not govt. funded. They are private insurance add-ons to Medicare, and have varying terms. Ours, for example, does cover us when outside the U.S.

Agnes is correct. Medicare Supplements (so called Medi-Gap) policies do have some overseas coverage meant for emergencies with a lifetime benefit cap. Medicare Advantage plans also have some overseas coverage as they include the benefits you would usually have with a Medicare supplement. But, in any case, the benefits are limited.

Health care is not free in Italy. At your age it’s likely to become a significant expense. If I had your income and additional liquidity of $200,000 and was your age I would not entertain relocating to a country such as Italy with a very stressed economy and health care system.

Posted by
3787 posts

Calvin, for each short trip to Florence, we’ve stayed in a VRBO or airbnb apartment. Are you thinking about an apartment within the historic center, or any type of place in the area of Florence? I can’t tell you what prices or procedures would be to get a place, and exactly where, but those might be factors that influence your plans. Stay safe yourselves, and best of luck pursuing this! I hope it will be fun! Maybe you can write a Peter Mayle- or Frances Mayes-type book afterwards!

Posted by
841 posts

Good luck Calvin! Oh how I wish I could move to Europe, Scotland would be my dream.

Posted by
2114 posts

Is there some reason why you can't invest, or re-invest your assets in the USA, even if you are living in Europe? Hopefully, you are in contact with an investment counselor who has experience with ex-pats.

Posted by
42 posts

Brilliant responses - very grateful - And as one of the respondents noted - at my age - what are you thinking :-)

This statement bears further comment:

Re: Kathy: I'm a little concerned that you're choosing to move to a place you've yet to set eyes (or feet) on, and without much background, so far, regarding the complexities of international relocation.

I have never been to Florence. However as to the "without much background".....

For the record, before the EU was invented - I lived and worked in Singapore for 2 years - Cairo, Egypt for 16 months, Thessaloniki, Greece for 10 months, Beirut, Lebanon for 12 months, Esfahan, Iran for 2 years - (family assignment), Johannesburg, South Africa for 19 months - (family assignment), Berlin, Germany for 26 months, Norwich, England for 2 years - Paris, France for 8 months - all these - work assignments.
On vacation, with the family, we traveled to Rome, Athens, Paris, Vienna, London and places in between. Their favorite - out of Rome, by train - the "Romulus" departing at 7 AM for Vienna - with a basket of fruit, bread, cheese, sausages and wine in a private compartment.

Posted by
42 posts

The machine will post itself...... :-)
As I stated - I have never been to Florence - but my journey there addresses scheduled classes in two Atelier's to study the 19th century French Academe' methods drawing and painting.

So - thank you all for your insight - you brought a number of thins - important things - I had not considered.
Best wishes to all - a healthy and happy life.

Posted by
11845 posts

Thanks for the additional info, Calvin!
And I should have said, "....regarding the complexities of international relocation to Italy" as those complexities have been discussed in a fair amount of previous threads. My bad! That said, we have had the relocation question from some folks who've never been to The Boot so that's why I asked. Here's a thread from last year...

...and there are others around the subject if you do a forum search. Let us know if you haven't found that feature yet? It can be sort of easy to visually miss.

Posted by
14131 posts

I'm looking at the from the social angle, since here in Israel, we get a lot of "foreigners" moving here at various stages in their lives. I came in my early 20's, centuries ago.

I think what's true here is true in most places, though in Israel it tends to be less extreme because we have so many immigrants and we actively encourage immigration.

It's hard establish a social network. It's hard to make friends. Most people, especially those who come here late in life, find that their friends are other immigrants from English-speaking countries.Some people make good friends through a synagogue (only if they are religious). Some find connections through volunteer work. It's a little easier here, since English is widely spoken. While neighbors are friendly and helpful in times of need, they have their own lives and aren't much interested in yours. Israelis are friendly and helpful - but forming social bonds is usually done in the army, or later at university, or later at work or through their children (school groups, play groups, etc). By the time people are at retirement age, their social connections are well established.

Resources in English are scarce - there are two daily newspapers in English, some English books in local libraries, a few book stores specializing in English books.

I don't have kids, but most of my friends do and many of them (including native Israelis) have some kids living here and some living in foreign countries. The hardest thing for them is not seeing the kids and especially the grandkids more than once or twice a year.

Posted by
1061 posts

Calvin, I admire your spunk and zest for life. I wish you all the best, and hope you and your missus spend many years sitting on a terrazza looking over the vineyards/rooftops with a glass of vino in your hands.

Posted by
1774 posts

Interesting, interesting, interesting...

Besides all the great logistical & financial subjects discussed above, of great importance to me would be determining living expenses once there long-term. Not being ready to actually move there yet, I've considered doing that for a duration just shy of the 90-day Schengen rule. And...where would an ex-pat--even a wannabe for 89 days--get the best bang for his buck?

In my three trips to Italy--all in the last 10 years to various parts of the peninsula and Sicily as well--my choice would not be Florence but Rome. Even for a week in a small efficiency apartment overlooking decidedly-touristy (except in off-season) Campo de' Fiori piazza in February 2017, I found it incredible how inexpensively I could subsist, and not sacrifice anything. We paid 85 Euro a night for lodging, and long-term I know I could knock that down a bunch. Weekly bus/Metro pass for 24 Euro, to virtually anyplace in & around Rome, with Termini station a gateway to the rest of Italy. Lavanderia only a few Euro. The daily market right below our window, prosciutto & bread shops steps away, including a mom/pop grocery with shrink-wrapped Lavazza coffee (at least 10-14 days' worth) for 1,10 Euro.

Even the restaurants within walking distance were reasonable--full meal for 2 (one shared appetizer/insalata, one shared pasta, 2 entrees, one half-carafe house wine, one shared dolce) rarely exceeded 50 Euro, and absolutely delicious. Every Italian regional cuisine, from Sicilian to Pugliese. And...if we were there 89 days, we'd be dining in some of those nights as well.

I've spent parts of two trips in Florence, and while one could live fairly cheaply I suppose, I think the Roman transit system--though labyrinthine & much-maligned--gets one easily where they want to go, and beats public transit in Florence. Finally...personal preference, I just like Rome better. Seems to be a more vibrant ex-pat community there as well.

Perchance to dream...

Posted by
24391 posts

But the difference between Florence and Rome, for this question, is that Calvin has commitments in Florence but not in Rome.

Even if the Rome buses go everywhere (on an imaginative schedule and a fun adventure in my experience) it is a heck of a commute to go to Florence for the classes. And even for a 70 year old Florence is quite walkable between most districts.

There are other questions, raised further up thread.

Posted by
2114 posts

This really is an interesting discussion. Calvin is going to do whatever he wants, but thinking about moving to Italy sure beats reading about refunds and cancellations.

Definitely visit before you decide to move there. And really and truly live like a "permanent local" during your stay - if I ate at home the way I do on vacation, I too would be morbidly obese. Be fluent enough in Italian to communicate with a handyman, a plumber, an EMT, an exterminator.

Without knowing anything about what housing I could afford, if I had to move to Italy today, I would pick Verona.

Posted by
19 posts

If you are on Facebook, you need to join the Living in Italy or How to Move to Italy groups. As far as I understand from the information posted there, if you are not intending to work (i.e. no employer is sponsoring you for a Visa), do not have Italian citizenship (or dual citizenship), or will be able to establish residency, you will not be able to remain in any Schengen Zone country for more than 90 days. I would research this carefully. If you are maintaining a US residence and are content with living there part-time, then the plan you have could be feasible.

Posted by
486 posts

EDITED: I changed the second blog to the correct link.

I recommend that you review the following two blogs in detail:

  1. This is a blog by Karen Helm, who posts on these forums at times. They are currently living in Italy.

  2. This is a blog by Debbie and Michael Campbell who may still have a long term visa in France, even though they are in Mexico right now.

Both blogs deal with the long term visa issue and just how many hoops you need to jump through to be granted one. Long term visas takes proof of your net worth, the fact that you are not competing with their citizens for work and additional health insurance. Medicare does not work outside of the USA.

Good luck.

Posted by
846 posts

We have friends who relocated from Edinburgh UK to Venice about eight years ago. Obviously a bunch of things are different, visas, taxation etc. They both trained as teachers, teaching English as a second language.

Phil wrote a book about the whole adventure, what it is like to pack up and leave.
“To Venice with Love” is the title, author is Philip Gwyn Jones. Worth a read.

Posted by
1774 posts

But the difference between Florence and Rome, for this question, is
that Calvin has commitments in Florence but not in Rome.

Even if the Rome buses go everywhere (on an imaginative schedule and a
fun adventure in my experience) it is a heck of a commute to go to
Florence for the classes. And even for a 70 year old Florence is quite
walkable between most districts.

Right-o, Nigel. Glossed over Calvin's ties to Florence.

Still, one wonders how ex-pats will fare in an already-stressed economy. Depending solely on savings & Social Security might not be a plan for the long term, unless those savings are impressive. But the resilience of the Italians--who have survived much worse than this--makes me desire to test the waters at some point.

Posted by
11845 posts

Are you ready to be in an Italian rehab clinic, a long term care
facility, or end-of-life situation? If yes, and you qualify for
Italian healthcare, then it will be more economical for you.

Revisiting this earlier question from Bets as you mentioned that you have 5 daughters, and I assume they all live in the U.S....or, let's just say, not in Italy? I'm sure you've run the relocation dream by all of them, and they didn't shoot any holes in it? I surely don't want to do that either (!!) but moving to a place in one's 70's with no support system within a short distance away....

Should one or both of you become incapacitated to the point of not being able to care for yourselves - especially if it happened suddenly - I'm guessing it would be quite difficult for members of your family to manage your care? Assuming they didn't want to move THEIR families/work to Italy, managing your immediate health issues, closing up your residence and affairs abroad, arranging transport, and setting up appropriate living arrangements back in the States, etc. could be very complex and potentially expensive for them.

There are some places in the U.S. we'd casually considered for relocation but as we're in our mid-60's, we were concerned about the burden we'd put on younger family members who'd have to deal with the fallout if we got into a situation where we couldn't manage by ourselves. They were also just remote enough that the distance from major medical facilities was a consideration, not that it would be in Florence.

Anyway, just something else to consider?

Posted by
794 posts

Calvin, once you've finished your courses in Florence (which look great), here's an option if you still want to move: How Much Does It Cost to Live in Abruzzo. This is what we've chosen and we're really looking forward to exploring the region further. It certainly fits within your budget!

Posted by
1774 posts

Kathy said:

There are some places in the U.S. we'd casually considered for
relocation but as we're in our mid-60's, we were concerned about the
burden we'd put on younger family members who'd have to deal with the
fallout if we got into a situation where we couldn't manage by
ourselves. They were also just remote enough that the distance from
major medical facilities was a consideration, not that it would be in

Anyway, just something else to consider?

I think that's a huge factor for us, Kate.

We're maybe a couple years younger than y'all (63 & 64), but no doubt in the same boat re: the daunting prospect of being away from family, even in our own country, much less an ocean and a continent away if a sudden, life-threatening illness should strike.

And of course, the virus has heightened all our sensibilities towards that question--'who will take care of us'? Last thing we want to be is a burden to our children. Yet, I do believe we have some time. Judging by my wife's & my parents, they were vibrant, traveling & self-managing right into their early 80's, then slowed down over a few years, then were pretty much dependent until they passed in their early 90's. Not saying that's going to be us, but still, good genes do help.

That's why this thread (and others of the same ilk) are so great in that reading these stories is a clarifier as to the 'plan'. Because there's always the plan, right? How will one spend an affirming & worthwhile retirement? In our trips to Italy, my wife and I have increasingly tested the waters, trying to somewhat assimilate and get a sense of the neighborhood, whether it be in Sicily, Florence or Rome, discussing how our future-world senior Italian adventures would play into the mix.

But a week at a time isn't even an aperatif--it's barely a taste. You don't know until you know. Even forum regulars & trip vets Laurel and Chani have related their experiences about how making friends over there isn't all that easy. I believe one has to go in to an extended time trip to Italy with the sober reality that it might just be you & the wife, or solo if single, and totally be OK with that prospect from a social standpoint. Acquaintances are one thing--true friends are quite another.

I believe I've related a story or two of our friends, an older couple from our local area in Chicagoland that we met at a B&B in Salerno a few years back and became good chums, there and back here at home. Their deal was he was born in Rome, came to Chicago at 18 to work for the Bank of Italy, eventually met a girl who was a teacher, and they married, had two daughters. At about our age now, they retired and--at least to my way of thinking--have the best of both worlds. With dual citizenship kind of facilitating the process, they could easily escape harsh Chicago winters by being in Rome for just under 3 months a year (where it's temperate January through March, 40's-60 Fahrenheit), then back here for the duration annually.

On our last trip, we followed them all around Rome and their funky neighborhood, and up to Orvieto, which is like their second (I guess 3rd!) home. Just a truly, truly livable existence, fascinating to observe, totally different than some of our pals who at this point in their lives winter in Florida or Arizona. It was like a manual--this is how we did it. And that's how we'd like to do it, if our health and finances allow. Wish us luck!

Posted by
11845 posts

....And that's how we'd like to do it, if our health and finances
allow. Wish us luck!

Jay! Hi, Jay! Yep, the 90-day plan... In our situation, we think it would be far more achievable than a permanent move, and would allow basing in different parts of Italy for each 90-day stint, if desired. It would also allow us simply to focus on the excitement of the adventure itself versus months wading through relocation red tape, dispensing of property here, and the many other no-fun headaches!

Being we have no offspring, handling of our affairs will fall to a nephew when that time comes so we feel we need not additionally complicate that job by choosing to reside in another country or even in a remote part of our own. Having had to manage a surviving parent's critical illness/long-term hospitalization just from a different state was difficult enough.

Calvin, I'm sure not trying to throw a wet rag on your relocation plan but there may be a happy medium to think about that would feed that "love of all things Italian" without completely pulling up roots here? 90 days in every 180-day period, as health and finances allow: Sounds like fun to me, and I've all my fingers and toes crossed for you, Jay! :O)

Posted by
42 posts

Remarkable depth in these recollections and advice. Excellent experience - thank all of you very much.
Bottom line - this experience has conditioned our plans - in a - I believe - positive way.
So - modified - by counsel - we will stick with our initial plan . The QM2 to England - two weeks there - two weeks in Ireland and 87 days in Florence. Remembering the purpose of the journey are the classes in Florence. We can return from time to time if it suits us.
Meanwhile - Even though we are in excellent health - that can literally change in a heartbeat. We have decided neither one of us want to go down over there and have the other one face the consequences.
Thank you all for your insight and advice - you have each played a role in reaching what we feel is a reasonable compromise.
Test the water - so to speak - good advice. I love this forum - and you are the reson.
Retired March 1st. Rescheduled this trip to 2021. After that - lot of lakes in this country need fishing. :-)


Posted by
11845 posts

Calvin, kudos for finding middle ground, as difficult as that probably was. While events that can severely affect our physical well-being can occur at any age, it's simple fact that those of us chickens for whom spring is distant memory are at greater risk! 🐔 No matter; your upcoming trip, as currently planned, sounds marvelous, and I am green with envy!

IMHO, being able to choose different locations for successive trips, versus be nailed to just one, is a bonus. Anyway, it'll be great fun to follow your adventures so please keep us updated as the details fall into place and during your time abroad. Crossing fingers that it'll be a "go" in 2021! 🤞

Posted by
1531 posts

Sounds like you’ve made your decision, but to add a bit more info, which would be helpful living as locals for even 3 months.

First, we loved the QM2 sailing to Europe. We obtained a long term visa and have lived here for almost two years. The Italian Bureaucracy to do things is quite daunting, often frustrating, especially not being fluent in Italian. We are planning to return to US sometime this fall. We’ve had an awesome two years and have done a ton of traveling, in average about 1 week a month. We are 62/61, so not yet taking social security or receiving Medicare.

We picked a small city in northern Italy and have yet to meet an American expat. So it’s good my husband and I enjoy each other’s company. While we’ve met locals and have acquaintances for friends that we run into, no one we socialize with.

Italian taxes are very high, and also tax social security. In addition you still have to file US taxes as a US citizen (you end up only paying taxes for the country which has the higher tax rate- most likely Italy)

Health care for a non citizen is based on an income based formula. For 2019 we signed up for the Italian health care system, about $2500 per year for my husband and I (based on estimated taxable income if €30k) This year, since the pre virus plans would have had us traveling outside of Italy for three months (non citizen Italian healthcare is only good in Italy), we have a private expat policy, which covers emergencies only for $300 a month.

I actually experienced an emergency appendectomy and 8 nights in our local hospital early March, right as the Pandemic in Italy was escalating. Very capable doctors and nurses, but very limited English spoken, and my Italian was basic. The day after being admitted, all visits to patients were stopped due to Covid19. It was a rather surreal experience, and to leave the hospital 8 days later to a country in lockdown, made it seem like the twilight zone.

During lockdown, we had a chance to see what it costs to live here with no eating out, no stops at cafes for coffee, and no travel. We spend €850 a month on rent and Utilities, and about €700 a month on groceries, bakery items, dog food, and wine. But what fun would it be to live here without all if that.