Researching and Planning the Move

“Wow! That was sudden.  You’re moving to Italy?”

It’s that old joke about a rock band performing for ten years in small halls and venues to suddenly make it big and become “an overnight sensation.”  Tracy and I have been considering and planning our retirement for about five years.

Tracy explained on the “Back Story” page that it all started with a cruise to the Mexican Rivera for Tracy, her mom, aunt, and sister.  Tracy fell in love with old colonial Mazatlan and came back told me we should consider retiring to Mexico.

That started the research for retiring to a locale where our pensions would stretch further and we could travel and explore more of the world.  We carefully considered Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize. After much thought and discussion, we discovered that one reason for looking for an inexpensive place to live was to have the ability to travel to Europe.  Rather than flying from Central or South America for occasional visits, why not live in Europe full-time?  In the current financial situation, Greece, Spain, Portugal,  Ireland, and Italy were all bargains for cost of living.  Tracy and I love art and with UNESCO saying 60% of the world’s great art being in Italy, we decide on relocating to the country of Tracy’s heritage, Italy.

In our constant “work in progress” for retirement planning, we started research in earnest. We have been asked over and over “How do you know that?”  Well these are the resources:

BOOKS:  We love books and started there when we were considering Latin America.  The problem you have to consider is the “lag time” between the book being written, publication, and the book being purchased.  We found many issues, like immigration rules, to be a “moving target” that is constantly changing.  Generally speaking, the more recent the book is, the more accurate and useful it is. Tracy was a graphic designer for over 15 years and truly understands that something is out of date the moment it goes to print.

Living Abroad in Italy,” John Moretti, Moon Publishing

Living and Working in Italy, ” Caroline Prosser, Survival Books

Retirement without Borders, How to Retire Abroad–in Mexico, France, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, and Other Sunny, Foreign Places (And the Secret to Making It Happen Without Stress),” Barry Golson with Thia Golson, Scribner Publishers

How to Retire Overseas, Everything You Need To Know To Live Well (For Less) Abroad,” Kathleen Peddicord

The Expert Expat, You Guide To Successful Relocation Abroad,” Melissa Brayer Hess and Patricia Linderman

The Grown-Up’s Guide To Running Away From Home, Making A New Life Abroad,” Rosanne Knorr


With e-Readers and online publishing become more common, we found several of the above books found available as e-books.  The are also books available exclusively as e-books that were very helpful, even if they were non-traditionally published.  Many books are available from or Barnes and Noble, some directly from the authors, and some provided by travel sites, often as a courtesy or a “leader” for other services.  I have downloaded several to my Kindle e-reader.

The DIY Guide To Moving Your Dog Abroad,” Kate and Rob Hash, Hash Consulting, LLC

Italy From The Inside Out, The Definitive Survival Guide For Travelers,” Francesa Tosolini


There are many Web sites with expats moving to Italy as their intended audience.  Like all Web sites, some are professional; some written by talented and dedicated amateurs who have a love for the topic; some by businesses hoping their well written site will attract you into purchasing a service they provide; and some accurate at the time they were written, but now out of date; and some are badly written and often just plain wrong (they often have an adjacent “Alien Abduction” or “You Never Have To Pay Taxes Again” Web site.)  Several Web sites are intended for British subjects and you have to remember that the rules may be different for citizens of the European Union than for citizens of the U.S.

AngloINFO, The Global Expat Network.

Expats in Italy, For Those Who Dream And Those Who Live The Dream.

Italy Magazine, The Community For Lovers Of All Things Italian.

ExpatFocus, For Everyone Moving Or Living Abroad.”

Life In Italy.”


What we have found is that there is no better way of learning how to become an Expat than to read about the recent exploits of people who accomplished just that.  Expat blogs are a great way of getting recent information. It’s important to remember the “moving target” factor that rules and laws change, people have their own unique circumstances, and there are geographic differences. With that in mind, blogs are still a great tool to learn from other people’s experiences. They also have the added bonus of being able to contact the blog’s author with a question.  Most bloggers are more than happy to share the answer.

La Vita E Bella

An American In Italy

Italy Beyond The Obvious

Living In Italy by Melinda Gallo

Moving To Florence


A good way to understand the local culture is to read expat and English-language newspapers from your preferred destination.

The American InItalia

The Florentine



The definitive source of information is government Web sites.  However, you may need to search through several sites to find the answers you need. Remember to check to see if it up to date. Most sites have a date of the last update somewhere near the bottom of the home page. Language may be an issue as not all government Web sites are bi-lingual. There are some translation sites like Google Translate that do a fair job of translating the information, but it can be time-consuming and is not always accurate. Again, the famous “moving target” factor is compounded by how well the site’s Webmaster does their job.

The Italian Embassy

The Consolate General for Italy in Los Angeles

Italian Immigration

Italian State Police


After reading and researching tons of information, verifying known conflicts, we believe we have an understanding our goal now. We have moved onto the implementation stage our plan to retire to Italy.  Tracy is the “Queen of Organization.”  On the wall of our bedroom is now a project calendar listing all the remaining “To Do’s” that we need accomplish in the next six months.  We have the “To Do” lists in our computers and on our Kindles.  One reason Tracy is retiring six months prior to our departure is to make sure all “loose ends” get tied up and do not delay our scheduled move.  Our big move will not be an “overnight success,” but an achievement built on a lot of hard work.

2 thoughts on “Researching and Planning the Move

  1. What is really eerie about you and I staying in touch off and on for the past 31 years Alan is how it has come full circle. I’ve had a dream for many years of moving to Germany. And I did just some minimal research. My Aunt Betty actually looked at houses over there for me. And here is a website and then specifically this post that spells it all out. I will keep this bookmark close to me 🙂

    1. Mike, it’s been fascinating for us to research locations around the world, chat with people that have actually done, and learn from their experiences. I think Germany would be amazing to relocate to, so much history and culture.

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