So you have decided to move to Italy…
That is the first step. If you are smart, you will have researched every little detail to death and are still moving… regardless of the nightmares you have read about. If you can get a job before you relocate, great. You will be a step ahead. If you have contacts in Rome that can find you a place to stay, you are even more fortunate. If you are not from the European Community and have decided to take your chances anyway, you will be doing so illegally but you have chosen the easiest country in which to experiment. If you have no one, no job, nothing, nada, niente, keep reading.
There is such an enormous amount of expatriates in Rome that they say if you are walking through the streets of Trastevere, you could spit and hit an American. Please refrain from testing this out as I have just washed my hair. Expatiate groups and organizations that will aid you, abound; they most likely have more expertise on the ridiculous bureaucracy of Italy and any other legal issue you may have, therefore I will not attempt to guide you in these matters. As I am not a guide, the only thing you will gain is a better understanding of what you might face, based on my experience.
When to move to Italy…
I chose the month of September for my move. If you can get by without a job for more than six months, then I suggest you move in May, when many apartments become vacant. It will be very difficult to find a job in May, and it may not be until September that you find one. This means that you might not start working until October nor get paid until November. This is especially true if you plan to get a job teaching English. If you do not want to live on zero income for months, then September is the month to choose.
September is a good month to arrive since all Italians have returned from their vacation. Do not come in August, unless you want to spend the entire month in a hotel and experience Rome, Florence or Milan as a ghost town. Although there will be many empty apartments in August, you will not be able to find them until September. The newspapers that post the housing classifieds such as Porta Portese, are closed and do not print in August. Landlords also go away on vacation in August, so even if you find old listings, they will not be in Rome to show you the apartment. Real Estate agencies close as well. September is the best month to arrive due to the amount of available housing and job opportunities. Arriving later will lessen the amount of available jobs and housing.
Month by Month
October: This is the second best month to arrive. Apartments can be found and there are still jobs available
November: This is your last chance to arrive. Apartments in Rome, Florence, Milan and most cities will be available and you may fill the final job openings which remained vacant until now.
December: Everyone has the holidays on their mind. You may find an apartment in Rome or your city of choice, but it will be difficult. Finding work will be a Christmas miracle.
January: If you choose this, come in the later half. Everyone is still on holiday until the end of the first week. An apartment may be found, but jobs are scarce, especially in tourism if you have chosen a large city.
February & March: You will perhaps find an apartment but if you seek a room, it will be more difficult, however the prices maybe lower at this time of year. There may be some jobs to be found. However, if you find a teaching job, your hours will be few and may completely disappear by the end of June.
April & May: Students begin to finish their university studies and so rooms and apartments begin to vacate. English teachers with jobs will find their hours diminishing, so getting a job a this time is very difficult. Tourism, however, picks up, but you will need a background in Art History or Archeology to land one of these prized positions.
June & July: Apartments are available, but finding the right one can take time. Make sure you decide by mid-July or you will find yourself homeless until September. Jobs in tourism, bartend or similar will be available.
- August: Get a beach house until September, otherwise, you will be miserable in a hotel without a job as you wait for Rome to repopulate.