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Italy - Lombardi

The Lombardi region of Italy has Milan for a capital and a population of nearly 10 million people. Nearly 8% of the population are expats. This region accounts for a sixth of the total population of the country and it has one of the strongest economies in the region. Many people moved to the area during the 1950s and 60s in search of work. Tourism is strong here, with many people visiting the lakes area, Milan, Brescia and Pavia.

The area has a continental climate, with cold winters and warm summers. The area is prone to thick fog during the winter months and weather conditions are also dependent upon the altitude.

Retirement in Lombardi is for those who do not necessarily want a quiet life. The high population means that many towns are busy places. There are some rural areas which may be more suitable but even rural areas are becoming busier places now. Some towns have property developments which have been aimed at retirees, although this requires more money to invest than in other areas.

As the area is so densely populated there are more opportunities for those who want to have their own business. The cities have established businesses which are for sale and there are opportunities for tourism based businesses such as bars and restaurants. Rural areas give the opportunity for renting out self contained holiday accommodation and there are similar opportunities in the cities, particularly around the universities.

As one of the most populous regions of Italy, there are many options when it comes to purchasing property. Milan is probably the starting point for most people, particularly those who enjoy socialising as the city is a hive of activity, with numerous cafes, bars and restaurants. The city offers many employment opportunities and businesses suitable for those who prefer to work for themselves, but property prices in the city are much higher than in many other parts of the country. There are several districts which were constructed after the Second World War which offer properties that are much cheaper and which were originally constructed to cope with the influx of immigrants, so some already have a large expat community. The city has good schools and a university, which means that there are opportunities for those who want to buy property to rent out to others.

For those who are interested in living in the area but have a limited budget, the areas of Mantua and Brescia could be a more affordable option. Property in these areas is often only a third of the price of a similar property in Milan. As with the city of Pavia, these towns are medieval so most of the property is older and some may be in need of renovation. Those who want to find a quieter area could try the town of Casteggio, where large properties in need of renovation can be purchased for less than €100,000. Renovating such a property could more than double the value, so these are a great investment. These towns do have newer districts as well as those with older properties and the amenities are generally very good.

There is also the option to buy in towns such as Cremona or Bergamo. Both towns have many older properties and some suburbs which have been constructed since the Second World War. These areas have many apartment buildings and may not be as sought after as some districts closer to the town centres. These are not very large towns but have everything that the expat needs for daily life, such as good shopping and leisure facilities and schools. Prices in these areas are also much lower than in Milan.

There are many rural areas which may be suitable for expats. Rural properties can often be bought much more cheaply, particularly those that are in need of renovation. These often come with a good sized parcel of land and properties that have already been renovated may have swimming pools. Some larger properties may also have outbuildings which are suitable for conversion for those who want to start their own business in holiday lets. The area has a good tourist industry and the potential returns can be substantial.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.