±Compare Expat Providers

Expat Health Insurance Quotes

Foreign Currency Exchange Quotes

International Moving Quotes

We're very social! Follow Expat Focus on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+

Expat Focus Facebook PageExpat Focus on TwitterExpat Focus Pinterest PageExpat Focus Google+ Page

Notify me when new content is added about a country

±Expat Focus Partners


Italy - Sicily

Sicily is the large island located at the ‘toe’ of Italy’s ‘boot’. The capital is Palermo and it has a population of just over 5 million people. Other major cities include Catania and Messina. The island is the largest in the Mediterranean. Sicily used to be an independent nation and is now an autonomous region of Italy. Large parts of the island are rural and nearly 2% of the population are expats, mainly from North Africa and Eastern Europe.

The climate of the island is Mediterranean. The winters tend to be mild, with higher rainfall than in the summer and average temperatures of around 13°C. The summer temperatures can reach as high as 40°C.

The lifestyle in Sicily is very simple and would suit those who are looking to take a step back when they retire. There is a wide choice of areas to set up home, from busy cities like Palermo to smaller towns such as Vittoria. Some coastal areas have developments which have been marketed towards retirees and inland there are very quiet villages which give the opportunity to immerse yourself in traditional Sicilian living.

The island receives hundreds of thousands of tourists each year and tourism based businesses do very well, even inland there are many small hotels and B&Bs to be found. There are good opportunities for those who want to rent out holiday properties such as small cottages or apartments. There are also opportunities in the larger cities to establish other types of businesses, such as plumbing, building and construction and electrician. For these types of businesses, it is necessary to be fluent in Italian or Sicilian.

The first place to look when considering buying property in Sicily is the island’s capital, Palermo. As with all cities there are a range of neighbourhoods to choose from, each with advantages and disadvantages to living there. For example, the Quattro Canti district of the city is the historic part. It attracts large numbers of tourists as there are many visitor attractions in the area. Property prices in the area are on a par with the average for the city. The Kalsa district of the city is a mix of modern and historic buildings, mainly due to the damage that the area received during World War Two. Properties in the area are reasonably priced and a little cheaper than the city’s average.

The Albergheria district is one in which cheaper properties can be more easily found, as there are many in need of renovation. The area is due to undergo regeneration and the streets are characterised by narrow lanes and alleys. The La Vucciria district of the town is close to the waterfront. Properties there are much in demand and there is a mix of houses and apartment buildings. The suburb of Calatafimi has a number of historic attractions as well as many residential streets and the area has several schools and other amenities. Property prices are very reasonable when compared with the local average. In contrast to all the historic areas there is a Modern district, where some property prices are sky high due to the demand and luxuriousness of the developments.

Another popular area with expats is that of Taormina. It is located on the cliff side overlooking the Ionian Sea and attracts thousands of visitors each year. Property in the town is available at a very reasonable price, making it an attractive destination for both retirees and those with families. The town has a number of well-known shopping areas and its residential districts offer both apartment buildings and houses, although few have gardens and most just have a courtyard. The town has all the amenities for everyday life such as schools, restaurants and other leisure facilities.

Commercial properties are proving to be popular with expat investors, particularly retail outlets and restaurants although the vast majority of properties available are residential. Most villas and cottages are located in coastal areas along with the condominiums. These are often a good choice for retirees and families due to the good shared facilities. In rural areas the properties are mainly old farmhouses, many of which are available for renovation, so can be bought at a very low price.

Read more about this country

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.