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Italy - Tuscany

The capital city of the Tuscany area is Florence, one of the most popular destinations in Italy for both tourists and expats. The region has a population of just under 4 million people, 7% of which are expats from other nations. There are communities of expats from China, the UK and the USA. The region has no less than 6 World Heritage Sites. The region is filled with hill towns that date back to medieval times, olive groves and vineyards and rural areas are popular with those who are looking for a traditional Italian way of life.

The region has a mild climate in coastal areas although gets much more rain inland. The winters can be very cold inland, although summer temperatures are much warmer.

The city of Florence has a romantic image and many expats dream of retiring to the area. It is an expensive area to live in and many expats have chosen to buy rural properties just outside the city. The rural areas of Tuscany are particularly popular with expats who are looking for a peaceful retirement as well as those who want to experience the traditional Italian way of life. The Italian government has actively encouraged retirees to move to the area and this policy has been particularly successful in Tuscany.

There are large numbers of expats who have chosen to begin their own business in Tuscany. Many people have opted to rent out holiday property or open small hotels, although there are some who have chosen to offer activity holidays, such as horse-riding, hiking and cycling tours. With large numbers of tourists coming to the region it is not as essential to speak Italian as it would be for a trade based business such as plumbing or building.

The city of Florence has a number of neighbourhoods that would be attractive to newcomers to the area. Each neighbourhood is centred round the area’s main church and each one has advantages and disadvantages. The district of Il Duomo is the central part of the city. It is home to many older properties, many of which have been renovated to a high standard, although there is not much in the way of modern development. The area is home to a lot of hotels as it attracts thousands of tourists each year, so it is not necessarily the best option for those who are looking for a quieter life.

The area of Santa Maria Novella is a more bohemian area and is one of the few areas which has an undesirable neighbourhood, so visitors are advised to stay south of the train station. Residential properties in the area are available to both rent and buy and this area is also cheaper than the central parts of the city. The Santa Croce neighbourhood is filled with fine restaurants so property in the area is much sought after and property prices are on a par with the average for the city. The Piazza Della Signoria is home to the Uffizi Galleries and the Ponte Vecchio. The streets are normally busy with tourists, so it is not the best area for a quiet life and property is in demand, so prices are high.

Other cities which are options for expats are Siena and Pisa. Both have a long history and are popular with tourists, so the central parts are usually very busy areas and are expensive for property. The outskirts are a better option as they offer better value for money and are more residential than commercial. Both towns have a selection of good schools and good shopping and leisure facilities. Prices in both towns are a lot cheaper than Florence and properties tend to be renovated houses and apartments, although a bargain can still be found if you are prepared to do some renovation yourself.

Rural areas are increasingly popular with expats, although prices in the region have risen a great deal in recent years, mainly due to the demand from expats. The area has several communities which have high expat populations. It is still possible to find a bargain property, as many rustic properties have been shunned by the Italians in favour of modern properties.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

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