Expat life in sunny Tuscany

Tuscany is a dream location for many expats, offering everything from fine art to fine wine. The romantic countryside and historic architecture are visual treats, and it’s no wonder that visitors to this region of Italy think about making it their long-term home. It’s steeped in culture on every corner, from the beautiful buildings of Florence to the infamous Leaning Tower in Pisa.
There is a large expat community already in Tuscany, with around 7% of the population from other nations, according to ExpatFocus, including those from the UK, USA and China. It is the Italian way of life that attracts so many foreign nationals to the area – the mere thought of Tuscany brings up visions of lazy weekends sipping wine from a local vineyard on the veranda overlooking the rolling hills; long walks in the countryside breathing in the fresh air and making the most of the mild climate; and cycling into the small villages to pick up everyday essentials made fresh by local traders.
Practically, Tuscany is also fairly easy to reach from the UK, making travelling back and forth straightforward. Florence has its own airport serving European flights, a short distance from the city centre. There is also an airport close to Pisa, giving easy access to the coastal areas.

Relaxing lifestyle

It’s certainly an attractive dream, and one that could become a reality for the right expats. There is a good work/life balance across the region, and is particularly popular for those moving with families who want their children to grow up in the relaxed, outdoor-centred environment.< p/>
Most expats who move to Tuscany want to immerse themselves into the Italian way of life, so it does help to have some basic Italian, although English is very widely spoken, even in the more rural areas.
Tuscany attracts both retirees wanting to spend their days basking in the warm sunshine and enjoying the finer things in life; and workers looking for an upgrade in lifestyle while still keeping on the career ladder. New arrivals will certainly never run out of things to do. There are countless museums and galleries to visit, plenty of traditional Tuscan eateries and, of course, getting out on foot or by bike to explore the surrounding countryside.

Business and finance

Italy is the eighth largest economy in the world and even in this quieter region, away from the busy streets of Rome, there are booming industries. Florence, for example, is known for its industrial sector, particularly in high-fashion apparel and other forms of manufacturing. It also has good opportunities in machinery, biotech and pharmaceuticals, as well as banking and finance. There is high unemployment as the effects of global recession are still being felt and there is high competition for jobs, but those with the right skills are still very much in demand.
Tuscany is also a good place for those with a passion to start their own business, especially serving the tourism trade. There are plenty of opportunities for owning and renting out holiday properties, for example, with a booming tourist trade that makes it a viable prospect.
It can be expensive to live in Tuscany, although coming from a large city like London house prices in particular can seem very reasonable. The cost of general utilities and groceries adds up though.  There is a very good public school system and if children are young enough to adapt to a new language, then state-funded schools are a good way to get integrated. For short-term relocation or if children are older and would find Italian teaching complex, international schools are available but they are very expensive and competitive.
Information correct at the time of publication.