Italy is a fantastic country to live in, as long as you do not need a job or to carry a business.
A. Bureaucracy & taxes
The Italian State genuinely hates entrepreneurs: it is basically impossible to do business in Italy. Those doing a business in Italy should be considered modern heroes, in my opinion. There is a constellation of bureaucratic hurdles, inefficient public officers, notaries, accountants, lawyers, whatever, that you are forced by the law to consult (and pay hefty fees to) even BEFORE you start a business. After you start it, there will be a multitude of completely irrational tax deadlines with draconian penalties (that change every year), bureaucratic checks, useless controls, etc. that actively make your business frankly impossible. Bureaucrats will do anything in order to take no responsibilities, live in medieval times, detached from reality, and they hate businessmen & risk-takers. This impacts all Italians as beaurcrats infiltrate more and more areas of the daily life and are largely unaccountable for their inefficiency, nepotism and, oftentimes, corruption. Continue reading “Why do some Italians complain about living in Italy? I.e. What makes life hard to live in Italy? I’ve heard many say that if they were young they’d leave the country.”
I am Italian and have been an expat since 2010. After living in London for 2.5 years, I currently live in Hong Kong but I regularly come back to Italy for (long-ish) holidays and to see the parts of my extended family still living there.
What I like the most about living in Italy is the following:
A. I know the people: people in Hong Kong change country every few months or after a few years at most. If you make a good friend here in Hong Kong, be sure that next year most likely he/she will relocate elsewhere. I remember that after 3 years in Hong Kong I basically lost all my friends here, one by one, because they had relocated elsewhere. Cost of living is simply long-term unsustainable if you are not local and/or benefit from a first mover advantage (ie. those that moved here 20 years ago). In Italy this would be impossible: in Venice or in Milan I have the same friends living there since the past 20 years (!) and none of them would even dream about relocating abroad. They have kids, a house, a solid job: their life is positively set in Italy for good; Continue reading “What do you like most about living in Italy?”
These are my personal favorite ski destinations, with nice resorts and reasonably easy slopes in Europe:
A.If you want to ski on the Mont Blanc: Chamonix (FR) or Courmayeur (IT). Nice resorts, reasonably updated lifts. Nice multicultural/younger crowds. Excellent food at reasonable prices. The offer of apartments, AirBNB and Hotel rooms is very large, so even in peak season you can find something for almost any budget. Downsides: cars everywhere during peak season! It’s a mess to move aroundunless you walk (but the villages are pretty large so everybody uses the car).
B.If you want to ski on the Matterhorn / Mount Cervin / Cervino: Zermatt (CH) or Cervinia (IT). The slopes are fantastic and the domineering view of the Matterhorn is absolutely intoxicating (of the two sides, the Swiss one is probably more beautiful). The slopes are well groomed and the lifts have mostly been renovated in the last 10 years. Ski teachers are multilingual and very kind (but cost like a London finance lawyer!). Zermatt is completely car-free and you can reach it very easily by train from Zurich or Milan: fantastic. Downsides: Peak season is after January 6th (Orthodox Xmas) because of the inflow of wealthy Russian visitors (in January prices are very high). Also: there is basically no nightlife (at night the silence and gentle light system throughout the city will make it look like a fairytale Alpine village) and the people skiing there are mostly the age of your parents.
C.If you want to ski on the Dolomites: Cortina d’Ampezzo (IT). Excellent slopes with very nice views over the Dolomites. Food is good and the village is beautiful and well-maintained. Hotels are a bit old but with charme. The crowd is mostly Italian, with the occasional foreigner. Downsides: Cortina is very expensive (not just for Italian standards: I compared the prices in January and they are generally on par or more expensive even than Zermatt)and it can only be reached by car or coach bus. Also, you will most likely need a car to move around as the city is pretty wide and some of the best slopes (San Cassiano, Alta Badia, etc.) are only reachable by car. The closest slopes are Faloria (walking distance from the city center) and Socrepes (take the n. 3 bus). January/February is peak season, so prices are normally driven up too.