Benvenuto! If living in Italy is your dream, I’d love to be a resource.
I created Italywise.com to share my journey of living in Italy as an American Expat. For me, moving to Italy required great preparation and diligence, as did navigating the many legalities of becoming an Italian resident. I depended heavily on the advice and experience of others who had already made the journey, so I know the value of resources that can help you build a plan to execute your dream of living in Italy!
My story has multiple parts, and so I have organized this blog accordingly. Some people mistakenly assume, by leaving life in the U.S., I effectively entered retirement. I have an allergic reaction to that word, because I am hungry to learn and do. And, living in Italy affords me the opportunity embrace and develop ALL of my interests. Being an artist and writer is hard-coded into my DNA, so I can’t tell my full-story without sharing my creative journeys as well.
I hope you’ll find ItalyWise intuitive and easy (don’t hesitate to contact me with feedback).
I’ve endeavored to provide valuable information and tips on not only moving to Italy, but thoughts on navigating the requirements and legalities of becoming a resident here. You’ll find tips for buying a house (fairly easy) and buying a car (not so easy), tips for navigating the permesso di soggiorno and residency process, and a host of other necessities of daily life in Italy.
I write about the Italian culture, and hopefully I can alert you to potential mis-steps when assuming the “American Way” applies everywhere.
While the practicalities of being an Italian resident still occupy a good part of my time, I’m not concentrating on exploring Italy and writing about and photography the gems of my discoveries. Hopefully I’ll share some perspectives that will lead you off the well-worn path.
I would be remiss if I told the story of my “new” life in Italy, without sharing the emotional and psychological journey that accompanies starting a new life. I’m learning more about myself, and how life flows.
While I worked for many years as a creative director, I’ve always nurtured my identity as a fine artist, photographer and writer. I hope you’ll enjoy seeing my visual expression as a complement to my written accounts of living in Italy.
If you’re planning on moving to Italy you’ll be dealing with bureaucratic processes that are significantly different from your home country – especially if you’re coming from the States. So, at a basic level, I believe it’s important to wrap one’s head around this and prepare accordingly. I’ve found many Italian newbies are caught unawares by the added layer of complexity and confusion of Italian bureaucracy in the different provinces.
Before bringing my life to Italy, I understood the country was only recently unified (1871). I anticipated language (dialect) and cultural differences by region, but I wasn’t fully prepared for the diversity of Italian bureaucracy. Thankfully everything worked out, but I certainly would have tackled this differently if I had it to do all over again.
Many bureaucratic requirements are consistent nationwide, but how they are administered can vary considerably.
I urge you not to zoom past this fact of Italian life and decide to “wing it” when you get here. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for frustration, and kicking yourself for not having done an additional layer of research about the region in which you intend to reside.
For instance, if you thrive within a bureaucratic process that is more buttoned up and predictable, you may want to consider
Today’s post is a second of several special installments about a powerful resource for learning Italian – Manu Venditti, the best online Italian teacher I’ve come across. And, I’m a pretty tough critic of teaching styles, so I hope you’ll follow my recommendation and get to know Manu.
Manu’s Italy Made Easy is loaded with free lessons
If you’re like me, you like to “kick the tires” if at all possible when choosing a teacher of any sort. Oh, how I wish I’d been able to sample some of the professors I had in college through a resource like YouTube, or the internet in general (I guess I’m dating myself, huh?). But back in those “dark ages” nothing like that existed, and I only had word of mouth, or personal recommendations to go on.
Once you sample Manu’s online Italian lessons, you’ll be hooked.
And, this is a very good thing. There’s nothing worse than the dread that often comes with learning and studying with a boring teacher. With Manu, you can’t help
For several months now I’ve been following the wonderful resources of ItalyMadeEasy.com. Manu, the founder and online Italian teacher is, by far, the best, and most engaging Italian language instructor that I’ve come across. A primary goal of ItalyWise.com has been to point people to be best information and resources to assist them in making the transition to living in Italy. I’d like to think of myself as someone who helps curate the best of the best when it comes to all things Italian.
Why do I love Manu’s style of teaching? Primarily for the following two reasons (though there are many more):
Manu is a native speaker.
While Manu has an excellent command of English, his first (and native) language is Italian. I strongly believe that this is essential to REALLY learning and understanding the many subtleties of speaking Italian. This will make you more successful in becoming part of the Italian culture.
He’s fun and engaging. This man LOVES teaching Italian.
I am the son of a gifted art teacher. My mom was widely recognized for her ability to ignite a love of art in her students. Manu, in my opinion, is equally gifted. You will never be bored under his tutelage.
Meet Manu in a series of YouTube videos specially done for ItalyWise.com
Manu and I are like-minded in emphasizing the importance of speaking Italian for anyone who wants to move to Italy. And, we’re not just talking about basic greetings and saying thank you.
This man has so much knowledge to share that I’ve decided to devote a series of upcoming posts to these videos. Six interview questions will help you understand why he is the best online Italian teacher on the planet! Manu will tell you a little about himself, and introduce the six interview questions that will be featured in the upcoming posts.
Be sure to take advantage of all the resources Manu has to offer for learning Italian!
Last Thursday we packed a small overnight bag, and took the twenty-five minute train ride from Treviso to Venice’s Santa Lucia train station. We’d found a great last minute deal at the Palazzetto Madonna, a fairly new four-star hotel in San Polo. We found it on hotels.com, our new favorite source for accommodations worldwide. I’d been wanting, for several weeks, to give myself a photo assignment at Venice’s fish market, called La Pescheria di Rialto since it’s at the northwest corner of the Rialto bridge.
Faces richly etched with character abound at the Venice fish market.
As I write this, I realize what an understatement it is. I hit the jackpot of photo opps. I hope you’ll agree as you see just four of my favorite images taken during this recent excursion.
Okay, I’m letting you know up front that this isn’t going to be a glamorous or creative post. But, it IS highly practical, so if you’re serious about living in Italy for more than ninety (90) days, you’d better be prepared to address what is involved in getting your Italian residency permit, and your Italian residency card.
Permits for Italian residency – The Permesso di Soggiorno.
People who’ve come to Italy with the visa allowing a year’s stay (for an elective residency visa), are required, for stays over ninety (90) days, to make application for a permit to stay, or a permesso di soggiorno (read my post about it here). The process is pretty straightforward, and already you’ll have pulled much of the required documentation for the process of getting your Italian visa (read my post about the visa process, but check with your Italian consulate for the latest checklist).
Depending on where you live in Italy, the residency permit processing times are vastly different. In Perugia, permesso di soggiorno elective residency permits have been taking up to six months. Other places turn around the permits in just weeks. So, research what to expect in your area and plan accordingly.
Wrought-iron railings adorn the bridges of Venice and provide unique views of the canals.
I’m in heaven when I’m meandering through the confusing and mysterious streets, alleyways, and canals in Venice. I can’t imagine ever tiring of the discoveries every one of my journeys there yields – especially when I change my perspective. The world transforms.
Early on in life, when I was a mere teenager beginning to plumb the depths of creative possibilities, my dear artist mother began teaching me about the power of perspective. With me, and with her other students I always marveled out how she could coax, so adeptly, a person from a rigid way of seeing things to a different perspective. Suddenly the world would take on new life. And, well before a camera became my regular companion, Momma Liz taught me how to use my hands to create a makeshift viewfinder. I’m fortunate this was part of my early training, because it has stayed with me ever since.
I’ve chosen the photo above because, for me it demonstrates a completely different vantage point – one that came about by moving from my usual perspective and being willing to reposition myself. Often times this means getting out of my comfort zone – literally and figuratively.
If you plan on moving to Italy, or spending a fair amount of time here, be prepared to make “auguri”, in its many uses and forms, an integral part of your vocabulary. “Auguri” comes from the verb “augurare”, which means “to wish”. Here in Italy the word is used with great enthusiasm and frequency. And, for English speakers, thankfully it’s one of those Italian words that rolls off the tongue quite easily. You can master it quickly.
Here’s a quick guide to a few uses for birthdays, new births, anniversaries, christenings, holidays, engagements, weddings, new jobs, graduations, etc.):
“Auguri” – “Best wishes.”
“Tanti auguri” – “Many well wishes.”
If you want to be be a little more formal, or specific, you could say something like:
My extraordinary artistic mother lit the fuse of my imagination.
My brilliant engineering father taught me how to construct a plan and a path towards making something happen.
I am indeed fortunate that such beautifully intertwined influences (and gene pools) came together to create this being called Jed Smith (and my two enormously talented sisters). Though Liz and Ed already have taken flight from this earthly realm, they remain the two brightest stars illuminating my path and the journey towards an endless world of possibility.
Last evening, a stroll through the magically lit streets and alleyways of Treviso prompted this realization. I was overcome with gratitude, and my subsequent meanderings through the city left me contemplating the following questions:
Just who and what are the numerous stars that illuminate your path?
Wishing you the best of holidays my dear friends and followers!
May the season be full of joyful surprises, like the one above that I experienced just yesterday while strolling through Venice. Everything “arrives” differently in Venice, so I guess it should be no surprise that Santa travels by boat here and not by sleigh!
Who knows what Santa will bring me in the way of adventures in the coming year. Stay tuned!!!
It seems only fitting, with the holiday season, to devote a post to the standard-bearer of celebratory wines here in Italy – Prosecco. Until recently, I had been sloppy about my Prosecco knowledge. That is, until my partner and I took the forty-five minute drive from Treviso to Valdobbiadene. This town and area, my friends, is THE bullseye when it come to the gold standard for prosecco.
Prosecco continues to become all the rage outside of Italy. But beware of what you’re buying!
I’ve been one of those people – you know, who gets excited just hearing the word prosecco, without really understanding the vast differences between what is being marketed as prosecco. I’ve learned there are plenty of differences, and a lot of the prosecco being exported is appealing to the general idea of prosecco, and not to the elegant subtleties. The good news is that most people really enjoy the prosecco they are buying at the local grocery or wine shop. But, come to Italy and spend a day in Valdobiaddene, and you might realize you’ve been short-changing yourself.
A day of tastings in Valdobiaddene will help you zero in on the style you like best.