The best tips for digital nomads going to Italy in 2022

Many have been living as digital nomads in Italy. I was born here, although I have been living in this country for “only” 15 years, (basically half of my life). And even if sometimes I don’t realize it, many aspects of the Italian culture are deeply rooted inside of me. Therefore, today I thought that a short guide for digital nomads traveling to Italy is a must. As I am an Italian, and I have been a digital nomad for 10 years now. I think I can give some counseling to those digital nomads that want to travel to this beautiful, yet complicated country.

Looking forward to discovering Italy from a local digital nomad perspective? ⬇️

Language for foreigners & digital nomads in Italy

Italian is the main and only language in Italy! English is not as widely spoken as in other European countries, especially in the South,  but no worries, even if you don’t speak any Italian you will manage a way to communicate. Maybe you could start by enhancing your nonverbal communication skills by learning the main gestures 🤌🏼 that are often used in Italy! (not a myth).

Although it is best for you to learn some of it during your stay. It is the only way in which you will be able to fit in and to understand the cultural context you will be living in. You can also decide to stay in contact mostly with ex-pats, digital nomads, and Italians that speak English, but my advice is to discover the city with locals and learn about their traditions while learning the language.

If you want to take some private online classes, we have some amazing Italian teachers inside DNN’s team that you can rely on, just drop us an email or DM us.

Managing money & Finding the right house

Currency: Euros 💶 (check exchange rate here)

The cost of living is a relative aspect. As it depends on where in Italy you decide to be (the South is way cheaper) and on your way of consuming goods. But on average if you want to rent your own apartment, eat healthily, and have some extra left for activities, culture, and for buying your own things. You will need around 2.500/1.500 € per month. You can live with less, of course, but based on a digital nomadslifestyle this would be the minimum.

Cash & Cards

ATMs are available in every main town and city, and since COVID-19 almost every place accepts credit cards or debit ones. Be aware American Express owners, this bank might not be accepted in many places. It is recommended to always have some cash with you, in case you want to drink a fast espresso ☕ for 1 euro, or if you encounter any nice market or tiny shop and want to buy something.

Besides, you don’t want owners to have to pay the POS commission every time, for this reason, people in Italy appreciate it when you pay in cash.

Renting an apartment as a digital nomad

Renting a house short-term in Italy might not be as easy as in other places in the world. We would recommend you to give it a try on AirbnbSpotahome, and Home to go first 🏠. Then if you want to attempt some other Italian websites (more of a headache, but you never know what you might find) you can use IdealistaVivastreet, and Bakeca. But personally, I would go with Airbnb and avoid all the possible problems and complications that usually arise in this matter (especially in Italy). Although it depends also on the city you decide to go to. If you go to a crowded, town full of students town like Bologna. You definitely want to rent your apartment online and in much advance. Instead, if you go to tiny cities with not so much rental demand, you can also decide on the go.

Traveling essentials & Moving around

Visas & Health situation

Usually, visas are not required for stays up to 90 days 🛂 (EU nationals don’t need it), but some nationalities might need a Schengen Visa. Here you can find out if you require a visa!

The sanitary situation in Italy, is quite messy since 🦠 COVID19, the Government has started putting a lot of restrictions on not vaccinated people, so if you don’t want to get the jab probably this is not the best place to be at right now. You can enter the country of course but without the so-called Super Green Pass you won’t be able to go to cinemas, bars, restaurants, museums… in summer things may change although. Official government information can be found here.

Best months to go for digital nomads in Italy

☀️ AprilMayJune, and September are definitely the best months for a sun addict like me. July and August are very high seasons, and the whole country becomes way too crowded and too warm also. Keep in mind that A/C is not common in Italy. So if you decide to come in the warmest months of the year, find nice accommodation with those facilities, or be near a windy beach, if you don’t want to suffer.

❄️ If you like cold and skiing, JanuaryFebruary, and March work as well to enjoy the Alps and its snow!

Trains & Buses

 If you want to move around the country you can either use the train (fastest) or the bus (sometimes cheaper).

There are only two train companies 🚆: Trenitalia and Italo.

Keep in mind that prices become more expensive over time, so buy your tickets at least a month beforehand if you don’t want to pay crazy prices. If you take Trenitalia you will be able to choose from three different types of trains:

  1. Regionale (slow and cheap)
  2. IC InterCity and EC Eurocity (faster)
  3. AV Alta velocità (more expensive and high speed, Italo has only this kind of trains).

If instead, you want to take the bus 🚍, you should give a look at the following websites FlixbusBaltourMarinobus and BusCenter.

Tip: this website Compara Bus (in Italian) compares all the prices available for your route, for both buses and trains.

Airplanes

If you want to move through Italy with an airplane ✈️, you can choose the most used low-costs such as RyanairWizz AirEasyjetVolotea.

Tip: use Sky Scanner to compare some available fares.

Driving licenses and renting a car

All EU driving licenses are recognized, 🚘 so if you are from another country you will have to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) from the motorizzazione.

Once you have your driving licence ready the main international businesses to rent a car are AvisBudgetEuropcarHertzItaly by CarMaggiore, and Sixt. You can use Rentalcars to compare all the prices available.

Tip: service stations are known as benzinaio.

Internet & digital stuff

Time zone

Italy is GMT/UTC + 1h Central European Standard Time, and GMT/UTC + 2h during Daylight Saving Time, and its international dialing code ☎️ is +39.

Co-workings

It is not so common to find a good deal of co-workings 🧑🏻‍💻, but in the main cities you will definitely find one that suits your needs.

For example in Bologna, Milano, Rome, Turin you can find the ones listed in each dedicated article.

Electrical plugs

The electrical plugs 🔌 conform to the European standard of 230V supply voltage and a frequency of 50Hz.

There are three plug types: C, F, and L.

  • C is the one with two round pins.
  • F is the plug with two round pins with two earth clips on the side. 
  • L is the plug type with three round pins.

You will need to pack a Type L plug adapter and a power converter if your device isn’t dual voltage.

Wi-Fi

The fastest internet is from a quite bad company called Fastweb (known locally for its horrible customer service, but you probably won’t have to deal with it if you rent an Airbnb or an all-in apartment/B&B, do that!). In the mountains and in faraway places from town there is a service called EOLO. You will usually find Wi-Fi in bars and restaurants in the main cities, if you decide to go to small towns or in the South, you might have some trouble finding available connections to work. Just in case, it is always good to have your own hotspot! 💓 (Keep in mind that in some tiny places, mobile lines don’t work sometimes).

SIM & Phone

There are old and complicated “official” phone companies 📱 such as VodafoneTIMWind, but we would rather advise you to get Iliad. Definitely, the best and cheapest option. Its hotspot works wonders for any digital nomad with its many gigabytes for a good monthly price. Besides unlimited local calls and messages, a simple user interface, and it is easy to get one, you just have to go to an Iliad point or order it online.

Sending postcards & letters

I am one of those old-fashioned people that like to send postcards and letters to friends and family 📩, so this is something I always look up to. If you are like me, you can choose between:

  1. Doing a regular sending: buy a stamp (francobollo) in a tabaccaio and then put it in any red letterbox 📮 (be careful with the sign Nazionale (national) or Internazionale (international).
  2. If you want to send a box or a letter in a faster way. Don’t buy the stamp and go directly to any post office 🏤 Poste Italiane that appears on Google Maps.Fill yourself with a lot of patience if you are planning to do a queue, or try to go as early as you can during weekdays to avoid them.

Enjoy your time in Italy!