As you likely know by now, I'm moving to Italy! At the time of writing this post, I am in Calabria on a "working" vacation.
Not that I am working hard! I secured a house to rent in the fall with an amazing landlord. I have also met several amazing expats who I am excited to get to know.
Initially I planned to move to a tiny town on the Ionian sea called Soverato but my dream house is 5 minutes away in another town called Montepaone.
I get asked by Italians and Americans alike why I chose Calabria. Here's why.
1. I Like a Good Underdog
One thing I have noticed about Italians is that they are very biased about their part of the country and can't understand why anyone would choose to live anywhere else.
Italians in the north often look down on the south, and say that it is poor and there is nothing there.
What I like about it is that it is not your typical tourist area. There are a few Americans that come to visit, though Italians do spend the month of August by the sea.
This is not Venice. Nor Positano. You won't find many luxury vacation experiences here, and that is fine with me. Let the rest of the world past this place over.
2. The Sea!
In reality, this should be my number one. I have never seen such beautiful, calm water. It's crystal clear with a tint of blue, depending on the sky and the weather.
I live in San Diego, where the water is is freezing and turbulent. There is nothing interesting to see in the murky water.
Here, the seas are gentle. I adore floating and listening to the rocks roll with the waves. The beaches are covered with a smattering of speckled stones. I can't wait to snorkel and learn how to dive!
I'm here at the end of May, just as the town is preparing for the summer season. The lidos (beach bars with umbrellas in the sand to rent) are getting set up and ready to cater to the demand of the throngs in a matter of weeks.
In part, I'm sad I won't experience that summer energy (there's always next year) but I love that I pretty much have the beach to myself. Italians think it's too cold to swim, but for a California girl, it's just right!
3. The Tax Incentive
I'm no stranger to high taxes living in California. Italy also has astronomical taxes, on the order of 40%. No thanks.
But because the south has fewer people and less money, the government offers a tax break to expats for five or more years. I'll only be taxed on 10% of my income for that period, which may extend to longer if I buy a house.
4. Everything is Cheap
Especially coming from San Diego, which recently won the honor of being the most expensive place to buy a house, Calabria is a budget-lover's dream come true.
I pay over $2k a month for a two bedroom house in San Diego. In Montepaone, I will pay about $825 a month for...wait for it...a four bedroom, two bath house five minutes from the beach.
Food is cheap here, too. For a cappuccino and a cornetto, I pay under $3. You can't even get a small coffee at Starbucks for that!
And need I even say that wine is cheap and amazing too??
5. The People are Friendly
I speak fairly okay Italian, so my experience with the locals will be different from someone's that doesn't speak Italian. I've found them to be very patient when I don't understand, and I love striking up a conversation with someone, like are the farmer's market (pro tip: asking a farmer how to prepare a veggie will open doors in any language.)
The photo above is of me with my new expat friends. They've been incredibly welcoming and helpful!
This trip has me so excited for the real adventure, which begins in September!!