Stephanie is Moving to Italy! (For Real This Time)

Of all the questions I am asked “when are you moving to Italy?” is one of the most frequent.

You see, awhile back, a long while back, I announced that Mike and I would shortly be moving to Italy! We were just waiting for him to get his citizenship in order and then we were ready to take off.

Except we didn’t. The bureaucracy took much longer than expected, so we got married and went to Mexico instead. Then we decided we missed the US and ended up moving to Seattle. Then we got a couch, a dog, and a baby. For a while the Italy dream seemed to be moving further and further away.

Until now, because we are finally doing this thing. Flights have been purchased, AirBNB’s booked, and the departure date is set for October 28th.

Only 4 years behind schedule.

So, now that the main question is answered, let’s get to the follow-ups:

Why Now?

Carb-happy baby

Basically we ran out of reasons not to! Part of the reason we settled down in Seattle was because we wanted a certain level of normalcy and we wanted to have a baby. Well, we had the baby and we’re getting kind of sick of normalcy, so it seemed like a good time to shake things up again.

I truly love Seattle but I’ve grown weary of living in Capitol Hill and being awoken by drunken fights and sirens every weekend. The cost of living here is insane, and it’s only getting crazier. It’s hard to envision a future here that we can afford.  We have great friends here but other than that, there is nothing tying us here.

We want to get back into a routine of frequent travel and exploration, and we want to show Marcella the world. It will be a lot easier to do that in Europe, and once we’re not paying exorbitant Seattle living expenses. And we want to live abroad again, and soak up some Italian culture, before Marcella is old enough to start school.

Our lease is up at the end of October so it seemed like the right time to make the leap!

Where Are You Going?

We are headed to Bologna, in the heart of Emilia Romagna. It’s almost smack dab in the center of Northern Italy. I’m not 100% sure that is where we will end up, but that is where we are starting out at least.

Why Bologna? It’s been on our radar for a long time. Here are just some of the reasons:

  • It’s a university city (actually home to Europe’s oldest university) which gives it an intellectual vibe we like. It’s one of the most progressive places in Italy as well.
  • It’s the main rail hub of Northern Italy, making it extremely easy to get around the country. It’s just 1 hour from Milan, 40 minutes from Florence, 2 hours from Rome and 2 hours from Venice.
  • It’s got an airport with lots of cheap flights to all over Europe.
  • Bologna is often called the food capital of Italy. The city, and surrounding region are known for their amazing food. Last time we were in the area we visited gelato university and sampled authentic balsamic vinegar in nearby Modena.
  • We just feel good about it. That’s the baseline for any move right?

For How Long?

I’ll tell you the same thing I said when we moved to Seattle: until we get tired of it. Bare minimum we will be in Italy a year, but probably more like 2 or 3.

How Are You Doing This?

Long-time readers will remember Mike’s quest to obtain Italian citizenship jure sanguinis. Basically, because his grandmother was born in Italy, he could apply for citizenship. It wasn’t an easy process, in fact, it was a pretty big headache that took over 3 years, but completely worth it.  Mike is now the proud owner of an Italian passport.

Because he has citizenship Marcella is now automatically a citizen too. We are still in the process of obtaining my citizenship, but all of us are now able to live in the EU for as long as we like- pretty sweet deal!

Add to that the fact that Mike’s job is 100% remote and that I am self-employed, and we are pretty good to go.

What About Leo?

Do not worry for one second, Leo is coming too! He will be a jaunty little Italian dog soon.

But Where Will You Live? What About Your Stuff? Do You Even Speak Italian?

Yeah OK, it’s not super easy to pick up and move to another continent, especially with a dog and a 15-month old in tow. We are game though. I promise we’re not just mooning around daydreaming about pasta and Italian sunshine. There have been some sleepless nights worrying about all the details, and there is some major list-making going on right now.

We’re working on our Italian, slowly off-loading all the stuff we’ve accumulated over the last 3 years (spoilers: it’s a lot of stuff) and doing as much research as possible. I’ve booked an AirBNB for the first month and we will hunt for a place once we arrive. If you know anyone who lives in Bologna, or who has moved to Italy, I would love to talk to them.

Even so, We are very excited (Mike and I are anyways, Marcella and Leo are fairly oblivious). Hopefully I will be able to share some of that process here on Why Wait for other ambitious expats.

So brace yourself for a slew of posts on pasta, cheese and all things Italian. Think you can handle it?

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26 thoughts on “Stephanie is Moving to Italy! (For Real This Time)”

  1. Bolonia is great! I went there a few years ago and totally felt in love with the city.
    As a foreigner that has been living in Italy for almost 8 years (I’m married to an Italian guy amd we live in Turin), I can say that Italy and Italians (specially Italian bureacracy) can be very frustrating, but a lot of things make up for it.
    If you need help or advice, feel free to ask!

  2. You know we lived in Northern Italy for seven years, and we moved there with a dog and cat in tow. So feel free to ask all the questions!

    I also think Bologna is a really good choice. One of the things that made a huge impact on my experience is that I lived in a small town with no other expats. Italians aren’t the most willing to let anyone not born in to their social circle in, and having no friends to call up and go out for a drink with when things were hard or frustrating didn’t make those times any easier.

    1. Don’t worry, I will probably be sending you a list of questions soon! I know you had a trying time in Italy, but I think you are right that being in a bigger city will help.

  3. Great chance to raise a bilingual child. Now’s a good time to do it. It gets more difficult
    (not impossible, but more complicated) later.

  4. As someone who just took off and traveled for a year with my one year old, I TOTALLY approve. And I love Bologna so much – that’s a really great region of Italy to choose. Good for you! Can’t wait to read about your adventures.

  5. Oh my goodness! I’m so excited! My family and I are actually moving to Florence in July, so it sounds like we’d be pretty nearby! If you ever want to meet up once you are there, just let me know.

      1. That would be great! We are currently in the dreaded (or at least for me) apartment search stage, but maybe Bologna will be easier for that! We are also moving with a toddler and a pet, so I might have some tips once we get there if you need them. Good luck!

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