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  • Writer's pictureMark Tedesco

​Our Italian Adventure: Relationship and Living in Italy

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Our Italian Adventure: Moving to Italy while in a relationship

PART 29: It might be interesting to share how we pulled off living in Italy for part of the year. I will post some steps we took.

We are in Puglia in the summer and then back again in the winter.

Step 1: When single, the decision to move to Italy can be simple: I have to put the logistics in place and then take the leap. But what about relationships? What if my partner has different ideas about whether to move to Italy? Or how long to stay there, or even what to do while there?

Step 2: I don't claim to have all the answers about getting both partners on the same page regarding moving to Italy, but I will share some of our experiences.

Step 3: Where to live. My partner was the first to propose residing in Europe. One day, he just asked, "What do you think if we lived in Europe after your retirement?" We could not have imagined that we would be living in Italy six years after asking that question.

I am an Italianphile, having already lived in Italy for eight years, and I have experience in the culture and language. My partner is an Anglophile and is fascinated by all things British. Living in the UK would have been his first choice.

To begin our decision-making process, we had first to let go of any emotion and defensiveness and look at the facts. So we researched both countries, England and Italy, as well as Spain, Slovenia, and France. We looked at factors such as culture, language, visas, citizenship, residency, and health systems. We also looked at the community and the possibilities of connecting with locals.

My partner's initial proposal was to live in a different country each time we stayed in Europe, but that would not work for me. I didn't want to live like a nomad. That was one of my non-negotiables.

The second step was to find the most compatible country. Further research and travel made it clear that Italy was the logical choice. We already had friends there; I knew the language, the health system was highly rated, and it could fit within our budget.

We made this decision using facts gleaned from research rather than from emotion, which helped us reach a conclusion that worked for us.

Step 4: How long. If it were up to me, I would move to Italy full-time or at least most of the year but, for several reasons, that doesn't work for my partner. So we needed to figure out how living in Italy could work for both of us.

More research. We considered living in Italy for six months in one block while living in California for the other six. But after further research and weighing our obligations in California, we decided to live in Italy for 90 days at a time, following the 90/180 model explained elsewhere in this Blog.

For us, the 90/180 model is a great compromise and works well. We get to live a big part of the year in Italy while using our time in California to take care of commitments, reflect on our experiences, and turn them into stories.

Step 5: Travel bug. Though my partner and I have the travel bug, mine is slightly different. Exploring without an itinerary is an adventure that appeals to me but can be hard on one's traveling companion. So we developed a compromise to feed the travel bug. I travel spontaneously in Italy for some days each year, usually visiting friends or going off the tourist maps. Then we also plan travel adventures together when we are in Puglia.

Insights: Meeting halfway. Everyone in a long-term relationship knows that meeting halfway, compromising, being aware of the needs of the other, and letting the other person be themselves are components of a successful relationship. Moving to Italy can put all these factors into play.

One person in a relationship may be more passionate about living in Italy than the other, but we have found that it doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”. Finding a compromise that works for both can be challenging but rewarding at the same time.

Living in Italy is helping us grow as individuals and as a couple, as we both seek to put the other person's needs front and center while not losing sight of our own.

Watch for my book coming around the middle of March, 2023: "Stories from Puglia: Two Californians in Southern Italy."

More next time.

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