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Tax breaks for moving to the charming villages of southern Italy

Your sunset years can be tinged with gold thanks to tax breaks provided by the Italian government.

12 September 2022

4 minutes

An advantageous tax system is in fact dedicated to foreign pension holders who move their residence to small villages in eight regions of Southern Italy

When your working life comes to an end, you can start a new life enjoying the pleasures that Italy has to offer: an excellent climate, magnificent historic centres, the sea, hills and lakes, and food and wine of the utmost quality. All to be savoured at a leisurely pace.

These are the requirements for taking advantage of the favourable tax regime

  • Article 24-ter of the Consolidated Income Tax Law (TUIR), included in the 2019 Budget Law, concerns anyone with pension income from a foreign source, i.e. outside Italy. This applies to both non-Italians and Italians living abroad.
  • The decree envisages that income generated abroad will be subject to a substitute tax, at a rate of 7 per cent.
  • To take advantage of these tax benefits, you must move your residency to a municipality with a population of fewer than 20,000 inhabitants in one of the following regions: Sicily, Calabria, Sardinia, Campania, Basilicata, Abruzzo, Molise and Apulia.
  • To benefit from the scheme, the individual must not have been resident for tax purposes in the territory of the State for at least the previous five years.
  • The duration of the tax relief scheme is ten years from the time of transfer of residency.

The sound of silence

Some towns in southern Italy are tiny, yet steeped in history. If, after a working life spent in a busy metropolis, you feel the need for peace, these are the destinations for you.

An example: Rocchetta a Volturno, in Molise, is a medieval village with only a thousand permanent residents, and you can stroll undisturbed through the narrow streets lined with stone houses. One of these might just become yours. You are 540 metres above sea level; the air is clean, and the waters of the Volturno springs are clear and suitable for fishing. Churches and ancient monasteries are well worth a cultural visit and some time for meditation.

Only about a hundred people live in Monteleone Rocca Doria, the smallest town in Sassari area, in north-western Sardinia. It will be very easy to become involved in the life of the community. Traditionally shepherds and farmers, the residents will be able to teach you how to cultivate a vegetable garden, and in the Museum of Traditional Bakery you will be privy to the secrets of the 'white art'. The village is perched on high ground surrounded by Lake Alto Temo and the views are spectacular.

The sea all year round

From spring until late autumn, the regions of southern Italy enjoy a mild climate, and outside the busy summer season, the magnificent stretches of coastline will be all yours.

Praia a Mare
, on the Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria, boasts a long beach overlooking mighty cliffs, where even a walk in the middle of winter has its own special charm. Between July and August, the village comes to life: a vibrant interlude that will be very enjoyable.

Only four kilometres from the sea, still in Calabria, you could choose to move to Isola di Capo Rizzuto, which is actually not an island but a promontory with a breathtaking view: here you are in a protected marine area and in a village whose earliest roots date back to the eighth century B.C., as evidenced by the nearby archaeological park.

Italian style amid culture, landscapes and culinary delights

What would be a typical day in the beautiful Sicilian town of Montalbano Elicona? Well, the first stop is at the bakery to buy bread, one of the local delicacies: the loaves of bread of a size codified by tradition are made from local ancient grains and exude a special aroma. Then buy the famous provola cheeses, before relaxing in a café over a coffee granita. Stroll along the narrow streets adorned with flowers and plants, pausing at the Cathedral and the Castle on the top of the rocky headland. After lunch and a rest, the paths on the slopes, which are easily reached by car, await you.

Still in Sicily, life is sweet in Castelmola, a village from which you can admire the sea from above and wander the quiet streets without ever feeling cold. Just below is Taormina, and for a dip, you only have to drive a few kilometres to Giardini Naxos.

Both Castelmola and Montalbano Elicona are part of the Borghi più belli d'Italia ('Italy's most beautiful villages') circuit.

In the Campania municipality of Sant'Agata dei Goti, the pearl of the Sannio region, you can delight in a glass of the renowned Falanghina and Gotico wines, while in the mountain village of Scanno, in Abruzzo, you can enjoy hiking along the trails of the National Park and a lake for swimming. In Apulia, too, in Locorotondo, dinners are accompanied by fine wines, a worthy conclusion to a day spent exploring the beautiful village of Val d'Itria, while in Stigliano, in Basilicata, you could pay a visit to the thermal baths with their therapeutic waters.

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