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 Life In Italy For EU Citizens


Systems - Working Taxes and Charges - Shopping - Accommodation
Social & Cultural Life - Educational System - Life And Death - Transport
Health System


Italian Systems

Political system
Italy is a parliamentary Republic. Article 49 of the Italian Constitutions recognises the role of political parties, “All citizens have the right to freely associate in political parties in order to contribute by democratic methods to determine national policy”. The President of the Republic is elected by the Parliament in joint session, remains in office for 7 years and may be re-elected. A Parliament lasts for 5 years.

Administrative system
Executive power in Italy is exercised by the Government, which is made up of the President of the Council, appointed by the President of the Republic, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Undersecretaries and must have the confidence of both Chambers. The Parliament, which has legislative power, is made of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic.

Judicial system
The ordinary Italian judicial system is divided into two main branches that are responsible for civil and criminal law respectively. The Giudice di pace [Justice of the Peace] is responsible for administering civil justice: dealing with cases of relatively low financial value; the Court (Tribunale): it operates with only one judge sitting (‘monocratic’ composition), within a given area, in civil matters it acts as a first degree jurisdictional body, for cases of higher financial value, and also as an appeal court against sentences handed down by the Justice of the Peace. For criminal proceedings, it acts as a first degree body (for crimes not dealt with exclusively by the Court of Assizes); in both civil and criminal cases, the decisions of the court as a first degree judgement may be contested before the Court of Appeal. In every Court of Appeal district, a court is set up for minors that deals specifically with under-18s. At least one Regional Administrative Court is set up in each region. Public order is maintained by the Arma dei Carabinieri (the Carabinieri Force), the Police, the Guardia di Finanza [Finance Police] and the Vigili Urbani [municipal police forces].

The Difensore Civico [public defender] is responsible for examining and reporting public claims against cases of poor administration within municipal departments.


Italy Working Taxes and Charges

Incomes and taxation
Wages are specified in the agreement and must be paid at the employer’s work headquarters, i.e. the place of work, together with a detailed payslip showing the various items making up the wage and the tax and social security deductions required by law in Italy. The payment term is laid down in the collective contracts, which apply the principle that the wage is received after the work has been carried out. Part of the wage is the trattamento di fine rapporto [severance payment] (TFR) payable to the worker at the end of the subordinate working relationship.


Shopping In Italy

The opening and closing times of shops are determined at local level by each individual municipality in special deliberations, having regard to the general principles laid down by the national regulations (558/71 and 121/87) and any regional laws.
Shops are usually open from Monday to Saturday from 08:30/09:00 to 12:30/13:00 and from 15:30/16:00 to 19:30/20:00. However, in the large towns and cities and in tourist areas many outlets, especially those in shopping centres, and supermarkets in general are open for longer hours.

Some are open on Sunday mornings, and others are open in the evenings during the week until 22:00; in some cases shops are open all day on Sundays.

Different regions have their weekly closing days on different days in the week. In the big towns and cities, non-food shops and large stores are open continuously, so that working people can go shopping during their lunch breaks. Many large stores have a bar or a lunch-counter inside, where it is possible to have a quick meal.

During the last few years many large shopping centres have been built, usually located outside the centres, which are subsidiaries of the large international chains (Lidl, Auchan, etc.) offering, in addition to discounts on food prices, savings on popular consumer products.

Pharmacies are open during normal shop opening hours, but one pharmacy stays open 24 hours a day on a rota system within each neighbourhood or each small town; consult the local papers to find out the rota.

Banks are generally open from 08:30 to 13:30 and from 14:30 to 15:30, from Monday to Friday. In the large towns and cities, and in some tourist areas, some banks open on Saturdays too. In any case, all banks now have ATMs for cash withdrawal and for other transactions such as mobile phone recharging or paying various bills; there are also ATMs in rail stations, shopping centres and other busy locations.

Restaurants are open, as a rule, in the north from 12 noon to 14:00 and from 19:00 to 21:00, while in the south lunch and dinner are taken later; in addition, in the large towns and cities and tourist areas it is possible to find restaurants which are open without a break or which stay open late. Fast food and pizza restaurant opening hours are significantly longer everywhere.

Public offices are usually open from Monday to Friday in the mornings, and in recent years increasing numbers have changed their hours to open to the public in the afternoon. Opening hours vary from one authority to another and from one region to another. It is advisable to telephone before visiting an office.

Credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.
There are a number of consumer-protection offices to call if the need arises.



When buying a house, a mortgage loan for purchasing a property for a maximum 75% of the total purchase price may be obtained from banks or loan institutions, and is repayable over 15 or 20 years. You must consult a notary public to verify the terms and conditions of sale, and to stipulate the purchase agreement .

Rental agreements, on the other hand, are drawn up between the landlord and tenant in written form. The rental agreement must indicate the duration, the monthly rent, the obligation to give notice if withdrawing from the agreement and obligatory payments for routine maintenance and repairs to the property. The agreement must be signed by the tenant and landlord and registered by the house owner at the Ufficio del Registro [Registry Office] within 20 days of signing the agreement. The registration tax is 2% of the annual rent. The registration must be renewed each year. A cautionary deposit payable to the owner is generally required. This amounts to two or three monthly rents and is returned at the end of the agreement. Unless the contract is registered, legal tax breaks and allowances cannot be claimed by the landlord or tenant. For information on types of rental agreements, contact SUNIA (Sindacato Unitario Nazionale Inquilini e Assegnatari [National Union of Tenants and Licensees]), present in all Italian regions.


Social & Cultural Life

Italy is famous throughout the world for its beauty, with a unique natural environment and historical and artistic heritage, to such an extent that it is called ‘ il bel Paese’ [beautiful country]. Its cities of artistic renown still bear indelible witness to the country’s history, culture and artistic millennia. In Italy there are various ways of spending one’s free time: taking up a hobby, practising a sport, going to concerts or plays and attending folk or sports events; visiting cities and towns renowned for their artistic treasures, squares and roads, churches, buildings, archaeological sites, museums or enjoying the pleasures of shopping, sitting relaxing with friends in a bar sipping a cappuccino or a glass of fine wine or trying out a host of gastronomic delights (from the finest restaurants in towns and cities famous for their cuisine to the humblest restaurants you can find in quaint corners of old town centres or along any road in Italy).


Italian Educational System

The Italian educational system was reformed in 2003 by means of a law whereby the education and training system is divided into:
infant school for children aged three to six
first cycle including primary school and secondary school, 1st grade
second cycle including the high schools [licei] and the vocational education and training system.
Children up to three years of age may attend kindergarten.

The first education cycle is compulsory and lasts for 8 years divided into 5 years of primary school and three years of first grade secondary school.

At the end of the first school cycle, compulsory training must be given. Compulsory training may be delivered in one of three ways:

Continuing in the school system
Attending a vocational training course
By means of an apprenticeship
A substantial reform has taken place in the Italian university system that divides the system into two training cycles: a three-year degree and a specialist degree.


Life And Death In Italy

Upon the birth of a child, the health authority issues a birth certificate to the parents, who must register the birth of their child within 10 days. The declaration must be taken to the municipio (town hall) of the Municipality in which the child was born or to the parent’s Municipality of residence.

A visit must be paid to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the municipality of residence of one of the future spouses and the intention to marry declared The registrar, together with the future spouses and in the presence of two witnesses, draws up in legal form the document in which the banns are to be published, the summary of which must remain on display for eight consecutive days at the town halls of residence of the prospective spouses. After this period, a certificate attesting to the publication of the banns is issued. The parties concerned then have six months in which to marry; otherwise, the procedure lapses and must be repeated. The marriage ceremony may be performed by the mayor or one of his delegates, or by a minister of the Roman Catholic Church. Through the Concordat between the Italian State and the Catholic Church, the latter performs the functions of the State in marrying the two persons.

If a death occurs in a hospital or private dwelling, a physician of the competent ASL draws up a document certifying the death, which the spouse or heir must take to the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in order for a death certificate to be made out and the deed authorizing the burial to be obtained. If, on the other hand, a death occurs as a result of a road accident or in ‘violent’ circumstances, a death certificate issued by a magistrate and the burial permit from the Public Prosecutor must be produced in addition to the document from the physician. Afterwards, the death certificate is produced in legal form.



Because the cost of public transport generally varies from town to town, it is advisable to consult the local transport company’s official website. The motorway system requires payment of a toll, which varies according to the type of route. For information on trains, flights and other transport networks, consult the websites shown below. In particular: once you have selected the town or city you require, you can look up timetables, routes, prices, services offered etc.
Remember that before you take any form of public transport, you must obtain an appropriate ticket that may be purchased on line or from a newsstand [edicola] or tobacconist [tabaccaio].


Italian Health System

In Italy, all citizens, residents and foreigners in possession of specific requirements have the right to general medical assistance provided by a general practitioner, and for those under 14, a paediatrician.
A citizen of a European Community country arriving in Italy with form E111/European Health Insurance Card has the right to urgent medical treatment. If they present the form to the relevant local health authority (Azienda Sanitaria Locale) (ASL) they can receive medical treatment equivalent to that available to an Italian citizen.

Registration with the national health system is effected by choosing a general practitioner or a paediatrician registered on the relevant list available at the district offices of the ASL. A health card is issued at the time of registration, which must be presented in order to receive health services.

For more information and to keep abreast of recent developments, contact your local health authority (consult the phone book for addresses)



Source: European Union © European Communities, 1995-2008








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