Living in Paradise: Why Calabria, Italy is the Perfect Retirement Destination

Calabria, Italy
Calabria, Italy

It is 7:00 AM and I am so comfortable. The antique bed holds me in its arms and refuses to let me go. The sun slants in my window tickling me awake. 

From the edges of my consciousness I hear the sounds of the church bells reminding the faithful that it is time to get up and come to the church in the piazza. It is time come together to start a new day. 

With my eyes still closed I smile because I am waking up knowing I am still in Italy. 

The weather is warm and moist in my village, just up the hill from the seaside town of Scalea. 

Santa Domenica Talao
Santa Domenica Talao

I toss on a light dress and head up to the piazza. I sit at a table just outside the little bar while the owner brings me a cappuccino and a freshly baked croissant filled with sweet cream, still warm from the oven. 

The people buzz in and out of the bar tossing back bitter, black espresso and shouting to each other as they head off to work. 

The lady who owns the flower shop across the piazza opens her doors and brings out her flowers. She stops and smiles, and we wave. 

Seven years ago, my husband and I purchased a house on the top floor of an ancient building in the hilltop town of Santa Domenica Talao, Calabria, Italy. 

After a short visit we decided that this is where we wanted to spend our best years. We wanted to wake up to the church bells, gaze at the sea from our balcony and laugh as the swifts dip, dive and buzz our heads. 

And we have never looked back. 

Diamante, Italy
Diamante, Italy

When travel guidebooks talk of Italy, they rhapsodize about the regions north of Naples. They completely ignore the South of Italy and in doing so, do a grave disservice to their readers. 

There are so many reasons that Calabria is the dream destination not only for travelers but also for expats. It is tough to list just a few. 

Chris, Giacomo and Roseangela in Tortora

The prices

Southern Italy traditionally was considered the poor region. While this was true before the 1950’s it is not true now. 

Nonetheless, the prices are ridiculously inexpensive compared to Rome or anywhere in Tuscany.

A cappuccino in Rome costs about three euros whereas a cappuccino and pastry costs one euro thirty in my village.  

Hotel accommodations are almost half what you would pay for similar accommodations further north.

Lunch in Scalea
Lunch in Scalea, Italy

Healthy living

Most mornings I visit my friend Nunzia who owns the store in the piazza. Parked nearby is an ape, the little three wheeled truck that is ubiquitous in Italy. It is filled with whatever produce is leftover from family farms for Nunzia to sell.

Today it is peaches, still fresh and fragrant with their leaves still clinging to them. Tomorrow it will be tomatoes as big as your head, sweet and juicy from the Calabrian sun. 

Every Tuesday the fish man comes through the village with his loudspeaker announcing the fresh catch of the morning. 

Your dinner has just been pulled from the Mediterranean.

Olive oil is a staple and the Mediterranean diet has been touted as one of the healthiest diets one could adopt. Italy as a country ranks among the highest for longevity. 

Santa Domenica Talco
Santa Domenica Talao, Italy

The community

When my husband and I first arrived in our village we must have been a sight. I am a tall blonde lady with wildly curly hair. My husband is of Northern European descent. In short, we are very different than the average villager. 

Nonetheless we are accepted with open arms by everyone. 

Our village is a giant family, I witnessed this one night as Nunzia and I took the passagiata (the evening walk). We stopped and kissed all the babies. We chatted with neighbors. We celebrated their joys and mourned their losses. 

Throughout the piazza women walked arm in arm. Men played cards at tables outside the bar and everyone belonged. They are part of something bigger than just themselves or their nuclear families. They are part of the village. 

I truly believe that the absence of mental health issues in our village stems from this vital fact. They all belong and everyone is loved and accepted, even a lanky blonde with faulty Italian. 

Sicilian pastries
Sicilian pastries

The food is art

Calabrian cooking is becoming famous. Most Italian food you enjoy in the US has its roots in Calabria.

Many Calabrians came to America in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s bringing their recipes with them. 

Since we are right next to the Mediterranean, seafood is king. Tiny anchovies dressed in lemon grace our plates while calamari, fried with impossibly light breadcrumbs, come next. Octopus, swordfish, cuttlefish, giant prawns, clams and other shellfish are plentiful. 

Most of the restaurants in the hill towns serve house made products. The pasta is hand made, the sauces are crafted from old family recipes and the bread is as fresh as it can be, having come out of the oven that morning. 

Traditional pizzas are baked in brick ovens and topped with a perfect sphere of mozzerella di bufula.

Pizza Talao
Pizza Talao

The wine is amazing

Most of the wines in Calabrian restaurants are locally created. Calabria is known as the Mezzogiorno or the “midday” region. The sun shines most of the year and the mix of sea air, bright sunshine and rich soil seems to be the perfect environment for wine grapes. 

The wine is light enough to avoid interfering with the cuisine and you taste the fruit rather than just the alcohol. It pairs perfectly with Calabrian specialties.

The pace

It’s rare to see a Calabrian rushing off somewhere. The pace of life is softer and gentler than I am used to. 

The focus in life is life. The joys and sorrows, the family times together and views of the sea are vital to my neighbors. Work gets done but it is given its proper importance. 

Lao River Valley
Lao River Valley

The landscape

Calabria is home to miles upon miles of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. The stretch of seaside from Scalea down to Reggio Calabria boasts of stunning beaches and picturesque seaside fishing villages. 

Looking inland you see the dramatic, jutting mountains that turn from pink in the morning to grey to purple as the day progresses. The mountain ridges carry tiny hill towns on their backs while little farm houses dot the fields below. 

My favorite pastime is sitting at the restaurant at the edge of my village, gazing at the 360 degree view first of the mountains, then the sun setting over the Mediterranean and finally the village glowing gold and looking so much like a fairyland that you have to look twice. 

Everywhere you look in Calabria there is something jaw droppingly beautiful. The sea is crystal blue and warm, magnificent art and architecture are everywhere, and the people, so willing to smile and hug you are the most beautiful sight of all. 

My Beautiful Friends Nunzia
My Beautiful Friend Nunzia

The people

Calabria is home to some of the toughest and yet most warm and loving people I have ever met. 

Not so long ago, these people eked out a living from farms and the sea. They withstood the horrors of two world wars, and yet when you approach them, they smile. 

It is so easy to make friends. There are several expats in our village.  We all get along and we all fit into this little village of disparate personalities and backgrounds.

Pizzo, Calabria

Calabria is a great jumping off point for travelers

A short trip south on the train is Lemezia Terme airport. From there you can catch cheap flights to anywhere in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

From Santa Domenica Talao you can drive east to Bari, Puglia and take a ferry to Greece. 

Or you can drive south to Reggio Calabria and take the ferry across the Straits of Messina and over to Sicily. 

The travel possibilities are endless. 

Shopping in Diamante
Shopping in Diamante

We are there 

And we want to share this idyllic life with everyone we know. 

Book your flight and head over. You too can wake up to the church bells and enjoy the healthy and beautiful Italian lifestyle. Your best years are ahead of you. Give yourself the gift of Calabria. You will never want to leave. 

Call us. We can help you plan the perfect trip. Don’t miss this perfect destination.

57 Replies to “Living in Paradise: Why Calabria, Italy is the Perfect Retirement Destination”

  1. I’m sold! Italy has a special place in my heart…although I haven’t yet spent time south of Rome. I’ve another few years before retirment, but you’ve inspired me to put Calabria on my list. There’s such a tighter sense of community in Europe I think and the pace of life is much better suited to our golden years as well. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Chris,

      You’ve captured exactly what’s special about the sense of community in Europe, and that’s what we really appreciate about our village where we purchased our apartment a few years ago. In fact, a friend of ours recently made the move to our village, along with her sister, where they both plan to spend the rest of their “golden years”. We’ll be interviewing them about this experience when we visit Italy in June, so keep your eyes out here for that interview and their thoughts about living in Italy!

    2. You are so welcome! So many people are finding that the elusive “What’s missing?” in their lives is fulfilled here in Italy and especially in Calabria. There is nothing like being part of a village with all its joys and sorrows and new babies and celebrations. All my life I felt that “something missing” feeling and when I arrive in Italy it is gone.

      Even if your retirement is years away, do come! Let me know and we will roll out the red carpet!
      XO Chris

        1. Hi Melody!
          I am so happy you loved the article! Where in Calabria is your family from? Someday you must visit Santa Domenica Talao! Thank you for your lovely comment!

    3. Hi! For some reason I am just seeing this. I am so glad you liked the article. Europe definitely has a much. ore community oriented culture. I love it here. I Look forward to meeting you one day!

    1. Hi Anne! For some reason I am only just now seeing your comment a year later! Thank you for reading! I hope someday to see you in the piazza!

    1. Hi,
      A great article which persuaded me to settle in Calabria.

      I love the idea of being able to walk to the village square to buy early fresh, seasonal fruit and drink coffee while people watching.

      I’m not sure where the best of Calabria is but currently I’m viewing a house 2 k outside Belvedere Marittimo. But there are so many places to look. Any advice you could give on location? Diamante is somewhere I’m thinking of too.
      Thank you,


      1. Hi Les!
        How exciting! Belvedere is gorgeous and so is Diamante. It all depends on what your ideal scene is with regard to lifestyle. Each village and hill town has a different character and personality and I believe you have to go there and visit each one to see if you like it.
        Belvedere has a beautiful old town and I love the old towns the best. It is on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean so you do get sweeping views from up there.

        Diamante is right on the sea and also very beautiful. It is also more expensive than the hill towns or even Scalea and Praia a Mare.
        One thing you do have to keep in mind is that every August, the beach resort towns fill up to the brim with tourists. Driving is crazy and there are crowds everywhere. If you choose a hill town above the fray, you won’t have as many tourists.

        Santa Domenica Talao is a beautiful village (This is where we live) there are several ex pats there and the community LOVES Americans and has welcomed us from the beginning and made us part of their village.

        If you are looking for something near the sea, Praia a Mare is a stunning little seaside town. And so is San Nicola Arcella.
        I could go on and on but I think the best thing for you to do is to come over and visit each town and see properties. I can introduce you to Antonello who is the architect of our village and he can show you properties, and Ivan in Scalea is a great agent there and can show you all other properties in the area.

        They are both very low pressure and happy to help you find your perfect place.
        Can you send me an email at and I can send you whatever info you need?
        This is exciting!
        XO Chris

      2. Diamante’ is fantastico! I am retired from N.Y.C Long Island.I have relatives throughout the south (Calabria) and up north.My wife and I purchased a beautiful apartment in Centro Diamante’ It has been magnificent.Everyone is so friendly and loving,It’s such a joy to wake up to the wonderful church ⛪️ bells! Hope you find what your looking for.Belverdere Marittimo is also very nice, we have relatives there also!

        Neil Noble

        1. Hi Neil!
          How lovely that you are in Diamante! We love Diamante and have friends in Belvedere as well. So many beautiful places there and you are right, so many wonderful people which is really the best part! Thank you for writing! When you are there look us up in Santa Domenica or drop us a line and we can meet up.

  2. My husband and I have been to Italy twice together, he has been twice before that alone for his Navy Reserve duty. Two years ago I read about Calabria online and saw the beautiful photos of Tropea, Pizzo and San Nicola Arcella and in particular the hidden Arcomagno Beach there, simply stunning! Looks like something you would see in the next Pirates of The Caribbean Film. We fell in love with Calabria, with the landscapes, the small towns, the charm and of course the people! Most people we met did not speak much English but we could always find someone who knew some English. We carried a pocket translator with us or used Google Translate if we were stuck. We have since been to Tuscany, Cinque Terre , Umbria and Lombardy(Lake Como). While we loved all of these places, we still felt the pull back to Calabria. We will be going next month for ten days and will be looking at some properties. We are in contact with an agent who works for The Property Organiser, based out of London. They help you to navigate the process of purchasing a home in Italy, they take you to see properties, translate for you, represent you in purchasing and help you navigate how to set up a bank account in Italy. They can also place your property on their rental website. I have been in contact with their company for two years, as we knew at some point we wanted to come back here and purchase a property. Calabria is very affordable for retirees. You can rent rooms in your home for vacation rental to make extra income, you can also blog about your experience in Italy and make some income through your website. Once we retire, my husband and I plan on coming to Italy for under 6 months and then traveling to other destinations and back to the US for the remainder of the year. We don’t have plans to get citizenship but who knows, that can change at some point. We want to experience life in Italy before we start having too many medical issues and needing body replacement parts! So our plan is to purchase a small place we will visit twice a year for now and then in two more years when our son graduates college, my husband will give his notice to his employer and we will be coming to Italy for a longer term. I don’t see myself ever becoming fluent in Italian at my age but I am sure I can learn enough to get by. Do you know if there are American ex pat’s in Tropea area or San Nicola Arcella area? I know Santa Domenica Talao is not too far from San Nicola though. Thanks for your informative blog. Hope we can meet sometime when we are in Italy!

    1. Hi Kim!
      Thank you for your message here. It is so nice to receive messages from people who love Calabria as much as we do. I am very happy for you that you are getting ready to take the plunge and buy a place there.

      With regard to property purchases, we are very close to Santa Nicola Arcella and the surrounding area (Maratea, Diamante, Scalea, Tortora, Belvedere Marittimo and of course, our village of Santa Domenica Talao).

      I am happy you have found property agent however being based in England, they may not have the knowledge of the area and a good idea of what the prices should be. The property market has gone very soft for a variety of reasons and it is now a buyer’s market. And sometimes the prices are put up higher for Americans. Hopefully they know this and are aware of the specific markets associated with the specific areas.

      In Santa Domenica Talao, a friend of mine is looking at properties so I had the opportunity to tour many, many properties with the town architect who took us around. Of all of these properties, very few of them were actually on the Italian equivalent of the multiple listing service and when I told him what we paid for our property through an agent several years ago, there was a long pause on his part. And after seeing the properties available and the real prices it was clear we had paid more than we had to.

      Our architect (who also happens to be the town historian) has advised me that he would be glad to show properties to anyone who is considering purchasing a home in the village and wants to see them.

      Our village is approximately 6 kilometers from the sea, up on top of a hill just above Scalea and Santa Maria Del Cedro. It is just South of Santa Maria Arcella. The great thing about being a little removed from the sea is that you get nice sea breezes running through your house and there are fewer mosquitoes in Summer than down below.

      However the areas close to the beach are very stunning. If you choose to purchase somewhere other than Santa Domenica Talao, I recommend Dr. Ivan Luca in Scalea ( He was our interpreter when we bought our house. His English is very good. He also rents out houses for holiday homeowners and pays our bills for us. He can also show you properties for sale in Santa Maria Arcella.

      This last week he showed us some beautiful properties in Scalea and Praia A Mare that were breathtaking. My favorite was a house in Praia that had been on the market for two years, and is owned by a couple from the Czech Republic. It has a brand new kitchen, 2 bedrooms and a huge wrap around terrace with sweeping views of the sea as well as a private parking space and a huge patio that comes with it. I loved it and it was listed at 69K Euros and was negotiable.

      That is only one of several properties we saw but it was my favorite. The breezes were so nice there that you rarely have to use the AC which is important because Calabria can get quite hot and humid in July and August.

      Dr. Ivan has told me that now the notaio can help you set up a bank account for your purchase. The first thing you have to do is go to your embassy and get a codice fiscale which is like an Italian social security number for tax purposes. I would do this as soon as you can so you can be ready to make your purchase.

      How the purchase works is that you find your property and agree upon a price and terms of the purchase. Then it all goes before the notaio who goes over everything line by line to ensure that everyone is on the same page. You will need an interpreter but Dr. Luca can do this for you as well.

      As far as ex pats go, there are many Americans, English, Scottish and Russians in Santa Domenica Talao. It is truly an international community and we all come together and fold ourselves into the community and become part of it. Scalea also has ex pats and we have friends in some of the other villages and resort towns.

      We have also found that making Italian friends her his so easy that while I was there (I just returned to the states last night) every day was booked for dinners, lunches, tours and various other activities.

      Regarding learning Italian, it is not hard at all. There is an Italian class in Scalea for non Italian speakers. My friend took these classes and is now very fluent.

      I have taught myself Italian through different programs including Italian for Dummies and can get around quite respectably.

      There are several other points you raised in your note. Most of them are addressed in my interview with Bonnie Gale Oliver who recently moved to Santa Domenica and is my neighbor there.

      Here is a link to her interview. You might want to get a pen while you watch it as she gives vital information.

      As you can see, I could go on for days with advice on this. Please check out they video and let me know if you have any other questions.

      Enjoy your trip over there and don’t forget to try these restaurants while you are there. They are jewels!

      Please write me back and give me updates on your progress, what you ran into and everything that happens. Your experience will help others who want to do the same thing!

      Thank you again for writing!
      XO Chris

  3. Hello Chris,
    I really enjoyed reading about your knowledge and experiences you’ve had since moving to Calabria. My maternal great grandma (my Nonna), lived there ( not sure which town/village), so I’ve always dreamed of visiting and possibly relocating there. Besides that, my mother, 2 sisters and I have been to Florence, Naples, Rome, Venice & the Almafi Coast. My middle sis and I then spent 4 days in Sicily ( where my paternal grandpa & his family originated, afterwards. We loved the country, people and food. I especially had a warm & fuzzy feeling, it felt like I was “home,” when in Sicily.
    I do not want to buy a home, but would love to find a small, furnished house or country home to rent long term. But I can’t seem to find any descent rental listings/websites online. Most I’ve found were short term (up to 6 mos), homes with daily rentals (like a hotel would charge), many apartments listed-which I don’t want, or so luxurious and highly priced, that I’m beginning to become quite frustrated.
    Do you have any recommendations, ideas, know of any websites, contacts, etc., on how I may search for long term home rentals with better success? I won’t be moving immediately, but am very serious about visiting and soon afterwards, relocating there. I would really appreciate your help if you wouldn’t mind, or you can find the time.

    1. Hi Susan!
      I know exactly how you feel about feeling like you have come home. I feel that way too. I have a friend who is a real estate agent and he works with rentals. I will send you an email with his contact information and I am sure he can help you. How exciting! Do you know where in Calabria you want to be? Of course, I recommend our area in and around Santa Domenica Talao but everywhere I have seen in Calabria is beautiful. Look for my email and please let me know when you receive it.
      Thank you for reaching out!
      OX Chris

  4. Excellent article and photographs about Calabria. Definitely one of the best descriptions about moving to and living in a part of Italy that many never consider.

    I am interested in finding out about the quality of medicine in Calabria. I am familiar with the public medical system of Calabria, considered way below the standards of Central and Northern regions, but would like to know if in addition to most likely having a carta sanitaria, do you also have a private medical policy that allows you to see private medical doctors and possibly make use of private hospitals in such cities as Milan and Rome?

    Again, thank you for such a splendid article.

    1. Hi Robert,
      At this point my husband and I have retained our insurance coverage in the US and have not had to use the health care in Italy for anything big. I have friends who have used it and gotten good care although I did hear that the wait for a hip replacement was a matter of years. I don’t get sick a lot but if I need something like antibiotics for a sinus infection, the pharmacists here are trained to prescribe what we need I can get antibiotics over the counter for very cheap. I wish I could give you better advice but we have been pretty healthy.

  5. Hi Chris, Thank for writing this. I am looking for my Italian home for when I retire in a few years and I don’t know much about Calabria. Now I can’t wait to come and visit. I am curious, however, how hot it is there in the summer? I live in Minnesota and I’m a little afraid of the southern Italian summer heat.

    1. Hi Trout!
      Calabria is indeed a beautiful place. In Summer it gets warm and is humid. Normally it is pretty manageable unless there is a heat wave. In those cases we take naps in the afternoon and everyone comes out at night. There are only two months where it gets pretty hot at times and those are July and August. All of the festivals start in the evenings so you don’t miss anything important. During the day we tend to hit the beach or stay where it is air conditioned.
      During April, May, June, September, and October the weather is as near to perfect as I have found.

      I think the best thing to do is to come for a stay during July and August and see if it is something you can deal with. Also come during the other times because the two months of warm are more than made up for by the several months of perfect. Even in Winter we can have some warm and sunny days.

      Let me know if you want to come check it out. I will be there this Summer and would love to meet you!


  6. Hello Chris, thank you for a very interesting and informative article, and thank you also for actually replying to the questions people are sending you, it gives me hope that I may get a reply this time as I have tried and failed with a couple of other people. I moved from the UK to France 2 years ago but I am really not happy here and have been struggling to get established. The French system is not kind to people who want to start their own small business and the weather has been cold and wet for 2 of the 3 Winters I have been here, so I have decided to seek a home elsewhere where I can fit in and be part of a community. It is just me and my dogs so genuine support from a community would be wonderful, I’m 54 now and fed up of moving, would just love to stay put! I have found a village in Calabria – Vaccarizzo Albanese – who are just starting a project to revitalise and repopulate the village, it sounds great and so much of what they are doing is what I do and am interested in. I can see from your article that you love life in your village, do you know Vaccarizzo or the area it is in at all? It is really the practicalities of making a modest living and the cost of living I am concerned about, I know it is cheaper in the southern rural areas, but are things like house/car/health insurance expensive please? My house and car would be very modest, so hopefully not too much to keep going. I guess I am just trying to get a feel for everyday life, I have sent an email to Vaccarizzo so I will wait to see if anything comes of that. They sound very passionate and caring about their village, I think it would be great to be part of their project but we will see. Thank you for any advice and information you are able to give me, it all helps and I really do need to get it right this time.

    1. Hi Amanda!
      I am glad you wrote. I am sorry about your experience in France. Initially when I was looking for a foreign property I looked at France but the prices were pretty high and honestly, I was in love with Italy.

      I don’t know what the requirements are in moving to France but I assume they are similar to moving to Italy. There are certain things that you have to have in place order to do so. You can check out the video of my interview with my friend Bonnie In Santa Domenica Talao that gives really good information on what you need. We are American so the requirements may be different for us than British citizens.

      We are still working on our residency so still have things to learn in that area.

      The good news is that the Italian government and the villages in our area are very focused on expanding businesses in Calabria and creating jobs for the young people. Our mayor has just been elected the head of a consortium of the local mayors so that they are all coordinated in their efforts. I have been working closely with them because this us a cause that is near and dear to my heart. My husband and I are opening a BNB in the piazza with several units and we are getting tons of support.

      I am not familiar with Vaccarizzo except that I just googled it. It looks lovely and my experience with everyone in Calabria has been uniformly warm and welcoming.

      Alternatively you may want to look in Santa Domenica Talao. The prices are extremely low and the builder and architect are personal friends. Plus we have a lively ex pat community that is also very much a part of the village. There is a lot of support between us and it is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

      As far as insurance goes, Pete and I are still looking at what we need. I will likely do an article or a video on it once I have done the research.

      As far as the cost of living, it is very inexpensive in Calabria except for gas which is high all over Europe. The great thing is that we are only a few kms from the train station and you can get pretty much everywhere on the train.

      Houses and renovations are also very cheap. You can probably find whatever you want.

      Of course I am biased but I love our village and they are working hard to attract businesses.

      I hope this was of some help. Also you may want to subscribe to our Youtube channel as I am putting up all kinds of helpful videos for people looking to move.
      Let me know how it goes!

  7. my wife and I are thinking about moveing to italy next year .WE were going to italy this December because of the virus we cant but we will make it there next year and would like to meet with you about finding a house we just love italy we have been going there since 2004 every year .My grand parents were from italy grandmother from sicily grandfather from abruzzo please keep in contact my name is Richard my wife is Gloria last name is Corti my E-male is thank you and God bless you and family.

    1. Hi Richard, we’d love to work with you to find the house of your dreams. Do you have a regular time of year that you visit Italy? We are trying to make it out there in September but it all depends on Italy lifting their travel restrictions for U.S. travelers. Let’s keep in touch and hopefully we can meet up in Italy soon!
      Best Regards, Pete

  8. Great story! My mother was born in Castelsilano Calabria in 1920 and brought to America at 5 months old. So I have much interest in exploring this area for retirement.

    We are mid sixties and health care is an important factor on moving to Italy. I read the further south you go in Italy, the health care is not as good. I ask this due to some health issues we have. We don’t speak good Italian, communication is important in helping explain health issues. So how do you take care of your health care if something catastrophic occurs?

    Another question is humidity and heat in the summer. I once visited Sorrento in August and it was very hot and humid. Do you stay through out the summer or do you do what most Italians do and leave to go to another cooler area?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Raymond!
      In answer to your question, we have had several friend use the health care in Calabria and they were happy with it however I do want to do more exploration in our area. I have heard that they are looking at opening a new hospital close to us and that would be a great addition. I will probably do a video on this on our You tube channel once I get more data.
      Regarding the Summer months, yes it does get humid as we are very close to the sea. July and August are pretty hot but we basically go along with the schedule of the locals, taking a rest in the afternoon when it is hottest and reading a good book. We also have AC. The rest of the year is really nice. It gets chilly in Winter but Spring comes very early and Fall. last stays warm sometimes into November, making many months per year very nice to be out and about.

  9. Hi I read your story and was very impressed and happy at what I read, I am a mum of 4 kids and I am italian myself although never lived in italy and want to move with my kids to calabria in the next 5 years but was hoping to get some more information on what it is like for families and also the wages. I am currently a qualified foot health practitioner with my own business in the UK and want to move to italy and set up my own foot are business there but is there a need for foot practitioners? I have a level 3 diploma and qualified in other areas such as care work, I was a carer for 5 years, and I have been a manager for 4 years. Any information you can give would be appreciated. Thank you

    1. Hi Jeanette,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. We’re not really sure what the local market is for foot practitioners, but perhaps there are some career or job sites you could look at. In any case we wish you the best of luck in your search!

  10. I really enjoyed your article. I’ve been through the region a few times but not much in sense of exploring in-depth. I am more familiar with Puglia and north of Rome having spent most time in Tuscany on visits.
    How are things in the region mid/post pandemic? My wife and I are close to retirement and your article is making us consider this as a area of interest to move.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the article! Here in Calabria, we still have some restrictions with the main one being a green pass requirement for indoor dining at restaurants, and certain other indoor activities. I welcome you to come visit the Riviera dei Cedri area in particular to get to know the area better.
      Best Regards, Pete

  11. Allow me to introduce myself, single over 50 lady, looking for some urgent help, advice, tips for good agents to use for my property search. I am currently in Abruzzo but realised that this is not the place for me and heading to Calabria to find some luck. Please can you help?

    1. Hi Melanie,
      Thanks for reaching out to us. Please send us an email at with a little more information about what type of property you’re looking for, and with any specific areas in Calabria that you might be interested in. We can then work with you directly or refer you to one of our trusted agents.

  12. Hi Chris,
    I have never responded to an article before, but yours affected me like no other I have read. The section on Community literally brought me to tears. It connected so deeply with what I have been searching and longing for my entire life, and what people have been telling me doesn’t exist…though I have always known it did. Southern Italy has just been added to our itinerary!
    We are from Texas, and have been living in Mexico for the last year. We are looking for our forever home. For a very long time, I have felt the draw of Italy because of the exact culture of community, food, and human connection of which you speak. I am so delighted to have learned of Calabria, a region I had ignored throughout all our research.
    We will be coming to Europe in May 2022, and arriving in Italy in June. My wife and I would like to visit your village, take you to dinner, and have you share your experience with us. May we contact you once we arrive in Italy? We do not have any social media, so we would need to be able to communicate via email, phones, and WhatsApp.
    I look forward to meeting you one day soon. You are truly living the life I dream of, though mine entails a little farm up on hills behind you.
    Bless you for writing such a lovely article!

    Jannah Kirkland

    1. Hi Jannah,
      Thank you for your beautiful and heartfelt letter. I completely understand. I too had that feeling and when I arrived here I knew I had found what I was looking for. 2 years ago at an event for the mayors in the region, a reporter asked me to answer some questions in front of the group. The one question I recall was “Why here? Why Calabria” “Why would you start a business here?” I was stunned. But I realized that they had grown up in this amazing place and probably had no idea that so many people were looking for it. I told them that in America, we dream of communities like this, of closeness and connection and we would travel thousands of miles to find it and never let it go once we arrived. their faces were shining and they were beaming because I think they knew just how special it was and now they knew that they had all along what we had been searching for. It was lovely.
      I would love to meet you and share a meal. I think you will find the people you need around you here. You can write me at and we cna share contact info there.

  13. We have spent a lot of time in Italy, most recently 2 weeks touring Sicily in 2016. The “foot” is the only area we have not visited. Calabria sounds like a perfect region to retire or spend months at a time – our priorities are water, warmth and good food, and of course, the culture is a huge bonus. Thank you for your article, we will explore Calabria, and possibly cross paths!

  14. Hi Chris and Pete, I read your article with a deep connection. I have bee. Holidaying in Calabria since 2007 and bought property in Zambrone di Marina in 2009. Not everything went well with the build and yet it didn’t matter as a sense of calmness and belonging cancelled out any frustrations. 13 years on I still love every second I spend out there.

    During lockdown and working from home I made the decision to retire early and give in to the pull of Calabria. I have my flight booked for 26 April and intend spending as much time in Calabria albeit restricted by the 90/180 Schengen days. I have made moves towards applying for a National Elective Visa and hope by 2023 I will have a Residents Permit.

    I know a few people around the Pizzo area but would love to meet up with other ex Pats.

    Sue M

    1. Hi Sue, you’re very fortunate to have a property in such a beautiful location! We have a very vibrant expat community here in Santa Domenica Talao and I invite you to stop by and visit so we can meet you!
      Best Regards, Pete

  15. Hi Chris and Pete,
    I am also freshly retired and looking for a warmer place to live some time if the year.
    I live in Boston USA now but I am originally from Romania. I am thinking maybe South of Spain or Italy.
    I would like to rent for the first year but eventually to buy in an area I fall in love with. An expat community sounds perfect since I want to speak a language I know, until I learn the native language.
    Do you have any “tips and tricks” of what is best to do?
    Do you have any info, contacts, which will make it easier for me.
    I have a US passport and also an UE one. I have dual citizenship so I assume buying a property would not be a problem in the future.
    Hugs to both of you and hopefully we’ll meet one day!

    1. Hi Florentina,
      Thanks for reaching out to us. Certainly in Southern Italy you’ll find nice warm weather from April all the way through October. I would suggest a short visit to our area (you can fly into Rome and then take a train) to get familiar with the area, and of course you could rent for a longer period than that. There are a number of places in Santa Domenica Talao where you could rent. I would recommend you have a car so you can drive to the different villages and areas to see for yourself what they are like. I assume you mean it is “EU” citizenship that you have; in any case, you don’t have to be an Italian or EU citizen to purchase property in Italy. We can show you properties in and around Santa Domenica Talao, and you can contact Ivan De Luca at if you want to see properties in Scalea and neighboring cities. I hope we see you there soon!
      Best Regards, Pete

  16. Hello Chris,
    Hope all of you are doing well!
    I’m looking for a place to retire and after reading your article, I’m sold!!!
    I was looking at Southern Italy.
    I’m divorced with adult children. And I’m ready to get a small place near the beautiful sea.
    Thank you for this wonderful article!
    Michelle Cheong (from Singapore 🇸🇬)

    1. Hi Michelle,
      On behalf of me and Chris, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I’ve been to Singapore many times and it’s really a beautiful place! We’re looking forward to seeing you here in Calabria!
      Best Regards, Pete

  17. Thank you Pete!
    So happy that you like our Little Red Dot!

    I would like to visit first to get a feel of the place. Could you recommend any short-term rental? Thanks!

    Looking forward to meeting you both!

    Best regards,
    Michelle Cheong

    1. Hi Michelle,
      I’d definitely suggest you stop by to visit! You’ll definitely want to avoid August because of the heat and local tourist crowds in some of the neighboring cities. We have a couple of short-term rentals listed here that are really nice: There are others we can recommend if you want to stay in Santa Domenica Talao itself (Scalea is 10 min away and Praia is 20 min away).
      Best Regards, Pete

  18. Hi Chris,
    Great article….
    Looking for a place by the sea for 4-6 weeks starting in April 2023. Im a retired RN from Chicago but living in WI.
    Can you advise on a rental apartment on the water. Love hiking, swimming. Want to explore. Doing some volunteer work on a farm right now.
    Jean Kapolnek

    1. Hi Jean,

      We’re glad you enjoyed the article! We have a very nice rental close to the water (7 min walk) in the historical center of Scalea. For walking, hiking, and exploring, it might be very appealing to you. Here’s the link to information on the house (it’s on our website):
      Please note we offer a 20% discount to the listed rates for stays longer than 2 weeks. If you’re interested please email us at

      Best Regards, Chris and Pete

  19. I’m looking to travel October 10 to the 18th how do I make arrangements to visit Calabria specifically the area of Mammola where I was born and left at age 5
    I m 76 in good health
    Traveling solo

    1. Hi Nick,
      We’re not in the travel business now and I’m not familiar with where Mammola is. If you’re not comfortable with booking your own travel, I’d suggest you work with a travel agent.

  20. Wow, What a great find! You guys are wonderful. I am visiting next year. My grand parents are from Southern Italy and Sicily. I am a senior and my son is 35. Sadly in California it is impossible for young people to afford to buy a home, even rent is ridiculously high. We have been planning a trip and have seen the 1 Euro home advertisements. Would love your ex-pat opinion of this concept. Is there life for young people in the 1 Euro home areas?

    1. Hi Deborah, indeed in California housing costs are sky-high putting home ownership out of reach for most young people. Even though the concept of 1-Euro homes sounds enticing, most of these homes are in areas that are inaccessible (far from train stations or airports), and of course you have to budget for home renovations. It’s a much better idea to buy in an area like the Riviera dei Cedri where property prices are still low, and with tourist activity there for several months during the year, you also have the option to rent out part of your house for additional income. Best Regards, Pete

  21. Pete, I just saw this. Thanks for your response . Do you have any Vacation rental suggestions in Calabria?


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