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Work & Costs

Working in Italy

Anyone with an E.U passport can work in Italy but the bureaucrats will make you jump through lots of hoops first. La burocrazia is sometimes called la lentocrazia (lento = slow) in Italy and the civil servants are famous for wasting everyone’s time. The best thing to do in Italy is avoid the bureaucracy whenever possible by simply not letting them know that you exist.

Italians are keen to learn English and you can earn a living as an English teacher, earning around 1000 Euros a month. If you can build up your private students then it can be more lucrative though the real money is in teaching to the corporate world, if you can blag your way in there.

Knowing Italian is pretty vital to finding work in Italy as few speak a second language and if they do there’s a good chance it will be French or German.

If you manage to get an interview, do your best to look smart. The other Italian applicants will no doubt make you look like a tramp in comparison but they’ll make concessions knowing that you’re a foreigner and don’t know how to dress.

Wherever there’s tourism there’s a buck to be made and whilst you could ask the Africans or Indians to let you sell sunglasses, kids’ toys and handbags with them, you’re better off touting your skills; the piazzas in Florence and Rome are thick with artists offering to do caricatures, selling their paintings or else busking with chalks on the sidewalk.

Another option is to shut yourself up in a library and learn all there is to know about the great artists and sell yourself as a private tour guide. Look smart, bluff whatever questions you don’t know and you could make a good living as long as the authorities don’t cotton on to what you’re up to.

Agricultural work in the south is pretty much slave labour with corrupt farmers exploiting immigrant labour but there’s apple picking in North Italy in the autumn and pay can reach around 60 Euros a day if you pick fast.