There are many reasons why Italy is a great place to raise a family. These revolve around the Italian family culture, which allows children to form strong family bonds and to participate in all aspects of family life, the Italian public education system and public healthcare and the support that local communities provide to families.
If you are interested in finding out more about why Italy is a great place to raise a family, then this article is for you.
1. Italian families are embedded in community and cultural life
If you decide to raise a family in Italy, it is unlikely that you will feel alone. In fact, Italian families tend to have a wide support network around them consisting of their wider family and local community.
It is easy to make friends in Italy and it will be easy for your children to have friends. Italian families easily get close to each other, and Italians are naturally generous, so it’s not uncommon for children to spend a lot of time round friends’ houses. This might also help with your childcare needs if you are busy at work.
Culture is very pervasive in Italy so you’ll be able to engage in many cultural activities that include the whole family, not only in large cities but small towns as well.
As a general rule, Italians don’t tend to live a segregated life, and even in larger cities people usually have a large circle of people around them and a network of connections. This network naturally expands when you have children because children lead you to meeting other families who also have children and making connections through your child’s friends.
This can contribute to you feeling supported and included in your local community, and it is highly likely that, if you are in need, you will have someone to turn to for help.
As an example of this mindset in Italians, if you have a problem and are talking to an Italian friend, their first question to you tends to be “do you know someone you can ask this question who might know the answer?” or “ask that person, maybe he/ she knows someone who can help”.
As a general rule, Italians tend to turn to connections and people they know when they need help, rather than turning to a more “anonymous” service to the public or browsing the Internet for answers.
The Italian way of relying on friends and connections for help is likely to help your children develop their social skills and form strong bonds as they grow up.
On the flip side, however, if and when an Italian relocates abroad, their instinctive need for community support and a social network might lead them to feel lonely or lost in the early stages.
2. People of all ages are integrated into the Italian family life
Italian children tend to be included in (almost) all parts of Italian social life.
For example, in many areas of Italy, particularly smaller cities, if you take a walk late at night with your family, all you are likely to see is other families, including children of all ages, enjoying themselves and walking, chatting, eating ice cream and socializing.
Italy has a strong culture of children participating in the family life, helping out with chores at home, being involved in discussions and expressing their opinions.
There isn’t much of a feeling of division between children and adults within Italian families. For example, children eat at the same time as the rest of the family as soon as they are able to sit up, or even earlier and, after dinner, they take part in family activities such as going for a walk, playing games or watching TV.
The fact that Italian children tend to be included in all aspects of social life is helpful for their development, and is also nice for the whole family, as you get to share a lot and spend quality time together.
3. Italy provides a safe environment for children to grow up in
As a general rule, Italy is a safe place to live, and you get a feeling that there aren’t many places which are unsafe or inappropriate for children to be.
In Italian cities and towns, all members of the family are generally safe to be out walking and spending time together even late into the night. This makes Italy a very family-friendly place, where children can be included in all aspects of family life.
4. Italy provides a high-quality education system
The Italian education system provides high-quality education in public schools, so you can expect your child to come out of school with a very good all-round education which is at the very least comparable to the standard of a private school in the US or UK.
Italian education is not on a regional system, like in the US. Instead, Italian schools have a uniform curriculum, and so you will get access to good quality education for your child wherever in Italy you decide to locate.
The cost of University in Italy is very low. Just as a comparison with the US or UK, consider that university tuition fees range between around 500 and 2,300 Euros per year!
No student loans are given. Instead, there are limited or occasional student bursaries that only students who fit certain eligibility criteria can access.
Because University tuition fees are affordable, Italian families are usually able to pay for, or contribute to, their children’s university studies. This means that teenagers and young adults are not left with a large debt at the end of their studies.
5. Italy offers high-quality public healthcare
It is certainly possible to choose to have private healthcare in Italy, but the Italian public healthcare is very high quality, and at least comparable, in most cases, to private healthcare in other countries. In Italy, waiting lists for routine medical procedures don’t tend to be excessively long.
Italian doctors, whether family practitioners or specialist, are highly qualified and have undergone very many years of study.
The Italian system is not very good at transitioning from school or university into the world of work. This means that doctors, or any other professionals in any field, can’t easily get access to jobs until they are in their mid thirties or sometimes even forties.
This is a shortfall of the Italian system, but, on the flipside, it also means that the large majority of Italian professionals have many years of study under their belt.
6. The Mediterranean diet ensures that your family eat healthily
If you decide to raise a family in Italy, your children are likely to grow up fit and healthy. This is thanks to a combination of the Italian lifestyle, which involves spending plenty of time outdoors in nature, and the healthy Mediterranean diet.
7. Italy has good quality housing
Italians have good standards in construction, and so, if you are thinking of relocating to Italy, it is likely that you will find housing in a good state of maintenance at all price points.
Most Italian houses tend to have a family-friendly layout, meaning relatively large bedrooms, good-sized family bathrooms, kitchens which are easy to cook in and, importantly, plenty of room for storage space, such as wardrobes in each bedroom and cupboards for things like cleaning equipment.
Possible reasons why Italian houses have a family friendly layout could be:
- Because family has been at the centre of cultural life in Italy for so many generations and houses are structured with families in mind
- Because the Italians have a culture where the ability to entertain other family members is important
- Less financial resources are dedicated to construction in Italy, meaning that less construction is taking place overall, and therefore plot sizes are larger
Excluding the large cities of northern Italy where the cost of living is very high, You should be able to find affordable houses, both for renting and purchase, with a family-friendly layout.
Final thoughts on raising a family in Italy
Raising a family in Italy can be a great experience for many reasons, so if you are looking for a great place to relocate to with your family, or to start a family, Italy is definitely worth considering.
If I had to choose the number-one reason why Italy is a great place to raise a family, it would be the fact that Italian families are so well integrated within their local communities, to the point that your local community is almost seen as an extension of your family.