By Katerina Hojgrova - Expat living in Naples, Italy
Retiring in Naples, Italy allows you to experience amazing food, beauty and…dolce far niente!
Naples, Italy's third largest city, lies on the west coast on the Bay of Naples, between the active volcano Vesuvius and the Campi Flegrei volcanic area. This magnificent and beautiful city is full of history and traditions and was founded around the 8th century BC.
For over 2500 years of its existence, it has been both loved and hated, and its status is anything but ordinary. Controversy is omnipresent in the city, as is the smell of pizza. On the one hand, there are the most beautiful panoramas, the sublime monuments, the glittering sea and the breathtaking Vesuv. On the other side, there are people arguing, wild scooters, and garbage melting. As Neapolitans themselves say, it's impossible to have a neutral relationship with Naples, you either love it or hate it. Anyway, it will arouse feelings and passions in you.
That's exactly what happened to me. Our relationship, me and Naples, was changing like the relationship with an enemy who becomes your lover and finally your lifelong love.
I first came to Naples ten years ago to study. Over the next ten years, I returned to the city for longer and shorter periods of time until I finally decided to stay permanently.
Why, you ask?
Simply because in Naples...they know what it means to live life to the fullest. Whether we're talking about the food, the culture, the breathtaking views or the warm weather, one can live a wonderful and happy life and retirement there. Of all the positives that in my opinion together create this unforgettable atmosphere, I have selected those that should not be overlooked.
Pros of Retiring in Naples, Italy
The first ever pizzeria was opened in Naples. It was called Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba and opened in 1830. It's still open today so be sure to check it out!
Cons of Retiring in Naples, Italy
As mentioned in the introduction, there are also a number of inconveniences you may encounter in Naples. But nothing is as bad as it first appears.
Best Areas in Naples, Italy to Retire
It is said that a thousand people have a thousand tastes. Naples is divided into 21 different districts, each with its own distinctive style and atmosphere. These are the best ones to consider when retiring in Naples:
- Vomero - Vomero is for those who like elegant and romantic neighborhoods. Vomero offers promenades, parks, villas, art, castles and museums with spectacular views of the Bay of Naples. There is limited traffic and a pedestrian area for long walks.
- Posillipo - Posillipo is a residential, panoramic neighborhood that offers incredible views of the Bay of Naples. It is close to the Mare Chiaro beaches, which are among the most beautiful in Naples.
- Sorrento - About half an hour's drive from Naples, near the Amalfi Coast, is Sorrento, one of the most popular and peaceful areas of the Naples region.
Middle standard living areas
- Pozzuoli - Pozzuoli is a beautiful Neapolitan suburb that offers much nicer prices that don't detract from the quality of life and is only 15 minutes by train from the centre of Naples.
- Campi Flegrei - For those who are more nature lovers, there is Campi Flegrei. The area offers beautiful natural phenomena where the sea meets the volcanoes and if you are not a fan of city life, this area is perfect for you
Less expensive areas
- Forcella - If you like a true southern Italian feel and are looking for a conveniently located place, look no further than Forcella. This classic Neapolitan neighborhood may be a little busier, but property prices and rentals are really low. Plus, it's close to the sea and the train station if you want to take advantage of the train connections for trips around the area.
- Bacoli - Between Monte di Procida and Pozzuoli is the hidden treasure of Naples - Bacoli. This inexpensive but beautiful periphery of Naples is very quiet but still provides all the comforts of life and beautiful historical monuments, as well as easy access to the sea.
What is the Culture Like in Naples?
Neapolitan culture in a broader sense is divided into two halves. On the one hand, it is a city full of traditions and cultural practices from the past that have been preserved and are respected to this day. Family ties to immediate and extended family are fundamental, playing an irreplaceable role in life. Respect for elders, mutual help and respect permeate across generations.
On the other hand, Naples has gradually become a very multicultural society since the 1970s so the influences of immigrant communities are also evident. Compared to the north, Neapolitan society is very open and foreigners of all nationalities can feel at home here.
The followers of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Judaism live here in symbiosis and mutual respect. As for culture in the narrower sense, it is omnipresent here. From street musicians, painters and actors to world-class exhibitions and the monumental halls of the Carlo III theater.
What Languages are Spoken in Naples, Italy?
Two languages are spoken in Naples, Italian and Napoletan. Napoletan is used in everyday communication and is a unique language listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Italian is mainly used by the upper socioeconomic class, in the authorities and in contact with foreigners.
The Napoletans are happy if you can use at least a minimum of one of their languages, the rest you can explain with your hands. At the same time, with the influx of foreigners, at least some knowledge of English is becoming common.
Naples was first settled by the Greeks some time in the second millennium, B.C. The city's name, Naples, comes from the Greek word, Neapolis, meaning "New City."
How to Get Around Naples?
Yes, at first glance, Naples traffic may seem like total chaos. Scooters going through red lights, cars turning in the opposite direction, horns blaring in the streets. In the first few days, navigating this traffic can seem like an impossible task, but believe me, after a few rides you'll understand the unwritten rules of the traffic jungle.
Owning a car or scooter in Naples is certainly a great advantage and it is convenient. But you can get around without it, only thing is that you just might have to wait sometimes.
Naples and its surroundings is as well served by buses, metro and suburban trains which travel to outlying areas of the city. The problem with these means of transport is that sometimes it happens that the line is delayed or closed due to frequent strikes of transport workers.
At the same time, traffic jams often form in the city. But the Neapolitans themselves don't get too excited about it except for the occasional, "mamma mia"… they just have time for everything.
Living in Naples Cost of Living Chart - 2023
1 Bdr Apartment in City
$705 per month
1 Bdr Apartment Outside City
$435 per month
Average Utilities: 1 Bdr Apt
$150 per month
Inexpensive Meal for One
3-Course Meal for Two, Mid-Range
What are Popular Activities in Naples?
Naples offers unlimited leisure time opportunities for retirees.
Beaches - During the long summer you can enjoy the beautiful sandy and rocky beaches. Discover the beauty of the adjacent islands of Ischia, Capri and Procida. If you're more action-oriented, you can learn water sports or take boat trips along the rugged coastline. Discover the most beautiful beaches like Gaiola, Marina Grande, Bagni Tiberio and more. You can play the much-loved petanque, snorkeling, or simply relax in the sound of the waves.
Hike and cycling - For hiking and cycling enthusiasts, there are excursions around the area, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Gulf of Naples. You can climb Mount Vesuvius, walk one of the Paths of the Gods, or take a cable car up Monte Faito, the highest mountain in the area.
Excursions - Being such a cultural city with a long history, Naples also offers many activities in this direction for those who love excursions and sightseeing. You can visit ancient Pompeii, the vast network of underground world and catacombs, one of the many museums or take a trip to the dreamy Amalfi Coast. There are also the thrilling Parco di Capodimonte or Orto Botanico parks around the city. The volcanic complex of Solfatara or the archaeological park of Hercolano are also worth a visit.
Discover Naples like a true Neopolitan - through full belly- Good food and drink, pizza, pasta, traditional cheeses and prosciutto, fragrant tomatoes and the full flavor of olive oil are an essential part of every Napoletan's life. But you can't hurry to enjoy anything! Treat yourself to a coffee or an aperol and observe the bustling life in the streets of Naples, chat and learn to enjoy every moment of your life to the full.
Although my family does not live with me in Naples, every time I go for a walk on the lungomare (seafront) promenade, I think of my grandmother. How she would love to sit here on the bench, watching the sea shimmering in the sunlight, reading that book and not going anywhere. Naples means living in the moment and being simply happy.
Do I Need a Visa to Retire in Italy?
You will need a visa to stay in Italy long term. One of the most common types of visa for retirees is the Italian elective residence visa (also known as the "retirement visa"), which is issued to foreigners who intend to retire in Italy and have sufficient funds to support themselves without having to work. To be eligible for this visa, you'll need to show that you have a stable income and that you can provide for your living expenses in Italy. You'll also need to provide proof of medical insurance coverage and pass a criminal background check.
Other types of visas that may be relevant to your situation include the long-stay visa (for stays over 90 days) and the Schengen visa (which allows for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period). The specific requirements for these visas will depend on your individual circumstances and the purpose of your stay.
It's important to note that visa requirements can change, and it's always best to consult with the Italian consulate or embassy in your home country to confirm the latest requirements and procedures for obtaining a visa.
Hot tip >>> If you have Italian heritage, you could qualify for Citizenship by Descent and get an Italian passport.
Living in Naples Quick Facts
Short, muggy summers without a lot of rain. Longer winters that are cold and wet. Average temps are from 42°F and 86°F (5.5°C and 30°C)
Flight time to U.S.
11-12 hours by plane to New York and 2.5 hours from London.
Buses, metro and trains