1. Learn the language
If you haven't already got your head round the lingo, make 2018 the year you begin. There are plenty of good reasons to learn Italian: it will help your career, you'll be able to make small talk and plenty of new friends, and you'll be amazed how much easier it is to navigate dreaded tasks like tax returns. What's more, it's so easy to do, whether you stick to smartphone apps or take advantage of the people around you to practise.
Photo: Christian Hornick/Flickr
Already confident in your Italian skills? Why not try to master the basics of your local dialect: Italy is home to dozens of minority languages, all of which have a rich history and will help you feel closer to your adopted home.
2. Get cooking
One of the best things about Italy is the delicious food, but while its restaurants and cafes offer great value meals, it's even better if you learn how to rustle up a few favourite recipes yourself.
Photo: Wei-Duan Woo/Flickr
Whether you want to learn to make your own pasta, get to grips with bolognese or parmigiana, or focus on sweet treats like tiramisu, this is the year to go to your local markets, pick up fresh ingredients and start experimenting.
3. Experience one of Italy's weird festivals
Chances are you've experienced a few of Italy's unique celebrations, but there's always a new one to try. From participating in the annual orange battle of Ivrea to seeing the Venetian Carnevale in person, Italy has no shortage of unforgettable festivals.
Here are five you should attend at least once in your lifetime – but see what's going on in your local area too.
4. See more of Italy
Italy has plenty of treasures to explore, from its many Unesco World Heritage sites to bustling cities, breathtaking mountains, secluded beaches and more. You're missing out if you spend your time here confined to one town. To get started, here are some under-the-radar Italian destinations, day trips from Rome, the highlights of the 2018 cultural capital, fairytale views, and some unforgettable train rides.
5. Join a club
Living in a foreign country can get tough, so you need to surround yourselves with a good circle of friends. One of the best ways of meeting fellow expats and locals is by joining a club – try Meetup to find people with shared interests, or search on Facebook for groups and events in your area, whether you want to try a language exchange, sports team, or another hobby.
Volunteering is a great option if you want to get to know new people and give something back to your adopted country: the Italian Red Cross and Caritas are two large nationwide organizations for starters.
If you're working in Italy, you may have figured out that 'who you know' is of crucial importance when it comes to getting your name out there and getting ahead. It can be daunting as a new arrival, with language and cultural barriers to overcome, but you'll soon reap the rewards. Here are some tips to get you started, aimed specifically at expat women.
File photo: Pexels
7. Learn a skill with an Italian twist
Take a leaf out of the Renaissance artists and add a new string to your bow. Italy is a cultural hotspot, so you could learn about architecture, history, opera, literature or theatre. There's no better place to do it! In rural Italy, there's always the option of learning more about how to work with the land, from making your own olive oil to caring for animals.
A version of this article was first published in December 2016.