Despite the stereotype of Brits moving to Italy to retire and soak up the sun, most in fact came here to work and have settled in the economically favourable north of the country.
That’s according to data from the British Embassy, which launched a survey in March to better understand how to support some 30,000 Brits living in Italy post-Brexit.
Out of 1,200 responses to the poll, the findings revealed that a fifth of Brits live in Lombardy, closely followed by Lazio (18%). That leaves the other 62% spread across Tuscany (12%), Piedmont (7%), Veneto (6.5%) and Emilia-Romagna (5%).
In smaller numbers, some Brits also settled in Abruzzo, Umbria, Puglia, Calabria and Sicily.
The vast majority have been living here for a long time too, with a fifth of residents moving here between 10 and 20 years ago and more than a third moving to Italy over 20 years ago.
The figure isn’t stagnating, however, as those who have been here between one and five years amounts to 22% of respondents.
Brits are part of around 5.3 million foreign residents living in Italy, making up 8.8 percent of the country’s total population of just under 60 million, the most recent data from Italian statistics office Istat shows.
All other English-speaking countries have fewer than 50,000 nationals living in Italy each, representing less than 1 percent of Italy’s foreign population.
According to the latest figures, the United States has 15,000, Ireland has 2,900, Canada has 2,200, Australia 1,700, South Africa 600 and New Zealand just 300.
So what are the reasons behind making the move to Italy for Brits?
Around a third (34%) came here for work, followed by moving for family (29%) or to retire (27%). Currently, the majority of British nationals living in Italy are over 55, at more than 60%.
Brits are also well integrated into Italian life, the survey revealed. Half of those who took part said they had Italian family members and almost three-quarters said they had Italian nationals for friends and acquaintances.
It’s a statistic that carries through to the language spoken by Brits living in Italy, with 41% saying they use Italian more than English.
For keeping up to date with what’s happening in the country, respondents said they checked both Italian and English news sources equally.
The poll comes as part of the Embassy’s Passaparola campaign (Tell A Friend), which was set up for Italian nationals who are friends and family of UK nationals living in Italy.
British Ambassador Jill Morris stated, “The findings of our survey are particularly interesting and a testament to the high degree of integration of my fellow nationals in this beautiful country.”