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A Charming Seaside Village, Maratea Boasts a Sparkling Marina, Narrow Streets and Incredibly Blue Waters
Ancient Maratea (population 5,200) is a beautiful seaside village hidden along the Tyrrhenian Sea coast in southern Italy's rural Basilicata region. Surrounded by steep hills, rocky shore and exquisitely clear blue water, it is one of the oldest continually inhabited towns in the world and is mostly off the tourist-beaten path.
Safe and clean, the village boasts 44 churches, a sparkling marina and a maze of wonderfully narrow, medieval streets and alleyways built into the mountainside. There are two main plazas with wine bars, open-air cafes, restaurants and gelato shops (most are closed in the afternoon but stay open late into the night). Locals also enjoy several uncrowded pocket beaches (swimming is only possible from May to November). A few European tourists wander into town to stay at one of several elegant hotels during the summer months, but the place is mostly left to residents the rest of the year. There are no major cities in Basilicata and relatively few people in the entire region. It is, in fact, one of the least populated areas of Italy.
Living Costs: The average cost of living here is about $1,200 USD per month. Food and rent are generally less expensive than in the U.S., but gas and electricity costs are high. Expat retirees are also required to pay a flat 7% tax on foreign income. Modest rentals start at around $425 per month.
Relocation: A person must be at least 67 years old and have a minimum annual income of about $32,000 USD (and of about $40,000 USD for married couples) to retire in Italy. This income cannot come from an employer because retirees are not allowed to work. Retirees also need to apply for the elective residence visa.
Climate: Summers are warm and dry with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, while winters are wet and partly cloudy with temperatures in the 40s and 50s.
Medical: Ospedale Maratea is the local hospital and gets good reviews. Italy's healthcare system is efficient and is a mix of public and private healthcare systems. The public system is called Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN) and covers most care for free or at low cost. Expats may register with the local (SSN) after receiving their residence permit. Private treatment is more expensive but generally offers better facilities and treatment. Most expats choose private treatment and pay for it out of pocket or through an international health insurance plan. Medicare is not accepted outside of the U.S.
Transit: A bus runs around town, but getting to Maratea can take a little time and patience. There is a train, and A1, the coastal highway, runs through the region, but one has to drive 100 miles north to Naples to find an airport. Roads are in decent shape, but the drive through the hills to get here can be an adventure.
Notes: English is not heard too often so learning at least a little Italian is necessary. Some homes do not have internet access, but many eateries have free wifi and some of the hotels offer access for a fee.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
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