British Embassy in Rome survey outlines profile of UK nationals in Italy
Mostly over 55, in Italy for decades, Brits in Italy have Italian friends and watch Italian TV, a recent poll reveals.
The British Embassy in Rome launched an online survey in March to gain a better understanding of the British population living in Italy. The initiative aims to collect insights into the degree of integration of the British community in Italy and provides first-of-its-kind data to support the Embassy in its ambitious information and outreach plans after Brexit.
The survey results, mainly collected via the Embassy’s social media accounts @UKinItaly (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) will also be used to inform new communication and engagement strategies aimed at British nationals living in Italy after the UK left the European Union. Of the over 30,000 UK nationals in Italy, more than 1,200 took part in the survey, also thanks to the dissemination via newsletters and social media of English-language publications and associations of British residents. Here is a summary of the main findings.
Northern Italy, especially Lombardy (20%), and Lazio (18%) are home to the vast majority of British nationals living in Italy who can, however, be found in all Regions of Italy: Tuscany (12%), Piedmont (7%), Veneto (6.5%), Emilia-Romagna (5%) and, to a limited extent, also in Abruzzo, Umbria, Puglia, Calabria and Sicily.
6 out of 10 respondents are long-standing residents: almost 20% settled here between 10 and 20 years ago and just under 40% over 20 years ago. However, the flow of Brits choosing Italy as their new home seems to be unbroken, as a large proportion (22%) have been here for only 1-5 years.
Most Britons have settled in Italy to work (34%), while smaller numbers moved to be with their families or retire, 29% and 27% respectively. Only 2% are in Italy to study, which is understandable in light of the fact that a vast majority of UK nationals currently living in Italy (almost 60%) are aged 55+ and 20% fall into the 45-54 age group.
British nationals have also developed deep personal relationships within their communities and are highly integrated. Half of the respondents have Italian family members, while 70% say most of their friends and acquaintances are Italian nationals. These deep roots are also reflected in the language they use on a daily basis: 41% use Italian more often than English.
In terms of how they stay informed, respondents say they use Italian and English language sources equally. 24% browse mainly websites in English but a similar proportion (23%) prefer Italian offline sources such as newspapers (7.4%) and TV (15.6%) over British ones.
In a time when communication and outreach around the rights of British citizens living in Italy before 1 January 2021 are an absolute priority for the British Embassy in Rome, the information gathered on the integration of UK nationals in Italy paves the way for a new Tell A Friend campaign (called Passaparola, in Italian) that addresses their Italian relatives and friends on local media, which are particularly popular in smaller cities and remote areas of the country.
On the day of the launch of the Passaparola campaign, British Ambassador Jill Morris commented: “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. The decision to use TV, as well as national and local press for our Passaparola campaign stems from the fact that they are deeply rooted in Italy and very familiar with the language of Dante, whose 700th anniversary we celebrated just a few weeks back”.
The Embassy publish regular updates on the Living in Italy guide, available at www.gov.uk/livinginitaly, and organises regular virtual meetings on Facebook www.facebook.com/ukinitaly and YouTube, including live Q&A events and one-to-one advisory sessions advertised on its social media @ukinitaly and on www.gov.uk/government/news/meeting-british-citizens-across-italy. To make sure the harder to reach are covered, the Embassy also partners up with newspapers and news agencies to place advertisements, as well as companies and organisations throughout Italy to distribute posters and other print information materials.