This article is reprinted from International Living. Every year I look forward to reading their Retirement Index to see which of my favorite countries made the list. I have visited 7 of this year’s top 10 and 4 of these are among my favorite countries. See if any of your favorites are on the list.

The World’s Top Ten Retirement Havens

Where in the world is the best place to retire? Mexico? France? Brazil? Maybe, Italy…or Ecuador? The list of possibilities is endless. And it is all, of course, based on personal preference. One man’s paradise can be another man’s hell. We here at International Living have been in the business of scouring the globe for the best retirement destinations around the globe for over 30 years. We know a good retirement location when we see one.

The world is always changing. And opportunity shows itself in new places all the time. That’s why every year we take stock of the climate, cost of living, safety, infrastructure, accessibility of healthcare, and more, to we compile our World’s Top Retirement Havens. We look specifically at the best opportunities worldwide for retirement living.

How does International Living determine its rankings? IL editors compile, weigh, rank, and rate a series of criteria including cost of living, infrastructure, healthcare, safety and stability, real estate, special benefits, immigration perks, etc. They rely on outside sources for much of this data as well as on input from those already living abroad.

In this report we give you our top 10 Retirement Havens and the reasons why we think these are the best places to consider if you are planning a retirement overseas.

Jackie Flynn
Publisher, International Living

# 10: Italy

Sicily Coastline

They’ve given us Michelangelo, Raphael, and Botticelli… Pizza, gondolas, and scarlet Ferraris… Opera, ice cream, and Prada handbags. They’ve even given us
confetti, those bits of colored paper that shower brides and grooms on wedding days. OK, they’ve given us the Mafia, too, but who wouldn’t want to live in Italy, Europe’s most intriguing and seductive country? Just think of its warmth, style, and wonderful food…its excitable people and their zest for life…its art treasures and the architectural glories of its magnificent past…

Even if you’ve never been there, Italy is one of those places that tugs at the heartstrings. And once you have been there, you’re always looking for reasons to go back. Imagine being able to spend every springtime in Rome, Venice, or Florence…can’t you just picture yourself meandering beside the Arno river on a perfect May evening when all the terracotta roofs and ancient palaces are bathed in that special Florentine glow?

But you don’t have to spend all your time in Florence or any of the other great art cities to experience the magic. Italy’s landscapes are as gorgeous as they are diverse. Historic walled towns, timeless villages crowning dozens of little hilltops like tiaras, and fields covered with bright yellow sunflowers. Gnarled olive groves and lemon, orange, and almond trees…golden beaches and jewel-like Alpine lakes…romantic, mysterious islands…smoldering Mount Etna…the glittering peaks of the snow-covered Alps and the Dolomites…

The Italian Lake district is admittedly well-trodden, but what do you know about the islands of Sardinia and Sicily? Or of Le Marché, an exquisite region on the eastern coast that shares the same luscious Renaissance landscapes as Tuscany and Umbria, but where properties are much more sensibly priced? Or of
Apulia in the deep south, a languid land of olive trees fringed by the turquoise Adriatic Sea, and noted for its curious dome-shaped trulli houses? When you’re considering retiring to another country, one of the main questions is “What kind of properties are available and how much do they cost?” Although Italy is not generally perceived as being a bargain location for property buyers, there’s something for everybody.

Wondering if you can afford to retire in Italy? Well, you can. Although the popular areas of Rome, Florence, and Milan are admittedly expensive, not all regions are as unaffordable as you might expect. In rural areas and small towns, plenty of homes are available for less than $100,000. Often a lot less…

reprinted from International Living