Italy is one of the bastions of the old world and a beautiful country with some stunning locations, a rich history and of course, its world-famous cuisine. The closest point from Italy to its neighbour, Malta, is a mere 80km and it is therefore no wonder that these two countries have a lot in common. With both countries located in the Mediterranean, there are multiple routes and modes of transportation that is used daily to commute between the two countries.
Valletta, the capital of Malta and the Italian city of Syracuse on Sicily is only about 230 km apart by sea and there are regular ferry and flight connections from Malta to Catania, Naples, Rome, Milan and Palermo. Flights from Malta to Italy can be less than one hour, depending on where you plan to go.
A large number of Italian citizens and businesses have relocated over the years from Italy to Malta due to the range of economic advantages Malta has over Italy. In fact, Italians are the largest group of expats living and earning an income in Malta at just over 5180 individuals, with UK Nationals coming in at second place with 3,985 individuals according to official figures.
Malta is located further south than Italy, so it has better weather on average and with a thriving economy and very low unemployment figures, Malta has become an extremely attractive financial destination for Italians to live and work and this popularity is still growing. A flight from Sicily to Malta would take you around 30 minutes, whilst a flight to Rome would take you just over an hour. We look at some of the reasons why Italian citizens relocate to Malta:
There is no doubt that Italy has a significant economy, the ninth largest in the world with a focus on high-quality manufacturing, fashion, tourism, and agriculture. With persistent low economic growth and a high public debt to GDP ratio of around 155% (the 2021 figure), it has been challenging for the Italian government to maintain social welfare programs and finance public investments. Italy further faces high taxes, a lack of labour market flexibility, bureaucracy and corruption which hinders competiveness and makes it difficult for businesses to invest and grow.
That said, the Italian government has been implementing reforms in order to combat this such as labour market reforms, digital innovation and streamlining bureaucracy but the country’s still some way from reaching its full potential. This has led many Italians to look elsewhere for opportunities in neighbouring countries such as Malta.
According to Numbeo, Italy has a higher cost of living that Malta: the consumer price index as on February 2023 states that Italy is standing at 72.67 while Malta is at 53.73 (New York City is used as the base index of 100).
Malta on average is not as exactly as cheap as Spain, but it is cheaper than Italy or France. This is an important factor for those who want their Euros to stretch further as Malta is very affordable when it comes to for instance food, transportation and even rental housing. Although renting a property in Malta’s urban areas is comparable to that of Italy, some locations such as those that can be found on the adjacent island of Gozo are extremely affordable, starting at just €550 per month for a modern, two-bedroom, fully-furnished apartment!
Malta has a vibrant and dynamic economy, offering many opportunities for both businesses and individuals. In the last few years, Malta has become a hub for i-Gaming companies (the biggest in Europe) and it has a favourable tax regime which is very attractive to all types of foreign investment. If you are an entrepreneur looking to expand, relocate or establish a business, Malta is an excellent investment destination to consider.
Although just a stone’s throw from Sicily, Malta enjoys a more temperate climate as there are no mountains and it seldom bears the brunt of the Alpine fronts that can make Italy’s weather so much cooler and unpredictable.
Unlike Sicily and mainland Italy, Malta has no volcanoes and it is located firmly on a stable plateau of the African seismic plate, about 200km to the south of the subduction fault with the Eurasian plate. On the other hand, Italy’s location sits on the convergence of the African and Eurasian plates and the Apennine Mountains, which runs down the length of Italy, marks this boundary.
Malta is well-known for its excellent public and private healthcare systems. It has ultra-modern facilities and highly skilled medical professionals. The public healthcare system is free to all EU citizens and also to any residents that are in employment. Affordable private healthcare options are available for those who want fast access to medical services.
Maltese and English are the official languages of Malta and Italian is widely spoken. In fact, it was once suggested that Italian should be one of Malta’s official languages! This makes it very easy for Italian expats to communicate and integrate with the local community.
As said, Malta is close to Italy and no more than two and a half hours of flight time to all major European cities such as Paris, London, Barcelona, Rome and Milan from Luqa International Airport. Due to its location, Malta is perfectly situated as a hub between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East which is great for business.
Being at the crossroads of major continents and having been occupied by many nations over the millennia, Malta has a unique character and culture, unlike anything else in Europe. Influences on the region’s culture, cuisine and language can be traced to Italy, Spain, France, North Africa and even the Middle East. Malta is thus the perfect melting pot and a fusion hotspot. Just like Italy, Malta’s predominant religion is Roman Catholic.
Malta offers a safe and secure environment for individuals and families alike and violent crime is seldom heard of. Malta has also been chosen to host EuroPride from 7-17 September 2023 as it has consistently been regarded as one of the most progressive and safe places in the world for the global LGBTQ+ community.
The Italian property market has been stable, but the outlook is not positive due to high inflation, a slowing economy, political upheavals and the impact of the war in Ukraine. During the second quarter of 2022 Italy’s house price average rose by a mere 1.4% according to Idealista and when this figure is adjusted for inflation it shows Italian house prices actually declined by 6%!
In contrast, Malta’s real estate market is driven by strong demand and a positive economic outlook and during the third quarter of 2022 the property price index rose by 5.2% (1.8% inflation adjusted) with continued year-on-year increases.
When looking at the economy of Malta, it is expected that it will grow by a healthy 5.7% this year according to the European Commission with the IMF putting it even higher at 6.2%. It is therefore no wonder that many Italians cross the border in order to pursue a more prosperous life in Malta.
Language: Both Italy and Malta are countries where the official language is Italian, so an Italian speaker can easily adapt to life in Malta without needing to learn a new language.
Climate: Malta has a warm Mediterranean climate, which is quite similar to the climate in southern Italy. This can be a big draw for Italians who are used to the warm weather and want to continue to enjoy it in a new location.
Cost of living: The cost of living in Malta is generally lower than in Italy, which can make it an attractive option for those looking for a more affordable place to live.
Job opportunities: Malta has a growing economy and is home to many international companies, which can provide job opportunities for Italians with the right skills and qualifications.
Culture and lifestyle: Malta is a small, but culturally rich country with a mix of Italian, British, and Arabic influences. Italians might find the Maltese way of life and cultural traditions to be appealing.
We will navigate the market to find the right opportunity for you. In the meantime, here is a very small taste of what of properties and investment options Malta & Gozo has to offer. As an Italian Citizen you would love the maltese house of characters together with the amazing views. Send us an enquiry for property or for even luxury properties.