How to Start House Sitting in Italy (+Get Free Accommodation)

In this article, I’ll outline the best ways to become a house sitter in Italy. Since leaving my home in the UK in 2022 and embarking on a global traveling adventure, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy two fantastic spells in Italy. House sitting has played a big part in allowing me to travel extensively … Read more

The post How to Start House Sitting in Italy (+Get Free Accommodation) appeared first on Goats On The Road.

In this article, I’ll outline the best ways to become a house sitter in Italy. Since leaving my home in the UK in 2022 and embarking on a global traveling adventure, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy two fantastic spells in Italy. House sitting has played a big part in allowing me to travel extensively while also saving a fortune with free accommodation along the way.

Knowing where to look and how to secure great placements is key. It can be a little daunting getting started, so I’m happy to be able to give you the best of my years of knowledge and experience to get you successfully on the road to house sitting in Italy.

Italy has always held a special place in my heart. It was the first country my husband, Rob, and I really explored in-depth. So much so that he now speaks Italian to a pretty decent level. It was also while sitting in a lovely cafe in Milan that we decided that traveling permanently was what we wanted to do.

Beautiful Italy is full of culture, history, world-class food and wine. It’s also home to some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever met. With a huge number of house sitting opportunities available, from the beaches of Sicily to the piazzas of Turin, let’s get started.

How to Become a House Sitter in Italy

Many excellent websites post house sitting jobs in Italy. With some varied memberships, price options, and different features for each, finding the right website for you is an important first step. I’ve outlined all the details for my top 5 here.

1. Trusted Housesitters

A young labrador puppy kissing a woman as she kneels in a beautiful green meadow with the setting sun shining between them.

Trusted Housesitters has been my go-to house sitting site for over 5 years now. It’s by far the biggest site of its kind on the market with over 7,000 active listings worldwide currently looking for sitters. It’s a great platform that’s easy to use with some very beneficial features for house sitters.

One feature I particularly love about this site is the option to save my search filters so that I can be alerted when the right listing comes online. Being quick to apply for postings is important and this feature is a great way to ensure you don’t miss any perfect placements that come up.

Having the most listings and being, in my opinion, the best house sitting website around does bring with it a bigger price tag than others on this list. Priced at $260 a year, the top-tier membership includes benefits cancellation insurance, enhanced customer service, and more. The more economic basic membership at $129/year is a more affordable starting point.

Save some money when you sign up by using GOATS20 for 20% off any membership option. Or join using this link.

2. Mind My House

Senior couple posing with a wales corgi dog at terrace.

There’s a lot to like about Mind My House, and it’s a great website for newcomers wanting to test the waters. Priced at just $29 a year, it’s an affordable platform that has some great features.

Mind My House is one of the longest-established house sitting websites having been active since 2005. The owners play a day-to-day role in the customer service which I feel gives it a close and personal feel. The stats portion of the website is an excellent addition that allows everyone to see exactly how many people are using the site and where they’re based.

Homeowners join and post their listings for free, so you can also be sure of plenty of house sit opportunities. On a quick scan at the time of writing this, there are over 20 posts available across Italy, ranging from a few days in Umbria to a 5-month stay in Veneto! With such a low yearly cost, Mind My House is a great addition to any house sitter’s tool kit.

3. Nomador

A woman playing with a dog on the couch.

Nomador is a great choice for house and pet sitting in Italy. Although the website does list sits across the globe, they have a really strong European membership base with hundreds of postings on the Continent. The platform has most definitely taken a leaf out of the Trusted Housesitters book; it’s easy to use and has some excellent features.

The absence of an app is certainly a point against it as it requires you to regularly check your emails for updates on any saved searches. But, the premium membership offers early access to house sits and certainly gives members a head start when applying for those amazing Italian listings.

Nomador has 3 membership options, the top tier with numerous added benefits is $190/year. But if you’re still a little unsure about committing for an entire year, there’s also a 3-month ‘Discovery’ option. At $85 this is a great way to get started without a significant financial outlay.

4. Workaway

Woman sitting on the sofa while using a tablet.

I have a soft spot for Workaway I’ll admit it! I’ve met some great friends and had many wonderful experiences using it. I came across it a few years ago whilst looking for volunteer opportunities around the world. I quickly found it to be a very good resource for house sitting too.

One of the main search options on Workaway is for house sitting and it’s come in handy for me a few times when looking for placements. What’s important to remember is that hosts may only list their property on one website, so it’s a good idea to keep your options open with at least a couple of different platforms.

Workaway is a great choice and would be an excellent string to add to your house sitting bow. With a low annual price of $50 a year or $30pp when a couple joins, it’s an affordable option to have at hand. The app and website are straightforward to use, and I’ve found that active hosts always respond promptly to inquiries.

5. House Carers

There are plenty of excellent house sitting opportunities waiting for you at House Carers. While it may not have the sheer volume of listings that Trusted Housesitters boasts, it does offer a substantial number of current listings ready for applications.

In the interest of keeping your options open, the cool thing about House Carers is that you can create a profile and browse listings without spending a dime. When you stumble upon a house sit that piques your interest, you’ll need to upgrade to a full-paying membership, which is a very reasonable $50 per year.

If you’re considering becoming a house sitter in Italy, House Carers is a fantastic platform to explore all that house-sitting websites have to offer and get a feel for the entire process. With its user-friendly interface and an affordable membership fee, it’s a great way to get started.

Personal Experience Housesitting in Italy

Two women and a man standing in front of a vacation house and a car in the side.

Around 5 years ago, my first house sitting stint in Italy happened unexpectedly. While doing a Workaway language exchange with an Italian couple from Brescia, we formed an instant connection. So much so that they invited my husband and me to care for their little farm for a week that summer.

We had a lot of fun taking care of their 30+ chickens, 6 sheep, and a deaf dog called Ringo who kept us entertained with his daily antics around the other animals on the farm. We’ve remained close with our Italian friends, and have visited them at least half a dozen times since.

Upon leaving the UK in January 2022, Italy was the first point of call. Stimigliano, a small town north of Rome, was the location for the first house sit of the year. The host, a lovely Scottish expat named Joy, had a home and garden that required some hearty upkeep. We, of course, knew this ahead of time and enjoyed working outside a few hours each day – the spectacular valley views we had were just the icing on the cake.

A spritely dog called Alfie was also part of the bargain and he was a fun guy to look after. The house was well stocked with wine and Joy had told us to help ourselves! The lovely little town and neighbors were a delight that only added to our positive experience. We were invited most evenings for sunset aperitivo drinks somewhere close by.

Best Areas to House Sit in Italy

There are many truly wonderful parts of Italy just waiting to be explored. Here are a few places that I’ve recently seen active house sitting opportunities for.

1. Rome

A houses structure and a Rome Basilica in the far site.

Rome is perhaps the most obvious choice when considering house and pet sitting in Italy. The nation’s capital, known as the ‘Eternal City’, regularly has ample house sitting opportunities with numerous listings available. You can expect to see more apartments listed centrally, whilst further out of town, bigger farms and villas regularly seek sitters.

Rome is one of my favorite cities in the world; the overwhelming history on every corner is unlike anywhere else. Being able to grab a ‘cafe portare via’ (that’s a takeaway coffee to me and you), and see the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountains, and the Pantheon all before your drink gets cold is a unique experience.

Rome is a bustling city and can become very busy during peak seasonal travel times around the summer. Don’t overlook house sits on the outskirts of the city. Frascati, Velletri, and Stimigliano are just a handful of the beautiful little towns away from the hustle and bustle but close enough for a quick train ride in for a slice of pizza and a few glasses of wine.

Location: Rome is located about halfway down the country, towards its western coastline. Great train services link it with the whole country. Naples is under 90 minutes away, as is Florence. Milan is also reachable in under 4 hours via direct train services.

2. Turin

A woman photographs an aerial picture of Turin and a snowy peak in the distance.

Turin is often overshadowed by its more popular Italian siblings but it offers an authentic taste of the country without the overwhelming tourist crowds. A house sitting placement here will situate you amidst grand architecture and picturesque piazzas whilst the local cuisine and abundant aperitivo options make it a culinary experience unto itself.

When leaving the UK, Turin was my first point of call. I’ve always loved the former Italian capital city for its breathtaking monuments, the beautiful River Po that flows through it, and the stunning Duomo that dominates the skyline. It’s a great city to simply walk around and explore.

Turin is the birthplace of the Aperitivo, which is essentially an Italian happy hour with lots of small snacky food plates – perfection. If you step out for an early evening drink expect to be stuffed before you even make it to your dinner reservation. The city has a vibrant feel whilst maintaining a local spirit. Tourism is active here but it’s still a homely place to secure house sit.

Location: Turin is situated in northwest Italy. The northern cities of Genoa and Milan are both reachable within a few hours by car or train. Montgenèvre Pass, a common crossing point into France, is around 87 miles (140 km).

3. Brescia

During a sunset, houses and a road in the center between green and a large mountain.

I’d guess that Brescia has rarely cropped up in many people’s lists of Italian cities to visit. After all, Milan, Venice, Lake Garda, and Verona are all very close by. But it’s for this very reason that Brescia should be high up on everyone’s list, especially for house sitting opportunities.

It’s the perfect spot for basing yourself and exploring further afield. Brescia was the location of one of my first ever house sits and is a place I continue to return to again and again. It feels like a bit of an untapped tourism gem. Being able to hop on a train to so many stunning places is an unbelievable perk, but Brescia itself is an amazing place.

The city has a large university which lends itself to a bustling city vibe. A huge medieval castle dominates the skyline while the city center boasts not one but two cathedrals! You’ll also find many great restaurants and that cafe culture for which Italy is so loved.

Location: Brescia is located pretty centrally in the northern section of Italy. The nearest airport is Milan Bergamo which is around 1 hour away. The lakes of Garda and Iseo are both under an hour away. Great train services connect Brescia with all of Italy.

4. Sicily

A beach view and two small boats.

Sicily has certainly been on my house sit wishlist for a long time. I visited several years ago for a summer vacation and absolutely loved my time on the southern Mediterranean island. Although technically still classed as Italy, Sicily is its own independent region with around 5 million inhabitants.

The two major cities of Palermo and Catania stand out as great house sitting locations, whilst many of the smaller coastal towns make for dream locations to secure a posting. I found all the locals to be extremely welcoming and friendly. Even with a translation barrier my husband and I were invited to barbecues, and pool parties, and were bought drinks on numerous occasions.

The island is home to the highest active volcano in Europe. This may cause concern for some, but good warning systems and the distance from many civilian areas mean Sicily is safe to visit at all times of the year. I’ve climbed Mount Etna and walked on the cooled lava fields of a recent eruption. It was a crazy experience and one I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Location: Sicily is an island in the South Mediterranean Sea, located just 1.9 miles (3 km) from the mainland of Italy. Rome is around 620 miles (1000 km) north. The island country of Malta is around 60 miles (93 km) off Sicily’s southern coastline.

5. Florence

A river running through the heart of the city.

Florence is an unbelievable place to house sit and having hiked much of the region, I can confirm any rumors you’ve heard of Tuscany’s beauty are true! Nestled in the heart of Tuscany, Florence stands as a living testament to the Renaissance era. It’s a glorious city with a rich history and magnificent architecture – it’s no surprise that it’s considered a jewel in Italy’s crown.

Florence was a bustling center for art and science in the 15th and 16th centuries. The city’s museums, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery, house masterpieces by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli to name but a few. The Ponte Vecchio is like a gateway to the past, with many small shops and market stands lining the old bridge over the River Arno.

Beyond its obvious artistic attraction, Florence is a foodie’s dream to explore. The Mercato Centrale is a feast for the senses with huge displays of local produce, cheeses, and meats. The many excellent trattorias found across the city serve up traditional Tuscan food with local wines to complement the food. What’s not to love?

Location: Florence is situated ideally for accessing much of Italy. With great train links, visitors can be in Rome to the south or Milan to the north within 1.5 – 2 hours. The world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa is just over an hour to the east of Florence.

Is Italy Safe?

Italy is generally considered a safe destination for visitors. It boasts a robust tourist infrastructure and efficient essential services. However, petty theft is especially prevalent in busy tourist areas such as Rome, Florence, Naples, and Venice. I’d advise caution and consider leaving valuables at home.

Scammers and peddlers of counterfeit goods can be found in many of the major cities. Be aware that tourists can be subject to fines for purchasing inauthentic items. Widespread begging, particularly by older Romani women with children, can hide a syndicated exploitation network. Consider doing your own research before donating to charitable causes.

Natural events such as flooding, though irregular, can pose a risk. Active volcanoes such as Mount Etna and Mount Vesuvius shouldn’t be overlooked as a possible safety concern or travel disruptor. Always stay alert for weather warnings and be sure to follow local guidance to ensure a safe and smooth visit.

The various Mafia clans active throughout numerous Italian cities very rarely impact travelers in any way.

Pros and Cons of Being a House Sitter in Italy

A  woman making a decision and a chalk board on her background written a Pros and Cons.

There are many positive aspects of house sitting in Italy and of course a few negative aspects too. From my own experience, I’ve outlined some pros and cons to be aware of before accepting a position house sitting in Italy.

Pros of House Sitting in Italy

  • Cultural Richness: Italy has a rich cultural history of art and architecture. House sitting in Italy offers an immersive experience in a country that has influenced global culture for centuries.
  • Culinary Paradise: Italian cuisine is renowned worldwide. From pasta and pizza to regional specialties, spending an extended period in Italy means having easy access to some of the best food on the planet.
  • Laid-Back Lifestyle: Italians put an emphasis on enjoying life. The pace is notably slower, and there’s a focus on savoring the moment. Long lunches and lazy coffee breaks make it a great place for anyone seeking a relaxed lifestyle. 
  • Stunning Landscapes: From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the Amalfi Coast’s dramatic cliffs, Italy has many diverse and breathtaking landscapes. House sitting here will allow easy access to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
  • Mediterranean Diet: Italy’s traditional diet, rich in olive oil, fresh vegetables, and lean proteins, is associated with various health benefits.
  • Festivals and Celebrations: Italians certainly know how to celebrate life and festivals, and events are very common. You’re likely to see everything from traditional Christmas and Easter celebrations to huge summer concerts.
  • Proximity to Other European Countries: Italy’s central location in Europe makes it convenient for travel. You can easily explore neighboring countries, and experience diverse cultures just a short trip away.
  • Lovely Locals: Italians are known for their warmth and strong sense of family and community. House sitting in Italy provides the opportunity to form relationships with neighbors and locals and make real long-term connections.
  • World-Class Wine: Italy is renowned globally for its wine. Whether you’re picking up a cheap bottle from the supermarket or splashing out for a fancier option at dinner, you can rest assured the wine in Italy is sublime.

Cons of House Sitting in Italy

  • Bureaucratic Hurdles: Italy is known for its bureaucracy, which can be time-consuming and sometimes frustrating. Dealing with paperwork for visas, healthcare, or other administrative matters will almost certainly require patience.
  • Language Barrier: English is widely taught, especially in urban areas and among the younger population, but some regions do pose a language barrier. There are many dialects of Italian; in rural areas sometimes even basic Italian doesn’t cut it.
  • Cost of Living: In major cities and tourist destinations, the cost of living can be relatively high. I’ve found that fuel, dining out, and certain goods and services are more expensive compared to other countries I have visited – especially in the north of the country.
  • Political Instability: Italians love to passionately discuss politics. Mostly because Italy has experienced periods of serious political instability. Staying informed about the political climate is a good idea.
  • Healthcare System: While Italy does have a public healthcare system, the quality and efficiency of healthcare services can vary. Access to English-speaking medical professionals is also limited in certain areas, especially further south.
  • Natural Disaster Risks: Italy is prone to seismic activity, especially in regions like Naples and Sicily. While stringent building codes and monitoring systems help minimize risks, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions can and do occur.
  • Driving Issues: Although many of the main roads are straightforward to navigate, driving in smaller towns and busy cities can be a challenge. If you’re unfamiliar with the driving practices, the locals may well give you some direct feedback.
  • Speed Traps: The Italian police love a speed trap and are known for fining for anything they can find wrong with your driving or car; they most likely will issue you with a ticket if you get pulled over. My advice: learn the rules and stick to the speed limit at all times.
  • Visa Restriction: House sitting in Italy long term may be an issue for non-EU citizens who typically can only stay in the European Schengen Zone for 90 days every 6 months.

House Sitting in Italy: FAQs

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about house sitting in Italy:

Do I need insurance for house sitting in Italy?

Yes, having insurance is crucial when visiting Italy. While many house and pet sitting platforms may provide coverage for host cancellations within their memberships, it’s essential not to overlook healthcare expenses in Italy. Ensuring coverage for medical situations is imperative, as even minor medical events can incur a substantial cost.

How do I become a house sitter in Italy?

To become a house sitter in Italy, your initial step is to register on a house or pet sitting platform. There are excellent options available with numerous listings currently looking for sitters in Italy. All vary slightly and have membership prices to suit all budgets. My preferred choices are Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House.

Do I get paid to house sit in Italy?

Typically, you won’t be paid to be a house sitter in Italy. Instead, the arrangement often revolves around the exchange of your house and pet sitting services for the opportunity to stay in a delightful home, providing you with a comfortable base to explore the surrounding areas.

It’s a mutually beneficial understanding where the focus is on the experience and the cultural immersion rather than financial transactions.

Are there house sitting jobs in Italy without any pets?

Yes, there are indeed listings for house sitting in Italy without pets. On various websites, you can find listings where the primary responsibility is overseeing a property while the hosts are away. However, it’s worth noting that in the majority of cases, the arrangement typically includes the care of one or more pets as part of the overall agreement.

How long am I able to stay in Italy as a house sitter?

How long you can stay in Italy while house sitting is dependent on your visa type and country of origin. It’s crucial to conduct thorough research before committing to any house sitting engagements. Overstaying your visa can result in a fine, immediate deportation, or even a ban from entering the European Schengen Zone for a significant period.

What’s it like to house sit in Italy?

I’ve found house sitting in Italy to be a blend of cultural immersion, scenic beauty, and culinary delights. From the historic wonders of Florence to the sun-soaked beaches of Sicily, each region offers a unique experience.

Whilst living amidst smaller local communities I’ve made some lifelong connections. Caring for adorable pets has added a heartwarming and memorable aspect to every listing I’ve undertaken. House sitting in Italy allows you to truly live somewhere and experience it on a much deeper level, compared to simply visiting for a vacation.

Can I house sit in Italy for free?

In a sense, yes, you can house sit in Italy for free as, typically, postings don’t involve an exchange of money from either side. But that is dependent on users having already signed up and paid a small membership fee with a house sitting website. Whilst some sites allow a free profile option, you will have to become a full-paying member to apply.

Prices start from as low as $29/year (Mind My House) and even Trusted Housesitters with its 7,000+ active listings has a top-tier all-inclusive yearly membership that’s cheaper than 2 nights in an average hotel!

What skills do I need to have to house sit?

To be a house sitter you need to be reliable – after all, someone is going to leave you in charge of their home, pets, and worldly possessions. Flexibility and adaptability are also important, both in regard to arrival and departure dates, tasks you may be asked to do, and new surroundings that may not be what you’re familiar with.

Attention to detail is another important skill for becoming a successful house sitter. The hosts may leave specific requests for their home in regards to plants or pets and these need to be followed to a tee. Being an outgoing and friendly person will ensure your hosts feel happy and confident when heading off leaving you in charge of their home.

In Conclusion

I’ve perhaps seen more of Italy than I have my own country. It’s one place that I’ve truly missed having such easy access to since leaving the UK. Having the ability to hop over from Stansted Airport on a cheap Ryanair flight for the weekend was a luxury I took advantage of many times.

House sitting in Italy over the last few years, has allowed me to immerse myself even more in the culture of such a wonderful country. When you spend time in the ‘real’ Italy you get to see so much more than the tourist spots can offer. And although those spots are equally wonderful, it’s the depth of house sitting experiences that truly make them memorable.

There are hundreds of Italian homes currently waiting for applications, so get yourself signed up today.

The post How to Start House Sitting in Italy (+Get Free Accommodation) appeared first on Goats On The Road.

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