DOMESTIC HELP FOR ITALY

Many working couples and single parents rely on foreign au pairs, as a lot of them are native Englishspeakers themselves. Luckily for those young women, there are international standards for how much they are paid and what they are expected to do at the home. Those that live with the families can expect a monthly stipend of about €450, their working hours are limited to a half day, and they should not be asked to do any cleaning unless there is a specific agreement about such chores. A housekeeper, on the other hand, could charge somewhere around €750 per month, but this of course depends on how often and how much the person is asked to clean. Some housekeepers in Rome, for example, are willing to charge just €30 per weekly, three-hour cleanup. Because most of the housekeepers are also foreign women, often from the Philippines or Eastern Europe, the authorities keep a close eye on the sector for illegal immigration. Those found hiring illegal help can face fines of up to €5,000. There are an estimated 100,000 immigrant women working as housekeepers in Italy, and polls show that about 3 percent of children are raised by an immigrant nanny.

Moving with Pets There are no visa restrictions on pets, but they will be expected to have a clean bill of health from the vet and have had a rabies shot between 1 month and 12 months before departure. Cat owners will find kindred sprits in Rome, a city where felines roam free and have a fan club of so-called gattare looking after their needs. In fact, you might even consider adopting one of the many stray cats, making a furry friend and helping to solve a growing problem at the same time. There are also many stray dogs in Italy, but those lucky enough to have owners enjoy a pampering unlike anywhere else in the world. In the cities, they are paraded around in small jackets and occasionally hats, carted here and there on subways and to those restaurants that accept them, of which there are many. Pet owners in Rome have even founded what they call Bow Wow Beach, where canines frolic with their ilk and splash out the dog days of summer in the Mediterranean waves. Dogs will feel right at home in Italy.

It is paradise for those puppies lucky enough to live in the countryside, but bringing a dog to Italy may not be a wise idea for those planning to live in a city. For one thing, police have started handing out long-overdue fines to dog owners who don’t clean up after Pippo on the street. More importantly, many apartment buildings have laws against keeping pets, which could restrict your options drastically in what has been a seller’s market in Rome and Milan.

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