I am an Italian Nurse currently working in London... I graduated from the old "Scuola Infermieri Professionali" just a couple of years before those type of programs were made redundant and the University Diploma started.
A dream of mine was to come and work in the US as a cardiac nurse (I worked in cardiology/ccu for over 10 years) but the biggest wall to climb was licensure. Yep, getting my italian school (now closed) to write a statement about my clinical/theory hours has proved to be impossible! So, sadly my biggest challenge has been... bureaucracy, not the language!
I have to admit, every single person I know from my hometown of Verona does not speak fluent English, a few word at the most! Italians are usually friendly people but if they don't understand you, it's hard to judge them!
On nursing in Italy:
1- Salary is not that good! As someone else already mentioned cost of living vs salary is rubbish! a rent in central Verona for a single bedroom flat averages 1000 euros if not more and the salary of a newly qualified nurse is take home approx 1600-1800 euros! So with 600-800 euros you have to pay: gas (heating), electricity, water, council taxes, car payments, parking, telephone, cell phone, and petrol. Oh I forgot! you gotta eat to! so... Not recommended you go to work in Italy!
2- Career: After you graduate in nursing you can now do a post graduate MSc and become a ward manager or specialised nurse, and it does not mean more money! So why the heck would you wanna do it!
3- A profession: we all know how hard it was to pass nursing school, work and study at the same time... well people (general public) still have one concept; you obey the doctor's order and that's as far as you are allowed to go! And the medical team is ensuring that is what happens! I left Italy because I was frustrated of being unable to use my knowledge and despite confronting several of the medical team decisions I was put aside! Hence why I work as a Nurse Practitioner and have completed the MSc program in the UK. I am finally independent in my decision making and I take full account for my clinical decisions!
I have to say, lifestyle in Italy is comparable to none! Reason why I have not given up my citizenship so that I will retire in Italy and live: "La dolce vita"! not to be confused with "la dolcevita" which is a turtleneck shirt!
I hope this long blubbering was helpful to someone!
I keep dreaming of the land of liberty... shame it's only a dream!
Best of luck to you all