Italy is a paradise of beautiful attractions that mark romanticism and affection. This lovely place is an enormous travel hub for people across the globe. There are so many reasons travelers head to the country — the vibrant culture, ancient architecture, stunning landscapes, rich history, and of course, mouth-watering food. Pizza. Pasta. Parmesan. Enough said, right? Some of the best places to live in Italy will have you saying “that’s amore!” before you know it.
Italy’s food? To die for. Even this study says that Italy has the finest cuisine in the world. Everything is homemade from the pasta to its sauce. Whether visiting a trattoria, osteria, pizzeria, or gelateria, you won’t be disappointed with the Italian attention to flavor.
Living in Italy also opens the door to the ability to travel easily across Europe. It’s a hop, skip and a jump away from London, Paris and other major cities. This study shows a quarter of Americans daydream about traveling most of the week (24%), averaging six destinations on their “I’ll go there someday!” list. With roots in Italy, your bucket list is actually achievable.
Whether you are a pasta lover or have the travel bug, Italy will not let you down. But, where is the perfect place for you to call home? StudyFinds consulted 11 expert websites and resident reviews to find the best places to live in Italy. If you think we missed one, let us know in the comments below!
The List: Best Places to Live in Italy, According to Experts
Expatra says the fashion capital of the world is just as cool as it sounds. “For urban fans, it offers a great lifestyle. There are museums, exhibitions, cultural activities, entertainment all year round. The restaurants and cafes offer food from all over the world.”
“It’s one of those cities that has it all: a great international scene, beautiful neighborhoods, work opportunities, world class educational institutions and even all the culture and fashionable high society you can handle,” writes Housing Anywhere. “With around 1.4 million inhabitants, Milan is the second-largest city in Italy. If you include the greater Milan metropolitan area included, over 8 million people call it home. It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that Milan is known as one of the 4 motors of the European economy.”
“It’s the most cosmopolitan city in the country, is home to its stock exchange, skyscrapers, a famous football team (AC Milan, of course), and is known as globally as a city on the fashion map, with its own well attended Fashion Week. Finding a place to live in Milan definitely depends on your budget; it’s one of the richest – and most expensive – cities in Italy. The Porta Venezia has a vibrant student population, boasts 19th-century buildings and a thriving LGBT community. The Navigli area is also a good option – if you like your nights lively,” adds Nomads Nation.
Retirepedia mentions Bolzano is a great home base for those interested in exploring Europe. “The city’s cosmopolitan feel is heavily influenced by its Austrian and German heritage. You can see it in the food, architecture, lifestyle, and languages spoken. The seasons are a bit extreme, though. Bolzano gets hot in the summer, and because it’s so close to the Alps, it’s snowy and chilly in the winter. That said, if you or your family members enjoy skiing, Bolzano is one of the best cities for you in all of Italy.”
“South Tyrol is a beautiful inland province in northeast Italy that encompasses part of the Dolomites range, with famous summits like the Three Peaks of Lavaredo,” says A Broken Backpack. “Trento is bigger than Bolzano, with a more urban feel, making it popular with younger expats and digital nomads. Still, it has many ancient landmarks like Buonconsiglio Castle and Trento Cathedral, keeping its culture and history alive.”
“If cool mountain breezes, alpine scenery, and a unique mix of Italian and Austrian cultures sound like the perfect place to live, then Bolzano should be at the top of your list. As the capital of South Tyrol, close to Austria and Switzerland, this city with a population of more than half a million offers the third best standard of living in Italy. With the highest employment rate in the country, Bolzano residents profit from high levels of disposable income and savings,” adds Travel + Leisure.
Nomads Nation says Florence isn’t only known for its art: “the city is virtually a masterpiece in itself. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In a word, it’s beautiful. Baroque buildings, centuries-old palazzi (palaces), charming lanes, sculptures, fountains – and that’s without evening mentioning the museums, cathedrals and galleries. The capital of Tuscany, Florence has a ton of places to base yourself. We recommend Santo Spirito, a trendy area with a good mix of locals and expats, and with a lively piazza to boot. There’s also Santa Croce, a nice residential area which has an amazing market selling local produce. Take your pick.”
“Do you want to live somewhere surrounded by natural beauty and mouth-watering local produce? If so, Tuscany is the region for you. The small Tuscan city of Florence offers expats the ideal balance between city living and traditional Italian culture. Florence is famed for its Renaissance art and architecture and historical monuments,” notes A Broken Backpack. “Regarding job opportunities, the financial and pharmaceutical industries are thriving here. The city is also well connected domestically and internationally. Florence has its own airport, and a large international airport is located an hour away in Pisa. Aside from its beauty, Florence is one of the best places to live in Italy for remote workers, as it is very expat-friendly. As a result, many foreigners reside here, enjoying a comfortable and calm lifestyle.”
“‘Florence is a fantastic city. If you like Boston or San Francisco you will love it here. Florence is smallish, flat (easy to walk), much more inexpensive than Miami (where I live half the year), extremely cultured and cultural, great restaurants and exhibitions and located in beautiful Tuscany, near Umbria and Liguria, a train ride from Venice and Rome – what more do you need,’ wrote one expat. ‘Florence is a place where you can walk around and actually picture what life could’ve been like in medieval times. The countryside is beautiful and definitely picturesque. The wine is fantastic and sitting in cafes can be a leisurely past time. Sitting in ancient piazzas and seeing beautiful works of art can be breath taking. I do like the shopping here as well,’” raves Expat Exchange.
Italian Dual Citizenship explains, “While the cost of living and accommodation is certainly higher than the countryside, most people should be able to afford life on the outskirts of Rome. That is to say, aside from the tourist areas, all of these costs are relatively normal and much lower than the city center. For example, the public transport system is far from expensive and supermarkets are just the same as almost anywhere in Western Europe. When it comes to schools, you will be spoiled for choice and in terms of learning the local language, there are tutors and learning centers at every turn.”
“Located in the Lazio province, Rome is a popular destination for tourists from around the world. It’s also a fabulous choice for expatriates – especially those that have families with children,” writes International Citizens. “This walkable city is best known for its incredible culture and historical sites. But it has much more to offer than just the famous sites of the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Trevi Fountain. Rome also has a flourishing nightlife, and there are always plenty of museums to visits and restaurants to try.”
“The ancient streets and structures give Rome a truly magical and enchanting ambiance. The capital city is also home to many top-quality private and international schools, making it a popular choice with expats with kids. Moreover, thanks to the influx of tourists, many locals now speak at least basic English. However, there are many cons to living in Rome. The capital city is often crowded and has some of the world’s traffic jams in the country,” points out A Broken Backpack certifies.
Italian Dual Citizenship sets the scene: “One of the last unspoiled regions in Italy, Abruzzo lies to the east of Rome on an especially long stretch of coastline with dramatic mountains nearby. What’s more, there are stunning landscapes in every direction and eagles, bears and wolves are also known to inhabit the area. Meanwhile, dramatic mountains give the town a very quiet ambiance and the snow-capped peaks can make the town feel like a million miles from the busy city.”
“Abruzzo is one of the least populated regions in Italy. Both Italians and the world at large have forgotten about it. It is popular for its hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding in the summer, and skiing in the winter. During the summer the beaches here will get busy. In general, Italians like to holiday in Italy,” says Live & Invest Overseas. “Many make the short trip from Rome to bask in the summer sun on Abruzzo’s beaches. This tradition dates back to Roman times. Back then it was the favored holiday destination for wealthy Romans. You will find plenty of Roman ruins which remain to this day. The beaches can be spectacular, and many have coveted EU Blue Flag status.”
“In the middle of the country, just to the east of Rome, lies the criminally underrated region of Abruzzo. This utopia of greenery boasts a frankly ridiculous nine national parks and nature reserves, so you’ll never run out of green spaces – but they’re not just green; they’re breathtaking. Climb high enough anywhere in Abruzzo, and you’ll be greeted by the sight of a lovely lake or a natural spring – or even both. Abruzzo is also famous for its wine, its olive oil production, its 200-year history of making spaghetti alla chitarra, and – because it’s pretty much compulsory for an Italian region – its beaches,” writes Move Hub.
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