10 Best Places To Live in Italy

10 Best Places To Live in Italy


Relocating to Madrid has been a wondrously transformative experience for me. Everything else aside, the infectious vibrant energy combined with the slower pace of life has been incredibly good for my well-being, and the eternal sun has warmed my bones.

If you’re planning to move to Spain but are indecisive about which city you want to live in, read on because I’ll be tempting you with the countless beauties of Madrid throughout this post. I never thought I’d fall in love with a city so quickly myself, but trust me, Madrid will steal your heart, too.

living in madrid

Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world to live in. But you can’t just “move to Italy”. Let’s take a look at the list of 10 best places to live in Italy together to see which part of this wonderful country can better fulfill your expectations!

Put on your favorite boots, because we’re going on a journey to the boot-shaped country! 

Why Live in Italy?

Italy is a unique blend of history, culture, food, and natural beauty making it a top destination for travelers from all over the world. It has played a significant role in shaping world history and culture. From ancient Rome to the Renaissance, Italy has been a hub of artistic and architectural achievements. 

But not all the magnificent beauties had stayed in the past. Today, Italy is famous for its marvelous scenery as well. From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the sparkling waters of the Amalfi Coast, Italy is known for its breathtaking natural beauty. And it’s possible to take the most of it as well, since many parts of Italy enjoy a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm summers, making it an attractive destination for those seeking a pleasant year-round climate.

Living in Italy does not only mean living in Italy! It’s well-connected to the rest of Europe, making it easy to travel to other countries for exploration or even for different career options. Speaking of careers, Italy itself has a variety of options with a diverse range of industries, from fashion and design to manufacturing and technology, which can provide opportunities for employment and career growth.

By putting everything apart, we can assure you that you will be welcomed by Mediterranean people. Italians are known for their warmth and hospitality, which can make it easier for newcomers to adjust to life in the country.

So, if you remember your reasons, let’s take a look at the special selection of the top 10 best places to live in Italy. We will examine the selected cities in terms of their internationality, quality of life in the city, cost of living, and safety so that you can reorder them in any way you like by your privileges.

10 Best Places to Live in Italy

1.Milan

Milan is a beautiful city in northern Italy known for its fashion, design, art, and architecture. It is home to famous fashion houses, such as Prada and Armani, and hosts Milan Fashion Week. Milan is also famous for its Gothic cathedral, the Duomo di Milano, and other attractions like Castello Sforzesco, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and La Scala opera house. The city has a rich cultural and historical heritage, including several museums. Milan has good transportation links, with three international airports and high-speed train connections to major cities and surrounding towns. The city has a lively nightlife and a popular culinary scene, with traditional Milanese dishes like risotto alla Milanese and cotoletta alla Milanese.

  • Internationality:

Milan is a city that welcomes a lot of people from different countries, including expats and international students. Hence, it offers a vibrant and diverse city life. It’s also a hub for business, fashion, and design, and attracts visitors from all over the world. There are several international organizations and universities in Milan, which makes it a colorful and cosmopolitan city.

  • Quality of Life:

Milan provides its residents with a good quality of life, as it offers many cultural activities, restaurants, and shops. The city is famous for its world-class museums and galleries like the Pinacoteca di Brera, and it also has a lively nightlife. Milan is connected to other parts of Italy and Europe, making it easy to travel and explore other destinations. However, it’s a bustling city that might not appeal to everyone.

  • Cost of Living:

Compared to other cities in Italy, Milan has a relatively high cost of living, particularly for housing. However, the city offers affordable housing options like shared apartments and student accommodations. Food and entertainment costs vary depending on the area of the city you are in. Overall, the cost of living in Milan can be managed with careful budgeting.

  • Safety:

Milan is generally a safe city, with low levels of violent crime. However, some areas are more prone to petty crime, such as pickpocketing. Basic safety measures like being aware of your surroundings and keeping an eye on your belongings are important. But you’ll get used to it once you begin to live in it. Also, Milan has a well-developed public transportation system, which is a safe and convenient way to get around.

2.Bologna

Bologna is a northern city in Italy famous for its historic architecture, cultural heritage, and excellent cuisine. It is home to the University of Bologna, one of the oldest universities in the world. The city is known for its many porticoes and iconic landmarks such as the Two Towers and Piazza Maggiore. Bologna is renowned for its pasta dishes, cured meats, and cheese. The city has good transportation links and is a hub for the automotive and machinery industries.

With three different nicknames, Bologna tells a lot about itself already: La Dotta “the learned one,” which refers to its ancient and prestigious university founded in 1088; La Rossa “the red one,” which comes from the red rooftops of the historic center; and La Grassa “the fat one,” which is a reference to the city’s reputation for great food.

  • Internationality:

Bologna is a medium-sized city located in northern Italy, and while it does not have as large an international population as Milan or Rome, it still attracts a significant number of international students and expats. The University of Bologna is the oldest in the world, and it is known for its high level of international education and earns the name of La Dotta. Bologna also has a growing immigrant population, which adds to the city’s international character.

  • Quality of Life:

This city is known for its high quality of life, offering a balance of historic charm and modern amenities. It’s known for its food, with a thriving culinary scene that includes many Michelin-starred restaurants, and here comes the promised La Grassa. Bologna is also a bike-friendly city, with many bike lanes and a bike-sharing program. The town is surrounded by beautiful countryside, and there are many parks and green spaces within the city. The cost of living is generally lower in Bologna than in other major cities in Italy, and it’s still possible to live comfortably on a budget.

  • Cost of Living:

The cost of living in Bologna is relatively lower compared to other cities in the country. Rent prices can vary depending on the neighborhood, but they are generally more affordable than in Rome, Milan, or Florence. The cost of food is also lower than in other cities, with many affordable options for dining out. Public transportation is reasonable, and many people in Bologna use bikes to get around.

  • Safety:

Bologna is generally a safe city, with low levels of violent crime. However, like in any city, one may encounter little crimes such as pickpocketing. So, as in many major cities, you cannot be too careful about keeping an eye on your wallet and purse all the time. Bologna as well has a well-developed public transportation system, which is a safe and convenient way to get around. The city is also home to one of the best hospitals in Italy, which offers high-quality medical care.

3.Bolzano

Bolzano is a multicultural Italian city that serves as the capital of the South Tyrol province. It is known for its picturesque location in the Italian Alps, the well-preserved historic center with Gothic-style architecture, and the unique blend of Italian and Austrian cultures. The city’s notable attractions include the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, Castel Mareccio, and the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, which houses the famous iceman, Ötzi. Bolzano is famous for its Christmas markets and is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, making it a popular destination for outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. The city is bilingual with both Italian and German being official languages, and it has good transportation links with a train station and nearby airports.

  • Internationality:

Bolzano is located in the northeastern region of Trentino-Alto Adige in Italy. While it does attract some international visitors and residents, it’s not as cosmopolitan as the larger cities. The city is situated in a bilingual region where both German and Italian are spoken, and there is a significant German-speaking population in Bolzano. Also, references can be seen attributed to its German name, which is “Bozen”.

  • Quality of Life:

Bolzano offers a high quality of life, with a picturesque location surrounded by mountains and a pleasant climate. The city has a rich history and culture, with several museums and galleries, as well as a vibrant food and wine scene. Bolzano is also known for its excellent healthcare system and quality education.

  • Cost of Living:

Bolzano is known to be one of the more expensive cities in Italy, with a high cost of living especially when it comes to housing. However, it’s still possible to find more affordable options for food, entertainment, and transportation.

  • Safety:

Bolzano is generally a safe city, with a low crime rate and a well-developed public transportation system. However, as with any city, it’s important to take basic precautions against petty crime and be aware of your surroundings.

4.Florence

Florence is a city in central Italy, renowned for its artistic and architectural heritage, considered the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. The city is home to many world-famous art galleries and museums, including the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia Gallery which houses Michelangelo’s sculpture, the David. Florence has notable attractions such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the Ponte Vecchio bridge, and the Boboli Gardens. The city is also famous for its cuisine and shopping, particularly for leather goods and high-end fashion. Florence has good transportation links, including a major airport and high-speed train connections to other Italian cities, and is a hub for education and research with several international schools, high-ranked universities, and research institutes.

  • Internationality:

Florence is a popular tourist destination and attracts visitors from all over the world. As a result, the city has a diverse population and many residents who speak English, making it relatively easy for English speakers to communicate. However, it is not a particularly international city in terms of expat communities and may not have as many opportunities for non-Italian speakers as other larger Italian cities. but blending in with local people is still an option. 

  • Quality of Life:

Florence offers a high quality of life with its beautiful historic center, world-renowned museums and galleries, and excellent food and wine. The city is also surrounded by stunning natural beauty and offers easy access to the Tuscan countryside. However, as a popular tourist destination, the city can be quite crowded and busy, which may affect some people’s quality of life. The cost of living in Florence can also be relatively high, especially in the center.

  • Cost of Living:

The cost of living in Florence can be quite high, especially in the historic city center, which is one of the most expensive areas in Italy. However, there are also more affordable areas outside the center where housing and other costs are lower. The cost of food and entertainment can also vary depending on the neighborhood, with some areas being more expensive than others. Overall, Florence is a relatively expensive city to live in, but it is possible to live on a budget with careful planning.

  • Safety:

Florence is generally a safe city, with low levels of violent crime. However, like any tourist destination, there is a risk of quick crimes, such as pickpocketing, especially in crowded areas. The city is also relatively small and easy to navigate, making it easy to get around on foot and avoid potentially unsafe areas.

5.Olbia

Olbia is located in northeastern Sardinia, Italy, famous for its natural beauty as its beaches, crystal-clear waters, and tourism industry. The city has a rich history dating back to the ancient Roman period, with several historic landmarks to visit, including the Romanesque church of San Simplicio and the Punic-Roman necropolis of Su Monte de s’Abe. Olbia is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, including many beautiful beaches nearby such as Pittulongu, Bados, and Cala Brandinchi. The city is also popular as a base for exploring the nearby Costa Smeralda, a luxurious stretch of coastline known for its resorts, yachts, and nightlife. Apart from being a historic port city Olbia today has a modern airport and a ferry port with connections to other destinations in Italy and beyond, as well as good road and rail connections to other parts of Sardinia.

  •  Internationality:

Olbia is a relatively small city with a mainly Italian population, but it does attract international tourists due to its beautiful beaches and historic sites. English is spoken in some areas, particularly in tourist-related businesses, but Italian is the primary language spoken in the city.

  • Quality of Life:

Olbia offers a high quality of life, with a mild Mediterranean climate and access to stunning beaches and natural landscapes. The city is also known for its excellent food, particularly seafood, and its vibrant nightlife. It’s relatively peaceful and has a small-town feel, which may appeal to those who prefer a slower pace of life.

  • Cost of Living:

Olbia’s cost of living is generally lower than other cities in Italy, particularly in terms of housing costs. However, food and entertainment can be expensive, particularly in tourist areas. The cost of living can be managed with careful budgeting and by exploring local markets and small restaurants.

  • Safety:

Olbia can generally be referred to as a safe and small city however, like any city with a tourist industry, there may be instances of scams targeting tourists. It is important to do a little search and double-check before believing in something if it is too good to be true. Any help from a local person may be really useful in that sense. Also, although it’s a small city, its public transportation system is well-connected and well-developed, making it easy to get around safely.

6.Stresa

Stresa is a small town located in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, on the shores of Lake Maggiore. Do not get fooled by the name – it’s a town of relaxation. The main unique attraction point of Stresa is undoubtedly the Borromean islands: Isola Bella, Isola Madre, and Isola dei Pescatori. Each of them has its own special character and all three are a short boat ride from Stresa therefore, can be a very nice escape option for a couple of days. It is known for its beautiful lakefront promenade, stunning views of the surrounding mountains, and historic buildings such as the Borromeo Palace and the Church of San Vittore. 

  • Internationality:

At first glance, Stresa is a popular tourist destination, particularly for visitors from nearby European countries. The town has a charming, international feel, with a mix of Italian, French, and Swiss influences. While there is a small expat community, Stresa is primarily a place where visitors come to enjoy the natural beauty of the lake and surrounding mountains. So if you want to live in Stresa, it would be a full-time holiday. 

  • Quality of Life:

Stresa is known for its high quality of life, with a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere and a strong sense of community. The town is a popular destination for those seeking a quiet, peaceful place to retire, as well as for families with young children. Stresa’s location on Lake Maggiore offers plenty of outdoor activities, such as swimming, boating, and hiking, while the town itself has several restaurants, cafes, and shops to enjoy. 

  • Cost of Living:

Despite being a lovely tourist attraction point, this small city is generally an affordable place to live, particularly compared to other areas of northern Italy. Housing costs are reasonable, particularly for those looking to rent, and food and entertainment expenses are also quite reasonable. While there are some higher-end restaurants and shops in Stresa, most day-to-day expenses are quite manageable.

  • Safety:

Stresa is generally a safe town, with low levels of crime. As with any tourist destination, visitors should take basic precautions, such as being aware of their surroundings and keeping an eye on their belongings. The town’s location on Lake Maggiore can present some safety concerns, particularly for those engaging in water activities, but these risks can be minimized with proper preparation and safety equipment. Overall, Stresa is a safe and welcoming community that attracts visitors from around the world. But you may be a permanent visitor if you like. 

7.Siena

Siena is a small Italian city in Tuscany, known for its historic architecture, medieval cityscape, and famous Palio horse race held twice a year in the city’s central square. The city’s main attractions include the Piazza del Campo, the Gothic-style Siena Cathedral, and the Palazzo Pubblico, which houses the Civic Museum. Siena is also a hub for education, with one of the oldest universities in Italy, the University of Siena.

  • Internationality:

Siena is not as internationally diverse as some of Italy’s larger cities, but it does have a small international community, particularly due to the large number of international students who attend the University of Siena. The city is also a popular destination for tourists from all over the world, particularly during the summer months.

  • Quality of Life:

Siena is a very livable city, with a high quality of life. The city is known for its slow pace of life, which is ideal for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of larger cities. Siena offers a rich cultural experience, with plenty of museums, art galleries, and historical sites to explore. The city is also surrounded by beautiful countryside, with many opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, cycling, and horse riding.

  • Cost of Living:

To be honest, it’s considered an expensive city to live in, particularly when compared to other Italian cities. The cost of living in Siena is driven up by the high demand for housing in the center, particularly for historic properties. However, it is possible to find more affordable options by living outside the center or in surrounding towns.

  • Safety:

Siena is generally a safe city, however, as with any city, it is important to take basic precautions to ensure personal safety, such as being aware of your surroundings, avoiding isolated areas at night, and keeping valuable items secure.

8.Rome

Rome is the capital city of Italy, known for its rich history, ancient ruins, and artistic treasures. It is home to numerous world-famous attractions, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Pantheon. Other popular landmarks include the Vatican City, the Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain. Yet they are not only popular places to see but many of them are also UNESCO World Heritage Landmarks. Rome is a vibrant city with a thriving culinary scene, fashionable shopping districts, and numerous museums and galleries.

  • Internationality:

Of course, Rome is a very international city, with a large number of expats, international students, and tourists from all over the world. The city is home to many international organizations, including the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Food Programme, which contributes to the city’s multicultural and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

  • Quality of Life:

Rome has a high quality of life, with a rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and a vibrant arts and entertainment scene. The city has a slow pace of life, which is ideal for those who want to enjoy the city’s many cultural offerings, including museums, art galleries, and historical sites. Rome also has a strong food culture, with many traditional restaurants, cafes, and markets where you can taste some of the best Italian cuisines.

  • Cost of Living:

Rome is considered an expensive city to live in, particularly in the center. The cost of living is driven up by the high demand for housing in the historic center, particularly for properties with views of famous landmarks such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon. However, it is possible to find more affordable options by living outside the city center or in surrounding towns.

  • Safety:

Rome is generally a safe city, but like any major city, it is important to take basic precautions to ensure personal safety. Petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and theft, can be a problem in tourist areas and on public transport, and sometimes in some neighborhoods you may encounter some political protests, which you would rather be aware of than be surprised by, but violent crime is relatively rare.

9.Tuscany

Let’s see the region as a whole, to get a better understanding. Tuscany is a beautiful region located in central Italy, known for its stunning countryside, picturesque hill towns, and rich cultural heritage. It is famous for its rolling hills, olive groves, vineyards, and medieval hilltop towns. The region’s capital city is Florence, which is home to numerous world-famous museums and landmarks such as the Uffizi Gallery, the Duomo, and the Ponte Vecchio. Other popular destinations in the lovely towns of Tuscany include the cities of Siena and Pisa, the Chianti wine region, and the Tuscan coastline with its beautiful beaches and resorts. Tuscany is also known for its delicious cuisine, including regional specialties such as pasta dishes, wild boar, and the famous Tuscan steak.

  • Internationality:

Tuscany is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world, particularly during the summer months, and is known for its vibrant expat community. So, ring the bells for expats! The region is also home to many international students, who come to study at the region’s many prestigious universities, including the University of Florence and the University of Siena.

  • Quality of Life:

With a slow pace of life, beautiful countryside, and a rich cultural heritage Tuscany presents the quality that most of us are looking for. The region is known for its excellent food and wine, with many traditional restaurants, cafes, and markets where you can taste some of the best Italian food. Tuscany also has a strong sense of community, with many festivals, events, and traditions that bring people together.

  • Cost of Living:

The cost of living in Tuscany varies depending on where you live in the region. While cities such as Florence and Siena are relatively expensive, especially in the center, it’s possible to find more affordable options outside the center or in surrounding towns. The cost of living in smaller towns and rural areas is generally lower.

  • Safety:

It is generally a safe region, with low levels of crime. However, as with any region, it is important to take basic precautions to ensure personal safety, such as being aware of your surroundings, avoiding isolated areas at night, and keeping valuable items secure. We are talking about a big and crowded region, so, if you decide to reside in the Tuscany region, you will figure out how to live accordingly. 

10.Sardinia 

Are you ready to smell some island wind? Sardinia is the island that you might be looking for, located off the western coast of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. It is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and has a population of approximately 1.6 million people. The island’s capital is Cagliari, which is a historic city with ancient ruins, museums, and art galleries. Sardinia is also famous for its unique culture and traditions, including its distinctive cuisine, music, and festivals such as the Carnival of Oristano and the Sant’Efisio religious procession. The island has numerous archaeological sites, including the ancient nuraghe stone ruins, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sardinia is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and water sports.

  • Internationality:

Sardinia is a popular tourist destination and has a significant expat population and a growing number of digital nomad communities, particularly in the coastal areas. However, the island is generally not as international as some of the larger Italian cities, and many locals speak Sardinian, a Romance language closely related to Italian.

  • Quality of Life:

Sardinia has a high quality of life, with beautiful beaches, stunning natural landscapes, and a rich cultural heritage. The island is known for its relaxed pace of life, with a strong emphasis on family and community. Sardinia also has a unique food culture, with many traditional dishes and ingredients that are not found elsewhere in Italy.

  • Cost of Living:

The cost of living in Sardinia varies depending on where you live on the island. The coastal areas, particularly in the northeast around the Costa Smeralda, can be relatively expensive, particularly during the peak tourist season. However, the cost of living in other parts of the island, particularly in the interior, is generally more affordable.

  • Safety:

Sardinia is a relatively safe island, with low levels of crime. However, as with any location, it is important to take basic precautions to ensure personal safety, such as being aware of your surroundings, avoiding isolated areas at night, and keeping valuable items secure.


Best Places to Live in Italy: The Wrap-Up

There is a reason why Italy is always associated with love. Everyone can define love in their own way, but we don’t think anyone would object to a little pizza, pasta, wine, and gelato in every definition. 

We have shared our research and evaluations with you, our dear readers, with great pleasure. The choice is yours! 

Ci vediamo, tesoro!

FAQ

What are the best places to live in Italy?

Italy has many beautiful and livable places, so the "best" places to live can depend on individual preferences and priorities. However, some places are often considered to be in the top 10 best places to live in Italy, and a detailed analysis of them is given above. They are, namely: 

  • Milan 
  • Bologna 
  • Bolzano
  • Florence
  • Olbia
  • Stresa
  • Siena
  • Rome
  • Tuscany Region
  • Sardinia

What are the best places to live in Italy by the sea?

Italy has a long coastline and many beautiful places to live by the sea. Some of the best places to live in Italy by the sea include Cinque Terre, Portofino, the Amalfi Coast, Sardinia, Sicily, Elba, Puglia, Salento, Liguria, and Venice. However, the "best" place to live by the sea will depend on individual preferences and priorities.

What are the best places to live in Italy for expats?

Italy is a popular destination for expats, and there are many great places to live depending on individual preferences and priorities.

  • Rome - The capital of Italy is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city that is home to a large expat community. It has excellent amenities and a rich cultural heritage.
  • Milan - The financial and fashion capital of Italy is a cosmopolitan and international city that attracts many expats. It has excellent amenities and a high standard of living.
  • Florence - The capital of Tuscany is a popular destination for expats due to its rich cultural heritage, beautiful architecture, and high quality of life.
  • Bologna - The historic university city in Emilia-Romagna is known for its rich food culture, lively atmosphere, and high quality of life. It is a popular destination for students and young professionals.

What are the best places to live in Italy for retirees?

Italy is a popular destination for retirees looking to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle in a beautiful setting. Here are some of the best places to live in Italy for retirees:

  • Tuscany - This region in central Italy is known for its beautiful countryside, charming medieval towns, and rich cultural heritage. It offers a relaxed and peaceful lifestyle, as well as excellent food and wine.
  • Umbria - This region in central Italy is known for its beautiful countryside, relaxed lifestyle, and charming medieval towns. It is a popular destination for retirees who seek a quieter and more traditional way of life.
  • Sardinia - This island in the Mediterranean is known for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters, as well as a relaxed way of life. It offers a warm climate and a peaceful setting.
  • Piedmont - This region in northern Italy is known for its beautiful countryside, excellent food, and rich cultural heritage. It offers a relaxed and peaceful lifestyle, as well as a mild climate.
  • Rome - The capital of Italy is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city that offers a rich cultural heritage, excellent amenities, and a relaxed way of life. It is a popular destination for retirees who seek a vibrant city lifestyle.

What are the safest places to live in Italy?

Italy is generally a safe country to live in, with a relatively low crime rate compared to many other countries. However, some areas are considered safer than others.  Sardinia, Piedmont, and Veneto  are some of the safest places to live in Italy.

Which cities are the cheapest to live in Italy?

Italy is generally considered to be a relatively expensive country, but some cities offer a more affordable cost of living compared to others. Some of the cheapest cities to live in Italy are Palermo, Catania, and Bari

Where do most foreigners live in Italy?

There are many different areas in Italy where foreigners choose to live, depending on their personal preferences, lifestyle, and work opportunities. However, some of the most popular areas for foreign residents in Italy are Rome, Milan, and Tuscany.

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