The 7 Best Places To Live In Italy

Are you trying to figure out where the best places to live in Italy are?

With its mouth-watering cuisine, breathtaking scenery, and warm climate, Italy is a country where many people dream of living. Therefore, it’s no surprise that expat communities here are rapidly growing.

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There are tons of beautiful Italian towns, cities, and villages. Still, not all are expat-friendly or easy to get by when you don’t speak the language fluently.

So to help you plan a successful move to this stunning European country, here are the seven places most popular with expats living and working in Italy.

hand holding small italian flag over city

Genoa, Liguria

Liguria is an Italian state on the northwestern coastline close to Monaco, in an area known as the Italian Riviera. As it’s situated between the mountains and the gulf stream, Liguria boasts a microclimate where it is sunny and warm all year round. 

This pleasant climate is just one reason why Liguria is one of the best places to live in Italy. The small town of Genoa ​​(Genova in Italian) is friendly to foreigners and your wallet, boasting a low cost of living and a sizable English-speaking community.

Living here, you can expect to spend between €450 and €650 on renting a one-bedroom apartment.

Despite being a historic port city, Genoa has a diverse range of residents and a modern-day, welcoming vibe. It is also one of the most LGBT-friendly towns in Italy. 

The scenery in Liguria is also spectacular, with the mountains on one side and the Mediterranean ocean on the other. Genoa is also very close to the fishing village of Portofino, which is one of the most beautiful places in the country and easily the most photographed destination in Liguria.

genao italy

Bolzano Or Trento, South Tyrol

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.

Two towns that are popular with expats are Bolzano and Trento. 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. 

Bolzano has a strong German and Austrian heritage, which gives it a more multicultural vibe than other parts of the country that are very Italian. What’s more, German is spoken alongside Italian here, so you’ll get by fine if you speak one of those two languages. 

Bolzano is peaceful, safe, and picturesque, surrounded by beautiful mountains, making it one of the best Italian cities for older expats and retirees. Trento is a bit cheaper for living, with the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment between €500 and €650.

The downside to South Tyrol is that the summers get very hot, and the winters get very cold. Still, if you enjoy skiing, the cold winters won’t bother you as much as there are many ski resorts here. 

bolzano

Milan

Milan is arguably the world’s fashion capital, making it undoubtedly one of the best cities to live in Italy for any expats who work in that industry. The large, modern city also has a vast business district, so job opportunities are abundant in all sectors.

Milan is full of modern amenities and boasts a vibrant nightlife and a youthful vibe. You’ll love living here if you’re looking for a cosmopolitan European city with all the perks of Italian culture like the “aperitif” tradition.

However, this glamorous lifestyle comes at a price, as Milan is one of Italy’s most expensive cities. Renting a one-bedroom apartment here will cost at least €800 but can be up to €1300, which is a stark contrast to other Italian cities and towns on this list.

skyline of milan and duomo di milano catherdral

Florence

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. 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. 

The cost of living is mid-range; renting a one-bedroom apartment costs between €550 and €750. This is much cheaper than Milan and Rome, but more expensive than the nearby town of Pisa.

For this reason, many remote workers who decide to live in Tuscany opt for Pisa over Florence.

florence catherdral bell tower panorama in italy

Bologna

The northern city of Bologna is well known for being a top choice for international students due to its prestigious universities and educational institutions. This also makes Bologna one of the best cities to live in Italy for foreign teachers or administrators in the education sector.

Besides this, Bologna has many perks for expats. The city is safe, walkable, and welcoming to foreigners.

It is also the historic capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, full of medieval and Renaissance structures such as the Two Towers, Fountain of Neptune, and Basilica di San Petronio. 

The city also has a vibrant art and music scene (it is a recognized UNESCO City of Music). The cost of living is not too expensive either.

The monthly rental on a one-bedroom apartment is between €550 and €750, which is pretty much mid-range and in line with Tuscany.

panoramic view of bologna italy

Rome

Italy’s capital city Rome is one of the best cities in Italy for those who want to experience the country’s rich history. Rome is home to some of the world’s oldest and most beautiful buildings and ruins, such as the Colosseum and Roman forum. 

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.

The cost of living and rental prices are also high, around the same as in Milan.

rome italy skyline

Cagliari Or Oristano, Sardinia

Sardina is a pristine island in the Mediterranean sea, located west of the Italian mainland. The island’s beauty, all-year-round mild climate, and laid-back lifestyle make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. 

Sardina, in particular, the towns Cagliari and Oristano, are popular with expats looking to live a quiet, peaceful lifestyle. This is because the island has a very remote feel, so the towns of Cagliari and Oristano don’t have a busy, bustling vibe. 

Its remoteness makes Sardinia an affordable place to live. The monthly rental for a one-bedroom apartment in Cagliari typically costs between €450 and €700. 

The downside to living in Sardinia is very few people speak English here, and it has a very ‘old-school’ vibe. This means that the people in this region are more close-minded and, thus, less welcoming to foreigners.

So, if you choose to live in Sardinia, speaking fluent Italian and having patience with the locals is a must.

cagliari sardinia

Final Thoughts On The Best Places To Live In Italy

To determine which of these seven best places to live in Italy is best, consider the type of lifestyle you are looking for and your work situation. Of course, the bigger cities like Milan and Bologna are best for expats looking to work in Italy.

However, remote workers and digital nomads can take advantage of the low cost of living in the small, beautiful towns in Liguria, South Tyrol, or Sardinia.

Not sure if Italy is the right place for you? Read one of the following guides:

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