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Best Places to Live in Italy


Italy has a rich history, architecture, art, fashion, good food, friendly people, and cultural riches. The country’s historic buildings and cultural heritage can be seen in its home to 58 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Recognized UNESCO City – 53 Cultural Sites and 5 Natural Sites), which has been growing over the years. Italy offers a great quality of life and famous tourist attractions, considering that only 3% of citizens complain about long working hours. The country also enjoys a high life expectancy rate of 84 years, with a low crime rate and high civic engagement.

It does not come as a surprise that many people today dream of either visiting Italy, living in Italy, or completely settling in the country. However, choosing the best living place in the country can be confusing, considering its extraordinary nature. Therefore, this blog shall help you shortlist your choices between a major city or a small town and help you choose the best Italian city to start your new life.

Best Places to Live in Italy

If you are considering making a move to the country, here is a list of some best places to visit and live in Italy:

Milan – The Fashion Capital

One of the best places to live in Italy is Milan which is famously known as the fashion capital of Italy. The city’s diverse and lively atmosphere makes it one of the best places to live in Italy. At the same time, Milan does fit some of the cliches of major European cities, which are overpopulated, chaotic, polluted, and too concrete. However, despite all these shortcomings, it can offer a great lifestyle for urban fans. The city includes exhibitions, museums, entertainment, and cultural activities all year round. World-famous cuisine is another offering of this city. Considering the ancient history and historical sites attached to the city, the Roman walls are found surrounding the Mediolanum (this was Milan’s name when it was a Roman capital).

Today, Milan is an important centre of fashion, finance, and technology. The feature that makes the city the best place to live in Italy is that most facilities will be available to the resident within walking distance. 

Additionally, the fashion capital Milan has an extremely well-developed network of car-sharing services, with many service providers accepting international and non-EU driving licenses.

The city is well connected with other Italian areas, with Lake Como and Maggiore being easy to reach. Some nearby towns can be found at a reasonable distance, along with being away from the chaos of city life – Monza and Varese. Living on Lake Como, in places like Lecco or Como, is also possible.


In a survey conducted by Italia Oggi in 2018, Bolzano, along with Trento and Belluno, had taken the top 3 places for quality of life. This remains true even today, making the city one of the best places to live in Italy and a great choice for you.

Located in South Tyrol, Bolzano is a medium-sized country. As relevant from the name, it has strong affiliations with Germany and Austria. The same is reflected in Bolzano’s food, lifestyle, and architecture; German is spoken alongside Italian. This city living can be a good choice for families and retirees, considering the peaceful and sophisticated lifestyle and quiet towns with beautiful mountains, green spaces, and stunning scenery.

The city also experiences distinct seasons. While Bolzano’s summer can be the hottest in Italy, winter sees extreme cold with frequent snow. If you are interested in skiing, this city is the best place to live in Italy.


Trento is more urban than Bolzano. It is also located in South Tyrol and has a similar environment and climate to Bolzano. The area has a great quality of life; thus, the city is the best place to live in Italy. The Trento province is largely autonomous, and hence, they make their own decisions related to governance and management.

The beautiful city is located in the River Adige Valley. The city is one of the best places to live in Italy as it offers top health services and an educational system considered one of the best in Europe. Unfortunately, however, the city is lesser known to people mainly due to its connectivity issues with neighbouring regions. There is no airport within the region. However, to compensate for the same, Verona can be reached with an hour-long train journey, and Milan with a 3-hour train.

If you are looking for a city with good nightlife, prefer avoiding the city. Trento has a silent nightlife after 8:00 PM. However, if you are looking for quiet urban surroundings and wish to have a slow-paced life, Trento is the best place to live in Italy.


This is an industrial hub, due to which it is a very young and vibrant city. The beautiful city is big on financial services and hosts sizable ex-pat communities. Being one of the best places to live in Italy, it is well connected to other regions of Italy, where you can reach Verona and Mantova in an hour, Padua and Venice in 3 hours, and Munich and Rome in almost 6-hours.

The main attractions that make the region the best place to live in Italy are the exotic wines, cafes, boutiques and clubs. All in all, Brescia promises you an active urban life.

Living in Rome – Art and Architecture

Rome, along with being the capital city, is also called the Eternal City of Italy. It can be a great choice and the best place to live in Italy. The city is mainly famous for its rich cultural heritage, marvellous architecture, and exotic cuisines. The Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, and the Colosseum are the highlights of this city. Further, considering the city’s thriving ex-pat community, job market, healthcare system, social clubs and organizations, along with many other amenities such as beautiful beaches and popular tourist destinations, are found in Rome, distinguishing it from other cities and making it a popular tourist destination as well as the best place to live in Italy.

The big city has top private and international schools, with a friendly population. The city can be a good choice if you are looking for a good social life in a new city.

Sardinia – Stunning Beaches

Located in the Mediterranean Sea, Sardinia is a beautiful island in Southern Italy. The natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and relaxed life that the island offers make it the best place to live in Italy. It remains a popular choice for digital nomads and ex-pats who seek a laid-back lifestyle on pristine beaches and breathtaking landscapes. The island offers a high quality of life, a reasonable cost of living, and a strong healthcare system making it one of the best places to live in Italy. Further, Sardinia has a growing job market, with the current hot trends available in Agriculture, Tourism, and Manufacturing.

The people of Sardinia have a welcoming nature, making it easier for ex-pat communities to integrate into society. This is a great place for adventure seekers and an affordable place to live in Italy. €450 and €700 is the average rate for a one-bedroom apartment. The affordable and pocket-friendly lifestyle the island provides is an important factor you can consider while choosing the best places to live in Italy. 


Also known as the vertical city, Positano is a tiny town clinging to the side of a steep mountain. In this city, you can reach your house by road, through hill climbing. Considering the sandy beaches, restaurants and glamorous seaside bars, it is mainly the best place for the famous and rich to live in Italy.

Considering its top-of-the-cliff location, it offers a magnificent view across the Bay of Naples. The beautiful city is also known as a good transport hub, considering its connections with railways, buses, ferries, and hydrofoils. Travel usually includes an easy bus ride with a stunning and comfortable ride.

However, the city can be expensive to live in, considering the high property prices. However, this should not discourage you from visiting the city altogether, since you can search for property in surrounding towns, which offer lower prices. One good choice is Amalfi, the biggest town on the Amalfi Coast, which offers reasonable prices.

Bologna – Beautiful Art and Museums

Located in Northern Italy, the city is the best place to live in Italy, with many prestigious educational institutions and universities situated in the region. This is why this is one of the main preferences for international students, foreign teachers and administrators, and it is one of the best Italian cities.

Along with the educational benefits, the city is safe, walking distance, and welcoming to foreigners. The city has medieval castles and Italian Renaissance structures, including the Two Towers, Fountain of Neptune, and Basilica di San Petronio. It is also a recognized UNESCO City of Music. 

Additionally, the cost of living is not a lot since the monthly rental of a one-bedroom apartment is between €550 and €750, which is a mid-range value.

Genoa, Liguria

Located on the Northwestern coastline, close to Monaco, the area of Liguria is also known as the Italian Riviera. Considering its extraordinary location between the mountains and the gulf stream (Mediterranean Ocean), it offers a microclimate, where it is warm and sunny throughout the year, making it a natural beauty and the best place to live in Italy.

Genoa is a city in Liguria, along with its capital city. It is a historic port city, having a diverse range of residents and a modern city vibe.

A one-bedroom apartment can cost you somewhere between €450 and €650. The city has a sizable English-speaking community, making it easier for foreigners. Further, the historic port city is close to the fishing village life of Portofino, which is considered one of the most beautiful and photographed destinations of Liguria.

Tuscany, Florence – A Rich Artistic Legacy

If you aim to live with natural beauty surroundings and mouth-watering local produce, this is the city for you. In the small Tuscan city of Florence, it is possible to obtain an ideal balance between city living and traditional Italian culture while enjoying the local economy, local dishes, and the local services of this historical site with a rich history.

Florence is especially famous for its Renaissance art, architecture, historical monuments, and natural beauty. Further, the financial and pharmaceutical industries are thriving in the city, making it the best place to live in Italy. Additionally, the city is well-connected, both domestically and internationally. It has its airport, along with another airport located an hour away in Pisa.

The country is very expat-friendly and is one of the best places for remote workers. Foreigners experience a comfortable and calm lifestyle in this city, with a mid-range cost of living where a one-bedroom apartment costs between €550 and €750. While this cost is cheaper than Rome and Milan, however, it is still more expensive than Pisa. This is why people prefer living in Pisa over Tuscany.


With a history dating back to pre-Roman Etruscans and the Roman Forum, the city might not be one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. However, it is one of the best places to live in Italy and is counted among Italy’s urban and historical centres. Pizza del Campo is in the centre of this city. It is a small city, allowing you to live next door to locals and get a rhythm of everyday life.

It is easy to get a place near the city centre in the old town, within walking distance. However, the city is not among the modern metropolis.

The city is especially known for its biannual horse race, the Palio, every July and August.

Must Know Facts about Italy

Healthcare System

Even though public healthcare is free in Italy in the form of Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), it is not always made available to foreign citizens. People who are employed, regardless of whether they work for a company or themselves, are entitled to free healthcare. This is known as iscrizione obbligatoria, which is not to be confused with iscrizione volontaria, which is designated for unemployed residents. Private health insurance is typically purchased by those who require greater comfort or coverage.

You can expect to receive free medical care and hospital admissions in Italy. However, insurance does not cover certain tests, prescription drugs, and specialist referrals. It is possible to include your dependents in your health insurance policy.

The primary requirement for registering for healthcare in Italy is to have a residence permit. Once you have arranged the same, you’ll give your local health authority (Azienda Sanitaria Locale, or ASL) your passport and your tax number along with that permit or the application receipt. It’s best to speak with your ASL directly. However, you might need to provide more documentation and pay a fee.

Opening a Bank Account

Both residents and non-residents are allowed to open a bank account in Italy. However, the process will require you to visit any bank branch at least once. While the process differs for different banks, you would commonly be asked to show your ID and Italian tax code called codice fiscale. The bank would then perform anti-money laundering (AML) formalities, followed by documentation. 

It is also possible to open your bank account before travelling to Italy, provided you choose an Italian bank with branches in both countries. The bank should be able to transmit data to the Italian branch and complete AML compliance procedures.

Having a Job

For an EU citizen, the process is similar to that of Italian citizens. Therefore, they only require an ID Document and an Italian tax code to apply for any job. However, the process for non-EU citizens is a bit complicated. They require a regular visa and permit to stay, which allows them to work in Italy. Some common permits which allow individuals to work in Italy are:

  • Regular employment
  • Seasonal work and multi-year seasonal work
  • “Out-of-quota” work (for highly qualified workers)
  • Sports activities
  • Artistic work
  • Scientific research
  • Working holiday
  • Searching for employment
  • Self-employment
  • Family reasons
  • Assistance of minors
  • Foster care or guardianship
  • Temporary protection for human rights reasons
  • Humanitarian reasons (social protection, political asylum, or international protection)
  • Statelessness
  • Subsidiary protection (asylum)
  • Study, internship, and vocational training

You cannot, however, work in Italy if you are a foreign national with a valid visa for travel, medical care, business, tourism, or legal reasons.

The number of individuals allowed to enter Italy for work is limited by the annual maximum entry quotas. Therefore, your new employer must apply for a “nulla osta” (visa exemption), whether they are an Italian or a foreign national who is lawfully residing in Italy.

Cost of Living in Italy

The following is a cost estimate that you can keep in mind while planning your trip to Italy:

  • Visa and permit cost: €80 to €200.
  • One Bedroom Apartment: €577.64 (might vary depending on the city)
  • Three Bedroom Apartment: €1068.37 (might vary depending on the city)
  • Electricity and Gas: €100 per month.
  • Condo Fee: €20 up to €200
  • Home Internet: €20 to €25 per month.
  • Public Transportation Cost: €2.50 to €4 per day. 

Immigrate to Italy

Italy is part of the European Union, and therefore, other EU nations are not required to obtain a visa or residence permit to visit or live in Italy. For citizens of non-EU nations, there are various types of visas available, which are as follows –

  1. Schengen visas are categorized into A, B, and C types, 
  2. Limited territorial visa, 
  3. Long-term visa, which can provide entry into Italy multiple times
  4. Temporary and permanent residence permits will be valid for up to 5 years.

The applicant seeking an Italian Visa will have to submit the application form issued by the Italian Immigration Office. The applicant will be required to provide the Immigration Office with a valid passport, recent photographs, a valid insurance policy and proof of financial means to sustain in Italy along with the purpose of the visit of the applicant. 

After arriving in Italy, the foreign national should obtain a Residence Permit, allowing them to stay in Italy legally and even travel to other EU nations. The Permit can be obtained based on the visa by registering with the nearest local police station within 8 days of arrival to the country. Italian Residence can be obtained even through investment which will allow the issuance of a 2 years investment visa which can be extended for additional 3 years. The following are the conditions of the investment for the applicant to be eligible for an investment visa:

  1. A minimum amount of 2 million euros invested in bonds issued by the government or companies or shares issued by companies;
  2. A minimum amount of 500,000 euros invested in innovative startups;
  3. A minimum amount of 1 million euros invested in cultural projects or activities;

The amount must be invested for 2 years before the issuance of the visa. The foreign national can apply for citizenship in Italy after three years of uninterrupted residency in the country. The applicant should pay taxes, show their income through annual returns, and have no existing criminal records. The processing time for the application for permanent residency can range from 3 months to 3 years. 

In the case of a person holding a work visa, the Territorial Directorate for Labour must authorize any change in employment of such a person. In case of loss of employment, the applicant will be put on the employment placement list till the visa remains valid, and the government may provide unemployment benefits based on the fulfilment of certain eligibility criteria.


With incredible cities, towns, and villages, deciding on a particular location among the Italian cities can be difficult. Therefore, while planning to visit Italy, decide on your preference for a major city or small town, city living experience, job opportunities available, education of children in international schools, cost of living, leisure activities on beautiful beaches and affordable lifestyle.

Ensure that you complete your research beforehand, and if you require any assistance to know more about the laws and regulations for immigration to Italy, find the best legal professionals for the job at LegaMart.

Uncover the steps and procedures for immigration to different nations, with a focus on Turkey to Norway and US to Portugal, in Legamart’s insightful articles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do most Americans move to in Italy?

Among the most popular tourist destinations for Americans is Lazio. Rome is the Italian capital of this city, and the city has one of the highest numbers of American residents, at 2,800.

Is Italy a good place for an American to live?

Finding a home in Italy means enjoying healthy meals with an excellent education system, good public transportation, beautiful landscapes, and glorious cultural history. Indeed, you can live your dream of a perfect vacation in Italy.

Where in Italy are Americans moving to?

Rome, Florentine and Milan are famous cities for American immigrants in Italy.

Which part of Italy is best to live in?

Some of the best parts of Italy to live in are Rome for pleasure and enjoyment, the City of Naples as a tranquil and free alternative, Tuscany for traditional Italian and La Dolce Vita, and the Sardinian Islands for world for travellers.

Where do most ex-pats retire to in Italy?

Tuscany has been viewed as the wine capital of the country (but not Europe) and is the best place for an Italian retirement for people who enjoy being surrounded by the best wines and delicious cuisine. The hilltops of the region have a wealth of vineyards and a spectacular landscape in spectacular.

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