One thing is to travel for a short holiday, another one is to stay. If you have been dreaming about the Belpaese for your retirement, or to work as a digital nomad, or raising your family, here is an enticing list of the best cities in Italy to live in.
Here, you will find the best Italian cities to move to if you are retired, if you are a family with children, or if you are a young professional looking for a job or working as a digital nomad.
As you know, Italy is very diverse so depending on the life you want, you might prefer one city over another. More or less expensive, more cultural or more natural, more touristy or quieter, each Italian city has its very own features and characteristics that make it an interesting destination to settle in.
Discover the best Italian cities to live in
Bologna has been holding steady in its pole position in the best cities in Italy to live competition. The capital of Emilia-Romagna, easily one of the richest Italian regions, Bologna offers a hearty culinary tradition, a vibrant lifestyle, and a fascinating history and culture to explore.
Safe and elegant, the job market in Bologna offers quite a few opportunities and the overall lifestyle reflects on the economic security. Bologna has been named first among the best Italian cities to live in also because of its high number of people with a higher education degree and overall wealth.
Apart from this, Bologna has a well-connected train station and is reached by Trenitalia’s Freccia high-speed trains as well as Italo’s fast trains. This quickly connects the city to many other important cities such as Milan, Florence, and Rome.
One of the reasons why Florence is one of the best cities in Italy to live in is its incredible cultural heritage.
If you are the type of person who likes to visit museums or historical landmarks in their leisure time or take part in cultural events, then Florence is a fantastic city to move to in Italy.
While visiting museums might not be what you would do as a daily routine, living in Florence means you are constantly soaked in art. And if you are a foodie, you will be spoiled for choice with great places where to eat.
While the historic center is very expensive and pretty much always packed with tourists, the rest of the city, including some residential areas, remains quieter and more affordable, especially if you are looking into buying or renting a house.
Well-connected to other cities with regional and high-speed trains and well-served by urban public transport, Florence makes it possible to live there without a car.
Florence’s weather is hot in summer and cold in winter. It hardly has extreme weather conditions, though, and it’s always easily liveable.
Counting only 50,000 residents, this city is tranquil and people-oriented. It features several parks and green spaces and the local infrastructure and public transport are efficient and easy to access.
Siena is a safe city and also quite affordable, perfect if you are embarking on one of the jobs for digital nomads. With a medium salary, you can even rent a small flat around the historic center, while out of the city center, you can find more affordable occasions and nice areas to explore.
Some other pleasant aspects of living in Siena include great food, culture, traditions, efficient infrastructure, and clean air.
Located in southern Sardinia, Cagliari is the island’s capital. Sun-kissed almost all year round, it’s one of the best cities in Italy to live in for many reasons.
Mild weather in winter, pretty hot but windy in summer, and wonderful in spring and fall, all areas in Cagliari call for long strolls. Lapped by the Mediterranean Sea in its long Poetto beach, the city also boasts quite a few green spaces.
One of the unmissable places to visit in Sardinia, Cagliari is a big city but nowhere comparable to metropolises like Rome or Milan.
I wasn’t surprised at all when I saw Bolzano in the highest places of the best cities in Italy to live in. Clean and neatly organized German style, Bolzano is the main city of the Italian south tyrol and surrounded by the wonderful Dolomites.
Bolzano is true heaven whether you are looking for a winter skiing vacation or a fresher summer holiday. I visited Bolzano in the summer and let me tell you that walking around the whole without the usual panting I do in Sardinia or in Rome in the same season was priceless.
By living in Bolzano, you can enjoy efficient public services, large green spaces, and a diverse cultural landscape. Residents can enjoy a safe and clean city with relatively low levels of pollution.
I moved to Rome in the far 1998 and while I have to admit back then it was a more pleasant city to live in, I still like calling it home.
Rome is huge, chaotic, and noisy, but it’s also home to a never-ending array of landmarks to visit and masterpieces to see. In Rome, you can find every international and Italian restaurant you might fancy, any store and boutique.
Whether looking for fashion items, culinary delicacies, homeware, or anything else, Rome offers more than you might think of.
While there is some street crime, Rome is still overall safe. Vibrant and lively, there are plenty of cool neighborhoods to choose from if you are considering living in Rome.
The capital of the Trentino-Alto Adige region, we have spent a month in Trento and loved it.
Safe and clean, Trento offers a high quality of life thanks to its many cultural events and landmarks, ensuring a great array of opportunities for your leisure time, as well as a rich job market.
If you are not too afraid of cold winters, Trento is one of the best cities in Italy to live in, especially if you are a fan of nature-soaked day trips. Not far from Trento are in fact the Dolomites and also historical landmarks such as Castel Thun and San Romedio sanctuary.
My husband’s family lives in Parma and loves it. The city is easy to manage on a human scale, public transport is efficient, and with the train, you can reach many bigger cities, including Bologna.
The historic center offers many landmarks to visit and there is always some event to attend. Famous for its food excellence, in Parma you can try the local delicacies such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Parma ham, as well as visit the culinary museums.
The city is not too big but it has a rich job market so you can enjoy a higher quality of life and rent or buy a house not too far from the city center.
Verona is a beautiful city in the Veneto region. I have spent only one day in Verona so I mainly know the historic center but I will certainly be going again.
Even though very touristy, Verona is a pleasant city to walk around, whether you are downtown or want to explore more residential areas. Even though the city center is its pulsing heart, neighborhoods that are further away are more affordable and easy to live in.
Verona also has an efficient public transportation system and is an important train hub connecting to other big cities. Safe and clean, Verona has a healthy job market, ensuring a decent lifestyle for its residents.
Sardinia’s Oristano city has been named for several years in a row the safest city in Italy and the one with the highest quality of food.
Adding to this, what’s very enjoyable in Oristano is to walk around because the town is mainly flat. In fact, you will also see many people, elderly included, riding a bike.
As per the job market, Sardinia as a whole is not the strongest Italian region and Oristano is in line with the rest of the island. But if you are looking for a peaceful environment, genuine food, and also many places to visit in and around the city, Oristano is worth considering.
Apart from the city itself, the whole province is very interesting to explore, from its villages inland to its breathtaking coastline. Finally, being Oristano in central Sardinia, the rest of the island is easy to reach, whether you want to visit the northern cities of Sassari and Olbia, or the southern area of Cagliari.
In recent years, Aosta, the capital of the Valle d’Aosta region, has been suggested as the best Italian city to live in for families with children. Very cold in winter and pleasantly fresh in summer, Aosta is surrounded by the mighty Alps peaks, making it an important winter holiday destination.
Its rather low job market doesn’t make it ideal for young people to move in, but it boasts a great organization for small children up to 10 years old, including pediatricians, daycare facilities, and social services.
Young adults tend to struggle or move away due to the lack of jobs, while the city becomes a paradise for retired people because of its tranquil quality of life.
Last but not least in our round-up of the best cities in Italy to live in is Ancona, the capital of the Marche region. Lapped by the Adriatic Sea, Ancona enjoys mild weather all year round.
If you want to enjoy a relaxing lifestyle in a beautiful city, peaceful and affordable, Ancona is worth considering. For sure, much more affordable than other cities in central and northern Italy, especially Rome and Florence.
Well connected by trains and flights to many other cities, Ancona is not a very popular travel destination, like its own region, which is actually extremely interesting historically and if you are a nature or food enthusiast.
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