With the plethora of good locations in Europe, and the many appealing spots within Italy itself, choosing the right area for you among the best places to live in Italy is not an easy task. But the truth is: there are no bad places to live in this boot-shaped country, although there's no denying that some are a lot more practical than others.
For example, if you are moving to Italy for work, then you shouldn't even consider living remotely in the southern parts. Or if you are trying to avoid living a lavish lifestyle, then you should scratch pricey Tuscany off your list.
The entire country is certainly known for its beauty, history, and delicious food. But if there's no job waiting for you, no friends to meet, and no specific place where you have to buy your essential needs - in short, if you're not tied to any location -, then your options are wide open. And because it is Italy, the first thing people (especially expats) usually consider is the scenery.
Do you want to be greeted by the Alps every time you open your windows? Maybe you prefer getting really close to nature and waking up next to a lake and lush forests every day? Or are you more of a big city person, or a beach lover? It is important to find a place where you can simply relax and be high on life.
To help you pick your new home base in Italy according to your needs and preferences, here is our list of the top 9 best places to live in Italy:
Best Places to Live in Italy in the South Region
The southern half of Italy, also known as "Mezzogiorno", is sometimes regarded with a bit of negativity, particularly by those who are living in the north of the country. This is mainly because some parts of this region are rather isolated from civilization and less developed. However, there are many areas in the south where you could certainly enjoy a blissful life.
The biggest island in the Mediterranean and a popular area for many British expatriates to buy properties and settle down, Sicily is a good choice to live if you are interested in spending your time by the water. It's also perfect for those who are planning to lead a low-key lifestyle, as the standard of living here is known to be lower than in other popular areas of Italy.
Among other attractions, the island is known for the hilltop Roman ruins of the Teatro Antico di Taormina, and the still-active Mount Etna volcano. The old towns of Sicily have beautiful city centers, and you can expect a flock of tourists to appear in the summer months.
Another popular tourist destination, Sardinia has plenty of white sand beaches that could easily rival those of The Caribbean. Its main holiday spots are located in the northeast. That area, called the "Costa Smeralda," can be very expensive.
Most of the population resides in Cagliari on the south coast. There are also several nice villages located in the hills, which is where you can find more reasonably priced properties. Another nice place to consider buying a property in is the northwestern part of the island, around Sassari and Alghero.
For a region with a lot of character and history in addition to beautiful, expansive nature, consider the Abruzzo province. Less famous and fancy than the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, this area combines the charms of the Adriatic coastline with the Apennine Mountains, offering a variety of landscapes.
Nature reserves and national parks make up much of the region's territory. In Abruzzo, you will also find many medieval and Renaissance hilltop towns. This includes the walled city of L'Aquila, the regional capital.
Best Places to Live in Italy in the North Region
The regions in the north of Italy are close to the two mountain ranges of the Dolomites and the Alps. Therefore, this area is ideal for those looking to live in a place with spectacular views, fresh air, and even winter sports! You can spend your weekends going on adventures in the Dolomites or boating on the big lakes. You'll likely be drawn to this part of Italy if you're an outdoors lover.
Liguria is another of the best places to live in Italy. The border with France to its west and the stylish resort of San Remo are only a few miles away.
It is a relatively small, crescent-shaped region that runs along the coast from the top at Genoa down to the sophisticated resort of Portofino. It also encompasses the remarkable, colorful hillside villages of Cinque Terre and the vivid La Spezia harbor, where English poets Percy Shelley and Lord Byron lived.
There are a lot of properties available in different coastal towns and small villages around this area. Just make sure you have strong legs, as most of the properties here are located on steep slopes. On the plus side, that means they often come with gorgeous views.
Verona is a very pretty, well-sized city that famously served as the inspiration and setting for William Shakespeare's classic romantic play, Romeo and Juliet. This might be one of the main reasons why many people from European countries choose to live here.
Verona and the countryside around it should be at the top of your list of best places to live in Italy if you are looking to experience rural, peaceful living, most remarkably in the vineyards that create the grapes used to make one of the country's best drinks, prosecco. The peaceful shores of stunning Lake Garda are also only a short drive or train ride away.
The wealth of Emilia-Romagna is illustrated by its home-grown luxuries. Famous car brands Maserati, Ferrari, and Lamborghini all originate from this region. And indeed, you'll see a lot of homeowners who also own at least one of those brands.
If you decide to live in the Emilia-Romagna region, the most difficult part will be to pick your favorite city to live in. You may want to choose between Ferrara, Bologna, Parma, and Modena. Are all comfortable cities with a transportation infrastructure and business industry that keep on growing. They are also known to have some of the best culinary specialties the country has to offer.
Best Places to Live in Italy in the Central Region
If you want to have the best of both worlds, then living somewhere in the central part of the country may be the best choice. This is where modern cities and peaceful country areas meet.
Rome has attracted many foreign dwellers over the last decades. It has countless attractions that can't possibly all be explored unless you live there. Millions of Americans visit this center of Western Civilization every year, and a lot of them choose to stay there for good.
Rome has spectacular weather almost all year round. But the pleasant temperatures are not the only reason why many choose to move to Rome. Its rich history also plays a huge part in many foreigners' decision to settle here.
Reminders of the past are present in every little aspect of modern Roman life, whether it's setting up a meeting with your friends in front of the Pantheon, walking to the groceries and passing by the Colosseum, or driving your car to work on the Appian Way. The grand historical monuments are a constant reminder of how wonderful and significant this city is.
Milan is the center for financial services and houses the headquarters of the largest businesses in the country. In light of this, the city is perfect for those who want to build a career and businesses in Italy.
It may seem a little less exciting than some of the other options on this list, but the cafe culture and vibrant way of life contribute to the beauty of the city. When the Milanese are not at the office, they are probably hanging out in cosy bars or restaurants. Then on the weekends, they spend their time closer to nature, heading to the lakes and mountains which are mostly only a two-hour drive away.
This rugged region of farms, hill towns, and beaches on the Adriatic Sea is also located in the central part of Italy. Due to the affordability of living here, it has become a hotspot for many expats choosing to live in Italy.
Renting a home here runs between €500 and €1500 a month. But if you are planning to buy a home, then you might find good family properties for around $300,000. If you want to live close to the water, then you may want to consider the towns of Potenza Picena or Senigallia. Meanwhile, if you are into hilly regions, then Fermo would be a great choice.
The seaport city of Ancona is the capital of the Le Marche region. If you choose to settle there, you'll find about six metro buses and taxi companies that will make it easy for you to get around.
We hope that you and/or your family will have an easier time shortlisting your options with the suggestions provided above. Again, there is no bad place to live in Italy. Nevertheless, it is important to choose a spot that will cater to your needs and tastes and that will appeal to the whole family. Location definitely should play a big part in choosing where to settle down.
Do you have any other candidates for the best places to live in Italy that are not included in this list? Let us know in a comment below!