Looking for the Best Places To Live In Italy?
“The Creator made Italy by designs from Michelangelo” – Mark Twain. Truer words were never spoken. The whole of Italy is beautiful, enchanting, and steeped in mystique and history. Which is likely why thousands upon thousands of tourists vacation there every year. Regardless where in Italy you land, history, exquisite structures, and stunningly beautiful views await. The only thing that could possibly be better than visiting the boot-shaped country, is to live within its borders.
Making the decision to make the move there, that is the easy part. Narrowing down which city to settle into can be a little difficult. After all, each and every town, city, and region in Italy has its undeniable allure. While there is literally no place in Italy that isn’t worth a visit, some are better than others, especially when considering making a life there. Not to worry, we have done all of the work for you.
Here are the 15 best places to live in Italy, and exactly why they made the list:
1. Bolzano, South Tyrol
Bolzano, or Bolzen, is the capital city of South Tyrol. The timeless beauty of the town is breathtaking, it’s as if you’ve stepped into a painting. Green, grassy hills meet quaint riverside paths, beside which sit neatly placed and designed pastel houses. This is all set against a stunningly beautiful backdrop. It is a historic town with a perfect blend of both Italian and German cultures. Most would be happy here, as there is no shortage of things to do, such as visiting the Victory Monument or Sigmundskron Castle. If you are looking to escape a busier life, laid-back Bolzano is the perfect place to do it in.
What better place to live than in the famous city of star-crossed lovers. As the setting for the most well-known love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet, this city is the epitome of romance. The old but ornate structures only add to its romantic feel. Not surprisingly, Verona is one of the most popular places to visit in all of Italy (especially for couples in love) and is typically filled with both lovely locals and a diverse group of tourists throughout the year. It is located between Venice and Milan, with plenty of excitement (and fashion shows!) just a stone’s throw away.
3. Trento, South Tyrol
Neatly situated along the Adige River Valley, Trento is widely considered to be one of the richest cities in the country. It also happens to be the richest in nature and gorgeous scenery as well. The landscape itself is absolutely beautiful, as is all of Italy, of course, but Trento is even more so. The Tridentine Alps and the Dolomite, along with abundant, colorful valleys which all graciously meet to form this stunning area. It is a popular ski spot, with its powdery white snow, during the winter, a stark contrast to the vivid fields of blooming flowers during the summer months. If you can afford it, Trento is the ideal place to live in Italy.
The wide blend of exquisite architecture, with Byzantine, Arabian, and Italian influences, are but just one of the reasons tourists flock to this amazing city each year. Feeling welcome will never be a concern as at its heart, this is the ideal traditional town, with old-school values. And the people are positively enchanting. With the diverse culture, history, and amazing cuisine, Palermo is definitely a more than a viable place to live.
5. Sondrio, Lombardy
Considered one of the smaller towns in Italy (its population is around 22,000), Sondrio is located in the Lombardy region. It is secluded and there will be no worries about the in-laws popping over as the city has no airports. Any visitors must fly into neighboring cities, and then drive over. Living in Sondrio means you must be content in a relaxed and easy-going lifestyle. Driving through the city is difficult due to the many narrow roads and alleys, however, as small as it is, it should be fairly simple to navigate without the assistance of a vehicle.
6. Olbia, Sardinia
Literally named after the Greek word for ‘happiness’, Olbia is both charming and authentic, and who wouldn’t be happy to live here? Sardinia’s 5th largest city, it is also within a short traveling distance to the pristine beaches of Costa Smeralda. Entering this lovely coastal city truly feels as though you are taking a step back in time. Traditional values and rare hospitality, the people of Olbia are amazing as well. If you are looking to escape today’s non-stop, on-the-go atmosphere, this city might just be the place you need to be.
7. Cuneo, Piedmont
Home to the Cathedral of Santa Croce, a breathtaking 18th-century baroque church, Cuneo, is another of Italy’s little known gems. Unique architecture, set amongst an incredibly diverse landscape, provides the step back into history that we have come to expect from our favorite Italian cities. Living here, you would have to be okay being somewhat isolated as there is just one small airport, though there are several larger ones in nearby Nice, France. For an international flight, you’ll have to make the 150-mile trek to fashion hotspot Milan.
Although it is in the smallest and least populated region in the country, Aosta has its unmistakable charms. The city is overlooked by the Matterhorn (the real one, not the one at Disneyland!) and Mont Blanc, this is a great place to live for those that enjoy skiing, hiking, and/or taking in the picturesque scenery. Renaissance and medieval castles dot the glacial valley, which is surrounded by lush greenery. If you are looking for a beautiful and interesting place to live, you’ve found it.
9. Siena, Tuscany
Who wouldn’t want to live under the warmth of the Tuscany sun? Not only is it gorgeous, but it is also quite an intriguing place to live. Siena is another old town with an interesting history. The city was actually featured in the James Bond film, Quantum of Solace. It is also the only city on the list that has had its historic center been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.
10. Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna
The Venetian architecture alone is enough reason to make Ravenna your home. Positioned on the eastern coast it is said this city is perfect for lovers of mosaic as it has so much of it to offer, adorning the many old buildings. Spend lazy days relaxing, wandering the colorful markets, and visiting the ancient castles. Not to mention, you could spend years learning about the fascinating history of the city.
Located about 40 minutes outside of Venice, Treviso is a tiny, historic town, however, it has so much to offer. Structures dating all the way back to the 15th century, most of the walls and gates still accessible today, provide magnificent views. Two rivers, the Sile, and the Carignan circle the town together, side by side. Perhaps a testament to the lovely, inviting locals. Choosing to live in this peaceful and tranquil town, would be a decision you’d not likely regret.
Although Bergamo has been one of the hardest Italian cities hit by the Coronavirus pandemic, the resilience of its people has also been brought under the spotlight, in an empowering and positive way. In the face of adversity and hardship, they united in their want to help their fellow humans. While it is of course saturated in history and rich in culture, it is their engaging people that make this a delightful place to live.
Massive Mount Etna watching over the city makes for both beautiful, yet imposing, although unbeatable views. Unlike many of the other Italian cities to make the list, Catania is quite a bit more fast-paced and modern. That is not to say it has lost all of its old Italian charms. There are still many ornate and impressive buildings, structures, and churches for days filled with sightseeing. Being Sicily’s second-largest city, you’re not likely to ever get lonely as there are always throngs of people strolling about the Piazza.
The quaint town of Perugia is nestled in between lush, green valleys, and stunning statuesque mountains, sitting almost precariously on a hilltop. With both historical and natural attractions, there is never a shortage of things to do or see. Most of the city’s locals have never met a stranger, being both elegant and charming. Perugia is also the main hub of foreign exchange students adding to the diverse, melting-pot population.
This adorable but bustling Sicilian beach town is located about 40 miles to the east of Palermo. While it is a major tourist spot during the summer months, it is relatively slow-paced, calm, and serene throughout the rest of the year. The enchanting small cove, at the heart of the city, radiates the tiny town’s massive charm, it is easy to see why it is one of its major draws. The locals are friendly and welcoming, making Cefalu one of the best places to live in all of Italy.