If you’re thinking about going to live in Italy then you have made an excellent choice. Not only are regions of Italy affordable to buy in but the whole country is full of charm, stunning mountains, beautiful countryside, amazing cuisine, and magical coastlines.
From a cultural perspective, Italy is also hard to beat and is home to more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country in the world, so what’s not to love? Especially when you are looking to live la dolce vita! Even the language is music to your ears and it’s not so hard to learn either.
Join me as we take a look at all the best cities to live in Italy.
The province of Abruzzo sits to the east of Rome and it has everything to offer. The region is home to beautiful beaches lapped by the azure blue waters of the Adriatic sea, rolling Italian countryside full of olive groves, some of Italy’s best vineyards, and 1/3 of the region is national parks, oh and there are mountains too.
Abruzzo is one of the least populated provinces in all of Italy – the air is clean, there is minimal traffic, and it makes the housing market very affordable – you can find a home for around $100k quite easily.
The area is great for hiking, riding horses, rock climbing, and with Italy’s highest peak, Gran Sasso down the road, you can even go skiing in winter. Plus, there are hundreds of beaches to hang out on during the summer.
The area does get busy in the summertime as it’s a traditional vacation spot for Rome’s residents. This summertime migration has been happening for centuries, as when the city gets too hot, there is nothing more the Italian’s love than hanging out by the sea.
To top it all off, Abruzzo has some of the best food in Italy. The central region has taste influences from all over the country and the combination of the mountains and the sea gives rise to a large selection of different local ingredients.
Another fantastic reason to live in Abruzzo is the weather. The coastline has a wondering summertime temperature of 30 Celsius with a cool Meditteranean breeze that makes sure you never overheat. Winters are mild on the coast and you can go up into the mountains to enjoy skiing and have a white Christmas whenever you like.
Sardinia is an island off the western coast of Italy and is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean sea, making it large enough to live a diverse island life on, unlike smaller islands. Personally, I think it would make a great place to live in Italy!
Sardinia is unspoiled with a small population and minimal tourism offerings which gives rise to a very relaxed way of life. The natural landscapes are untouched and spectacular from the tall white cliffs to the caves and crowd-less beaches along with the 60 national parks dotted around the island.
From a perspective of Italian culture, Sardinia is incredibly authentic and you’ll find a different kind of local there compared to other parts of Italy. The tempo is slow, relaxed, and entrenched in tradition – to the point that there are 7 different local languages on the island and everyone also speaks Italian of course.
The island is excellent for hiking, reconnecting with nature, there are great watersports including diving, kite surfing, and even surfing, plus the food is delicious – I had the best pizza of my life in Alghero.
There are a ton of regions to live in ranging from stunning Italian cities like Cagliari in the south to Alghero in the north. The island is super hot in summer, the perfect temperature in spring and fall, plus the winters are quite mild too.
The province of Parma is perfect if you want to live in Italy in the beautiful, traditional, Italian countryside and love Italian food.
Sitting in northern Italy with the fashion capital of Milan to the north, Genoa to the west, plus Florence and Bologna to the south, you’re not far from some of the best cities in Italy when in Parma, but you get to live in peace and pick and choose your weekends away.
The area is covered in rolling hills and is home to parma ham and parmesan cheese, it also won the first UNESCO Creative City For Gastronomy award of any Italian city so they have amazing food around every corner. There are markets, food boutiques, and even museums dedicated to cuisine.
From a tourist perspective, the beautiful city of Parma and the region are growing in popularity but they remain pretty much undiscovered when compared to the rest of Italy. The city center of Parma is quite expensive to live in, but the surrounding towns, and countryside, are far more affordable.
If the one thing putting you off is Parma’s lack of seaside, you have nothing to worry about. The town of La Spezia is just under a 2-hour drive away and you can bask on Meditteranean beaches and enjoy delicious seafood – crab linguine is a favorite of mine. And, Lake Como is never too far away when the summer gets hot and you need to head to the mountains, but still have a lake to dive into.
If you’re used to living through all the seasons and don’t want to leave that behind, then Parma is for you. You’re likely to find snow in December and January, ideal for Christmas, while spring and autumn have an ideal temperature and the summers are hot. If you live in Parma, you’ll have 5-8 months of incredible weather.
Sicily is one of Italy’s richest areas when it comes to historical and cultural influences. The island was once owned by the Greeks, the Saracens, and the Romans and you can see it in both the food and architecture around the island.
The island is heavily populated so finding a job in Sicily is almost impossible, even in Italian cities like Palermo. But, as always, there are two sides to every coin. The region is incredibly affordable and if you have an outside income then you’ll be able to have an excellent quality of life in Sicily.
The food in Sicily is to die for, especially if you love sweet dishes. To give you a perspective of the sweet tooth of Sicilians, it’s not uncommon to have ice cream in a brioche bun for breakfast.
If sweet food isn’t your thing then you’ll find delicious traditional Italian food all over the island, great seafood, and Pistachios are grown there and thus included in many dishes. The street food is also considered the best in Italy, and that means a lot more in Italy than in most countries.
Sicily is also home to the Sicilian Mafia, which is less of a mafia these days but their presence is nothing to ignore. They tend to stay to the west of the island so settling on the east is advised, but there isn’t anything to worry about as they tend to leave ex-pats alone.
The weather in Sicily is to die for with highs at a minimum of 15 celsius all year round. The beautiful beaches are great for swimming, snorkeling, and sailing between them while the mountains have snow in winter and you can ski down an active volcano – there isn’t anywhere in the world you can do that but Sicily.
You have most likely heard of Italy’s Amalfi coast and it’s renowned as one of the most beautiful and romantic parts of the Italian coastline. It runs for 50 kilometers down the Sorrentine Peninsula in the region of Campania on the west side of Italy just south of the Italian city of Naples.
The spectacular coastline is both incredibly quaint and dramatic at the same time. The cliffs soar above the Mediterranean and are dressed with little fishing villages, small pebbled beaches, crystal clear seas, terraces of vineyards, and oceanside lemon groves.
Between November and April, the Almalfi coast is quiet with only its residents and the winters are mild so you can easily enjoy the empty beaches and relax in peace staring at the amazing ocean views. In the summer, the coastal towns come alive with restaurants, bars, full hotels, and tourists from all over the world.
The main towns in Amalfi consist of Positano, Amalfi, and Sorrento, each being a little different, and the cost of housing changes quite dramatically between them.
Of course, you could also live in Naples, in case you like Italian cities!
Positano is the land of the rich a famous and it’s not hard to see why. The town is terraced into the cliffside and every house is done in style with views across the Med. that is to die for. The bar, restaurants, and the main beach are all to die for too.
Sorrento is also rather expensive thanks to its views of Naples with Vesuvius looming over it. The town is the connecting transport hub to the Amalfi coast and is a great base to explore the region from plus it has all the amenities you could ever need. If you’re on a bit of a budget, look for homes in the nearby towns and you’ll find a steep decrease in price.
Amalfi is the largest town on the coastline and by far the most affordable to buy in. It has less of the exclusiveness of Positano but just as much of the beauty. The town sits at the bottom of Monte Cerreto and is surrounded by steep cliffs with magical views. The beaches are lovely and the town is vibrant, playing host to arts and cultural events while being less crowded than the others.
If the busy city life isn’t quite for you but you love Tuscany, then the area of Chianti that lies between the medieval city of Siena and major city of Florence might be the place for you. Of course, these Italian cities are not the biggest or busiest, so they are also a great place to live.
The region is, of course, home to Chianti wines, one of the most liked wines in the world, and is dotted with vineyards, quaint countryside towns, olive groves, old castles, and lovely forests. If you’re looking for Italian countryside then Chianti has got it all.
You might be worried that living in the Chianti region might be a little isolating but that’s not the case. There is a healthy population of ex-pats, even in the smallest of towns, so meeting and making new friends in the area shouldn’t take long but with this kind of popularity means you will pay a premium on house prices.
That’s not to say housing isn’t affordable, it is, but you’ll have to pay a little bit extra and it’s worth it, which is proven by the number of ex-pats that continue to move there.
The region celebrates the grape harvest every year with festivals plus food and wine events that people travel from all corners of the earth to be at.
Some of the best towns in Chianti to live in are Radda and Greve. Radda is an old medieval town enclosed in ancient walls and was once the capital of the region. It offers a peaceful lifestyle and some of the most delicious food you’re likely to find in all of Italy.
Greve is a little busier and is quite close to Florence but it is a postcard Italian town and stunningly beautiful. Set amongst rolling hills, it’s peaceful and Florence is just 30 minutes down the road for when you want some time in the city.
If you have ever been to Rome then you’ll understand why it can’t be left off the list of the best cities to live in Italy. All roads lead to Rome as you know and the vibe of this beautiful city is hard to beat when compared to all the others in the country.
The city centre is filled with Roman ruins and Italian culture, new and old Italy is bursting at the seams, and it costs nothing to enjoy it. 10 euros for a slice of street-side pizza, a Peroni, and some gelato – then the city takes care of the rest of it. Winding ancient streets with a buzzing atmosphere that fill you with life, it’s hard to beat.
This capital city is, as one of the major European cities, is obviously overpriced, overcrowded, and a little smelly but the same goes for Paris, New York, and London but there is nothing quite like the feeling of these capitals and if you can afford it then it’s certainly worth considering as one of the Italian cities you could live in.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!