One of the top reasons to move to Italy is the diversity of the country’s landscape – from Italy’s Mediterranean coast and islands, to the vibrant cities, the Italian countryside, the Alps mountain range in the north and much more. Italy has something for everyone! In this blog we have put together the best places to live in Italy, each offering the best of these varied landscapes.
Rome is mostly known for being a classic European holiday destination, either for city breaks throughout the year or the summer holidays, but Rome can also be a great place to live in Italy! Firstly, you’re spoilt with choice in Rome in terms of culture, history, art, architecture, and entertainment. The city is paradise for history and architecture buffs, with Roman ruins being scattered throughout as well as the world’s most iconic landmarks. Around every street and corner in Rome, there will be a piece of history that you haven’t come across before and living in Rome is the best way to explore outside the tourist hotspots and find the city’s hidden gems. As theatre was one of the first and most important forms of expression in Ancient Rome, the city is home to some of the best theatres and opera houses in the world. Concerts, comedy, opera, musicals, and ballet are therefore a popular type of entertainment in Rome. The city has a reputation for being expensive because of tourism pushing up accommodation and living costs, however, Rome is cheaper than other popular cities. Milan was shown as Italy’s most expensive city in Mercer’s 2019 cost of living ranking, Rome was shown to be cheaper than other cities with a reputation for being expensive, including London, Paris, Sydney, Miami, San Francisco, New York and Singapore.
Despite Rome’s standing as a highly traditional city, the work and study scene adds a progressive and dynamic feel to the city. Many multinational companies (including Microsoft, Google, Deloitte and Adecco) have office locations in Rome, making the city one of the best places to work in Italy. There is also a growing start-up scene in Rome, as for example, the government introduced a Start-up visa program for foreigners. Rome is home to some of the top universities in Italy, including University of Bologna which is the oldest university in the world! As well as the largest university in Europe, Sapienza, which attracts students from across the globe through study abroad programmes. On the one hand Rome is full of historical charm and on the other, it is a young, trendy and innovative city.
The varied landscapes that Italy is known for couldn’t be truer for Abruzzo as a region in Southern Italy that offers the most diverse Italian landscape! Sitting on Adriatic coastline and bordered by the Apennine Mountains, there is everything from mountains, to river valleys, to charming hillside and medieval towns, to vineyards, beaches and national parks (including Italy’s largest national park, the Gran Sasso). Abruzzo is definitely a haven for outdoor enthusiasts! The region is also recognised as a culinary high point in Italy, known for its distinct and traditional recipes and for producing the well-known Italian wine Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Sulmona in Abruzzo is the birthplace of the Italian sweet confetti, sugar coated almonds that come in a rainbow of colours and are traditionally offered at any Italian wedding, baptism, anniversary, graduation or significant family event. You will find many more culinary traditions in Abruzzo, making the region the ideal place for immersing yourself into the Italian culture.
Abruzzo is home to a variety of small cities and towns, including hilltop towns like Le Marche, seaside towns like Ortona and Vasto, and Pescara, L’Aquila and Sulmona as the region’s main cities. Scattered throughout these towns and cities are castles, tall towers and hilltops – exactly like a setting from a fairy-tale storybook! There isn’t as much hustle and bustle compared to bigger Italian cities like Rome and Milan, and therefore they’re ideal for enjoying a quieter and slow-paced life. You could also enjoy a relaxed way of life on Abruzzo’s stretch of 80 miles of coast, lined with golden-sand beaches.
There are many areas in Abruzzo where you will come across great bargains when finding a property, and you will be able to get a lot more for your money than in cities like Rome, Milan and Florence. The price of a townhouse with a roof terrace providing panoramic views of the sea and coast would be approx. $130,000 or less. Monthly rent in smaller towns would be approx. $200, and $300-$350 in cities like Sulmona and Penne. You could enjoy a high quality of life in Abruzzo without breaking the bank. Doing things like dining out would cost half of what it would in the centre of Rome or Florence, and you are more likely to get a culturally rich experience without crowds and crowds of tourists.
Tuscany is quintessential Italy as one of the most culturally rich and largest Italian regions! You could live “under the Tuscan sun”, surrounded by rustic countryside, romantic hill-top towns, the city of Pisa and Florence, and a 250 mile stretch of Mediterranean coast. If a lavish and laidback lifestyle is what you’re after, then there is no better place than Tuscany. So many are drawn to the “Tuscan dream!” Some areas in Tuscany are considered to be the most expensive in Italy, particularly the hills between Florence and Siena, but there are also some affordable areas. Pistoia, Lucca, Manciano, Montalcino, Pienza are examples of a few. Many expats are attracted to Tuscany’s capital Florence, as a recent article by the Financial Times reported that expats are moving here from destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, Russia, and the UAE. Somewhere like Oltrarno in Florence provides a retreat from the crowds of tourists in the city centre and is known as one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Florence. Areas that are popular amongst expat families include Pian dei Giullari, Bellosguardo and Marignolle, where you can find spacious properties with gardens and pools – perfect for soaking up the Tuscan sun!
As the financial and business capital of Italy, Milan is a very vibrant and dynamic city, gleaming with plenty of glitz and glamour. The city hosts big events like Milano Film Festival, Milan International Film Festival, and Milan Fashion week; and is recognised as one of the world's most important fashion capitals. Many of the business and fashion elite will be residing in Milan. In Mercer’s 2019 quality of living ranking, Milan drew with London in 41st place, but in a separate cost of living ranking by Mercer, Milan was shown to be cheaper than London and other cities (including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Singapore, Miami). Therefore, if you dream of ‘living the high life’ in a big city, Milan could be one of the most affordable options. There are many areas to live in Milan that are great for being in and amongst the buzz of the business and fashion world. Centro Storico is considered to be a very fashionable place to live, as there are plenty of luxury homes here and because of this it is also one of the most expensive areas. Porta Nuova Isola is another vibrant area because of how close it is to the Porta Nuova business district. Brera is another wealthy area that is popular amongst young professionals. Whilst somewhere like Navigli has some of the lowest rental costs, and Citta Studi is an area that is popular with students because of affordable accommodation and being close to university campuses.
If you want to make your dream of living in Italy a reality, don’t forget that you can send your luggage ahead with Send My Bag to help you settle in quickly and leave you with plenty of time to explore what this great country has to offer!
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