Logo

10 COOLEST Places to Live in Italy [April 2020]

If you want a truly classic European destination then Italy is definitely the one for you. This place has it all, from world-famous cuisine to world famous history.

Of course, you want to base yourself in Italy for a few months, maybe longer – who doesn’t? The problem is just where are you going to base yourself in this stunning country? How are you supposed to choose?

To help you narrow it down, we here at Nomads Nation have compiled a list of the best places to live in Italy – so you don’t have to!

Let’s see what’s on offer.

Staying Safe in Italy

While Italy is famous for being the home of the mafia, truth be told Italy is fairly safe. 

The only real dangers in Italy are petty crime like pickpocketing and the rare mugging. Try to blend in and you will most likely be fine!

All that said, while Italy is safe, no matter where you are traveling in the world you NEED to be covered by quality travel insurance. 

Thankfully World Nomads (our favorite provider) covers Italy and most of the world! 

Fill out the form below to get a quote for your trip to Italy 🙂

Check out our ultimate guide to Digital Nomad Insurance!

#1 Naples

Naples

If the heart of Italy is Rome, then its soul is Naples: gritty and busy, but with a beauty all of its own – and totally authentic.

Monthly cost of living in Naples

$2261/ month 

cost of rent
in Naples

$907/month

A densely populated city with a ton of history, Naples is all winding narrow streets crisscrossed with washing, scooters zooming past, crumbling old buildings. 

It’s hot and sluggish, but with an exciting energy in the air. As evening hits and the air cools, this is the time to sit out at a terrace with a glass of wine.

Where should you live here? The Quartieri Spagnoli (the old Spanish Quarter) is an affordable place to base to yourself and is packed with glimpses of real Neapolitan life. Around the historic centre of Piazza Dante is a decent place too, energetic and lively – and safe.

Pros of Naples

  • Proper authentic side to Italy
  • Big city conveniences
  • Lots of history to soak up

Cons of Naples

  • You'll probably have to learn Italian
  • Some areas are a bit unsafe (organised crime)
  • The traffic can be insane

There’s a lot of history in the streets of Naples – around 2,000 years of it. Sandwiched between the coast and the looming spectre of Mt. Vesuvius, there are historic sights nearby, like the world-famous Pompeii, where you can go see what happened when Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.

Aside from the ancient, there are some beautiful piazzas to stumble upon in Naples itself, as well as grand old palaces and hallowed churches. 

Combine with great shopping, quirky markets, street art, heavenly food, and you’ve got yourself a destination.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

Looking for a coworking space in Naples? Then head to re.work. This is a stylish space, complete with handy onsite kitchen and a great, dynamic environment.

#2 Florence

The heart of the Italian Renaissance, Florence is a popular spot for culture lovers and art appreciators.

Monthly cost of living in Florence

$1973/ month 

cost of rent in Florence

$793/month

Florence isn’t just known for its art: the city is virtually a masterpiece in itself. The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In a word, it’s beautiful. Baroque buildings, centuries-old palazzi (palaces), charming lanes, sculptures, fountains – and that’s without evening mentioning the museums, cathedrals and galleries.

The capital of Tuscany, Florence has a ton of places to base yourself. We recommend Santo Spirito, a trendy area with a good mix of locals and expats, and with a lively piazza to boot. 

There’s also Santa Croce, a nice residential area which has an amazing market selling local produce. Take your pick.

Pros of Florence

  • Literally living in and amongst world heritage
  • Tons of cultural stuff to enjoy
  • Living here allows you to see past the "sights"

Cons of Florence

  • Winter: cold, rainy, some establishments close
  • Summer: very busy with tourists
  • You might want a more modern lifestyle

If you think you’ll be relocating to a living museum, that’s not necessarily true. Florence is alive and well. 

Situated on the banks of the Arno River, there are a ton of chic boutiques to explore, high quality, locally sourced food and wine to sample, all making for a good life of indulgence.

There are a few interesting cultural quirks of Florence. One of these is the Calcio Storico Fiorentino; dating back to the 16th century, it’s a sport that mixes wrestling, rugby and football. 

There’s also the fun celebrations surrounding St. John the Baptist’s Saint Day – think parades and feasting.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

There’s a good amount of nomad-friendly cafes in Florence. La Vespe Cafe is one of them, with a fun sort of American diner vibe. More quiet and laid-back, News Cafe also boasts good coffee.

#3 Turin

Turin

With the Alps a stone’s throw away, Turin combines stately boulevards and cafe culture with easy-to-reach mountainside antics.

Monthly cost of living in Turin

$1927/ month 

cost of rent
in Turin

$689/month

The capital of Italy’s northwestern Piedmont region, Turin is a cosmopolitan city. It’s a charming mix of 19th-century neo-gothic grandeur and old Baroque styles. 

Some of the best universities and colleges in Italy are located here, making for a sizeable student population that means a lot of cheap eats and awesome nightlife.

Vanchiglia is a quiet spot that’s near the city centre of Turin, and a decent place for nomads to base themselves. It’s easy to grab a beer with locals here and soak up the history. 

Alternatively, the Quadrilatero is a young neighbourhood filled with small streets, different shops and bars – a cool area to live.

Pros of Turin

  • There's a cool cafe culture
  • The city itself is very pretty
  • It's close to the mountains

Cons of Turin

  • There are some not-so-nice sides to the city
  • Can get pretty cold in winter
  • Public transport isn't so good

Turin may be famous for being the home of the religious relic the Shroud of Turin, as well as the hometown of renowned European superstar football team Juventus, but there’s more here than what everybody already knows. 

Turin is home to some incredible historic cafes: ornate affairs with mirrored and gold-slathered interiors.

Aside from the classic Italian stuff, Turin has a surprising urban art scene. Here it’s easy to stumble across large, subversive murals decorating old buildings. Check out the Museum of Urban Art for more on that. On hotter days spend time relaxing at Valentino Park and Castle, alongside the River Po.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

Turin’s stunning heritage cafes obviously aren’t the place to rock up with your laptop, so try out Toolbox Coworking. It’s a cool place to work for any digital nomad: quiet, comfy chairs, community feel, super fast wi-fi.

Is this the best travel backpack EVER?

The Nomatic Travel Pack is the most functional travel backpack ever made, and will completely revolutionize the way you travel…

#4 Milan

Known around the world for being the Italian fashion capital, Milan is a chic, modern metropolis for style-conscious nomads.

Monthly cost of living in Milan

$2466/ month 

cost of rent
in Milan

$1134/month

A fashionable city at the foot of the Alps, and the second most populous in Italy, Milan is where it’s at. It’s the most cosmopolitan city in the country, is home to its stock exchange, skyscrapers, a famous football team (AC Milan, of course), and is known as globally as a city on the fashion map, with its own well attended Fashion Week.

Finding a place to live in Milan definitely depends on your budget; it’s one of the richest – and most expensive – cities in Italy. 

The Porta Venezia has a vibrant student population, boasts 19th-century buildings and a thriving LGBT community. The Navigli area is also a good option – if you like your nights lively, that is.

Pros of Milan

  • Perfect if you're in the fashion biz
  • All the amenities of a modern city
  • Lots of fun at night

Cons of Milan

  • Very expensive place to live
  • Can feel quite exclusive
  • Not exactly a pretty city

Away from the modern urban side of Milan, there’s a pretty good amount of history and culture to see. 

The historical quarter, with its palazzi and dreamy courtyards, is where you’ll find scores of art galleries, museums, and churches; you’ll even be able to glimpse Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie refectory.

Looking for something more lively and present-day? Then head to the canals of Navigli, where bars and bistros spill out into the evening air alongside historic waterways for a decidedly decadent (and very fun) way to spend a night in Milan.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

YoRoom Coworking and Office is a hip space to get work done; it’s clean, modern and bright. There’s also Campus Coworking Milano, right near the main train station, relaxed and a good space to interact with others.

#5 Amalfi

Amalfi

Spilling down the side of a ravine and onto the seashore, Amalfi is the glittering Italian coastal destination of your dreams.

Monthly cost of living in Amalfi

$2064/ month 

cost of rent
in Amalfi

$1106/month

Quite literally where you’ll be able to experience la dolce vita, Amalfi is the principal town in the Amalfi Coast area of Salerno on the west coast of southern Italy. 

It’s a tangle of charming lanes, local characters, white-washed buildings, and steps leading to beautiful beaches.

The best places to live in Amalfi are apartments and houses tucked away down quiet streets, away from the crowds but still near to the centre. 

Whilst not the cheapest way to live in Italy, it certainly is one of the most charming ways to spend your days in this country.

Pros of Amalfi

  • Get to know more about the Italian coast
  • Picturesque landscape, charming town
  • Beaches and hiking aplenty

Cons of Amalfi

  • Amalfi isn't exactly cheap
  • Summer is crazy with tourists
  • Perhaps a little isolating

Made up of a lot of Moorish-influenced architecture, Amalfi boasts a stunner of a 9th-century cathedral – the black and white tiled Duomo di Sant’Andrea. 

There’s also a belltower and pretty piazza linked with a wide staircase. Local shops sell local crafts like painted pots, handmade sweets and leather purses.

You will definitely have to share all this charm with the hordes of visitors who visit Amalfi and the surrounding area every summer. 

However, there’s enough space in the nearby hills for you to enjoy a spot of peaceful hiking; or get away from it all at some off the beaten track beaches of your own!

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

A classy cafe with a lot of character, Pasticcera Andrea Pansa is a perfect place for people-watching with a coffee. The Silver Moon, on the Piazza Duomo, has reasonable prices, beach views and decent wi-fi.

#6 Verona

Fair Verona is famous as the setting for Romeo & Juliet and is a small, beautiful city for nomads who love to wander.

Monthly cost of living in Verona

$1917/ month 

cost of rent in Verona

$628/month

One of the most stunning cities in northern Italy, there’s an abundance of a lot of things in store for you in Verona. These include bridges, delicious food and regional wine, top day trips (to places like Lake Garda) and a whole lot more besides.

When it comes to a neighbourhood to live in here, there are some pretty good ones. Veronetta, with its large influx of immigrants and students, have led it to be nicknamed “The Bronx”; cool bars and a bohemian atmosphere. 

Elsewhere San Zeno is more of a quiet, family-friendly area, with laid-back markets and mix of architecture.

Pros of Verona

  • Interesting events like flea markets
  • Easy nearby day trips
  • The cafe culture here is cool

Cons of Verona

  • People aren't as open as in southern Italy
  • Air pollution can be an issue
  • Can feel a bit provincial

Verona may not be a top tourist destination, like Venice or Florence, for instance, but there are still a fair share of sights to amuse yourself within this city. 

Its bustling Centro Storico is a charmer, the 1st-century AD Roman amphitheatre is nothing short of incredible and the city’s main piazza is a hub of cafes and boutiques.

There’s enough on offer for fans of history and culture here, but fans of good times and a lively nightlife are also going to find Verona a pretty cool place to be; there’s a vibrant student population here.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

There a number of coworking spaces in Verona. These include Officina 18, which is a cool place with loads of events, and Verona FabLab, a community-feeling space with plenty of courses and presentations going on.

“No matter where you travel, there is NO better piece of gear to have than a money belt. The Active Roots Security Belt is my favorite. It’s light, it’s secure, and it’s pretty sexy – I’m literally wearing one right now.”

-Aaron Radcliffe (Nomads Nation founder)

#7 Rome

Rome

With its capital city status, tons of history, international connections and exciting neighbourhoods, we ask: why not Rome?

Monthly cost of living in Rome

$2634/ month 

cost of rent
in Rome

$1357/month

Rome, the “Eternal City”, boasts literal millennia of history, with layers upon layers of historic buildings making up the Italian capital today. 

Not only are there tons of museums and galleries paying tribute to its legacy, but famous landmarks like the Colosseum and the ruins of the Roman Forum also show how old this city is.

If you’re looking for a cool, creative area to live in, then try Monti. Here you will find a load of independent businesses, as well as great eating and drinking. Hipsters should head to Pignetto, complete with all the trendy hang-outs you could ever wish for.

Pros of Rome

  • Endless entertainment
  • Local neighbourhoods to get lost in
  • Culture, culture and more culture

Cons of Rome

  • A ton of tourist crowds
  • You'll always be seen as a tourist
  • Public transport isn't all that

There’s some pretty cool stuff to be getting up to in Rome that doesn’t involve being near the tourist sights.

However, places like the Piazza della Madonna dei Monti: where young people go to meet and chit-chat around the fountain here. Pigneto and San Lorenzo play host to some pretty cool live music venues and bars, too.

Rome is also home to a very tasty and very budget-friendly street food scene – get ready for delicious sandwiches, pizza (of course) and tasty desserts. And that’s not even considering the top-class restaurants dotted around the city.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

Rome isn’t short of places for you to get work done. There’s Impact Hub in San Lorenzo (all about community, exchanging ideas), COASTER (easy hourly rates) and CORTE (professional space), to name a few.

#8 Bologna

Bologna

A big, bustling university city full of young people who want to enjoy life, Bologna is on the up for fun-loving nomads.

Monthly cost of living in Bologna

$1549/ month 

cost of rent in Bologna

$682/month

Like most, if not all, Italian cities, Bologna comes complete with a whole load of culture, history and good food – mostly centred around the Piazza Maggiore. 

This is the city’s historic core, with plenty of old buildings and terrace cafes surrounding the square, as well as the Basilico di San Petronio (built in 1393).

La Dotta is a cool place to base yourself in Bologna. This is where you will find many of the university’s oldest buildings (it’s the oldest university in the West, by the way, founded in 1088). For something more lively, Via Zamboni has an exciting student scene, with cool cafes and a fun atmosphere.

Pros of Bologna

  • Home of bolognese and other great food
  • Liberal, open, left-wing city
  • Good for lovers of nightlife

Cons of Bologna

  • Hard to know get to know real locals; so many students
  • There's a sizeable homeless community
  • Summer is sweltering, winter is freezing

You can take in views of the city from the Santuario di Madonna di San Luca, a beautiful spot constructed on a hillside in 1785. 

For something a little bit different that isn’t looking at buildings, why not go in the buildings? Le Stanze is a bar set in a 17th-century chapel, for example.

For those who like their nightlife extra lively, there’s Kinki. This is often cited as one of Italy’s best clubs; even Jimi Hendrix played here back in the day.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

Hit up Nuntiabo, a large coworking space with a professional atmosphere in the centre of the city; or cutely named Work in Progress Coworking Bologna – comfortable, positive, relaxed.

#9 Siena

Siena

Living in the medieval town of Siena, nomads will get to live out their very own dream of a laid-back life in Tuscany.

Monthly cost of living in Siena

$1921/ month 

cost of rent
in Siena

$685/month

Romance, brick-built medieval buildings, and a history dating back to the pre-Roman Etruscans, this city may not be one of the most exciting in Italy, but it’s definitely up there as one of the more charming of Italy’s urban centres. The weaving lanes are perfect for getting lost and discovering the city for yourself.

Siena is a small city where you’ll get to live next door to locals and get into the rhythm of everyday life. 

Find a place to stay near the city centre in the old town, or at least in walking distance; living further out of the city you won’t be able to soak up as much of the traditional life.

Pros of Siena

  • A very, very charming city
  • Tuscan treats to eat/drink
  • More chilled than other cities

Cons of Siena

  • Might be too chilled for some
  • Not very modern
  • Lots of tourists in summer

The Piazza del Campo is the centre of the city, as it has been for centuries. Facing the square is Siena’s cathedral; built in a combination of architectural styles with marble and mosaic floor, it houses works from greats like Donatello and Michelangelo.

The city is also known for its biannual horse race, the Palio, which takes place every July and August. Otherwise spend time eating pici, thick spaghetti-like pasta, and wash down with a glass of wine from Montepulciano.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

There’s coworking in Siena; check out Multiverso Siena, an easygoing office space, and Centro Studi Pluriversum, a quiet place with a lot of charm set inside a historic building.

#10 Lucca

Often overlooked, Lucca is a walled city with a lot of heart, Tuscan beauty and a great spot for exploring further afield.

Monthly cost of living in Lucca

$1893/ month 

cost of rent
in Lucca

$545/month

The pedestrian-friendly city of Lucca is all cobbled streets and little lanes, with locals living out their life at a truly Italian pace. Keen cyclists will love it here: many locals do, and there is even a bike route that runs around the top of the old city walls, which is super cool.

Lucca is a great choice for excursions (to the coast, north to Cinque Terre; or to neighbouring Pisa, and Florence). Living here is all about choosing somewhere within the walls of the city itself if you really want to feel part of this charming old town.

Pros of Lucca

  • Fewer tourists than other cities
  • Great for walking and cycling
  • Beautifully maintained parks

Cons of Lucca

  • Can feel very old fashioned
  • It could get pretty boring
  • Not a lot of nomads to meet

To get a good view of the city from on high, head to one Lucca’s two towers – either the Torre del Guinigi (14th-century, gothic, 45m high) or the Torre del Ore, a pretty magnificent clocktower dating back to 1390 and complete with a legend about a woman selling her soul to the devil. Spooky.

Photographers will be amazed with the never-ending gems of small streets, all painted in an array of yellow, orange and turquoise. The aesthetics here are on point.

Nomads Nation - Digital Nomad Tip

For a good coworking space, go to the Spazio Libero, which is just outside the old city walls and has games rooms. Otherwise, Cafe Gabry is an affordable place in the Piazza del Salvatore: local, friendly, good wi-fi.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to live in all of Italy

There you have it. We have finally come to the end, those were the best places to live in Italy.

There sure are some awesome places to base yourself in this storied nation: from your very own slice of the dolce vita by the sea, all the way to the frantic hustle and bustle of Rome, and charming medieval towns in between.

Choose the Tuscan lifestyle of Siena, or go where the fashionistas are in Milan – it’s up to you. Wherever you choose, anywhere in Italy will be just fine lovers of food, culture, and wine.

Enjoy planning your Italian sojourn!

Looking for more great Digital Nomad content?

***Disclaimer*** Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you use our links, Nomads Nation will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for the love and support!

Written by Aaron Radcliffe

City dweller. Dumpling crusher. Aaron is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder of Nomads Nation. Connect with Aaron Radcliffe -