Italy has it all: an extraordinary environment, an incredible cultural and historical heritage, and booming economic centers that attract people and technology from all over the world. But what are the most attractive areas for foreigners who want to reside in Italy, given the abundance of vibrant and picturesque cities?
- 0.1 What are the best cities to live in?
- 0.2 Why put off the Mediterranean lifestyle until retirement?
- 1 Milan: The ideal city to live in Italy
- 2 Rome
- 3 Turin
- 4 Florence
- 5 In brief
What are the best cities to live in?
Why put off the Mediterranean lifestyle until retirement?
Each of the cities on this list has much to offer people wishing to move to Italy, but they all stand out for different reasons that help them achieve this position. Look for a place to call home near the cradle of the Italian automotive industry and the Alps in Turin or a thriving industrial hub and fashion city like Milan.
In addition to these distinctive qualities, there are other common factors that we used to rank the cities on the list:
Internationality: Is the city appreciated by foreign residents? Are there sufficient job opportunities abroad?
Quality of life: Is the city affordable for everyone? Is it a beautiful city? What sets the city apart?
Which Italian city offers the safest environment for residents?
Now that we have put our criteria in order, it is crucial to note that this list is intended for adventurous expats and students looking for a new adventure abroad, not for those looking for a quiet retirement or the best place to spend their vacation. Well, let’s get going!
Milan: The ideal city to live in Italy
It is not hard to see why Milan is at the top of this ranking. It is one of those cities with everything you could want: a fantastic international scene, nice neighborhoods, job prospects, top-notch educational institutions, and even all the culture and high society you could want.
Milan, with a population of about 1.4 million, is the second largest city in Italy. When considering the metropolitan area surrounding Milan, more than 8 million people reside there. It should come as no surprise that Milan is one of Europe’s four economic engines.
Milan is a center of global trade. In 2022, nearly 20 percent of the city’s population of about 277,000 people were foreigners. (City of Milan, 2022). This implies that there is a substantial English-speaking population in Milan, including many British and American expatriates.
There are also several (topical) magazines in English, and you can find international schools in English. In general, even if you do not speak Italian well, it will not be difficult to integrate quickly into new social circles once you move to Milan.
Quality of life
The quality of life in Milan is considered among the best in the world. The Quality of Life 2020 study by the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore confirms what we already know: that there was no real competition. Milan gains points for its economy, adoption of a greener lifestyle and continued expansion of cultural and ethnic diversity.
Milan has a relatively good standard of living, but also a very high cost of living. Living in Milan is notoriously expensive, but this should come as no surprise considering that the city is renowned as a powerful economic center and a mecca for high fashion. If you can find a job in Milan with an income that matches the high prices, it is a great place to live.
In addition, rents in Milan are incredibly expensive! With an average cost of 1,800 euros for renting an apartment. If you do not feel the need to reside in the city center, Milan’s vast metropolitan region, well connected to the city proper, makes commuting easy, practical and inexpensive.
Milan is a major metropolis, and this, of course, carries risks. You need to watch out for pickpockets and scammers, but you can easily avoid both by avoiding popular tourist destinations and exercising caution in crowded places where you may run into other people.
Because Milan has a high tourist population and a security rating of 66 (travelsafe), visitors are favorite targets of scammers and pickpockets. As in most big cities, you should not leave valuables in your car, and if you are away from home, make sure your property is locked. Women generally have no problem traveling alone on public transportation because it is reliable, clean, and safe.
Once you have lived in the city, it seems without a doubt that all roads lead to Rome. One of the most populated cities in Europe and the political center of the country. For expatriates seeking a Mediterranean lifestyle, rich in millennial history, exciting nightlife, endless culture and promising economic opportunities, Rome has something special to offer.
Rome should be your new home if you want the hustle and bustle of a modern metropolis and a connection to one of the most fascinating periods in human history. Rome is the third largest city in Europe and home to about 3 million people. About 300,000 foreigners also live there, accounting for about 10 percent of the city’s total population. It has prestigious universities with a large international student population. There is probably no need to explain why Rome is the cultural jewel of Italy. Its neighborhoods show traces of history ranging from Roman times to the Middle Ages and Neoclassicism.
Quality of life
Rome has a sizable service sector supporting tourism, as well as finance, high technology and construction, which are important pillars of the city’s economy and beneficial to qualified foreigners wishing to enter the Italian labor market.
Rome is a busy metropolis, so its drawbacks and advantages must be addressed. Traffic congestion, continuous flow of tourists and sporadic strikes can be a thorn in the flesh. However, most foreigners who move there state that nothing would change. Rome is the capital of the country, so rental costs and living expenses in the city center will not be low, but they will not be as high as in other European capitals.
Security in Rome
Rome is still a relatively safe city, with a safety score of 64, but visitors and people unfamiliar with the city should be aware of their surroundings from time to time. The incidence of scams and crimes increases during the busiest travel season. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with the most common scams and theft techniques, because there are many of them in Rome. For example, it is possible that someone may ask you for directions while another person picks your pocket. Tourism and public transportation hubs are considered crime hotspots.
Rome is a haven for solo female travelers, but they must be careful about what they drink. Reports of people falling victim to sugar-added alcoholic beverages are on the rise. The intent is to confuse and incapacitate the victim in order to steal money from them, but there have also been cases of sexual assault. Despite this, not many cases of sexual violence against foreign women have been documented in recent years.
The capital of the northern province of Piedmont is Turin, once the first capital of Italy (when it was still a kingdom). The Western Alps surround the city, which lies on the western bank of the Po River. Turin is still the third largest city in terms of economic power in Italy, despite having lost much of its political influence over the years.
Turin has gone from being a political center to being a European hub for global business and trade, which has led to a broad international mindset and a strong expatriate community. About 850,000 people live in the city, 14 percent of whom are non-Italian. If the larger urban region of Turin is included, about 2 million people live there.
It is part of the economic triangle consisting of Turin, Milan and Genoa and is the third largest economy in Italy. The Italian automotive industry has its headquarters and factories in Turin, where Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Fiat are based. The city also benefits from the aerospace sector. As an example, Turin has built at least three of the modules of the International Space Station. Turin’s technology and innovation sector is thriving, creating numerous career and entrepreneurial opportunities for expatriates.
Quality of life
If you are concerned about the standard of living in Turin, you should know that there are many elderly people. Exquisite Baroque architecture, ancient neighborhoods, numerous palaces, squares, opera houses and galleries are the elements that make the city unique. In addition, the city is home to renowned universities and elite sports organizations such as Juventus. Overall, Turin will entertain culture and history enthusiasts for a while!
The capital of Tuscany, Florence is located in the center of the region. With its Roman origins, heyday as the richest city in medieval Europe and status as the cradle of the Renaissance, Florence has always been an important city. It continues to be a major tourist destination and a major commercial center.
Florence is the place to be if you are looking for art, culture or history. According to Forbes, Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world! About 380,000 people live in the city, 14 percent of whom are immigrants and other non-native residents.
Quality of life
The city’s economy is supported by tourism, manufacturing and heavy industry, as well as traditional and regional products such as the famous Chianti wines. Rents in Florence are not cheap, although they are considerably lower than in Milan. It is not possible to value life in one of the world’s most beautiful cities and take full advantage of its culture, architecture and activities, according to authors such as Charles Dickens and Mark Twain.
Florence is slightly less dangerous than Milan. Most of the city’s crime is also related to tourism, which is one of the most significant sources of income for the area. Scammers, pickpockets and muggers are after tourists’ money. Accordingly, try to blend in and be careful of your valuables in crowded areas. Women can travel alone without any restrictions, and cases of significant crimes are extremely rare. However, Florence is still a big city, so if you have to cross a dark area at night, use common sense.
Italy is therefore the place to go if you are an expatriate eager to establish a new life in the Mediterranean. There is a destination in Italy that will meet your needs, dreams and ambitions, whether it is the grandeur of Milan, the history of Rome, the beauty of Florence or the alpine charm of Turin.
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