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Best city to live in Italy?

Travel Forums Europe Best city to live in Italy?

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Italy
1. Posted by Peter (Admin 6249 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Pondering the concept of living overseas for a year and for some reason Italy is the destination on our minds :) What would be a nice city to settle in for a family with two little kids (not school age yet)?

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5642 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!


No, seriously, I wouldn't settle in one of the bigger cities like Rome or Milan, not one of the touristic places like Florence and nor southern Italy.
If it I had to choose from a somewhat bigger city, I would go for Turin or Bologna. Somehow settling in the north gives you more options regarding travelling by car to nearby countries like Switzerland, Slovenia, Austria..heck, there are a lot nearby actually;) Good for skiing in winter as well, so experiencing some more different seasons.


3. Posted by CariLB2 (Budding Member 10 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I don't reccommend any of the tourist spots like Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, etc...I think living there would be pretty miserable!
Northern Italy has a lot to offer. If you speak Italian at least a little then you can pretty much pick anywhere. I just spent a few weeks with a family in Erba and fell in love with the area. Como is nice as well. The lake region is one of my favorites!

4. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Orvieto is nice, has a good scale, is close to Rome and fairly affordable. I could hook you up with a number of Dutch-speaking realtors in that area if you'd like.

5. Posted by Gurt (Full Member 65 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

A year in Italy? Hmmm I like it! We stayed four months and it tasted very well.

Sicily is very nice. Typical Italian (= good for your Italian becuase very few people speak English or German) nice climate and lot's to see.
In the villages fresh food is cheap too.

We stayed in Avola, Librizzi and near Palermo.
Visiting the Eolian islands (from Milazzo) is very special. But from Catania we also did Malta and Gozo by ferry.

Sicily is nice!

6. Posted by cro2008 (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

An index composed of 36 evaluation parameters and 6 macro reference areas ruled Siena(Tuscany) as the best of Italian cities.

[ Edit: Edited on 06-Jan-2010, at 07:53 by cro2008 ]

7. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Be that as it may, I wouldn't recommend Siena. It is a very fine touristic destination, but in the long run it tends to become rather boring. Not much is going on at all, and as I remember housing in the city was quite expensive. I know because I stayed there for 2 months, back in 2005.

8. Posted by Peter (Admin 6249 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Thanks guys.. I'd kind of figured that Rome would not be a good choice for a long term stay. A smaller city appeals due to a bit more relaxed environment, but still with some things to do.

Thanks for all your suggestions. I'll look into them in more detail. Sicily sounds good - read a lot of Mario Puzo books when I was young, so I am drawn to check it out for myself - my main hesitation would be that travelling out of there might be more expensive? One benefit of being in Europe for a bit longer is that we could visit nearby places easier, so being somewhere with decent transport links would be good.

I'll look into the others more closely. I don't speak any Italian at all really, but I feel I can learn a bit reasonably quickly and quite enjoy the process of learning languages - that's one of the main reasons to pick somewhere where English is not the main language.

9. Posted by JoyC (Full Member 99 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

If I could live anywhere in the world, Florence would be it! Sure, it gets a little touristy in the summer, but it's a beautiful city. A great place to raise a family, easy to travel to and from, and while many people speak English (making it easier for you and your family while you learn Italian) they would usually rather you speak Italian. Lovely city, wonderful people, good location for travel elsewhere... you can't beat Florence!

10. Posted by daisan (Budding Member 40 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi Peter
i agree with who told you to not choose Milan or Rome.
Than choosing a city depends on what are you looking for.

Generally some good place are: Bolzano, Treviso, Trieste, Bologna and other city in Emilia Romagna, Aosta and Turin.
I can tell you that if you need a job find it in the south of Italy will be not so easy.
If you need to work stay in Milan will be better solution and you can choose to live in one of his neighbor city like: Varese, Como or Pavia really quite place and you can reach Milan using pubblic transport in more or less 1hour.

If you need some more specific info, ask me and I'll try to answer.