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The very best Italian towns to move to - according to people who live in them

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
The very best Italian towns to move to - according to people who live in them
Ascoli Piceno, Marche. Photo: DepositPhotos

Where do you begin your search for the perfect Italian town to call home? By talking to those who've already made the move, of course.


Smaller cities and towns regularly top “quality of life” surveys in Italy, thanks to things like good public services and more affordable housing.

But these places are often overlooked. Many expats looking for work "tend to go where there are more opportunities, like Rome and Milan," explains Italy relocation expert Damien O'Farrell.

"Those, however, that choose Verona, Piacenza, and so on, are very happy with their choice due to less traffic, lower rents in some cases, and a more human approach to life in most cases," he adds.

But when pretty much every Italian town is ridiculously beautiful, and every region has something different to offer, how do you even begin to choose one?

It pays to get the advice of those who've made their own move to Italy, so here we've rounded up suggestions of the best places to live in Italy from readers and members of our Living in Italy Facebook group

Photo: Depositphotos

Living in or near provincial capitals, like Ascoli Piceno or Arezzo, is a good choice as they're lively without being chaotic, and tend to have good schools and public services.
But if you're looking for more peace and quiet, members also had plenty of suggestions for those looking for a smaller town or village, with mainly Italian inhabitants.
From north to south, here are ten great towns and small cities to live in Italy - as recommended by their international residents.
Cittadella, Veneto

Population: 20,000

While the small city of Padua is a good option, one member also recommended the small-but-lively nearby medieval walled town of Cittadella in the province of Padua as a great place to live.

Mantua, Lombardy

Population: 49,000

We think the small city of Mantua, or Mantova, is an incredibly atmospheric, overlooked gem. And members agree that it's a fantastic area to live in - if you don't mind a bit of foggy weather. It's surrounded by artificial lakes on three sides and full of Renaissance history, famous for the architectural legacy of the Gonzaga family. A short drive from Verona and Lake Garda, it's safe, lively and friendly – and there's a surprising lack of tourists.

READ ALSO: Mantova, the Renaissance city of the Gonzagas


Salò, Lombardy

Population: 10,000

If instead you're looking for a really small town to call home, right next to Lake Garda, there are quite a few to choose from. One group member suggests his adopted home town of Salò. The location is perfect for nature lovers, he explains, without leaving you isolated.

Ascoli Piceno, Marche

Population: 48,000

This regional capital set in a dramatic landscape is the perfect size, and many of the stunning homes for sale in the surrounding small villages and countryside are particularly good value for money. Long-time foreign residents tell us they love the scenery, the traditions, and the friendliness and patience of local people as well as the supportive expat community in the area.

Senigallia, Marche

Population: 44,000

If you fancy living by the sea but within easy reach of the mountains, the beautiful region of Marche is the place for you. There's a string of pretty small towns, filled with seafood restaurants and art nouveau architecture, running the length of the coast. Several members told us how they'd chosen to live in or near Senigallia, in the province of Ancona. “Good food, good wine, nice medieval hamlet, good hospital and services, and cost of living” were some of reasons members cited for moving to Senigallia.

Arezzo, Tuscany

Population: 99,000

If you love Florence and Siena, but don't love the sky-high property prices in those famous areas, try lesser-known eastern Tuscany. The medieval city of Arezzo is my own personal recommendation as I lived there for just over two years. It's small enough that the pace of life is slow and public services are good, but big enough to have no end of local festivals and events, as well as good shopping and restaurants (it's also quite a wealthy place.) It's surrounded by forested hills and breathtakingly beautiful countryside, just an hour's drive from Siena or Perugia. It's also a stop on the high-speed train line between Rome and Florence.



Bagni Di Lucca, Tuscany

Population: 6,000

If you'd like to be more rural, but with an international community around you, another option is northern Tuscany.

“There are some beautiful places just half an hour north of the medieval city of Lucca,” writes Gill White. “We just bought a house in the mountain village of Granaiola, Bagni Di Lucca. There are both ex pats and locals here - about 40 residences.”

Photo: Depositphotos

Tricarico, Basilicata

Population: 5,000

In the province of Matera, pretty Tricarico is another less obvious choice. The wild southern region of Basilicata, between Calabria and Puglia, is full of picturesque small-to-medium-sized towns with a slower-paced, more traditional way of life. If you want to immerse yourself in the culture while taking your pick of affordable properties (extremely affordable, if you want to renovate), this is a great area to check out

Bolzano, South Tyrol

Population: 106,000

Set among hilly vineyards at the gaetway to the Dolomites, the picturesque, lively, small city of Bolzano is one to keep in mind if you'd like to relocate to the north. Bolzano keeps topping all the quality of life surveys, so it must be doing something right.

Can you recommend a great place to relocate to in Italy? Sign in to leave a comment below or join the conversation in The Local Italy's Facebook group.



Comments (2)

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Anonymous 2022/01/16 05:12
Considering relocating for extended stay, from Sun Valley, Idaho. Looking for small mountain town with reliable snow. Prefer alps. My, what a challenge!! Will go check out Cortina. Aosta is central, but low altitude and rain. Mostly nordic skiers. Any great recommendations out there? Thanks. Jamie
bernieydrum_472705 2021/08/18 15:20
I recently received a parcel from Marks and Spencer delivered by Dhl , no problem, very efficient. Three weeks later I received another parcel from Marks, contents just over £100 as previous and was met with a demand for €58.20 import costs before I could have the parcel. I didn’t pay and Marks seem baffled by the charge. Has anyone had a similar experience recently? And is this reciprocated in the UK I wonder?

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