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LIVING IN ITALY

RANKED: The best (and worst) places to live in Italy in 2022

A new quality of life study has ranked Italian cities from best to worst, with the gap between north and south widening again this year. Here's how every part of the country scored.

Parma has come top of the poll for a 2021 quality of life in Italy survey.
Poor quality of life? The city of Rome was ranked 53rd best place to live in Italy in the latest annual survey. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

This year, the inhabitants of the northern Italian city of Trento can say they live in the best province in Italy for quality of life – at least according to the latest survey compiled by ItaliaOggi and Rome’s La Sapienza University.

Now in its 24th year, this is among the most respected of several annual quality of life surveys conducted in Italy. 

Trento took the top spot from last year’s winner Parma, which now ranks seventh.

Trento’s neighbour Bolzano was in second place, and the top five was completed by the cities of Bologna, Florence and Milan.

Rome was in 53rd place, followed by Turin in 54th. 

The northern Italian city of Parma topped the ItaliaOggi quality of life survey in 2021 but dropped to seventh place this year. Photo: AFP

Venice ranked 22nd, while southern capital Naples was fourth from bottom in 104th place.

The rankings are based on factors including employment opportunities, standards in health and education, crime levels, leisure facilities, social security and environment.

READ ALSO: ‘If you want quality of life, choose Italy’s sunny south over the efficient north’

This year, as well as last, the study also took into account how different areas handled the Covid-19 health emergency.

While such studies consistently show a clear north-south divide, ItaliaOggi notes that this year the gap has widened overall between the wealthier northern cities and provincial capitals and those in the south, which were generally worse off to begin with and had fewer resources available to help offset the impact of the pandemic and financial crisis.

The “growing distance between the two parts of the country” is also demonstrated by the fact that “among the cities that have made leaps forward in the classification (those which have moved up more than ten places), the most southern province is Pesaro and Urbino in the central Marche region, up from 56th to 30th place; all the others are further north,” notes ItaliaOggi.

Examples include Como, which went from 62nd to 32nd place, or Rimini which rose from 61st to 37th.

READ ALSO: Twelve statistics that show how the pandemic has hit Italy’s quality of life

While the study does not rank smaller towns and rural areas, it is seen as representative partly as most public services, including local government offices and larger hospitals and healthcare facilities, are generally located in the provincial capital.

Here’s the survey’s complete ranking of all 107 provincial capitals in Italy, from best to worst according to its criteria:

1 Trento

2 Bolzano

3 Bologna

4 Florence

5 Milan

6 Siena

7 Parma

8 Pordenone

9 Trieste

10 Modena

11 Reggio Emilia

12 Cuneo

13 Verona

14 Sondrio

15 Verbano-Cusio-Ossola

16 Treviso

17 Aosta

18 Ancona

19 Pisa

20 Monza and Brianza

21 Bergamo

22 Venice

23 Brescia

24 Belluno

25 Forlì-Cesena

26 Udine

27 Vicenza

28 Ravenna

29 Padova

30 Pesaro and Urbino

31 Mantova

32 Como

33 Varese

34 Cremona

35 Lecco

36 Piacenza

37 Rimini

38 Arezzo

39 Gorizia

40 Biella

41 Lucca

42 Macerata

43 Lodi

44 Fermo

45 Livorno

46 Perugia

47 Ferrara

48 Massa-Carrara

49 Genova

50 Novara

51 Savona

52 Ascoli Piceno

53 Rome

54 Turin

55 Grosseto

56 Terni

57 Pistoia

58 Asti

59 Pavia

60 Prato

61 Rieti

62 Vercelli

63 La Spezia

64 Teramo

65 Pescara

66 L’Aquila

67 Alessandria

68 Chieti

69 Viterbo

70 Rovigo

71 Matera

72 Cagliari

73 Imperia

74 Potenza

75 Isernia

76 Latina

77 Nuoro

78 Frosinone

79 Sassari

80 Bari

81 Campobasso

82 Benevento

83 Avellino

84 Ragusa

85 Brindisi

86 Salerno

87 Catanzaro

88 Lecce

89 Sardinia

90 Barletta-Andria-Trani

91 Oristano

92 Caserta

93 Trapani

94 Cosenza

95 Reggio Calabria

96 Messina

97 Enna

98 Palermo

99 Taranto

100 Vibo Valentia

101 Foggia

102 Catania

103 Agrigento

104 Naples

105 Caltanissetta

106 Siracusa

107 Crotone

Member comments

  1. Aosta 17 and Rome 53??? Rocco Schiavone was clearly not consulted.

    Cuneo 12 and Torino 54? Come on…

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MILAN

What are the best Milan neighbourhoods for international residents?

Whether you're moving to Milan for the first time or are looking for a new neighbourhood to live in, here are the five best 'quartieri' for foreign nationals.

What are the best Milan neighbourhoods for international residents?

With its extraordinary international appeal and wealth of job opportunities, Milan is one of the most popular Italian cities among foreigners.

Suffice to say that the northern economic powerhouse is home to as many as 280,800 foreign nationals, who make up around 20.3 percent of the city’s total population.

Also, Milan is the second-most popular Italian destination for native English speakers, with plenty of UK and US immigrants living in the city. 

But, like most other European metropolises, Milan has a very diverse urban area and some of its neighbourhoods are more suited to foreign nationals than others.

READ ALSO: Five things you’ll only know if you live in Milan

So, in no particular order, here are the city’s top five quartieri for foreign residents.

Porta Romana

Located in the south-eastern corner of Milan’s urban area, Porta Romana is one of the most liveable areas in the city. 

In particular, the area is known for its very laid-back vibe, which makes it perfect for young professionals looking to bask in some blissful tranquillity after a long day at work.

But, the neighbourhood is also suited to university students as it is relatively close to some of Milan’s most prestigious colleges and rents are not as expensive as they might be closer to the city centre.

While being very residential, Porta Romana still has a good share of leisure and entertainment venues – the Fondazione Prada exhibition centre and the iconic Plastic Club are located in the area – and several bars and restaurants line the sides of most streets. 

Finally, the neighbourhood is also very well connected to central Milan, with no shortage of buses, trams and metro lines servicing local residents.

Città Studi

Located in north-east Milan, Città Studi is by far the best neighbourhood for foreign students. 

Once a fairly run-of-the-mill rural area, Città Studi was converted into a state-of-the-art hub of medical centres, university campuses and residential lofts over the second half of the 1900s. 

READ ALSO: Moving to Italy: How much does it really cost to live in Milan?

Today, the neighbourhood is home to plenty of both local and foreign students, especially those attending courses at the Polytechnic University of Milan. 

Granted, the area is not as close to the city centre as others but public transport will still get you to central Milan in a fairly reasonable amount of time.

Finally, due to the young age of its residents, the area offers several dining spots and nightlife venues.

Porta Venezia

Porta Venezia, which sits just a couple of miles north-east of Piazza Duomo, is the most multi-ethnic quartiere in Milan, thus naturally lending itself to foreign nationals.

Indro Montanelli garden in Milan

The Indro Montanelli garden is one of the most enchanting places in the Porta Venezia area, especially so during the cold months. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

People of all races and cultural backgrounds populate the area, making it one of the most eccentric (and fun) places to live in. 

With its wealth of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, Porta Venezia keeps its residents busy on weekends as well as most weekdays.

However, this also means that the area might not be the right fit for those looking for a more quiet and relaxed environment.

Finally, Porta Venezia is also a very LGBTQ-friendly neighbourhood as it is home to lots of gay bars and alternative nightlife venues. 

Brera

Nested at the heart of the city, Brera is one of the most glamorous areas in Milan.

From high-end fashion boutiques to art galleries, to quirky dining spots, Brera’s swanky atmosphere is unmatched anywhere else in the city.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why Milan is a much better city to live in than Rome

Unsurprisingly, the neighbourhood is also one of the best locations for celebrity-spotting, should you ever be interested in that sort of thing. 

That said, all the glitter and gold come at a cost and Brera has some of the most expensive rents in the whole city. 

As a result, it is mostly populated by successful businessmen or high-profile figures working in the art or fashion industry. 

Porta Genova and Navigli

The Porta Genova area sprawls around the Navigli canals, a few miles south of the city centre. 

This is by far the most bohemian neighbourhood in Milan, with cobblestone streets, tram tracks and antique stores giving the surroundings an oddly wistful (but very pleasant) atmosphere. 

Porta Genova area in Milan

With its canal-side bars and cafès, Porta Genova is one of Milan’s most fascinating areas. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

While being relatively quiet during the day, the area collectively switches on in the evening, with plenty of residents heading down to the numerous cafès and bars peppering the banks of the local canals. 

This might be ideal for those looking to get in on south Milan’s nightlife, but would hardly be a good fit for those who love an early night as the streets can be pretty noisy until late. 

That said, Porta Genova is still home to many people – from students to young families – and local rents are not as expensive as in more central areas.

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