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Best Places to Live in Italy: The Quality of Life Index 2020

Statue of Neptune in Bologna, Italy. Photo by Melanie Renzulli

Bologna is the best place to live in Italy, according to Il Sole 24’s annual Quality of Life Index.

“How is quality of life measured between lockdowns and quarantines?” asks editors of the annual index. The 2020 index utilized the usual ranking factors, but looked more closely at the pandemic’s effects on healthcare services.

To measure the health emergency in progress, first of all, the index of Covid cases detected per thousand inhabitants was included among the parameters, the only index that was most heavily weighted (in practice, if each parameter is 1/90 °, the points in this ranking are worth double the total average) to testify how the spread of infections has exerted a different pressure on health systems, on people’s lives and daily life.

Il Sole 24 Quality of life index 2020

The pandemic also allowed index statisticians to more closely understand the digital divide in Italy, including access to broadband, the ability to work from home, and the availability of e-commerce and digital points-of-sale.

These two factors and others, resulted in a very different index from years before. Milan, which has been the index winner for two years in a row, fell to the rank of 11 in 2020. Italy’s tourist centers — Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice — all fell out of the top 25 this year because of the lack of tourism in the pandemic year. Likewise, seaside resorts suffered this year, resulting in lower rankings for provinces in Puglia and Sardinia.

This is the 31st year that Il Sole 24 has published its livability index. It uses 90 factors to rank the quality of life in Italy’s provinces. These factors are grouped into six themes: wealth and consumption; business and work; demography and society; environment and services; justice and security; and free time. And while there is one overall winner, it’s instructive to look at which cities/provinces won for particular ranking factors.

Il Sole 24 has created a beautiful, searchable data visualization that lets you check out where each city has ranked on the list over the past three decades. There is also a timeline slider that puts the annual winners (and losers) into context with the news of their respective years.

Check out Il Sole 24 Quality of Life Index 2020 for more details.

Top 25 Italian Provinces in 2020: Quality of Life Index

  1. Bologna
  2. Bolzano
  3. Trento
  4. Verona
  5. Trieste
  6. Udine
  7. Aosta
  8. Parma
  9. Cagliari
  10. Pordenone
  11. Siena
  12. Milan
  13. Ascoli Piceno
  14. Forli-Cesena
  15. Modena
  16. Ancona
  17. Reggio Emilia
  18. Pesaro and Urbino
  19. Genoa
  20. Cuneo
  21. Turin
  22. Ravenna
  23. Sondrio
  24. Piacenza
  25. Vicenza
BOLOGNA FOTOGRAFATA – BOLOGNA

Each year, the Italian paper Il Sole 24 releases a ranking of 110 Italian provinces according to a number of factors including artistic patrimony, public transportation, availability and affordability of fresh food, crime, housing prices, youth unemployment, and more.

Milan was ranked the number one most livable city in Italy in 2018 and 2019.

I first wrote about the index for an Italy Roundtable post after getting letters from several readers, especially aspiring retirees, asking me where in Italy is the best place to move.

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About Author

Melanie Renzulli has been writing about travel to Italy for more than 20 years.