The Best Places to Live in Italy

Duomo of Bolzano Italy

Bolzano tops the list of best places to live in Italy. Which other cities made the top 10?

Florence, Rome, Venice – you already know the names of the cities you must add to your Italy travel itinerary. But, do you know which cities in Italy are the best places to live? Each year, the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore publishes the Italy Quality of Life Survey, which calculates factors such as employment, free time, air quality, and public services in order to determine which Italian city dwellers are faring the best.

Not surprisingly, almost all of the towns that made it into the top 10 are not tourist hot spots. Although, Siena took the #5 spot and Bologna entered the top 10 this year at #8. Also not surprising is that most of the towns are in northern Italy, which is traditionally healthier and wealthier than the south.

And where did Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples, and Milan place? Of those five tourist hotspots, Florence was the highest, ranking at #16. Milan was next at #21. Rome #35. Venice #46. And Naples ranked dead last at #107 (the trash problem, perhaps?).

Are you thinking about retiring in Italy? Relocating to Italy? Getting a summer home in Italy? Perhaps you want to consider the cities listed in the latest quality of life survey.

Following are the top 10 Italian cities with the best quality of life:

  1. Bolzano
  2. Trento

  3. Sondrio

  4. Trieste

  5. Siena

  6. Aosta

  7. Gorizia

  8. Bologna

  9. Oristano

  10. Belluno

Photo © firing_tower

About Author

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


  • Michela @ Rocky Australia Travel Guide
    8 December 2010 at 8:36 am

    It’s amazing to see how cities in Sardinia have developed in this last year, jumping in the top 30 italian cities as well as wealthy italian northern cities falling back in the list. Thank you for sharing this list!

  • Eleonora
    8 December 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Brava Melanie for this informative post. I always get emails and messages from folks who want to move to Italy, and are seeking answers, insight and tips. The information contained in this piece could prove quite useful when deciding for a destination.


  • Eleonora
    8 December 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Brava Melanie! Thank you for sharing this wonderful wealth of information.
    I often get emails and messages from folks who are thinking of moving to Italy. They’re always seeking information, insight, tips and reassurance.
    The information contained in this post could be useful in the decision-making process.

    E xx

  • Joanne at Frutto della Passione
    13 December 2010 at 6:47 am

    No surprise that the big cities aren’t on the list. I was in Trento last weekend and LOVED it. I kept asking my husband to remind me why we live in Milan. Oh well, maybe when we retire!

  • jeannie
    14 December 2010 at 6:17 am


    • Melanie
      14 December 2010 at 3:02 pm


      I understand from the original report that the cities, not the provinces, have been considered for the study. However, it can be confusing as most provinces are named for their biggest cities.

      Thanks for the interesting question, though!


  • Europe Travel Guide
    24 February 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Its really nice to hear that most of the cities are developed in last couple of years. but i think language is the main problem for those who are traveling there from different countries. thank you for sharing this.

  • Context Travel
    2 March 2011 at 7:43 am

    Very happy that Bologna made it into the top ten. Spent many lovely years there and it truly is a special place to live – the huge university infuses it with so much excitement!

  • DannaS
    10 March 2011 at 9:50 am

    Bolzano is so beautiful. There is nothing here that can even compare! I went last year after reading the report on it. Simply breathtaking. We are planning on going back after we get back from Texas. I can’t wait.

  • Wedding Photographer Rome
    13 March 2011 at 8:43 am

    I am a wedding photographer from Rome Italy and I see that Rome didn’t make it in the top 10. hmm I wonder why!?

  • Maurizio
    23 July 2011 at 5:20 am

    Great Post,
    yet I think we must all agree that the choice of where to live is sooo personal; we can use generic metrics of measurement for a general view but everyone, as an individual may pick a place for different reasons, according to where they are in their life…yet a nice list, which shows that wealth continues to rule all lists…kind of sad but true

    • Melanie
      23 July 2011 at 10:29 pm

      Maurizio – I agree. But I still think reporting on the “best places” to live gives people who read this blog an idea that Italy is a very big country outside of Rome, Florence, and Venice. Thanks for reading. Come again! 🙂

  • Sarah
    29 November 2013 at 3:13 am

    Oh how I would kill to live in Bolzano. Although I suppose Bologna isn’t so bad…:)


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