Italy is one of the most alluring holiday destinations on the planet. With more and more people working remotely in Europe, Italy is also becoming a digital nomad hotspot. But where should you base yourself? Here is a comprehensive guide covering the best places to live in Italy as a digital nomad.
Digital Nomad Italy Guide: The Basics
Italy is a large country with a diverse spectrum of regions, cuisines, mentalities, and landscapes. As such, your best places to live in Italy will depend entirely on your preferences.
Broadly speaking, the North of Italy (everything north of Rome) is more developed, more efficient, and easier to get around. It’s, however, also more expensive and more touristy than the South.
The South is authentic, relatively affordable, and laidback. On the minus side, the digital nomad infrastructure here is lacking. Worse still, it can be challenging to get around without a car.
The islands (Sicily and Sardinia) have some of the best beaches in Italy – and a lot of authentic towns. They are great as summer bases, but the Wifi and general nomad infrastructure here can become problematic.
Finally, it’s essential to know that most Italian cities are overcrowded in July and August. That’s when the hordes of tourists arrive and when Italians escape to the coast.
Consequently, if you’re a digital nomad in Italy, the best time to spend some time here are May and June – as well as September and October.
Italy Digital Nomad Locations in a Nutshell
- If you want to be in a large city with top-notch coworking spaces, first-rate urban infrastructure, and don’t mind paying a premium, base yourself in Turin, Milan, or Florence.
- If you don’t mind the chaos of Rome, it can be an excellent nomad base, but the infrastructure cannot compete with Milan.
- If you want to stay in a smaller city with top development levels, students, and young professionals, consider Trieste, Bologna, or Perugia.
- In contrast, if the “real” Italy is what you’re looking for, stay in Naples, Bari, or Sicily.
- If you are after beaches and summer relaxation, Sardinia is also an excellent choice.
The Best Places to Live in Italy as a Digital Nomad: City by City
Having briefly mentioned the best cities to live in Italy, here is a city-by-city Italy digital nomad guide.
Milan is Italy’s most developed city, financial capital, and fashion center. Better still, its cultural and culinary offer is vast.
It’s where the country’s elite lives and where you’ll find the best infrastructure. Milan also has a strategic location close to the Alps and the Swiss border.
On the negative side, Milan is expensive and not exactly the friendliest place for digital nomads and ex-pats.
In short, Milan is an excellent nomad base if you have a higher budget and are into fashion and culture.
- Pros: top-notch infrastructure and coworking spaces. Large international airport and trains to every part of Italy. Extensive cultural offer.
- Cons: most expensive city in Italy, not the most authentic place, and seen as rude by the rest of Italy.
The country’s capital has some of the most impressive architecture and cultural sites in Europe.
Rome has everything: the modern and developed nomad infrastructure but also the southern chaos.
There is no city like Rome, and being a digital nomad here is undoubtedly a memorable experience. It can be stressful, and you need to know where to go. All in all, Rome is a microcosmos of Italy and a fascinating place to base yourself.
- Pros: culture, architecture, food.
- Cons: expensive, chaotic, overcrowded in summer, not as developed as northern cities.
Florence offers an excellent mix of authenticity, typical architecture, and infrastructure.
When it comes to the best places to live in Italy for ex-pats and remote workers, Florence is up there. The infrastructure is comparable to Milan, but the city feels more down-to-earth. The cultural offer is among the best in Italy, with the Uffizi Gallery and Ponte Vecchio standing out as highlights.
It’s not a cheap place to live, but a bit more affordable than Milan and Turin. Finally, Florence’s location in the region of Tuscany caters to countless day trips options.
- Pros: cultural powerhouse, modern infrastructure, great location in Tuscany.
- Cons: expensive, super touristy.
Turin is located in the Alps, close to the French border. It’s one of the country’s industrial hearts and home to global giants like Fiat and Intesa San Paolo.
Turin is one of the best cities in Italy to live in if you like the mountains and want to be in a well-developed midsized city.
It’s less stressful than Milan but equally developed. The cultural and culinary offer isn’t as vast as in other cities, but there is still enough to see and do.
- Pros: close to the mountains, top infrastructure.
- Cons: high prices, not as exciting as other Italian cities.
Southern Cities: Naples and Bari
In the South, Naples and Bari are some of the best places to live in Italy by the sea.
Naples is a large city with its own unique culture and charm. It has a lot of cultural attractions, and there are lots of great beaches nearby. The cost of living here is lower, but the infrastructure is lacking. The food and nightlife options, on the other hand, are some of the best in Italy.
Aside from that, it’s not the cleanest city in Italy, and there are lots of sketchy neighborhoods.
- Naples Pros: authenticity, culture, affordability, proximity to beaches and other nature parks.
- Naples Cons: dated infrastructure and seediness.
Read my guide on the Best Things to do in Naples, Italy.
Bari is the largest city in Apulia, one of the most picture-perfect regions in all of Italy.
If you want a mid-sized, southern city, Bari is an excellent choice. Again, the infrastructure here isn’t comparable to other parts. Another negative is that Bari is located far away from the rest of Italy.
Nevertheless, Apulia itself has enough beaches, natural sweet spots, and charming towns to make you wanna stay here.
- Bari Pros: authenticity, beauty, proximity to beaches.
- Bari Cons: far away from other regions, infrastructure.
The island of Sicily is one of the best places to live in Italy because it offers the perfect mix of urban charm, nature, and beaches.
On the island, there are two main cities – Palermo and Catania, and several smaller ones.
Palermo has the most infrastructure and lots of great beaches nearby – as well as the island’s largest airport. Catania is a bit smaller but close to the charming town of Taormina and Etna Volcano.
- Sicily Pros: beautiful nature, authentic cities, and lots of fun things to do.
- Sicily Cons: infrastructure and connectivity.
Smaller Northern Cities: Trieste, Perugia, and Bologna
Back in the North, there are a few second-tier cities that are worth considering if you’ve already traveled a lot in Italy. As such, these places are suitable if you want a smaller, more laidback city.
Trieste is located on the border of Slovenia but also close to Austria and Croatia. It’s a modern city with great infrastructure and worth considering if you want to be in the Friuli region.
Perugia is a beautiful student town with lots of young Italians partying. If nightlife is one of your priorities, consider Perugia.
Finally, Bologna is the largest of the three and home to lots of young professionals and students. It’s a charming city with lots of cute cafés and bars, but also world-famous cultural sites. In short, consider Bologna if you want a smaller version of Milan or Florence.
Last but not least, Sardinia is one of the most beautiful places in all of Italy.
The island arguably has the best beaches in the country and the tourism industry here is a bit more upscale, with less mass tourism than Tuscany or Liguria.
If you want a relaxing getaway, consider Sardinia, but don’t expect top-notch infrastructure. In this context, the cities of Cagliari, Olbia, and Alghero are best-suited for remote workers.