Finding the Best Place to Live in Italy for UK Expats

Finding the Best Place to Live in Italy for UK Expats

Are you dreaming of trading the grey UK skies for Italy’s warm Mediterranean embrace? Picture starting your day with a leisurely espresso at a charming sidewalk café, surrounded by the slow-paced, enchanting rhythm of La Dolce Vita.

This dream has become a reality for many British expats who have discovered the best place to live in Italy, finding their perfect niche in this captivating country. Italy is not just a destination; it’s a lifestyle, offering a rich tapestry of history, culture, stunning landscapes, and world-renowned cuisine that makes it an irresistible choice for those seeking a new life abroad.

This guide is designed to explore the top picks for UK expats, delving into the heart of what makes each location special. Whether you’re after the artistic heritage of Florence, the bustling energy of Milan, or the beauty of small Italian villages, we’ll help you navigate the multitude of choices to find your ideal Italian home

Top Italian Cities for British Expats

Top Italian Cities for British Expats_1

Italy’s cities offer a fascinating blend of old and new, where ancient ruins coexist with vibrant urban life. The country’s major cities have long been a magnet for British expats, drawn by the promise of a lifestyle steeped in culture, history, and, of course, the very best of Italian cuisine.

Rome, Milan, and Florence are among the most popular destinations for British expats, boasting a large expat community. These cities are gateways to classic Italy, where you can find:

  • Roman ruins
  • Renaissance art
  • High fashion
  • A thriving expat scene
  • A high quality of life

The Eternal City: Rome as an Expat Haven

Rome, the capital city of Italy, is a hub for British expats. This city captivates with its ancient history, bustling street life, and leisurely pace. Living in Rome allows you to walk in the footsteps of emperors, enjoy world-class cuisine, and immerse yourself in the city’s rich culture and history.

The eternal city offers:

  • A vibrant job market with opportunities where English and Italian are the main working languages
  • Pleasant weather
  • Friendly locals
  • A wealth of cultural and work opportunities

Rome attracts many expats seeking to live the Italian dream and live in Italy.

Milan: The Northern Powerhouse


Milan, a major city in Italy, stands as a bustling economic hub renowned for its industries in fashion, design, and finance. This northern city is a hub of innovation and creativity, attracting many British expats with its dynamic job market and cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Living in Milan, you’ll have access to excellent healthcare, a great transportation system, and a wealth of cultural attractions.

Plus, with its proximity to stunning natural beauty spots like Lake Como and Lake Garda, weekend getaways are easily within reach

Florence: Art and History at Every Corner

Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance, enchants with its unparalleled mix of art, incredible history, and Italian allure. As a British expat living in Florence, you’ll be surrounded by some of the world’s most famous artworks, stunning architecture, and a vibrant expat community.

Beyond the art and culture, Florence offers:

  • A high quality of life
  • Affordable living options
  • Excellent food
  • A friendly local community

The city is also well-connected to other parts of Italy, making it an excellent base for exploring the rest of the country.

Coastal Charms: Living by Italy’s Stunning Beaches

Those aspiring to live by the sea can find a plethora of options along Italy’s breath-taking coastline. From the beaches of Sardinia to the hidden coves of Calabria, these coastal regions offer a slower pace of life, breathtaking scenery, and a strong sense of community.

These coastal regions are not just holiday destinations; they are home to thriving expat communities, offering all the usual amenities and a lifestyle that is infinitely more relaxed than in the big cities. Whether you’re looking to retire, start a new business, or simply want a change of scenery, Italy’s coastline offers a slice of paradise.

Sardinia: Island Life with a British Twist


Sardinia, boasting white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, serves as a paradise for British expats. The island offers a unique blend of Italian culture, stunning landscapes, and a relaxed pace of life that makes it an idyllic place to call home.

But it’s not just the natural beauty that attracts expats to Sardinia; the island also offers a range of outdoor activities, a vibrant local culture, and a friendly expat community. It’s the perfect place for those seeking a balance between nature and culture, relaxation and adventure.

Calabria Region: Southern Italy’s Hidden Gem

Tucked away in the toe of Italy’s boot, the Calabria region shines as an undiscovered gem providing a glimpse into genuine southern Italian living. With its pristine beaches, rugged mountains, and charming villages, Calabria is a paradise for nature lovers and sun seekers alike, making it a must-visit destination in Southern Italy.

In addition to its natural beauty, Calabria offers a laid-back lifestyle, a rich culinary tradition, and a warm, welcoming community. The region is less crowded than the more touristy areas of Italy, making it a great choice for expats seeking a more relaxed and authentic Italian experience.

The Heart of Italy: Settling in Central Italy’s Rural Idylls

If urban living doesn’t appeal to you, the serene rural landscapes of central Italy might be your perfect fit. These regions offer a slower pace of life, breathtaking landscapes, and a sense of community that is often missing in larger cities.

From the rolling hills of Umbria to the charming villages of Le Marche, these regions offer a unique Italian lifestyle that is both relaxed and inspiring. With their rich history, delicious local cuisine, and friendly communities, it’s no wonder these regions are becoming increasingly popular among British expats.

Umbria: The Green Heart of Italy


Umbria, frequently overshadowed by its renowned neighbor Tuscany, possesses a unique charm of its own. Known as the “green heart of Italy”, Umbria offers a unique blend of natural beauty, historic charm, and a relaxed pace of life.

From the stunning landscapes of the Sibillini Mountains to the historic charm of Perugia and Assisi, Umbria offers a diverse range of experiences. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking a quieter pace of life, Umbria is a place where you can truly immerse yourself in the Italian way of life.

Le Marche: Italy’s Best-Kept Secret

Le Marche, frequently hailed as Italy’s hidden treasure, boasts breathtaking natural landscapes, quaint medieval towns, and a deep-rooted cultural heritage. From the stunning beaches of the Adriatic coast to the majestic peaks of the Apennines, Le Marche offers a diverse range of landscapes that are a delight to explore, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But Le Marche is not just about natural beauty. The region is also home to a number of historic towns and cities, each with its own unique charm and history. Whether you’re exploring the historic city of Urbino, enjoying the sandy beaches of San Benedetto del Tronto, or sampling the region’s famous Verdicchio wine, Le Marche offers a slice of Italian life that is hard to resist.

Lakeside Living: The Serene Appeal of Northern Italy

Those who yearn for peace and quiet will find a perfect haven in the serene lakes of northern Italy. Surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, these lakes offer a tranquil setting that is perfect for those seeking a slower pace of life.

Living by the lakes of northern Italy, you’ll be able to enjoy a range of outdoor activities, including:

  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Sailing
  • Swimming

And with their close proximity to major cities like Milan, you’ll never be far from the buzz of big city life.

Lake Garda: Where Natural Beauty Meets Expat Community

Lake Garda

Lake Garda, one of Italy’s most famous lakes, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, historic charm, and a vibrant expat community. From the stunning views of Monte Baldo to the charming towns that line its shores, Lake Garda offers a diverse range of experiences that make it a great place to live.

But it’s not just the natural beauty that attracts expats to Lake Garda. The lake also offers a range of activities, from hiking and sailing to exploring historic towns and castles. And with its close proximity to Verona and Milan, you’ll have easy access to city amenities and career opportunities.

Lake Como: A Retreat for the Soul

Lake Como, often described as the jewel of Italy’s lakes, offers a rural retreat that is perfect for those seeking peace and relaxation. With its stunning mountain scenery, charming lakeside villages, and calm waters, Lake Como is a place where you can truly escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Living by Lake Como, you’ll be able to enjoy a range of outdoor activities, from boating and fishing to hiking in the surrounding mountains. And with its close proximity to Milan, you’ll have easy access to city amenities and career opportunities.

Urban Renaissance: Discovering Italy’s Lesser-Known Cities

While Italy’s famous cities and tourist destinations are renowned, the country also harbors several under-the-radar other Italian cities, each offering a distinct fusion of history, culture, and lifestyle. From the culinary delights of Bologna to the vibrant atmosphere of Catania, these cities offer a unique Italian experience that is away from the usual tourist trail.

These exciting cities offer a diverse range of experiences, from exploring historic landmarks and tasting local cuisine to immersing yourself in a vibrant music and arts scene. And with their low cost of living, these cities offer a more accessible option for those looking to make Italy their home.

Bologna: The Culinary Capital with a Youthful Spirit


Bologna, widely recognized as Italy’s food capital, is a lively city teeming with rich history and youthful energy. From its historic city center to its bustling food markets, Bologna offers a diverse range of experiences that make it a great place to live.

Living in Bologna, you’ll be able to enjoy a vibrant food scene, a range of cultural attractions, and a youthful, dynamic atmosphere. And with its affordable cost of living and good public transport, Bologna offers a great quality of life for expats.

Catania: Sicily’s Vibrant Hub

Situated on the eastern coast of Sicily, Catania offers a unique blend of experiences that make it a vibrant hub for expats. Some highlights of the city include:

  • A bustling fish market
  • Vibrant nightlife
  • Stunning baroque architecture
  • Historic landmarks

Catania truly presents a city of stark contrasts that will captivate any visitor.

Living in Catania, you’ll be able to enjoy a range of activities, from exploring the city’s historic sites to enjoying its vibrant food scene. And with its affordable cost of living and close proximity to the beach, Catania offers a great quality of life for expats.

Navigating the Move: Practical Tips for Settling in Italy

Relocating to a foreign country may seem overwhelming at first, yet with well-planned preparation, it can evolve into an exhilarating and fulfilling journey. From understanding the property market to integrating into the local community, there are a number of practical considerations that can help make the transition smoother.

In this section, we’ll provide some practical tips for settling in Italy, including:

  • Understanding the property buying process
  • Learning about the local culture and customs
  • Navigating the move to a bustling city, sunny coastal town, or picturesque rural area

These tips will help you make Italy feel like home.

Buying Property in Italy: What UK Expats Need to Know

Purchasing a property in Italy might seem complicated, yet armed with the correct information and advice, it can transform into a worthwhile investment. From understanding the legal requirements to navigating the Italian property market, there are a number of factors to consider when buying a property in Italy.

In this section, we’ll provide an overview of the property buying process in Italy, including the legal requirements for UK nationals, the types of properties available, and the costs associated with buying a property. With this information, you’ll be well-prepared to make an informed decision about your property purchase.

Making Italy Home: Integration and Community

After setting down roots in Italy, the subsequent step involves integrating into your newfound community. From learning the language to understanding the local customs, integration is the key to making Italy feel like home.

In this section, we’ll provide some tips for integrating into Italian society, from learning the language to getting involved in community activities. We’ll also highlight some of the social clubs and groups that can provide support and social connections for new expats.

Require a removal service to Italy?

Italy, with its mosaic of historic cities, sunny coastal towns, picturesque rural landscapes, and serene lakesides, presents a diverse and enchanting array of experiences that captivate British expats. Whether your heart is set on the energetic pulse of urban life in Rome or Milan, Tuscany’s countryside, or the charming authenticity of a seaside town in Amalfi, Italy, offers a perfect spot that feels tailor-made for your dreams.

Ready to start your new life in Italy? Begin this exciting chapter by visiting our Removals to Italy page for detailed insights, or request an online quote today for a personalised moving plan. With Simpsons International Removals, your dream Italian lifestyle is just a move away. Let us handle the logistics while you immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of Italy.

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