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March 18, 2016updated 26 Oct 2017 5:29pm

Where to live in Italy

By Codelia Mantsebo

Undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world – Italy embodies a stunning combination of history, culture, art, architecture, natural beauty and culinary excellence. The whole of Italy is justifiably famous for its beauty and deciding where to live in Italy can be daunting. While scenery is obviously one factor to consider, Italy also possesses an air of romance which, when complimented by a rich and lively culture, makes it a popular destination for expats from around the world.

Where to live in Italy

Boasting a wide range of different landscapes, traditions and cultural riches, each city in the country tells a different narrative, from the Roman Empire in Rome through to the art renaissance of Florence and Venice. Whether you prefer living by the forest, on gentle, rolling hills or a by the shore with a home offering views across the blue Mediterranean Sea, there is a place for everyone in Italy.



Italy’s capital of fashion and finance, Milan is centre of Italian business and thus one of the wealthiest and most expensive cities in Europe. An influential city of style and sophistication, it’s one of the country’s most multicultural and diverse cities.

Milan’s neighbourhoods are arranged in a circle around the Duomo. For an exclusive home in the centre of it all, luxury homebuyers can opt for the exclusive apartments in one of the several Liberty-style palazzos by the Duomo, or right by the cathedral and symbol of Milan. For a touch of glamour, opt for an apartment in the ‘quadrilatero d’oro’ (golden triangle), which boasts a concentration of high-fashion boutiques and famous bars visited by the celebrity jet-set.

For a more artistic and bohemian ambience, the wealthy Brera district, just north of the Duomo has many stores, restaurants and luxury apartments within the old medieval walls. Brera is characterised by calm, pedestrianised streets, refined cafes and numerous art galleries.

Homebuyers looking for larger properties should head to the residential areas of Cadorna, Conciliazione and Sempione where you can find historic palaces and elegant homes.



Venice continues to be one of the most sought-after locations for luxury real estate and makes an easy choice on where to live in Italy. Home buyers compete for apartments in one of the prestigious Venetian Gothic palaces which line the Grand Canal. The neighbourhoods to consider when looking for a luxury home in Venice include serene Dorsoduro and history-rich San Polo. Dorsoduro offers a tranquil vibe with the Accademia and Guggenheim museums while San Polo is rich in history with its antique shops, as well as Santa Croce and some areas of Cannaregio. Further inland take a look at the luxury estates and Palladian villas along the Riviera del Brenta.



Florence is the artistic capital of Italy, considered as the birth place of the Renaissance and noted as one of the most beautiful cities in the world – the city is rich in art, architecture and culture. The captivating streets of Florence display homes with unexpected treasures, such as swimming pools, or close proximity to one of the city’s outstanding museums, such as the ‘Galleria dell’Accademia’ or the Pitti Palace. A mere stone’s throw away from Uffizi Gallery, one of the most renowned art museums in the world, is Signoria Square in the heart of Florence. You can find modern luxury properties in historical palaces and towers that will take your breath away on the left bank of the Arno river.


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Tuscany boasts some of the most desirable country homes in the world. A true countryside, buyers purchase farmhouses overlooking the green hills and cypresses tress. Tuscany offers a number of cities which are ideal for a luxury home search; there is Florence with its immense artistic and architectural heritage, Pisa with its leaning tower, Lucca and its well-preserved historic centre, medieval Siena and the famous towers of San Gimignano.

The northern part of Tuscany has many exclusive villas along the coast while the south hides a true gem, the Monte Argentario peninsula, can be seen from the spectacular views from the terraces of the luxury homes.



Sicily offers a different atmosphere to many of Italy’s cities, thus when looking for a slightly different lifestyle, Sicily is the perfect when deciding where to live in Italy. It’s a peaceful and calm island offering delicious food, warm hospitality, ancient traditions and pleasurable climate. Taormina is considered to be the most exclusive location in Sicily and is the best choice when looking for a luxury home. It is a perfect location presenting two scenic bays, vibrant social life and prestigious properties situated in the picturesque town centre. There are also wonderful homes in one of the Sicilian baroque palaces of Siracusa or Ragusa.

You can also decide on a luxury property among the white buildings of Trapani and Marsala, offering the view to Africa from the ancient Greek temples of Agrigento. Residents can also view the breathtaking landscape from the steep cliffs of the rocky northern coast and the white sandy beaches of the medieval town of Cefalù, located just one hour from the magnificent Aeolian Islands.


Internationally popular, the stunning island of Sardinia enchants with one of the best coastlines in Europe, its 3,500 year-old Nuraghe fortresses and unique luxury homes in spectacular locations. The famous Costa Smeralda, or Emerald Coast, in the north is home to the most exclusive properties which are found near the ports of Porto Cervo and Porto Rotonda, known for their many restaurants, clubs and fashion boutiques.

Along the coast, numerous luxury homes have direct access to the calm waters. With La Maddalena close by, Sardinia makes the perfect place for sailboats and yachts. The southern part of Sardinia also provides luxury villas in breathtaking places as Budoni, S.Teodoro, Punta Coda Cavallo in the east, Stintino, Costa Verde, Cabras and Porto Pinoet in the west or Villasimius and Chia.


Choose a luxury home in Siena for a combination of between tranquil country life and the conveniences of a city. The city is rich in tradition and culture; with a large population of students keeping it up to date. Siena makes a beautiful down to live in, with incredible medieval architecture providing a remarkable setting.

Alongside Siena there are other alluring towns in the nearby surroundings including San Gimignano, famous for its medieval towers, Colle di Val d’Elsa, and the picturesque locations of Chianti, all of which offer quality apartments and homes.


Lake Como is located just 50km from Milan. Its small shoreline offers great variety and beauty with mountains, tiny harbours and luxury mansions and private villas. The prestigious reputation of the lake is reflected in its luxury properties which range from historic mansions and 20th century Liberty-style villas as well as more modern developments. The towns around the province have numerous attributes with Como, Varenna and Bellagio offering an unrivalled historic and artistic heritage in addition to wonderful homes and apartments in the picturesque town centres.

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