Major Cities in Italy

5 de June, 2024

Major Cities in Italy

Discover the main cities of Italy: the most populous, the most touristic, and those with the highest quality of life. Choose your favorite!
Milão: uma das principais cidades da Itália
Reading: 9 min

Italy, a country with a rich cultural history and breathtaking landscapes, is a popular destination for expatriates seeking a new life. But with so many cities to choose from, which one is ideal for you? In total, the country has about 8,100 comunes. Some of the major cities in Italy stand out for their beauty, architecture, while others for their economic, touristic, and quality of life aspects.

In this guide, we present the main Italian cities. Which ones are the most populous, the most touristic, the ones that offer the highest quality of life. Discover the pros and cons of each of these Italian cities and choose your favorite. Join us in discovering what each of them has to offer and choose where to live in Italy. Then, it’s just a matter of obtaining your Italian citizenship or digital nomad visa to live in this incredible country. Atlantic Bridge takes care of the legal and bureaucratic aspects of your move. It’s up to you to choose your dream destination. Let’s do this!

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The Largest Cities in Italy by Population

The concept of a city’s importance has always been closely associated with its population. Therefore, it is inevitable to touch on this point. As widely reported worldwide, Italy reached its population peak in 2017, with 60.67 million inhabitants, currently having about 58.7 million inhabitants, according to the World Population Review.

This is because the country currently has a mortality rate higher than its birth rate and a negative net migration. Thus, Italy’s population is currently decreasing at a rate of 0.15%, making it the country with the fastest decline in the world.

Would you know which are the most populous cities in Italy currently?

  1. Rome: 2,318,895
  2. Milan: 1,236,837
  3. Naples: 959,470
  4. Turin: 870,456
  5. Palermo: 648,260
  6. Genoa: 580,223
  7. Bologna: 366,133
  8. Florence: 349,296
  9. Catania: 290,927
  10. Bari: 277,387

(Source: World Population Review)

Most Expensive Cities in Italy

Another important aspect to consider when choosing your city to live in Italy is to pay attention to the cost of living in each of them. According to Expatisan, an online platform specialized in comparing the cost of living in different cities around the world, the most expensive cities in Italy are:

  1. Lugano
  2. Milan
  3. Rome
  4. Florence
  5. Bergamo
  6. Varese
  7. Bologna
  8. Ravenna
  9. Perugia
  10. Naples

Veneza, entre as maiores cidades da Itália

Touristic Cities: Italy’s Most Visited

How about living in a place where everyone dreams of spending their holidays? Be prepared to receive many visitors at your home! Italy’s most touristic cities are:

Venice – Known as the “city of water,” Venice is an iconic tourist destination, famous for its picturesque canals, stunning architecture, and romantic atmosphere. It welcomes millions of visitors every year, significantly contributing to the local economy. Source: National Institute of Statistics

Florence – As the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence attracts tourists from all over the world to admire its renowned works of art, including the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Michelangelo’s David statue. With its rich history and architectural beauty, it’s a must-visit destination in Italy. Source: National Institute of Statistics

Rome – Besides being the capital of the country, Rome is also one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, with its historical landmarks like the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Vatican attracting millions of visitors every year.

Read also: Major cities of Spain.

Major Cities in Italy with the Highest Quality of Life

Every year, the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore publishes its ranking of Italian cities with the highest quality of life. Ninety factors involving work, society, services, security, income, and cost of living are analyzed. The winners in 2024 were:

Bologna – As home to the University of Bologna, one of the oldest in the world, this beautiful city offers an exceptional quality of life, combining an academic environment with cultural heritage and amazing gastronomy. Additionally, it has excellent transport links and is the center of the automotive industry.

Bolzano – It is a bilingual city, where Italian and German are spoken, with a large population of Germans and Austrians. It is surrounded by mountains and has a pleasant climate, as well as nearby airports and an excellent transportation, health, and education system.

Florence – About 14% of the city’s population is foreigners who have fallen in love with the Florentine artistic and cultural environment. For this reason, and also due to strong tourism, many people here speak English, facilitating communication for those who have not yet learned Italian.

Milan – Besides being an important economic center, Milan also offers an excellent quality of life, with modern infrastructure, high-quality health services, and a fabulous cultural scene. Around 20% of its population is made up of foreigners, mainly British and Americans.

Siena – With its historical architecture and strong tourism, this is a very peaceful city with few foreigners.

Rome – As the third-largest city in Europe and the main city in Italy, Rome needs no introduction. It attracts more than 300,000 expatriates in search of the famous Mediterranean lifestyle.

It is worth noting that Rome and Milan, although being the most important cities in the country, may cause some frustration to new residents due to the high cost of living, pollution, and excessive traffic. On the other hand, destinations like Bologna, Florence, and Turin are among the favorites in the country for foreigners who want to move to Italy, as they are quite safe and peaceful.


Our Selection of the Most Important Cities in Italy

Below, we have selected some of the major cities in Italy.


Located in the heart of Italy, Rome is a city where the past and present harmoniously blend. With a Mediterranean climate and a diverse population, Rome is home to several prestigious universities, such as the University of La Sapienza and the University of Rome Tor Vergata.

Its lifestyle is a delightful mix of tradition and modernity. Available jobs range from the tourism and hospitality sectors to finance and technology. Rome has two main airports, facilitating international travel. Advantages of living in Rome include its rich history, vibrant culture, and a variety of entertainment options. It is also home to the United Nations and other international organizations.

However, congested traffic and the cost of living can be challenges for some expatriates. Although about nine out of ten expatriates appreciate the climate and weather in Rome, the urban environment does not meet expectations, nor is its transport system praised.


Do you love the fashion world and haute couture? Then this is your destination!

As the financial and fashion center of Italy, Milan is a dynamic and cosmopolitan city. Its lifestyle is sophisticated, with a vibrant cultural scene and a wide range of job opportunities in the fashion, design, finance, and technology sectors. It has a temperate climate and a diverse population, with many expatriates.

Milan is home to renowned universities such as the University of Milan and Bocconi University. The city has three main airports, making it an important transport hub.

Advantages of living in Milan include its strong economy, lively nightlife, and access to world-class fashion events. However, it has a high cost of living, ranking among the 20 most expensive cities in Europe. Another negative point is the air quality.



Located in southern Italy, Naples is a city full of energy and vitality. With a Mediterranean climate and a welcoming population, Naples is home to respected educational institutions such as the University of Naples Federico II.

The lifestyle in Naples is relaxed, with an emphasis on family, food, and culture. Available jobs include tourism, gastronomy, and commerce. Although Naples does not have an international airport, it is well connected by land and sea transport.

Advantages of living in Naples include its exceptional cuisine, with famous dishes such as Neapolitan pizza, and its cultural scene, with many festivals, theaters, and artistic events. However, the city faces challenges such as infrastructure issues and safety in certain areas.


Situated in northeastern Italy, Venice is a unique city built on a series of islands connected by canals. With a mild climate and a romantic atmosphere, Venice is home to a prestigious university, Ca’ Foscari University.

The lifestyle in Venice is tranquil, with a focus on art, architecture, and tourism. Available jobs are mainly in the tourism, art, and restoration sectors.

Venice has an international airport, making travel to other parts of Europe easy. Advantages of living in Venice include its unique beauty, rich culture, and a sense of escapism. However, the challenges include seasonal flooding and a relatively high cost of living.



The birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Florence is a city renowned for its artistic and architectural wealth. With a Mediterranean climate and a welcoming population, Florence is home to the University of Florence, one of the oldest and most prestigious in the world.

The lifestyle in Florence is relaxed, with a focus on culture, gastronomy, and the arts. Available jobs are mainly in the sectors of art, tourism, and education. Florence has an international airport, making travel to other parts of Italy and the world easy.

Advantages of living in Florence include its historical beauty, high quality of life, and access to some of the world’s greatest artworks. However, the intense tourism can be a challenge for some residents.



Living as an expatriate in Bologna offers a blend of culture, job opportunities, quality of life, and social experiences. This important center of university and research offers employment opportunities in education, technology, and services, housing multinational companies and startups.

The lifestyle in Bologna is lively, with an emphasis on education, gastronomy, and the arts. The nightlife is vibrant, especially due to the large student population. Squares are popular meeting points for aperitifs and meals. Bologna has an international airport, making it easily accessible for travelers from around the world.

Advantages of living in Bologna include its academic atmosphere, excellent cuisine, and high quality of life. However, the cost of living can be high compared to other Italian cities.

Turin, one of the major cities in Italy


Among Italy’s major cities, Turin, located in the northwest, is known for its elegant architecture and tranquil atmosphere. With a continental climate and a welcoming population, Turin is home to important educational institutions like the Polytechnic University of Turin. The lifestyle in Turin is relaxed, with a focus on culture, sports, and technology.

Turin is an industrial and technological city, housing companies like Fiat and other multinationals.

The job market offers opportunities in sectors such as engineering, information technology, automotive, and research.

Turin has an international airport, making travel to other parts of Europe convenient, along with an excellent metro and bus system.

Living in this city offers a high quality of life, affordable living costs, and easy access to the Alps for relaxation. However, the city may be less cosmopolitan compared to other large Italian cities. Therefore, knowing the Italian language can make a significant difference in integrating into society.

Major Italian Cities: Which One is Ideal for You?

What should you consider in each of Italy’s main cities to find the ideal one to live in as an expatriate?

Before moving to Italy, it is crucial to analyze various aspects. What are your personal and professional priorities? Besides the cost of living, which includes housing, daily expenses, and local taxes, it is important to assess job and business opportunities. Quality of life, including health, education, and safety, should also be considered, as well as the availability of culture and entertainment, efficient transportation, and international connectivity. The climate and presence of expatriate communities that offer support and integration are determining factors, as well as the local language and proficiency in Italian and English.

If possible, visit the cities beforehand and talk to other expatriates to gain detailed insights. With thorough research, you can choose the city that best suits your lifestyle. Contact Atlantic Bridge and start your project!

Silvia Resende


Silvia Resende

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