Choosing the right place to live in Italy is like surveying a dessert cart. Everything looks too good to pass up. A waiter might suggest a few specialties, but you’re always going to wonder what you missed. There are no bad choices among Italy’s cities and regions, though some are more practical than others. If you’re a career person, for instance, remote southern locations should probably be scratched off your list. Other places, like the choicest towns in Tuscany, will be financially out of reach for the average homeowner.

The following two chapters highlight Italy’s two largest cities, Rome and Milan, each of which offers greater numbers of job opportunities for foreigners. Then there are four chapters dedicated to the best of rural and small-town Italy: the northeastern-central regions of Veneto and EmiliaRomagna, the northwestern regions of Piedmont and Liguria, the center regions of Tuscany, Umbria, and Le Marche, and three regions from the South: Campania, Puglia, and Sicily.

Venice and Florence are not covered. Though they are two of the most popular places to visit in Italy”and for good reason”they are not, in my opinion, the best places to live. Tourist season itself is one major reason to steer clear. The streets in both places are so crowded with English-speakers in the warmer months that it hardly feels like you ever left home. You’ll have to battle the crowds on the streets just to get a bottle of milk. (Disgruntled locals in Venice will tell you that even milk is hard to find, now that the tourist shops have overtaken the corner grocery stores). You’ll have to struggle with long lines at the train station. Veneto and Tuscany have so much to offer outside of their famous capitals that you might as well take advantage of these lesser-known places and live like a local, saving the tourism in Florence and Venice for weekends in the off-season.


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