Italy at a Glance
Popular Expat Destinations in Italy
Where to Go
Italy covers a surface area of over 300,000 square kilometers and offers some of the most culturally rich cities in the world. So, if you haven’t been sent on a company transfer to a specific place, it may be a bit difficult to decide where exactly you should begin your new life in Italy. Some large cities where many expats feel at home are Rome, Milan, and Florence.
Rome (Roma) is the capital of Italy and houses over 2.7 million inhabitants. In 2010, nearly 10% of the local residents were non-Italians. As the capital, Rome hosts all principle institutions of the country. It is the center of all political, economic, and diplomatic headquarters. It also offers a number of touristic sights, including the Vatican City. Rome welcomed over 11 million visitors in 2011, and numbers can be even higher during a “Holy Year”.
The economy of Rome is largely dominated by the service sector, due to its very touristic nature and the lack of heavy industry in and around the city. High-tech companies, research, and construction also contribute to Rome’s affluence, as the second wealthiest city in Italy after Milan.
Milan (Milano), recognized as the fashion and design capital of the world, is located in the northern region of Lombardy. Its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of up to 7.4 million, by far the largest in Italy and among the largest in all of Europe. Milan has many architectural highlights. It is also home of the panettone, the Italian Christmas cake, and is known for its fascinating operatic and musical tradition.
In addition, Milan is one of the world’s leading financial centers. For much of the 20th and 21st centuries, the city has been a major manufacturer of textiles and garments, automobiles, chemicals, industrial tools, and heavy machinery. However, the significance of traditional industries has been decreasing in favor of the service sector. Despite Italy’s flagging economy, the Milanese still enjoy a fairly high quality of life.
Other Expat Destinations
Florence (Firenze) is the capital city of the famous region of Tuscany, where many of the best Italian wines come from. Florence is not as big a city as Milan or Rome, with only about 400,000 inhabitants. However, it houses some of the greatest art collections in the world and is a favored tourist destination.
The above cities are only described briefly, and there are thousands of other well-known destinations that expats choose when moving to Italy, such as Genoa (Genova), Naples (Napoli), Turin (Torino), and Palermo, to name merely a few.
Your permanent residence in Italy, as in every country, will depend on your reason for moving, the type of job you are seeking or have been assigned, and your personal taste. You could, for example, even choose to live in Italy’s smallest town of Morterone in the region of Lecco, which currently counts 36 inhabitants!