Freelancing in Italy? Here are the top 9 Italian cities

Want to make it as a freelancer in Italy? These are the places with the highest chance for success.

8 min read

Being a digital nomad means having the freedom to organize your schedule however you want. You’re not tied to an office, a boss, or a specific routine, which means you can follow your career anywhere it takes you. In Italy, there are nine cities that stand out from the rest as the best spots for freelancers to set up shop. If you’re considering freelancing in Italy, consult this guide to find the right destination for you.

Northwest Italy—freelancing in Milan, Turin, and Genoa

The Milan Cathedral.

Besides being the most populated Italian city, Milan is highly international. It’s the capital of finance in Italy, and one of the major fashion capitals of the world. It offers lively nightlife and an interesting array of art. In Milan, it’s easy to connect with the rest of the country via train or plane. The city’s public transportation is well-organized, too. According to ICity’s Rank 2020 annual report, it ranks as the third most digital city in Italy. Many tech professionals consider it one of the best Italian cities to live in. Working in Milan gives you the chance to connect with other freelancers and talented professionals from all over the world.

Coworking spaces in Milan: Talent Garden, EcoWorking, Campus Coworking, Freelancer Island

How much does it cost to live in Milan?

  • Cost of living plus rent index: 65.09 (country average: 49,13)

  • Average monthly cost of a 1-bedroom apartment: €1109,25 in the city center, €732,50 outside of the city center (the country average is respectively €596,41 and €451,97)

  • Average cost of a 3-course meal for 2 people: €70,00 (vs country average of €55,00)

  • Average monthly cost for public transportation: €39,00 (vs country average of €35,00)

Source: Numbeo.

Panorama of the city of Turin.

If Milan doesn’t sound like your scene, why not consider Turin? This elegant city has a rich history as Italy’s former capital. At the same time, it’s an innovative, futuristic city that is slightly more affordable than Milan. Turin was also ranked among the top 10 smartest capitals of the country in the ICity Rank 2020 report.

Coworking spaces in Turin: Talent Garden, OGR, Loft, Copernico Garibaldi

How much does it cost to live in Turin?

  • Cost of living plus rent index: 48.71 (country average: 49.13)

  • Average monthly cost of a 1-bedroom apartment: €566,79 in the city center, €394,29 outside of the city center (the country average is respectively €596,41 and €451,97)

  • Average cost of a 3-course meal for 2 people: €50 (vs country average of €55,00)

  • Average monthly cost for public transportation: €38,00 (vs country average of €35,00)

The port of Genoa.

Another great option for freelancers in Northwest Italy is Genoa. Genoa boasts the largest and most important port in Italy, amazing food, and an incredible seaside. Digital nomads flock to it for its low prices and overall beauty. While it’s slightly less dynamic than Milan or Turin, it’s the perfect destination for balancing work with relaxation at some of Italy’s most enchanting beaches. The ICity Rank 2020 report notes that Genoa is advanced when it comes to digitization. What’s more, there’s no shortage of coworking spaces to choose from.

Coworking spaces in Genoa: Talent Garden, COWO, CWG, Social Hub

How much does it cost to live in Genoa?

  • Cost of living plus rent index: 50.77 (country average: 49.13)

  • Average monthly cost of a 1-bedroom apartment: €566,88  in the city center, €404,38 outside of the city center (the country average is respectively €596,41 and €451,97)

  • Average cost of a 3-course meal for 2 people: €52,50 (vs country average of €55,00)

  • Average monthly cost for public transportation: €46,00 (vs country average of €35,00)

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Northeast Italy—freelancing in Bologna and Trieste

A typical street in Bologna.

Bologna ranks second on the list of Italian digital capitals in the ICity Rank 2020 report. Plus, it’s in the top five Italian cities in terms of coworking spaces. Its atmosphere is inspiring and artistic. The University of Bologna—the oldest in the Western world—attracts students from all over globe. So many young people instill the city with a lively, progressive, and modern energy.

Coworking spaces in Bologna: The Student Hotel, Granata coworking, Nuntiabo, Luogo Comune

How much does it cost to live in Bologna?

  • Cost of living plus rent index: 53.36 (country average: 49.13)

  • Average monthly cost of a 1-bedroom apartment: €703,70  in the city center, €558,89 outside of the city center (the country average is respectively €596,41 and €451,97)

  • Average cost of a 3-course meal for 2 people: €60,00 (vs country average of €55,00)

  • Average monthly cost for public transportation: €36,00 (vs country average of €35,00)

The Canal grande in Trieste.

If you prefer a somewhat lesser-known city, Trieste is a magnificent port city that hasn’t yet been fully discovered by digital nomads—despite the fact that it offers excellent internet connectivity, infrastructure, and good air quality. Its varied artistic and architectural sites, as well as its proximity to Slovenia, make it a top choice for those who want to live in a culturally stimulating and international, albeit peaceful, environment.

Coworking spaces in Trieste: sNodo, Laby, Dancing House

How much does it cost to live in Trieste?

  • Cost of living plus rent index: 49.30 (country average: 49.13)

  • Average monthly cost of a 1-bedroom apartment: €510,45 in the city center, €400,00 outside of the city center (the country average is respectively €596,41 and €451,97)

  • Average cost of a 3-course meal for 2 people: €50,00 (vs country average of €55,00)

  • Average monthly cost for public transportation: €35,00 (vs country average of €35,00)

Central Italy—freelancing in Florence and Rome

Panorama of the city of Florence and the Arno river.

Internationally acclaimed for its artistic and architectural heritage, Florence is one of the most famous cities in all of Italy. It’s also been named the capital of digital transformation 2020 in the ICity Rank 2020 report. If you decide to build your career as a freelancer in Florence, you can easily find cutting-edge technology and high-speed internet connections to help support your work. The Region of Tuscany also offers a voucher to those with an Italian VAT number that covers the cost of renting a coworking space.

Coworking spaces in Florence: Smart-hub, 91C, Nana Bianca

How much does it cost to live in Florence?

  • Cost of living plus rent index: 54.47 (country average: 49.13)

  • Average monthly cost of a 1-bedroom apartment: €773,48 in the city center, €605,42 outside of the city center (the country average is respectively €596,41 and €451,97)

  • Average cost of a 3-course meal for 2 people: €60,00 (vs country average of €55,00)

  • Average monthly cost for public transportation: €35,00 (vs country average of €35,00)

Piazza di Spagna in Rome.

Rome is the center of Italian political life. It’s one of the most important hubs when it comes to trade and services in Italy. In the Eternal City, you can explore ancient history, admire breath-taking views, and try delicious foods. Working in Rome also means being able to count on modern and technological workspaces. In fact, it ranks fourth in ICity Rank’s 2020 report.

Coworking spaces in Rome: Talent Garden, Ala/34, BinarioUno, Cowall

How much does it cost to live in Rome?

  • Cost of living plus rent index: 58.14 (country average: 49.13)

  • Average monthly cost of a 1-bedroom apartment: €912,76 in the city center, €624,12 outside of the city center (the country average is respectively €596,41 and €451,97)

  • Average cost of a 3-course meal for 2 people: €60,00 (vs country average of €55,00)

  • Average monthly cost for public transportation: €35,00 (vs country average of €35,00)

Southern Italy—freelancing in Naples and Bari

A typical street in Naples.

Naples, famous throughout the world for being the birthplace of pizza, is an affordable city. It combines amazing beaches, some of the most spectacular historical sites in the country, and incredible food. It only received a “fair” rating in the ICity Rank 2020 report from a technological point of view, but it does maintain a good variety of coworking spaces.

Coworking spaces in Naples: Lavoratorio, re.work, Lab46

How much does it cost to live in Naples?

  • Cost of living plus rent index: 46.56 (country average: 49.13)

  • Average monthly cost of a 1-bedroom apartment: €640,62 in the city center, €432,35 outside of the city center (the country average is respectively €596,41 and €451,97)

  • Average cost of a 3-course meal for 2 people: €50,00 (vs country average of €55,00)

  • Average monthly cost for public transportation: €43,50 (vs country average of €35,00)

A typical narrow street in Bari.

Bari is a peaceful city by the sea that is very affordable—and it ranks as “advanced” when it comes to being a digital city. It’s the ideal destination for digital nomads looking for an alternative to big city living. It comes with all the cultural vitality of a university town that boasts more than 50,000 students.

Coworking spaces in Bari: Spazio14, Impact Hub Bari, Faro Futuro

How much does it cost to live in Bari?

  • Cost of living plus rent index: 41.18 (country average: 49.13)

  • Average monthly cost of a 1-bedroom apartment: €506,25 in the city center, €385,71 outside of the city center (the country average is respectively €596,41 and €451,97)

  • Average cost of a 3-course meal for 2 people: €50,00 (vs country average of €55,00)

  • Average monthly cost for public transportation: €29,00 (vs country average of €35,00)

Working as a freelancer in Italy with N26

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