The Best Cities in Italy for Remote Working
With the rise of remote working, it’s now possible for many more people to perform their roles from literally anywhere in the world there’s a decent internet connection. So why not from Italy? This beautiful country has everything you need to work online, including high-quality broadband. Plus, the cost of living is lower than many parts of the U.S. So you could potentially save money by working from an apartment in Rome with views of the Colosseum, a farmhouse set amidst the rolling hills of Tuscany, or a coastal Mediterranean town.
If you want to enjoy a less touristy and more local Italian lifestyle while firing up the high-speed internet and getting down to business, there are a few destinations that stand out. Here are my top three picks for locations that combine good living with a robust remote working environment.
This city in the northern region of Emilia Romagna carries the perfect balance of Old World appeal and modern amenities. Modena is among Italy’s top 10 locations for innovation, digital connectivity, the use of technology, and economic development and sustainability. And there are 10 coworking spots for remote workers who need meeting space or office support.
Modena’s centro storico, or old town, has a “web of streets”—look at the map and it literally resembles a woven web. Wander through the city’s core and you’ll find an active arts scene, swanky stores, and seven theaters for shows, concerts, and operas. If life seems too slow some days, head south of the city to the Ferrari headquarters and indulge in the red-hot sports car lifestyle. (Pagani and Lamborghini are based in the region, too.)
The food scene in Modena certainly won’t disappoint. Emilia-Romagna is the epicenter of some of Italy’s most renowned food products, and Modena itself is known for balsamic vinegar, its own air-cured prosciutto, and frothy Lambrusco wine. And this is a city that loves happy hour, so any given evening feels like an event, with everyone out enjoying a drink at the many bars and piazza cafés.
Modena is well-connected; it’s less than an hour and a half by train to Milan, and about the same to Florence. In a half-hour you can be in the center of Bologna, or at its airport for flights to destinations around Europe. To round it off, the city offers a high standard of living at a modest cost. You’ll find furnished apartments in the city center from €750 to €1,000 ($846 to $1,128). For top-of-the-line larger penthouse-type apartments, expect to pay €2,000 ($2,245) and up.
There is much more to Pisa than its famous tilted tower. With 91,000 people, it’s a dynamic and active city, with a trio of universities, a wealth of cultural events, and plenty of nightlife. Its location in Tuscany puts it in easy reach of the Mediterranean, as well as just an hour’s train ride from Florence. The Pisa Airport gives you easy access to all of Europe (and connections beyond), while the Port of Livorno offers ferries to Corsica and Sardinia.
Pisa straddles the Arno River, like its upstream sister, Florence, but is more casual and less touristy overall as most visitors do a hit-and-run on the leaning tower. The placid riverside walk with its pastel-painted palaces is a lovely option for a stroll. There are also boutiques, craft shops, and a hopping nightlife.
If you’re concerned about quality healthcare, this is the city for you. Pisa is well-known for its medical schools and hospital facilities, ranked among the best in Italy.
The city also has a rich cultural life with two dozen historic churches, a dozen museums, and medieval palaces and country villas aplenty to explore. A full annual theater calendar, modern art events, and weekly markets add to the offerings and make the city really livable. There are six coworking spots for remote workers as well. All this and you’re in Tuscany with all its famous sights and noted cuisine. Unlike much of the region, rental prices don’t bust your budget in Pisa. Fantastic furnished rentals can be found from €600 to €750 ($677 to $846).
If you’re craving a stunning artistic city with gorgeous views and a sense of community, then Orvieto is your place. Located on a bluff, the dramatic city enjoys stellar panoramas, along with excellent transportation connections. No car is needed, as you can ride the funicular down to the train station and be in Rome in about an hour or Florence in about two hours. The main north-south autostrada highway passes through here, so if you do have a car you’re right in the center of the country for convenient access to the rest of Italy.
Orvieto has a rich artistic and cultural heritage, elegant palace-studded streets, walking paths that encircle the bluff, and enough tourism to keep things lively but not so much to overwhelm it and change the town’s ambiance. Orvieto is designated as a “Città Slow” (slow city), awarded to those cities where the living is good and the pace is amiable. The emphasis here is on traditions, a sense of place, local crafts, civic amenities, and sustainable development. In short, just right for those looking to unplug from the rat race. There is one coworking spot, in case you need a meeting space or just like to have the option of escaping your home office.
With its accessibility to other cities, it’s a great option for those wanting a sane pace but who may need to do business in Rome or Florence on occasion. Despite its fantastic location and beautiful, historic surroundings, Orvieto also offers an affordable cost of living. Quality furnished rentals can be found from €550 to €700 ($620 to $789).
By Valerie Fortney Schneider