Living in Italy: the best places to live in the Italian countryside

Moving to rural Italy is an option that is increasingly attractive given the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

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Photo by Daniel Vogel on Unsplash
3 December 2020, Emma Donaldson

Given the current climate due to the coronavirus crisis, more and more people are choosing leave the city and move to rural areas. For those seeking a new life in a place where they can relax and unwind with plenty of space and fresh air, then rural Italy may be the perfect destination for you. 

While Italy's cities are full of charm and history, the Italian countryside will certainly not disappoint with its spectacular, varied landscapes filled with rolling hills and vineyeards, as well as quaint, rural villages with a welcoming atmosphere. Expats who choose to move to the Italian countryside will be spoilt for choice, with many choosing to live in a rural village or in right in the middle of the countryside. Advantages include reduced house prices compared to urban areas, and also the chance to live with more space in a larger property, probably with a garden and maybe even some additional land. Let's have a look at our selection of 5 of the best places to live in the Italian countryside so you can start planning your move. 

Tuscany

No ranking of the best countryside places to live in Italy would be complete without a trip to Tuscany. Home to Italy's most famous countryside landscapes, the region of Tuscany will delight you with its amazing cultural and natural treasures.  

Home to charming hillside towns and rustic countryside, Tuscany offers the perfect blend of rural and city life, and althougth the region sometimes gets a bad reputation for being a tourist trap, this area really does have something for everyone. As well as breathtaking landscapes and a thriving wine production sector, expats in search of a more laid-back approach to life will definitely find home in this beautiful region. 

When it comes to buying property in Tuscany, people often think of impossibly high prices and that they cannot afford to buy a house in the area. However, prices are steadily beginning to drop with the best bargains found in Northern Tuscany around Bagni di Lucca, Barga and some parts of Lunigiana. 

Umbria

Umbria is often known as 'the poor man's Tuscany', but not because it's a worse place to live; the region is just less well known compared to it's famous neighbour. Those who choose the region of Umbria as their Italian countryside destination of choice are in for a treat, as the landscpaes on offer are every bit as picturesque as those in Tuscany

If you choose to move to the Umbrian countryside, you'll be able to enjoy immense peace and quiet, with the only noise coming from the surrounding wildlife while you watch the sunset from your terrace and soak up the atmosphere of the vast, unbroken Italian hills. House prices in the area are also lower than those in Tuscany, and for those who wish to live in or close to a rural town, you should consider Assisi or Orvieto.  

Abruzzo

The natural beauty of Abruzzo undoubtedly rivals every region across Italy when it comes to rural landscapes. The region is home to picturesque lakes, impressive mountains and tranquil natural reserves

Abruzzo is often known as the greenest region in Italy due to the high number of national parks on offer. As well as this, a large number of the towns in the region sit on the edge of dramatic cliff faces or with imposing mountain ranges as their backdrop meaning that the views and landscapes in the area are even more impressive. 

For those who want to still live close to a town, check out Penne and Lanciano, both of which have a growing expat community.

Marche

In the Marche region of Italy, tradition and history are the most striking features. Often known as the “hidden diamond of central Italy”, the Marche region is understated, something which is reflected in the relaxed pace of life in the area.

If you are looking for an area of countryside which is full of charming little villages, then you are definiely in the right place. The Marche region has a strong medieval character, with some of the most beautiful castles and hamlets nestled in the marchigiano hills waiting for your visit.

It's also worth noting that in Marche you can live well when it comes to lifestyle and cost of living: relaxation, healthy food and clean air combine with some of the lowest property prices in Italy making this a great area to move to. 

Apulia

Apulia is a beautiful region in Southern Italy which is abundant in olive groves and wheat fields in the picturesque Itria Valley. Circular conical trulli (traditional stone huts in the region) accentuate the landscape, guiding you on a fascinating journey through history.

The area has seen a rising number of expats in recent years, and a large number highlight just how welcoming the locals are. Dubbed as the "new Tuscany", this area is currently home to low cost of living, including cheap houses compared to the rest Italy. 

Those who are searching for a small town in the area should check out Alberobello and Locorotondo

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