Italy Digital Nomad Visa Guide (2023)
Ever wondered how amazing it would be if you could prolong your Roman holiday for a year and explore all the historical, cultural, and natural riches Italy has to offer?
Thanks to the Italy digital nomad visa, you’ll soon be able to explore all 58 UNESCO world heritage sites located in Italy without having to sacrifice a day of your PTO or vacation days.
If you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to embrace the laid-back Italian lifestyle and enjoy the perks of the digital nomad and remote work lifestyle, we’ve got some amazing news for you.
The highly anticipated Italy digital nomad visa is in the works, and we’ve got all the details.
Read on to find out:
- The types of Italian visas available to digital nomads,
- What sets the actual digital nomad visa apart from the rest,
- Who can apply for the new digital nomad visa,
- The pros and cons of being a digital nomad in Italy,
- The best Italian destinations for digital nomads, and
- Tips for working and living in Italy.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Quick digital nomad visa facts for Italy
Before we get into detail on the available programs for digital nomads in Italy, let’s first take a quick look at the most important digital nomad visa facts for Italy.
|Italy visa questions||Italy visa answers|
|Does Italy have a digital nomad visa?||Italy still doesn’t have an official digital nomad visa. However, a Decree defining the digital nomad program was approved by the Italian government in March 2022.|
|Who can apply for the Italy digital nomad visa?||– A non-EU citizen|
– Self-employed or employed by a company outside Italy
– Individuals who perform highly qualified work using telecommunications technology
|How much does an Italy digital nomad visa cost?||To be specified|
|Italy’s digital nomad visa length?||1 year|
|Minimum stay requirement?||Not specified|
|Possible to extend the visa?||Yes, to be specified for how long|
|Minimum income requirements?||To be specified|
|Processing time for visa application?||To be specified|
|Can I apply with family members for a digital nomad visa?||To be specified|
What to expect as a digital nomad in Italy?
From the beautiful scenery and comfortable climate to the rich history and vibrant culture — Italy does seem to have something for every type of digital nomad out there.
Here’s a quick look at what you can expect as a digital nomad in Italy, according to the available data.
|Italy digital nomad FAQ||Italy digital nomad answers|
|Average Internet speed:||61.05 Mbps — median download speed|
19.27 Mbps — median upload speed
|Best coworking space (highest Google rating and highest number of voters):||Impact Hub, Florence (4.6 stars from 226 voters)|
|Friendly to foreigners:||Yes — the locals are friendly and welcoming to tourists, digital nomads, and expats alike.|
|Most popular place for digital nomads in Italy:||Rome — impressive historical sites, colorful culture, and plenty of coworking spaces make the city a top spot for digital nomads.|
|Weather in Italy’s most popular place for digital nomads:||– Average annual temperature 21°C (71°F);|
– Coldest month average temperatures (January) — 2°C–13°C (36°F–55°F);
– Hottest month average temperatures (July, August) — 17°C–32°C (62°F–89°F);
– 102 sunny days;
– 79 rainy days;
|Type of climate:||Mediterranean|
|Annual air quality average:||US AQI — 67 (acceptable quality, there may be a risk to some people sensitive to air pollution)|
PM2.5 — 3x the WHO annual air quality guideline value (moderate quality)
|Average cost of living:||Family of four: €2,757.5 (~$2,941.89) per month (without rent)|
Single person: €785.2 (~$837.71) per month (without rent)
|Average coworking space cost:||$228 per month|
|Crime per 100k population:||34.3|
|Ranking of Italy’s healthcare system:||37th place|
|Interesting fact for digital nomads:||Digital nomad community programs brings remote workers to enjoy off-the-beaten-track locations in Italy.|
Italy digital nomad visa
To date, Italy has been working on one visa specifically designed for digital nomads. The visa was introduced in a Decree in January 2022, and in March 2022, it was signed into law.
However, the Italy digital nomad visa is still not officially available, so there are many details yet to be defined.
Here’s what is known so far:
- The Italy digital nomad visa will be valid for 1 year.
- There will be the option to renew for a yet-to-be-specified duration.
- The Italy digital nomad visa is aimed at highly skilled professionals who work remotely, either freelance or for a company based outside Italy.
What documents do you need to apply for Italy’s digital nomad visa?
Detailed official requirements for applying for Italy’s digital nomad visa are still to be defined and announced. What is known so far, according to the January 2022 Decree, is that anyone looking to get the Italy digital nomad visa will have to:
- Be tax compliant in Italy, and
- Have health insurance that covers the length of their entire stay in Italy.
One significant benefit of the Italian digital nomad visa is that applicants are exempted from having to obtain the “nulla osta” document — a work authorization for non-EU nationals issued by Italian immigration authorities.
The official list of documents for the Italy digital nomad visa is yet to be finalized. However, it’s safe to assume that it’ll include most of the documents found in the criteria for digital nomad visa applications in other countries:
- Valid passport,
- Visa application form,
- Two passport-size photographs,
- Work contract with a company registered outside Italy,
- Proof of sufficient financial means to support yourself during your stay in Italy (a minimum income threshold will be set),
- Criminal record certificate proving you have a clean criminal record, and
- Proof of accommodation — rental agreement or hotel booking.
Who is eligible to apply for Italy’s digital nomad visa?
The Italy digital nomad visa targets non-EU professionals who work remotely using the Internet and other technological tools.
As mentioned earlier, the Italian government has yet to draw up complete criteria for applying for the visa. However, there are a few key requirements known so far.
The Italy digital nomad visa applications will be open for applicants who meet the following criteria:
- Citizens of countries that don’t belong to the European Union,
- Professionals who carry out highly qualified work activities,
- Professionals who work remotely and need an internet connection and other technological tools to do so,
- Professionals who are either self-employed or who work for a company, including those that are registered outside Italy,
- Applicants who have medical insurance, and
- Applicants who meet all relevant fiscal and contributions provisions in effect in Italy.
Further decrees are expected to provide more details on the following procedures and categorizations:
- The minimum earnings threshold for individual applicants/families,
- The detailed requirements for categorization of applicants as “highly qualified”,
- The procedures for determining whether applicants carry out work activities defined by the term “digital nomad”,
- The cost of the program,
- Procedures for the visa extension process, and
- Evidence regarding tax compliance, health insurance, and social security requirements.
Are you eligible if you’re a United States citizen?
Yes, you are eligible for the Italy digital nomad visa if you’re a United States citizen.
As long as you meet all the requirements and submit all the necessary documents, you are eligible for the Italian digital nomad visa.
Without a visa, you can stay in Italy for 90 days as a US citizen.
Are you eligible if you are a US Green Card holder?
Yes, US green card holders can apply for the Italian digital nomad visa. However, remember that all the requirements and conditions mentioned above still apply.
One important drawback to keep in mind here is that your US green card expires when you’re outside the US for over a year. So, you might want to consider the trouble of getting another one before you decide to stay in another country long-term as a US green card holder.
Moreover, as a US green card holder, you can apply for a Schengen visa and stay in Italy for 90 days.
Are you eligible if you are an EU citizen?
As an EU citizen, you don’t need a visa to work and live in Italy since it is part of the EU.
EU citizens can stay in Italy for up to 3 months without registration.
The eligibility criteria for EU citizens who want to extend their stay for over 3 months are the following:
- Self-employed or employed in Italy,
- Owning enough financial resources to support themselves and their family members, if applicable,
- Family members of the EU citizens with the right to stay in Italy for over 3 months,
- Students attending a recognized public or private institution who have sufficient funds to support themselves (and their family members, if applicable) and health insurance that covers their entire stay.
EU citizens who want to extend their stay in Italy for over 3 months need to register at the public Register Office (Anagrafe) of the municipality in which they plan to live.
Moreover, EU citizens who have had a legal residency in Italy for 5 years continuously have the right to apply for permanent residence.
Are you eligible if you reside in any other country?
Yes, you are eligible to apply for a digital nomad visa if you reside in any other country, as long as you’re a non-EU citizen and you meet all the requirements mentioned above.
Can I live in Italy and work remotely for a US company?
You can live in Italy and work remotely for a US company. However, there are some rules and guidelines to pay attention to from a legal point of view.
If you’re an EU citizen working for a US company, you can stay in Italy freely.
However, if you are a non-EU citizen looking to stay in Italy while working for a US company, you’ll need either a tourist visa (for a short-term stay), or a work permit and residency for a self-employment visa (for a long-term stay).
We’ll go into more detail on each of these visa types in the following chapter.
What types of digital nomad visas does Italy offer?
Since Italy doesn’t have an official digital nomad visa in force just yet, let’s take a look at other visa options available to foreigners who want to live and work remotely in Italy.
There are essentially 3 alternative visa options you can explore as a digital nomad in Italy:
- Tourist (short-term) visa,
- Self-employment visa, and
- Passive income (Elective residence) visa.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these visa options and what they entail.
Type #1: Tourist visa
The Italian tourist visa is a great option for digital nomads looking for a short-term stay without any legal obligations.
You can stay up to 90 days within a total period of 180 days in Italy on a tourist visa, and you don’t need to register with the local institutions or apply for a residence permit.
To enter and stay in Italy on a Tourist visa, you only need 2 requirements:
- A passport valid for at least 3 months longer than your intended stay, and
- Documents justifying the reasons and duration of your stay in Italy.
A tourist visa is a perfect option for digital nomads who want to stay in Italy for short periods while they’re waiting for the official Italian digital nomad visa to come into force.
If, however, you’re looking for long-term residence, you might want to explore one of the next 2 options.
Type #2: Self-employment visa
The self-employment visa is a great alternative for people looking to live and work in Italy freelance or start a business.
When it comes to deciding whether to apply for a self-employment visa in Italy, note that it is regulated by the annual entry quotas established by the law known as the “Decreto Flussi” (Flow Decree). This law allows a set number of work permits to applicants whose work activities fall under the criteria set for the self-employment visa.
General documentation for the self-employment visa
As the self-employed visa grants the right to live and work in Italy for up to 2 years, it naturally comes with several more complex conditions and requirements.
The specific requirements and documentation vary depending on whether you plan to work as a freelancer or start a business in Italy.
In all cases, you’ll need a general list of documents, which includes:
- Visa application form,
- Recent passport-size photograph,
- Passport valid for at least 3 months longer than the visa requested,
- Proof of accommodation for the entire stay,
- Proof that you have paid the application fees (€116 or ~$122.57), and
- Proof that you had a yearly income of at least €8.500 (~$8,983.82) in the previous year.
Specific documentation for the self-employment visa
If you’re looking to apply for the self-employment freelancer visa or for the self-employment business owner visa, you’ll also need:
- A “Nulla osta” (no impediment) work certificate from the relevant Questura (police station),
- A Certificate of abstract recognition of the resources necessary for the business, trade, or craft activity you plan to undertake, issued by the relevant Chamber of Commerce (the minimum amount of resources must not be less than the minimum annual income — €4,962.36 (~$5,237.23)), and
- Proof that you have sufficient financial funds in Italy to guarantee the resources for the Certificate.
A self-employment start-up visa is a self-employment visa option applicable to people looking to open an innovative start-up business in Italy.
In addition to the previously listed general documents and requirements, to apply for the self-employment start-up visa, you’ll have to get a specifically designed “nulla osta” authorization from the Italy Startup Visa Technical Committee at the Ministry of Economic Development.
Type #3: Passive income visa
The Passive income (Elective residence) visa is primarily intended for retirees who want to stay in Italy long-term.
However, as the requirements don’t necessarily state that you have to be retired to obtain this visa, you can look into this option as an alternative digital nomad visa for Italy.
Essentially, you’ll only have to prove that you have an income larger than €31,000 (~$32,774.44) per year from sources other than paid employment wages or work-related money and savings. For example, a passive income can include anything from the rent you receive from a property you own outside Italy to a pension from a government or other institution.
To apply for the Italian passive income visa you’ll need:
- Visa application form,
- Recent passport-size photograph,
- Passport valid for at least 3 months longer than the visa requested,
- Proof of accommodation for the entire stay (a signed ownership or rental contract), and
- Proof of extensive financial resources under the applicant’s name. The resources need to be stable and regular, and they have to be from sources other than paid employment.
While all these documents and requirements are listed on the official website of The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, it’s best to contact the visa office of the nearest Italian Embassy or consult your local Italian diplomatic mission to check the detailed requirements and documents.
Which Italy visa type is best for digital nomads?
Unfortunately, there’s no single definitive answer to this question.
Ideally, the official digital nomad visa would be the best solution as it will be designed to meet the specific needs of digital nomads, their most common work models, and general lifestyle and preferences, with several benefits and administrative reliefs.
However, while we’re eagerly waiting for the next steps toward the official Italian digital nomad visa, some or one of the alternative visa options we mentioned above can be a great substitute, depending on your needs and preferences.
If you’re looking for a short-term hassle-free stay in Italy, as a non-EU citizen, it’s best you opt for a tourist visa. As short as it may seem, a 90-day stay is long enough to get a decent taste of the Italian lifestyle and culture.
On the other hand, if you happen to have sufficient funds from a passive income and want a more permanent residence in Italy, your best option is by far the passive income Italian visa.
If, however, you don’t meet the criteria for the passive income visa but you are interested in a long-term stay, you can apply for one of the self-employment visa options.
How do I get a digital nomad visa for Italy?
To date, Italy doesn’t have an official visa for digital nomads, therefore the detailed application process remains to be defined.
What’s known so far is that, as the digital nomad visa applicant, you will have one major advantage — you won’t have to obtain the “nulla osta” authorization before (or upon) entering the country.
This will significantly shorten the application process for digital nomad visas compared to, for example, the self-employment visa process, which requires applicants to:
- Complete and submit the request for the issuance of the “nulla osta” authorization on the website of the Ministry of the Interior (the request must follow the guidelines, requirements, and time limits set by the annual Flow Decree),
- Possess and submit the license documentation for the activity they plan to carry out (or proof of registration from the relevant Chamber of Commerce),
- Possess proof of accommodation in Italy (ownership or rental contract),
- Possess proof that they had a yearly income of at least €8.500 (~$8,983.82) in the previous year,
- Complete the visa application form,
- Pay the visa application fee, and
- Submit all of the mentioned documents (dated no earlier than 3 months) to the Italian diplomatic or consular Representation in the country of origin or permanent residence of the applicants.
Although digital nomads will probably have to submit work contracts or other documents proving they work for a company registered outside Italy, the process is still expected to be much simpler and shorter considering they are exempted from having to obtain the “nulla osta” authorization before applying for the visa.
Can I live in Italy without a digital nomad visa while working remotely?
Yes, there are ways you can live in Italy without a digital nomad visa while working remotely, but the conditions vary depending on your country of origin and permanent residence.
If you are an EU citizen, you can live and work remotely in Italy without any visa for up to 90 days.
After that, you are required to register with the local “Anagrafe” (Register Office).
In addition to EU/EEA citizens, nationals of the following countries looking to stay in Italy for up to 90 days don’t have to apply for a work visa:
- New Zealand,
- The Republic of South Korea, and
- The USA.
However, if they wish to stay in Italy for more than 90 days, they need to apply for a residence permit.
Citizens of any other country must apply for a digital nomad visa or an alternative (work) visa type mentioned above.
Costs you need to consider as a digital nomad in Italy
Now that we’ve figured out all the different ways you can stay in Italy as a digital nomad, it’s time to crunch the numbers and see if it’s realistically feasible to do so.
Considering all it has to offer, Italy is not an excessively expensive country. If you have a decent income and perhaps some extra cash for a few additional trips around the country, you’ll definitely do more than just get by in Italy as a digital nomad.
Let’s break all the major expenses down to see what budget you’ll need as a digital nomad in Italy.
Expense #1: Rent (or accommodation)
First things first, you’ll need to consider probably the highest expense you’ll have as a digital nomad in Italy — accommodation.
The monthly rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in the larger city centers is around €650 (~$690). For a 3-bedroom apartment in these areas, you’ll need around €1,270 (~$1,352).
Naturally, the rent prices are significantly lower in locations outside of the city center, where you can get a 1-bedroom apartment for €507 (~$539) per month and a 3-bedroom for around €893 (~$950) per month.
Let’s take a closer look at the average rent prices for 1-bedroom apartments in the most popular cities for digital nomads in Italy.
|City in Italy||Average cost of rent for a 1-bedroom apartment (per month)|
Expense #2: Utilities
For basic utilities in Italy, you’ll have to pay between €150 and €180 (~$160–$192) per month.
- Heating and AC,
- Water, and
In some cases, utilities will be included in your monthly rent price. So, if you’re renting a place in Italy, be sure to check whether the rent price includes the utilities.
For cable or ADSL Internet you’ll pay around €28 (~$30) per month. A prepaid SIM card costs around €10 (~$10.65), while for an unlimited monthly plan, you’ll need to spend around €25 (~$26.62) per month.
Expense #3: Transportation
Like most European countries, Italy is perfectly pedestrian-friendly. In addition to being considered rather safe, Italy is also one of the countries with the most amazing cultural, historical, and natural attractions, so walking is most certainly the best way to get around and explore Italy.
Cycling is another healthy and convenient option, as Italy is also a generally bike-friendly country.
For traveling between cities and towns, we suggest you take advantage of the Italian famously extensive inner-city and regional train network.
The metro train system is also a super effective and cheap way to get around bigger cities such as Rome, Milan, and Naples.
That being said, let’s not forget that most Italian cities are not very car- or bus-friendly, mostly due to the traffic and narrow streets, and due to the somewhat more aggressive local driving culture. A great and faster alternative would be to rent a motorcycle or a Vespa, especially during summer days.
|City in Italy||Monthly public transport ticket price|
Expense #4: Groceries
The prices of groceries in Italy vary between different cities and different types of stores.
If you stay in Rome or Milan, for example, you can expect higher prices in supermarkets and markets than you would in smaller cities.
Since Italy is famous for delicious local food, you might want to explore markets and greengroceries for fresh produce and a great quality-price ratio.
If you want a rough average estimate of how much you’ll spend on groceries in Italy, here’s a list of average prices of some commonly bought groceries:
- Milk (1l/~34 fl oz) — €1.22 (~$1.30)
- Bread — €1.72 (~$1.83)
- Water (1,5l/~51 fl oz) — €0.42 (~$0.45)
- Local cheese (1 kg/2.2 lbs) — €12.68 (~$13.50)
- Chicken fillets (1 kg) — €9.27 (~$9.87)
- Red meat (1 kg) — €15.30 (~$16.29)
- Tomatoes (1 kg) — €2.44 (~$2.60)
- Apples (1kg) — €1.92 (~$2.04)
Expense #5: Restaurants and cafes
Delicious cuisine is probably one of the top 3 first things associated with Italy. And for a good reason. The country really lives up to its reputation regarding amazing food — from thousands of Michelin-star restaurants to the world’s best pizza place and traditionally great coffee and wine culture, it really has it all.
And if you’re wondering how much you’ll have to pay to enjoy all of this delicious food in Italy, you’ll be happy to know that it’s quite affordable, considering the quality.
For example, you can get a meal at an average or mid-range restaurant for around €15–€30 (~$15.97–$31.94).
Prices in cafes and bars go from €1.49 (~$1.59) for a cappuccino and €4 (~$4.26) for a bottle of beer, while a bottle of Coke or Pepsi is around €2.28 (~$2.43).
Expense #6: Internet
Italy has great internet coverage pretty much anywhere in the country. In fact, it has fixed broadband and NGA coverage levels above the EU average.
As mentioned above, your monthly internet expenses will be around €28 (~$30).
The median download speed of fixed broadband Internet in Italy is currently 61.05 Mbps, while the median upload speed is 19.27 Mbps.
Expense #7: Coworking spaces
If you like to keep your work area separate from your living space, you’ll need to add the costs of coworking space to your monthly list of expenses.
Prices of coworking spaces in Italy vary depending on the city and area you live in.
Milan, for example, is one of the cities with the most expensive monthly hot desk prices in Europe. For a hot desk at one of the 71 coworking spaces in this city, you’ll need around $264 per month on average.
Rome is similarly pricy, with average monthly prices of $257. However, in Florence, for example, you can get a monthly pass for around $208.
Do digital nomads pay tax in Italy?
Digital nomads will have to pay taxes in Italy, according to a previously mentioned amendment to the Law converting Decree-Law n. 4/2022 (Sostegni ter).
However, there are two favorable tax regimes offered to newcomers, and it’s safe to assume that digital nomads will be eligible for these reliefs:
- The “Regime Forfetario” — allowing self-employed individuals earning a gross yearly income of up to €65,000 (~$69,202.25) to pay a 5% flat tax for the first 5 years on a percentage of gross billings, and
- The “Impatriates Regime” — allowing a 70% tax deduction in earned income subject to tax to self-employed and unemployed individuals.
Moreover, US and dual US/Italian citizens who work in Italy can choose to pay taxes for social security through the US social security system per the Totalization agreement between US and Italy.
To ensure a smooth tax registration process, it’s best to take a couple of precautionary steps before arriving in Italy:
- Check your eligibility and the conditions for the tax relief,
- Plan the timing of tax payments in advance, and
- Seek professional advice on the timing of the move.
Documents required for paying taxes in Italy
To pay tax in Italy, you’ll need a unified tax form F24.
However, before you’re able to pay taxes in Italy, you need to register for (in this case) self-employment tax in Italy.
To do so, you must first get a tax identification number or “codice fiscale” issued by the Italian Revenue Agency. You need to take your passport and residence card to your local immigration desk or a police headquarters.
If you’re a non-EU citizen, you’ll also need to define your business structure before registering for self-employment tax.
Finally, you’ll need to get a VAT number issued by the Italian Revenue Agency, which is obligatory for anyone performing “business or agricultural activity or an artistic or professional activity on a regular basis” and anyone earning over €65,000 (~$68,994.22) as a self-employed person.
What are the benefits of being a digital nomad in Italy?
As one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy has always been a top vacation destination for people of all ages and interests. Some of the many reasons include:
- Great weather,
- Breathtaking scenery, and
- Rich culture and history.
While your favorite vacation spot doesn’t always translate into a perfect work location, you’ll notice that many of the benefits we’ll list below also apply to digital nomad life in Italy.
Let’s break down all the reasons Italy is a great place for digital nomads.
Benefit #1: Plenty of culture to explore
Essentially, wherever you turn in Italy, there’s a cultural site in place.
Being home to some of the most incredible art, architecture, literature, fashion, design, opera, and film masterpieces, Italy has the largest number of UNESCO world heritage sites with 53 cultural and 5 natural sites.
The most popular sites include:
- The Historic Centre of Rome,
- The Historic Centre of Florence,
- The Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci,
- Venice and its Lagoon,
- Piazza del Duomo, Pisa,
- The Amalfi Coast, and
- The City of Verona.
As a digital nomad in Italy, your only concern might be getting any work done with all of this beauty at your fingertips.
Moreover, let’s not forget the world-renowned food and wine culture in Italy. Basically, living in Italy means you don’t have to search high and low for great food. You can pretty much get the most delicious homemade pasta, pizza, risotto, or gelato at every corner of Italy.
And while there’s a great selection of wines at most restaurants, for a perfect experience, you can take a tour of some of the traditional Tuscan vineyards on weekends.
Benefit #2: Great overall safety
This is an especially important metric for digital nomads coming to live in Italy. As we mentioned earlier, you’ll find it most convenient to explore Italian cities and towns on foot, so you want to make sure you won’t experience any inconvenience walking around at any time of the day.
We spoke to Saema Nasir, a B2B PR Consultant and CEO of Mindthis Strategy, who spent a month in Rome as a digital nomad in 2023. She reports feeling perfectly safe while staying in Italy.
“I never once felt unsafe as a solo female traveler in Rome when I was there for a month in 2023. Since I last visited in 2015, the city has become infinitely safer, in my opinion. It’s not uncommon to see police officers and even army members patrolling and stationed near major tourist sites such as the Colosseum or the Pantheon, keeping an eye out for pickpockets. While to some this may be overkill, I found it heightened my sense of safety.”
“I would like to note that I felt extremely safe even later in the evening, after sunset in non-touristy areas like Trastevere or Prati, where there would be much less of a police presence. In the late evening in Trastevere particularly, lots of locals, travelers, and Romans would be out and about enjoying the delicious authentic Roman dining and street performers without any worry about safety. These crowds also fueled a sense of safety for me as a solo traveler.”
In addition to being considered a safe country, Italy is also famous for its traditional hospitality and friendliness, so you can expect to feel welcome and safe as a digital nomad.
Moreover, Italy scores 90 out of 100 in the political rights and civil liberties report, which places it among the relatively progressive countries with regard to individual rights and personal social freedoms.
Benefit #3: Excellent public transport infrastructure
Walking and cycling are probably going to be your default and preferred methods of getting around Italy.
However, in situations where you’ll need some other means of transportation, you can rely on public transport to get you anywhere in the country fast and without breaking the bank.
Nasir chimes in on this topic citing excellent public transport and great walkability and great internet connectivity as the two most important benefits of Rome for digital nomads.
“I never once had a problem with poor internet connectivity in Rome, and I think having the peace of mind of always being connected was a significant benefit of being a digital nomad there. Additionally, Rome has excellent public transport on top of being very walkable. As digital nomads typically a) work online and b) don’t have cars — the dual combination of a good net with a highly accessible city for walking and short, inexpensive taxi rides make it an excellent city for digital nomads.”
As mentioned before, Italy is widely known for its amazing railway system, so you can rest assured that there is a fast-speed inter-city train or a regional line to and from any destination in the country you happen to be at.
In addition to trains, you get around Italy by:
- Metro (in 7 cities, with Milan having the most comprehensive metro system consisting of 4 lines and more than 100 stations),
- Trams, and
- Ferries (Navi — large ferries that transport to larger islands such as Sicily and Sardinia, and Traghetti — small ferries that operate between Italy and the smaller islands off its coast).
As much as it’s relatively cheap to use public transport in Italy, you can always make sure to check for best ticket prices and deals that will depend on your departure and destination.
You can book, manage, calculate, and buy your individual train tickets online.
Or, if you’re planning on staying in Italy for a while, you could benefit from a regional and/or seasonal ticket pass.
Alternatively, if you’re staying in one city the entire time but are planning a shorter trip around the country, you can purchase Italia in tour train passes for €29 (~$31.12) and €49 (~$52.58) and travel as much as you want for 3 or 5 consecutive days, respectively.
Benefit #4: Welcoming, laid-back culture
Another two most important benefits to living in Italy are getting accustomed to the local friendly culture and the traditionally relaxed, easy-going attitude towards life in general.
The warm and welcoming atmosphere is noticed anywhere — from the bright smiles of the people passing you by in the streets to a genuine curiosity about your life story from your local greengrocers.
And, let’s not forget the famous Italian concept “dolce far niente” — roughly translated as “the sweetness of doing nothing” — highly popularized by the novel-turned-movie Eat, pray, love.
And while the romanticized, overindulgent version of this mindset exists only in literature and movies, art does imitate reality to some extent in the case of Italy. Especially as you move away from the busy city life and explore the country’s more southern regions, you’ll get more familiar with the philosophy of enjoying some relaxing time for yourself, just cause.
Benefit #5: Diverse scenery
Speaking of different regions in Italy, it’s important to mention another one of the benefits you’ll enjoy as a digital nomad in Italy — its distinct and diverse landscapes.
Whatever your preferred natural scenery may be, you can find it in Italy.
From scenic coasts and valleys to gorgeous mountain landscapes and volcanoes — Italy really has it all.
Fancy a relaxed scenery with a beautiful coastline, lots of greenery, and for some contrast, the largest active volcano in Europe? You’ll find all this and plenty more if you choose Sicily as your main base during your digital nomad experience in Italy.
On the other hand, if you prefer more adventure-filled, wintery vibes, you can, for example, opt for Turin and enjoy its famous ski resorts on your work breaks.
What are the drawbacks of being a digital nomad in Italy?
While the pros of being a digital nomad in Italy highly outweigh the cons, there are still a few drawbacks to take into consideration before you start packing for your Italian digital nomad adventure.
Drawback #1: Overtourism
First and foremost, we have to remember that Italy is one of the most visited countries by tourists in the world. In fact, tourism makes up around 10% of the country’s GDP.
This is bad news for digital nomads looking for a relaxed and peaceful environment to work and explore around Italy, especially during spring and summer.
Granted, there are always less touristy locations where you can get some peace and quiet. However, this usually also comes with a poorer selection of resources.
Luckily, Italian organizations are becoming more aware of this issue and there are new programs emerging to help digital nomad communities explore the less touristy, off-the-beaten-path locations with access to all digital resources available in larger centers.
Drawback #2: Low English proficiency index
If you’re a digital nomad thinking of making Italy your next temporary home, be prepared for a fair share of communication barriers if you don’t speak any Italian.
Apart from the business crowd in urban areas, you’ll find many Italians either only use basic English or none at all. In fact, Italy scored relatively low in the 2022 English proficiency rankings, earning 32nd place globally.
Assuming you work remotely and your business communication won’t be affected by this drawback, you can still potentially experience some awkward exchanges at your local shops and markets.
Drawback #3: Smoking
Another big disadvantage of Italy for digital nomads (especially those coming from North American and North European countries) is the high prevalence of cigarette smoking in public in Italy.
Although smoking in closed public places is prohibited by law, there are a great number of designated smoking areas and rooms in almost any establishment. And, smoking outdoors is a very common occurrence. This doesn’t come as a surprise given that, even though the numbers are decreasing, still around 20% of Italians smoke daily.
5 Best destinations for digital nomads in Italy
Now that we’ve uncovered all the methods of coming to live in Italy as a digital nomad, and some of the most important pros and cons of doing so, it’s time to pick the best destination for your home base while you’re there.
As we mentioned many times before, Italy is one of the most gorgeous countries in the world, so it’s impossible to pick only a couple of destinations, but we’ll give it a try. Moreover, we’re sure you’ll find some free time to explore some other parts of the country that we couldn’t fit into this guide.
So, without further ado, here are the top 5 destinations for digital nomads in Italy.
Rome — Best for those who like history and culture
City area: 496.1 mi² (1,285 km2)
Time zone: UTC +01:00 (CET(GMT))
Average Internet speed: 85.34 Mbps (median download speed), 21.03 Mbps (median upload speed)
Average cost of living: €3,020.3 (~$3,239.90) per month for a family of four, €855.1 (~$917.30) per month for a single person (rent not included)
Average rent: €500–€1,000 (~$536.36–$1,072.72) per month for a 1-bedroom apartment outside of the city center
Biggest advantage: Plenty of historical and cultural sites
Biggest drawback: Overcrowded during summer months
Rome really has it all for the explorer type of digital nomads — from the comfortable Mediterranean climate, plenty of historical and cultural sites, and world-renowned cuisine to a wide range of accommodation and coworking options.
Here are our top picks for things to do in Rome:
- Visit the iconic Colosseum and Pantheon.
- Take a walk through beautiful Villa Doria Pamphili or Villa Borghese parks.
- Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain (or take an underground tour of Trevi if you’re adventurous).
- Take a Trastevere Rome food tour.
- Rent a Vespa and drive around the city.
Rome is generally considered welcoming to foreigners and it’s quite safe. However, as the country’s capital, Rome isn’t the most affordable option for nomads on a budget, so expect higher rent prices, especially closer to the city center.
And, as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Rome gets crowded with tourists during the spring and summer months, so it’s virtually impossible to do any work outside your accommodation or a designated coworking space.
Still, the city makes up for its drawbacks with its unbelievable charm and plenty of coworking spaces and networking opportunities in general.
Where to work in Rome
There are hundreds of coworking spaces in Rome. The highest-rated one, according to Google, is the Ala/34 Coworking & Accelerator with a 5-star rating out of 78 reviews.
Milan — Best for those who like the fast-city life
Population: 1.4 million
City area: 70.18 mi² (181.8 km2)
Time zone: UTC +01:00 (CET(GMT))
Average Internet speed: 112.22 Mbps (median download speed), 91.22 Mbps (median upload speed)
Average cost of living: €3,386.3 (~$3,594.81) per month for a family of four, €957.8 (~$1,016.78) per month for a single person (rent not included)
Average rent: €650–€1,200 (~$689.88–$1,273.88) per month for a 1-bedroom apartment outside of the city center
Biggest advantage: Vibrant and safe culture with lots of coworking spaces
Biggest drawback: High cost of living
As one of the world’s most important fashion capitals and the main technology, finance, and commerce center in Italy, Milan is naturally the number one pick for digital nomads looking for a cool big city vibe.
In addition to having great infrastructure, amazing networking opportunities, and vibrant culture, Milan also has a rich cultural heritage. It is home to some of the world’s most important cultural and historical sites such as:
- The Duomo of Milan,
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II,
- La Scala Opera House, and
- The Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci (a UNESCO world heritage site).
If you’re into exploring the local bar and club scene, you’ll find plenty of fun options in Milan, as the city is widely known for its exciting nightlife.
Although you can get around Milan mostly on foot, the city also has an extensive public transport network with metro lines, a large international airport, and a train line to any place in the country.
The city is quite expensive, however, you can always save on rent by opting for a location outside of the city center, for example.
Where to work in Milan
One of the biggest advantages for digital nomads staying in Milan is the sheer amount of great coworking spaces to choose from. There are hundreds of well-equipped places to choose from if you don’t like to work from busy cafes, and you want a change of scenery from your regular setup in the accommodation.
The highest-rated coworking space in Milan (and in Italy as a whole) according to Google is the YoRoom Coworking & Office. It has a rating of 4.5 stars from 163 reviews.
Florence — Best for creatives who like a relaxed vibe
City area: 39.51 mi² (102.32 km2)
Time zone: UTC +01:00 (CET(GMT))
Average Internet speed: 65.76 Mbps (median download speed), 19.45 Mbps (median upload speed)
Average cost of living: €3,093.7 (~$3,259.97) per month for a family of four, €882.8 (~$929.69) per month for a single person (rent not included)
Average rent: €500–€700 (~$527.64–$738.69) per month for a 1-bedroom apartment outside of the city center
Biggest advantage: Beautiful scenery and plenty of history and culture to explore
Biggest drawback: Touristy
Florence is ideal for digital nomads looking to experience authentic Italian culture and some of the world’s most magnificent cultural, architectural and artistic masterpieces.
The entire Historic center of Florence is a UNESCO world heritage site, so when you’re not working, you’ll probably find yourself walking around the picturesque streets of Florence admiring the Renaissance art and architecture gems located in this city.
You’ll also be tempted to explore other parts of the scenic Tuscany region, so make sure to plan a couple of weekend tours to some of its world-renowned vineyards.
Although the cost of living in Florence is by no means cheap, it’s still more affordable than in Rome or Milan. You can find decent accommodation outside of the city center in areas such as the up-and-coming bohemian nomadic neighborhood — Santo Spirito, or Santa Croce — if you enjoy the bustling nightlife.
If you enjoy working in a more relaxed and warm vibe (with plenty of day trips in the off-hours), you’ll find Florence a perfect base for your nomadic stay in Italy. However, keep in mind that the city is a major tourist destination, so either choose accommodation farther away from the city or change location during the busiest spring and summer months.
Where to work in Florence
Although the city looks like one big, beautiful museum, Florence also has a great infrastructure and plenty of options for digital nomads to work, organize community gatherings, and network.
There is a wide variety of coworking spaces in Florence with average monthly prices of around $208, which is relatively cheaper compared to prices in Rome and Milan. Impact Hub Florence is a coworking place that has the highest rating (4.6 stars based on 226 reviews), according to Google.
Palermo — Best for those who like beautiful nature and island vibe
City area: 61.4 mi² (158.9 km2)
Time zone: UTC +01:00 (CET(GMT))
Average Internet speed: 102.26 Mbps (median download speed), 49.38 Mbps (median upload speed)
Average cost of living: €2,468.4 (~$2,601.18) per month for a family of four, €722.7 (~$761.05) per month for a single person (rent not included)
Average rent: €250–€450 (~$263.27–$473.90) per month for a 1-bedroom apartment outside of the city center
Biggest advantage: Beautiful landscapes, authentic culture, and lower cost of living
Biggest drawback: Smoking is very common
Palermo is perfect for digital nomads looking for a more relaxed, island vibe with wonderful weather, beautiful scenery, and a growing digital nomad community.
The city offers the best of both worlds in a way. On the one hand, you have the traditional Sicilian welcoming culture and a slower pace of life, while on the other, you’re still getting all the perks of city life and optimum infrastructure to make your work and day-to-day life easier.
Palermo (and Sicily in general) is also considerably cheaper than most other cities in Italy (and the EU). With an average cost of living of around €722.7 (~$767.22) without rent, Palermo is a perfect option for digital nomads on a budget.
Another great advantage of living in Palermo is that you can walk pretty much anywhere, and there are plenty of beautiful areas to explore — from the old town and colorful markets to great restaurants and bars offering delicious traditional food.
Although you’ll notice a trash pile in the streets from time to time and encounter many smokers and smoking areas, Palermo has good air quality and offers a solid base for nomads looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a good work-life balance.
Where to work in Palermo
If working on a beautiful beach isn’t your forte, you can opt for one of the options from the growing list of coworking spaces in Palermo. With a 5-star rating out of 32 reviews, the Beet Community coworking space has the highest rating according to Google.
Naples — Best for those who like to experience authentic Italian culture
City area: 45.28 mi² (117.27 km2)
Time zone: UTC +01:00 (CET(GMT))
Average Internet speed: 91.70 Mbps (median download speed), 32.26 Mbps (median upload speed)
Average cost of living: €2,534 (~$2,689.46) per month for a family of four, €722.7 (~$761.31) per month for a single person (rent not included)
Average rent: €250–€500 (~$263.27–$530.68) per month for a 1-bedroom apartment outside of the city center
Biggest advantage: Authentic culture and plenty of history to explore
Biggest drawback: English is not widely spoken
If you like to experience authentic Italian culture with all the perks and infrastructure of a big city, Naples might be the place for you.
Naples is the 3rd biggest city in Italy, with the largest historic city center in Europe listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Moreover, it is known for other historical and natural landmarks, including the nearby Roman ruins of Pompeii and the magnificent Mount Vesuvius.
In addition to soaking up the authentic Neapolitan lifestyle, you’ll also find lots of cool accommodation options and coworking spaces to do your most productive work at.
Naples is relatively cheap compared to other bigger cities, so you’ll find decent places for rent for as little as €250 (~$263.27) per month. For a more authentic Neapolitan experience with lower prices, you can pick the Quartieri Spagnoli (the Old Spanish Quarter) as your base in Naples. If you prefer a more vibrant atmosphere with lots of shopping and restaurant options, you can opt for places around the historic center of Piazza Dante.
Where to work in Naples
If you like to keep your living and working areas separate, you’ll be happy to learn that Naples has a great offer of coworking spaces to accommodate all types of remote workers. Dialogue Place tops the list with a rating of 5 stars out of 48 Google reviews.
Tips for digital nomads in Italy
Coming to Italy as a tourist and living and working there as a digital nomad are two completely different concepts.
While you’re pretty much all set up on a tourist arrangement, as a digital nomad you’re left to fend for yourself. This often involves learning to navigate the complex Italian bureaucracy, as well as language and cultural barriers.
To help you overcome some common challenges, we’ve compiled some additional tips on how to have the smoothest possible experience as a digital nomad in Italy.
Tip #1: Get legal advice
As you’ll notice from the moment you start planning your Italian nomadic experience, Italy has a highly complex bureaucracy. On top of that, official resources are limited and poorly updated, so in most cases, you’re left to rely on your own investigative skills.
To avoid the strenuous process of figuring out all the different requirements and navigate the complex tax system in Italy all by yourself, you might be best off getting in touch with legal teams specializing in Italian immigration law and/or the Italian tax system.
Tip #2: Check the Internet speed before booking accommodation
Although generally reliable and fast on average, the Internet in Italy can be a hit or miss, depending on where you are located. In most cases, download speeds are fine pretty much anywhere in the country.
However, if your work requires plenty of video conferencing, be sure to check the upload speeds before renting a space.
Coworking spaces will have great Internet speeds, and major cities like Rome and Milan won’t almost ever disappoint.
However, if you happen to be in less urban areas, you might experience some unpleasant surprises in this regard, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and make sure that you have all the resources for uninterrupted work ready.
Tip #3: Get in touch with locals
Sure, tourist guides and popular resources can get you accurate information on official data and offers. However, if you want to experience a more authentic (and more affordable) Italian lifestyle, your best bet is to get acquainted with the local community.
This shouldn’t be difficult, especially in the more southern parts of the country where people are known to be super friendly and welcoming to foreigners, so use this to your advantage.
Building more friendly relationships with locals can help you get more accurate info on all the best places, restaurants, off-the-beaten-path locations, and more affordable accommodation options. And, while you’re at it, you might also learn some Italian — a skill much needed since English is not as widely spoken in Italy as you may think.
Tip #4: Make a plan
More often than not, you’ll find yourself experiencing extreme FOMO in Italy, simply because there is so much to see and do in this beautiful country.
To avoid losing sleep or hours of work trying to be everywhere at once, try to come up with a realistic plan including destinations, work hours, budget, and free time trip itineraries.
Tip #5: When in Rome, use the official Roman taxis
Another invaluable tip from our contributor, Saema Nasir, pinpoints the super convenient and oftentimes the most affordable alternative to public transportation when navigating the busy streets of Rome — the official city taxis.
“I recommend always having Euros on hand for using the official Roman taxis. If you aren’t using public transport, I highly recommend using official taxis, which, at times, are cheaper than an Uber ride anyways! Note that you can only catch an official taxi from an official taxi stop where they are usually parked — no official taxi will stop by being hailed.”
Further reading for digital nomads in Italy
While researching the topic of living in Italy as a digital nomad, we found many additional resources you might find useful.
Here are the sources we recommend you bookmark:
- The Italian Association of Digital Nomads — initiatives and programs aimed at making Italy more digital nomad friendly.
- Digital Nomads Italy — the official website for digital nomads in Italy offering information on communities, best coworking spaces, accommodation suggestions, and legal and tax advice.
- KINO Italy — organization bringing communities of digital nomads and remote workers to experience the hidden gems of Italy.
- NomadList and The Nomadic Network — communities of digital nomads living and traveling around the world.
Italy digital nomad visa: A chance to experience la dolce vita while working remotely
The highly anticipated Italy digital nomad visa will allow digital nomads outside the EU to experience life in Italy while working remotely. The visa will be valid for 1 year, with the option to extend it for yet to be specified amount of time.
While they will be obliged to comply with all tax and social security requirements (with potentially privileged regimes), digital nomads in Italy will have the significant advantage of not having to apply for one of the working stay permits.
As the visa is not yet officially available, there are many requirements still to be defined and revealed.
To date, the only officially known requirements and criteria for the Italian digital nomad visa are the following:
- It only applies to non-EU citizens,
- It can only be used by professionals performing “highly professional and digital tasks” (a category yet to be defined in more detail),
- It will have a set minimum income threshold.
So, be sure to check back for the latest updates on the Italy digital nomad visa, or use our guide to learn about the alternative ways you can stay in Italy as a digital nomad.
🎓 Pumble Pro Tip
As you’re waiting for the official Italy digital nomad visa to become available, you can check out our guides and explore other options for digital nomads in different countries globally:
Italy digital nomads visa guide disclaimer
We hope this Italy digital nomad visa guide has been helpful and that you enjoyed reading it. Throughout the guide, we have given you various links that might lead you to new interesting data or simply to articles that will expand your knowledge on various topics.
Please bear in mind that our article has been written in Q2 of 2023, so any changes that are made in the Italy digital nomad visa procedures or laws after that time have not been included.
Before you start the application process, we advise you to consult with certified representatives, lawyers, and institutions that can provide you with all the information needed.
Pumble is not responsible for any negative responses, losses, or risks incurred, should this guide be used without further guidance from legal and other official advisors.
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