Best 5 Places in Calabria Italy to Live for English-Speakers


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Calabria, known to many foreigners as “Italy’s toe,” is nestled in the southernmost region of mainland Italy. This affordable region is perfect for anyone looking for the warmth of the Mediterranean sun, beautiful seascapes and landscapes, and a rich historical and culinary heritage.

If you’re looking to make Calabria your home, you may not know where to start. We’ll take you through the top five places in Calabria to live, whether you’re looking for warm beach life or quiet, mountainous tranquility.

Things to look forward to in Calabria

The cost of living is the first and most important (besides food, of course). Prices are extremely low in Calabria, with the region the second cheapest in the country. The price of a home in Calabria, on average, is well under $200,000, or under $100 per square foot. Meanwhile, apartment prices are even lower, averaging around $75,000. In fact, the most expensive city’s average home prices are just over $300,000.

Perhaps it’s a boring topic, but for those retiring, weather is a major factor in their decision to move. In Calabria, you can expect beautiful Mediterranean weather all year round (though look out for extreme weather sometimes).

Like many regions in Italy, Calabria is home to diverse landscapes, with mountains, valleys, plateaus, cliffs, and seas surrounding the area. Anyone who enjoys the great outdoors can find anything from scuba diving, horseback riding, camping, and much more in the nature reserves throughout the region.

And, of course, there’s the food. Calabria is famous for ‘nduja, a spicy, buttery sausage you’ll find as a spread on pizza, peperoncino, a horn-shaped red pepper, and Tropea red onions, a sweet onion often served as a marmalade with cheese. And being so close to the sea, you’ll find tons of inexpensive seafood options throughout the region.

Downsides to living in Calabria

Like many regions in the south, Calabria is known to be relatively poor, though reports of this may be exaggerated. However, work for English speakers may be especially hard to come by. If you don’t speak Italian, you’ll have to learn the language, and Calabria has a specific dialect.

If you’re working digitally, you’ll have to do some research to make sure you’re living there legally. On top of this, you may want to avoid the smaller towns in the region. Though the country, in general, has access to high-speed internet and fiber connection, you may have issues finding it in the hilltop areas in this region.

Of course, there are typical Italian complications like poor public transportation (especially on Sundays), and shops and restaurants tend to close exactly when you’re trying to visit them. And unlike many other regions of Italy, Calabria isn’t too well connected to the rest of Europe.

5. Pizzo

One of the most stunning, best-conserved towns in Calabria is Pizzo, a Calabrian jewel with around 9,000 residents. The city represents one of the many images that expats dream of Italian living: a small town with stone buildings almost perilously built hillside cliffs overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Pizzo Calabria Italy

Pizzo is the perfect location for anyone looking for an active, seaside lifestyle. From snorkeling, fishing, swimming, canoeing, paragliding, and so much more, you’ll find plenty to do in all months of the year.

The village offers a humble and peaceful lifestyle, with friendly and welcoming locals and insanely delicious food. You’ll find incredibly fresh seafood and local produce, salty cured meat, and other popular food from the region.

Pizzo Calabria Italy

Unfortunately, Pizzo is on a higher scale in terms of average home prices compared to other cities in the region. The cost of an average home in Pizzo Calabria is around $300,000. Perhaps it’s the relatively tight living areas or the stunning views that raise the prices of these homes. Despite this price, the town is still only slightly higher than above-average in terms of homes in Italy.

You’ll also want to know that living in such a small town has a few other negatives. For example, healthcare accessibility is quite poor, especially in emergencies.

Despite its downsides, Pizzo is an appealing city for anyone looking for a quiet lifestyle with incredible seascapes.

4. Vibo Valentia

Vibo Valentia is a landlocked city in the center of Calabria that has the exact charm many of the small villages in Italy have that is so popular on social media. Balconied homes painted different colors, a large pedestrian-only town center, and quaint osterias and cafes line the path leading up to the town’s castle on the top of the hill.

Vibo Valentia Calabria Italy

The main city of Vibo Valentia is not a beach location, but Vibo Marina is considered an offshoot of the city. This port “suburb” of Vibo Valentia is the area’s economic hub, shipping oil, cement, fresh seafood, and inviting tourism. The area also has tons of beautiful beaches, too.

On top of this, the area attracts tons of tourists due to its rich history. The area was originally settled as an important port by the Greeks in 192 AD and then taken over by people throughout this area of the world. Visitors flock to archeological sites like the Castello Normanno Svevo, the Palazzo Gagliardi, and the many churches and chapels in the town.

Vibo Valentia Calabria Italy

The cost of living, too, is a fantastic part of this location. Homes average about $180,000, which is remarkably low compared to bigger cities like Rome, where the average home costs over $600,000.

But with this low cost of living comes some downsides. Overall, the area is generally poor, with the average local income under $1,000 a month. On top of this, services like public transportation and other important infrastructure are somewhat lacking. If you decide to move to this area, you’ll need to have lots of patience to get anything done.

3. Cosenza

In a valley between the coastal mountain range of Catena Costiera and Sila plateau, Cosenza offers something different than the other cities on this list. A land-locked city spread over several hills of high altitude, this town sees seasonal changes that the rest of this warm region doesn’t.

The city itself is brimming with cultural and historical places of interest, like the Corso Mazzini, an open-air museum. There, you’ll find sculptures from Salvador Dali, Giorgio De Chirico, and so many more. On top of this, the city hosts tons of events and festivals throughout the year.

The city is relatively undiscovered, a gem in Italy where so many cities and small towns are flooded with tourists year-round. The city’s 70,000 makes it a good blend of urban amenities without the hustle and bustle of bigger cities.

Cosenza Calabria Italy

On the flip side of the coin, though, is the negative to being undiscovered. You’ll find very few international amenities and infrastructure compared to other cities in the country. If you’re accustomed to a busy urban environment, this may not be the most appealing city for you.

Another perk is, like most cities in Calabria, the low cost of housing. Cosena’s average home costs just over $200,000. You can find any type of property, too, from fixer-uppers to remodeled homes.

2. Tropea 

If you Google “Calabria,” the first image you’ll see is a pristine beach with turquoise and blue water contrasted with the dramatic rocky cliffs on which Tropea is built. This city is what attracts people to Calabria most: a picturesque version of Italy seen in TV shows and doctored social media posts.

Tropea Calabria Italy

If you’re looking for a beach destination like the Amalfi Coast without the insane crowds all year round, Tropea is the place for you. The best part is the weather stays about the same all year round, so even though it gets busy with Italians visiting in August, you can still enjoy warm weather beaches in May and October.

On top of this, the city is known for amazing restaurants that serve food cooked with local ingredients and fresh catches of the day. As previously mentioned, the city is also well known for its sweet red onion, and you’ll never tire of the different ways they prepare this ingredient.

Tropea Calabria Italy

Like many cities in Calabria, a lot of Tropea is underdeveloped. Reports of poor roads, slow buses, and long waits at bureaucratic institutions make life here overcomplicated. You may also find it difficult to get out of the city, as transportation and traffic are particularly bad during the busier sunny months.

Tropea may be a bit more expensive than a lot of the cities on this list, but you can still find affordable housing. For example, you’ll find two to three-room apartments for less than $100,000, detached homes for a little over $200,00, and private villas for much more.

These prices, along with the amazing area, make Tropea one of the best places to move in Calabria.

1. Reggio Calabria

With a population of 170,000 people, Reggio Calabria is the largest city on our list of best places in Calabria to live. This coastal city is the main connection to Sicily, just across the Straight of Messina. In fact, on a clear day, you can enjoy views of Mt. Etna across the water.

Reggio Calabria Italy

The city’s natural location and development offer plenty of things to do. The Lungomare Falcomata is a large, palm-tree-lined waterfront promenade, perfect for an after-work stroll with the dog. There are also plenty of other things to do, too, from beautiful beaches to incredible museums showcasing Calabrian history to bars and clubs.

Unfortunately, Reggio Calabria is the seat of the ‘Ndragheta, the organized crime group that the novel and TV show Gomorrah was based on. With this in mind, there are elements of corruption. However, if you’ve lived in other cities in Italy or even in the United States (cough, New Orleans, cough), you’ll be used to this, and as an expat, you’ll have no trouble staying out of trouble.

Reggio Calabria Italy Of course, the city also struggles to keep up with infrastructure and services. On top of this, there are few work and business opportunities in the city, so you’ll want to have some form of income before deciding to move here.

One of the major positives of this city is the average home price of around $175,000. With the size of the city and the amount of people living there, this is shockingly affordable and one of the cheapest large cities in the country to live in.

This article originally appeared on MyDolceCasa and was syndicated by MediaFeed

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