Florence is an incredibly beautiful, culturally-rich Italian city that boasts gorgeous weather, incredible food and sights that would wow even the most seasoned traveller. As with all destinations, however, there are ups and down to life in this city, which is why we've created a list of some of the pros and cons of moving to Florence.
Cost of living in Florence
+ Pro: It is cheap compared to other Western Europeans cities
The cost of living in Florence is low when compared to other major European cities. Grocery stores sell affordable seasonal local produce, while clothing prices are very reasonable too. Expats will also find that rent is quite reasonable, although the prominence of tourists in the city can hike up prices in the centre.
- Con: Salaries tend to be low
Although the cost of living in Florence is low compared to other places, it may not seem so cheap to people earning locally. This is due to salaries being lower than the average in other European cities. Work can also be hard to find in Florence, and expats may therefore struggle to find a well-paid job.
Lifestyle in Florence
+ Pro: There is plenty to see and do
As a city that is packed with culture and history, it also boasts a high quality of life, with plenty to keep expats busy throughout the year. For those interested in arts and culture, Florence contains many museums and beautiful architectural sites that are well worth a visit. There are also green spaces scattered throughout the city, where expats can enjoy an afternoon in nature. Foodies will have plenty of options to tantalise their tastebuds, and shopaholics should look no further than the countless stores and boutiques spread around town.
+ Pro: Florence is safe
Expats moving to Florence can rest assured that no matter where they choose to live in the city, they will be safe walking the streets day and night. Florence is incredibly safe, with few to no cases of violent crime being reported. Expats should, however, be aware of opportunists, as cases of pickpocketing and bag snatching do occur in tourist areas, although infrequently.
Food in Florence
+ Pro: There is delicious Italian food on offer
As with most Italian cities, the food in Florence is to die for. Expats are sure to find their mouths watering while walking past restaurants in the city; the aroma's wafting towards them from kitchens. They will not find themselves disappointed by the taste either, as Italians are famous for the incredible flavours in every dish.
- Con: Eating out is expensive
Once again, due to the large quantity of tourists that make their way through Florence each year, restaurant prices in the city centre can be exorbitant. Expats will find that it's much cheaper to buy local produce and an Italian recipe book and attempt to replicate the dishes themselves. It also couldn't hurt to enlist a local friend into giving them a couple of cooking lessons either.
People in Florence
+ Pro: People are friendly and generous
Despite Florence having a reputation for rude locals, many expats say they have found them to be friendly and generous. Although expats may come across a local that dislikes the influence that tourists are having on their precious city, those who make an effort to learn the language and culture of the people will find locals to be extremely helpful.
- Con: It can be tricky to make good, lasting friendships
As many expats come through Florence for a season or two before moving on, it can be difficult to make expat friends who plan on sticking around in the city. As for locals, an attempt at learning the language will go a long way, and persistence is key. Speaking only English and putting minimal effort into getting to know the culture is definitely not the way to impress potential local friends.
Florence city centre and surrounds
+ Pro: Expats can get around of foot
Florence is a small city, with an even smaller centre, and it's pretty easy to get around the city by walking or cycling. While public transport is useful to get to the outskirts of the centre, as it only takes 30 minutes to walk from one end to another, it's not strictly necessary. And, for that same reason, owning a car in Florence is just illogical.
+ Pro: It is centrally located
Florence is centrally located in Italy and it is therefore extremely easy to hop on a train and travel around the country. Italy’s location in Europe is also ideal for visiting neighboring countries.
- Con: It is over populated
While the city’s many pros make it an ideal destination for people to either live in or visit, they also contribute to why it is so over crowded. The bustling streets are teeming with tourists and locals all year round which can make this small city feel even smaller.
►For more information about life in this Italian city, see our Moving to Florence guide.
"Italian food and art are both fabulous and big deals here. The fact that I can walk the streets by myself at night and feel safe is also pretty darn cool. The festivities are great. It is a treat to be able to walk out your front door and happen upon a street market, festival, musical performance and more just about any weekend year-round, and some weekdays as well." Read more about Hope's life in Florence in her interview with Expat Arrivals.
Are you an expat living in Florence?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Florence. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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