Italy is more than just the home of traditional pasta and pizza – it is a grand and diverse city of rich history, culture, and the arts. Each of Italy’s provinces and cities offers a different flavor of living – from buzzing city life to rolling hills and Mediterranean-style coastlines. Where many cities offer museums and galleries for a slice of history, walk the streets of some of the oldest towns in the world in Italy and immerse in a piece of history for yourself. Whether you’re in it for the food, fashion, or being at the center of it all, an Italian education will take you places. Check out the top cities to study in Italy for international students below:

Top Cities to Study in Italy for International Students

1. Rome

As the capital of Italy, Rome is among the best cities to study in the country for international students. The city is the center of government, business, sciences, and international organizations which makes the city well-connected on the international stage. It is also a shopping haven as a top fashion destination in the world and a buzzing nightlife scene that is frequented by locals and neighbors alike.

But what truly sets the Eternal City apart is the richness of its culture, and how it has preserved a living history so well. The Roman Empire is a superpower that has long graced our history books, and students who choose to pursue an education in Rome can walk among the ruins of this great past. The entire city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also features grand cathedrals such as the Sistine Chapel, ornate monuments, the Roman Colosseum, the Pantheon, and the iconic Trevi Fountain for those who wish upon a lucky coin. One can never run out of history to discover in Rome’s more than 50 museums, or by simply strolling along the city’s cobbled streets.

As the center of Christianity, Renaissance, politics, and even modern technology today, students will always be at the center of it all in Rome. Find out about Rome’s internationally-acclaimed universities here: Sapienza University of Rome, Tor Vergata University of Rome, and Rome Tre University

2. Florence

As the birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is another favorite destination for international students. Don’t let this small city fool you as its influence on the world stage packs quite the punch. Florence is one of Europe’s major cultural and commercial centers. It rose to fame internationally as a top fashion capital and its plethora of historical sites. Artistic creations are also nothing new for Florence, as it is the birthplace of creative geniuses Donatello, Brunelleschi, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and Michelangelo, among others. With much Italian culture to preserve, UNESCO deemed the historic center of Florence as one of its World Heritage Sites.

Florence is also a place that loves to eat, drink and be merry. Many traditional Italian eateries continue to exist in Florence – just have the patience to find those hole-in-the-wall gems, especially their gelato! Check out the city’s vineyards in the stunning Italian countryside for their local wines from the Chianti region. The city also loves to throw festivals – be sure to catch the Cavalcade of the Three Kings in January, the Scoppio del Carro on Easter Sunday, and the Magio Musicale in the springtime.

Advancing at breakneck speed while keeping its small-town charm, this “small big city” is one to be a part of. Check out Florence’s roster of top universities: University of Florence, European University Institute, and Fleming College Florence

3. Milan

When it comes to fashion capitals, Milan takes the cake. The city ranks among the top 5 fashion destinations worldwide, along with New York and Paris. For fashion aficionados, Milan Fashion Week is something you don’t want to miss, and the Quadrilatero dell Moda district is a haven you’ll gladly get lost in.

But Milan’s artistic side goes beyond fashion. The city is also a known wine destination, with a wide range of local wineries to choose from. It is also proud of its well-preserved classical gothic architecture, evidenced by the Milan cathedral, The Royal Palace, Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio and Castello Sforza, its love for music and theatrical performances in the city’s noteworthy theaters, as well as paintings from renowned artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci in the city’s museums and art galleries.

Students of the arts will never run out of inspiration here in Milan, as it is also one of the top cities to study in for international students in Italy. Check out these schools to see if a course in Milan is in the cards: Bocconi University, Catholic University of Sacro Cuore, and University of Milan

4. Bologna

This city found in the north of Italy isn’t much of a tourist destination, but it’s a must-go for students looking for an enriching academic experience. Often referred to as “the learned one”, Bologna is home to the oldest university in the world, setting the foundation of how we learn today. The university is intertwined within the city landscape, drawing in students interested in learning about Italian history, language, and arts, along with global courses such as business, politics, economics, and finance.

Aside from world-class education, Bologna is also home to a quaint city rich in tradition and history. Get a taste of traditional Italian cuisine with the city’s original Bolognese and Parmigiano Reggiano and visit the Basilica di San Petronio and other medieval towers. For those looking for some adventure, they can hike up San Luca, immerse themselves in the buzzing shopping street of Via dell’Indipendenza, and dance the night away under the twinkling lights of Piazza Maggiore.

Get ready for one of the most academically and culturally enriching experiences when studying in Bologna through these universities: University of Bologna

5. Padua

If Bologna is the pioneer of the current Bologna process, Padua is the city that followed in its powerful footsteps. This university city is one of the friendliest in the world, with over 30% of its population being international students. This strong sense of community lends itself well to the city proper as well – with rows of cafes, and bars providing their trademark Aperol Spritz to newcomers, restaurants, and boutiques catering to the young student population. Indeed, Padua is among the best cities for international students to study in Italy.

Padua is also a perfect destination for fans of culture and the arts. Music enthusiasts flock to the city’s music concerts and festivals, ranging from rap to opera to jazz to pop. Artists also get inspiration from the city’s over 20 museums and the first university botanical garden, Orto Botanico Di Padova. And those who enjoy classic architectural sights can make their way to the St. Anthony of Padua Church, the city’s 800-year old market, and the largest piazza in the country, Prato Della Valle.

International students can get the full academic experience when studying at some of Padua’s excellent institutions: University of Padua


I hope you found this article on the best cities to study in Italy for international students informative and helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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