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13 essential apps to make your life in Italy easier

From commuting to grocery shopping, mobile apps have made many of our daily tasks simpler. Here are some of the best apps to have on your phone if you live in Italy.

Vittorio Emanuele Gallery in Milan, Italy
Some phone apps can make life in Italy much easier. Photo by Ouael Ben SALAH via Unsplash

Though some might not always fulfil their purpose, apps are essentially designed to make daily life easier and for those living in a foreign country any type of help, however big or small, is worth its weight in gold.

READ ALSO: Calendar: The transport strikes to expect in Italy this February

So, in no particular order, here are 13 apps that might prove essential for life in Italy. 


Moovit is by far the best urban mobility app available in Italy.

From public transport to taxis and e-bikes, Moovit will give you travel options to get to your destination in the quickest possible time. 

The times where you’d need multiple apps to figure out the quickest way to get from A to B are long gone.


Public transport options aren’t always great in Italy, and you might find yourself looking for a car to hire on more than one occasion. 

If you live in Milan, Rome, Turin, Bologna or Florence, you’ll be able to do so via Enjoy.

Once you’ve uploaded your driving licence to the app, you’ll only need to locate the nearest car in your area and book it with a simple click. Parking at the end of your journey will be free of charge. 


If you’re not a fan of cars (or simply can’t stand traffic during peak hours), you’ll also have the option to hop on a bike and cycle your way through the city.

There are countless bike-sharing services across the country, but Lime is definitely one of the most reliable ones.

Prices vary depending on where you live, but they’re generally very affordable.

Free Now

Regular Uber services are not available in Italy, so you’ll have to turn to local taxis for a ride. 

Free Now will spare you a lot of traipsing around (and a lot of roadside waving) by allowing you to summon a taxi to your exact location and pay for your ride via the app.

Other apps, like appTaxi and itTaxi, are also available and some are more widely used in certain cities than others.

A taxi on an empty road in Rome, Italy

Free Now allows residents to quickly hail a taxi and pay for the ride via the app. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Il Meteo

While it might not have the most creative of names – it literally means ‘the weather’ – Il Meteo is the best mobile app if you’re looking to keep up to date with weather conditions in your corner of the boot.

Aside from giving you ten-day forecasts, the app gives you updates on pollen levels, road traffic and earthquakes as well as live satellite images.


Satispay is one hell of a time-saver when it comes to making small purchases at your local grocery store, especially if you don’t have Apple Pay or Google Pay set up on your phone.

The app is essentially an online wallet which allows you to pay by simply scanning a QR code at the relevant check-out machine. 

Other than that, it allows you to send money to your phone contacts and make a series of in-app payments, including phone top-ups and car tax payments.

The Fork

Booking a spot at a local restaurant can be a bit of a hassle at times, especially if your Italian is still così così

That’s where The Fork comes in. A couple of effortless taps on your screen and you’re booked. 

The Fork also gives you access to a number of generous discounts (as much as 50 percent in some cases) on your restaurant bill.


If you’re craving a restaurant meal but don’t quite want to leave the comfort of your home, Glovo is one of the best options available in Italy.

Glovo services more than 450 towns and cities across Italy and their deliveries are usually bang on time. 

Aside from delivering food orders, the service will also bring anything from groceries to medicine to flowers right to your doorstep.

Giallo Zafferano

One of the best ways to tap into the bel paese’s unparalleled culinary tradition is by downloading the Giallo Zafferano (Saffron Yellow) app.

Giallo Zafferano stores over 4,000 recipes, many of which are accompanied by video tutorials, nutrition facts and historical notes.

Pizza-making in Naples, Italy

The Giallo Zafferano app allows users to tap into Italy’s world-famous culinary tradition. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

The app will also allow you to share tips and photos of your creations with other users.


Subito is an online marketplace where you can buy or sell anything from cars to real estate to home furniture.

The app has over six million ads, but searching for items is surprisingly easy thanks to the filters and categories provided. 

Also, Subito allows you to post ads for free and chat with potential buyers (or sellers) directly within the app. 

Prezzi Benzina

Though they might not be as high as they were some months ago, fuel prices are still far from the norm and even small savings can make a big difference.

You can use Prezzi Benzina (Fuel Prices) to quickly locate the cheapest petrol station in your area and get the best available deal. 

READ ALSO: Where to find the cheapest fuel in Italy

All you have to do is select the type of fuel your vehicle runs on and enter your location. The app will do the rest. 


Italian bureaucracy is notoriously tricky to navigate, but setting up the IO app on your phone will make things easier for you. 

IO allows you to message and exchange documents with any Italian public body, and gives you the option to pay for a number of public administration services from within the app.

Remember: you’ll need SPID (Public Digital Identity System) credentials or an Italian Electronic Identity Card (CIE) to access the service. 


MedInAction allows you to book an appointment with a qualified English-speaking doctor within 24 hours.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to make a doctor’s appointment in Italy 

However, the service isn’t cheap – prices for house calls start at 120 euros, whereas online consultations with a GP are available for 50 euros – and only the biggest Italian cities are covered.

Also, the app is only available on iOS devices.

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For members


North vs south: Where’s the best place to live in Italy?

You're probably familiar with some of Italy's regional stereotypes - but how true are they, and do they really affect quality of life? The Local asked Italy's foreign residents about their experiences.

North vs south: Where's the best place to live in Italy?

When searching for the best part of Italy to move to, you might bring with you some preconceptions about the south as being sunny and chaotic versus the supposedly cold and polluted north.

And Italian popular culture is full of such references, with comedies like 2010’s Benvenuti al Sud (‘Welcome to the South’) mining the humour in Italy’s famous north-south divide.

But is it true that the north of Italy is grey but (relatively) efficient, while the south is sun-soaked yet disordered?

We asked readers across the length of the peninsula to tell us whether this rings true in their experience, as well as for their advice for those starting out on their search.

READ ALSO: The best (and worst) places to live in Italy in 2023

One common assumption is that things work better in the north; particularly when it comes to Italy’s infamous red tape.

That’s partly true, says 39-year-old Canadian-British citizen Marina – at least in Trieste in the northeast, just across the border from Slovenia.

“Although the bureaucracy is a nightmare generally in Italy, I feel it’s slightly softened here because of the Austro-Hungarian influence,” she says.

“Unless you are really Italian, stay north of Rome,” is the advice from David, a British citizen in his 60s, who lives in the fishing village of Camogli in northeast Liguria.

But US citizen Lisa Key, 60, who lives in a northern city near Lake Garda, says residents have to deal with “the usual bureaucracy and a questura [police headquarters, where residency permits are issued] that’s not friendly to immigrants.”

When it comes to air pollution, there’s no denying that residents of northern Italian cities suffer disproportionately, with recent studies finding that Milan, Turin and Cremona are among the most polluted cities in Europe.

Milan: cold and smoggy? Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP.

Lisa Key observes that the sky in her northern city is “often hazy because of air pollution”.

“Avoid the north, it is polluted and the weather is bad,” is the verdict from 54-year-old New Zealander Andrew Diprose, who lived for two years in a Sicilian village in the province of Catania.

READ ALSO: Why is air pollution in northern Italy so bad?

But on the weather front, at least some readers in northern Italy disagree.

Joseph, 54, relocated from the UK to Valtellina, a valley in Italy’s Lombardy region across the border from Switzerland, which he descibes as “beautiful and sunny”.

Tim Last, a 58-year-old UK citizen, says he appreciates the mild climate in Lerici on the Ligurian coastline.

“Relative to other parts of Italy, the weather is not overly cold in winter, nor overly warm in summer, primarily due to the maritime climate,” he says.

Many northern Italy-based readers also say they appreciate the ease of access to other parts of Europe, as well as the range of activities within reach.

READ ALSO: Why are Trento and Bolzano rated the best places to live in Italy?

“In no more than an hour or two’s drive, we can enjoy the contrasts in scenery and culture of Austria, Slovenia and Croatia,” says Clarissa Killwick, a British citizen living in a small town in Italy’s industrial northeast.

“Beyond the zone industriali we have the prosecco hills which are wonderful for walking and cycling in.”

If you want guaranteed hot and sunny weather for much of the year, however, the south remains the undisputed champion.

The Sicilian capital of Palermo is “the best place for people who like sun, sea, nature, fresh produce,” says 53-year-old resident Judy Tong, from China.

81-year-old British citizen Margaret, a 16-year resident of the countryside around Martina Franca in the southern region of Puglia, highlights the “good weather” as one of her favourite things about the area, along with the “huge weekly market in town, excellent restaurants and cafes, friendly people.”

READ ALSO: ‘If you want quality of life, choose Italy’s sunny south over the efficient north’

Palermo: for people who love sun, sea and nature.

Palermo: “for people who like sun, sea and nature”. Photo by Michele Bitetto on Unsplash

One thing residents of the south agree on though is that newcomers will struggle to find work once they get there – though readers say that’s also true for many parts of the north.

“If you’re young and looking to work, go for one of the big northern cities,” advises 88-year-old Valentine Hornsby, who lives in a fishing village in the southern region of Puglia.

“Have a job!” is the advice from 55-year-old American René Alexander, who lives in Maniago in the northern Friuli Venezia-Giulia region.

With the rise in remote working, however, more foreign residents of working age can choose where they want to live; readers based in both Italy’s north and south told us they benefitted from the flexibility a remote job provided.

“I’m in Naples for a year and working remotely,” says 50 year-old Stacey Mickelbart from the US.

“I love exploring the city for a year; I think Naples is a city that really unfolds itself to you and rewards you the more time and effort you put into it.”

With the debate over the merits of northern versus southern Italy, it can be easy to forget the centre; especially lesser-known eastern regions such as Abruzzo and Le Marche. But residents here say they’re some of the happiest of all.

“We spent a lot of time traveling all over Italy from north to south. We picked the central area because of its natural beauty,” says 72-year-old US citizen William Purves, who lives with his wife in the town of Pacentro in the central-eastern region of Abruzzo.

“We love the mountains and the change in weather… When we can, we explore the area and meet so many friendly people.”

British citizen Sioux Whenray-Hughes, 59, who also lives in a small town in Abruzzo, describes it as “a great place to live,” noting that “it’s 30 mins to the coast and about an hour to mountains and skiing.”

Ascoli Piceno in the Le Marche region is “small enough to integrate in the community, large enough to get everything you need,” according to resident Laura Lee Ricci, 68, from the US.

And the town of Offida in Le Marche is “a great place to retire or raise a family,” says 65-year-old Walter Pancewicz from the US: “Safe and inexpensive.”

Thanks to everyone who took part in our survey.

Do you agree or disagree with the opinions expressed in this article? Leave a comment below or get in touch at [email protected] to share your experience.