Ten Biggest Metropolitan Areas In Italy

Rome is the most populous city in the country, hosting a population of around 4,336,915 individuals in its metro area.

Italy's history dates back to long before the classical age. As the country developed and gained global influence, civilizations and settlements sprouted up all over. Some of the earliest towns were established along the coastlines in the 8th and 7th centuries BC by Greek immigrants. During this same time, Rome took its place as a world power. The Roman Empire lost its power by the Middle Ages and city-states were established, these were cities enclosed by walls to keep out criminals. Each of these cities was self-governing, and residents were sworn to protect each other at all times. The southern part of the country was divided into states with their own kings. In the 14th and 15th centuries, these city-states were constantly warring. Some of them conquered and took control of others to create regional states. Peace was reached during the Renaissance period for about 50 years until the Italian War from 1494 to 1559. At the end of this war, city-states lost independence to foreign rulers until the latter half of 1800 when Italians began fighting for their freedom from foreign rule. The country passed through a period of unification, a Fascist regime, and finally a Republic. Some of the city-states from ancient times have sustained their existence over all of these periods of time and are now modern metropolitan cities with large populations. The most populated of these cities is listed below.

Biggest Cities In Italy


Rome with a population of 4,336,915 is Italy's most populated city. This city has a history of more than 2,500 years and was first inhabited by Latins, Sabines, and Etruscans. Today, Italians and immigrants from Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Bangladesh, the Phillippines, and China reside in Rome. Given that this city home to Vatican City, it’s no surprise that the dominant religion is Catholicism. Recently, however, immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East have brought with them Islam and now the biggest mosque in Western Europe is found here. Being the capital of Italy, employment opportunities are mainly in public administrative offices.


With a population of 3,190,340, Milan is the second largest city. Over history, many different cultures have conquered the city and together they have shaped it into the place it is today. Milan was originally founded by Celtic Insubres around 400 BC. Later, Romans took power followed by the Germanic Visigoths, the Huns, the Ostrogoths, the Lombards, and the Franks. In recent times, Italians from rural areas and foreign born individuals (particularly from Africa, Eastern Europe, Asians, and South Americans) make up the composition of the city.


The third largest city is Naples with a population of 3,128,702. As one of the oldest continuous cities in the world, its history of inhabitants is long and diverse. Around 2,000 BC, Greek immigrants settled here and stayed throughout centuries until the city became part of the Roman Republic. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Naples became the capital of the Kingdom of Naples for nearly 600 years until 1812. Interestingly, 98.5% of the residents are Italian born. The city has not attracted many foreign immigrants over the years.

Other heavily populated cities in Italy include: Turin (2,293,349), Palermo (1,276,525), Bari (1,251,004), Catania (1,116,168), Florence (1,007,435), Bologna (1,003,027), and Genoa (864,008).

Future Demographic Trends

Although these cities have impressive population sizes, they are not expected to grow. In fact, the overall population of Italy is expected to decline over the next three decades or so. The issue is that of an aging population, the death rate is exceeding the birth rate.

The Ten Biggest Metropolitan Cities In Italy

RankMetropolitan cityArea (km²)Population
1Rome Roma5,3524,336,915
2Milan Milano1,5753,190,340
3Naples Napoli1,1713,128,702
4Turin Torino6,8292,293,340
5Palermo Palermo5,0091,276,525
6Bari Bari3,8211,251,004
7Catania Catania3,5741,116,168
8Florence Firenze3,5141,007,435
9Bologna Bologna3,7021,003,027
10Genoa Genova1,839864,008

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