Is Italy Expensive?

When you dream about La Dolce Vita you may be thinking it is too out of reach, that life in Italy is just a little too lush. But let’s face the facts, is Italy expensive? Not as much as you may think!

First, we need to face that the idea of “expensive” may depend a lot on where you are coming from, if you are coming from UK, US, Canada, or even hopping the border from Switzerland, you’ll notice that day to day expenses in Italy are way lower than you may be used to (hello 1 euro coffee, 4 euro spritz?!). But there are some more factors to take into consideration when answering the question is Italy expensive.

Where are you thinking about living?

City centers, especially larger, more tourist or foreigner magnet cities like Milan, Rome, and even really Florence tend to have very high costs of living for things like rent and transportation. Plus since they tend to be popular cities for visitors, bars and restaurants also may have higher prices than elsewhere.

Other cities like Naples, Salerno, Torino, Genova, have generally lower costs of living, especially when it comes to renting. The more you get out of the main cities, the better it can be. Choosing towns like Ferrara, Ascoli Piceno, Lucca, and the like, will offer an even better cost of living.

What about your lifestyle?

When you ask if living in Italy is expensive, are you considering an average family life? Calculating rent, groceries, transport, and general school bills? Or are you thinking of going out to aperitivo every day, heading to restaurants, and nights out often? The response becomes very different.

Most of Italy is organized so that everyone is able to live within their means. It just depends on what that lifestyle looks like. Even here we go back to the question of where. If you love getting aperitivo often, keep in mind Rome or Milan may charge you 7-10 euro for every spritz, Torino may charge you 3-6, and Venice, who consider Spritz a necessity will most likely keep it towards 3 in the local spots. 

The beauty of living in Italy is finding the true local spots – where when visiting you may head to the nearest carrefour and spend 80 on a week of groceries, maybe after living a few months you’ll find the secret local market and get better products for about 40 euro a week. The expense of living in Italy is a little arbitrary and can be adjusted to fit your lifestyle.

Is living in Italy expensive – well, ask our stipends.

A huge thing to keep into consideration is this, the average Italian salary is about 28,500-29,500 a year, before taxes. And you might have heard, Italian taxes aren’t the friendliest.

Yet, with these salaries, the entire population is not necessarily starving or living in visual poverty. Many of them go out regularly with a smile on their face, discovering new quality places to eat, shopping regularly, going to the esthetician.

So, is Italy expensive? Yes and No. This question is packed full of details that you will have to evaluate for your situation. But you can start by looking at this little list of costs of living to understand how it seems to you.

Evelyn Hill

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