You Can Still Afford to Live in Italy
Many tourists are under the impression that Italy is expensive and therefore the prospect of living in Italy seems unrealistic. Have a cup of coffee on St. Mark’s Square in Venice, and all your fears are likely to be confirmed! Truth is, outside of the tourist hotspots, you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy the good life. In Italy’s south, you can buy jugs of local wine for as little as $4. In these areas, a meal in a nice restaurant costs less than $20 a head. Obviously, how much it costs to live in Italy is largely dependent on your own lifestyle and where you choose to settle. Living like a local (eating local produce, drinking local wine, using public transportation) makes living in Italy very affordable.
Obviously, how much it costs to live in Italy will depend on your own lifestyle and where you choose to settle. Housing costs aside, singles can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in northern and central Italy on an annual income of 16,000 euro to 25,000 euro. Couples may require an income of between 25,000 euro and 40,000 euro.
In practical terms this means that if you’re an English teacher in Florence, for example, you can expect to earn around 1,200 euro per month after taxes. With a monthly rent of, say, 600 euro, disposable income is about 600 euro a month, or 7,200 euro a year. If you’re in a position to share an apartment, your monthly rent will be lower and your disposable income accordingly higher.
An Introduction to Property Prices
It’s impossible to give any kind of average square foot price for real estate in Italy, though as a rule of thumb, you’ll pay far less for homes in provincial towns than in major cities. Sometimes a lot less… IL’s European editor recently viewed properties in Tuscany from $57,000.
Whether you are buying or renting a property in Italy, you’ll almost certainly find that the gas, electricity, and telephone have been disconnected. Getting things reconnected will mean signing new contracts with a local provider. This is only likely to prove a problem if you cannot produce your permesso di soggiorno (stay permit) and codice fiscale (tax number)—both are needed in order to sign contracts.
Bills will arrive every two months, and you can settle them at the utility offices, post offices, or at your local bank. Water charges ( acquedotto comunale) are seldom included in the service charges for apartment dwellings. Individual homes are on a metered supply controlled by the local municipality. Prices vary from commune to commune, but are normally between $0.001 to $0.002 per cubic foot. Most families get an electricity bill of around $70 every two months. Note, though, that your bill will be a great deal higher if you do not use gas and if you choose to live in one of Italy’s alpine regions. The supply will probably be from the National Electric Energy Authority (ENEL), unless you’re in larger cities like Milan and Rome, where there is competition from companies such as AEM and ACEA.
*Prices as of 2013
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