Many tourists are under the impression that Italy is expensive and therefore the prospect of living in Italy seems unrealistic. Opt to dine in a tourist-trap eaterie right next to the Colosseum and all your fears are likely to be confirmed but thetruth 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 $5.40. In these areas, a meal in a nice restaurant costs less than $27 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.
Housing costs aside, singles can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in northern and central Italy on an annual income of around $24,000 to $38,000. Couples may require an income of about $38,000 to $61,000.
In practical terms, this means that if you’re an English teacher in Florence, for example, you can expect to earn around $1,830 a month after taxes. With a monthly rent of, say, $915, disposable income is about $915 a month, or $10,980 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 metre price for real estate in Italy. But as a rule of thumb, you’ll pay far less for homes in provincial towns than in major cities. Sometimes a lot less.
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. Most families get an electricity bill of around $95 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.
10 Reasons to Live in Italy
A Mediterranean climate…fresh, simple, delicious cuisine…culture that surrounds you…wine, the very best of it… If this sounds like your paradise, then take a closer look at Italy.
From the stunning Amalfi Coast to culture-rich Rome, Italy is a breathtaking country and one that has a lot to offer those looking for a retirement haven with a bit more class.
Expat Gina Mussio was delighted to find that Italy is still more affordable than most would think: “Italy is a highly affordable place to live…you just have to know where to go. Living in Monza has given me the Italian lifestyle I’d always dreamed of…and has helped me afford to live it to the fullest.”
And the beauty of this European gem is undeniable. Diane Jones, who lives in Calabria, can’t believe how lucky she is each time she looks out her window. “Every time I walk out on my terrace, I have a gorgeous view of the mountains, the sea and the beautiful villages.”
Family and friends are still a key part of life in Italy. Judith Greenwood was pleasantly surprised with this: “I love that when you make an Italian friend, they’ll basically do anything for you—without you even needing to ask. If they have a hint that something’s wrong, they’ll come ask you, ‘What can I do? Do you need money?’ They are astounding.”
La Dolce Vita is part of the culture here, and you can truly enjoy each one of your days in Italy.