Cost of Living in Italy: Sample Monthly Budget Including Utilities
Many expats in Italy are drawn to the low-key lifestyle of small towns; others opt for the cultural opportunities and amenities of the cities. In between are the medium-sized cities that offer a bit of both. In short, Italy has something for everyone. Whatever your taste, the cost of living in Italy is not as high as many expect. Many tourists are under the impression that Italy is expensive. And, of course, if you have a cup of coffee on St. Mark’s Square in Venice, all your fears are likely to be confirmed. But the truth is, outside the tourist hot spots you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy la dolce vita (the sweet life).
Obviously, how much it costs to live in Italy will depend on your lifestyle and where you choose to settle. Housing costs in the cities are, of course, higher; by choosing a small town you’ll save a lot on real estate, which is your primary expenditure. But that doesn’t mean sacrificing quality of life, because even in provincial cities there are cultural events, historical sights, and an authentically Italian way of life.
Aside from housing costs, the living expenses in Italy are fairly consistent around the country. You’ll always find upscale, expensive restaurants as well as budget-friendly, family-style eateries no matter where you go.
Here’s a sample of regular monthly expenses for two people and some prices on staple items:
|Rent (two bedroom apartment)||$650|
|Gasoline, insurance and maintenance for one car||$300|
Water: The water supply (acquedotto comunale) in many parts of the country is controlled by private/public partnerships. Individual homes are metered and normally billed every two months. In apartments, water costs may be included in the rent or charged separately. Country properties may be on a private well. Prices vary significantly from commune to commune and are usually levied on a progressive scale.
Electricity: Electricity bills are usually issued once every two months, and charges vary depending on the number and type of electrical appliances used in the home. Many Italian homes run on 3kW, which is far less than Americans and Britons are used to. So running multiple appliances at the same time can trip your supply. You can, however, easily upgrade to 4.5, 6, 10, or even 12kW.
Gas: Gas may be more cost-efficient than electricity and can be used for both cooking and heating. If you buy or rent an apartment, you may find that the system is centralized and the gas supply may be part of the spese (general expenses) shared by all occupants of the building (condominio). More often, it is independent, and therefore paid according to consumption.