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Since we have moved to Parma, in Italy, many people have asked us “how much does it cost to live in Italy”. Now, that we have completed three months in here and bills have already came, we can, at last, share values and information.

We tried to make this post as descriptive as possible in order to have every question cleared up for those planning to move over here. However, if you are not really interested to read the details (😜), here is your answer: we spend 900 Euros per month to live in Italy (cost for a couple).

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Vernazza, one of the Cinque Terre

The view of Vernazza, one of the Cinque Terre

Relation between us and Italy

Why are we living in Italy?

After 2 years travelling around the world, Fernanda had an opportunity to apply for her Italian citizenship (Ti has his dual citizenship since he his childhood). We had almost spent all of our money and were already planning to settle down (for a while) in some place, just to sort things out (launch our audiovisual content creator company and organise all the material from the world travel).

Above all, though, we have always dreamed of living in Italy one day, learn the language and familiarise ourselves better with the culture.. After all, everything fell into place so well and so we moved over here on April 3rd, 2017!

statue of a couple dancing under an umbrella

Why have we chosen Parma

We decided to come to Parma because Tiago has a cousin (not really, but long story short: cousin) who lives here and could give us a hand with the citizenship’s bureaucracy as we are not fluent in Italian. Parma is a quite rich city (less than before, yet quite well off than the rest of the country), located in Emilia-Romagna Region. It is known as the gastronomic capital of Italy (some will say of Europe, we will keep in the country 🙄).

We fell in love with the city from the moment we arrived! It is small, beautiful, well preserved, has a quite famous university, thus quite lively too, the quality of life is brilliant, there are many cultural events… well, we love it all, really.

Duomo and the baptistery

The main church and the baptistery

The life in Italy

The culture and the lifestyle in Italy can considerably change if you go from north to south, from east to west or from mountain to coast. Therefore, it is really hard to generalise. Nevertheless, here our opinion goes, from whom live in a northern city, small and well developed:

The quality of life is great. The people are really nice and everything works relatively well (transport, security and health). The rhythm is a lot less frenetic than London, obviously, and the food… You eat really well without having to spend too much. Basically, all we needed for this period in our lives, so we can’t really complain about anything.

We like in here so much that the initial three months plan has already gone. And we have no date to leave still. Regardless, this is just our mere opinion for a quite subjective topic.

Oltretorrente in Parma by the river

Oltretorrente – the other side of the river in Parma

Ok, then… But, how much does live in Italy cost?

Well, now that we have said why we are here and what we are doing, let’s get to the point: how much does it cost to live in Italy!

The following numbers relate to our expenses. However, we have spoken with some people who live in other parts of Italy and realised that our expenses is somewhat a national average.

  • Ps1: Cities such as Milan, Bologna and Firenze are more expensive. If you plan to live over there, we advise to add some 200 Euros at the end.
  • Ps2: South Italy is just a bit cheaper, on average.
  • Ps 3: All numbers are related to the costs of a couple. (Do you want to know who we are, check in here.)
a priest and a church

Visiting the city of Fontanellato

Rent

– Cost: 400 euros/month

– Rental agreement: 50 euros (one off payment in order to legalise the document).

As most of the things in Italy, to rent a house is quite bureaucratic. Most of the state agencies ask for a minimum of 2 years contract (!). We only wanted a place for 3 months and really struggled to find one. To our luck, the cousin of Tiago’s cousin (a real one 😉 ) works as a state agent and had an apartment which could have been rented for a short period. We paid the three months in advance and it was all fine!

The location is perfect (right at the historical city centre). The apartment was furnished and, although small, was quite comfy. We really love it!

Door bells with names on it

Our first home after 2 years of nomadic life we will never forget

If you are having difficulties to find a place for a short period, check some of these tips:

– Talk to some of the local people to know if he or she knows anyone with a room to rent.

– AirBnb: we met many people who, in order to find a way around the Italian bureaucracy, opted for an AirBnB. It’s a good idea, though a lot more expensive – no less than 600 euros per month, if you are lucky).

– If you plan to live an Italian lifestyle, you can also find something on Workaway, Helpx and Worldpackers. Haven’t you heard of them? Peep over some of these posts which explain how these websites can help you save money on your travels!

If you are going to rent a new place, take into consideration that most of them are completely unfurnished – really, some even without the shower head! You will then have to invest in some furniture and basic infrastructure.

A typical Italyan style house

Typical city centre houses

Internet 

– Cost: 23 euros/month

– Router + installation: 50 euros + 25 euros (one off payment).

There are mainly 4 major mobile companies over here:

  • Vodafone
  • Tim
  • Three
  • Wind

We heard that Tim and Wind have really poor signal, still we chose Wind for our home internet and we are quite satisfied.

Parma city centre from the palazzo della pilotta

City from the Palazzo della Pilotta

Did you know the museums in Italy are free on the first Sunday of the month? That is a really nice way to save some money! Check this post to know more about it.

Mobile plan 

– Cost: 10 euros/month (3Gb of internet + calls).

– This deal is only available for a three months package. In other words, we paid 30 Euros for three months contract.

Our network company was Vodafone, which we knew from London. We had never had any problems so far.

Tiago standing at the Parco Ducale

Ti at the Ducale Park

Supermarket

– Cost: 250 euros/month

We have never dined out because we think that cooking at home is one of the best ways to keep costs low. On the other hand, we buy a lot of good quality food and what we eat at home is mostly of the times even better than restaurant food 😎.

Food shopping at the check out counter

The first food shopping we never forget

Bills (Water + Electricity + Gas)

– Cost: 53 euros/month

The bills are more expensive during winter because of the heater, as any European know.

Transport

– Cost: 35 euros /month

We have never really needed a bus in Parma. We go everywhere by foot and when we visited the neighbour cities, we took a life with friends.

The cost above (35 Euros) is related to the monthly card for the transport in Milan. There is also a monthly card which allows you to take any bus for the whole month here in Parma. However, is really not necessary. You best invest in a bike, if needed!

By the way, we really advise towards investing in a bike as a way of transport if you plan to live in a small town. It is possible to find some for about 80 Euros.

If you are buying from street markets, make sure they are not stolen bikes!
Fernanda posing in Milan

Fe in Milan

Italian classes

As we are in Italy, the least we can do is to learn Italian, isn’t it?

We found a social occupation in Parma (called Art Lab Occupato) which provides free Italian classes for foreigners. We also know that Milan and Bologna have also free classes. It is just a matter of searching well.

There is also a self educated course from RAI – the Italian Communication channel, if you fancy it.

walking in Italy

Parma

Extra

– Cost: 100 euros/month

We spent an average of 25 Euros per week for things like, a bottle of wine, an aperitivo(something like the Italian happy hour where you pay about 5 euros for a drink and eat as much as you want), a meeting with friends and so on.

couple drinking in Italy

Aperitivo in Italy

Total

The total of fixed cost is about 833 Euros, but you can round it up to 900 per month, which is basically what we spend, really. There is always something to pay over here, others over there, a burnt lamp, a train ticket, or whatever.

That is all, people. We hope you liked it and it helped you! If you have any queries, please get in touch on [email protected]Good luck with your planning and see you around!