How much does it cost to live in Italy? Since we have moved to Parma, in Italy, many people have asked us about the cost of living in Italy.Now, that we completed two years in here and all the bills have arrived, we can, at last, share values and information. (Costs updated for 2021).
We have tried to make this post as simple and descriptive as possible in order to have every question cleared up for those planning on moving to Italy. However, if you are not really interested to read the details, here is your answer: our cost of living in Italy per month is 1500 Euros – for a couple (cost of living in Italy in us dollars = U$ 1820).
Further down we will break down all our costs, but as you can already see, it is not expensive to live in Italy.
After two years travelling around the world, Fernanda had an opportunity to apply for her Italian citizenship – Tiago already had his dual citizenship since his childhood (Brazilian and Italian citizenship). After a couple of years travelling, we had practically gone penniless and were already planning to settle down – at least for a while – somewhere, just to sort things out, such as to launch our content creation company and organise all the material from our travel around the world.
However, above everything, we had always dreamed of living in Italy for a year, learn the language and familiarise ourselves better with the culture. So we went to Italy and started settling down early 2017.
Why have we chosen the city of Parma to live in Italy?
We decided to come to Parma because Tiago has a “cousin” – well, not really a cousin, but long story short: cousin – who lives in Parma and could give us a hand with the citizenship’s bureaucracy as we are not fluent in Italian.
Parma is a rich city. Not as much as before the 2008 economical crisis, but still better off than the rest of the country. It’s located in the region of Emilia-Romagna and known as the gastronomic capital of Italy. We have heard “of Europe” as well, but for the sake of this argument, let’s keep in Italy.
We fell in love with the city from the moment we arrived! It is a small, beautiful, well-preserved town with a quite famous university, thus rather lively too. The quality of life is brilliant! Although small, there are many cultural events. We loved so much that we can affirm here that Parma is one of the best place to live in Italy, really.
Do you want to see more from Italy and from other parts of the world? Check it out our Instagram and Youtube pages!
How is 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 it goes our opinion, from whom lived in a northern city, small and well developed:
The quality of life in Italy is great. The people are really nice and everything works relatively well, such as transport, security and health. And the rhythm is a lot less frenetic than our previous “home”: London. And there is obviously the food! You eat really well without having to spend too much. Basically, these were all the things we needed for this period of our lives: quality of life, not so frenetic, good food and not spend much money. So we can’t really complain about anything.
We like in here so much that the initial plan of living in Italy for three months has already turned into two years and we still have no date to leave. Regardless, this is just our mere opinion for a quite subjective topic.
PS: (Update) We left Italy on July 2018. However, we keep this post updated with values and costs from friends still living in Italy, plus a lot of research from our side.
Ok, then, but how much does it cost to live in Italy?
Well, now that we have said why we are living in Italy and what we’ve been doing in here, let’s get to the point of this post: how much does it cost to live in Italy!
The cost of living in Italy should vary from person to person and the following numbers relate to our personal living expenses in Italy. However, we have spoken with some people who live in other parts of the country and we came to the conclusion that our expenses are somewhat a national average.
Ps1: The cost of living in Milan, Rome,Bologna, Firenze, Verona or other bigger and more touristy cities is higher. If you plan to move to one of these, we advise to add some 400 Euros at the end.
Ps2: The cheapest place to live in Italy are the smaller towns in the South of the country.
Ps4: how expensive is it to live in Italy will depend a lot on your lifestyle; but honestly, Italy is a great place for those looking at having a good quality of life without spending much. Italy is just amazing and we hope you love it as much as we do!
Italy cost of living: all expenses broken down
Our rent (Average house price in Italy)
Rental agreement: 70 euros one-off payment in order to legalise the document.
As most of the things in here, to rent a house in Italy is quite bureaucratic. Most of the state agencies ask for a minimum of a two year contract (!). We only wanted a place for three months and really struggled to find one. To our luck, the cousin of Tiago’s cousin – a real one this time – 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 Parma’s historical city centre. The apartment was furnished and although small, it was quite comfy. We really love it!
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 (you can get U$10 discount using the promo code “MondayFeelingsWP” on the last one). 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, keep in mind that most of the apartments in Italy are completely unfurnished – really, some even without the shower head! You will then have to invest in some furniture and basic infrastructure.
There are mainly 4 major mobile companies over here:
We heard that Tim and Wind have really poor signal, still we chose Wind for our home internet and we are quite satisfied.
*Update: after six months with Wind, we went to cancel our contract and they are charging us 80 euros to do it. Our contract specifically says that we could cancel the contract free of charge after three months, but still, they want us to pay a fine. After talking with other people, we found out it’s common for Wind to play this kind of trick, so stay aware.
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 on your Italy cost of living! Check this post to know more about it.
Mobile plan in Italy
25 euros/month (3Gb of internet + calls).
This deal is only available for a three month package. In other words, we paid 45 Euros for three months contract.
Our network company was Vodafone, which we knew from London. We had never had any problems so far.
We almost never dine out because cooking at home is one of the best ways to keep costs of living in Italy low. Moreover, food prices in Italy are super affordable and the quality is excellent, which means that our home-made food are not-so-rarely better than in the restaurant.
Bills: Cost of water, gas and electricity in Italy
That is the average we paid during the Summer and Spring. The bills are more expensive during Winter because of the heater, as any European would know.
Cost of transport in Italy
We have never really needed a bus in Parma. We go everywhere by foot and when we visited the neighbouring cities, we took a lift with friends.
This cost of 50 Euros is related to the monthly card for the public transport in Milan. There is also a monthly card here in Parma, but as the city is quite small, you don’t really need it. You better invest in a bike!
By the way, if you plan to live in a small town in Italy we really advise towards going around by bike. It is possible to find one for about 80 Euros, but if you are buying from street markets, make sure they are not stolen bikes.
Did you know we crossed the whole Italy by bike? It took us almost two months, but it was one of our best adventures. You can see all the videos from this bicycle trip in here
Italian classes in Italy
As we are in Italy, the least we can do is to learn Italian, isn’t it?
We found a of social organisation that is also a squat in Parma, called Art Lab Occupato. They provide free Italian classes for foreigners. We also know that Milan, Bologna and other cities offer free classes too. You just have to ask around.
We spent an average of 60 Euros per week for things like, a bottle of wine, an aperitivo – something like the Italian happy hour where you pay about 7 euros for a drink and eat as much as you want –, as well as meeting friends, and so on.
Total cost to live in Italy
Our total fixed cost to live in Italy is about 1.400 Euros, but you can round it up to 1.500 per month, which is basically what we spent monthly, really. There is always something to pay over here, others over there, a burnt lamp, a train ticket, or whatever.
To make things easier for the USA readers in here, the cost of living in Italy in US dollars is 1820.
That is all, guys. We hope you liked our how much does it cost to live in Italy post and that it helps you organise your moving to Italy in 2021. If you have any queries, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram as we are always sharing tips and information about life in Italy and elsewhere.
Good luck with your planning and see you around!
* Article originally written in June 2017 and updated in 2021. *