Cost of living in Italy

4 min read

Gastronomy, culture, climate, landscapes, quality of life… Italy is among the favourite destinations for English expatriates and retirees. It attracts investors in search of an outdoor lifestyle, dolce vita, and breathtaking landscapes. Before deciding to live in Italy, it is essential to gather information about the cost of living. Is life expensive in Italy? What budget should be planned for renting or buying a property there?

A cost of living 6.7% lower than in France

Indulge in a meal at a remarkably affordable price

Regarding dining, prices are also lower compared to the United-Kingdom. A local beer (50 cl) £4.29 (vs. £4.50) and water (33 cl) £0.94 (vs. £1.27). The item on which you’ll save the most is the cappuccino. Averaging £1.34 (vs. £3.09), it is 50% cheaper than in the UK.

Chicken fillets (1 kg) Eggs (12) Tomato (1 kg) Bottle of wine (mid-range)
Italy £9.07 £2.95 £2.41 £5.14
United-Kingdom £6.48 £2.75 £2.47 £7.50

Enroll your children in an Italian or international school

Like in the UK, institutions can be public or private. In public schools, education is entirely free up to the age of 16. In private schools, tuition fees vary depending on the institution.

If you choose an international primary school, the annual enrollment for a child will cost you on average £8,000.45 (43,5% cheaper than in the UK). For one month of daycare, the average budget to plan for is £438.47 (64,4% cheaper than in the UK).

Starting a new life in Italy with your family

Benefit from a healthcare system offering comprehensive coverage

The National Health Service (SSN, Servizio Sanitario Nazionale) allows you free access to all basic medical treatments. Some services, such as prosthetics or laboratory tests, are partially covered. In the private sector, treatments are not covered by the SSN.

Good to know: What is the least expensive region in Italy?

In general, the cost of living is higher in tourist regions and major urban centers such as Florence, Bologna, Rome, or Milan. Conversely, the least expensive places are small towns in southern Italy.

How much do you need to earn to live comfortably in Italy?

As we have just seen, the cost of living in Italy is lower than in the UK. However, the local purchasing power is 30,5% lower. Indeed, the average monthly salary after deductions for an Italian is £1,347.38, compared to an income of £2,316.19 for an English person. It varies by regions in Italy. Taking the example of a product manager, their salary would be £30,991.82 in Milan, £37,063.27 in Turin, and £39,821.14 in Rome, the capital.

In Italy, salary consists of fixed elements (basic salary, cost-of-living allowance, seniority, minimums) and variable components (night work, legal allowances, bonuses, tips, additional monthly payments).

According to national collective agreements, the salary may be distributed over 13 or even 14 months. The 13th month, or « tredicesima, » is paid every year at the same time as the December salary. The 14th month, on the other hand, is paid in June.

Good to know: What is the minimum wage in Italy?

Italy is among the ten European Union (EU) member states that have not established a legal minimum wage.

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Property prices significantly more affordable in Italy

Whether renting or buying, the budget to plan for is lower in Italy than in the UK. The rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is £671.8 per month, on average £496.23 in the countryside. To rent a three-bedroom residence, the budget to consider is £1,202.22 per month in the city centre and £843.50 outside.(1)

The average price per square metre to acquire a property in a city centre Italy is £3,636.23, compared to £5,293.83 in the UK. The most affordable regions are Calabria (£801.05/m²)(2), Molise (£873.96/m²)(3), Umbria (£971.73/m²)(4), and Sicily (£970.01/m²)(5).

As for electricity and gas bills, prices are on the rise, as in the UK. For an 85 m² apartment, the monthly charges (electricity, heating, air conditioning, water, waste) amount to approximately £170(6).

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