Cost of living in Italy: Your guide

19.07.17
4 minute read
Tagged:

There’s truly something for everyone in Italy. You might want to live in the cultural heart of Rome, the fashion and finance centre of Milan, or off the beaten track entirely. With fantastic cuisine, a mellow climate and reasonable costs of living, there’s plenty to recommend wherever you end up.

If you’re retiring, temporarily relocating or moving to Italy for good, it’s helpful to have a picture of what life there will cost as an expat. Here’s a quick guide.

How expensive is Italy in comparison to the UK, the EU, the USA and Australia?

The official currency in Italy is the Euro - EUR or € on currency exchanges.

You can find out the exact value of your money in EUR, using an online currency converter - but here’s a rough guide to what it is at the moment:

  • $1000 = €900
  • £1000 = €1140
  • A$1000 = €680
Comparing basic cost of living One bedroom flat in city centre - monthly rent Lunch for two - Three courses, mid-range restaurant Transportation - monthly pass
Rome, Italy €959 €50 €35
Milan, Italy €1,028 €60 €35
London, UK €1,919 €62 €149
New York City, USA €2,675 €67 €105
Sydney, Australia €1,757 €54 €109

One major factor that adds expense for expats in Italy is the cost of converting cash to euros from your home currency. Even if your bank says it offers fee-free money exchange, you can be sure that its cut is rolled up in the exchange rate it uses.

To get the best deal, you should use an exchange service like TransferWise, which gives you the same rate that you’ll find on Google. With a quick service, and a low transparent fee to transfer your cash, this can be a much better deal than relying on your bank.

What are the general living expenses for Italy? How much can you get by on?

Although it’s Italy’s second city, as the financial centre of the country, Milan is actually more pricey than the capital, Rome. If you’re on a fixed income though, you can still get by on relatively little.

Living expenses in Italy excluding rent Rome average cost Milan average cost
Single person, per month €715 €780
Single person, per year €8,580 €9,360
University student, per month €529 €564
Four person family, per month €2,561 €2,833
Four person family, per year €30,732 €33,996

What are the average salaries for Italy?

Average salaries in Italy are relatively low compared to some other European countries. For the best paid jobs you’ll need to head to Rome or Milan, but it’s perfectly possible to live well in Italy for an average wage.

Salary averages for Italy Average annual salary
Cashier €14,437
Copywriter €17,453
Financial analyst €40,050
Graphic designer €16,084
Mobile developer €19,806
Product manager €35,418
Receptionist €13,887
Software engineer €26,843
Teacher €17,050
Web developer €22,771

How expensive is housing and accommodation in Italy?

The amount you pay in rent is a big driver of your overall cost of living. Renting in Milan or Rome is fairly costly, but by choosing a place that’s outside of the city centre you can get a lot more for your money. Alternatively, if you choose to buy a house in Italy this could bring down your day to day costs.

Renting in Italy Average monthly cost - Rome Average monthly cost - Milan
One bedroom apartment, city centre €959 €1,028
One bedroom apartment, outside of city centre €650 €693
Three bedroom family home, city centre €2,004 €2,014
Three bedroom family home, outside of city centre) €1,233 €1,186
Internet €29 €27
Utilities - gas, electric and water for a 85m2 apartment €130 €123

What about healthcare and dental costs in Italy?

Italy has a health system which is rated as one of the best in the world. Care is usually free at the point of need, and residents can either use the public system or turn to private facilities if they prefer. Having private health insurance can mean you get access to services quicker than through the public system.

Healthcare service Average cost to you
Family doctor check-up €74
Cold medicine for 6 days €8
Antibiotic prescription €12

How much is travel and transportation in Italy?

Travelling by car in the cities in Italy is often fairly slow, making public transportation a smart choice. If you choose to commute by bus or train, it’s good to know that costs are low and the network is generally pretty strong.

Transportation and vehicle prices for Italy Average cost
Gasoline, 1 litre / 0.25 gallon €1.52
Monthly bus/transport pass €35
Bus ticket, single use €1.50
Taxi tariff, 8km/5mile journey €15
Toyota Corolla, new €20,686
VW Golf, new €20,000

How much does education cost?

Italy has world class universities and good schools. There are both public and private universities, with the University of Bologna being the most popular university in Italy. However, studying at university level is usually more expensive if you’re from outside of the EU.

School Average cost
Preschool / kindergarten, monthly fee €500
Private school for lower grades, annual €11,833
University tuition, University of Bologna Fees are based on the financial status of the student, and can reach €4,000 a year
University tuition, University of Pisa Fees are based on the student’s country of origin, and are between €407 and €2,354 a year

Italy has so much to offer, it’s hard to really get a sense of it all in just a vacation or two. It’s no surprise that plenty of expats have made the leap, and moved to Italy for the long term in search of a great life. Whatever you’re looking for, Italy is a fantastic destination for a permanent move or just to spend a year or two exploring somewhere new.

Good luck with your new life in Italy!

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more