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Cost of Living

Italy - Cost of Living

After replacing the Lire in 2002, the Euro has become the official currency of Italy. The denominations of the notes and coins is the same as all the other countries in the EU.

The cost of living in Italy may fluctuate considerably, depending upon the location you reside in. Bigger cities like Venice and Milan in the North tend to be more expensive as compared to the South. Italy generally appears in the top bracket of most EU Cost Of Living Indexes.

Eating out in Italy will cost you a bit more in comparison to the UK or the US. You will pay around €15.00 for a basic meal at an inexpensive restaurant and at least €50.00 for a 3-course meal for two at a mid-range eatery. A 3-course meal for two at a top-end restaurant could cost you close to €300.00. A meal combo, at a fast food joint, costs about €7.00. A bottle of imported beer (0.33 liter) at a restaurant is around €3.50, which is slightly cheaper than the UK. At an averagely priced restaurant in Italy, you can buy cappuccino for €1.31, soda for €1.95 and water for €1.05.

Basic groceries in Italy are usually cheaper than the UK, with a few exceptions like bread and cheese. A liter of milk costs about €1.25 & a loaf of white bread is approximately €1.60. A kilo of boneless chicken is available for €7.88, which is cheaper than local cheese, at €11.85. At a supermarket, you could pick up a bottle of mineral water for €0.40, a bottle of mid-range wine for €5.00, a 0.5 liter bottle of domestic beer for €1.21, a 0.33 liter bottle of imported beer for €1.60 and a pack of cigarettes for €5.00. All these items are considerably cheaper in Italy, than the UK, though the prices may vary depending upon the brands that you opt for.

Rents are probably the main consideration for expats who are paying for their own accommodation in Italy. A small (one-bedroom) apartment in the heart of the city will cost close to €615.00. A similar apartment outside the city center costs only around €460.00. Expats with bigger families could rent a 3-bedroom apart in the city for about €1100.00 or outside the city for less than €800.00. The cost of renting an apartment in Italy is cheaper than the UK, but buying a house in Italy is significantly more. The price per square meter for an apartment in the city center is around €4610. Apartments outside the city center are usually available for around €2730 per square meter.

For most expatriates, the amount of money spent on transportation is one of the main considerations while calculating the cost of living. For those who plan to travel around by public transport, like a bus, an average one-way ticket would cost €1.50. Regular commuters often opt for a monthly travel pass, which is available for about €35.00, depending on the distance. The starting taxi tariff is €5.00 and you end up paying an additional €1.30 for every kilometer you travel. Those who prefer to do so could buy their own car for around €20,000.00 and pay €1.80 per liter of gasoline.

Utilities can contribute a great deal towards the cost of living in Italy. The combined average cost of electricity, water, heating and garbage disposal could go up to €175.00 per month for a small household. Internet prices are in the region of €25.00 to €30.00 per month, which is slightly higher than the UK. Mobile phone tariffs are quite similar to the UK, at €0.17 per minute. Competitive discounts and plans offered by various service providers can help you minimize this expense a bit.

Leisure pursuits like a fitness club or sporting activity can set you back by a bit, especially if you are comparing prices to the UK. Fitness centers charge about €55.00 per month, and renting a tennis court for an hour would cost you almost €20.00 on the weekend. Tickets to the cinema are slightly cheaper than the UK at €8.00 per person.

Most expats are of the opinion that shopping in Italy comes at an additional cost. A pair of jeans is currentyl priced at €86.00, which is almost 24% higher than the UK, and a casual dress is generally priced under €40.00. Sports shoes for men cost around €90.00 and leather shoes are usually priced at around €110.00.

There are several regions in Italy and it is only natural for the cost of living to vary from one region to the other.

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