Are you going to Italy in order to work and live in the land of pizza, pasta and great coffee? If so, you are surely interested in the costs of living there. And while it is near impossible to give exact numbers, we’d like to at least try to give you a broad overview of the most important living expenses you will be facing when relocating to and getting a job in Italy.
Expenditures for housing are typically going to play a major role in your budget. However, depending on your specific household size, standard of living and chosen place of residence, prices can vary greatly. Metropolitan areas as well as the most densely populated area of Campania in particular are more expensive than living in the suburbs or municipalities.
If you are planning to rent, an understandable choice when newly arriving in a country, it will be useful to know that in Italy an average of 22% of gross adjusted disposable income was spent on housing in 2011, with an average of 566€ a month spent on rent. The wide range of prices depending on location, however, can be seen by the following example: Renting a one bedroom apartment in the city center of Ancona will cost you around 350–400€. In Florence, this sum is nearly doubled with an average cost of 700€ and in Rome, you would already have to pay approximately 1,000€.
Should you instead decide to buy your own house or apartment, you will not only need to cover the costs for the property, but also keep an ear open for news concerning a new Service Tax. Details to this tax are to be presented with the 2014 budget plan in October 2013 and it will replace the current property tax Imposta Municipale Unica, or IMU.
Utilities & Co.
In 2012, according to the Institute for Italian Statistics, an average of 43€ a month had to be allowed for water and other condominium expenditures. Furthermore, a monthly average of 135€ was spent on heating, gas and electricity. The inflation rate for energy in particular has been very high in the last few years, so be prepared for potentially rising prices.
Telephone and Internet services can cost you another 20–50€ a month, depending on your specific needs. A close comparison of the various offers made by different providers, for example Telecom Italia, Wind and Vodafone Italia, is highly recommended.
In addition, if you own one or more television sets, regardless of their actual usage, you will have to pay a television subscription fee. This fee is set between 113.50€ and 120.64€ a year, depending on whether you choose to pay it yearly (113.50€), half-yearly (57.92€) or quarterly (30.16€). There is, however, no radio subscription fee for radio sets in private use.
According to Istat, a single household in Italy spends an average of 380€ a month on food, beverages and personal care products; a family of four approximately 640€ a month. So 40–50€ per person for grocery shopping should be enough to get you through a week if you spend carefully and avoid eating out. Visit local food markets or supermarket chains, such as Coop, Auchan, Conad and Spar, to get reasonably cheap products. Spar, in particular, prides itself on its own organic range called Bio,Logico, offering a wide selection of fruit, vegetables and dairy products as well as wine at low prices.
In general, Italy has a very good public transportation service and most places can be reached by bus, train or ferry. Rome, Milan, Naples and Turin also offer subway systems. Prices again vary depending on location: in Rome, a ticket for 1.50€ will let you use the local public transport system with its buses, trams, underground as well as certain regional second class railway services for up to 100 minutes. A similar ticket will get you around Florence for 1.20€. Note, however, that tickets bought on board might be more expensive.
Furthermore, for multiple or regular journeys it is cheaper to buy daily/weekly tickets or monthly/annual passes. In Rome, an annual pass for 250€ will already save you 170€ compared to monthly passes for 35€. Similarly, a weekly ticket for 18€ in Florence is a lot cheaper than seven 24-hour tickets for 5€ each.
If, however, you prefer to use your own car, be advised that petrol expenses and motorway tolls can add up quickly. Currently, one liter of unleaded petrol costs around 1.70€ and a liter of diesel 1.66€. For the use of the Autostrade, the Italian motorway, a toll typically has to be paid. The actual sum depends on the amount of kilometers driven or is in some cases fixed (e.g. on the A8 Milan–Lakes or the A12 Rome–Civitavecchia routes). The 500km drive from Rome to Genoa, for example, would cost you nearly 40€ toll, so be sure to take these additional expenses into account when planning a journey by car. Also, do not forget that you will need to pay bollo (car tax), revisione (biennial safety certificate) as well as insurance for your car.
Depending on your standard of living, these expenditures might vary greatly and additional costs have the bad habit of cropping up. Restaurant bills or monthly gym fees are only some examples for possible additional expenses. On a positive note, however, the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, Italy’s National Health Service, provides a near universal coverage free of charges and as such voluntary health insurance is not a necessity.
This article was provided by internations.org the largest expatriate network worldwide. It was created to help members meet other high-profile expatriates from around the world living in their city and connect with them, both online and offline through events and activities. InterNations also offers its members the know-how and support to make moving abroad more manageable. InterNations was founded in 2007 and now has over 990,000 members in more than 390 Local Communities around the world.