About Italy

The cost of living in Italy

The cost of living in Italy includes many different types of expenses, from daily groceries and transport tickets to housing and healthcare.

Cost of living in Italy

By Joana Taborda

Updated 16-3-2024

With top-notch cuisine, world-famous art and architecture, and a stunning coastline, there are many reasons to fall in love with Italy. But before you make the big move abroad, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with local living costs. You may even want to compare cities to find the ideal spot for your specific needs and budget.

Read on to learn more about the cost of living in Italy, including:


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The general cost and standard of living in Italy

The cost of living in Italy varies from region to region, with the south generally being more affordable than the north. In 2022, Bolzano was considered the most expensive city in the country, followed by Piacenza and Bologna.

A narrow street in summer lined with flower shops; a vendor wipes her head with a cloth
Photo: Sam van Bussel/Unsplash

Currently, ranking 35th on Numbeo’s Cost of Living Index, life in Italy is cheaper than in the UK and Sweden but more expensive than in Spain and Greece. In 2022, average monthly expenses for a household in Italy were around €2,437. Of course, this varies depending on where you live and the size of your household. 

According to the National Statistics Institute, 25.4% of the population was considered at risk of poverty or social exclusion in 2021. Furthermore, poverty has increased in the last decade among households with children.

Costs of living in Florence

Known for its artistic heritage, Florence (Firenze) is a popular destination among internationals moving to Italy. Plus, Florence is a relatively small city, with only about 367,000 inhabitants. In terms of living costs, Florence ranks as follows:

  • 57% cheaper than New York
  • 107% more expensive than Mumbai
  • 4% cheaper than Lagos (Èkó)
  • 78% more expensive than Quezon City (Lungsod Quezon)
  • 32% cheaper than London

Costs of living in Naples

The cost of living tends to be cheaper in the south than in the rest of the country. Naples (Napoli) is Italy’s third-largest city, home to about 1 million residents. Here’s how the cost of living in Naples compares to major cities globally:

  • 65% cheaper than New York
  • 69% more expensive than Mumbai
  • 22% cheaper than Lagos
  • 45% more expensive than Quezon City
  • 45% cheaper than London

Costs of living in Rome

The cost of living in Rome (Roma) is relatively cheaper than in many other European capitals. The Italian capital is 57th on Mercer’s cost of living survey, ranking less expensive than Luxembourg (Lëtzebuerg/Luxemburg) and cheaper than Brussels (Brussel/Bruxelles).

An assortment of gelato frozen onto sticks in Rome
Photo: Steve Christo/Corbis via Getty Images

When comparing Rome’s cost of living to other major global cities – considering food, housing, clothes, transportation, and entertainment – it is:

  • 54% cheaper than New York
  • 116% more expensive than Mumbai
  • 0.3% more expensive than Lagos
  • 87% more expensive than Quezon City
  • 29% cheaper than London

Costs of living in Milan

At 48th place, Milan (Milano) sits above Rome in the Mercer ranks. Although it’s more expensive than the Italian capital, Milan is still more affordable than Zurich and cheaper than Paris. Compared to other cities around the world, the Italian fashion capital is:

  • 48% cheaper than New York
  • 151% more expensive than Mumbai
  • 16% more expensive than Lagos
  • 117% more expensive than Quezon City
  • 19% cheaper than London

Italian wages and salary

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the average household in Italy earns €29,810 a year after taxes. However, this varies greatly by region, with the typical household in the south making nearly €3,000 less per year than the national average.

Unlike many European countries, Italy’s minimum wage is not set in law. Instead, wages are determined through collective bargaining, a process regulated by the European Union (EU). According to a study issued by the Giuseppe di Vittorio Foundation (in Italian), wages in Italy are among the lowest in the EU. For example, the gap between the average Italian and French or German salary has increased significantly in recent years.

If you are looking for ways to manage your money in Italy, the following banks and financial services could help you out:

  • Atlantic Money – a money transfer service with a flat €3 rate on all transfers
  • Crédit Agricole – an international bank
  • Hype – Italian fintech with online accounts and money management app
  • N26 – an online bank available in many countries
  • Tinaba – Italian fintech app offering accounts, money transfers, and more
  • XE – a global currency converter and money transfer platform

Housing costs in Italy

Rental costs

In 2021, the average rent in Italy was €579 per month. Of course, this can vary tremendously depending on the location and property size. In Milan, for instance, a one-bedroom apartment or studio can cost €1,225 to €1,800. Meanwhile, in Rome, you may be able to get a studio for around €900. Numbeo places Italy 69th in the world for price-to-income ratio, which means it’s less affordable than renting in Portugal (49th) but cheaper than rental properties in Spain (95th).

Property prices

Certain cities in Italy have become famous for their one-euro house deals. However, according to the real estate site Idealista, most move-in ready Italian properties cost around €1,719 per square meter.

Colorful houses with chimneys in Venice
Burano in Venice, Italy (Photo: Alessandro Ranica/Unsplash)

House prices increase exponentially in Rome, where the average is €2,848 per square meter. Venice and Milan have even higher costs, with properties going for €4,467 and €3,994 per square meter, respectively.

However, Italy is still among the cheapest places to purchase a house in Europe. It’s more affordable than buying property in Spain and cheaper on average than real estate in Austria. If you’re looking for a place to stay, check out the following property portals:

The cost of domestic bills in Italy

Utility bills

Utilities in Italy generally include electricity, gas, water, and internet.

With one of the highest prices in Europe, the average Italian annual electricity bill went up to €1,322 in 2022, compared to €632 in 2021. In Italy, gas is mainly used for heating and cooking, so prices may vary depending on the climate where you live. The average price of gas nationally is €82 per month and some companies offer a bundle with electricity and gas, which may help your savings.

Water prices can also vary, as there are different water companies in each region. On average, Italian households spend €35 a month on water bills, but in Tuscany you can expect to pay up to €57 a month.


The cost of broadband internet in Italy is relatively inexpensive compared to other European countries. According to a 2021 study by the European Commission, home internet in Italy can cost as low as €25.10 per month, which is more expensive than Austria’s cheapest broadband package (€18.65) but cheaper than Croatia’s most affordable option (€31.23). Italy also has a special tax for households that own a TV, at a current rate of €90 per year, which is usually included in the electricity bill.

Low-cost telephone operators in Italy include:

Italian healthcare costs

One of the most important things to take into account about the cost of living in Italy is healthcare expenses. Luckily, the Italian healthcare system is ranked among the best in Europe. If you are registered as a resident, you can access public healthcare for free or at a low cost, funded by your tax contributions.

Ambulances are parked outside a Rome hospital; a sign reads emergency room in Italian
Hospital Tor Vergata, Rome (Photo: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images)

It’s also common to take out private health insurance as a supplement. Private healthcare in Italy comes with shorter waiting times and a wider choice of doctors and specialists. But going private can be costly, with some insurance companies charging several hundred euros per month. Therefore, it’s worth comparing offers and choosing a service that fits your needs and budget. Some health insurers worth considering include:

Childcare costs in Italy

Primary education in Italy starts at age six and is mandatory and free. However, education or childcare before the age of six will need to be covered by the parents. In Italy, you can find three types of childcare services: nurseries, preschools, and private providers like nannies.

A public nursery usually charges according to the family’s income, with an average cost of €303 per month. State-sponsored preschools accommodate children from three to five years old and cost at least €324 a month.

Families can also hire a nanny or an au pair. A nanny in Italy will charge around €10 an hour, while an au pair will cost about €250–300 a month. Note that for this option, you may also need to provide food and lodging for the caregiver.

Compared to other countries in Europe, Italian childcare costs make up a relatively small percentage of a family’s overall expenses and are considered affordable.

The costs of studying in Italy

Children between six and 16 can attend a public school for free, but lessons are only held in Italian. Alternatively, parents can opt for private education, which includes bi-lingual international schools. In this case, the fees can range from €4,000 to 25,000 a year. However, it is still cheaper to attend an international institution in Milan than to study in London or go to school in Zurich.

Italy has one of the lowest college tuition rates in the world, with the average cost of a public university around €500–3,000 per year. Private universities, however, can cost much more, with fees ranging from €5,000–25,000 annually.

The cost of Italian food and drink


Food costs in Italy are 2.1% higher than the European average, and the typical Italian household spends €470 per month (PDF in Italian) on groceries.

Cheese, meat, and produce are displayed in an Italian grocery store
Photo: Markus Winkler/Unsplash

As you can see below, the cost of staple grocery store foods varies widely across Italy:

Food itemCost to purchase in Italy
A loaf of bread€0.80–3.00
Carton of 12 eggs€1.44–4.40
One liter of milk€0.79–1.70
1kg of white rice€1.00-3.00
1kg of cheese€7.30–20.00


With dining out being relatively cheap, one of the best things about living in Italy is being able to sample the local cuisine. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant will only cost around €15. On the other hand, a three-course feast at a mid-range restaurant can set you back €60. Of course, these estimates will vary depending on where you live.

Beer, wine, and spirits

Alcoholic beverages in Italy are also relatively affordable compared to other European countries. An Italian beer costs about €5 a pint at a restaurant or €1.41 at the supermarket. For a decent bottle of wine, add around €5.50 to your grocery budget. Meanwhile, spirits like limoncello or amaro can cost between €7 and €20 a bottle.


Italians take their coffee very seriously, with about 50% of locals consuming 2–3 cups daily. A regular espresso at a cafe usually costs €1, while a cappuccino can go for €1.45. That is much lower than in Spain or in France, but slightly higher than in Portugal.

Transportation costs in Italy

Public transport

You can find a decent public transport network across Italy that includes buses and trains. Major cities like Rome, Milan, and Naples also offer metro services.

Fares for urban transport vary from region to region. According to Numbeo, a single fare ticket is around €2 in Milan, €1.50 in Rome, and €1.30 in Naples. Of course, if you’re planning to travel frequently, it may be worth investing in a monthly travel pass. This costs around €35 in Italy, which is cheaper than public transport in Portugal, for instance.

Longer trips between cities will be more expensive. For example, traveling from Rome to Milan on a high-speed train can cost €100. However, you can catch a slower train and pay half the price.

Private transport

Italian taxis operate via meters and usually cost about €5 to start and €1.30 per kilometer, with fares varying from city to city. Ride-sharing services, such as Uber, are available in major cities like Milan and Rome.

If you’re planning to drive in Italy, the cost of petrol is currently around €2 a liter. When you buy a new car, the price will vary, but you can expect to pay about €22,500, which is cheaper than most European countries. 

Clothing in Italy

It’s hard to break down the cost of living in Italy without addressing high fashion. Italy is renowned for its iconic designers, with cities like Milan being home to lavish Prada and Gucci storefronts.

Crowds at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan

While a standard item like a dress costs around €31.77 from a chain store, designer clothing can sell for hundreds or even thousands of euros. However, many luxury brands do tend to be cheaper in Italy than elsewhere in the world because the clothing is often designed and made there.

Italian leisure activities

If you are planning to join a gym in Italy, you can expect to pay from €25–73 a month, with Milan being more expensive than other cities. Entertainment options are relatively cheap too. For example, you can catch the latest film release for around €9 or see a band in concert for €30–50.

Taxation and social security in Italy

If you spend more than 183 days a year in Italy, you will have to pay Italian taxes on your income. In 2023, the thresholds for personal income tax are:

Total annual incomeTax rate
Up to €15,00023%
Over €50,00043%

Internationals working in Italy are also liable to pay social security. The fees are usually taken directly from your salary to cover unemployment, maternity leave, and retirement.

If you are employed, a monthly contribution to social insurance (10% in 2022) will be deducted from every paycheck. For context, Italy’s rate is cheaper than social security in Luxembourg but more expensive than Norway and Sweden. For self-employed expats, the rate can vary between 24–35.03%

Assistance with living costs

Residents of Italy who have been there for at least 10 years can apply for financial aid to cover living costs. If you are at risk of poverty due to circumstances such as loss of income, you can claim a pension to ensure that you and your family maintain minimum living standards.

The amount you receive is divided into 13 installments, delivered throughout the year, and is based on your income and household size. A single person, for example, can receive €6,000, while a family of three or more can receive €10,000. Those living with a chronic illness or disability may be eligible for an invalidity pension.

Foreigners who have been living in Italy for at least two years may be eligible for family benefits if they meet the financial requirements. Monthly compensation can vary between €175 for families earning under €15,000 and €970 for parents with four children or more. This benefit may be increased by up to €105 in the case of a child living with disabilities.

Italy also provides unemployment benefits with a maximum payable amount of €1,358.10 per month. To apply for this, you must have paid contributions to Italian social security for at least four years.

Useful resources