cheapest cities to live in Italy
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5 Italian Cities that are cheap to live in & offer a high Quality of Life

Italy ranks as one of Europe’s most popular destinations for anyone looking to live in a new country. It boasts so much charm and history as well as one of the world’s very best cuisines. In this post, we’ll look at the cheapest cities to live in Italy and consider which are the best options for combining a high quality of life with affordable living.


5 of the Best & Cheapest Cities to Live in Italy


Padova

best cities to live in Italy

Padova via Carlos Andres Reyes, CC BY 2.0

One place that finds a nice balance between affordability and good standing of living is Padova (AKA Padua). Located around 40 km from Venice and with rail connections taking less than 30 minutes, you can get the Venetian experience without having to deal with the high cost of living in one of the world’s most touristic cities.

Padova has plenty to offer in its own right though. It is a historic town of piazzas, bridges and narrow old streets and is a good option for anyone who prefers smaller, less chaotic cities. At the time of writing, it is ranked by NomadList as the number one Italian city for digital nomads, scoring well for fun, affordability, internet access and safety.

Estimated Living Costs* –  1100 Euros/month

* The cost of living for the five cities featured in this post clearly will vary a lot from person to person and should be taken only as a means of comparison rather than an exact figure. Students and those happy to share a flat with several people and maybe live a bit away from the centre will spend less than somebody living alone in a good area. Therefore some people may be able to get by on less than the figures quoted while others will need slightly or a lot more. Our figures are not intended to be a budget for a luxury lifestyle. It is a relatively tight budget but one that still allows enough freedoms to fully experience and enjoy the Italian way of life like a local. Use the table at the bottom of this page to compare living costs in these cities to others in Italy.


Turin

If you’re looking to live in a big city but can’t afford the extra few hundred Euros it would cost to live in Rome or Milan, then Turin (AKA Torino) may be your best bet. It is Italy’s 4th largest city with a population just shy of one million but despite that and its location in the wealthy northern region of Italy, Turin is surprisingly cheap to live in.

As well as all the usual facilities and advantages that come with living in a large city, Turin’s location at the foot of the Italian Alps, brings with it all kinds of options for getting out and enjoying nature. The city hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics and has many great nearby options for skiing during the winter months or hiking in the summer.

While it may lack the charms of Rome or Florence, Turin is still mostly an attractive city to live, famous for its Baroque architecture and as the home of Juventus, Italy’s most successful football club. For those looking for a long-term stay, Turin’s status as a major hub for technology and industry is also significant and suggests that it could go from strength to strength in the coming years.

Estimated Living Costs – 1150 Euros/month

Search for Accommodation in Turin:


Palermo

Living in Sicily

Palermo via Santiago Lopez Pastor, CC BY-ND 2.0

As far as the cheapest cities in Italy go, your best bet is to head to Sicily. It is the largest Mediterranean island, located just off Italy’s ‘boot’ and offers a much warmer climate than you will get in the north in a city like Turin.

Catania and Messina are also viable cheap options for living on the island but the largest Sicilian city is Palermo and it actually ranks as the 5th largest in all of Italy. Like many Italian towns, your first impression may not always be positive with busy streets and noisy traffic. It may not be the most beautiful city either, but as the main transport hub on the island, it’s the best base for getting around and exploring all that Sicily has to offer whilst still enjoying the benefits of city life.

According to our rankings, at just 900 Euros/month, the cost of living in Palermo is just 57% of the equivalent figure in Milan. While depending on your circumstances, you may need to factor in the reduced options for jobs and lower salaries in Italy’s poorest region, anyone able to work remotely will make great savings by choosing Sicily as their base.

Estimated Living Costs – 900 Euros/month


Find Work Placements in Italy

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Bari

Another of Italy’s cheapest cities is Bari, located in the southeast of the country on the Adriatic coast. The capital of the Apulia region is growing into a popular destination for foreigners looking for much cheaper rental prices and living costs than you find in cities such as Rome and Milan.

Efforts have been made in recent years to restore and spruce up its medieval old town with a range of excellent late night options for eating and drinking. Bari has always been a major port city for travellers heading between Italy and the Balkans and with increasing numbers of cruise ships docking in Bari, it has made a considerable effort to increase the safety of a city centre which once felt a bit dodgy.

Overall, a bit like Palermo, it’s a good option for anyone whose priorities include a coastal location, warm climate and cheap living costs.

Estimated Living Costs – 975 Euros/month

Read more – The cost of travel in Italy


Verona

cheapest cities to live in Italy

If your budget is a bit higher, then Verona may be a better option. This northern Italian city, famed as the home of Romeo & Juliet, is almost certainly the most aesthetically pleasing of the five featured in our rundown of affordable Italian cities.

Verona is complete with an array of ancient castles, piazzas and medieval churches. It is a wonderful place to visit as well as live but unlike some other popular Italian cities, it retains a more relaxed feel and its prices have not been skyrocketed by a tourist boom.

Its location in a central part of northern Italy and convenient transport links also make it the ideal base for doing weekend or day-trips to cities such as Venice, Florence and Milan, all of which are less than two hours away by public transport.

Estimated Living Costs – 1175 Euros/month


Cost of Living in Italy – Cities Compared

For the table below, we’ve taken 1350 Euros as a base monthly figure for living in Rome. This should be a very comfortable amount for anyone living in a flatshare, aiming to have a lively social life and do things in your spare time (you may be able to get by on less). It should also just about cover costs for anyone looking to rent their own place, although if you are renting alone, you may need to live away from the city centre.

We have then used numbeo’s cost calculator as a guide to calculate the estimated cost of living in 19 other cities in Italy. As you might expect, there is quite a big divide which loosely runs along north-south lines with the north being the wealthier part of the country whereas the south as well as the islands of Sardinia and Sicily are much poorer and home to many of the cheapest cities to live in Italy. There are exceptions to this rule with the capital Rome a bit more expensive while Turin is relatively affordable for a large northern Italian city.

City Estimated Cost of Living (Monthly in Euros)
Milan 1575
Venice 1475
Rome 1350
Bolzano 1350
Florence 1300
Bologna 1225
Rimini 1200
Modena 1200
Parma 1200
Genoa 1175
Verona 1175
Pisa 1150
Turin 1150
Treviso 1150
Trieste 1125
Naples 1100
Padova 1100
Bari 975
Catania 950
Palermo 900

This list consists of the 12 largest cities (estimated population of 250,000 or more) in addition to eight others, most of which have been selected because they tend to be rank highly in quality of life rankings or are generally quite popular with foreigners moving to Italy to live. The eight smaller cities are Padova, Trieste, Pisa, Bolzano, Treviso, Rimini, Modena and Parma.

It’s important to note that the cost of health insurance is not worked into these figures. This is because older people will pay a lot more for example while EU citizens may already have an EHIC card which entitles you to treatment, meaning you won’t have to worry about this extra expense.

If you are a remote worker, digital nomad or even a retiree (under 69) and you do need cover for your move to Italy, then we can recommend SafetyWing – a popular company which offers affordable global health insurance for anyone living or working abroad, even during a pandemic!


This post on the cheapest cities to live in Italy was published in July 2020.


Comments and questions are welcome. However please note we are not experts on Italian and EU immigration laws nor on local job markets/study options. You may have more luck on expat forums or other groups specific to moving to Italy from abroad.

21 Comments

  • GAETANO

    I am retired from show Business, Sang on Miami beach for 40 years. I want to live in Italy for 6 months of the year, Around AVELLINO, San Biagio.

  • Beverly Bolden

    Hi,
    I have been interested in Italy for a number of years, I am a retired single 70+ Y.O. female.
    I want to explore the best place for a single retiree with limited income. What is the first thing I should look to do before making a long term commitment to live there. I was thinking of going to vist with a travel group to sightsee. I love the beaches and I am looking for a quaint apartment but quiet place.
    I appreciate your advise. Thank you

    • myfunkytravel

      Hi Beverly,

      Your idea of going to visit sounds like a good one. Maybe shortlist a few places and see what your impressions are. Southern Italy and Sicily will most likely offer the best options in terms of living on a limited income, close to the beaches and with a warmer climate.

      In terms of what specifically you should look for, you’d probably need to speak with someone with more knowledge on retirees moving to Italy and some of the issues that may come up, as certainly not an expert on that topic. Maybe you can try to find online groups for retirees who have already moved to Italy and try to get advice there of the best way to go about it.

      Good luck!

    • helena zenia

      Hello,
      I’m considering a move to Italy and have found that Italy requires a monthly income of almost $4000.00 a month in order to establish residency. The financial requirements seem daunting and not flexible. I don’t want to be discouraging but it’s the reality if you want to live in the country.

  • Luz Martha Callum

    Hello,

    We are 2 retirees looking to experience life in Italy.
    Where would you suggest we could look to live with our Socual Security. I would like to rent a place first to experience before purchasing. Would realtors help us find places? Cost?
    How would we go about getting qualified for health care? As an individual with 100% Italian ancestry – 2nd generation born in USA, would we be able to purchase real estate? Qualify for any benefits? I have heard that to buy/live/get benefits in Italy you need to prove you are of Italian lineage. Is that still true today?
    How would we get transportation without renting or purchasing a car? Is there ample public transportation? We would like more the suburbs vs urban areas.
    Please advice. We have many questions as we begin to prepare.

    Thank you,
    Martha Callum

    • myfunkytravel

      HI,

      Not really an expert on the legal process of retiring in Italy and getting health insurance etc nor the US social security system so can’t be of much help on those matters.

      In terms of rental costs, you might be looking at 600-900 Euros for a one bedroom apartment in Rome, perhaps slighly more in some northern Italian cities but more like 300-600 Euros in the south. There are many realtors that can help with that, including some English language ones in the cities and regions more popular with foreigners.

      The question of transportation really depends on where you want to live. In general though, most cities in Italy certainly have better public transport networks than you find in the USA. Many have metro or tram networks, or at the very least an extensive bus system, so a car is rarely a necessity, even if you live in the suburbs. If you want to live somewhere more rural or in a smaller town, then having a car is something you may want to consider.

      Hope this helps a bit!

    • Lindsay

      Hi Luz, there is a very helpful FB group for such things if you’d like. It’s a very friendly and informative group. Look up expat and Abruzzo and you will find it straight away. I look forward to seeing you on there :).

    • Anna masotti

      Am a gypsy at heart..always have been. Lived in Europe 30 years ago. I’m an irish citizen (dual) and would like to buy reasonable and small around Westport, ireland..is this a good idea
      Thank you.

  • Kimmo

    We are aiming to move to Italy in few years. What could be a proposed area or town for us. Two adults and a teenager. Studying possibilities, easy access to some international airport, close to mountains and the sea. Reasonable living cost. Not in a big town nor in the middle of nowhere. We can work remotely wherever – just need for good connections like fast internet. Language is not the thing, everything can be learned.

    • myfunkytravel

      Hi, in the north I’d say Padova might be a good option. It’s only around 20 miles from the coast but you’re also close to the Alps and it’s certainly one of the cheapest cities in Northern Italy. Population approx 200,000 so it’s not a big city and you’re only 40 minutes by road from Venice Airport.

      For a warmer climate and better value, you might also want to consider one of the smaller towns in Sicily – wherever you are, you won’t be too far from mountains or the sea. However Northern Italy is probably better for studying, certainly in terms of universities.

  • Yolanda

    Good evening,

    What does the cost of living pet month include?
    Please list the cost breakdown for Single or couple ages 62 plus.

    Thank you for your assistance.

    • myfunkytravel

      Hi Yolanda,

      The cost of living estimates per month are designed to cover all living expenses for one person – accommodation costs, groceries, some days/nights out and activities. Costs such as healthcare or insurance aren’t included though. Clearly the figures are only a very rough estimate and will vary hugely depending on each individual’s lifestyle and spending habits.

      Couples should be able to save a bit on the figures listed by sharing accommodation so I might suggest knocking 100 Euros off the figures if you’re planning to live with a partner.

      Regarding age, it’s impossible really to give an accurate breakdown for different age categories as one 60+ year old may have a very different idea of a ‘comfortable standard of living’ to someone else their age. In general though I’d say the article was written more with younger people in mind – for example digital nomads, or people moving to teach English or just wanting to experience life in Italy for a year.

  • Alan

    Looking to live a healthy lifestyle with fresh food and vegetables etc
    Church and fresh market near by
    With warm weather and things to do and a view would be nice
    We like the amalfi coast but might be too expensive , Florence Tuscany area is nice

    • Kimberly Di Fabrizio

      Looking to relocate to Palarmo , Sicily Italy affordable need to rent a room in a home. Can you please help me find a long term place to live?

  • Mary Campo

    Looking for a place to retire in Italy. Warm weather, affordable and walkable community living with access to the train. Thank you for helping me focus on areas.

  • Luana Tomassini

    I am an Italian consultant, based in the country and with many years of international work experience. I am able to appreciate the requirements of an international clientele and how to best obtain their goals.

    Nest Sourcing service is available to potential buyers interested in purchasing a property in Italy. The process is simple and cost-effective:

    YOU choose at least THREE properties, I INSPECT and REPORT to you

    To request a free consultation: info@nestsourcing.com

      • Lavoro Nontrovi

        Italians are not able to find good jobs, How you will get thenecessary documents and find a job with just a High School diploma? …. non even In your dreams!

  • Kevin Dalton

    Thanks
    My wife and I are retired with a limited budget. Want to live someplace warm and near the sea and charming. We like the city of Monopoli. Any advise is appreciated.
    Thanks for your help

    • myfunkytravel

      Hi Kevin,

      South Italy or Sicily certainly would be your best bets if affordability and climate are the main priorities. Monopoli looks nice but not really an expert on that area. The Sorrento coastline near Naples is also lovely. Some of the towns and villages there may be a little more expensive than Naples but the less touristy ones should still provide good value.

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