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

Living in Italy - Verona

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.

At the bottom of the page, you’ll also find a cost of living comparison for cities in Italy. It features all the major destinations. Figures were last updated in 2023, taking into account recent increases in the cost of living in Italy.

Table of Contents

5 of the Best & Cheapest Cities to Live in Italy


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 a 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 touristy 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 one of the top ten Italian cities for digital nomads, scoring well for fun, internet access and safety.

Living Cost Index –  1450 Euros/month


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 affordable 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 in, 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.

Living Cost Index –  1400 Euros/month


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 Italy cost of living rankings, living costs in Palermo are just 59% of the equivalent figure in Milan and if anything the gap is widening. 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.

Living Cost Index –  1150 Euros/month


Another of the country’s better value cities is Bari, located in the southeast of the country on the Adriatic coast, perfect for enjoying summer in Italy. It lies in the popular Apulia region, one of the best places to live in Italy for foreigners, particularly those 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 looking for a coastal location and warm climate. However prices have risen considerably in the past couple of years so it’s not quite the bargain it once was.

Living Cost Index –  1400 Euros/month


Living in Italy - Verona

Verona is another nice choice in the north of the country. Famed as the home of Romeo & Juliet, it 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.

Living Cost Index –  1450 Euros/month

Italy Living Cost Calculation Explained

The exact cost of living for the five cities featured in this post (and those in the table below) clearly will vary a lot from person to person and figures should be taken only as a means of comparison rather than an exact prediction of what you would spend. We used numbeo’s cost calculator (which is based on real data from people living in Italy) as a guide to calculate them.

The monthly figure is designed to cover the cost of rented accommodation and day-to-day living costs (groceries, transport, evening entertainment etc). Students and those happy to share a flat 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 slightly less than the figures quoted while others will need slightly or even a lot more. The figures aren’t intended to be a budget for a luxury lifestyle but should give you a taste for what’s it like to live in Italy like a local.

It’s important to note that the cost of health insurance is not factored into these figures and will vary according to individual circumstances. Global medical insurance doesn’t have to be expensive though. You can get a quote in less than a minute from SafetyWing to help calculate how much this may be in your circumstances.

Cost of Living in Italy – Cities Compared

CityCost of Living Index (Monthly in Euros)
This Italy cost of living data was last updated in May 2023.

This table consists of the 12 largest cities (estimated population of 250,000 or more) in addition to 8 others, most of which have been selected because they tend to 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.

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.

In comparison to living costs around Europe, Italy is pretty expensive to live in. Even the very best places to live in Spain are cheaper than cities like Bolzano and Florence while Greece and Portugal are even more affordable Southern European options. Prices in Northern Italy are typically more in line with the cost of living in France.

This post on the cheapest cities to live in Italy was last updated in May 2023. Comments and questions are welcome. However please note we are not experts on Italian or EU immigration laws nor on local job markets/study options. You may have more luck on expat forums or other groups.

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

28 thoughts on “5 Italian Cities that are cheap to live in & offer a high Quality of Life

  1. My sister and I are both retired on Social Security income and would love to live in south Italy but not sure how Social Security works if you move out of the US will have to explore that but we would love to restore one of those old houses from those towns that are paying people to move there. Any suggestions on that?

    1. Hi Nancy,

      Not sure how the social security system works in the US or how it would impact you if you moved abroad.

      Regarding the Italian schemes, my advice would be to try to find somebody who has actually gone through the whole process as it’s probably a whole lot more complicated and expensive than the various headlines suggest. There are few different programs in different regions it seems. As I understand it, the “One Euro house” offers will require a lot of restoration work which will run into the tens of thousands of Euros and may take months to complete before you can actually live there. I guess it would depend on how big of a project you want?

      The towns paying people to live there are going to be quite remote and the exact details and terms again seem a bit sketchy at the moment but I imagine more will become clear in the coming months!

  2. Looking to relocate in early 2024 to Italy. Couple in there mid 60’s. Not a large nor a small town. 2000L per month. All expenses included. Probably in the south. Where it seems you can get most bang for your buck. Any suggestions.

    1. Hi Sandy, Sicily will probably offer you the best value for money in terms of how far your money will go. In terms of mainland Southern Italy, perhaps you could look at somewhere like Foggia or Salerno. I would class those as medium sized cities (population 130,000-150,000) but I guess it depends on your definition of large/small.

  3. I was born in Italy
    Moved to Canada & now planning to move back to connect with family
    Then find a small place near the water in Sicily
    To enjoy the warm winters & meet a lovely kind lady

  4. 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.

  5. 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

    1. 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!

    2. 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.

  6. 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

    1. 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!

    2. 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 :).

    3. 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.

  7. 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.

    1. 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.

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. 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

    1. 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?

  10. 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.

  11. 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

      1. 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!

  12. 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

    1. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top