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.
The Best, Affordable Cities to Live...
The Best, Affordable Cities to Live in Italy
5 of the Best & Cheapest Cities to Live in Italy
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 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 the number one Italian city for digital nomads, scoring well for fun, affordability, internet access and safety.
Estimated Living Costs* – 1300 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. In all cases, costs were updated in September 2022 to account for recent rises.
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 – 1200 Euros/month
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 1100 Euros/month, the cost of living in Palermo is just 63% 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 – 1100 Euros/month
Another of Italy’s better value 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 looking for a coastal location and warm climate, although prices have risen considerably in the past couple of years.
Estimated Living Costs – 1350 Euros/month
Verona is another good option 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.
Estimated Living Costs – 1300 Euros/month
Cost of Living in Italy (2022) – Cities Compared
For the table below, we’ve taken 1500 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. In all cases, costs were updated in September 2022.
City Estimated Cost of Living (Monthly in Euros) Milan 1750 Bolzano 1500 Rome 1500 Venice 1450 Florence 1400 Bologna 1400 Bari 1350 Modena 1350 Genoa 1350 Parma 1300 Verona 1300 Trieste 1300 Padova 1300 Rimini 1300 Treviso 1250 Pisa 1250 Naples 1200 Turin 1200 Catania 1150 Palermo 1100
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.
Digital nomads and remote workers in Italy may wish to check out SafetyWing who offer flexible Nomad Insurance from $42 per 4 week period as well as more extensive Remote Health plans which even work in your own country.
This post on the cheapest cities to live in Italy was published in July 2020. The figures were updated in September 2022.
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.
5 Italian Cities that are cheap to live in & offer a high Quality of Life
What is the best and cheapest city to live in Italy? ›
Turin, Palermo, and Naples are the cheapest cities to live in in Italy. The cost of living in Milan is just slightly higher than the living costs in Rome. The cost of living in Florence is only slightly lower than the cost of living in Rome. The cost of living in Turin is 19% lower than in Florence.Where is the least expensive place to live in Italy? ›
Abruzzo. Located to the east of Rome, Abruzzo is arguably the cheapest and the best region to live in Italy. It has great mountains, fantastic scenery, good food, lovely Italian people and plenty of expats.Which city of Italy has the best quality of life? ›
In 2022, the best cities to live in Italy are Aosta, Piacenza and Cagliari. In order to compile this ranking of the best quality of life in cities in Italy, a range of different areas were considered.What city in Italy pays you to live there? ›
The picturesque town of Presicce in the sunny region of Puglia is the latest to enter the game with a tantalizing offer. Officials say they will pay people up to 30,000 euros (roughly $30,000) to buy an empty dwelling and take up residency.What is the safest city to live in Italy? ›
- Abruzzo. The region of Abruzzo lies to the east of Rome. ...
- Apulia. The “heel” to Italy's boot-shaped territory, Apulia is proof that the south does have plenty of extremely safe places to live. ...
- Milan. ...
You'll need to maintain your investment as long as you want to keep your visa. After 5 years, you can apply for permanent residency in Italy which will no longer oblige you to maintain your investment level. Cost: Free.Where do most foreigners live in Italy? ›
With close to 3 million inhabitants, Rome is the third largest city of Europe. It's also home to 300.000 fellow expats, as around 10% of the city's population is non-italian. It has top-notch universities with a lot of international students.What is the friendliest Italian city? ›
Polignano a Mare was at the top of the list when it came to finding the friendliest place to travel by Booking.com. The town sits on Italy's Adriatic coast and is known for its breathtaking clifftop location and white pebble beaches – and it now has the most welcoming hospitality sector out of anywhere in the world.Is Italy a good place for an American to live? ›
Other pros to making Italy your new home is that you'll be able to eat fresh and wholesome food every day, have access to a topnotch education system, good public transport, gorgeous scenery, and a rich culture and history. Essentially you'll be living where many Americans only dream of having their ideal vacation!What U.S. city is most like Italy? ›
Venice Beach, California looks like… well... Venice, Italy. At least part of the area does. These canals were designed by tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney in 1905 to imitate the city of Venice and bring a taste of Italian culture to America.
Where are the friendliest people in Italy? ›
Arsiero is home to some of the friendliest People on the Planet. Arsiero, in the Veneto Dolomites, is a peaceful, tranquil kind of place. Here you will find some of the friendliest people on this planet, awesome scenery and history galore. .How easy is it for a US citizen to move to Italy? ›
Italy is notorious for being quite difficult with visas and it's safe to say that the visa options for Americans to move to Italy are few and will take quite a bit of effort to obtain. But Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world!How long can an American citizen live in Italy? ›
All non-residents are required to complete a declaration of presence (dichiarazione di presenza). Prospective residents or anyone intending to stay in Italy for longer than 90 days must obtain a permit of stay (permesso di soggiorno).Does Italy pay Americans to move there? ›
A town in the south of Italy is offering up to €30,000 to those willing to relocate there. Presicce-Acquarica has been struggling with a declining population and abandoned homes. To help lure new homeowners, the town has promised grants to people who buy a house and register as residents of the town.How much money do you need to retire in Italy? ›
Conditions for expats retiring to Italy
In order to retire to Italy, a foreign citizen must comply with a few requirements. Among these, the foreign citizen must be retired and have a minimum annual income of EUR 31,000. For married couples seeking to retire in Italy, the minimum amount necessary is EUR 38,000.
On average you're looking at around 1500 euros or 1900 USD a month to move to a small city or larger town. That doesn't include the moving costs, which would be around 6,000-10,000 USD depending on your situation for the plane ticket, deposit on an apartment, help with a visa, etc.Can a retired US citizen move to Italy? ›
Can expats retire in Italy? Yes, everyone can retire in Italy. Non-EU citizens need to apply for an Elective Residency Visa, also known as Italy Retirement Visa.Can you live in Italy on Social Security? ›
Can I Collect Social Security if I Live Outside the U.S.? If you are a U.S. citizen and qualify for Social Security retirement, family, survivor or disability benefits, you can receive your payments while living in most other countries.Are US pensions taxed in Italy? ›
As a general rule, American pensions are taxed in Italy. However, there are few exemptions as explained by the double taxation treaty with US.Is Italy safer than the US? ›
Safety statistics in Italy
Italy's crime rate has been in a consistent freefall since 2010. Plus, you're never far from a police officer: Italy has 550 officers per 100,000 people, which means it's 9th in the world in terms of police presence. For context, the US is ranked 45th.
What city in Italy has the lowest crime rate? ›
- Naples, Italy. 10: Naples. Naples has achieved a bad wrap over the years because of organized crime. ...
- Verona, Italy. 9: Verona. ...
- Bologna, Italy. 6: Bologna. ...
- Venice, Italy. 5: Venice. ...
- Rome, Italy. 4: Rome. ...
- Turin, Italy. 3: Turin. ...
- Florence, Italy. 2: Florence. ...
- Milan, Italy. 1: Milan.
Imperia. Imperia occupies first place in the ranking thanks to its very few heat waves. Imperia Italy weather is characterised by pleasant year round temperatures.How do Italians view Americans? ›
In general, Italians respect Americans and always welcome them as friends. They adore the curiosity of American tourists in regard to experiencing Italian culture, and they love the way that Americans enjoy their food.Why not to move to Italy? ›
Con: The cost of living can get quite high in the main cities. The high cost of living is a common problem associated with living in major cities throughout Italy. Many people who are moving to the country have no idea how much it'll cost them, and they can be caught off guard by some unexpected expenses.What does a US citizen need to live in Italy? ›
Americans must have an entrance visa which should be obtained at an Italian consulate before coming to Italy, in order to remain in Italy more than three months and gain resident status. This procedure will take several weeks to complete so it is advisable to apply well in advance of the departure date.Can an American buy house in Italy? ›
There is no limit on US citizens buying or selling properties in Italy thanks to something called mutual agreements. These apply between Italy and foreign citizens meaning that you don't need any special documents or pay higher taxation on property when compared to citizens from within the EU.Where is the best Little Italy in America? ›
- Chicago, Illinois.
- Manhattan, New York. ...
- Boston, Massachusetts. ...
- San Francisco, California. ...
- Providence, Rhode Island. ...
- Toronto, Ontario. ...
- St. Louis, Missouri. ...
- Montreal, Quebec. French meets Italian in the wonderful Little Italy of Montreal. ...
- Bologna. Bologna doesn't disappoint as a culinary metropolis. ...
- Palermo. Palermo is one of the best food cities in Italy. ...
- Rome. ...
- Florence. ...
- Sorrento. ...
- Parma. ...
Italy Healthcare System
The national health service in Italy, Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), provides residents with free or low-cost healthcare that includes access to general practitioners (GPs), treatment at public hospitals, subsidised medicines, lab services, ambulance services and certain specialist care.
If you're a member of the European Union, moving to Italy is easy. You are free to live and work there without a visa. However, a work visa is necessary for everyone else coming to Italy for non-tourism purposes. Expats need to organize more than just their work visas.
Where do Americans go in Italy? ›
According to professional travel planners, most Americans visiting Italy stick to the hits: Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como or Cinque Terre. With some of the country's most famous architecture, art, beaches and museums, those destinations are the most popular for good reason.What city in the US is like Paris? ›
Instead of Paris: Washington, D.C. America's capital city is full of Parisian elements, thanks to French architect and urban planner Pierre Charles L'Enfant, who designed it. Like Paris, D.C. is bursting with history, horticulture, and haute cuisine.Where is Italian spoken the most in the US? ›
New York and New Jersey are the states with the largest number of native Italian speakers, with around 294,000 and 116,000 speakers, respectively.What part of Italy speaks the most English? ›
But for the most part, you can live comfortably in Italy without knowing Italian, as long as you live in the large, touristy cities. In fact, some of the best cities for English speakers to settle in are Rome, Bologna and Milan. These cities have lots of English speakers and English job opportunities.What town in Italy is offering money to move? ›
Presicce, which is situated in the Puglia region of Italy's southern peninsula—in the heel of the country's boot shape—is offering €30,000 (about $30,000) to anyone who will buy an empty house built before 1991, move in and live there, reports CNN's Silvia Marchetti.Can I just up and move to Italy? ›
American citizens can move to Italy, with some caveats, as with any country. If your parents or grandparents were born in Italy and immigrated to the U.S., you can get an Italian passport, which grants you the right to live in Italy without going through the extra hurdle of getting a visa and/or permanent residence.Can an American become an Italian citizen? ›
Yes. You can become an Italian citizen if you can prove that you have legitimate ties to Italian ancestry. On the other hand, you may be entitled to apply for dual citizenship through marriage and this process does not require that you renounce your right to citizenship in the United States.Do I lose my American citizenship if I become Italian? ›
As from August 16, 1992, Italian citizenship is no longer lost in concomitance with the acquisition of foreign citizenship unless the Italian citizens formally renounces it.Is there a downside to dual citizenship with Italy? ›
Another of the disadvantages of Italian dual citizenship may only apply to you if your chosen career path entails working for the government. If you hold dual citizenship, you may be denied a position that enables you access to sensitive material, not just in Italy, but in other countries as well.What age can you retire in Italy? ›
For the statutory old age pension, from 1 January 2019, in addition to at least 20 years of contributions, the pension age you must have reached 67 years (applying till 2026) for all categories of workers.
How much do you need to make to live comfortably in Italy? ›
However, if you are not really interested to read the details, here is your answer: our cost of living in Italy per month is 1600 Euros – for a couple (cost of living in Italy in us dollars = U$ 1720).What part of Italy should I move to? ›
Where to live in Italy: central regions. The regions of the center of the Italian country are Abruzzo, Lazio, Marche, Tuscany, Umbria. The central regions are the most appealing place to live in Italy. If you want to know where to live in Italy keep in mind that foreigners love central Italy!Is Italy a good place for Americans to retire? ›
Italy is one of the most popular vacation spots in Europe. It's also a great option if you're thinking about retiring abroad. The country is known for its delicious food, beautiful towns and mild weather, making it about as ideal a retirement destination as you'll find.Can an American live full time in Italy? ›
Living in Italy as a US citizen is possible if you have the right permit. There are 2 types of residence permits in Italy: 1. Permesso di Soggiorno: a temporary, renewable residence permit with varying durations of validity.How much money would you need to retire in Italy? ›
Conditions for expats retiring to Italy
In order to retire to Italy, a foreign citizen must comply with a few requirements. Among these, the foreign citizen must be retired and have a minimum annual income of EUR 31,000.
|Rent (two bedroom apartment)||$650|
|Gasoline, insurance and maintenance for one car||$300|
There is no limit on US citizens buying or selling properties in Italy thanks to something called mutual agreements. These apply between Italy and foreign citizens meaning that you don't need any special documents or pay higher taxation on property when compared to citizens from within the EU.Where to live in Italy for 3 months? ›
A large city like Milan will offer a faster-paced metropolitan lifestyle, while in Rome you can access all your modern conveniences while surrounded by ancient history. Cities like Naples, Florence, or Palermo each have an undeniable character and offer experiences like no other country could.Is it easy for an American to move to Italy? ›
If you're a member of the European Union, moving to Italy is easy. You are free to live and work there without a visa. However, a work visa is necessary for everyone else coming to Italy for non-tourism purposes. Expats need to organize more than just their work visas.What's it like for an American living in Italy? ›
Other pros to making Italy your new home is that you'll be able to eat fresh and wholesome food every day, have access to a topnotch education system, good public transport, gorgeous scenery, and a rich culture and history. Essentially you'll be living where many Americans only dream of having their ideal vacation!
What is the friendliest part of Italy? ›
Topping the list is the southern Italian city of Matera, one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited areas. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, it's known for its natural caves — many of which serve as accommodations like Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita — in addition to its welcoming community.