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How expensive is life in Italy really?

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How expensive is life in Italy really?
Shoppers at an Italian supermarket. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Slightly cheaper than the UK but more expensive than Germany: here's what you need to know about the cost of living in Italy.


Many people imagine living in Italy is cheap and cheerful - at least compared to living in many other countries. But how true is that?  Here we take a closer look at the cost of living in Italy.

According to a study by CEO World magazine published on Monday, Italy is 28th on the list of the most expensive countries to live in.

Number one on the list was Switzerland, followed by Norway, Iceland and Japan.

Australia was 16th, the US came 19th, Canada ranked 24th, and the UK was found to be very slightly more expensive than Italy, ranking 27th.

The rankings are based on five major metrics: cost of living, rent, groceries, eating out and purchasing power, and were created based on data on a range of living costs, such as accommodation, clothing, taxi fares, utility, internet, the price of groceries, transport, and eating out.

The data were then compiled into an index, using the notoriously expensive city of New York City  as a benchmark. New York was given an index score of 100. So a country with a score higher than 100 is more expensive than New York, while below signals that it is cheaper.

Italy scored 67.28 overall. It was found to be four percentage points more expensive than the UK for groceries, but almost eight points cheaper when it came to rent.

Compared to Germany, Italian groceries were six points more expensive, but rent was found to be cheaper overall.

Photo: AFP

However, restaurant bills are up to eleven percent cheaper in Germany than in Italy, with eating out in Italy costing just slightly less than it does in the UK and US, according to the study.

This echoes the findings of previous European studies, which have shown the cost of groceries, eating out, internet and communications to be relatively high in Italy.

Of course, these are overall figures by country and don't take into account regional variations, or the cost of living from one city to another.

The north of Italy tends to be more expensive than the south, and cities like Milan are notorious for high rents while it can be cheap to rent in small towns and villages. But even between cities and regions, the costs can vary greatly.

READ ALSO: These are the Italian cities where rent prices are rising fastest

According to data from Internations, the average rent price for an 85 square meter apartment in Italy is €800 (880 USD) a month.
The highest monthly rents were found to be in the northern Val D'Aosta region (€1,555 per month on avergae) and the cheapest in southern Calabria (€490 per month).
As for average utility costs, a bill of between €100-€150 (110 to 165 USD) for electricity, gas, and water for an 85 square meter apartment, according to Internations data.
Italian newspaper La Repubblica found that the average Italian family spends €2,564 on living costs monthly.
Of that, €457 went on groceries and €207 on transport.
However, overall expenses were markedly different from one part of the country to another; as high as €2,874 in the north west and falling to 2,071 euros in some parts of the south.


Comments (1)

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Anonymous 2020/12/23 13:51
Where's the link for this? Italian newspaper La Repubblica found that the average Italian family spends €2,564 on living costs monthly. It would be nice if you linked to the sources you are quoting.

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