Cost of living For Members

Rome or Milan: Which city has a higher cost of living?

The Local Italy
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Rome or Milan: Which city has a higher cost of living?
Will you spend more on an aperitivo in Milan or in Rome? Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP.

As Italy's political and economic capitals, Rome and Milan both attract large numbers of international residents. But which city costs more to live in?


Rome and Milan are Italy's two most popular cities for English-speaking foreigners living in Italy - despite consistently performing poorly compared to other world cities in quality of life surveys.

Milan attracts international residents with its bustling job market and cosmopolitan outlook, while Rome is valued for its sunny weather and rich history and culture.

But which city will cost you more to live in?


When it comes to rent, you should expect to spend more in Milan, though a lot depends on which neighbourhood you pick.

Monthly rents in Rome average a little over €15 per square metre, compared to Milan's €22, making the latter almost 50 percent more expensive.

According to estimates from the cost of living site Numbeo, renting a one-bedroom flat in the city centre of Milan will set you back around €1,400 a month on average, while in Rome it will cost a little over €1,100.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why Milan is a much better city to live in than Rome

The same site suggests a one-bed apartment on the outskirts of Rome costs around €680 per month, while the same type of flat on the outskirts of Milan will still come in at an average monthly price of just over €900.

Wikicasa's interactive map suggests that monthly rents in the most expensive part of Rome cost around €30 per square metre, while in the most expensive part of Milan you can expect to shell out as much as €67 per square metre.

Rental costs in Milan will set you back significantly more than in Rome. Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP.


This depends - Numbeo suggests bills overall are slightly higher in Milan than in Rome.

The site estimates that monthly bollette - which include gas, electricity and water bills plus waste collection fees - for an 85-square-metre flat in Rome currently add up to an average of €226, whereas in Milan they cost around €240.


However, a recent survey by the consumer rights association Assoutenti found that gas bills in Rome are the highest of any Italian city - around €2,046 a year, compared to €1,817 in Milan.

READ ALSO: Where can you find the cheapest fuel in Italy?


Again, cost of living sites tend to rate Milan as a little more expensive than Rome when it comes to groceries.

The online investment advisor Moneyfarm estimates that the average Rome family spends around €400 a month on groceries, whereas the average family in Milan spends €450 a month.

2023 survey by the consumer rights association Codacons found that the cost of basic goods isn't necessarily cheaper in southern Italian cities than in the north, however.

While items like bread, olive oil and meat were more expensive in Milan than in Rome, pasta, milk and flour cost slightly more in the Italian capital.

You can expect groceries to cost a bit more in Milan than in Rome. Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Eating out

You can expect to spend a bit more eating out in Milan than in Rome.

A three course meal for two in a mid-range city restaurant will set you back around €80 in Milan, while in Rome you'll pay €65 for the equivalent.


Meanwhile a single course meal for one person in an inexpensive restaurant costs around €15 in Rome, but €20 in Milan, according to Numbeo estimates.

A cappuccino in Rome costs an average of €1.53, compared to €1.92 in Milan – while a 0.33-litre bottle of foreign beer costs €4 in Rome, and €5 in Milan.

READ ALSO: How the price of an espresso varies around Italy

Going out, leisure and entertainment

You'll spend a similar amount of money on leisure activities in Rome and Milan.

A cinema ticket in both cities costs around €10, while a monthly sports club membership costs a little over €60 on average in Rome and Milan.

Culture-lovers in Rome can benefit from the MIC card, which grants residents free entry to 27 city-owned museums and archeological sites across the city for just €5 a year.

The average restaurant meal costs more in Milan than in Rome. Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP.


Public transport costs more in Milan than in Rome - though you could argue that the higher cost is offset by more efficient and reliable services.

A single ticket in Milan will cost you €2.20 and is valid for multiple journeys on all public transport for 90 minutes from the time of validation, whereas a single ticket in Rome costs €1.50 and is valid for 100 minutes.


A monthly urban pass with ATAC, Rome's public transport operator, costs €35, while an annual pass goes for €250.

Meanwhile a monthly pass in Milan with ATM, the northern city's transport operator, costs €39, an annual ticket will set you back as much as €330.

Both cities offer discounts for some categories of residents.

Parking in Rome costs between €1 and €1.20 an hour or €4 for eight hours, whereas in Milan you'll pay anywhere from €1.20 an hour on the outskirts to €4.50 an hour in the city centre. 



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