Italian standards of living
Anyone planning to live in Italy should take care not to underestimate the cost of living, which has increased considerably in the last decade. Italy is a relatively expensive country by American standards, and it’s one of the most expensive countries in the EU, although there’s a huge difference between the cost and standard of living in the prosperous north and central regions of Italy, and the relatively poor south.
Luxuries and products
Luxury and quality products are expensive, as are cars, but wine and spirits are inexpensive. Food costs almost twice as much in Italy as it does in the US, but is similar overall to most other western European countries, although you may need to modify your diet. However, you should be wary of cost of living comparisons with other countries, which are often wildly inaccurate and usually include irrelevant items which distort the results.
It’s difficult to calculate an average cost of living in Italy, as it depends on your circumstances and lifestyle. It’s possible to live frugally in Italy if you’re willing to forego luxuries and live off the land. Shopping for selected ‘luxury’ items (such as stereo equipment, electrical and electronic goods, computers, and photographic equipment) abroad can also yield significant savings.
Like in any country, the cost of housing depends on where you want to live, its size and how luxurious it is. In Rome, a room in a shared apartment runs from 300 to 600 Euros per month. In a small town outside a big city you may rent an entire apartment for that money. A decent apartment in Rome’s periphery starts from 800 Euros per month. An apartment in Monteverde Vecchio of about 60 sq meters is at least 1200 Euros a month plus expenses.
The cost of cars
Cars can almost be considered a luxury. Gasoline prices are more than twice what they are in the United States and insurance doesn’t come cheap either. To insure a 10-year-old Volkswagen in the city, a young person will spend about 1,000 euros per year for the minimum coverage—again a monthly salary for the typical Italian under 30.