So, you’re seeking out the cheapest places to live in Italy? Great choice. A new life filled with cushiony Neapolitan pizzas and luscious Romana pastas awaits, complete with ski trips in the Dolomites and lazy summer days on the beaches of the Rimini riviera. And don’t worry, because if the budget’s tight, then there are still some wonderful spots in the offing…
Yep, this list of seven enticing destinations is all about offering a slice of La Dolce Vita without the price tag to match. Granted, you won’t be able to kick it like Mr Ripley down on the Amalfi Coast, but you can still enjoy some seriously fantastic locations…
From the jagged mountain ranges of Abruzzo to the shimmering lakes of Lombardy, the villages of Sicily to the winelands of Apulia in the south, oodles of amazing places have made it onto our shortlist of the cheapest places to live in Italy. We’re so tempted by some of them that we might just be joining you!
Table of Contents
Abruzzo is a huge cut out of central-eastern Italy. On the one side, it spills into the glistening Adriatic Sea. On the other, it rises to the peaks of the snow-doused Apennines in the spine of Italy. It’s close to Rome but hardly anywhere near as well-known as neighboring Lazio or nearby Umbria. The upshot? Prices aren’t as bloated precisely because the area isn’t on the tourist radar.
But it should be! Seriously, Abruzzo is a stunner. The western half of the region is a symphony of jagged mountains that soar to some of central Italy’s wildest peaks and parks – one glimpse at the cathedral like spire of the Gran Sasso and you’d think you’re deep in the Alps! In the east, meanwhile, there are long, uninterrupted stretches of golden sand at Roseto degli Abruzzi, Foggetta, and others.
The priciest parts of the Abruzzo region are in the towns, but you still won’t pay the premium that you do in Rome or Florence. Pescara is the main urban center, with 350,000 inhabitants. City slickers should go there, where affordable property sits on the side of an old town that dates back to the Roman era but is now packed with Art Nouveau mansions and pre-war palaces.
Marche is a fine alternative to Tuscany and Umbria for vacationers and expats that might not have the budget for the farmhouse villas and vineyard stays of those uber-famous Italian regions. It’s over on the eastern side of the Apennine chain, spilling down from the heights of Monte Cucco to the Adriatic Sea. As it goes, it offers all the rolling hills and wooded valleys and hill towns you could hope for.
Eventually, Marche also opens onto salt-washed beaches. They are some of the best in eastern Italy, and regularly draw crowds from nearby Bologna and Venice with the promise of low-key and wallet friendly camping sites by the waves – check out places like Torrette, Marotta, and Cesano if that sounds like your sort of thing.
Don’t miss a visit to the handsome towns that await here, either. Many have their roots in the Etruscan era, but others are famed for their great medieval relics. Top of the list is surely Urbino, a walled city that’s capped by imposing church domes colored a distinct terracotta. There are paintings there by the great Raphael, along with palaces once inhabited by popes.
Puglia is the heel of the Italian boot. It’s long been popular with visitors who come for the elaborate Baroque churches and piazzas of Lecce and the enthralling old town of Gallipoli. However, there’s way more on offer than that. Take the whole swathe of olive plantations and vineyards (some of the most productive in the country, no less) that awaits to the north. Or check the coast, where dramatic nature parks drop from high cliffs into a shimmering corner of the Med.
We’d actually say that the highlights of Puglia, or Apulia as the region is sometimes called, are in the more rustic, off-radar areas. You could cruise through the hinterland to see the UNESCO-tagged town of Alberobello, complete with its intriguing Trulli dome houses. You could venture north to the Gargano, where marble-white rock arches enclose eucalyptus groves by the Adriatic.
Overarching all of this is a price tag that should be a lot less than most other regions in Italy. Bari – the regional capital and one of the main ports – is rated as the second cheapest city to live in in Italy by Nomad List and is widely considered to be one of the cheapest places to live in Italy overall. On top of that, rates for villas and property are less than up north, especially if you leave behind the historic streets of Lecce province.
If you’re on a tight budget but are craving a taste of that jet-setter lifestyle offered by the Italian lakes, then look no further than Lago d’Iseo. An S-bend of water that drifts through the Bergamo Prealps, it’s got the same crystal-clear mountain waters and skyline of limestone mountains as Garda, Como, and Maggiore. Only it’s a much more local option that shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to live in or visit.
The best part of the lake is its northern side. Luckily, that’s also the cheapest because it dodges the famous Franciacorta DOCG winelands on the southern shores, where towns like Iseo and Clusane boast better transport links to Milan and Verona. We especially love the charming villages of Lovere and Pisogne. The first is even an official I Borghi Più Belli d’Italia – one of the prettiest towns in all of Italy.
Summers in Iseo are all about swimming in the lake from the lidos of Castro and Pisogne. Spring and fall are peak hiking seasons – there are oodles of amazing trails to discover in the Sebino park to the north. When the snow falls, you’re only a short drive from the Dolomites, but there are also more affordable ski fields on the doorstep, at Montecampione, for example.
Keen viewers of HBO’s hit series The Sopranos will already have clocked that this one is the fictional ancestral home of the titular family of mobsters. Thankfully, it’s less about American gangsters than it is about rustic Campanian markets that burst with San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. Oh, and it’s rated as the top of all the cheapest places in Italy to live for digital nomads by destination collator Nomad List.
Avellino itself is a mid-sized town of just over 54,000 people. It sits over 300 meters up in the depths of the Partenio Mountains, far in the south of Italy. The center has a couple of cool POIs: The gilded Romanesque Avellino Cathedral, the elaborate Fountain of Bellerophon, a couple of quaint piazzas ringed by espresso-scented cafes.
It’s also the capital of its own province, and that’s where we’d say the real joys lie. A short drive and you could be hiking in the Parco Regionale Monti Picentini, a hardly visited land of crashing waterfalls and beech woods. Go in the other direction and you could hit the epic Amalfi Coast, where lemon groves meet pastel-painted towns in what’s surely one of the most romantic places on the whole planet!
Crashing down to cap off the northern part of Tuscany in a blinding display of dagger-like mountains, the Apuan Alps are every bit as dramatic as their namesake compadres to the north. However, they are WAY less visited and basically unknown to fly-in travelers. That’s had a knock-on effect on the cost of living here, especially when it comes to property – we were very tempted upon our last visit when we saw a four-bed country house for under $60,000 on offer in the Apuan Alps!
The point here is that this mountainous northern part of the very famous (and generally pricy) region of Tuscany isn’t at all like what you find south of Pisa. Gone are the rolling hills and the high rates. Instead, you can bag homes for a fraction of the price as Chianti could muster and you’ll gaze at shark-fin peaks like the Pania della Croce out of the window.
Apua, as the region is sometimes called, is really about escaping the crowds but still being close to some of north Tuscany’s top draws. For example, the walled city of Lucca is just down the road and Pisa is less than an hour’s drive. On top of that, you’ll have access to some of the least-trodden hiking paths in the whole of Italy. Not bad, eh?
Ah, Sicily – no list of the cheapest places to live in Italy could possibly skip this stunning island. It’s widely considered to be among the most affordable parts of The Boot. Where else could you bag a house for €1? Mhmm…Sicily is ground zero for the urban regeneration project that sees local municipalities offer derelict houses for just a single coin.
Sadly, there’s a flip side to that because Sicily also has some of the highest poverty rates in the country. Oh yea, and it is home to the infamous Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia, with reports of them hampering businesses and day-to-day still pretty common.
The upsides of relocating to Sicily are many, though. The island is bathed in sun for more than 300 days of the year. There are glorious beaches all up the east coast, from Ortigia to the Oasi Faunistica di Vendicari Reserve. You’ve got smoke-belching Mount Etna to climb, along with cities like Palermo and Catania that positively buzz with grittiness and life.
The cheapest places to live in Italy – a conclusion
The home of pizza and pasta isn’t the most affordable country in Europe. However, this guide to the cheapest places to live in Italy does have some great suggestions for those looking to relocate on a tighter budget.
It ranges from the sun-kissed southern areas of Apulia and Campania all the way to the glistening lakes on the edge of the Dolomites to offer a series of very different places that shouldn’t break the bank. Basically, it’s about dodging the uber-famous vacationer regions of Tuscany and Umbria, along with the chic cities of Rome, Florence, and Milan, all in favor of something a little more off the beaten path.
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.What is the most affordable place 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.What is the cheapest safest place to live in Italy? ›
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. This region is often compared to Tuscany. Like Tuscany, Abruzzo has medieval villages and towns dotted atop rolling hills.Which Italian city is cheapest? ›
Cheapest cities in Italy: Padova, Palermo, and Bari. The healthcare system is widely available and affordable. Groceries and eating out could be as low as $300/month. Italy is just beautiful even though there is some bureaucracy.Where is it inexpensive to live in southern Italy? ›
Abruzzo Is One Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Italy
Known as Southern Italy is more like central Italy. Abruzzo's eastern border is a long stretch of Adriatic coastline. The clean waters are a popular summer destination. The western part is wild and rugged mountains.
It's the primary reason many people first consider moving overseas. In general, the COL in Italy can be 30% to 70% lower than the cost of living in the U.S., depending on where in Italy you want to live, and how you want to live.Is it cheaper to retire in Italy than in the US? ›
Italy is far less expensive than the U.S. when it comes to housing. According to April 2023 data from Numbeo.com, average rents in Italy are almost 55.3% lower than they are in the U.S. For a one-bedroom city center apartment, you can expect to pay about $718 per month in rent.What is the average rent in Italy? ›
The average rent price in Italy is 800 EUR (880 USD) a month. However, this is just the average—you will find rental prices to range from 490 to 1,550 EUR (540 to 1,700 USD). Below is a table with monthly rental prices by region, from most expensive to least expensive.How much does it cost to live in Italy in US dollars? ›
Family of four estimated monthly costs are 3,072.6$ (2,795.3€) without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are 883.1$ (803.4€) without rent. Cost of living in Italy is, on average, 15.1% lower than in United States. Rent in Italy is, on average, 55.7% lower than in United States.Can I live in Italy as an American? ›
Living in Italy as an American
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.
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. Here's what you need to know if you're interested in purchasing property in this pretty town.Is Italy really selling homes for $1? ›
Over the last few years, several Italian towns have gone viral for offering up homes for just €1 (which amounts to a little more than $1 U.S.). The idea actually arose back in 2008, when the mayor of a town in southern Sicily first tried it.How much do you need to retire in Italy? ›
If you have savings of at least €175,000 ($200,000) and a steady source of income from social security, a pension or investments of around €1,750 ($2,000) to €2,300 ($2,650), you can afford to retire here comfortably.How long can you live in Italy without being a citizen? ›
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.How much money should I have to move to Italy? ›
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.What is the cheapest way to move around Italy? ›
Trains – The best way to get around Italy is via their extensive train network. Prices are affordable too, with most trips costing just 10-30 EUR. Rome to Florence takes just 90 minutes (on the fast train) with tickets starting at 20 EUR. Rome to Venice takes around 4 hours with tickets starting around 30 EUR.Can I collect Social Security if I move to Italy? ›
How Benefits Can Be Paid. If you have Social Security credits in both the United States and Italy, you may be eligible for benefits from one or both countries. If you meet all the basic requirements under one country's system, you will get a regular benefit from that country.Can an American 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. EU citizens can freely relocate to Italy. From 2022, the retirement age in Italy is set at 67 for both genders.Where do Americans live in Italy? ›
Lazio is the most popular region
Lazio, which includes Italy's capital Rome, is home to some 2,800 Americans, making it the most popular region among US nationals.
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.
As a general rule, American pensions are taxed in Italy. However, there are few exemptions as explained by the double taxation treaty with US.Does Italy have free healthcare? ›
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.
In 2023, the average house price in Italy is $366,000 for a 2,000 square foot home, a price per square foot of $183. Compared to the US real estate market, Italy house prices are 20% more affordable than homes in the US, where the median sale price is $455,000.What is Italy's minimum wage? ›
Italy has no minimum wage but protects workers through collective agreements.How much money do you need a month to live in Italy? ›
However, if you are not really interested to read the details, here is your answer: our cost of living in Italy per month is 1600 Euros – for a couple (cost of living in Italy in us dollars = U$ 1720).Do I have to pay US taxes if I live in Italy? ›
First, virtually all US citizens are required to file an annual US Federal tax return, regardless of whether they live in the United States or Italy. Second, by living in Italy, American expats also can be subject to Italy taxation.How much is $10 US in Italy? ›
If you'd rather cook at home, you'll find it a very budget-friendly choice. For basic pantry staples, milk costs about USD$4-$4.90 per gallon, eggs are USD$2.56-$3.12 per dozen, chicken is USD$3.58-$4.38 per pound and rice is USD$0.80-$0.98 per pound.Can a US citizen rent a house in Italy? ›
Documents you need to rent a home in Italy
You'll need two things when signing a lease: your documents and a deposit. As for the documents you need to rent a house in Italy, you won't have to pay any special fees. All you need is an ID card or passport and Italian tax code.
You can get dual citizenship in USA and Italy if you can prove you have Italian ancestry with a demonstrable unbroken line of citizenship. Since 1992, Italy has allowed dual citizenship with the United States, and you will not need to renounce your American citizenship during the process of applying.
The easiest and simplest way to “move to Italy” as an American is by utilizing the Uniform Schengen Visa, which allows US citizens to stay in the Schengen Area of Europe for 90 days in a 180 day period. And United States citizens don't have to do anything extra to get this type C visa.Where can I move in Italy and get paid? ›
Presicce-Acquarica in the southern Italian region of Puglia will pay new residents up to €30,000 to relocate there. The municipality is made up of two towns - Presicce and Acquarica del Capo - surrounded by countryside and olive groves.Where do I get paid to relocate to Italy? ›
PRESICCE, ITALY: The quaint Italian towns of Presicce in Puglia recently announced that they'll be offering new residents €30,000 ($~32,000) to move there in 2023. (It's situated at the “heel of the boot”, when you look at the map of Italy.)What island in Italy pay you to move there? ›
Here's what you need to know
Move to a Sardinian town with a population of fewer than 3,000 people. Put the $15,000 towards renovating a home. Live there full-time. Register Sardinia as your permanent residence within 18 months.
US Citizens: Can I Purchase a House in Italy? The simple answer is yes you absolutely can buy property in Italy as an American! There is no limit on US citizens buying or selling properties in Italy thanks to something called mutual agreements.Do you have to pay cash for a house in Italy? ›
THE DEPOSIT 'CAPARRA' WHEN BUYING A HOUSE IN ITALY:
1385 of Italian Civil Law) by means of a non-negotiable cheque in favour of the vendor. The deposit is usually between 5 to 10% of the agreed selling price, with a minimum of € 10.000,00.
You are entitled to old age benefits if: you have accrued at least 20 years of contributions; you have met the new minimum age requirements (adjusted over time based on life expectancy) which is 67 years for both men and women (applying till 2026); you have stopped working.What are the requirements for a US citizen to retire in Italy? ›
- Proof of sufficient financial resources to support yourself without working. ...
- Proof of lodging. ...
- Proof of health insurance. ...
- Valid passport. ...
- Italy Long-Stay Visa Application Form. ...
- Passport-size pictures. ...
- Civil status documents. ...
- Police clearances from your home country.
The standard pension age in Italy is 67. To qualify for a state pension (pensione di vecchiaia), you'll need to have made at least 20 years of social security contributions. The pension age is set until at least 2026.How long can an American live in Italy without a visa? ›
U.S. citizens may enter Italy for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. All non-residents are required to complete a declaration of presence (dichiarazione di presenza).
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!Can I get residency in Italy if I buy a house? ›
Can I get residency in Italy if I buy a house? Purchasing real estate in Italy does not entitle foreign citizens to a residence permit in the country. But you can choose other investment options via the Italy Investor Visa program.What is the cheapest place 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.What is the easiest way to move to Italy? ›
- The Schengen Visa. ...
- The Self-Employment Italy Visa (Lavoro Autonomo) ...
- The Elective Residency Italy Visa: Residenza elettiva. ...
- The Start-up Visa for Italy. ...
- The Entrepreneur Italy Visa. ...
- The Investor Italy Visa.
Under the scheme, for 5 years, income from work as an employee (or similar category) and self-employment pursued in Italy is taxed at 30% of the amount, or 10% if the worker becomes resident in one of the following regions: Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sardinia or Sicily.Can I drive in Italy with US license? ›
Tourists may also use their valid American driver's license if accompanied by an official translation in Italian. Americans registered as residents with the local Vital Records Bureau (known as Anagrafe) must apply for an Italian license within one year of the date of registration.Is it cheaper to live in Italy then the US? ›
The United States is 34% more expensive to live in than Italy. The only areas where American prices are more affordable are clothing and gas. However, as highlighted, salaries in the US are significantly higher than the Italian ones.How much money do you need to live comfortably in Italy? ›
Family of four estimated monthly costs are 3,072.3$ (2,795.0€) without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are 883.1$ (803.4€) without rent. Cost of living in Italy is, on average, 15.1% lower than in United States. Rent in Italy is, on average, 55.7% lower than in United States.Is Italy a good place for Americans to retire? ›
Italy is often referred to as one of the best countries in the world to retire to for various reasons, from a relaxed lifestyle to large expat communities in some areas, not forgetting the Mediterranean climate, high quality of life and the incredible food and wine culture that Italy has to offer.Where do most American expats live in Italy? ›
Italy has many great places for expats to live, and some popular options include Florence, Rome, and Milan. Florence is perfect for those who love art and history, while Rome has a lot of ancient history and cultural heritage. Milan is known for being a hub of fashion, design, and business.
The average rent price in Italy is 800 EUR (880 USD) a month. However, this is just the average—you will find rental prices to range from 490 to 1,550 EUR (540 to 1,700 USD). Below is a table with monthly rental prices by region, from most expensive to least expensive.What city in Italy pays you to live 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. Here's what you need to know if you're interested in purchasing property in this pretty town.How long is a US citizen allowed to stay in Italy? ›
This regulation is strictly enforced in Italy. U.S. citizens may enter Italy for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. All non-residents are required to complete a declaration of presence (dichiarazione di presenza).What is the cheapest town in Italy to buy a house? ›
Abruzzo. Compared to Tuscany and Umbria, Abruzzo is the cheapest region to buy a property in Italy. There are numerous property options, from beachside apartments to inland farmhouses and historic palazzi. Abruzzo's inland countryside is full of picturesque towns and ancient Roman ruins.Can I collect Social Security and live in Italy? ›
If you have Social Security credits in both the United States and Italy, you may be eligible for benefits from one or both countries. If you meet all the basic requirements under one country's system, you will get a regular benefit from that country.Is US Social Security taxed in Italy? ›
In case you are a resident 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.