Living in Italy: Where You Can Budget a Lifestyle Under $2000


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It’s the dream of many to explore the unique natural wonders, culture-rich towns, and delicious cuisine Italy offers. Is moving to this country on a budget possible in retirement, after graduating or simply on a low income? What places can I expect to find in Italy where life is nice and affordable?

This time, we’ll dive into the best places to live in Italy on a $2,000 budget. When considering budgets, housing is always the most significant expense. As such , we’ve sorted through hundreds of locations in Italy, looking at the average cost for a two-bedroom apartment, to uncover the most wonderful places for a couple to live within in this budget.

$2,000 per month is a very reasonable amount for a high quality of life in Italy. It opens up plenty of beautiful places for whatever home or type of city you want, from sunny towns on the beach to medieval villages in the hills.

5. Pescara, Abruzzo

  • Population: 120,420
  • Rent for a two-bedroom apartment: $680
  • Estimated monthly living costs $2,040

Pescara, a town facing the Adriatic Sea, is one of the biggest cities in Abruzzo and the region’s capital. Whether young or old, if you’re looking for beaches, fun nightlife, and beautiful beaches, Pescara is a great place that offers a high quality of life for all ages.

Pescara Abruzzo Italy

The city is also very well connected, with solid public transportation in the city limits, a major railway station, and interregional bus station connecting you with the rest of Italy, and an airport connecting you with the rest of Europe and the world.

If you plan on moving to Pescara, Abruzzo, you’ll have more to look forward to than beaches during warmer weather. On the edge of Abruzzo National Park, the biggest in Italy, you can find tons of outdoor activities. Pescara is also around an hour’s drive from the Maiella mountain range, which has skiing options for the winter.

You’ll find very little English use in this area, though, as Pescara is mainly visited by Italians looking to spend their vacation away from tourists. This could be a positive or a negative. If you plan on finding work in Pescara, you’ll likely find it difficult if you don’t know Italian. On the other hand, it means you’ll get a more authentic Italian experience.

On top of this, the town is a bit industrial-looking and, for the most part, doesn’t have the same charm that so many smaller towns have. Perhaps this is why the town is a bit more affordable than other Italian beach towns. You can find two-bedroom apartments for around $680, and our estimated monthly living costs will run you around $2,040.

4. Arezzo, Tuscany

  • Population: 96,000
  • Rent for a two-bedroom apartment: $690
  • Estimated monthly living costs: $2,070

Tuscany is one of the most popular regions in Italy for expats to settle. It’s no wonder, as the region offers incredible wines, rich local food, and picturesque settings. Arezzo, perched atop a hill, perfectly represents what people love about about this region.

Arezzo Tuscany Italy

Despite its deep cultural richness, Arezzo has quite an easygoing atmosphere. Often compared to Florence, the city is full of stone buildings and medieval cobblestone streets weaving through the historic center. Though it has deep ties to Florence, as the Medici family’s rule heavily influenced the city, the city offers a quiet escape from the typical tourist hubs.

If you’re looking for a more modern area, the San Donato district provides a variety of cafes, bars, restaurants, and well-maintained public parks. The district is also easily accessible through the city’s public transportation.

Arezzo is a convenient base for exploring the area. The city is on the eastern edge of the Chianti wine region and is equidistant to Florence, Siena, and Perugia. On top of this, the city is close the the Casentino Forest and other parks and natural reserves, giving you plenty of outdoor options for hiking, biking, and more.

One complaint many Arezzo residents have is the weather. Surrounded by mountains, lakes, and forests, when clouds cover the city, they often get stuck there for a while. Though the climate is mainly Mediterranean, you can go through several days of rain, especially in the winter.

Arezzo offers the best of Tuscany at affordable prices. Two-bedroom apartments in the city average for about $690. Compared to Pisa, a similar city in the region and a popular destination for travel and living, apartments of the same size will cost you $890.

3. Lecce, Puglia

  • Population: 95,000 
  • Rent for a two-bedroom apartment: $680
  • Estimated monthly living costs: $2,040

Lecce is known as the “Florence of the South” because of its baroque influences, limestone buildings, and ornate architecture. This moderately-sized town in Puglia, of 95,000 people, offers a vibrant atmosphere without the overcrowded feeling of busier cities. The town is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy because of its blend of Byzantine, Greek, and European influences, not only in its buildings but also in its art and culture.

There are many amazing things to do in the city and the Salento area in general, and the year-round sunshine and proximity to the beach make it a desirable place to live. Plus, the highly-rated university brings in 18,000 students to the city, adding a dynamic, young energy. This also provides a great option for English speakers looking for work in the city.

On any given Sunday, you can walk down the whitewashed streets and stop in at one of the restaurant, wine bar, or cafe options in the city. Dozens of museums showcase the history, art, and cultural exhibits, while there are inexpensive theaters that feature operas, symphonies, and other events.

However, navigating public administration can be challenging, as it’s often unorganized and confusing for locals, let alone foreigners. Simple tasks like getting an ID or signing up for a Codice Fiscale can take much more time than expected.

Despite this, its affordability, with two-bedroom apartments averaging around $680 a month, beauty, and vibrant lifestyle make it a fantastic place to settle.

2. Palermo, Sicily

  • Population: 674,000
  • Rent for a two-bedroom apartment: $680
  • Estimated monthly living costs: $2,040

Palermo, the biggest city in Sicily and on our list, offers a meager cost of living with plenty of opportunities for exploration. Living in this city gives access to the rest of Sicily and, as a Ryanair hub, connects you to the rest of Europe.

Palermo Sicily Italy

Palermo provides a wide variety of experiences. Of course, Sicily is most famous for its diverse food offerings. You’ll find food for the pickiest eaters, like refreshing granita, crushed ice topped with seasonal fruit, coffee, or chocolate. For seafood lovers, you can find freshly caught seafood like grilled swordfish or raw tuna with pistachio cream. If you need a quick snack, the city offers quick street food like arancini, fried rice balls stuffed with ragu, a mix of meat, spices, and tomato sauce.

The best part of living in a city like Palermo is the fresh food in restaurants and local markets. By choice or perhaps by necessity, Sicilians prefer produce grown on the island or caught in the nearby sea, making it cheap, healthy, and delicious. The city is full of locals, snacking on the streets outside of restaurants or sipping on cocktails on any weeknight.

Beyond the culinary choices, Palermo is also a gumbo pot of cultural and historical importance. Greek, Spanish, Romans, Moors, Arabs, and Normans are just a few people who came through Palermo. You can see it in the architecture, the unique Sicilian dialect, and the fantastic food.

Despite its positives, Palermo has a few setbacks if you plan to live here. The most worrying aspect is the economic issues the city and region face.  Sicily is often considered Italy’s forgotten region, so much-needed infrastructure investments often don’t happen. You’ll run into late and crowded buses and inconsistent trains. On top of this, you may find it challenging to find a job if you plan on searching the area when you move there.

But some of this can also be seen as a positive, as many areas in Palermo are untouched by tourism, giving you an authentic Sicilian experience in a large, busy town. Very few cities in Italy and abroad are this big and offer this much excitement while adhereing to smaller budgets.

1. Perugia, Umbria

  • Population: 162,000
  • Rent for a two-bedroom apartment: $670
  • Estimated monthly living costs: $2,010

Perugia is nestled in the Italian hillside in Umbria, the heart of Italy, and blends medieval charm and modern amenities. This centrally located city is just a few hours away from the center of Rome, Assisi, and Florence. Additionally, national parks are a quick drive or train ride away, offering a quiet weekend outdoors.

Perugia Umbria Italy

One of Perugia’s best features is its vibrant community. As home to the University of Perugia, around 30,000 live in the city for most of the year. Despite its medium size of 162,000 people, the city pulsates with life. A melting pot of cultures, 8% of the city’s population comprises expats.

You’ll find tons of cultural expreiences in the town. The first is the music scene, with bars and clubs hosting bands, DJ sets, and open mics nightlight. The town’s musical ties are highlighted by the popular festivals in the summer, with Music Fest Perugia and the Umbria Jazz festival attracting thousands of visitors every year.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a popular Italian town without its food. Umbria is famous for its truffles, which are often mixed with pecorino cheese in pasta. You can find colorful displays of fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, wine, and more at the several farmers markets that are held throughout the week.

As a hilltop town, there’s lots of climbing and descending in the city, so you may want to look elsewhere if you have mobility issues. However, the city is one of the few in Italy that provides tons of great public transportation options, including the cute minimetro. Despite areas of high elevation, it’s pretty easy to get around. In some places, there are escalators that will take you to the top of the hill.

Perugia is also one of the cheaper cities on our list, with the average two-bedroom apartment costing around $670 a month. A couple could easily live off of a budget of around $2,010 a month while still enjoying the amazing restaurants and scenic landscapes the city has to offer.

This article originally appeared on MyDolceCasa and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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