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How Much Does it Cost to Move to Italy From the US?

So, you’re taking the leap and thinking of moving from the US to Italy. That’s amazing, Italy’s a beautiful country with a strong expat community for a reason. That being said, any major relocation is an expensive undertaking and needs to be budgeted for carefully. So, how much does it cost to move to Italy from the US? 

Obviously, this varies based on where in Italy you’re planning on moving to, whether you’re moving solo or with a partner or family, and general lifestyle factors.

Most of the figures in this article are based on a couple moving from the US to Italy, to a mid-budget city rather than a touristy hotspot or budget location.

Okay, so with that out of the way, let’s check out the breakdown of how much it costs to move to Italy from the US!

Where Are You Moving to in Italy?

First things first, you need to figure out where you’re moving to in Italy.

Maybe you have a job to relocate to or you have family in a particular region and that’s determining your location.

If you have no ties to specific places in Italy, the general rule of thumb is that the south is cheaper than the north. 

Of course, large cities like Venice, Milan, Rome, and Florence are the most expensive places to live, so unless you have a very healthy budget, it’s best to steer clear.

Instead, you can opt for smaller cities and towns that still have that distinctly Italian way of living, but in a less sprawling way.

Larger cities that are still budget-friendly include Genoa, Naples, and Palermo, if you still want to have a big city life on a small town budget.

A lot of US expats find moving to a smaller Italy city or large town as that perfect sweet spot between having amenities and travel connections and being able to experience a more authentic Italian lifestyle than sticking to the tourist hotspots.

Think about living in Rome or Florence like living in New York or LA, versus smaller spots like San Diego or Olympia.

You still have plenty to see, do and enjoy, but without the chaos, high prices, and tourists. 

Check out this post for specific recommendations from expats who have lived in Italy.

Flights to Italy & Extra Suitcases

Before you even touch down in your new home, there are plenty of moving expenses that you need to budget for. Flights are a big expense and will obviously vary based on your route.

On average, if you’re flying to and from major cities, you’re looking at around $300 each for a one-way flight.

This is before you add any baggage or transfers to and from the airports. 

Obviously, if you’re traveling in the peak Summer months, this can almost double, so if you have the flexibility to choose when you relocate, it’s a good idea to avoid the Summer holiday break.

The same goes for over the holidays when travel costs are at a premium. 

With you moving to another country, you’re going to have a lot of stuff to take with you.

Even if you plan on buying big-ticket items like furniture over there rather than shipping your stuff from the US, your life’s belongings are unlikely to fit in the given 23kg of luggage.

Per extra 23kg checked bag, you’re looking at around $50 each at a minimum. Normally you’ll get one checked piece of luggage included with a transatlantic flight, but it quickly adds up.

You can also think about shipping your belongings either ahead of you or scheduling them to arrive a short period after you.

Depending on how much you need to take and what the items actually are, it can run from $500 up to $5000.

It’s definitely worth Marie Kondo-ing your life before you move and seeing what you can replace once you’re out there versus sentimental pieces that you want to take with you.

If it’s a temporary move or you don’t have your final Italian accommodation sorted out yet, you’ll also need to factor in some storage costs if you’re bringing big-ticket items.

On average for Europe, storage units cost around 250 per square meter, per year. It’s not a cheap option, so it might be better to downsize and buy new furniture and pieces locally.  

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Bringing Pets

Got a furry friend that is making the big move with you? That’s another expense that you’re going to have to factor into your relocation budget.

Not only do you need to pay for his ticket over to Italy, but you have to make sure they’re fully up to date with their vaccinations and are microchipped. 

a cat sitting in a moving box

If you meet these basic criteria, your pet shouldn’t need to be quarantined when you arrive in Italy.

However, if your pet doesn’t meet this criteria, or you don’t have the right paperwork to prove vaccination and chip status, your furry friend might have to spend time in quarantine.

Your pet also needs to be over three months old, in an approved carrier, and can sit, stand and turn on its own. 

It’s also worth noting that not all accommodations will be pet-friendly, many landlords want to keep their properties pet-free and this will limit your rental options.

Additionally, if you’re in a big city, outdoor space for your property is going to come at a massive premium.

So, if you’ve got a big dog and you’re thinking of moving to a big city in Italy, you need to keep in mind that you might end up in a small apartment with no lift and no outdoor space.

Hiring Help to Get a Visa

Italian visas can be a bit of a headache, with a lot of different styles of visas for different scenarios.

It might be worth you hiring an expert to make the process smoother, and ensure that you’re eligible for the visa you’ve chosen. 

Visa consultants often have set project fees as a guideline or bill by the hour, so check which is going to work out better for you before you commit.

On average, you’re looking at around 5,000 euros all-in.

Also, make sure to check any reviews of your visa consultant beforehand – expat forums and sites are a great place to get recommendations and referrals. 

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Paying Visa Fees & Visa Taxes

Whether you use a visa consultant or do it yourself, you’re going to have a sizable visa-related bill.

Of course, it depends on which visa you’re applying for and how many visas your family needs.

Depending on which long-term permit you’re applying for, you’ll need to budget between $140-$240 per visa. 

visas in a passport

Accommodation

One of the biggest things that you need to factor into your budget is accommodation.

If you’re relocating for work, try to negotiate in some form of accommodation, even if it’s temporary.

Failing that, ask for some assistance from your new colleagues before you arrive in Italy. 

If you’re renting, you’re looking at around 800 euros a month for an apartment in a mid-budget town.

This won’t include any utilities and probably won’t have any outdoor space.

Obviously, depending on your requirements and location this is going to vary.

It’s worth knowing that short-term, three month rentals aren’t really a thing in Italy, with many landlords requiring a year or two year commitments.

If you’re not sure about which area you want to live in, it might be worth moving into an Airbnb first so that you get a lay of the land.

This will be more expensive, but at least you won’t get trapped in a lengthy contract in a location you hate.

Food

One of the best things about moving to Italy is the quality of the ingredients. As the Mediterranean climate is able to grow pretty much anything, there are tons of fresh, local options for you to choose from.

It’s one of the reasons that Italians tend to cook at home instead of eating out.

This obviously saves you a ton of money over time and going to the markets to get your fresh produce is a great part of immersing yourself in the local culture.

Overall for a couple, your Italian grocery bill is likely to be around 450 euros a month. 

Bills

Obviously, any utility bills are subject to seasonal change – no one is blasting their heating during July in Italy.

It also varies based on where you live – you’re likely to spend more on heating if you’re up near the Dolomites than if you’re living in Palermo. 

Utility prices will also vary based on the size, age, and style of your property.

If you’re in a small flat in a block, it’s likely to be cheaper to heat than if you’re in a period farmhouse in the countryside.

All in all, you should probably budget around 100 euros a month for water, gas, and electricity in the summer and spring months and increase it for the winter and fall months. 

Mobile and Internet

When it comes to mobile phone providers there are a few that are common all over Europe such as O2 and Vodafone which you can use for a fairly low rate.

A 3GB data plan contract with Vodafone will set you back around 25 euros a month which is pretty reasonable, especially compared to US prices.

For internet providers, there are four major ones in Italy: Tim, Three, Vodafone and Wind.

Three and Vodafone operate all over Europe including in the UK and have a pretty solid reputation.

With your WiFi, you’re looking to pay around 30-40 euros depending on your package.

You’ll probably also have to pay a router installation fee and line rental to start with, but these are both one-off payments totaling around 75 euros. 

On both your mobile and internet plans, please be wary of any cancellation fees.

It often says there will be no charges for early contract termination, but many people have been charged up to an 80-euro fine for trying to get out of poor contracts early, particularly with Wind.

Transport

Transport costs are all going to depend on your location. If you live in a small Italian town, it’s likely that you’ll be able to walk everywhere.

If you live on the outskirts of a major city, you might need a public transport pass. If you live in rural Italy, you’re probably going to need a car to get around. 

motorbikes on a street in Italy

Cycling is a common enough way to get around small towns or in from the suburbs, and you can pick up a bike for around 100 euros.

Be careful if you’re buying a bike from a market, as this is how a lot of stolen bikes get moved along. 

If you’re in a larger city, you might benefit from a public transport pass. Most cities have a few methods of transport, whether that’s buses, trains, trams, and even ferries.

These public transport passes can encompass a few of these methods to help you get around.

They’re not the cheapest in the world, but it is still going to be cheaper than having a car, filling it with gas, and finding somewhere affordable to park. 

For example, in Milan, a public transport card costs around 50 euros a month per person. This means you can live further outside the city and still be able to get into the center.

You end up saving money on the more expensive city rent and can often find places that have more space.

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Language Lessons

If you’re going to move to Italy, you need to learn the language.

This is a no-brainer. It’s not like you’re visiting and if you’re doing tasks that require getting around Italian bureaucracy, you’re going to need to know a decent level of Italian.

Luckily, the best and quickest way to learn any language is through immersion.

When you have to use Italian to get through the day and you’re hearing it all the time, you’re going to start to soak it up way more. 

Most major cities offer free language courses for foreigners if you ask around on expat groups and sites. This is to help acclimate yourself to the culture quicker.

If you’re in rural Italy or can’t find a free in-person course, there is a self-teaching Italian course created by RAI, the Italian radio and TV station, that you can access online.

If you don’t mind paying for your Italian lessons, hourly rates and classes can range from 15-30 euros depending on your level, class size, and location.

It’s worth factoring in that if you purchase a whole block of lessons in advance, you can often get a discounted rate.

It’s definitely worth looking at even if it seems like a big chunk of cash upfront, as you’re going to need a fair few lessons before you become conversational at least.

Other Expenses

When you move to Italy, there are a few other expenses that you need to budget for. These also vary based on your situation but are worth keeping in mind nevertheless.

Insurance

Many visas are contingent on you and your family having a decent level of health insurance or paying a fee to get you enrolled in the subsidized national health service.

Even if this isn’t required during the visa process in your case, making sure that you have insurance that covers you in Italy rather than in the US is critical.

Whether that’s homeowners, renters, car, travel, or contents insurance, you need to protect your stuff!

Going out

A large part of Italian culture is socializing in the community. Whether that’s going out for a morning coffee, indulging in an Aperitivo hour, or visiting the markets, none of it is going to be free.

It shouldn’t cost a fortune either, but it’s something to think about.

For guidance, an all-you-can-eat and-drink Aperitivo hour is around 10 euros and a coffee and pastry is around 3-5 euros. Small costs, but they do add up over time. 

Childcare

Moving with a little one in tow? Childcare is not entirely free in Italy, although municipal nurseries are subsidized by the taxpayer.

These public nurseries can cost anywhere between 170-440 euros a month depending on where you are in the country and the nursery itself.

If you’re wanting to go private, you can expect to spend 600-700 euros a month.

So, you could end up paying as much in rent as you do on childcare – when you think about it like that, it’s a big expense that you need to factor in.

The Total Cost to Move to Italy from the US

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.

Obviously, this goes up if you have children or need to move to a big city.

So, if you’re thinking of moving to Italy and enjoying that Dolce Vita lifestyle, it’s not going to come cheap.

While it’s more affordable than a lot of European countries and certainly cheaper than a lot of US cities, you still need to work out your finances before you commit. 

It’s around 1900 USD a month for comparison, which is still cheaper than a lot of US cities, and you get the added bonus of living in gorgeous surroundings and eating delicious food.

So, when are you booking those flights?

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