Best Places to Live in Italy Under $2,200

Best Places to Live in Italy Under $2,200

Is moving to Italy on your wishlist but you worry that you may not afford it? We set out to prove that even on a small monthly income, there are plenty of nice places to live in Italy.

As the monthly budget gets bigger, the location choices open up. This time, we’ll take you through the best places to live in Italy for $2,200 or less per month.

The main aspect we considered was housing, which will take up most of the monthly budget and ideally, it should not exceed one third of it. For this reason, two-bedroom rental apartments in the cities on this list average are around $725. 

You may be surprised at how far $2,200 will get a couple in Italy. From one of the oldest cities in the world to modern bigger cities, you and your loved one will find a place that suits any preference.

5. Matera, Basilicata

Population: 60,000
Rent for two-person apartment: $710
Estimated cost of living: $2,130

Best known for its appearance in “No Time to Die,” the final movie in Daniel Craig’s James Bond series, Matera is one of Italy’s most spectacular and unique places. Located in the Basilicata region in southern Italy, this is one of the oldest cities in the world, providing a distinct perspective of Italian life that is off the beaten track.

Matera’s Sassi di Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage site that gives glimpses into the city’s ancient past. The districts are linked back to prehistoric settlements that are thought to be some of the first human communities in Italy.

Homes were dug into the volcanic rock itself, and throughout eras, the town kept the distinct white stone look in mind when building modern accommodations. On top of this, Matera’s pedestrian-only streets, labyrinthine passages, and lookout points provide stunning views, making it an ideal location for expats who enjoy exploring historic and picturesque surroundings.

Unfortunately, Matera isn’t the most connected city in Italy. The town’s closest airport is 34 miles away in Bari, the closest major town, and the city itself is almost five hours away by train from Napoli. Getting around the rest of Italy from Matera isn’t convenient unless you have a car.

Matera has many visitors during peak tourist seasons since recent government policies have focused on increasing tourism. Though this may affect the immersion into the Italian lifestyle, the city may offer some English-speaking job opportunities.

In the off-season, the small town of around 60,000 residents offers a peaceful, quiet way of life. With the average two-bedroom apartment priced at $710 a month, a couple can reasonably live in one of the most unique places in Italy.

4. Catania, Sicily

Population: 588,000 
Rent for two-person apartment: $730
Estimated cost of living: $2,190

Sicily has an incredibly complicated history, and Catania offers a gateway to the island region’s storied past. Nestled amidst the backdrop of Mt. Etna and set on the coast of the Ionian Sea, this bustling hub attracts a diverse crowd, from students at the local university to visitors from across the globe.

Foreign investment has injected new energy into some of the city, with the center home to new coworking spaces, enotecas, cafes, art galleries, and much more. The city also has an eclectic mix of bars, cafes, and nightlife for anyone seeking a livelier town to settle in.

Catania’s history is also a primary part of the city’s culture. Shaped by successive waves of Greek, Roman, and medieval conquests, you can journey through the city’s many historical residents in the dozens of museums the city offers.

The local markets give a sense of Sicilian life, offering chaotic yells from stall workers trying to sell their wares. Traditional farmer’s markets offer fresh catch and locally-grown produce, delicately organizing their products so the colors match the city’s artistic traditions.

Outside of Catania’s urban lifestyle, the city is also deeply connected to its natural surroundings. Mt. Etna looms in the background, a volcano that shaped the city over the centuries. While the volcano offers opportunities for hikes, it also creates poor air quality when active.

On top of this, you may find it more disorganized and dirty when wandering outside the main center. Though this is the case in many big cities throughout the country, it can be a bit off-putting to some.

Despite this, Sicily and Catania, specifically, showcase some of the best food in the country. From the renowned pasta alla catanese, a breadcrumb and anchovy-based pasta dish, to freshly-stuffed cannolo, you’ll have tons of amazing options. Whether you’re dining at Michelin-starred restaurants or picking up a dish to-go from street food vendors, you’ll find tons of satisfying options.

3. Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna

Population: 129,000
Rent for two-person apartment: $750
Estimated cost of living: $2,250

Dominated by the Castello Estense, a castle at the city’s center, Ferrara is a hidden and affordable gem in the heart of the otherwise expensive Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Its central location makes traveling throughout the country and the rest of Europe easy, with a major train line running through the city.

The city also offers tons of outdoor activities for expats and locals alike. The city’s ancient walls, built in the 15th and 16th centuries, are now the perfect place for activities like dog walking, jogging, and cycling, providing tranquility and stunning views of the city. There are also parks throughout the town, like Parco Urbano, which has 12,000 hectares of green space for hikes, bike rides, and outdoor sports.

On top of this, there are year-round events such as the annual Buskers Festival, Balloon Festival, Christmas markets, and the Sotto le Stelle music festival. The city offers a plethora of events, from the Mille Miglia vintage car race to the pumpkin festival, ensuring there are always unique things to do.

Ferrara’s local specialty, Cappellacci di Zucca, a pumpkin-filled pasta, is a must-try during fall. Moreover, the city’s vibrant food scene, including the tradition of aperitivo, where bars offer free snacks in the early evening, adds to the allure of living in Ferrara.

Ferrara offers a true Italian experience away from the typical tourist trail. Apartments are on the more expensive side compared to other cities on our list, with the typical two-bedroom places averaging $750. Couples can expect to live off of $2,250 a month easily in this beautiful town.

2. Ancona, Marche

Population: 100,000
Rent for two-person apartment: $750
Estimated cost of living: $2,250

Ancona is the capital of the Marche region and one of the region’s most important economic hubs. The city is shaped like an elbow, with part of the coast jutting out into the Adriatic Sea, making it one of the only cities where you can view the sunrise and sunset over water.

Ancona’s amazing Mediterranean weather and location on the sea make it a popular destination for expats who are nature enthusiasts and beach lovers. With numerous beaches dotting its shoreline, visitors are spoiled for choices for setting up their umbrellas and lounging for a day. The area also offers tons of seaside adventures like kayaking, fishing excursions, boating trips, kite surfing, and more.

Just south of the city lies Parco Del Conero, which features well-kept trails and amazing views of the ocean from Monte Conero’s peak. If you’re looking to get out of town and away from the crowd, you’ll find tons of biking and hiking trails that offer fresh air and open spaces.

The region also offers incredible local cuisine like the “Brodetto,” a dish that originally used nine different types of fish found in the river and Adriatic sea and flavored with wild saffron that grows in the area. You can also find high-quality locally grown seasonal produce like honey oil, legumes, stone-ground wholemeal, sausages, artichokes, and more in the farmer’s markets throughout the week.

On the downside, some locals find the city overcrowded in the peak summer tourist season. Plus, as a major port city, the area has higher than average pollution levels, but this is easily offset by taking a trip to the green areas outside of town.

However, the city’s status as an important commercial center and one that is often visited by cruise ships makes it a great place to look for work, especially for English speakers. On top of this, considering the amenities the town offers, the low cost of living makes it a highly desirable town.

1. Genoa, Liguria

Population: 674,000
Rent for two-person apartment: $740
Estimated cost of living: $2,220

Built around its historic port, which was once one of the most important harbors in the Mediterranean Sea, Genoa, Liguria, remains a vital commercial shipping hub to this day. The city offers a mix of old-world charm, given UNESCO World Heritage status in 2007, and modern comforts.

Full of baroque buildings, renaissance palaces, and ornate churches, walking through the city’s cobblestoned alleys will feel like you’re taking a step back in time. You can find art from masters around the world in the many museums the city has to offer.

At the same time, the city also has tons of modern attractions for those with kids or who want to spend time on different interests. The city is home to the largest aquarium in Europe, cinemas, quaint cafes, and a picturesque seafront promenade.

Genoa also provides a strong public transportation system, a rarity in the country. With two major train stations and an extensive bus network, you’ll have no problem getting around the city and the rest of the country. On top of this, the rail connections extend to the rest of Europe, while ferry services from the city can link you to places like Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, and more.

Unfortunately, English speakers may face a language barrier when moving here, especially if you plan to search for a job after moving. Plus, complaints of the city’s dirtiness and rough-around-the-edges appearance make it more like Catania than Ancona.

Yet, green spaces like the Peglie and Nervi parks provide a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city’s urban landscape. On top of this, pristine beaches are just a train ride away to the most charming Ligurian coastal towns. In so many ways, Genoa offers a perfect life balance, matching the interests of many expats. 

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