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VENICE

Moving to Italy: How much does it really cost to live in Venice?

Many dream of moving to Venice and enjoying its magical atmosphere as a resident, but the floating city’s reputation isn’t exactly one of affordability. Here’s how much you’ll need to live there.

Houses in Burano, Venice
Property prices, bills, and other costs are above the Italian national average in Venice. So how much will you need to budget if you plan to move here? Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP

Very few cities in the world can match Venice’s spellbinding beauty, which is why many have at least once in their lives considered relocating to the northern city.

But life between the Veneto capital’s grandiose waterside buildings and narrow ‘calli’ (the local name for ‘streets’) comes with a hefty price tag, with one recent study naming Venice among the most expensive Italian cities for overall living costs. 

READ ALSO: Moving to Italy: How much does it really cost to live in Milan?

After all, eye-watering prices are partly responsible for the city’s recent depopulation and Venetians’ mass exodus to cheaper mainland areas.

But if you hope to move there, exactly how much money will you need to live in Venice and what are the biggest expenses for residents?  

Housing

If Venice is often described as a ‘città per nababbi’ (‘a city for tycoons’), it’s mostly because of its high housing costs, which apply to both renters and buyers. 

The average asking price for a property within Venice’s municipality is 3,323 euros per square metre, which, albeit far from the exorbitant prices seen in Portofino (10,891 euros per square metre) or Capri (8,202), is still some 1,434 euros above national average and double the regional average.

READ ALSO: ‘Fighting for survival’: Has Venice become a city no one can live in?

A view of Venice's Rialto bridge

It’s not surprising that many people dream of moving to Venice. But is it affordable? Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

That said, it’s worth noting that prices can climb as high as 5,365 euros per square metre in the San Marco district, the most central area of the city.

Things aren’t much better for renters: a one-bedroom flat in the city centre will set you back 662 euros a month on average (bills are excluded).

READ ALSO: Reader question: How will Venice’s tourist tax affect second-home owners?

While rent can be as high as 17 euros per square metre on the main island, prices are generally lower in the mainland (Mestre and surroundings) and on the smaller islands (Murano, Lido, Pellestrina, etc.)

That said, it would be nearly impossible to rent a flat for less than 13 euros per square metre.

See which areas of the city are cheaper when it comes to buying or renting a property, you can refer to the following online map

Bills

Utility bills are the second-biggest expense for Venice residents. 

Much like any other Italian region, Veneto has been hit by sharp increases in gas and electricity bills due to the European fuel crisis. According to some estimates, such increases will amount to 10 billion euros by the end of 2022.

Radiator

Utility bills are well above the national average in Venice. Photo by Jean-Christophe VERHAEGEN / AFP

Though bills are naturally dependent upon a household’s individual expenditure, ‘bollette’ (utility bills) are estimated to cost more than average in Venice.

Monthly bills – including gas, electricity and water plus waste collection fees – for an 85-square-metre flat in Venice are estimated to add up to an average of 269 euros.

That’s a whopping 91 euros over Italy’s national average, which currently stands at 178 euros a month.  

Groceries

The price of groceries in Italy has increased dramatically over the past few months, triggered by record levels of inflation.

According to Italian consumer group Codacons, Venice is the eleventh-most expensive Italian city when it comes to grocery shopping as filling a supermarket cart with basic goods is estimated to set residents back 99 euros on average – that’s a 24-euro difference compared to the cheapest city, Naples.

A list of the most cost-efficient supermarkets in Venice can be downloaded here (click on ‘Scarica lo speciale supermercati’).

Eating out 

There is certainly no shortage of bars and restaurants in Venice, though as a resident you might prefer to frequent a ‘bacaro’: a quintessentially Venetian tavern serving local wine and food.

As in most major cities, the size of your bill will largely depend not just on the type of eatery you go for but also on its location, with prices being usually much lower in the less touristy areas of the city.

That said, a three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant will set you back 70 euros on average – around 10 euros above the national average – while a regular meal in an inexpensive restaurant comes at around 15 euros a head.

RANKED: The best (and worst) places to live in Italy in 2022

The table of a cafè in Venice

There is no shortage of bars and restaurants in Venice, though eateries are usually crowded in the most touristy areas. Photo by Andrea PATTARO / AFP

Going out, leisure, entertainment 

While lacking in nightlife, Venice offers residents plenty of things to do during the day, especially on weekends. 

And, though the city might not have as broad an entertainment portfolio as Milan, it still manages to satisfy a good variety of tastes and personalities.

READ ALSO: Nine ways to get into trouble while visiting Venice

On this front, prices are slightly higher than in other major cities across the country but are still accessible for the most part. 

For instance, a regular cinema ticket costs around 12 euros, whereas renting a tennis court for one hour comes at an average price of 21 euros.

Transport

Local transport in Venice is fairly reliable – water buses (‘vaporetti’) run frequently and they’re usually on time. 

That said, services are sometimes disrupted by fog or high tides (‘acqua alta’) during the cold months, whereas vaporetti running on the main lines are often crowded during peak tourist season (late May to early September).

Water bus in Venice

Local transport in Venice is fairly reliable, though services are sometimes disrupted by fog or high tides during the winter. Photo by Laurent EMMANUEL / AFP

Prices are however fairly affordable. A monthly all-inclusive pass (‘rete unica’) with ACTV, the main public transport operator in the city, costs 37 euros, whereas an annual ticket goes for 370 euros.

Generous discounts are available to students and people over 75.

Private taxi services are available too. While being by far the quickest way to get around, water taxis are very expensive, with the cost of a ride ranging from a minimum of 40 euros for a shorter journey up to as much as 250 euros.

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ENERGY

Which households in Italy will benefit from falling gas prices?

Gas prices are returning to lower levels but which Italian households will see the benefits on their utility bill? Here’s what you need to know.

Which households in Italy will benefit from falling gas prices?

Italy’s energy regulator Arera announced on Thursday that gas bills had dropped by an average 34 percent in January, marking a change in trend after increases recorded in December and November.

Arera said the fall in prices was largely driven by lower wholesale gas prices, but was also aided by “lower supply costs” and the government’s three-month suspension of gas-related standing charges.

But not everyone in the country will feel the effects of the price change.

The decrease reported by Arera will benefit customers on a ‘protected’ or maggior tutela contract, where rates are directly determined by Arera as opposed to private suppliers – this applies to approximately 41.5 percent of Italian households.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: When can you turn your heating on in Italy this winter?

For customers with private suppliers, who are instead on mercato libero (free market) contracts, any change in price will depend on the contract itself, particularly on whether it’s based on a fixed or variable rate.

Gas prices within the mercato libero (or ‘free market’) are determined by private companies, so variations in Arera’s tariffs do not directly affect these contracts.

Gas stove

Variations in Arera’s gas tariffs do not directly affect free market clients. Photo by Ida Marie ODGAARD / Ritzau SCANPIX / AFP

Some ‘hybrid’ contracts from private suppliers index their gas prices to Arera’s rates, and customers with this type of contract are likely to see a reduction in fees.

That said, the European market registered comparatively low gas prices in January – gas cost an average of 0.74 euros per cubic metre last month, down from the average 1.25 recorded in December. This may very well result in lower gas bills for free market customers in Italy.

But overall, despite January’s decrease, gas tariffs remain much higher than they were before the start of the energy crisis.

READ ALSO: Heating homes: What are Italy’s rules on using fires and wood-burners?

The average Italian household on a contratto tutelato will still spend 1,769 euros on gas bills alone in the next 12 months (from February 2022 to January 2023) – a whopping 36-percent increase against the same period of time last year.

National consumer group UNC warned against the optimism expressed by several government figures on Thursday, saying while “families may now take a breather”, bills are still “unsustainable for too many Italians”. 

UNC also urged the government to extend the three-month suspension of standing charges for another three months when it expires at the end of March.

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