Day to Day Living in Italy
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Day-to-day Living in Italy
Living cost should not be underestimated in Italy, which has increased dramatically during the last decade. That said, there's a noticeable disparity between the cost and standard of living in the north and central regions of , and the comparatively poorer south.
It would prove quite difficult to estimate an average cost of living in Italy, as it obviously depends on your circumstances and lifestyle. It is viable to live frugally in if you're willing to waive luxuries and 'live off the land', so to speak. Shopping for selected 'luxury' items (electronics, etc) abroad can also yield significant savings.
Italy promotes education to all citizens, although the government only subsidises public schools up to the secondary level. Private Catholic institutions are very expensive and only wealthy citizens or scholars get to attend. There are several prestigious universities in , too, and many are populated by students who come from across Europe and the .
Housing services are also provided for citizens and expatriates. Home repairs are covered by living insurances. Other utilities, water source, internet connection and gas providers are also sponsored by a good number of employers. Company and housing benefits are just some of the rewards high tax rates.
The average Italian spends about 200 Euros on groceries every month. Food costs are generally modest.
There are many large, chain-store-style, supermarkets in Italy. Large supermarkets are located outside of the historic town centres, commonly along a main road. They are even sometimes part of a mall or shopping centre.
Grocery shops are generally closed on Thursday afternoons and don't re-open until Friday morning. Apart from grocery shops on Thursdays, most other shops are open every weekday evening until about 2100.
Do note that most other shops (those not supplying food, etc) are closed from around 1230 to 1630 every afternoon.
Whether you are buying or renting a property in Italy, you'll almost certainly find that the gas, electricity, and telephone have been disconnected. Getting things reconnected will mean signing new contracts with a local provider. This is only likely to prove problematic if you cannot produce your stay permit and/or tax number; both are needed in order to sign contracts.
Bills commonly arrive every two months, and you can settle them at the utility offices, post offices, or at your local bank. Water charges are seldom included in the service charges for apartment abodes. Individual homes are on a metered-supply, which is controlled by the local municipality.
Approximately 90% of Italians are Roman Catholic.
Here are a few tips to prevent a faux-pas:
- Unsurprisingly, the Italians are very fashion conscious. Men are recommended to wear a suit and tie at business meetings
- A handshake is the accepted custom at the start and end of a meeting.
- Refrain from giving gifts that carry your business logo.
- Do not wrap gifts in the colours yellow or black, as these are symbolic of funerals. Similarly, gift-wrapping in purple signifies bad luck
- Do not be surprised if your Italian colleague is late for the meeting
- Try not to use first names until familiarity is on a more personal basis
Organisations that can assist with Day to Day Living
British Corner Shop is the online British supermarket with worldwide delivery. Ideal for British Expats, Forces and Brits living and working abroad who can't get hold of their favourite British food locally.