Tuscany is an extremely diverse province in Italy that is a favorite location for Expats looking to relocate to the country. As one of the most popular tourist destinations throughout the year Tuscany can offer you an incredible lifestyle that is exciting, culturally rich and very reasonable in terms of the costs.
The stunning landscapes that surround the metropolitan capital of the region, Florence, which is famous for being the heart of Renaissance, all make Tuscany an ideal part of the world to relocate to.
The Italian culture is extremely unique but you won’t feel out of place because although the scenery is different and people speak Italian, it still has all the modern conveniences of Western life including top class healthcare, excellent shopping and plenty of fun activities to do in your free time.
The Economy of Tuscany
Although the economies of Tuscany are ancient, in many cases thousands of years old, the province has also kept up with the times and developed at a fast pace. As an Expat you can enjoy the combination of old and new; and in your daily life there’s always a small restaurant around the corner to discover for an impromptu lunch.
One of the major industries of Tuscany is tourism which sees high levels of demand throughout the year from local Italians as well as a constant stream of foreigners. As an expat living in Tuscany you can enjoy all the services that are put on for the tourist industry and since you’ll be there in the quieter times of the year you’ll also get a great price. Tuscany is home to some of the finest artwork, architecture and sites of historical interest in the world so if you have a streak of the culture vulture in you then you’ll be in seventh heaven!
Food and wine are central to all Italians but Tuscany stands head and shoulders above most other areas of the country! Tuscan wine is famous throughout the world and the vineyards are scattered throughout the picturesque countryside. Towns and districts of Tuscany have developed their own specialities in all areas of Italian cuisine and as an Expat you’ll be spoilt for choice whether you’re eating out, buying supplies from a local market or even shopping in a supermarket.
Another one of the most important sectors of the economy in Tuscany is the textiles industry which specialises in leather, shoes and stylishly fashionable clothing. Florence exports huge quantities of textiles and leatherwares to markets all over the world however it also supplies the local region. You can benefit from the great range of locally made clothes and accessories which you’ll be able to pick up at a much lower price than if you had bought the items in your own country after they had been exported.
Tuscany also produces high quality marble and stone which is used in sculpture, building work and architectural projects. In the newly emerging industries that are beginning to flourish in Tuscany Pisa is home to a software industry that is rapidly growing.
Tuscany is the Jewel in Italy’s Crown
As one of Italy’s most thriving, culturally spectacular and economically diverse regions you might be worried that the cost of living will be very high! However, the good news is that it’s actually extremely reasonable.
If you live in the main cities, such as Florence, then you will be looking at a slightly higher cost of life than in more rural areas. For a modest 1 bedroom apartment in Florence, the rent starts at about $900 per month while a larger 3 bedroom city center apartment costs around $1800 per month.
For a 3 course meal in a mid range restaurant in Florence it will cost approximately $75 per person, including wine and bread. If you fancy swinging by a cafe and grabbing a quick cappuccino it will cost around $1.50.
Florence is a beautiful city that is bustling with activity and has a wide range of restaurants, cafes, art galleries and much more to explore.
Average Costs of Buying and Renting In Tuscany.
There is a fair amount of variation across Tuscany when it comes to buying or renting, however, to give you a rough idea here’s a breakdown of some of the region’s most popular places for Expat relocation.
|City||Avg. Cost Of Buying|
Per Square Foot
|Avg. Cost Of Renting|
Property (Per Month)
Per Square Foot
General Cost of Living in Tuscany – An Average Breakdown for Two People who are Living Together. NOTE: This does not include health insurance.
|Item||$US Per Month For 2 Adults|
|Utilities (Gas/Electric/Water)||180 -200|
|Car Including Gas||350 – 400|
|2 Mobile Phone Plans||60|
|Internet||30 – 35|
|Local Taxes||20 – 30|
|Groceries||250 – 300|
|Dining & Entertainment||200+|
|Total||2000 – 2500|
Money Saving Tips For Expats in Tuscany.
You can actually live very cheaply but if you want to splash out there’s plenty of wonderful restaurants, attractions and cultural events that you take part in. Theaters, music venues and festivals all play an important role in the life of Tuscany so no matter what your tastes are you can find something to meet your expectations.
As an Expat living in Tuscany, you can enjoy a much higher quality of life at a much lower cost if you venture out in the rural regions where you will also experience a more authentic Italian lifestyle.
- Why Not Learn To Cook Authentic Italian Food At Home?: Once you have found your feet and settled into the local community you can really bring the cost of living way down by finding those local markets and stores that sell regionally produced food and start cooking at home. This will save you a huge amount of money if you stop eating out so frequently and start cooking your own food more regularly at home. When you’re buying your food to cook at home you can also keep an eye out for some of Italy’s chains of budget supermarkets, including Lidl, Penny Market and In’s Mercato. The food is still good quality and you can save a lot of money by getting some of your basic groceries in these larger box stores.
- Getting Around – Travelling For Cheap: While you’re travelling around Italy you can often save money by walking or getting around on a bike. If you are going to be using public transport you can get cheaper tickets if you plan ahead and buy them beforehand – including for buses, trams and trains.
- Cultural Sites – Finding What’s Free: Tuscany is famous for its historical, archeological and cultural sites but not all them cost money to visit. In some places sites are free to visit on the first Sunday of the month while in others it’s not, so keep your ear to the ground and ask locals what’s free to do around the area! There are always free places to visit in Tuscany including churches that house incredible artworks and sculptures, public parks and museums. To make sure you don’t miss out, ask at your local tourist office for more information about exactly what’s free to do where you are.
- Saving Money on the Essentials: In many ways Italy, and especially Tuscany, is very cheap compared to most of Northern Europe and America, however, when it comes to items such as clothes and shoes it can be quite expensive. You can save money on your clothes by shopping in the markets where you can also negotiate and haggle the prices down even further! Alternatively, you can wait for the biannual sales in the high street stores that take place every January and August. Another surprising thing that Expats discover when they first move to Italy is that the public toilets are not free and usually cost about $2 to use! This can be frustrating, particularly if you are in town. However, instead of using the public toilets you can just pop into a nearby cafe and use their facilities for free. It is considered rude though if you don’t buy anything, so instead of spending that $2 on a public toilet, buy a shot of espresso or a tasty cake in the cafe before you head back out on your way! You won’t necessarily save money by doing this, but at least you’ll get your money’s worth!
The Cost of Living for Expats in Tuscany.
As it is everywhere, you can make your costs of living very expensive if you try hard enough however in Tuscany you can easily keep your costs down while still enjoying an extremely high quality of life.
This is particularly the case if you are an Expat or a retiree who has already bought a property. Utilities and local taxes are very low and if you cook most of your own food then your grocery bill should never be too high either.
You can still eat out in restaurants and if you avoid the tourist hotspots you can get exquisite food at local rates – which are far cheaper than what the tourists pay! The old saying, ‘When in Rome, live like the Romans’ certainly applies, so the more you live like the local Tuscans the cheaper, easier and more pleasurable your life is bound to be!