Retiring in Italy

When people mention retiring in Italy, the first thing that probably comes to mind is that, well, someone must have a very nice nest egg tucked away somewhere. Conversely, when people talk about retiring in Costa Rica or Mexico, people imagine that you must have a limited monthly allowance such as social security or a 401k. The last thing one would expect to hear is that it is possible to retire in Italy with a limited income of $1000-$1200 a month. I’ve personally seen this dozens of times.

OK, so I gotta admit, I am not talking about Rome, Florence or Venice nor am I talking about any place remotely near these cities. Having said that, and hopefully this doesn’t come as a shock to anyone reading this – even though it has when I have mentioned this to people, there ARE other places in Italy than just the Romes and Amalfi Coasts and Tuscanys. Yes but how are these places? They must not be that fantastic. That is not necessarily the case.

In fact, there are many, many virtually unknown (outside of Italy mainly) towns and cities that are no less than absolutely spectacular with great weather, great food and very affordable prices.

I started thinking about this when I met people who immigrated from Sicily to go to the United States or Canada and moved back after they retired. Sometimes it’s because they preferred the Italian lifestyle, other times because they couldn’t afford to live in the US and oftentimes a combination of the two.

Here is a random link for an Italian website that advertises apartments and houses for sale in Ragusa, one of the most beautiful towns in Italy and yet virtually unknown to many American. Ragusa is located in Sicily not too far from Syracuse (Siracusa) Here, you can get something decent for as little as $100,000 – and no, not rent for a month but to buy.


Ragusa at night

Here is a random link for a website that rents apartments and villas You can easily rent a nice apartment in Agrigento for $400-500 per month. If you go outside of Agrigento, you can cut that close to half.

The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento


Of course, one doesn’t live with a roof over one’s head alone. What about the staples in life? I will tell you that fruits and vegetables cost considerably less than they cost in the United States and the quality is exceptional. Other things like fuel, electricity are more expensive than in the United States but, most people spend less than we do since they don’t drive gas guzzling vehicles or leave the lights on burning all day.

Fruits and Vegetables


By the way, although my examples have pertained to Sicily, one can go virtually anywhere in the south of Italy (excluding the Amalfi Coast), including Puglia, Calabria and other areas.

So, if you are planning for retirement overseas and thought that you were limited to only a handful of destinations, this is not the case. Italy can still be done on a budget.

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About Sebastian Harrison

Founder and President of Cellular Abroad and travel writer.
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