Helping You Build a Life Overseas

Summer is cheaper in Italy

 
One of the great things about living in Italy is the low cost of living. Even in the summer months, prices are noticeably cheaper than in the UK and there is no pressure put on you to spend money. On trips back to England, I have become aware of the pressure to spend money every time you go out, with car parks, shops, bars, restaurants and attractions all marketing heavily. In Italy, it is much more relaxed, you can sit at a café with just a bottle of water and not feel rushed to move on, you can find streets where parking is free – even right behind the beach – and taking the family out for a pizza doesn’t break the bank.
 
Summer shopping
Probably the most economical supermarket in Italy is Eurospin, which has over 1000 shops across Italy. We tend to buy all our basics from there, but also enjoy buying fresh eggs, fruit and vegetables from the weekly market. The market is also great for cheap summer clothes. This week they were selling swimsuits and bikinis for 13.00 euros (£11.09) and flip flops for 3.00 euros (£2.56). I even got a cotton summer dress for 5.00 euros (£4.27). I have compared the prices of some of the summer basics at our local Eurospin with similar products in Tesco UK, and was amazed that the total UK prices were around 75% higher than in Italy. Even with the less favourable post EU referendum exchange rates at the moment. Your £42.02 shop in the UK could be costing you only £23.48 if you were living in Italy this summer. 
 

Item

Measurement

Price in Eurospin in euros

Conversion to GBP

Tesco UK

Equivalent product price

Onions

1 Kg

0.55

47p

65p

Lettuce

Each

0.59

50p

43p

Cucumber

Each

0.33

28p

42p

Tomatoes

1 kg

1.49

1.27

1.99

Potatoes

1 kg

0.89

76p

1.00

Radishes

Pack

0.55

47p

79p

Melons

Each

1.29

1.10

1.70

Peaches

Each

0.31

26p

33p

Oranges

Each

0.16

14p

30p

Lemons

Each

0.47

40p

30p

Apples

1 kg

1.29

1.10

2.00

Salami

100g

0.80

68p

1.70

Ham

100g

0.66

56p

1.44

Prosciutto

100g

0.76

65p

2.03

Ricotta

250g

1.30

1.11

1.20

Black olives

350g

0.59

50p

1.00

Mozzarella

1 kg

3.10

2.65

4.67

Lemonade

1 litre

0.20

17p

20p

Water

1 litre

0.10

9p

18p

Lager

66cl bottle

0.69

59p

1.99

Red Wine

75cl Bottle

1.69

1.44

5.00

Ice cream

Big tub

2.59

2.21

2.75

Mosquito repellent

Spray bottle

2.99

2.55

3.00

Suntan lotion

Bottle

4.99

4.26

6.00

 

 

Total

£23.48

£41.02

 
Price conversions done using Smart currency convertor on 10/07/2016
 
 
Outdoor furniture
Once you have bought your home in Italy, you will also want to look at buying outdoor furniture to enjoy relaxing and dining in the fresh air. In the heat of Southern Italy, we have found that whether you choose plastic or wood furniture, it needs to be kept out of the sun as much as possible, or it won’t last one summer. Patio umbrellas and Gazebo rooves also often get torn by afternoon winds. I would recommend always taking them down on windy days. The best solution is to invest in having a solid veranda built. Below I have compared the prices of garden furniture in my local “Centro Convenienza” Store in Francavilla Fontana, Puglia with those on Tesco Direct.
 

Item

Italian “Centro Convenienza” Store. Price in euros

Conversion to GBP

Tesco Direct UK

Patio umbrella 3m

41.00

34.99

52.99

Rattan Sofa Set

(Boxy design Sofa, 2 chairs, coffee table)

250.00

213.34

294.99

Rattan Garden Set

(Open leg design 4 piece)

199.00

169.82

200.00

Basic gazebo 3mx3m

75.00

64.00

89.99

White plastic sun lounger

39.90

34.05

77.19

Plastic table

(square)

16.50

14.08

18.79

Plastic table 180x90

(rectangular)

45.50

38.83

65.99

Basic Plastic chair

5.50

4.69

10.00

Wooden garden table with 6 chairs

285.00

243.21

370.00

 
Summer essentials
Another item you will need is a fold up clothes airer, which you can put under the veranda. We have never felt the need for a tumble dryer here. Washing dries quickly in the warm shade. Avoid putting coloured sheets etc. in direct sun as they tend to get sun-bleached lines.
 
Pedestal fans are also essential, and when placed by an open door or window at night they suck the cooler air into the room.  
 
Some cookers used in countryside houses have gas bottles. You usually pay about 70 euros for the first bottle and then after that you just take it back in and swap it for a filled one. The refill price each time is then only 20 euros. Ours usually lasts us about 3 months. If you don’t want to heat up the kitchen with cooking, you can always barbeque outside. 
 

Item

Italian Stores.

Price in euros

Conversion to GBP

UK Stores

Pedestal Fan

12.90

11.01

16.00 (Tesco Direct)

Gas bottle refill 5kg

20.00

17.07

33.75 (Calor Gas Ltd.)

BBQ Coals (per kg)

0.79

67p

1.75 (Tesco)

Clothes airer

17.00

14.51

14.99 (Tesco Direct)

 
Going to the beach
In very touristy areas many beaches have private concessions with charges for sunbeds (lettino) and parasols (ombrellone). But, there are also free beaches (spiaggia libera) where you can take your own towel and parasol. These beaches may not have all the facilities of a private beach, but there are usually some restaurants, cafes and ice-cream stands nearby. 
  

Item

“Convenienza” store Italy. Euro price.

Conversion to GBP

UK Price

Beach umbrella

6.00

5.12

7.57 (Amazon)

Beach towel

7.90

6.74

6.00 (Tesco Direct)

Cool bag

10.00

8.53

14.99 (Tesco Direct)

 
 
Having a day out
Many Italians move the whole family to coast for six weeks of summer, and get cheaper rates on sunbeds for a long rental. Often family, friends and neighbours from the same inland town will move to the same beach resort each summer. Day rental for two sunbeds and a parasol can be as little as 15 euros, but can be higher in more exclusive resorts where there are more facilities included. 
 
Food, ice-cream and drinks can be considerably more expensive on resort seafronts, but if you go back a street or find a local supermarket you can usually get well priced snacks, drinks and ice-creams. I recommend finding the nearest bakers and buying a panini or panzerotti to take to the beach. When buying an ice-cream ask for a “piccolo coppetta”, a small plastic cup, which holds the equivalent of two scoops. You can even choose two flavours to go in it.  
 
When you are tired of the beach Italy has many beautiful historic towns to visit, with free music events on summer evenings. There are also castles, churches and museums, some of which do free tours in the summer. Even the attractions are reasonably priced compared to the UK. Below I have listed some examples.
 

 

Price in Italy

Conversion to GBP

Price in England

1 day hire of a Beach umbrella and 2 sunbeds

Rimini Beach, Emilia Romagno.

16.00

13.65

Poole, Sandbanks, Dorset, England

30.00

2 scoop Ice cream

Francavilla Fontana, Puglia

1.50

1.28

Sprinkles, Bournemouth

3.50

Margherita Pizza

Francavilla Fontana, Puglia

4.00

3.41

Alcatraz, Poole, Dorset

8.70

Chocolate crepe

Francavilla Fontana

3.00

2.56

Alcatraz, Poole

4.50

Visiting Caves

(Gate price)

Grotte di Castellana, Puglia

16.00

13.65

Cheddar Gorge, Somerset.

19.95

Zoo Safari Day out

(Gate price)

Fasano Zoo Safari, Puglia

 

22.00 Adults

19.50 Children

 

 

18.77

16.64

Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire.

33.95 Adults

24.95 Children

Water Park

Carrisland Aqua Park, Cellino San Marco, Puglia

14 euros for Adults 

(17 euros in August)

12 euros for children

(14 in August)

 

 

A 11.95 (14.51)

C 10.24 (11.95)

Splashdown Quaywest, Paignton, Devon.

£14.50

 

St Peters Basilica with Audio guide

15 euros + 5 euros to walk up the Dome.

 

 

17.07

St Pauls Cathedral with audio guide and dome

£18

 
*Price conversions done using Smart currency convertor on 10/07/2016