Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Some practical information: cost of living in Aci Castello

I was recently contacted by an American who is considering retiring in Aci Castello. This individual has been having a difficult time understanding what the basic cost of living is here.

I thought it might be useful to post our exchange in case there are others out there with similar questions or that have additional information to add.

Q: I was wondering if it was possible to tell me the cost of living for two people per month on average including rental (max 2 bedroom), utilities and food (eating in mostly). Can a couple live comfortable on $30, 000 per year?

A: Here are the basic costs you can expect in Aci Castello (all prices are in Euro) based on a frugal yet comfortable life style. This list does not include any 'extras' (eating out in restaurants, coffees in bars, traveling, etc.) and all costs are estimates and intended only to give a general idea of cost of living here.

-rent for a two bedroom apartment 600-700

ca. 100 every two months for electricity (without air conditioner)
ca. 100 every two months for gas
ca. 10/month for water

-phone/internet service: 90/month

-Condominium fees: ca 10/month

-Food for a family eating three meals a day at home: 700/month

-Car insurance: ca 100/month

-TV tax: 100/year

-Garbage collecting tax: depends on square meters of your home but could cost from 100-600/year.

What does that all equal? If I got my math right, the grand total (not including garbage tax or car insurance, let alone purchasing a car) is 1620/month, which is under 20,000 a year.

If anyone out there reading this has something to add to the list or changes to make, please let me know!


  1. Just wondering? Sounds like these prices are in euros? Or are they in dollars?

  2. Hi, yes, I mentioned it at the beginning of my 'answer' section, but all prices are in Euros.

  3. I think it's accurate, lost, but I feel the cold so my gas bills are a lot higher in winter! Award for you at my blog.

  4. Looks accurate to me. We are in Messina. The only thing I would add (but it's not a necessity by any means) is SKY tv. I think being able to watch shows in English and get CNN is a nice extra for an expat. I think we pay 40-50 euro per month.

    Another thing worthy of mentioning is that most apartments for rent here are not furnished and one would need to calculate some start-up money to furnish the home, including buying kitchen cabinets and appliances! This was something that completely shocked me. I am sure it's possible to find already furnished apartments for rent, but it's not guaranteed.

  5. Thanks so much for your tips WL and Hilary! Very insightful indeed.

  6. In Tuscany we pay in Euros: 90 4 times a year for Internet, 200 6 times a year for electricity, 50 6 times a year for phone, 3000 a year for gas to heat and cook with, 600 a year for wood to supplement heat, 145 a year for garbage and 110 for tv tax. All that plus rent. I also have a cost of living section on my blog because that was one of those things I wanted to know before we moved. The Abbruzzo forum has also been talking about it. And many Brits are writing that living in Italy is now almost the same price as living in England. I think it used to be a lot less.

  7. This is very informative. I'm in Brooklyn NY and my partner is in Catania. For years we have been trying to "close the gap". lets just say Alitalia has been making a lot of money on our 3-4 yearly trips. I love your blog. It's exactly what I was hoping to create and express when I finally make my way there to live. Best of luck to you.-chris

  8. Hello,

    I was doing some research online and came across your website. I hope you don't mind me reaching out to you. I'm a casting assistant in New York for a popular show about people relocating outside North America. It's called House Hunters International and airs on the Home & Garden cable network (HGTV). We are casting people for this show right now in Sicily and I was wondering if you or anyone you know would be interested in participating.

    Our show follows house hunters through their search for a home in countries around the world. Participating in our show is a lot of fun and a great way to document your exciting search for a home and new life abroad. In addition, you will receive compensation for your time and efforts. Contributors should be fluent in English, between the ages of 25-50, and have bought a home in the past 2 or so years.

    If you are interested in participating with our show or learning more, please contact

    Have a wonderful day.

  9. Oh, yes, I'm interested! But I don't think I'd really be able to afford to move to Italy ~ see my sad, sad face --> :(

    I sold my home in So. Cal. last year and am getting ready to "retire" in the next couple of years. Have been thinking about where in the world I would like to settle down. Italy is a particular love of mine (I have friends in Rome), but it is a bit expensive. Guatemala is also a possibility and much cheaper (have a friend there too).

    Thanks for your lovely blog, Lost. I wouldn't mind being lost in Sicily (or anywhere in Italy) myself. :)

  10. Your blog is great and for those who have yet to visit Sicily and are planning to in the near future...take heart some nice Sicilian family will adopt you into there's either as a friend or as new family member.

  11. Could you provide some online resources for finding rentals (not vacationing)? Thank you.

  12. I second the request for info about rentals (not vacationing ones). Thanks, too, for the breakdown and advice about furnishings. I have a 2 year-old and am wondering about schools in Sicily for him. He'll attend a bilingual English-Italian school here in NYC next year but I am hoping to spend a year or two in Sicily. Do the English speaking ex-pats have a community there? We used to live in Guatemala, and I loved the expats I met there.

  13. I just found some new comments here and wanted to thank everyone for their great comments. I have recently been contacted again about cost of living in Sicily about an American thinking of retiring here. So I am glad this information is being of use to others. I am only sorry I didn't receive the email from 'house hunters international' previously, since that would have been exciting to participate for maybe some friends of ours. Also, since we have never done rentals before in Sicily (usually stay in agriturismi), I do not have much first hand knowledge, but I will keep that in mind in future posts.Thanks again! Karen

  14. My brothers and I have a two bedroom third floor apartment three blocks to the beach in Mazzara Del Vallo. How or who can recommend a good realtor to sell it.

    We would consider selling the entire three floor Villa and yard as well.

    We live in the US and do not get to travel there enough to keep it.
    E-mail me at Thanks in advance

  15. Dear Vito I just saw your comment now. I do know of one realtor who helps Americans coming to the naval base in Sigonella find rentals. I could ask him if he deals with selling villas as well. Karen

  16. Is Sicily real cool to live there ? Would gringos be picked on ?

    1. Sicilians are very nice to foreigners. No need to worry about being picked on!


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