It might be a good idea to have a look at the average salary per region and per city in Italy before starting to plan your move, as it varies enormously between northern and southern regions. Employees in the north earn, on average, €24,356, while in the south it is €16,113. However, the cost of living also varies, so weighing up the pros and the cons is very important.
Figure 1: The average salary in Italy varies massively, depending on the region. Credit: Pxhere
By observing the data from Istat (Italian Institute of Statistics) tables on the Index of Equitable and Sustainable Well-being, you will notice there is a big difference in average salaries, with Lombardy at the very top and Calabria at the bottom, just like their respective geographical locations.
Milan has the highest average income in Italy with an average of €29,627, and Vibo Valentia in Calabria has the lowest average at just €12,118. Women have significantly lower average salaries across the country, earning €23,792 in Milan (men are at €34,096) and €9,475 in Vibo Valentia (men earning on average €13,805). Below is a breakdown of all the respective regions, from highest wage to lowest.
The average income in Lombardy is the highest in Italy, with an average yearly salary of €26,494. However, the gap between men and women is quite striking, with average salaries of €30,689 for men and €20,920 for women. Milan leads the region with €29,627, followed by Lecco at €25,150. Sondrio closes the list with €20,822.
The average income in the region is €23,693. Men earn an average of €27,673, whereas women earn €18,752. The city where people earn the most in this region is the former Italian capital, Turin, with an average of €24,585 and the lower salaries are in the new province of Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, with an average of €20,021.
Average salary in the Emilia Romagna region is €23,567, with around €9,000 difference between men and women (€27,540, opposed to €18,560). Bologna is the city with the highest income in the region at €25,663, whereas Rimini has the lowest (€16,079).
Friuli Venezia Giulia
The fourth highest ranked in terms of average wage is the Friuli Venezia Giulia region with the average wage of €22,703 (men €26,777, women €17,426). The province leading the region is Trieste at €25,073, whereas Gorizia is last, with an average of €20,641.
The Veneto average salary is €22,554, split between the €26,527 average of men and €17,348 for women. Vicenza has got the highest income with €22,902 and Rovigo the lowest with €19,726.
Lazio is the only region in central Italy that appears in the top seven regions, with a typical amount of €22,243, €25,219 for men and €18,336 for women. Rome leads the region with an average of €23,301, with Viterbo lowest at €16,567.
Trentino Alto Adige
This region’s average is €22,088. The male average salary is €26,332, women’s €16,608.
The average income in Liguria is €21,920. Men have got an average income of €25,939 and women €16,664. Genoa has the highest wages at €23,905 per year and Imperia with the lowest at €16,731 euros per annum.
The average income in Tuscany is €20,680. Men have got an average income of €24,069 and women €16,616.
Italy’s smallest region counts an average income of €19,507 - €22,725 for men and €15,487 for women.
The average income in the Marche region is €19,422, with €22,583 for men and €15,454 for women.
Bordering Tuscany, Umbria provides an average wage of €19,175 per year, of which men earn €22,297 and women €15,200. The two cities of the region have a pretty similar average income: Perugia with €19,209 and Terni with €19,065.
The median pay in Abruzzo is relatively low in relation to most other regions, with an average yearly wage of €17,965 per year (men €21,197, women €13,281). The difference between the two cities is quite striking. The average wage in Chieti counts at €19,608 per year and Teramo at only €16,344.
The average income is €17,273i n Basilicata, with over €7,000 difference between men and women (€19,703 vs €12.561). Potenza has the highest average with €18,175, compared to Matera’s €15,234.
The average income in Molise stands at €16,675. Males earn an average income of €19,480 and females €12,560.
The Italian island has got a very low average income, with an average of only €16,321 (men €18,716 and women €13,187). Cagliari leads with €17,709, against the lowest wage of Nuoro with €13,819.
The Puglia region ranks fourth to last with its average yearly average wage of €16,105 - €18,529 males, €12,168 females. Taranto is the best city in the region for average pay, even if it is not the main city, with €17,582, and people in Lecce earning an average of €13,775.
The average pay in Campania is €15,935 (€18,010 income for men and €12,158 for women). Leading the regional ranking is Naples with €17,009, whereas the least is Salerno with €14,085.
In Sicily, Syracuse and Palermo pretty much have the same average wage, €17,454 and €17,319 respectively. The lowest income in the region is in Trapani with €13,500, making the average income of the region €15,927.
The very bottom place of the list is taken by Calabria, with an average income of €14,341 (men €16,297, women €11,260). The city with the slightly higher salary is Reggio Calabria (€15,259), whereas Vibo Valentia closes the list with €12,118.
Although this classification clearly suggests you should live in the north of Italy, you should also consider factors related to the cost of life, like the accommodation price or the average cost of food. The following is a list of costs in major Italian cities from highest to lowest, in euros.
% Cost of life*
%Cost of life + rent
Figure 3: Table of Italian highest to lowest cost of life per city
According to this ranking, Milan is the most expensive city, followed by Florence and Genoa. So even if Lombardy ranks quite high for an average annual income, you should also consider that actually living there is going to cost you more and perhaps not proportionate to other cities and regions.
In the same and opposite way, Naples ranks low both in terms of income and cost of life, which could make it convenient for you to live there, even with a lower wage, especially if your offer is significantly higher than the average income for the area.
The data on the cost of life is taken from July 2017 and was retrieved from Numbeo. It was calculated from 0-100%, where 100 is the value attributed to New York (for example, if the cost of renting a house in Milan has the index at 60, it means that Milan is 40% cheaper than New York).
*cost of life: it does not take into account rent cost but it includes grocery shopping costs, bills, transportation and going out expenses.