Last Updated: December 04, 2021
Life and Living in Italy
Italy is a country located in Southern Europe known for scenic locations of the sea, mountains, nature, and wildlife. The country is also known for its deeply rooted culture and history that is mostly portrayed through the art they offer. The country has different world heritage sites from where candidates will be able to learn more about the history and culture of the place along with the different art cities they have. Italy is also a popular study destination for international students as they offer programs in the fields of arts, humanities, business, management, and even sciences.
Though education in Italy can seem expensive, when compared to other European countries, it can be considered to be affordable in nature. This is especially because the country offers students with innumerable scholarship options that are merit and need-based which they can benefit from. The country also offers cheap healthcare to people which makes it an attractive location for ex-pats.
Languages in Italy
The official language that is spoken in Italy is Italian with over 93% of the population being native Italian speakers. While Italian may be the official language, one will be able to find that over 50% of the population speak different dialects of the language that can be mutually unintelligible. International students will find that most of the courses that are offered in the country are in Italian but at the same time, they will be able to find over 500 different programs that are taught in English. These courses are especially for international students and are mostly recognized worldwide.
Cost of Things in Italy
The living expenses that students will have while staying in the country are dependent on the lifestyle the student chooses to have and the location in which they are staying. If the student prefers to live in the busiest of cities and wishes to explore all the entertainment options the country has to offer, Italy can be an extremely expensive place to be. But at the same time, if they are to find the local markets and look for cheaper options, students will be able to live in the country by spending less than €1,400 per month. The average monthly cost of living in the country is estimated to be €745 if one is to not calculate the rent.
Accommodation and Utility Expenses
Italy is considered to be an expensive country to live in but this is not essentially true if one is to consider the location to which they are moving within the country. While cities like Rome and Milan can be comparably expensive, other cities within the country will offer cheaper living options for candidates.
Out of all other expenses that one might incur during their stay in Italy, accommodation expenses will be the highest. Candidates who wish to rent an apartment will find that the minimum lease duration is mostly 3 years. The accommodation expenses can range anywhere between €500 to €1,600 depending on the location the student chooses to stay. The utility expenses while living in the country are estimated to be less than €160.
The basic expenses for grocery items are as follows-
- Milk- €1.14 per liter
- Cheese- €12.23 per kg
- Apples- €1.80 per kg
- Potatoes- €1.23 per kg
- Onions- €1.31 per kg
- Wine- €5 per bottle
- Bananas- €1.63 per kg
Students should opt for supermarket chains when they need to stock up on supplies. A few of the best and affordable places include Iper, Esselunga, Conad, Famila, Carrefour, etc. Italy also offers different shopping destinations that students can go to. The most affordable shopping that students can do will be from clothing stalls that are found in the cities. The streets they can find such stalls include Monte Napoleone, Mercerie, Polo, Garibaldi, etc.
Transportation, on the other hand, is considerably cheaper allowing students to travel all over the country for a basic price. Students who choose to take the local transport will find that a one-way ticket costs only €1.50 and that they will be able to procure a monthly pass for €35.
The currency that is used in Italy is Euro and it has been in use in the country since 1999. The banknotes have face values of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 with the currency code EUR/€. The coins used are called cents and have face values of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50. The currency value of €1 is currently $1.12.
Things to Do in Italy
Italy offers international students the opportunity of visiting the different culturally and historically significant locations in the country. Students will be able to learn more about the art and architecture of the place along with the local culture if they even explore the locality that they are living in. The country also has different scenic locations like the sea, mountains, and even wildlife that students will be able to leisurely visit amidst their hectic schedules. The best time for exploring the country is said to be during spring and fall when the weather is better for traveling.
Places to Visit in Italy
While Italy as a whole is a country that has to be explored thoroughly, there are locations that one must not miss during their stay in the country. These will include the famous cities of Rome, Venice, Milan, Florence, and even Naples and Sicily.
- Rome- This city is the capital of Italy and is the most populated place in the country. The country is not just a political capital but is also considered a religious center and holds significant historical and cultural importance. Students will be able to visit and explore the different churches and palaces in the city along with the different sites like Piazza di Spagna, Piazza del Popolo, Vittoriano, etc.
- Florence- This city is located in the Central-Northern part of the country and was one of the centers of medieval European trade which makes the city hold historical significance even now. It is also considered to be the fashion capital of the country. The Historic Center of Florence, Uffizi Gallery, Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, etc. are a few of the important places one has to visit in the city.
- Venice- Venice, nicknamed the City of Water and the City of Bridges is one of the places in the country that is deeply rooted in art and architecture. People who visit this city will be able to explore Venetian architecture, the various art galleries, the waterways, fashion, and even the music that the city has to offer. They will also be able to attend the different festivals that are held in the city throughout the year.
- Milan- This city is located in Northern Italy and is considered to be a global city with its interests spread across the fields of art, design, fashion, healthcare, and even tourism. Candidates who visit this city will be able to explore the architecture of the place along with the various art galleries, museums, etc. that deal with both baroque and futuristic elements. They will also be able to experience the music that the city has to offer.
- Naples- This is the third-largest city in Italy and is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the country. The city is home to a few many museums, piazzas, palaces, castles, churches, etc. that include both neo-gothic and modern architecture. Students will be able to explore the history of the country and the local culture by visiting this city.
Cuisines to Relish While in Italy
Most of the cuisine that Italy has to offer is internationally well-known and are recipes that have been appropriated by different countries to suit their tastes and needs. But at the same time, visiting Italy or staying in the country for a considerable duration provides students and tourists with the opportunity of trying out these well-known dishes and appreciating what they taste like. The most popularly sought-out foods include pizza, lasagna, and tiramisu. Other cuisines that ought to be explored include-
- Ragu Alla Bolognese- This dish is also known as Bolognese sauce and is considered to be the country’s national dish. It is popular worldwide and is said to have originated from Bologna. Though it would be ideal to taste the dish in the city of Bologna, students will be able to have this dish anywhere in the country without losing much of its brilliance. It is made out of tomatoes, garlic, wine, beef, and specific herbs.
- Focaccia- This is a kind of flatbread that is eerily similar to pizza. It is considered to be an appetizer and has different variants like savory focaccia and sweet focaccia.
- Gnocchi- This is part of Italy’s traditional cuisine and is similar to dumplings. It is made mainly from potato and cheese along with an assortment of herbs. Different cities offer different variants of this dish which students will have to experience by visiting the respective cities.
Festivals to Attend While in Italy
Italy hosts different festivals throughout the year along with carnivals that students will be able to explore during their stay in the country. The festivals in the country are conducted at a large scale and attending these events will provide a deeper insight into the local culture and history that the country has to offer. A few of the must-see festivals are-
- Game of the Bridge- This festival is celebrated in the month of June in the city of Pisa. It is a competitive sport where two teams dress in 18th-century costumes complete with armor and parade to the allocated destination. The team that wins will be the team that pushed a wooden trolley into the territory of the opposite team thereby claiming ownership of the Ponte di Mezzo.
- Battle of Oranges- This festival is celebrated in the month of February in the city of Ivrea. It is a popular food-fight festival that goes back to the historical episode of revolting against Raineri di Bankrate.
- Palio di Siena- This festival is celebrated in the months of July and August in the city of Sienna. During this festival, 17 districts challenge each other to a horse-riding game. The winning team will be awarded a Palio. The festival is also one of the occasions where students will be able to explore the local food of the city.
Commuting to Places in Italy
In Italy, almost 70% of people travel using their private vehicle which is said to be the most convenient means of traveling in the country. But students often choose to take the tram or local buses for commuting due to the affordability of the same. Local transportation is also well-connected within the country and students tend to stay closer to the university they are studying in making them choose local transportation over having to purchase a private vehicle.
Sometimes students also prefer taking public and shared transportation in the country. Bikes are not popular in the country with almost 45% of the population choosing not to ride a bike. The best way to travel long distances, especially if one is traveling between cities, is by using the train.
Entertainment Options for Students in Italy
Students will be able to find plenty of activities to do during their stay in Italy. This will include partying, traveling, exploring the cuisine of the locality, etc. Since Italy is an ideal tourist location, students will be able to travel from place to place without much hassle. The country is well-connected with the local transport which is also affordable allowing students to explore the country during the duration of their stay. The place has plenty of restaurants and eateries that students can choose from according to their budget.
Students will also be able to go on hikes, go for operas, visit ancient Rome, and even tour the different tourist locations the country has to offer. They will also be learning about art and architecture from the masterpieces left behind by the famous renaissance artists.
Safety Concerns for International Students in Italy
The safety concerns that international students will have while living in the country are different in different places. While some places in Italy are relatively safe, this is not the same at other places. Most of the crimes that candidates will have to brace themselves for are petty in nature and can be avoided if students stay alert during their travel. These petty crimes will include pickpocketing, being scammed, and even being mugged depending on where the student is and what time of the day it is.
The rate of petty crimes is high in cities like Rome, Milan, and Florence. One of the factors that will help students survive better in the country is if they can speak Italian. This is especially true since Italians are not known for accommodating people who do not try to learn their culture and language. By taking basic precautions during their stay and keeping an air of caution while traveling, students will be able to remain safe in the country.