One of the things that surprises first-time visitors to Abruzzo is how affordable life is here. The cost of living in Abruzzo is low and a couple can live comfortably on €1500 per month without skimping on la dolce vita.
In a small town’s local bar (often complete with centuries-old, vaulted ceilings and panoramic views of the countryside) a fragrant cup of espresso costs 90 cents and a generous cocktail accompanied by a plate of small pizza bites and light snacks (it is called aperitivo cenato for a reason, you’ll want to skip dinner afterwards) comes at a whopping… €3! A crispy pizza, fresh from the wood oven, costs €6-7. Naturally, if you go to a bigger city such as Pescara or L’Aquila, the prices will be higher but, still, very affordable.
In Abruzzo, there are restaurants for all tastes and budgets. For a special treat, there are several excellent Michelin-starred restaurants in the region where you pay €100-200 per head but for more casual dining, simple rural restaurants are the best. The region is famous for its simple hearty cuisine and nearly every town and village have traditional local recipes passed down from one generation to another. Almost every village has at least one-two restaurants serving simple home-style food where you can have a big four-course meal with a carafe of local table wine for €20-25.
We are spoilt for choice in Abruzzo when it comes to food shopping. There is always a supermarket within a short drive to stock up on the necessities. For fresh seasonal fruit and veg at rock-bottom prices, you can go to a weekly local market where you can also buy quality cheese and cured meats. A week’s supply of fruit and veg won’t cost you more than €15-20. The beauty of living in Abruzzo is that you can buy high quality products directly from farmers. A kilo of locally produced fragrant pecorino (sheep’s milk cheese) will set you back anything between €10 and €25 depending on its age (the older, mature cheeses cost more). Most towns have at least one bakery where you can buy fresh sour-dough bread for €2-3 per kilo.
Abruzzo is renowned for its superb quality extra virgin olive oil and you are never too far from a producer to buy any quantity you want. The region is also one of the biggest wine producers in Italy, so anywhere you drive you are bound to come across an excellent winery that sells good bottled vino or fill your container up with table wine paying as little as €2 per litre. You do not need to be rich to have the best in Abruzzo!
Like in the rest of Italy, gas and electricity bills in Abruzzo cost more than in many other European countries. There are several providers to choose from, some cheaper than others, but, on average, monthly utility bills are €150-200 for a two-person household. Owning a car is also a significant expense to consider, as petrol prices are high here (at the moment of writing this post the price was €1,62 per litre). Relying on infrequent public transport is not an option if you live in a rural area. Even though with utilities being one of your biggest expenses the cost of living in Abruzzo is low.
Bigger cities and towns have high-speed internet and fiber optic cables have been laid down to connect smaller, more remote locations. In general, steady, relatively fast internet is never a problem here with monthly rates ranging from €18 to €35. However, if if you are a digital nomad do check the internet connection speed first before moving to a location in Abruzzo as Italy in general is digitally challenged, lagging behind many European countries in that respect.
Quality long-term rentals are not easy to find in Abruzzo, as there is no huge demand for them, so very few listings are available online but the ones on offer go from €250-300 for a village house to €500-700 in a city for a two-bedroom apartment per month. Bigger cities have real estate agencies with rentals listings but if you are planning to live in a rural area, the best way to find a house or apartment to rent is to go to a local bar or the town hall and ask if anyone has a property available.