Utilities, bills and other expenses….

Bills Italy

When I moved to Italy from the USA, I was surprised about some of the utility bills I received and was required to pay as a tenant/renter.  I just assumed that something like garbage pick-up was included in my rent.  And, coming from the USA, I was scratching my head when I received a bill for my Television.  A big ‘huh’ ?!?

When apartment hunting, keep this list handy and ask the landlord or realtor.

(Click on the items to read more details about each utility)

Garbage Bill
  • in Rome: in my first apartment the garbage pickup was included in my rent. In my second Rome apartment, I received a bill.  The bill is calculated by the number of people living at this residence, the number of square meters of your apartment and cantina (storage room) & box (garage).
  • Living in the Lombardy province, the lake region, the garbage was included in my condominium fee

Cable/Satellie TV
  • I am not aware of another cable/satellite subscription TV provider other than SKY TV (sky.it)
  • SKY TV offers television in Original Language, meaning there are many English language channels
  • They offer a basic subscription with an option to add on packages like: News, Cinema, Sports, Entertainment
    • Take a look at their website for pricing.  As a ballpark, the cost for basic starts at around 30€ per month.  (An actual cost based on my subscription in 2013 – 108€ every other month.  This includes two decoder boxes, one is a DVR type/records and the cinema, news and entertainment channels.)

TV Tax – License
  • The TV/Television license Fee/tax was a big surprise to me.  I had never heard such a thing.  As it turns out, it’s a common thing in Europe and elsewhere in the world.  Italy is decently priced compared to other countries.  Who knew??
  • I had been living in Italy for approximately 8 months, I received a letter from RAI and I see they want money from me.  Considering I pay for satellite Sky tv, I figured this bill was a mistake.  I mean, I don’t watch the local channels, they’re all in Italian, no need for me.   I asked some friends who had been living in Italy and they said that everyone who owns a television must pay – even if you use your television as a computer monitor, photo viewer or paperweight – if you own a television you pay.
  • I am not sure how ‘they’ find out….it’s either when I registered for my residency or somehow they tracked me when I purchased my little TV.  I have no idea, but ‘they’ know and I receive a bill each year.
  • Cost for me 114€ / year
  • Rai TV subscription website  

  • It’s expensive in Italy and there are different levels, electrical plans.  Since I have always rented, the plan I am set-up with has been determined by my landlord.  In my Rome apartments, all the bills were left in the landlord’s name.  Up in northern Italy, the bills were in my name.
  • Be aware that if you use too many appliances/items (sometimes more than one item) electricity – your fuse will blow!!  The amount of electricity is regulated and it can get ridiculous of what you can use & when.
    • No joke – I could only use one item at a time in Rome, otherwise I would blow the fuse and lose electricity to the entire apartment.  I’d have to run down to the main breaker which was located in the basement.  Of course, this mainly happened at night and you wind up standing in a pitch black apartment.
      • Use one & only one item at one time: water heater, blow dryer, washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum, oven, portable air conditioner or heater.  A royal pain-in-the-A**!!  I was thrilled when I moved up north and the water heater was a centralized, unlimited unit in the building !  I felt spoiled having hot water all the time and being able to use my oven, clothes washer or dry my hair – just crazy, I tell ya’ 😉
  • I was informed that I could change electricity plans to have the ability to use more electricity at one time, without blowing a fuse as often, but the fee to do this was high (especially, considering I was renting for about a year.  If you know you’ll be staying longer, it could be worth the initial expense )

  • From my experience, inexpensive and nothing to really think about.  Cooking on the stove was the only use of gas in my apartment.
  • Approx. expense was 15€ per month

  • The cost all depends on the service provider and the package you select.
  • If you need to order service in your new apartment, do not be surprised that it may take 2-4 weeks for the technician to come ‘install’ your internet service.
    • It is a painfully ridiculous procedure in Rome (based on living there 2010-13)
  • I am certain the process of installation and getting access in your apartment will improve with time.  And, I do see more competition in this arena, which is always a good thing to have options and competitive pricing!
  • The last I looked, the internet providers were Telecom Italia, FastWeb, Wind/Infostrada.  Providers may vary from region to region – check the internet for the best package for you.  (I know, I know…how can you check the internet if you don’t have service 😉  Do it before you arrive!! )
  • TIP:  Get an internet modem key.  You can use this while you wait for the technician to come activate your home service and sadly, you may need it for when the internet service konks out….or as in my case, my landlord decided to cancel it out of the blue ???
    • The internet modem key uses a SIM card like your phone
    • Costs a bit per minute, so think about your usage when you buy the SIM card for usage.

  • This is an optional utility, many people only use their mobile phone.
  • However, I chose to get Wind/Infostrada and they require a landline hookup.  For me cost wise, it was fine.
    • I don’t even know my landline phone number, I never use it.  But, it is a good emergency back-up option.
  • Depending on your rental agreement & landlord, the phone may be ‘on’ already.  Ask when you are taking care of the lease/contract.

  • This is related to your internet.  See the above points
  • It’s not a great idea to hope and hijack a neighbor’s signal.  1) things are very secure here….just wait till you see some of the passwords!!  It can take 30 minutes to type these crazy compilations 😉  2)  you’re just asking for a virus!  It’s not worth it, just get your own service or go to a wi-fi zone in the neighborhood

  • a ‘Box’ is equivalent to a garage/car park.  Some apartments have a Box included with the apartment.  In a bigger city this would be very rare – space is precious.
    • Sometimes people rent out Boxes in the the area.  If you need a place to park or store some items look around for signs in the neighborhood or take a look at the online classifieds.
    • In my small town ‘up north’ – my apartment had a Box included in the deal.  It’s not that big of a money maker up here, so I kept it for storage or the occasional use when renting a car.
  • a ‘Cantina‘ is a storage area in your building.  I believe it would be in the basement area, though I’m not sure since I never had one.  I am mentioning this so you know to ask.
    • Closets are very limited, so this is a valuable option
    • Also, you may be paying for the space via your condominium fees & garbage tax.  So do ask, your landlord may conveniently forget to tell you this space is there and they may rent it out to someone else.

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