Europe and the Cost of Living: Italy | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 09.02.2008
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Europe and the Cost of Living: Italy

As fears of a recession circle the globe, DW-WORLD.DE asked people from seven European countries about their impressions of the cost of living. The series continues in Italy.

A view of Rome's Trevi fountain on a crowded afternoon

Throw a coin in the Trevi fountain and hope the Italian economy improves

Stefania lives in an apartment she owns about 10 minutes by subway from the center of Rome. She works two jobs: in the human resources department of an educational institute and as a private business consultant.

Monthly income: 1,300 euros ($1,918.50)

Rent: 400 euros ($590) per month in maintenance fees

Monthly utilities: 130 euros ($192)

Bus / metro ticket: 1.00 euro ($1.47)

One liter milk: 1.50 euros ($2.21)

Loaf of bread: 3.00 euros ($4.43)

Domestic stamp: 0.70 euros ($1.03)

Movie ticket: 7.50 euros ($11)

Have you noticed that things have become more expensive recently?

The prices have doubled since the introduction of the euro [at the beginning of 1999 -- Eds.]. More recently some products' prices have increased, such as bread or some fruits and vegetables. However, the big price increases happened with the introduction with the euro. When it comes to petrol the price is increasing constantly -- almost every 15 days it rises, in a month it rises a few cents.

To what extent does inflation affect you?

When it comes to food items it affects me. I try to look for things on sale or to compare the prices at different supermarkets when I can. The salaries are quite low, and the increases in monthly salaries haven't caught up with the increases in prices. It does have an effect because the salary is always the same but the consumers' purchasing power is less.

How easy is it for you to get by?

Fortunately, I'm by myself so I manage to get by, but I couldn't have a family. I'm by myself so I have lower expenses, which means I can take a vocational course or go to the gym, but perhaps not as often as I'd like to. I manage to have a social life -- I can't work all the time! I manage to go to the gym, to take a dance class or take a short trip during the year.

Would an increase in your wages be necessary to make it easier for you to meet you basic needs?

Yes it would be. The salaries need to be increased by quite a lot here.

What's your opinion on the European economy?

There are countries that are further ahead than us and are growing more. Italy, for example, had its economic boom a decade or so ago, now other countries are having their booms.

Europe is made up of many different countries with large differences between them so it's a complex economy.

The Italian economy has slowed down dramatically and is halted as a result of our government. There are no courageous steps or encouragement from the politicians. So the economy is slowing.

Nb. Currency conversion based on one euro = $1.47840 US

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