In many ways, Pisa is more like a large town than a city. It doesn’t have a metro system, or sprawling high-rise apartment blocks, and it’s really quite small. The cost of living is somewhat proportional to this, and compared to the likes of Rome or Milan it’s really quite low - result! These things vary from person to person, but if your monthly rent + bills is in the €400-600 area, then you should be able to get by for less than €1,000 a month.
For a room in a shared apartment of 3 or 4 people, you’re probably looking at anywhere from €250-450 for rent. A decent place outside the city centre will sit at the lower end of the spectrum, whereas a nice flat in the historical centre will edge closer to €400-500. With utility bills (like internet and electricity) adding an extra €50-80 per month, your Pisa accommodation will make up about half your living expense.
In terms of groceries, there aren’t any massive supermarkets in Pisa, so you may have to adjust your shopping habits from those you’re used to. There are smaller stores dotted around the city, and a Carrefour which can be accessed quite easily by car. Your best bet is to check out the Pisa food market just off the Piazza delle Vettovaglie. There you can buy meat, fish, veg and dairy!
The market is open Monday-Saturday, from 7am till 1.30pm every day. Some determined stalls will stay open longer, but as a general rule, the earlier you can arrive, the better.
The public transport system in Pisa mostly consists of City Bikes and buses. There are 15 Ciclopi stations throughout the city (remember it’s quite small!) and some 200 bikes which can make travelling from one end of Pisa to the other pretty fast. It’s €35 for an annual ticket (€25 for students) and the first half-hour of every journey is free. It quickly jumps up to €1 per hour after that, so be sure to keep an eye on the clock!
A single bus ticket costs €1.30 and lasts for an hour, which is more than ample for travelling around little Pisa.