Usually all candidates admitted to a SISSA PhD program are awarded a fellowship. The yearly gross amount of the fellowship is, at the moment (Mar. 2013) of € 15.010,32. This means € 1.135,00 net per month.
Your fellowship is considered by Italy a tax-free income hence your personal income in Italy is - considering only this fellowship and the other contributions from SISSA, that are not regarded as tax free in principle - so low that you (usually - but still you have to check) don't reach the income threshold required to pay taxes in Italy.
The fellowship is paid around the 28th of each month: you can choose to collect directly the money from the bank used by SISSA (Unicredit Bank at the ICTP Enrico Fermi building in Miramare) or to open a bank account (in whichever bank you prefer) and to get the fellowship paid into it.
It is possibile for first year students to get the first month fellowship at the beginning of their PhD and, in particular cases, also the second month fellowship. It is a remarkable possibility for students coming from far countries and in need of an immediate bunch of money at their arrival (for futher info contact Riccardo Iancer at - Students' Secretariat).
Apart from the fellowship, SISSA awards each year a contribution towards living expenses (€ 100.00 per month up to a maximum of € 1,200.00 per year) provided that you show a registered House rental contract. For non-EU citizens, a Travel grant contribution is available for going back to their home country once during the PhD.
Also, SISSA offers the students a contribution to buy a new laptop of the net amount of 300-400 euros.