What Does it Cost to Live for a Month in Rome?
This post is by Angela Corrias a freelance travel writer, blogger and photographer. Born in Italy, she left her home country after college and since then she has lived in Dublin, London and Shanghai, while travelling around Asia, the Middle East and Europe. She writes about her travels around the world in her blog Chasing The Unexpected, and about her life in Rome on Rome Actually. You can find her online on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook or Instagram.
If you are interested in seeing what it costs to live in more cities, or interested in doing a guest post yourself see: “What Does it Cost to Live in?”
At the time of publishing €1.00 Euro equals about $1.08 USD
While it can’t be compared to Asian destinations such as Thailand and China, a life in the Italian capital can prove less costly than one might think. True, the Euro is a strong currency, but if you live in Rome you will learn all the tips and tricks to get by with an affordable lifestyle.
When you move to a new city, the first think you need to think about is to find a place and, granted, renting a house or a room in Rome can be pricey. However, like in every city, different neighborhoods, different rates. For rooms in central areas such as Trastevere, Via del Babuino or Via Cola di Rienzo, prices are certainly higher than in quarters such as Quadraro area or Monte Mario. Moreover, after a peak in housing prices, the current recession has been causing rates to shrink, and with about 500 euro you can find a double room, bills included, in a big shared apartment in areas such as Conca d’Oro, which might not be the immediate city center but it’s close to a metro station, or in Via Cassia, a small flat for 600 euro per month. The best place to start looking for a house in Rome is the paper and website Porta Portese (only in Italian).
life in the Italian capital can prove less costly than one might think
On another note, buying a car in Rome can be quite costly, maybe not much for the actual car, but for the related expenses, such as insurance, petrol, parking and maintenance. However, here too there are alternatives. First of all, the public transport, which in Rome, compared to other European capitals, is definitely not expensive: one monthly ticket will cost you 35 euro and you can use all trains, metro, trams and buses anywhere in the city, both day and night ones. In case you are planning to stay in Rome for at least a year, you might want to consider the annual ticket, which costs 250 euro and you have the same availability of all types of public transport day and night, plus some discounts and promotions around the city with the affiliated companies, agencies and associations, from movie theaters to hotels to museums, shops, restaurants and many other places.
More to that, if you need a car but you don’t feel like buying one, in Rome there are different car sharing services. One is called Car Sharing, it’s organized by the public transport company (Atac) and the cost involves a deposit of 100 euro, plus the cost of registration of a 3-month trial period of 40,63 euro or a one-year registration of 101,63 euro. The hourly rate when driving is 2 euro daytime or 1 euro night time. The other car sharing services are Car2Go with different packages of 29 or 69 euro and 23 cents per minute, and Enjoy, the service offered by Italian energy provider ENI, which has no registration cost and the fee is 25 cents per minute.
Once you sort out your housing agreement and transportation means, it’s time to think about your daily life with details such as grocery and clothing shopping, eating out and leisure activities such as museums, cinema and sightseeing.
When it comes to grocery, there are obviously plenty of choices, and the best places where to buy fruits, veggies and just about anything eatable are the local markets, of which Rome is truly full. Every neighborhood has its own market, the most famous being Mercato Esquilino, in Via Principe Amedeo near Vittorio Emanuele metro station, which sells also cereals, grains, beans, herbs and spices from around the world and is among the cheapest ones, Mercato Trionfale (Via Andrea Doria), more than 250 stalls selling anything from fruits, veggies, meat, fish, eggs, or Mercato Testaccio (Piazza Testaccio), located in a working-class district and selling fresh Italian produce alongside small bites and snacks, pastries and handmade pasta.
you can find plenty of ways to enjoy a proper dolce vita lifestyle without going broke.
If you feel like pampering yourself, you can even wander around more expensive markets, such as the historic one taking place daily in central Campo de’ Fiori that sells exclusive Italian goods, such as truffle-based products and flavored pasta.
Apart from open markets, there are also big chains of supermarkets such as Conad, Carrefour and Auchan, and while they are more expensive than the open-air stalls, here too you can find offers and promotions. There are also other types of supermarkets, in Italy referred to as “discounts”, selling all types of products with much lower prices than their more famous and established counterparts. Some examples are Lidl, iN’s, Todis, I’ve tried some of their products and I can’t deny they are not less good than Carrefour!
When it comes to clothes and boutiques in Rome, thinking about big names of the likes of Valentino, Armani and Gucci is almost instinctive, but of course the great shopping streets such as Via dei Condotti and Via Frattina are far from being the only places where you can find fashionable and trendy clothes. Try streets such as Via Cola di Rienzo and Via Ottaviano near Saint Peter’s Square and Ottaviano metro station, both are lined with stores of all brands and often you will find great promotions on both shoes and clothes. Also in this department there are open markets where you can find nice pieces of clothes, such as the one in Via Sannio near San Giovanni metro station, and one in Viale Tiziano open only on Friday morning where they sell also some pieces from big brands at very cheap prices.
Since life is not only chores and shopping, Rome offers also a great choice of restaurants, bistros, bars and, obviously, historic attractions, monuments and museums. In many places around the city is possible to have a full meal for about 15 euro, or if you fancy Italian-style street food, you can stop at the many places of “pizza al taglio”, pizza by the slice, where for less than 5 euro you will have enough pizza for a whole meal, best topped with a gelato for dessert starting from 2-2,50 euro. In the evening many bars and bistros organize a before-dinner aperitivo, which often comes with an unlimited buffet, so for about 8-10 euro you get a dinner and a drink of your choice.
If you like sightseeing and want to enjoy the history and culture Rome is famous for, stay tuned on the offers the local council often organizes, such as free entrance to all public museums, monuments, archaeological sites every first Sunday of the month, alongside the plethora of attractions that are always free, such as churches and the city’s beautiful parks, from Villa Borghese to Villa Pamphilj to Villa Ada. Last but not least, if you fancy an evening at the movies, on Wednesdays tickets are cheaper.
It doesn’t take much, and with some little tricks you can find plenty of ways to enjoy a proper dolce vita lifestyle without going broke.