Rome is one of the ancient cities of Europe, and therefore it’s currency is the Euro (€). In many of the major shops and restaurants, as well as your hotel, international cards will be accepted. However, smaller independent retailers and trattoria will probably take cash only. Also, if you are visiting from abroad, you may wish to consider the mobile service options. Roaming charges and international calls can add up in cost. This short guide will give you some tips on how to best acquire your euros and stay optimally connected in Rome.
Cost of Living
The cost of your stay in Rome can be quite low if your budget, yet the sky is the limit on how much you can spend. Low-cost accommodation, hostels or Airbnb in low season can be around €30 per night. However, the prices can steeply rise for the summer months, particularly around the city centre.
Major tourist attractions and sights, such as the Colosseum, Villa Borghese and Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel have ticket prices of between €12-€20. This is not taking into account private tours and audio headphone hire.
If you just want a basic breakfast, you can find something for less than €5 per person. Lunch will be typically €5-€10, whereas a dinner can be upwards of €20 per person. Public transport ticket pricing and options are quite reasonable.
When it comes to acquiring your cash, the simplest way is to acquire it at home. It is very important to have cash on hand. Even if the place has a card machine, they may say it is offline. This may be to avoid paying the transaction fees or may be legitimate. Either way, the best advice is to bring plenty of euros with you for when you come. You can get these from your bank or local exchange service.
If you wish to use an exchange company in Rome, the surcharge could be very high. It may be 10% over the normal exchange rate. This is especially likely if you are part of the captive audience at the airport. That being said, many people do use these services and so they are easily found throughout the centre of town. Many are located near the Termini station and the major tourist attractions.
A better option may be to make use of the many ATMs or Bancomats. These will come with a small currency conversion surcharge. You can avoid paying for too many times by withdrawing greater sums of money at once. It might be necessary to inform your bank that you will be travelling abroad, to avoid withdrawal blockages.
Mobile Phone Networks
When you come to Rome, you will almost certainly need to stay connected. There is a great number of picture-perfect historical sights with a great backdrop for a social network feed. Across Rome, there are three major networks: Vodafone, TIM and Wind Tre. 4G is widely available throughout the city, with Vodafone providing the strongest service.
Phone calls from an EU number to another number of the same country will cost the same as at home. Italy is part of the EU ‘home away from home’ scheme. The cost to call home from Italy will be set by your own country and provider if it is non-EU. Calling charges to an Italian phone number will also be set by your provider. The international calling code for Italy is +39.
If you are planning a longer stay in Rome, or need to make many local phone calls, you might want a local SIM. There are many international calling plans available, such as Vodafone’s ‘free international’ or Wind’s ‘callyourcountry’. Like any major city, you can find the best deal for you at one of the relevant provider’s outlet shops. Enjoy your stay in the beautiful European capital.