How expensive is Rome? Our family spent a full week in the Eternal City in October 2021. We track all of our expenses and share our tips to help you plan your trip! For years, we have listed Rome as one of our favorite cities in the world, and we were excited to finally experience it with our kids.
Here is the breakdown of all the costs for our family of 4 to spend a week in Rome, including transportation from Florence:
Our 4 train tickets from Florence to Rome Termini cost $79. The Trainline app continued to produce the best price when comparing ticketing options. This route has a huge range of potential costs, so plan ahead. Booking for 4 on FlixBus can be as cheap as $40; an express train is $227.
During our week in Rome, we walked everywhere! Rome is incredibly walkable. Everything you will want to see lies between the Vatican and the Colosseum, a 1-hour walk. We only used the subway once, on our departure day, because the Rome Tiburtina bus station is further out. The 4 tickets for the subway cost $7.
Pro tip: The kiosk at our subway stop accepted only small cash bills and coins, no cards. Rome has a very affordable 3-day or weekly public transportation pass if you can’t walk long distances. It is less than $30 per person for a week of unlimited transit. However, we loved walking everywhere and soaking up the history and vibes of the city.
Our first VRBO booking of the trip ended up causing us a lot of difficulties, so we’ll share our general advice for lodging in Rome. Definitely plan to stay within a short walk of at least one of these landmarks: Vatican City, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Colosseum, Roman Forum, or Palatine Hill. Yes, these are all within walking distance or right next to each other, but they are all can’t miss sites. Affordability improves if you are just outside one of these areas.
Pro Tip: plan your lodging location using Google maps to determine walking distances to the main sites. An alternate option is to use the 3-day or weekly public transportation pass and stay a short distance from a subway stop if your budget does not allow the preferred areas.
*This final cost is still being determined. VRBO has been very difficult to work with after a direct booking through the VRBO app turned out to be a scam. Caveat emptor: after experiencing the VRBO re-booking and “Book with Confidence Guarantee” processes, and having to struggle through them, we won’t use their platform in the future.
Tickets for a timed entrance to the Colosseum with arena floor access and an untimed entrance to Palatine Hill+Roman Forum cost $56. See our post here for what you need to know to tour the Colosseum during COVID-19. We also bought Vatican Museum tickets for $58. The museum has some great parts and houses many of Raphael’s work but the main attraction will always be the Sistine Chapel.
We use the Rick Steves Audio Europe app for all of our audio guides in Rome. It is free; just download the audio guides you want ahead of time. Save money and go at your own pace! We did his guides for historic Rome, Roman Forum, Colosseum, Jewish Ghetto, Vatican Museum, and the Sistine Chapel. Consider using the money you save for a golf cart tour with Liv Tours to get a unique perspective of Rome with a local guide. This was a highlight of our trip, and the kids loved it! Read about our top 5 Rome activities with kids.
Rome has a huge variety of food options. During our week, we ate takeaway Chinese and Indian, pizza, and enjoyed dinner on the terrace overlooking the Colosseum. We continued to utilize grocery shopping for most of our food. It can cost $5 for a lunch sandwich at a cafe, but for $10 at the grocery, all 4 of us can eat. For example, $10 will buy a full baguette, meat, cheese, chips, drinks, and cookies.
Our top 2 food recommendations are worth the money: $8 for the Tartufo al Tre Scalini, a decadent dark chocolate gelato truffle in Piazza Navona. Also, take a cooking class to make your own pasta and tiramisu with Eat and Walk Italy. It was a ton of fun and delicious, by far our favorite meal in Rome.
Water fountains are readily accessible throughout the city, so bring your refillable water bottle.
Brandon bought a soccer ball for $10 and the kids bought stickers from Rome and Vatican City for their journals.
How expensive is Rome? Our family stayed an entire week in Rome, including all transportation, food, and activities, for a total of $1,179.
Rome was one of our stops during a year-long trip around the world! To see all our travel adventures, head over to our Instagram page.
If you have questions or tips for saving money in Rome, let us know!