8 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Trip to Rome

While Italy can seem like a luxury destination, there are plenty of ways to save money on your trip.

In fact, Rome is the Eternal City because it continuously reuses and repurposes its history to fit its future.

Do you think the Vatican could have afforded all that marble? Heck no! It stole it from Rome’s crumbling monuments because this is a city that knows a deal when it sees one.

Have you ever asked to see shop’s basement? You are almost guaranteed to find the ruins of an ancient villa supporting the modern establishment.

And all those restorations of the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps? The city of Rome didn’t pay for those things itself. Far too budget conscious, Rome convinced private brands like Tods and Fendi to fit the bill.

In other words, Rome is all about making it work on a dime.

Here are 8 ways to save money if you are traveling to Rome on a budget:

1. Cheap eats: while it can be hard to resist a sit down meal after putting in serious mileage exploring Rome’s monuments, some of my favorite meals are takeaways. Save your money for a bigger splurge by dining at these 7 affordable Rome restaurants. Just remember that it is illegal to eat on the steps to any of Rome’s fountains, churches and monuments.

2. Say ok to house wine: Rome has amazing wine bars but you don’t need to splurge on a bottle to enjoy wine with every meal. Wine has one of the highest markups at restaurants, so while certain occasions may call for a special bottle, if you are on a budget then you will be fine getting by ordering house wine for lunch and saving up for better bottle for dinner. Vino della casa is ordered without bottles, which cuts down on the cost. It is served in carafs – a quartino (25 cl – slightly more than a glass and good for one person), a mezzo litro (50 cl – plenty for two people and stretches to 3 easily) and a litro – a full liter that I would suggest for 4 or more people. A litro usually costs 8-10 euro depending on the restaurant – certainly not budget busting when split among the group.

3. Take your coffee at the bar: coffee prices are regulated only at the banco – the bar. This way, the morning ritual of taking a coffee becomes a great equalizer because nearly everyone can dig into their pocket for a euro. But away from the literal bar? All price bets are office. The price for a coffee at a table (which entails servizio al tavolo) is unregulated. Even after warning friends of this, they sat at piazza Della Rotonda to enjoy a cappuccino with a view of the Pantheon. They paid dearly – €32 for 4.

4. Book local accommodation: it can be lovely to indulge in luxury accommodation when you have the means, but there is no shame in cutting back on the budget for accommodation if you plan to spend most of the time out enjoying Rome anyways. Linda and Steve run a cheerful and affordable hostel called the Beehive as well as area apartments. Livia of The Hunt Guide Rome recommends the Blue Hostel. And me? I do tend to use airbnb. I think it’s a great chance to experience Roman neighborhoods like Testaccio as well as other areas I would suggest as part of where to stay in Rome.

5. Risk the offseason: Speaking of hotels in Rome, they are always always always going to be cheaper in the offseason.  The offseason also brings fewer crowds which makes all the free attractions in Rome a whole lot less crowded.  You may risk slightly more rain, but you could also avoid the hottest (and most miserable) months of the year. Finding the city to be tourist-free might just be the best thing about your trip, plus there is a lot to do in Rome in winter. For other times, here is a guide of when to visit Rome.

6. Embrace domenica al museo: did you know that many museums and monuments in Rome are free the first Sunday of the month? If you have flexibility in your travel dates, try to ensure your trip falls over the first weekend on the month in order to gain free access to many of the city’s most popular sites like the Colosseum and Capitoline Museums.

Rome's Colosseum at dusk

7. Look into a metro pass: Rome public transport is by no means perfect. However, it will get you from point A to B is most cases. My monthly pass costs just €35 a month for unlimited bus rides, metros and some regional trains. You can buy unlimited daily and weekly passes in order to skip any taxi splurges– but you can also save the €1.50 fair per ride by exploring most of Rome’s walkable center on foot.  If you do want to master public transportation, here’s how to buy a bus ticket in Rome.

8. Know your way around the freebies: Not everything in Rome costs money! In fact, here are 50 free things to do in Rome any day of the year.  But did you know that the city of Rome also offers free wi-fi in many public squares? You can also plan to save on little necessities like water by bringing a bottle with you to refill at the city’s numerous nasoni – public fountains found through out Rome.

Do you have any other tips on how to save money in Rome?

Looking for a modern guide on what to do in Rome? Get the Discover Rome app for iPhone or Android today!

9 thoughts on “8 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Trip to Rome

  1. dena says:

    renting an apartment can be cheaper that hotels, airb& b, also vrbo, trip adviser, I rented one for 2 weeks, bought things to eat for breakfast, and evenings sometimes and had a meal out for lunch. I ate at places that had signs for specials, like salad , pasta and wine for 8-10 dollars!! Get a big slice of pizza to go. Also the stores sold foods you can take home and heat, like pasta, eggplant parmigiana , or just a bottle of wine and some cheese and fruit, makes a perfect meal, shop the fresh markets, if you have a kitchen and steam fresh veggies. eat outside not indoors, enjoy the view, August was the cheapest for air fare and rentals. I live where its hot so I was use to the heat, enjoy places on the tiber in the evenings , I never took a cab, I walked everywhere! The walk was sight seeing in itself on the way to my distination. August was also a great time to shop for the sales on clothes. I bought so much clothes I had to buy a suitcase for the trip home! ( I had lost 50 lbs before my trip) and with all the walking I did I lost 5 more lbs.

  2. Kelly says:

    I am in love with your blog!!!!!! We are going to be in Rome the end of September and early October. It will be our third trip to Rome and I am super excited to bring four of our dear friends with us! I discovered your blog (thank you Pinterest!) and it is so informative and easy to follow – some blogs are not! Although we have been to Rome twice before it is still a bit overwhelming! I am hoping my husband and I can show our friends a good time and instill a love for this wonderful city! Our last visit was in 2012 and I am most worried about trains, buses and getting to Assisi for the day. As well, I don’t want to get sucked in to the touristy food establishments lol! Your blog is helping with those anxieties! Already I have learned about the Welcome Pickups and I am hoping to try that! Thanks for all the wonderful information! Keep up the good work! God bless!!!

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Kelly! I am thrilled the blog has been helpful! That is always my goal 🙂 I hope you have an amazing time with your friends on what sounds like a great Italy trip!

  3. Lisa Barr says:

    The most important tip for us (especially when we were travelling with young children) was to rent an apartment with a full kitchen. Not only did you have far more space than in a hotel room, but you could also have some meals at “home.” Typically, breakfast was always at the apartment, we had our main meal of the day at lunchtime (also a great break from sightseeing), and then had dinner back at the apartment The boys also loved to have a picnic on occasion, which was fun, easy, and inexpensive. Refilling water bottles was also a big money-saver. We used to freeze bottles of water and take them with us, which kept a picnic lunch cold and gave us cold water throughout the day. Finally, we always packed small games, decks of cards, and DVDs to watch during the evening.

  4. MK Blaney says:

    This is exactly the information I needed for our first trip to Italy next month! Thank you! Your blog has been a fountain of information!

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