How much spending money you need to budget in Rome is a hard question to answer as it depends on the lifestyle of the traveler, and what kinds of things are non-negotiable while touring.
Back in college, I went backpacking with my best friend. At the time we managed to get by on about 30 US dollars per day to sleep, eat, and sight-see. My friend managed to do this while still buying at least three cans of coke (at about 3 dollars each) per day, normally from an obvious tourist trap of a snack mobile parked about ten feet in front of the Eiffel Tower.
While such a budget would now be totally impossible (Yikes, how many years HAS it been?!), my tastes are no longer those of a young carefree backpacker, and so I’ll write about what it would now take to keep a city slicker such as myself fed, entertained and bused around Rome today.
As accommodation in Rome can vary so much for price and quality, it will really throw off a daily budget, So I won’t include it in my daily tally. Let it suffice to say that a bed in a shared dormitory goes for about 23 Euro, and a Room at the five star Hotel Hassler sells for about 600 Euro per night. Somewhere in that range, a bed to suit your needs and your wallet awaits you in Rome.!!
I would budget a minimum of 50 Euro per day to cover your basic needs, such as travel and food (shopping not included) and Rome sightseeing agenda. If you calculate that you are likely to spend around 10 -15 Euro per day in entry fees to monuments like the Vatican Museum or to see the ancient city, etc, that will leave you 40 Euro or so per day for all your food and travel expenses. Tours in Rome normally start at about 20 or so Euros, so as much as I advocate the added value of having a tour guide to fulfill your sightseeing wishes we’d better leave the tour guides out of the agenda for now as well. As realistically if you are looking at shoestring budget a tour guide no matter how good and informative is considered a bit of an extravagance!
So here is how to make the most of your budget. Most hotels, hostels, and B&B’s offer complimentary breakfast. Be sure to eat up and maybe if you can try take some fruit ‘to go’ this will do as snack through out the day, just be sure to leave some for the other guests!! If you carry a water bottle around with you, just refill it at the many water fountains around the city instead of buying a new one all the time. Save money at lunch time by having “pizza a taglio” (pizza by the slice) and a drink. If you get hungry mid afternoon, 1.50 Euro will buy you a heavenly cone of gelato which will keep your bellies pleasantly full for a few hours. Just make sure to stay away from the tourist trap vans, they always charge over the odds for goods that you can get in a shop near by.
Save the real meal, your precious Euros, and your appetite, for dinner. A nice dinner in a typical Roman restaurant (Trattoria) can be had for about 20-30 Euro per person including wine. Share a starter between a few of you and fill up on the bread if needs be. Again staying away from the usual tourist areas will ensure you get a decent meal at a reasonable price.