Cost of Living in Rome: An Expat Overview

Bas Teunissen

Updated on May 19 • 4 minute read

How much does it cost to live in Rome in 2021? That’s probably the question that led you here, so you’ll be happy to know that we’ve found the answer for you! Let’s see if the seat of the century-spanning Roman empire is fertile ground for your success in Italy.

We’ve broken down the cost of living in the Italian capital into 4 primary categories:

  • Housing: average rental prices
  • Food: groceries and other daily necessities
  • Entertainment: going out for lunch, dinner and activities
  • Transportation: getting around in Rome

Is living in Rome expensive?

To get straight into the meat of things: here’s a spoilerific overview of what you should be expecting to spend while living in Rome!

All in all, you need an income of at least € 1900 a month to live in Rome. To live comfortably, you'll have to earn more than € 2500 a month in Rome. As a student in Rome, your cost of living is lower, with a minimum of € 1500.

Cost of living overview for one person in Rome

Monthly Cost for 1 personAverage price
Groceries€ 200
Lunch out (2x per week)€ 120
Going out to eat (2x per month)€ 100
Going out for a beer or 2 (4x a month)€ 80
Public Transport pass€ 35
Other variable expenses€ 250

This means you're looking at around €800 in expenses on top of your rent. You’ll find a more granular breakdown of the cost of living in Roma down in each section below. Let’s cross that Rubicon together!

Average rent in Rome

No matter where you choose to live, your rent is most likely going to be your largest monthly expenditure. Rome is a city that depends heavily on its tourism and service industries. This means that the Corona crisis has had an extraordinary impact on the city and this is reflected in the changes in Rome’s rental prices.

How expensive is rent in Rome? Here’s your overview of the average rental prices in Rome:

Accommodation typeAverage priceYearly change (in %)
Rooms€ 525-11.63%
Studios€ 772-8%
1-bedroom Apartments€ 1.060-5.61 %

The HousingAnywhere Rent Index shows that Rome saw the largest decrease in rental prices in the beginning of 2021. So if you’re looking to move to Rome, now might be the most affordable time to do so!

Food prices in Rome

If there’s one thing that kickstarts a love for Italy, it’s the country’s world-famous love for food! So settle down for a nice plate of Roman Carbonara or grab a Supplí as a snack on the go. Either way, when you settle down in Rome, you’re going to be trying your own hand at Italian cuisine.

Or are you going to show the Italians how they do it back where you’re from? While filling your shopping cart at a Roman supermarket isn’t cheap, it’s around 5% cheaper than Milan and slightly more expensive than Florence (+2.5%).

Let’s take a look at the average supermarket prices in Rome:

BeveragesAverage price in Rome
Milk (1L)€ 1.26
Water (1.5L)€ 0.80
Wine (1 bottle, medium quality)€ 7
Imported beer (0.33L)€ 2.2
Local beer (0.5L)€ 1.09
Coca Cola (2L)€ 1.90

As you'll see next, dairy and fresh vegetables are more expensive compared to other cities in Italy. Thankfully, it’s only a matter of a few cents, but it does add up over the course of a year!

FoodAverage price in Rome
Rice€ 2.55
Bread (1 loaf)€ 1.45
Chickenbreast (1 KG)€ 8.73
Eggs (12x, regular)€ 2.9
Cheese (500g)€ 6
Beef rounds (1KG)€ 14.88
Tomatoes (1 KG)€ 2.50
Potatoes(1 KG)€ 1.31
Lettuce (1x)€ 0.97
Onions (1 KG)€ 1.46
Oranges (1 KG)€ 2
Bananas (1 KG)€ 1.82

So depending on your lifestyle, you’re looking at around €200 a month in groceries for one person living in Rome.

The cost of a day and night out in Rome

Try as you might, you probably won’t get close to the authenticity of the Italian cuisine as dictated by grandmothers’ recipes across the nation. Thankfully, you’re now at the heart of Italian culture and cuisine, so you get to satisfy your palate as often as you can afford to go out for lunch or dinner. There’s also plenty to see and to do in the city, so you need to budget for nights and weekends out on the town. Roma Invicta used to adorn the Roman empire’s golden coins, but most likely your own budget is not as invincible, so let’s take a look at what you’ll be up against when making the most of Rome’s leisure and entertainment.

Cost of eating out in RomeAverage price
Going out for lunch - regular restaurant€ 15 p.p
Three course dinner for 2 - Italian restaurant in the tourist area€ 60
A basic meal out for 2 - Local restaurant€ 35
Beer (0.5L)€ 5.2
1 Cocktail€ 11
Cappuccino€ 1.25
Entertainment & CultureAverage price in Rome
2 tickets to the cinema€ 18.50
2 good seats at the Theatre€ 80
Access to museums and attractions p.p.€ 5-20
Cappuccino€ 1.4

The Cost of transportation in Rome

As the nation’s capital and tourist hotspot, Rome has quite a robust public transport system! This means getting around Rome doesn’t necessarily require you to invest in your own vehicle.

Be wary, though, as public transport around popular tourist transactions can also be a hotspot for petty crime, such as pickpocketing. Overall, public transport is relatively affordable, both in and going out of the city.

Public transport in RomeAverage price in Rome
One-way ticket (valid for 75 minutes)€ 1.5
Regular Monthly pass€ 35
Regular Annual pass€ 280
Taxi Starting fare€ 4
Taxi far per KM€ 1.3
Petrol (1L)€ 1.47

Allora! An overview of some of the most common expenses you’ll run into during your new life in Rome.

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