While Rome is not necessarily a cheap city to live in, it is less expensive than many of Europe’s other capital cities, like Paris or London. Expats moving to Rome will encounter an economy that is generally stable. This means prices tend not to fluctuate dramatically from one year to the next.

In 2020, Rome ranked 65th out of 209 cities in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey. This places it as more expensive than cities such as Seattle and Melbourne, but cheaper than major business hubs such as Hong Kong and New York City.

Cost of accommodation in Rome

Like in any city, accommodation in Rome can take up a large part of an expat's monthly budget. Housing prices vary a lot depending on where one chooses to stay. Naturally, the closer one lives to the city centre, the more expensive accommodation will get.

Expats should be aware that rent does not always include utilities like electricity. It would be wise to ask about this before signing a contract. Also, note that property owners will often insist on being paid monthly and in cash although bank payments are the best and safest option.

Cost of transport in Rome

The price of fuel is rather high in Rome. However, European and Italian cars tend to be smaller in size which makes them more fuel-efficient. Parking in Rome can be quite expensive too. 

Public transport in Rome is cheap, extensive, and user-friendly. This makes public transport the preferred method of transport in the city.

Cost of schooling in Rome

Public education in Italy is free from primary school to university. There is, however, enrollment tax that becomes mandatory from the age of 16. This enrollment tax is merely a once-off fee that is paid at the start of the school year when children are enrolled in school. 

The cost of going to a private school varies. Some private schools are supported by the state which makes them affordable. International schools, the option many expats choose, can be very expensive. Annual tuition fees are extremely high. Some are all-inclusive but the vast majority don't include additional costs for uniforms, bus services, school lunches or excursions.

Cost of food in Rome

One of the best things about living as an expat in Italy is getting to enjoy all the incredible Italian food. Expats will find buying local produce much cheaper than buying imported foods. In general prices in Rome are slightly cheaper than what one would pay in Western cities like New York City or Toronto. Coffee, wine and fresh bread are top of the list of products that are cheaper in Rome. However, prices in Rome are much higher than one would find in Asian cities like Seoul or Manila.

Cost of clothing in Rome

Italy is famous for designer clothing and shoes. There are many outlet stores and flagship stores that sell designer items for cheaper than one would find in other countries. Electronics tend to be more expensive in Rome.

Cost of healthcare in Rome

The national health service in Italy provides universal coverage to citizens and residents, with public healthcare largely free of charge. Most expats employed in Italy will qualify for the local government healthcare network by being a resident. Though costs in the public health sector will vary based on several factors, expats report costs as reasonable. Many centres offer private treatment. These tend to be rather expensive.

Cost of living in Rome chart

Prices may vary depending on location and service provider. The table below is based on average prices in Rome for January 2021.

Accommodation (monthly)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,930

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 1,200

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 930

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 630


Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.40

Dozen eggs

EUR 3.60

Loaf of white bread

EUR 1.85

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 8.70

Pack of cigarettes 

EUR 5.75

Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca-Cola (330ml)

EUR 1.90


EUR 1.30

Bottle of local beer 


Three-course meal at mid-range restaurant 

EUR 60


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

EUR 0.20

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

EUR 30

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

EUR 177

Hourly rate for a domestic cleaner

EUR 11


Taxi rate per km

EUR 1.50

City centre public transport fare

EUR 1.50

Petrol (per litre)

EUR 1.50