Money and Costs
Budget: Less than €100
- Dorm bed: €20–35
- Double room in a budget hotel: €60–110
- Pizza or pasta: €6–15
- Double room in a hotel: €110–200
- Local restaurant dinner: €25–45
- Admission to museum: €4–18
Top end: More than €250
- Double room in a four- or five-star hotel: €200 plus
- Top restaurant dinner: €45–150
- Opera ticket: €40–210
Gentle haggling is common in street/flea markets (though not in food markets).
Haggling in stores is generally unacceptable, though good-humoured bargaining at smaller artisan or craft shops in southern Italy is not unusual if making multiple purchases.
ATMs are widespread in Italy. Major credit cards are widely accepted, but some smaller shops, trattorias and hotels might not take them.
- ATMs (known as bancomat) are widely available in Italy, and most will accept cards tied into the Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus and Maestro systems.
- Beware of transaction fees. Every time you withdraw cash, you'll be hit by charges – typically your home bank will charge a foreign-exchange fee and a transaction fee. These might be a flat rate or a percentage of around 1% to 3%. Fees can sometimes be reduced by withdrawing cash from banks affiliated with your home banking institution; check with your bank.
- If an ATM rejects your card, try another one before assuming the problem is with your card.
- Major cards such as Visa, MasterCard, Eurocard, Cirrus and Eurocheques are widely accepted. Amex is also recognised, although it’s less common than Visa or MasterCard.
- Virtually all midrange and top-end hotels accept credit cards, as do most restaurants and large shops. Some cheaper pensioni (pensions), trattorias and pizzerias only accept cash. Don’t rely on credit cards at smaller museums or galleries.
- Note that using your credit card in ATMs can be costly. On every transaction there’s a fee, which can reach US$10 with some credit-card issuers, as well as interest per withdrawal. Check with your issuer before leaving home.
- If your card is lost, stolen or swallowed by an ATM, phone to have an immediate stop put on its use.
- Always inform your bank of your travel plans to avoid your card being blocked for payments made in unusual locations.
Italy’s currency is the euro. The seven euro notes come in denominations of €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5. The eight euro coins are in denominations of €2 and €1, then 50, 20, 10, five, and two cents, and finally one cent.
- You can change money at a cambio (exchange office) or post office. Some banks might change money, though many now only do this for account holders. Post offices and banks offer the best rates; exchange offices keep longer hours, but watch for high commissions and inferior rates.
- Take your passport or photo ID when exchanging money.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
Italians are not big tippers. The following is a rough guide.
- Taxis Optional, but most round up to the nearest euro.
- Hotels Tip porters about €5 at high-end hotels.
- Restaurants Service (servizio) is generally included – otherwise, a euro or two is fine in pizzerias and trattorias, and 5% to 10% in smart restaurants.
- Bars Not necessary, although many leave small change if drinking coffee at the bar, usually €0.10 or €0.20.