Daily Rome Budget and Tour question

Feb 23rd, 2015, 04:03 PM
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Daily Rome Budget and Tour question

Hey y'all.
Question: our accommodations are paid for as well as our plane tickets so how much should we budget for food, gelato, transportation, major sightseeing, and purchasing a few souvenirs daily in Rome? We are renting an apartment and are not food snobs. We don't want to fall into tourist trap type restaurants but we don't mind tasty street food. We want to give the most money to dinner naturally. We will be in Rome 7 days.
Should we prearranged tours to the Vatican? Our AAA agent is trying to sell us on a $80 per person small group tour. Is this a good value? Is an organized tour the best way to see the Vatican?
Should we do the same for the Coliseum? We're young and reasonably well traveled but this is our first trip to Europe and I'm (irrationally) anxious. Thanks in advance for the help.
andyrenee is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 04:26 PM
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>>>Is an organized tour the best way to see the Vatican? <<<

What do you mean by the Vatican? The museums? St. Peter's? The Vatican's own tours run about 36€ (can be booked on their website) or entry only ticket for the museums is 16€. Audio guide rental is 7€ if you want to tour around on your own.

Colosseum entry ticket is 12€. They offer several tours (shortest is about 5€). They also rent audio guides.
kybourbon is online now  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 04:38 PM
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I wish to see both I didn't realize they were separate tours. If I purchase a tour from them online will we still need to wait in the long lines? We're going in July which I know is a busy time.
andyrenee is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 04:48 PM
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Seeing the Vatican Museums takes a couple of hours. If you also want to see St Peter's (with the actual church, the Treasury and the Dome) as well as the underground sections it will take at least another 3 hours. For tickets to the underground section (limited in quantity and for specific times) you must get them from the Uficio Scavi in advance - and bring passports with you when you go.

You will probably not have time to see ancient Rome - Coliseum, Forum, Capitoline Museum - will take another day. If you don;t do some reading in advance so you know what you are looking at a tour is probably a good idea - but make sure it isn't least common denominator.

As for meals we assume that breakfast is part of the room rate, we assume about $25 to $30 per person for a modest sit down lunch (pizza, sandwiches, pasta dish, etc) and assume at least $50 each for person. We try to have one dinner at a special restaurant in each city and allow at least $300 for us both.

Shopping depends completely on what you want to buy. Assume prices are about 13 more than similar items in the US - but do realize you will see different items and styles that at home that you may find worth substantially more than you would pay here.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 07:11 PM
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We are renting apartment so breakfast is not included. I hope I'm understanding your information. We should budget $30 per person for lunch but dinner can run $300 per person if we splurge?
andyrenee is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 07:15 PM
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>>>If I purchase a tour from them online will we still need to wait in the long lines?<<<

No, you bypass the museum line. Even if you buy an entry only ticket.

St. Peter's doesn't require tickets. A lot of people visit without a tour (there's also audio guide rental in St. Peter's). The line there is for security check only. It's about a 15 minute walk between St. Peter's and the Vatican Museums.

You can book a tour that includes both on the Vatican website. It's about 3 hours long.


Other tour companies will also offer tours with both. Small group tours generally cost more. Some people d/l Rick Steves tours for the Vatican and Colosseum on Itunes (free). There are also expensive after hours tours (about 350€ per person). It's up to you how much you want to spend.

You may find the official sites (the links I've posted) only allow booking a couple of months in advance.


The scavi tour under St. Peter's is difficult to get as it's limited to a dozen or so people (a few tours a day). The only way to get it is email the Vatican and wait to hear back.
kybourbon is online now  
Feb 23rd, 2015, 09:08 PM
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Breakfast at a bar is usually around 2 euros per person (capuccino & cornetto). If you want other things, prepare at home. A light Lunch like described above can be had for around €5 per person (sandwich, pizza slice etc). A gelato is 2-4. We go out for dinner very often and always drink wine, too (not house wine) and except for in the most upscale places can't spend more than €40 per person.
vinoroma is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 12:45 PM
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How long you spend in a museum or church is a very personal matter, and time estimates of other people can be all over the place. I can't take more than a couple of hours in the Vatican Museums, and I'm absolutely wiped out after that, so spending three more hours in the Basilica would finish me off. I've never seen the Treasury and have no interest in climbing the dome.

I've explored the Basilica itself several times, and usually also visit the crypt, but this wouldn't be on days that I've visited the Museums.

I've been to the Vatican Museums four times, and would like to go at least once more to see a few things I've never got to. However, I've never taken a tour, and probably never would. I like to go at my own pace.

The last time I was at the Vatican Museums, we spent nearly two hours in the Egyptian and Etruscan sections, but skipped everything else. We did exit through the Sistine Chapel, but wished we hadn't, as it was so unbearably crowded in the corridor leading up to it. We had both seen the Chapel several times before.

I've also been on the tour of the Vatican Necropolis ("Scavi" tour) twice. The second time was because they had expanded the area that could be visited. I'm very interested in late Roman and PaleoChristian history, but I wouldn't consider this tour as a big "must-see" for someone who's not so much interested in these periods of history. If you're interested for religious reasons, you could just go down to the crypt of the Basilica and pray in front of the chapel where St. Peter's supposed tomb is.
bvlenci is offline  
Feb 24th, 2015, 04:44 PM
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No dinner is about $300 for the couple at a splurgier restaurant. However, if you go for very expensive wines (we don't) or order some special fish - it can go higher.

And note that many fish are priced on the menu by weight and not by portion. If it's a large fish you need to indicate how much you want in size and ask what that will cost.

But all restaurant will have a menu with prices outside. Avoid any that have menus in 9 languages, or pictures of the food, or someone trying to lure you in. They will have poor and very expensive food. We often eat at neighborhood places - but have yet to see anyplace where you can get decent sandwich, water or wine and coffee for 5 euros. (Yes, we do sit down for both lunch and dinner and eat in a relaxed way. If someone want to buy things from a market and just eat while walking or sitting on a bench or fountain it can be very cheap). Note that soft drinks are tiny and very expensive. Both wine and water are cheaper.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 25th, 2015, 03:03 PM
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Thanks for the help everyone.
andyrenee is offline  
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