How Much Does It Cost to Spend a Long Weekend In Italy? (Emilia Romagna)

Jun 26, 2014    /    budgeting + saving

As you may already know, the week after my book launch, I took a celebratory trip to Italy. The goal? To visit Osteria Francescana (whose chef gave a brilliant interview for my book) and do as many other food-related things as possible.

I was in Emilia Romagna for four nights (two in Parma, two in Modena) and, as usual, I tried to track my expenses so that I could share a real-world budget for what a long weekend in northern Italy costs.

Without further ado, then, my budget (and see below the budget for notes):

 Euro  Dollars
 Accommodations  98.29 $134
 Transport (taxis and trains)  177.13 $241.49
 Eating/drinking  291.56 $397.50
 Other (public bathroom charges) 2 $2.73

Total Euro:  568.98   /    Total Dollars: $775.72

Notes on my spending:

My two nights in Modena were spent in a large, two-bedroom place I found on Airbnb. It wasn’t the cheapest option, but it was lovely, so I was willing to spend a little more (about $102).

I also had an Airbnb credit, both my Modena and my first Parma apartment were discounted a little in exchange for blog reviews, and my final night in Parma (at that gorgeous B&B) was a free media stay. All those things combined to knock my accommodation budget down by about $225. 

With all that in mind, you could easily spend more (by paying full-price for my four stays) or less (by renting rooms instead of full apartments, hosteling it, or couchsurfing) for housing in Emilia Romagna.

Trains were from Interlaken, Switzerland and I have a Swiss train half-pass (which means all trains within Switzerland are 1/2 off), so coming from farther afield or not having a half-pass might increase your transportation costs.

Finally, you’ll notice that the biggest spending was on food. In part, this is because my goal was to eat at Osteria Francescana. And, being the top restaurant in Italy, it tends to run a little pricey. In part, this was because I really didn’t watch my food spending at all. I was in Emilia Romagna to eat and enjoy, and that’s precisely what I did…to the tune of nearly $400, more than half my spending.

For me, one of the most interesting things to note about this budget is that it is more than 1/4 of my normal travel budget, even though it is less than 1/7 of the time I normally spend in a place. This is because A) traveling by train every day or two is much more expensive, of course, than staying in one place and exploring a city on foot; B) accommodation prices drop drastically when you stay for a month or more; and C) when I only have a few days in a place, I need to squeeze everything into a smaller timeframe, so I end up eating out for every meal and booking every activity I’m interested in, rather than spending some of my time on cheap or free things like long walks in the park, picnics, and luxurious midday naps.

In summary: staying put for a little longer and really exploring a place always ends up being much, much cheaper for me. Plus, when I didn’t have a home base, I also didn’t have rent back home to consider…so, this whole having-a-home-base-in-Europe-and-still-doing-some-traveling thing is going to be a very interesting experiment in budget control.

Have you spent time in Italy? Any budget notes you’d like to add?

Looking for more travel budgets? Look no further.

Want more real-world Italy tips? I wrote a whole book.

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