29 May 2012
If you’re looking to book accommodations in Rome, you’ve probably come across some fine print about an additional ‘city tax’—also sometimes referred to as the ‘Rome Tourist Tax’—which is levied against visitors to the city. If the term ‘city tax’ sounds like your hotel is running a scam, rest assure it isn’t. This is unfortunately a real tax that has been in place since 2010. As my grandma always said ‘the only things for sure in life are death and taxes.’
It’s no secret that Italy is struggling with their budget, so In 2010 a city councillor in Rome announced that in order to avoid taxing locals extra the government would be instating a hotel tax, because well, who stays in Roman hotels? Tourists—not locals.
HOW IT WORKS
You’ll be billed for the hotel room you book, (plus tax of course!) PLUS an additional rate per person, per day based on the star value of the hotel you are staying in.
Here is the breakdown:
4 & 5-Star Hotels: 3 Euros per person/per night for a maximum of 10 days
1, 2, 3-Star Hotels, B&B, Farm Inns, Rented Rooms, Holiday Homes, Holiday Apartments: 2 Euros per person/per night for a maximum of 10 days
Campsites: 1 Euros per person/per night for a maximum of 5 days
So the maximum each person can be taxed is 30 Euro (that’s if you stay in a 4 or 5 star hotel for the maximum of ten days). The tax is dropped after the tenth day for hotels (five for campsites) meaning long trips won’t completely bankrupt you. Let’s say you are staying for 15 days for example—you will be taxed 3 Euro per day for the first 10 days (30 Euros p/p) and the remaining 5 days will not have the additional tax.
As you can see this can add up to a sizable sum, especially if you are traveling as a pair. If you and your significant other stay in a 4 star hotel for a week, you are looking at an extra 42 Euro on your hotel bill. Just sayin’ that’s a lot of gelato.
You’re probably feeling a bit ripped off right about now. I mean it’s not like we don’t have enough taxes to pay, but keep in mind that many other major cities do the same thing, take New York for instance, you’re charged $2.00 per room, per night to stay in a New York hotel, they just call it a “bed tax”.
I know, I know, you’re spending a pretty penny to travel, stay, and eat, in an already expensive city, so an extra tax feels like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Just try to keep in mind that these taxes are suppose to go to the restorations of the hundreds of those ruins and monuments that we tourists love so much. Those ancient ruins don’t restore themselves people. Don’t get me wrong, I could argue that this extra money is in-fact not going to restorations. I could say that simply charging more admission to each attraction would be a more logical way to generate the extra dough, but that tends to leave a bad taste in my mouth so I’ll just move on.
There aren’t many ways around this tax apart from not visiting or staying in Rome (I shudder at the thought) however, as you can see from the list of accommodations ‘hostels’ are not listed—meaning that they subject to the extra city tax. If hostels are your thing (they certainly aren’t mine) you might be in luck. The only thing I’ll say about this is to check with the hostel you are staying in first. A few of the hostels in Rome are registered as room rentals (or some other type of accommodation), and therefore would be INCLUDED in this city tax. It would be awful if you picked a hostel just to avoid the tax and got a surprise at checkout.
HOW DO I MAKE MY MONEY BACK?
Okay this isn’t exactly what it sounds, the tax is the tax, and there isn’t any magic refund at the end of your trip if you keep your receipt however, there are a few ways you can save money throughout your stay in Rome that will essentially add up to the money you shelled out for the city tax.
Some of the way you can make back those euros are listed below.
1. Travel smart. Use the local trains to-and-from the airport and between Italian cities. This is one way to save a ton of dough as the local trains are much cheaper than the tourist trains.
2. Don’t be afraid of the public transit. Trust me, it really isn’t scary and it’s very cheap, only 1 Euro per ride!
3. Research your sight-seeing and restaurant choices so you get the most for your money.
Being informed and planning your trip efficiently will help ease the financial blow when you finally get home and see just how much you actually spent on gelato.