Eating in Rome on a Budget

We’ve all been there: wishing we had just a little bit more cash at the end of the month. It can definitely be frustrating to be in the presence of some of the world’s finest restaurants, tempted to eat out every day but, sadly, unable to because you’re on a student budget! But the truth is, good food in Rome doesn’t have to break the bank. So go ahead, dig through the bottom of your purse or wallet for those stray coins, and use them for some yummy and affordable Roman “street food.”

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Here are four delicious things to eat in Rome when you’re on a budget:

1. Supplì

Supplì—fried rice balls—are the perfect snack when you’re walking around Rome. They are small enough to eat on the go, but are very filling as they are usually stuffed with seasoned rice, mozzarella, and tomato sauce. Sometimes there are variations like cacio e pepe-flavored or with meat sauce. Supplì are prepared by being soaked in egg and coated with bread crumbs before being deep-fried. Head over to Supplì in Trastevere, just a few minutes from John Cabot University, on Via di San Francesco a Ripa 137 and try a delicious supplì for less than €2.

2. Arancini

Much like supplì, arancini are the Sicilian version of this Roman snack, dating back to the 10th century. Arancini translates to “little oranges,” because of their color and spherical shape, but these savory treats can differ in shape and filling depending on the region they are prepared in. Most often, you will bite into the delicious fried breadcrumbs to find rice coated with ragù (meat and tomato sauce), mozzarella, and eggplant or peas. A great place to try an arancino is at Mondo Arancina in Prati, just across the river from JCU. You can fill up on one of these delicacies for only €2.50.

3. Pizza al Taglio

Rome on a budget, studying abroad in Rome, trastevere, eating out in Rome, Italian food, where to eat in trastevere, pizza al taglio, Italian pizzaPizza al taglio literally translates to “pizza by the cut,” or pizza by the slice. This type of pizza is not the typical round Italian pizza that comes to mind when you think about the traditional image of gooey mozzarella and bright tomato sauce on a thin crust. While you can find margherita pizza al taglio, this particular Roman speciality comes cut by the square with all different types of toppings. The dough is placed in rectangular cast-iron pans, topped, and baked. You pay by the weight and the topping options are infinite! You can get anything from potatoes and sausage, to zucchini, to artichoke and prosciutto. Make sure to stop by La Boccaccia in Trastevere between the Guarini and Tiber campuses to try a slice of pizza al taglio.

4. Panino con Porchetta

Porchetta is a traditional boneless pork roast served all over Italy. The pork is salted and stuffed with garlic, rosemary, fennel, and other herbs, and is roasted over wood for 8+ hours. In Rome you can commonly find porchetta sliced up and served between two pieces of fresh bread, or pizza bianca. Stop by any of the panino (sandwich) shops around Trastevere to try a delicious porchetta sandwhich for €5 or less!

Living in Rome on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the delicious Italian cuisine. In fact, by exploring Rome’s favorite street-food options you might just discover specialities you would have never tried before!


Alexa (Shearer) Vujaklija
Class of 2015
Communications Major
Grew up in The United States, Germany, The Republic of Georgia, Russia, and Bulgaria

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