I am travelling to Rome, planning to carry 200 Euro cash, so I want to know coins/banknote they commonly use, so I know what to carry. Do they even use 1 Euro daily?

In other countries I know there are less-used denominations:

  1. My US friend said they rarely use 1$ banknote in US, so is pretty useless to bring them to US.

  2. In Canada, I never used a 1 cent coin at all (now they took away all the 1 cent coins)

  3. In both Canada and the US, in some places if you give them a 100$ they will not take it. (My experience in McDonald before.)

Does Rome have a similar banknote or coins that are not used? Which coins or banknote should I bring?

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    Do they even use 1$ daily? I am asking this question is because for example, 1) my US friend said they rarely use 1$ banknote in US, so is pretty useless to bring them to US. --- HUH??????? Secondly, there is really no way to answer your question because in some situations you will use certain bank notes but if you don't have those situations you never will so mileage may vary and question becomes non constructive.
    – Karlson
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 20:49
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    BTW, if you have a major credit card you may not even need to carry cash at all you can just pay with it.
    – Karlson
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 20:56
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    Considering I live in the US, and depending on the situation it pays in some to have singles on hand. So saying that it's useless is not even wrong... As far as restaurants are concerned there are a very limited number that are cash only because people prefer not to carry cash.
    – Karlson
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 20:59
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    Since the USA has no one dollar coin in common use, $1 paper bank notes are still widely used in the USA and are certainly not useless as they are in common use when making cash purchases. There's no need to bring your own, since almost all businesses are happy to accept $20 bills and will give you change (which will include $1 bills)
    – Johnny
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 22:00
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    I suspect that it's the $2 that they rarely use in the US. Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 10:04

6 Answers 6


There's no point in bringing US$, Euro is what you need. You can change from CAD before leaving or on arrival. You'll get slightly better rates in the business district (whether in Toronto or Rome) than in the airport.

In most countries in the Eurozone, notes up to €20 are in common use. Larger notes may be slightly awkward to spend (you might not be able to get change for small purchases), though €50 is usually ok. Machines that take notes are often limited to €5 and €10, sometimes also €20. If you get a choice, I recommend bringing only €20's and perhaps a couple of €10's.

All coins are in common use throughout the Eurozone, except Finland and the Netherlands where 1-cent and 2-cent coins are not in use. Machines that take coins for payment usually accept all coins or all coins higher than a certain amount (e.g. 10c and up), you the equivalent of US quarters-only machines. Machines like luggage lockers that need a coin to lock but give your coin back typically require a €1 coin.

  • 1
    Thanks! That's what I wanted to know, I guess I will get around five €20, one €50 and mix the remaining with coins + €10's.
    – King Chan
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 21:17
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    Note that 1 and 2 cent coins are still legal tender in The Netherlands and Finland, merchants are not allowed to refuse them. All they do is round the total payment at the checkout to the nearest multiple of 5 cents.
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 9:45
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    €50 is totally okay too. Never had a problem paying with a 50-euro banknnote, even smaller amounts.
    – splattne
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 9:32
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    One important advice: In Italy you aren't allowed to pay a (one) bill for more than 999.99 Euro in cash. So keep this in mind, if you want plan to pay a larger amount with euro notes.
    – splattne
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 9:35
  • @splattne That's new to me and I am glad I didn't spent that much. :) +1
    – King Chan
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 20:16

Basically, €50 banknotes and smaller (including all the coins) are used in daily life all the time. Some stores may refuse to accept 200€ or 500€ banknotes (€100 is kinda in between). So the best idea is probably to bring your cash in €50 notes.

There is no €1 banknote, only coins. Some vending machines only take coins, but nothing important. You probably won't get Euro coins in your home country anyway.


First: Every banknote below 100€ is routinely used by everyone, so don't worry. I personally suggest you to focus on 10€ banknote which is the "easiest" to use.

Second: Try not to use "copper" coins (5, 2 an 1 cent) while paying because they're usually seen as an hindrance, a waste of space and weight in a wallet. ("Don't give reds to me" is a typical sentence where i live, "reds" is the common name for copper coins)

Third: The European Central Bank has just issued a new 5€ banknote design. The old one is completely gray while the new one is slightly more coloured with some green/yellowish tone. They're the same size and are BOTH legal to use.

Fourth, and most important: Almost every shop uses credit card payment, and you can find at least one ATM machines every 200m in a touristic city. DON'T travel with much cash with you: 30€ would suffice for small payments like ice creams and souvenirs. If it happens that you have to pay more than 30€ it means that the place most probably has a credit card payment system available.

Sources: I live in Italy, near Venice.

  • 4
    -1: your first point is completely wrong. It's perfectly legal for a shop to refuse selling you something for certain banknotes (or refuse coins, or refuse cash entirely, or accept only bananas as payment). The law says that these banknotes and coins have to be accepted to settle debt. But legally, when you're in a shop and want to buy something, you don't (yet) owe a debt, you're merely offering them a contract of sale, and they can accept or refuse that contract. It's different if you pay afterwards (in a hotel or restaurant), but even then it can be made part of the contract in advance. Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 7:21
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    I respectfully disagree. Banknotes are legal means to pay. You can't refuse them outright. Of course, you can say you aren't able to give the change back, but that's another issue altogether. A seller can't say "I accept payment only with 10€ banknotes" or anything like that. Also, the contract of sale is in force as soon as the seller prints the fiscal receipt. At that point, you owe him a debt and can pay with any legal mean you want.
    – STT LCU
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 7:23
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    You are still wrong, for the reasons I have given in detail in my previous comment. The thing with the receipt is an interesting point (not sure if it's correct though), but if there is a sign "we only accept €100 notes and smaller", it would be part of the contract. Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 7:24
  • I still disagree, but i accept your point. I'll delete my first item :)
    – STT LCU
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 7:29
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There are some fun facts about the Euro, but for the most part, as it's a modern currency - all of it is still in common usage. However as you increase the value of the currency, there will be less usage of it - a 1 Euro coin will get more usage than the 500 Euro banknote.

Indeed, the 1, 2 and 5 Eurocent coins make up 80% of all new coins minted in the Eurozone - because they're still used so much. There is however, talk about removing the 1 and 2 cent coins from circulation, and indeed the Netherlands have been permitted to use Swedish rounding to avoid using them as much there.

Of course you are unlikely to be bringing many coins with you, so we'll look at the notes.

According to official statistics, the most common notes in circulation are:

  • 50 Euro
  • 20 Euro
  • 10 Euro
  • 100 Euro
  • 5 Euro

So if you're really worried about being able to use your currency, I'd focus mostly on taking 50 and 20 Euros. And indeed, some shops and hotels may refuse to take 500 Euro notes for convenience issues.

In reality, you're very unlikely to have any problems, especially in very touristy cities like Rome.

  • the reason they take up 80% of new coins is that they don't get used as payment; only as change, which means that stores need to keep ordering rolls of 1 and 2 cent coins, after which they disappear from circulation Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 8:30
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    Never heard the phrase Swedish rounding before. Is there anything Swedish about it?
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 9:47
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    It was a Swedish practice which Aus and NZ adopted, and they were the ones to coin (sorry) the phrase "Swedish rounding" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_rounding)
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 11:11

The official currency in Italy is the Euro. If you bring some US or other dollars, the first thing to do is going to a bank or an exchange office and get some Euros. Otherwise you will have hard time trying to spend your dollars. And if you find a shop willing to accept you will more than certainly get a very poor rate.

  • Sorry, I meant what Euro I should bring to Rome... Like, if I bring only 50$, 50$, 100$ there. Will people accept my 50$?
    – King Chan
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 21:02
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    With 50$, there might be a problem, as explained. However, if you have Euro notes and coins, there is no problem. The Euro is legal tender in Italy: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_tender Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 21:06
  • @KingChan At McDonald's may be not. At a higher price restaurant they likely will...
    – Karlson
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 21:07

I would take more 20 Euro notes than anything else, they will take up less room in your purse or wallet and be easy to change. Take a few smaller notes for change. Yes the one Euro coin is used a lot. Just try not to take too many coins home as you will find them hard to change so spend all your 1 Euro coins at least.


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