I thought that a holiday in Rome would mean queuing with millions of other tourists to buy expensive tickets for attractions.
But, I was pleasantly surprised to find that, while It can be, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of wonderful things that you can do for without spending a penny.
The Eternal City has much to offer all budgets and, as the saying goes, when in Rome do as the Romans do.
The locals love their city as much as the tourists do, but are they spending every weekend fighting with the crowds and paying entrance fees? No, they spend their time enjoying the free things that Rome has to offer.
And you can to. I recently visited Rome on a tight budget and had a wonderful experience. Read on to check out some of the ways I was able to save money and still see all the best stuff.
Admire the Colosseum from the Outside
Slap bang in the middle of Rome this is an iconic symbol of Roman history that you simply can’t miss.
If you want to go inside you have to buy a ticket, but there is no need really because this stupendous wonder of the world is equally impressive when viewed from afar; in fact, more so in my opinion.
I found that a really good vantage point was from within the Forum, which I will mention next.
I’ve got a challenge for you: see if you can get a picture of the Colosseum without anyone walking in front of the camera – it’s tricky but I did just about manage to do it.
Spend a Day in the Forum
On the last Sunday of every month the Forum is free to enter.
The Forum, now a vast sprawl of ruins, was ancient Rome’s city centre. Upon entering this mighty place, you get a real sense of stepping back in time and, while much of it has been lost over the centuries, you can see how imposing and resplendent it must have been to people of the age.
It is next to the Colosseum and the best advice I can give you is to not go through the main entrance by the Colosseum; this entrance will be jam packed with tourists.
Go to the back entrance that is about a 5-minute walk away from the Colosseum, past the arch of Constantine towards the Circus Maximus.
Get there early and you’ll not have any queues – I got there at 9:30am and walked straight in.
Unlock Your iPhone
Rome is best explored by walking and you can find some nice and there are a plethora of really useful apps available for visiting Rome.
There is everything from apps that help you with local transport to attraction guides to recommendations of where to eat and even where to find a public toilet.
The Local has a list of 10 essential apps free apps for visiting Rome.
International data roaming charges can be really expensive, so to avoid these costs the best thing to do is get your phone unlocked before you go. Then when you arrive in Rome, get yourself a cheap sim card, purchase a data package, stick the sim card in your now unlocked iPhone and away you go.
Unlocking your iPhone is really easy and you can learn how to do it here.
Jump on the Tram from Piazza Venezia and ride a couple of stops to this trendy and bohemian area of Rome.
It’s only a few stops – literally the first stop after you go over the river.
Cross the road to the right when you jump off and start exploring! Get lost down alleyways and take your pick of the numerous cheap and great bars that are simply everywhere.
Even the tourist ones are good value!
When I was there I combined it with a walk up to Gianicolo for eye-catching views over Rome – highly recommended.
Romeing has a really great guide that will help you plan a day in Trastevere.
Pop into the Pantheon
You’ll probably find yourself passing it regularly on your travels through Rome and it is well worth going inside.
The most striking part of the trip for me was coming out of one of Rome’s many endearing alleyways and coming face-to-face with this glorious work of art; and that’s what it is – A WORK OF ART.
A temple to all the Gods, this stunning monument has stood for 2,000 years and is as intact today as it was when it was first built.
Seeing as you will pass it many times you might as well go in when it is least busy; an hour after it opens.
And as you have saved some money already, treat yourself to a beer or glass of Prosecco in one of the cafes that looks directly at it across the cobbled square.
As I mentioned early on; just walk. It costs you nothing and is the best way to see Rome.
The week I spent wandering around Rome was one of the joys of my travelling life so far and this little memory trip has been very pleasant for me!
If you have been to Rome and have some further thoughts or tips on how to save money, then please feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear them.
One final thing: for ice-cream lovers, if you’re sick of the normal Gelato and want to try a really nice one then head to Rome’s famous Giolitti, in the centre.
Image Credit: Pixabay
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