Rome is an exquisite city and its charm and beauty cannot be matched. You will love the people and the sights and smells of the city are extraordinary. Rome is a vast mecca of zipping scooters, church bells ringing and massive architectural structures nestled next to stylish shopping venues. There is history at every corner, it is a vibrant melting pot of old and new where Italian culture meets couture. Surprisingly for such a modern large European city it is really not that expensive. Here are some great things to do that are very affordable:
1. Churches – All churches are free to visit and very beautiful and they have guides available for a small fee to explain the history of the architecture and the priceless pieces of art. They are gorgeous to visit and there are a number of them to see.
2. The Basilica de San Pietro – is one of Rome’s most can’t miss things to see when visiting Vatican City, the pope’s home. The lavish church is free but to visit the museum and garden cost a fee. The church however contains beautiful paintings and sculptures and unlike other churches you are welcome to take pictures here. Although the Vatican Museum is pricey on the last Sunday of the month you can get in free, I am not sure why. There are antiques and art stored there that even the Sistine Chapel would be impressed by.
3. The Pantheon or The Coliseum is kind of pricey but worth visiting. However you can wander around the Pantheon for free and it is still in good shape. It was intended as a temple to all of the Roman gods but was converted into a Catholic Church.
4. Villa Borghese is Rome’s biggest park and was originally the home of a 17th century palace. There are museums in the park that you can visit for a fee, but you can walk the park and view the sculptures, gazebos and fountains. At the De Popolo there is good view of the city.
5. There are Fountains all over the city and the most famous one is known as the Trevi Fountain. It is breathtaking and is always a major tourist attraction. It is said to bring you good luck if you throw pennies in it but of course most fountains do.
6. The Roman Forum it was the main marketplace and business center in old roman times and it still is. There is a small fee for visiting the forum but you can buy a ticket that includes the Coliseum and Palatine Hill combination.
7. The Appia Antica is an old road out of Rome and on Sunday you can walk it when no cars are allowed. There are lots of ancient things to do and see along the walk and there are even tours of the park “Appian Way Park”.
8. Legend has it, if you have lied that the grate at the ancient sewer “Bocca Della Verita” will bite our hand off. I don’t know if that is true considering I never put my hand in there.
9. Piazza Navona and the Piazza Campo dei Fiori are two of the most famous piazze in Rome. Piazza Navona comes awake in the evening and has two beautiful fountains by Bernini. Campo dei Fiori is alive during the day hours and you can eat much cheaper around the stands that line the Campo dei Fiori.
10. My last and final tip is to get out and walk through the neighborhoods. Even though Rome is bustling most of the time it also has a very quaint peaceful side and the people are very welcoming. Most businesses offer samples and the cafe’s have specials that they offer, that are relatively cheap fare. Walking is a good way to get to know the people, sights and culture of Rome. You can walk around and take in the sights better without a plan vs. trying to sightsee the regular tourist sights. I have always enjoyed the street market areas and the local cafe’s. Enjoy yourself amongst the local people, see Rome and eat all the Italian food you can.
Note: Another tip when traveling is to make a detailed travel plan and book well in advance. Most hotels and hostels give good prices on rooms taking into consideration that you will give them plenty of notice in booking and if you book in the off seasons when tourism is down, the deals are better. Do the research on the times you plan to travel and make the necessary arrangements accordingly.
Have a world of fun and stay extremely safe. Italy is a beautiful place and Rome is like it’s emerald city.
References for this article include: Frommers.com and Romeitaly.ca