The capital and largest city of Italy, Rome, is well-known for its ancient architecture with wonderful palaces, millennium-old churches and grand romantic ruins, making the city to one of Europe's most visited and famous places. The historic centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with plenty of attractions to visit. Rome, also called the Eternal City, is regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world and offers plenty of opportunities for shopping.
But as fascinating as it can be, a trip to Rome can be an expensive investment with high-end hotels, high-priced entry tickets and fancy restaurants. With our budget-friendly guide to Rome we show you how to make the most out of your trip without breaking the bank.
Things to do
In Rome it is enough to pick one or two museums or monuments you really want to see and spend the rest of your time wandering around the city to view heaps of sights without spending a cent.
With a Roma Pass, which costs only about $40, you can not only save heaps of money but also save on time since you can skip lines and leave the crowds behind. Enjoy free entry to 2 museums or archaeological sites and concessionary tickets to all other sites you choose to visit thereafter. Additionally with the Pass you have free use of public transportation.
Visit the Vatican. World’s smallest state, entirely surrounded by Rome, is the centre of the Roman Catholic Church and the temporal seat of the Pope. Once you are inside, it is worth to get to the top of the Cupola to enjoy a breath-taking view. Stick to the dress code (long clothes) to get in and avoid crowds in the morning. Visit the St. Peter’s Basilica, which has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world.
Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain. Follow the Roman tradition of throwing a coin into the fountain to guarantee a return to the Eternal City.
Hang out at the Pantheon. The Pantheon, located in the Piazza della Rotonda, is one of the best-preserved Roman buildings. Piazza della Rotonda is a favourite hang-out for young folks in the evening.
Take a stroll at the Protestant cemetery in Testaccio. To recharge your batteries walk along the beautiful gardens and view the graves of famous non-Catholics, like those of the sons of Wilhelm von Humboldt and the son of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Visit the two most famous piazzas in Rome: Piazza Navona and Piazza Campo dei Fiori. Piazza Navona contains two famous fountains by Bernini and Campo dei Fiori has fantastic take-out stands and delis to enjoy cheap and delicious food.
Get Into the Galleria Borghese. See the heartbreakingly beautiful works by Titian, Bernini and several other artists.
Cheap (free!) accommodation
Rome is a very touristy city and so it can be hard to find decent but inexpensive hotel rooms. One excellent alternative is to arrange a home exchange in Rome. You not only save on accommodation costs but you can also enjoy a really rewarding travel experience. When arranging a home swap in Rome you basically agree to swap homes for a set period of time with a person or family that have a home in Rome. It is a fantastic way to enjoy free accommodation, stay like a local and have a truly authentic experience. If you're travelling as a family it can be a great way to save money and enjoy the space and comforts of a real home. Italians are very welcoming and love to introduce you to their way of living.
You can walk around Rome and stumble upon an ancient ruin on almost every corner. This is why Rome is often called the Open-Air Museum. For day trips it is worth buying a travel card which covers all bus, metro and tram journeys.
To get great bargains on food avoid the main tourist areas for restaurants and rather try to get delicious street food. There are plenty of good sandwich and pizza by the slice options.
Want to arrange a home swap in Rome? How about this tempting offer...
The apartment is located on a lovely little street with wonderful, artistic shops and restaurants.
Split over two levels both with terraces that have amazing sweeping views over the city
View this home exchange in Rome