With its fabulous food, incredible history and breathtaking architecture, Rome is top of many people’s lists when it comes to a European break. Unfortunately, with the world economy the way it is at the moment, not many people have spare cash for jaunts around Europe. However, even if your budget is a shoestring, it is still possible to have a fully fantastic experience in Rome, including everything the city is famous for. Here are some of the best tips and tricks for exploring Rome on a backpacker’s budget.
The mouthwatering local food and drink are two of the main reasons many people pick Rome over some of its other, less foodie, European counterparts. The pizza and pasta that the Italians are famous for have never been the foods of the rich and you can fill yourself up to the brim with delicious margherita pizza, linguine, penne and calzone for only a few Euros. Avoid the main tourist areas if you want to keep your costs down and buy bottled water and drinks from supermarkets, rather than cafes or restaurants.
Rome is packed choc full of monuments, historical artifacts and very recognizable buildings, and many of these won’t charge you a penny. The Pantheon on Piazza della Rotonda is the best-preserved monument of imperial Rome and is free to visit, as is the Roman Forum, which was the main marketplace and business centre of the city in ancient times.
You don’t have to shell out a fortune to see all the best sights in Rome. The Trevi Fountain is a fabulous example of Baroque waterworks and gave birth to the Roman tradition of throwing a coin into the fountain to guarantee a return to the Eternal City. The Bocca della Verita is another traditional spot on Rome’s tourist trail. Apparently originally a sewer grate, the huge stone face is now considered ‘The Mouth of Truth’ – put your hand inside if you dare but he prepared to have it chomped off if you lie.
Although you normally have to hand over cash to get into the Vatican Museum, on the last Sunday of every month this is free. You can also invest in the four-museum pass (Biglietto 4 Musei), which includes one admission to each of the four National Museums of Rome – Palazzo Altemps, Palazzo Massimo, Diocletian Baths, and Balbi Crypt. Bear in mind that all these are closed on Monday.
One of the best ways to really make the most of your visit to Rome if you are doing it on a backpacker’s budget is to invest in one of the discount passes and combination tickets that will take you to a number of different attractions and monuments for the price of just one ticket. Two of the best are the Roma Pass and the Archeologia Card. The Roma Pass is €25 for 3 days and includes free entry to the first 2 visited museums and / or archaeological sites of your choice and reduced entry to many others. See website for more details (http://www.romapass.it). The Archeologia Card (http://www.rome.info/museums/cards) is €27.50 and is valid for 7 days for sights like the Coliseum, the Palatine Hill, the Roman National Museum sites and the Baths of Caracalla.