Rome Money-Saving Tips
Your VIP Pass to the CityStop by a tourist information booth when you first arrive in Rome and purchase the Roma Pass at cost of 25 euros (about $35). It includes free admission to the first two museums or archeological sites you visit, and there's even a special turnstile and much shorter line for Roma Pass holders at the Colosseum. The pass also includes access to the public transportation system.
Pay the Pope a Visit
No trip to Rome would be complete without a visit to the Vatican. Entry to St. Peter’s Basilica, where Michelangelo’s "Pietà” is on view, is free. The Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums are free the last Sunday of every month (between 8:45am and 12:20pm only). Every week it is possible to witness a papal blessing in St. Peter’s Square (if His Holiness is in town).
These Streets Were Made for WalkingPublic transportation in Rome can be confusing and unreliable. The best way to get to know the city is to walk its picturesque, winding streets.
How to TaxiIf you get tired, you cannot hail a taxi as in New York. Go to a taxi stand (located all around town) or else call one, though the meter starts running as soon as the taxi leaves to get you.
The Conto CountdownWhen eating out, asking for the bill does not mean it will come posthaste. You may need to ask for “Il conto!” early and often. If it does not arrive within a reasonable period of time, get up from your table and make as if to leave. That usually does the trick.
Save Time at the ColosseumDo yourself a favor and skip the long lines here. Instead go to the much shorter lines at the Palatine Hill and buy a combined ticket for the Colosseum and the ruins of the Palatine, which is also worth seeing.
La Dieta MediterraneaIt is hard to get a bad meal in Italy. It is possible, but you have to work at it, or be extremely unlucky. So relax and enjoy your meals. Remember that eating well does not necessarily mean gaining weight. The Mediterranean Diet, emphasizing locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables and complex carbohydrates (read: pasta), with relatively little focus on red meats and fried foods, is one of the healthiest in the world. Also, Italians do not snack between meals or fill up with junk foods. So you might even come back from your gustatory binge with lower cholesterol and better eating habits.
Visit ChurchesIn Rome, you’ve got plenty to choose from, and chances are whichever one you come across will have something cool inside. They’re also free. Remember that churches tend to close at lunchtime! One of the best is San Luigi dei Francesi; near Piazza Navona; 5 Piazza San Luigi dei Francesi
Big LunchIf you have a mini-fridge in your hotel, make sure to buy some prosciutto and salumi to eat with fresh breads and cheeses as an easy and inexpensive picnic for dinner. By contrast, eat lunch at a nice restaurant and take advantage of their competitively priced lunch menus.
The Best Drinks the City Has to OfferThere are two prices for coffee in bars – drinking standing at the bar is less expensive than seated at a table. Don't forget to try the house wines at the restaurants where you eat. They're usually less expensive than a single draft beer.
Go Exploring!Avoid eating at restaurants close to the train station or large tourist attractions, which often charge considerably more than elsewhere in the city. The best pizza and gelato in the city is found way off the beaten path – the smaller and homier place, the better. Try looking in Trastevere for a few places to start your culinary experience.
Gratis QualityMake sure to visit the many free attractions in the city. The Trevi Fountain will only cost you the few cents you decide to throw into it, and the Pantheon is worth a quick visit (free 30-minute tours nightly at 7pm during high season, except Sun.), as long as you remain aware of the pickpockets who prey on tourists looking up at the cavernous ceiling.
Our Experts save you money with travel deals and advice
On short trips, store face creams, hair products, and other liquids that you need just a bit of in spare contact lens containers.
Christine Wei Assistant Editor
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