Cost: ££ – you can do on a budget (if you’re careful)
Rating: 10/10 – I have been to Rome 4 times in the last 4 years, twice in summer and twice in winter. It’s a beautiful city with incredible history and iconic landmarks 🙂
Flight prices depend on the time of year you travel / how far in advance you book them. On my most recent trip I flew with EasyJet and paid £96.40 for return flights from London (no hold luggage). Check SkyScanner for best fares.
I most recently travelled to Rome for a wedding and stayed in the same hotel as many of the wedding party. Grand Hotel Tiberio is a nice hotel a 30 minute walk from Vatican City. We paid EUR 616 for 4 nights / 2 = EUR 308 / £274 per person. You could probably find a cute place closer to the centre for less than £68 each per night – try booking.com / AirBnb.
Currency is the euro! Check conversion rates before you go.
Rome isn’t enormous and exploring is best done on foot (take good walking shoes). They have reliable public transport (city buses / trams / metro) which you can use if you’d prefer.
What we did…
1 – Colosseum
Arguably the most famous landmark in Rome (listed as one of the New7Wonders of the World), the Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre ever built. It is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre because it was built during the Flavian dynasty (construction began in 72AD and it was completed by 80AD). It could hold between 50,000-80,000 spectators and was used for many forms of entertainment (gladiators, executions, animal hunts, re-enactments of battles, theatre, mock sea battles etc.)
It is estimated that during the 390 years the amphitheatre was used for entertainment, more than 400,000 people died!! In addition to this, around 1,000,000 animals were killed!
You can enjoy the magical building from the outside free of charge. If you’d like to go inside by yourself, you can pay EUR 12 (£10.70) at the gate. If you would like a guided tour, there are plenty of guides outside waiting to entice you in OR you can book online. If you’re visiting in peak season, it might be worth booking a ‘skip the queue’ pass.
You can see the Arch of Constantine right outside which was built in 315AD. The Roman Forum is also right next to the Colosseum. It’s a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of important ancient government buildings at the centre of the city.
2 – Vatican City
Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and home to the Pope. Considering it is an independent city-state, it is tiny – the smallest state in the world by both area and population. You can enjoy walking around St. Peter’s Square and join the queue for entry to St. Peter’s Basilica. St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the finest cathedrals in the world and is the spiritual centre of the city. It is completely free to go inside but you can book a guided tour if you wish. The queue looks long, but it does go down quite quickly.
If you have time, you can explore the Vatican Museums. You can buy skip the line entry for the museums (including the Sistine Chapel) for EUR 33 / £29.50. The museums boast more than 5 miles of corridors and showcases art from over the last 2000 years – more than enough history and art to look at. The Sistine Chapel is small, but definitely worth seeing.
3 – Trevi Fountain
A fountain 26.3m high and 49.15m wide in Baroque style and one of the most famous mountains in the world. Not much to do other than take it in. Remember to throw a coin from the right hand over the left shoulder… apparently it will ensure you will return to Rome in future… (it keeps working for me as I’ve been 5 times!) Throw 2 coins to ensure romance with a Roman and 3 to ensure marriage with him/her!
4 – Pantheon
This former Roman temple is now a church. It was probably dedicated about 126 AD and features an interior of marble. It’s a really cool place to see and completely free to get into.
5 – Castel Sant’Angelo
A short walk from the Vatican, Castel Sant’Angelo is definitely worth a visit. It was originally a mausoleum for Roman Emperor Hadrian and his family but became a fortress and a castle. It’s now a museum which has incredible views of the city.
Tickets only cost around EUR 10 / £8.90 and there’s a really cute cafe / restaurant near to the top which you can spend some time and enjoy the gorgeous views. Remember to go all the way up to the roof for the best views.
Ponte Sant’Angelo is the ‘Bridge of Hadrian’ (completed in 134 AD) is right outside the castle with sculptures adorning it. It also looks really beautiful at night.
6 – Spanish Steps
The Spanish steps consist of steps climbing the slope between Piazza di Spagna and the base of Trinità dei Monti church at the top. It has spectacular views of the city from the top at sunset.
7 – The Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita)
A 4th century marble mask by the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church. Apparently it eats the hands of liars… so of course, tourists queue to put their hand in. Also included below are fun pics you can take squeezing the willies of statues 😛 #mature
8 – Altare della Patria
A monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel II (first king of an unified Italy). It’s a short walk from the Colosseum and is really magnificent. You can go to the top for more fantastic views. It doesn’t come particularly high on ‘to do’ lists in Rome which is surprising as it is stunning.
9 – Piazza Navona
A cute square with plenty of restaurants. You’ll pay top dollar to eat here and the food is average, but it’s worth it for the buzzy atmosphere.
There are so many cute squares and buildings that you’ll stumble across as you walk through this beautiful city (that’s why exploring on foot is the best way to do it!)
The last time I went to Rome was for a wedding. The ceremony took place in the Jewish Quarter (definitely worth a walk around) and the reception and evening was at Villa Miani. If you want to get married in Rome and have a few £££ to spend, it’s the most stunning venue I’ve ever seen.
Eat as much pizza, pasta, tiramisu and gelato as humanly possible!!!
A few cool places we went to were Mo Mo Republic (pic in heart below) – an amazing villa setting serving incredibly Italian food.
47 Roof Garden (below) was right by the Mouth of Truth. The food was great but a coke cost us EUR 9!! Check prices before you order.
Definitely worth a trip to Bonci Pizza for lunch / a snack. So many different toppings. You choose the amount you want of each type and pay by weight.
I would certainly recommend going to Ristorante Virginiae for dinner one evening. We enjoyed the most delicious fresh pasta and bruschetta.
If you’re going in winter, make sure you order a hot chocolate at some point… it will be the thickest, richest hot chocolate you could imagine.
To summarise, Rome is amazing. It’s an iconic city with so much to see and learn about – you won’t be bored. A lot of attractions you can go in for free or for a small cost, and if you decide to explore on foot, you can certainly see Rome on a budget.
My most recent trip costs…
Cost per person (4 nights)
Flights – £96.40
Accommodation – £274
Spend – £334
Total – £704.40