Rome is one of the most popular and also one of the most expensive cities to visit in Italy. For first-time travelers to the Eternal City, a minimum of three days, and preferably five, is needed to adequately see the highlights of Rome, and this can be expensive. Hotel accommodations and restaurants can set you back quite a bit, so here are some insider tips on ways to save money in Rome.
Research Hotel Prices and Compare Deals on Various Sights
Hotel costs will be the bulk of your expense while traveling in Rome, so it pays to research these in advance of your trip. Once you think you have found the place you want to book, compare the price on different sights. I have found huge differences from one sight to another, sometimes equating to a savings of $100 or more for the hotel stay. Also, some sites require upfront payment and others not for the same hotel, so it pays to do the research.
Stay on the Outskirts
If you are willing to stay a little bit further away from the major landmarks of the city, you can find a nice hotel for roughly half the cost. Rome has an excellent subway system called the Metro, which you can access from most areas and easily be in the center of the city in no time. Some of these “out of the way” places also have free shuttles to the city center at designated times.
Stay in a Convent or Monastery
Rome is full of convents and monasteries that no longer are needed for nuns and priests, so instead, the extra rooms have been turned into guest rooms at a fraction of the cost of hotel rooms. A company called MonasteryStays offers rooms throughout Rome, as well as other Italian cities, and can be booked in advance for a two-night minimum stay. The rooms are simple, clean, have private baths, and are in safe locations. There is usually a curfew, but it is reasonable, and there is no discrimination as to gender, sexual orientation, age, or marital status, and even families can stay. There also is no obligation to attend any religious service while staying at these places.
Take Advantage of Aperitivo
The Italians have a wonderful tradition of something called aperitivo. This is a little like a happy hour in that it occurs usually before the later dinner hour of 8 or 9, and for the price of a drink, some food usually accompanies the beverage. It can be as simple as chips and relishes or as elaborate as pizza, bruschetta, salads, and desserts. I am a huge fan of aperitivo in Italy.
I learned from a young college student that this was a great way to save money, because for five euros, he could have a beer and pizza, and this in effect replaced his dinner. If you are in the habit of eating early, this may be the perfect solution to a more expensive restaurant meal.
Enjoy Rome in all its glory, and maybe you can save enough by being smart, so you can return for another visit to the beautiful City of the Seven Hills.