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Save Time and Money in Rome

Rome’s bustling piazzas, narrow streets and historic sites take days to explore. Make the most of your time there, plus save some money, with these tips:

Go for the Roma Pass: If you’re going to be in Rome for more than a day or two, the €30 Roma Pass pays for itself. It includes admission to two museums or historical sites of your choice, discounts at all other museums and use of public transportation for three days.

Skip the Colosseum line: There are multiple ways to skip the line of tourists wrapping around the Coliseum. If you bought the Roma Pass, there is a separate line for quick entry. You can also buy your tickets online ahead of time. If you’re unable to plan ahead, simply visit the Roman Forum first. The ticket is good for both attractions, but the line at the Forum is much shorter.

Stand for breakfast; splurge on lunch: Restaurants charge more when you sit at a table. Do as the Romans do and take your breakfast standing at the counter. If you’re going to splurge for one meal a day, do it at lunch, when many restaurants serve prix fixe menus for much cheaper than the same fare at dinner.

Drink up: The water flowing from Rome’s 2,500 public drinking fountains is safe to drink and nicely chilled. Don’t waste money buying bottled water when you can fill up your own bottle for free. For something stronger at dinner, go for the house wine – it’s often the cheapest option, even compared with soft drinks or water.

Avoid the Vatican crowds: If saving money is most important to you, the Vatican Museums offer free admission on the last Sunday of the month from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. However, be prepared for extreme crowds those days. Saturdays and Mondays are also known for being more crowded, as well as any day the Pope is holding a Papal Audience.

Skip the lines by buying your tickets online at least a few days ahead of time (admission is €15; a €4 service fee applies online). Or, simply arrive later in the day – crowds begin to thin out after noon. The last entry is at 4 p.m.

Free attractions: Plenty of Rome’s most popular attractions are free, such as all churches (including St. Peter’s Basilica), the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain (though you’ll want to save a coin to throw over your shoulder into the fountain – tradition says this guarantees you’ll return to Rome).

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Tips by

Deal Expert, New York
Friday, January 4, 2013
See more Tips from
Kelsey Rexroat