£20 in... Rome
‘When in Rome...’ you say, throwing down another 20 euros on ice cream.
The ancient Romans weren’t famed for their frugality, but it IS possible to do Rome on the cheap.
So just how far will you get in Rome on £20?
You can chat all you want about ‘the modern face of Rome’, but if you don’t go and see some old stuff you’re acting the twat. Luckily one of the big-hitters - The Pantheon - has free entry. It’s one of the best preserved Roman buildings and enough to make your Y7 history teacher cream their pants.
Trevi Fountain is also free, but normally so crowded it's hard to get your penny anywhere near the magical water. Go at night to beat the worst of the crowds and see it all lit up.
If the Vatican Museum is out of your price range, you can see a little Michelangelo for free by visiting his Moses statue in San Pietro and his Christ the Redeemer in Santa Maria Sopra Minerva for freeeeeee.
Had enough of the classics? Rome’s also got a lairy street art scene. Catch the best bits in these districts: Ostiense, Garbatella, Testaccio, Tor Pignattara, Pigneto, Centocelle, Tor Marancia and Trullo. Fun fact: the word graffiti comes from the Ancient Roman word graffiato, which means scratched. You’re welcome.
A picnic in Villa Doria Pamphili’s 450 acres grounds is the fancy-pantsiest way of cooling down after a day of sightseeing. Grab olives and cured meats from mercato trionfale and frolic in the dappled sun.
Under a fiver
When the weather’s this hot, ice cream is the only way. Fuck it, even if it’s cold you’re gonna want to try a legit Italian gelato. Some places have sold out (boooo) by using artificial flavours. Fatamorgana & Il Gelato di Claudio Torcè have a few branches but can be trusted to serve up the good shit (natural and delish). Around €2.50, depending how many scoops you can handle.
Rome’s markets used to just sell raw ingredients, but these days the Testaccio markets sell street food too. Drool-inducing arancini, cannoli and simmered meat sarnies (trust) are just a few euros.
It doesn’t look like much, but Sant'Eustachio is as Roman as the name Julius. Queue up for one of the best coffees in the city, aka the country, aka the world. Don’t even try to peep behind the screens at their secret formula…
A local trattoria is the best way of getting good food for a good price. And by good, we mean Italian good (drool). I Porchettoni serves - you guessed it - porchetta (pork) sarnies for about €12. It’s based in Pigneto, the coffee shop & lefty values area
Il Quagliaro looks like its been there since Ancient Roman times, but it’s kept its place for good reason. You could get a pizza, but when in Rome bite the bullet and get the quail served with mushrooms and olives for €13.
If you prefer modern art to the classics, then why the hell are you in Rome? Juuuuust kidding, there’s plenty here for those that hate a religious fresco. The MAXXI museum has pieces by Anish Kapoor and Alighiero Boetti, but the building itself is the biggest star, designed by archi-crush Zaha Hadid as a modern Roman wonder. Tickets are €12.
‘What we do in life, echoes in eternity’
The Colosseum’s seen it all, from gladiator contests to earthquakes to an Assassin’s Creed game. Probs best to cough up the €12 to see the biggest amphitheatre ever built while you’re in town.
A riverside bar in an abandoned garage serving organic aperitivos. Alright Rome, somebody’s jumped on the bandwagon… Freni e Frizione rebels against Roman tradition with it’s ballsy menu and ice cool staff. Cocktails are a tenner.
The Sistine Chapel, one of the greatest works of art of all time, costs €27. Cough up.
Rome’s got it all, ancient temples, art as big as a ceiling, warehouse drinks and miles of spaghetti. Watch your pennies and you can enjoy it all on the cheap (except The Sistine Chapel… but c’mon now).