Europe’s great cities on the cheap – Rome

EUROPEAN cities can be considered to be the cradle of Western civilisation and contain historical and cultural riches, but sometimes those riches mean visiting those cities can cost a fortune.

Or does it? Believe it or not it is possible to take in all Europe’s most popular (read expensive) cities on a budget.

In this series, Booked.net gives you hint, tips and our picks of how to experience the great cities of Europe without blowing your budget.

So we start with the world’s first large scale city – Rome.

Rome

The old saying goes, “all roads lead to Rome” and much of the rest of Europe and later the rest of the world followed the lead of this city. After all it was once caput mundi – “the capital of the world”.

Hotels

When you book a hotel in Rome, the location, location, location adage is key.

The most budget options can be found near the city’s main train station Roma Termini and there is a large number of hotels in this area, but it can be a mixed bag quality-wise.

For a stay closer to the center and for a reasonable price the compact, but comfortable Domus Tiberina Hotel located the Trastevere region (www.booked.net/hotel/domus-tiberina) is a good bet – rooms start from €89.

Dining

Nothing illustrates Rome better than its coffee culture, so after breakfast, find your nearest espresso bar and indulge in a cappuccino and cornet.

For lunch, look no further than the traditional local bakeries. A good example is the Forno Campo de F’iori (www.fornocampodefiori.com) for focaccia.

Italian gelato is world famous and can be found almost everywhere so is the perfect snack to ward offf any hunger pangs in the afternoon.

For dinner, look for smaller-size restaurants away from the tourist hotspots, family-run restaurants usually offer a daily menu to avoid the wastage of food and ingredients that comes with a set menu and there are usually plenty of specials. This is also the best way to have an “authentic”  Italian experience.

Sites and attractions

It goes without saying, but Rome is like a giant historical theme park.

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, sit with the locals on the Spanish Steps, wander Saint Peter’s Piazza in the shadow of Saint Peter’s Basilica and The Vatican or follow in the footsteps of emperors and gladiators in the Roman Forum the Colosseum.

There is a significant cultural monument on almost every corner and while tourists marvel, the locals simply go about their business, it is a stark and surreal contrast to watch throngs of wide-eyed visitors while normal Italians speed past the city’s monumental architectural heirlooms in cars and Vespas as if they were nothing more than traffic roundabouts.

Navigating

Rome is easily navigated on foot so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. If you are tired of walking, the Metro and buses  are still relatively affordable and run frequently but can be crowded.

Tune in tomorrow for tips on how to experience Paris – the “City of Love” at prices that won’t leave you heartbroken.

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