Rome: Five easy ways to save euros

Posted in: Rome Practical Info


St Peters Basilica, which offers free admission. Photo by nilexuk.
St Peters Basilica, which offers free admission. Photo by nilexuk.

If you are watching the euros during your trip to Rome, fear not. We’re on hand with five simple tips to add a sprinkle of free froth to your freshly served Roman holiday.

1. St Peters Basilica

The most famous Catholic church in the world is free to enter. Don’t be deterred by the queue outside in St Peter’s Square, this is for security. Once through, keep left to avoid those waiting to climb the Dome, and prepare to have your breath taken away without having to pay a cent.

2. Drink your coffee standing up

If you wonder why the locals cluster around the bar in every coffee shop when the tables remain empty, it is because often there is an extra charge for sitting down. For example, a trendy coffee shop I visited this morning charges €2 for an espresso and croissant standing at the bar. Sit down and you will pay €5.40—and the waiter will expect your small change.

3. Don’t tip too much

If you have had good service, then it’s normal to leave around €1-2 for the waiter. For coffee, leave around 20 cents (or round up your change). Tipping 10% is unheard of here, and there is no expectation to tip like in the US—especially if the restaurant opts to add a cover charge to your bill. These can be costly (especially if you sit outside), but check the amount before sitting down: It must be stated on the menu.

4. Take public transportation to and from the airport

Airport connection choices from both Fiumicino and Ciampino airports are plentiful and it can be hard to know which option to choose.

Fiuimicino is connected by direct rail to Termini Station. Avoid the €24 round-trip fee for the Leonardo Express by opting for the regional train that leaves from the same platform. It stops at Ostiense and Trastevere before stopping at Tiburtina (connected to Metro line which will take you to Termini) and will cost you around €13 round-trip. Buy tickets at the same kiosk.

Ciampino does not have a direct rail route so you can take the Terravision Bus (around €14 round-trip), but a quicker and cheaper option is to take the shuttle bus to Ciampino station (€1 and around 6 minutes) and then take a train directly into Termini (€1 and 15 minutes). Ignore advice to catch the shuttle bus to Anagnina – it is neither a quick nor a convenient option.

5. Get your water for free

Strolling the cobbled streets is a wonderful and free way to spend an afternoon. Pop your head inside the churches as you pass by and you may just find a Caravaggio or Raphael hanging around. Visit the Pantheon and then sit by the fountain for a bit of people watching. And if you get hot and need a drink? Don’t buy overpriced water when you can put your head (or empty bottle) under one of the many water spouts that can be found all over the city.

So, readers, do you have any other tips for keeping it cheap in Rome? Leave a comment below!

About the author

About the author: Samantha Collins is a freelance travel writer and editor, who has lived in Rome for the past two years.  She is originally from Manchester in the UK.  Read all about her adventures by visiting her blog,

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6 thoughts on “Rome: Five easy ways to save euros”

  1. Pingback: Italy Travel News 04/20/2010 | Italy Travel Guide

  2. Don’t be afraid to go into a grocery store and buy groceries for lunch or dinner. They have great deli selections, fresh veggies and if the Romans do it that way, so can a tourist. Also as far as getting around, get a bus route, then use the buses. It’s cheaper and doing like the locals is fun. Keep your wallet in your front pocket with your hand on it. Ciao

  3. Good point about the Museums being free on the last Sunday of the month. Also for the Settimana Cultura Week April 16th – 25th, all the state run msueums across Italy, including Rome, are free.

    The Roma pass can be a money saving option if you intend to visit several museums as you get two for free and then discounts on other ones. You also get a three day public transport pass included.

    Euroblog recently reveiwed it in terms of its value for money and you can see the full article in the Rome Blog section of the site. The price has increased I think since then and is now 25 euros (but I would need to check that out.. unless anyone has bought one recently and could report back)

  4. Try to organize your visit to fall on the last Sunday of each month. The lines will be long and the operating hours a bit shorter but if you get to the Vatican Museum early there is no charge to enter the museum and tour its massive stockpile of treasures.
    Also, rather than staying in downtown Rome, take a look at campgrounds just outside of town. They are easy to get to via Metro and not as far out as you might think (maybe 20-25 minutes). Tiber Village Campground is a great place to stay.
    And before I forget, check out the Roma Pass for any stays lasting longer than two days. This little pass which you can find in tabac shops around town will set you back a few euro up front but the savings are great. Free transportation, Free entrance to 3 historical sites (including the Collosseum) and discounts throughout the city.

  5. Yep, I was just in Rome. Buy the Roma Pass. It gives you three full days of transportation on metro and bus. It also gives you admission to two attractions, one of them no-waiting-in-line admission to the Colosseum/Forum/Palantine Hill which costs about 17 euro. You could also use it for the Borghese Gallery which costs about 15 euro. You get 20% off admission on all other attractions.

    The cost of the Roma Pass: 25 euros. Is it a good deal? You do the math.


  6. This makes me want to go back to Rome! I definitely had fun trying to get a drink of water from the fountains. And the coffee is SO good and cheap!


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