If you're having an anxiety attack about how to afford Rome, take a deep breath and read on. Rome is an expensive city, but remember most of the sights you'll want to see are free. For everything else, we have a few suggestions for maintaining your cheapo budget.
Rome Budget Tips
We always recommend stopping by a tourist office as soon as possible. Rome's main tourist office is located off Piazza della Repubblica at Via Parigi 5, behind the Baths of Diocletian. It is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.
Another tourist office is located inside Fiumicino Airport, in the International Arrivals terminal. It is open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. There is also a small tourist office located in Roma Termini, the main train station, open daily from 8 a.m until 8:30 p.m.
Information kiosks are located throughout Rome and are tucked in around popular piazzas. Expect these information kiosks to be open daily from 8 a.m until 6 p.m.
Also be sure to ask the staff at your hotel for information and tips about things to see and do in Rome.
Museum Prices and Passes
Museum prices are generally inexpensive in Rome. Here's what you will pay at some of the most popular:
As one of Rome’s most famous masterpiece, the Colosseum stands just east of the Roman Forum and is one of the greatest Roman architectural and engineering achievements.
Prices: €12 (adults); €7.50 (adult EU citizens); free (EU citizens over 65 and under 18); Add €2 to any ticket cost to include entrance to the Palatino.
The Roman Forum:
Feeling political? Visit the site where ancient Rome’s elections, trials and public speeches took place located between the Palantine and Capitoline Hills.
Prices: €12 (see Museum passes below).
Borghese Museum & Gallery
Housed in the former Villa Borghese, the museum features classical antiques and neo-classical and classical sculptures.
Prices: €8.50 (adults); €5.25 (adult EU citizens); €2 (EU citizens over 65 and under 18) Reservations are needed for Borghese Gallery and booking is available on the official Web site.
Located inside Vatican City, the Vatican Museums hold the Roman Catholic Church’s collection of Renaissance art and sculptures.
Prices: €15 (adults); €8 (students under 26 and those under 14); free (children under 6 and on the last Sunday of each month)
The museum, located on the top of Capitoline Hill, displays a collection of ancient Roman statues, artifacts, medieval and Renaissance art, coins and jewels.
Prices: €12 (adults); €10 (EU citizens between 18 and 25); free (Roman citizens under 18 and over 65)
The Roma Pass card, on top of offering free public transit, gives you free admission to six specific museums plus an additional two museums of your choice (among 45 options). The card costs €34 and also offers a number of discounts to events, exhibitions and tourist services. Check out their website for more information, including the list of free museums.
The Archaeologia Card provides admission to the Colosseum, Palatinum and Palatinum Museum, National Roman Museum, Terme Di Caracalla, Cecilia Metella and Villa dei Quintili. It costs €27.50 for adults. For EU citizens between 18 and 25 years of age, the Archaeologia Card costs just €17.50. It is a great deal for history-crazed visitors to Rome, however, there may be a surcharge of €2 during exhibitions.
Roman Forum, Colosseum and the Palantine
A two-day ticket for the Roman Forum (€11 and €6.50 reduced) also includes admission to the Colosseum and the Palatine. Tickets can be purchased at the Arco di Tito, at the entrance to the Forum.
Many of the main tourist sights in Rome are right out in the open and completely free of charge. For example, Pharaoh's 3200-year-old Obelisk and the Spanish Steps are both free to check out. Rome's architecture can keep frugal tourists busy for weeks.
When in Rome, don't underestimate the ancient art of walking! Cicero and Ovid wrote of the philosophical and romantic significance of walking. Pick a neighborhood and set off for an afternoon of strolling. You won't be sorry.
Visiting the Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica is free of charge. The Pilgrim Tourist Information Center, located on St. Peter's Basilica between the rounded colonnade and the basilica, offers multi-lingual help and free brochures.
Senior travelers will find some discounts in Rome, but not as many as in other cities and countries. For the most part, seniors must be EU citizens in order to receive discounts. Members of the AARP get discounts on hotels, airfares and car rentals. They can be reached in the United States at 1-800-424-3410 and via the AARP Web site.
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is the most widely accepted form of student ID and provides discounts on sights, accommodations, food and transportation. Many museums in Italy offer admission discounts of 20-50 percent to ISIC members. Applicants must be working toward a degree at a secondary or post-secondary school and must be at least 12 years of age.
The card costs US$22 and is valid until the end of the year issued. All cardholders have access to a 24-hour emergency helpline. In the United States call 1-800-223-7986 or visit the ISIC site.
For non-students 25 years and younger, the International Youth Travel Card, IYTC, also offers many of the same benefits as the ISIC. The card costs US$22 and is valid for one year from the date of issue.
Read more articles from EuroCheapo about planning the perfect trip to Rome... for every budget!
• Rome hotel overview: What to expect in your room.
• Types of hotels: 1-star to 4-star (and B&Bs and guesthouses) explained.
• When to visit Rome: High season, low season and shoulder season.