Italy Tourism on a Budget
A spectacularly beautiful city, Rome is, surprisingly, not as expensive as London or Paris. The centre is also fairly compact which makes it a good walking city. The best and cheapest ways to see Rome are walking and catching public transport, although the extremely heavy traffic and crowded buses and metro are not pleasant. Taxis are very expensive in Italy. There are many sights in Rome which are still free. These sights are the ten best.
The Vatican: Regarded by many as Rome's most important attraction, the splendid and enormous church of St.Peter's is not to be missed. It is full of interesting paintings and sculptures, such as Michelangelo's moving Pieta. The Pope holds huge outdoor masses every Sunday morning.. The crypt with its tombs and effigies of the dead Popes is also worth visiting. Unfortunately, the Vatican Museums are not free, except on the last Sunday of the month, but there are usually huge queues.
The Colloseum: Only the exterior of this ancient site is free, unfortunately. If you haven't been there before it's certainly well worth paying to go inside and see this grand old Roman amphitheatre. However, the outside is also an amazing sight and an excellent place to photograph.
The Forum: Even more impressive than the Coliseum is the Forum, a collection of Roman ruins of buildings and temples. A large area it needs more than one visit to explore. This ancient political and religious centre includes many famous sights, such as the Temple of Saturn and Caesar's tomb. Caesar's tomb is quite moving because people still lay flowers in his honor.
The Spanish Steps: These spectacular stairs, most beautiful in summer when the flowers alongside them are in full bloom, were built in the eighteenth century. No visit to Rome is complete without climbing up the high stairs. There is a good view of Rome from the top for photographs. The artists selling their wares also lend a colorful and Bohemian air to this tourist attraction.
The Via Veneto: Full of grand hotels, restaurants and designer shops, this street is a shopper's paradise. It is also a beautiful and elegant street and a favorite haunt of movie-stars and other celebrities.
The Trevi Fountain: No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to this fountain completed by Nichola Salvi in the eighteenth century with its impressive figure of Neptune and the beautiful seahorses. Unfortunately it is difficult to find a time to see the fountain without annoying crowds and the danger of pick-pockets. Early in the morning is probably the best time. According to legend you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the fountain - the right way to do this is to turn your back to it and toss it over your shoulder.
Piazza Navona: This large and elegant square with its beautiful fountains, including the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini, is also a must-see. This is a very popular tourist attraction and a haunt of artists who love to congregate in the piazza which has beautiful churches and many cafes as well as the famous fountains.
Piazza NAVONA - Fontane (Roma - Italia).
The Pantheon: This ancient Roman temple has a beautiful high domed ceiling and contains the tombs of Raphael and popes amongst others. Full of famous paintings and gorgeous altars, this architectural masterpiece was consecrated in medieval times and is still a Roman Catholic church.
St. Paul's: Another famous church is St. Paul's Outside the Walls which is about half an hour away from Rome by metro. Perhaps built over the tomb of St. Paul himself, this large church has paintings of all the popes and a colorful mosaic of the saint's life. The elegant cloisters and pretty garden are lovely spots for photographs. The shop has various products sold by the monks, including religious articles and beauty products.
The Mouth of Truth: The Bocca della Verita is a carving of a river god that hangs in the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, which was famously featured in the movie, Roman Holiday. According to legend liars lose their hands if they put them in the mouth! It might be a good idea to test a lover's faithfulness here!
It would be a great pity to visit Rome without visiting all of these famous historical sights. Enjoy your trip and remember to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain!
By Lisa-Anne Sanderson