Ten things to enjoy in Rome for less than €20

Learn languages June 14, 2013

As one of the world’s great student cities, Italy’s capital is an alluring destination for an Italian course. Rome has something for everyone, and for every budget. We caught up with our friends at IH Dilit Rome to get some insider tips for enjoying the city without causing a financial crisis in your wallet.

Free Rome walking tour 1

Photo: Rum Bucolic Ape

This English-language free tour of the city includes the real Angels of Bernini, Queen Margherita’s tomb, the trompe l’oeil and much more. It starts every at 5.30pm at Piazza di Spagna and lasts for two hours. You don’t need a reservation so just turn up and enjoy. (newromefreetour.com)

Free Rome walking tour 2

Photo: Grace Donaghue

At 10am Mon-Sat, these guys offer a free Vatican Tour (leaving from the Piazza di Spagna), and a free Colosseum tour each afternoon at 4pm. The tours are run in English and Spanish. Each Friday at 10am, a “La France à Rome” tour is offered in French. The tour is free but remember to leave a tip so the guides can eat. (romefreewalkingtour.com)


There are a wide variety of fabulous markets in Rome, with something for all tastes. Porta Portese every Sunday morning is one of the largest in the city, while Mercato Campo de’ Fiori (every day from 6 am to 2 pm), Mercatino Villa Glori (every third Sunday in each month from 9am to 7pm) Mercatino di Porta Pia (every second Sunday in each month from 9 am to 7 pm) and Mercato di via Sannio (Mon-Sat from 6 am to 2 pm) are also consistently popular. (mercatiniroma.it)

Italian cuisine… as it should be!

Photo: fabulousfabs

You are already familiar with Italian food: pizza and pasta are among the western world’s most popular dishes. But until food in Italy, you you have tried Italian don’t know just how tasty it can be. In Rome, as in all of Italy’s major cities, there are some overpriced restaurants aimed at tourists, but stick to our tips and you will get excellent food for a great price.

Have an Italian aperitivo in the evening and, for the price of a drink, you can feast on an all-you-can-eat buffet. Ursula from DILIT recommends:

  • Doppio Zero (doppiozeroo.com): €9/person, from 6 pm to 9 pm (before you go there, you should book a table. By 6.30pm it is impossible to find a free table or you have to wait)
  • Freni e Frizioni (freniefrizioni.com/): €7/person, from 7pm to 10 pm
  • Barnum Cafè (barnumcafe.com/)
  • Momart (momartcafe.it): €10/person

And for something sweet:

  • Giolitti (pasticceriagiolitti.com/) – gelato
  • San Crispino (ilgelatodisancrispino.it/)– gelato

Museums, churches


Photo: Lawrence OP

From ancient sculptures to modern masterpieces via Titian, Cavallini, Domenichino and modernism, Rome’s museums and churches chronicle the aesthetic development of one of the world’s great cities. The Galleria Borghese (you will need to book an appointment), Campidoglio and Vatican Museum (free from 9 am to 12.30 pm on the last Sunday of the month) are particularly impressive. Tickets around €13. (museiincomuneroma.it)

Parks, gardens – “open-air museums”

Villa Borghese, Photo: Zac MC

Sometimes you just need to lie back in the shade and enjoy the ambiance. Some of the finest places to unwind are:  Villa Borghese, Villa Torlonia, Gianicolense, Foro Romano, Pantheon, the Spanish Steps and Fontana di Trevi.

Rome by bike

Renting a bicycle in Rome costs around €4/hour and is a great way to get around the city… if you are brave. (turismoroma.it)

Stadio Olimpico – AS Roma football match

You can watch AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, where Francesco Totti has been scoring goals since the reign of Emperor Theodosius I. If you listen carefully to your neighbours in the stands, you will pick up plenty of vocabulary that isn’t in the dictionaries. Tickets from €16. (asroma.it)

Nightlife in San Lorenzo

Photo: Parker Knight

Rome’s university area is where the action happens in the evening. Particularly at the weekends, the area buzzes with people on the streets, enjoying the warm air and the energy of the city. Most cheap bars offer shots from €1.


A free cinema, sponsored by the City of Rome, has free showings daily. Find out more at casadelcinema.it.

Head to the Seaside

Photo: Daniele Zedda

You can get from the city centre to the seaside in less than 20 minutes on the bus. At Eur Magliana metro station, take the ‘LIDO (Cristoforo Colombo)’ bus (€1.50) and you will be whisked away to the Mediterranean. The nearest beach is at Ostia, where you can also find Ostia Antica – a large and impressive archaeological site that was ancient Rome’s harbour city.

From “pick me up” puddings to holy residences; student street parties to antique markets, Rome is a city where your €20 will go a long way… if you know where to look!

Find out more about an Italian course in Rome.

You can share your tips for enjoying Rome in the comments section. 

By Alex Hammond

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