1. If you can handle the heat (33 degrees C) go to Rome in August when it is holiday time for Italians, there are less people and all of the sights are still open. Take it from me the heat is not that bad especially when you can go out in the morning, have siesta during the hottest part of the day, then go out again in the evening.
2. If you are staying more than 3 nights look for a central apartment. This way you can cook some of your meals and save on take out and restaurant meals.
3. Carry a bottle with you, you can fill it up with cold natural spring water at many fountains and taps around the city.
4. Don’t buy food / gelati / drinks from cafes, bars on the main streets or in front of places of interest, go one street back and find everything cheaper. Even better buy cold drinks at the supermarket, there are many SPARS scattered around the city.
5. If you see a church that is open go inside and take photo’s(if allowed) this is FREE. They are all amazing and ornate.
6. Buy bus tickets at the Tabaccheri , these look like newsagencies with a sign out front with a big T on it. They are everywhere.
7. Musei Vatican: line up before 830am, buy a ticket for entrance 15 euro, then go in and purchase an AUDIOGUIDE (map and headset) 7 euros. It will cost at least 40 euro for an English speaking guide and it will take at least 3.5 hours to go through with the guide. With the audio guide you can go at your own pace and when you see something that interests you press the number into the headset and it gives you the information. (more info on this in the blog). St Peter’s Basilica is FREE, the tombs below are also FREE. Do not be conned by people outside the Vatican walls selling inclusive tickets and skip the line tickets.
8. During Summer there are stalls and restaurants set up along the River Tevere between the Ponte Garibaldi and Ponte Palatino. I recommend going for a walk along the river at least once, its FREE too.
9. There are FREE walking tours around Rome, take advantage of this. They are ENGLISH only and take about 1.5 - 2 hours. www.romefreetour.com
10. There are many FREE sights to see in Rome. For example you can see the outside of the Colosseum and walk all the way around it to take photo’s. Unless you really want to know the ins and outs of the Colosseum don’t worry about paying for the entrance. There are many ruins around the city for great photo’s too. (I will make a list of the FREE places of interest).