In our Go Local Guides, we’ve teamed up with local insiders from popular travel destinations; giving you their money-saving tips on how to get a taste of the places they call home, without breaking the bank.
Benedetta Ristori takes us on a Roman Holiday in a tucked away neighbourhood that could save you money.
Rome is synonymous with classic style - and soaring tourist prices. But it’s possible to avoid the pricey madness by simply exploring and casting your eyes to the natural beauty of the city’s radically diverse architecture.
The key to spending like a local in Rome is to search in the cool back alleys. Less than a five minute walk from the ‘Piazza Navona’ is Bar del Fico. This relaxed bar-restaurant is full of Roman locals enjoying beautiful pasta dishes for €11 (£10.37). There’s an outdoor bar area where you can have a coffee or a glass of wine for €6 (£5.66). There’s a great value all-you-can-eat buffet here too for €13 (£12.26).
The Testaccio district was where the Roman empire imported oils, grains and meats for its citizens. The neighbourhood is still the centre of a great food culture and there is amazing street art all over the place. Angelina, which overlooks the square of the ancient market, serves mountains of Carbonara or ‘Caccio di Pepe’ for €12 (£11.32). The place is spread over several floors, and includes a beautiful terrace, which originally housed the cattle market. Today the terrace is a bright room full of plants, butcher’s benches and tables inset with majolica, the tin-glazed ceramic so typical of Roman design. The food combined with the street art is one of the best Roman experiences.
The Roman tram system was built in the late 1800s and was the earliest mass transport service in the city — and it remains a great value way to breathe the Roman air, while avoiding the traffic and the heat of the metro system. A single ticket is €1.50 (£1.41), and there are discounts for daily and weekly passes. The mid-century design of the kiosks at the Tram Depot are worth a visit too. You can get a pre-dinner negroni here for €8 (£7.55), while taking in the unique ambience of the place.
From the earliest days of the Eternal City the Garbatella neighbourhood was a bohemian, creative quarter. Re-created in the 1920s as a ‘garden city’ and acquiring layer upon layer as the decades progressed, Garbatella is now a distinctive mix of architectural styles, and wandering here is a real delight. When the shadows begin to lengthen La Latteria is a perfect pit-stop. It is quirkily renovated with all kinds of recycled materials and styles, and they serve killer plates of cold cuts and tasty cheeses for €8 (£7.55) — and amazing lasagna for €9 (£8.49). Post WW2, couples would famously meet at the ‘Staircase of Lovers’ here to carve out an elusive moment of intimacy.
Roman style is famously lavish and expensive. But a way around the high prices is to shop at the city’s vintage shops. Walking a few steps from the Forum, among the ivy-covered buildings of Rione Monti, there is an area full of cool vintage stores. Among these, dig in the crates of Pifebo Vintage and you’ll find a wealth of great classics, especially vintage Levi’s and nineteen seventies sunglasses. There’s everything from romantic nineteen fifties dresses to casual biker gear from the nineteen nineties. But perhaps the best money hack in Rome might be the Kilo Shop option. Stuff your sack with a kilogram of clothes for just €20 (£18.86).
Coliseum: everyone goes and you should too!
Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
From €23.90 (£22.54)
Negroni is our favourite cocktail
€6-8 (£5.66 – £7.55)
€5-9.00 (£4.72 – £8.49)
Rome Metro Pass (Tram, Bus & Metro)
€16.50 (£15.56) Three Day Pass
Bars and Restaurants
Many hi-end restaurants charge mandatory 12.5%. Discretionary elsewhere.
Our insider city guides - packed with tips from locals in the know.