Rome wasn’t built in a day… if it was there wouldn’t be so much to enjoy.
But if you’ve only got one day and maybe the next morning then what to see and what to miss out?
An how to do it for less than €50 spending money.
Obviously you have to sleep somewhere, and I do recommend the welcoming and economical Hotel Trastevere although remember there’s a €4 a night city tax.
Walk the walk
It’s free and it’s fun to people watch, window shop, and you can take pictures at your leisure.
You’ll also come upon piazzas you wouldn’t if you were on a public or hop-on, hop-off bus.
Eat al fresco
You’ll pay for the privilege of eating and drinking near St Peter’s Square and the Trevi Fountain.
Instead grab a pezzo (a slice of pizza) on the go for about €3 andfill your water bottles from the ornate water taps that proliferate around the city.
Rather than buy it from the shops.
Or just go into a grocery, or supermarket, and buy a picnic of bread, cold meats and fruit for about a fiver.
You’ll get a decent bottle of wine for about the same (there’s also the Campo di Fiore food market for a more authentic experience).
The Pope is free
Book an audience with the Pope. It’s Mass but he plays to the gallery and the backdrop of St Peter’s can’t be beaten.
It you can’t get an audience, you need to book in advance, then attend Mass in St Paul’s Basilica – you’ll be in there anyway.
Or any of the churches in the city. They double as art galleries.
The Sistine Chapel is a true wonderful work of art but frescoes can only really be enjoyed if you’ve got time, space and quiet.
Besides every church in Rome has a stunning fresco.
The best fresco, of course, is in the Pantheon, the 7.8m diameter hole in the dome,.
Because God made the view.
It changes every day.
When it rains on Rome, stop whatever you’re doing and rush to the Pantheon.
Spend a penny at the Trevi Fountain
No, not that penny, although I can recommend the toilets in the oh-so English Barrington Tea Room, near to the Spanish Steps.
Byron, Keats and Shelley all lived around here.
More Babington Wee Room, if you like.
No, spend a penny by throwing one over your shoulder into the Trevi Fountain.
It’s a cliche and a superstition but it’s everything that people say it is.,
Of course, they know you’ll come back to Rome.. how could you stay away?
Skull and bones
When you’ve seen everything else – and definitely make time for the Castel Sant’Angelo (€10.50) next to St Peter’s Square where rich Papal history was played out.
And it also adorns the walls.
Before you head for the Capuchin Crypt (€8.50), Piazza Belerini, and join the monks at prayer.
I walked pas a real-live Capuchin monk on my way in before being reintroduce to some real dead ones.
You know, the 3,700 whose skulls and bones were used to build the Crypt’s four chapels.
There’s even a clock made out of a monk’s bones, although the twist is it doesn’t have hands.
Time stands still in here. But not for us.
They have left us a message: ‘What you are now, we used to be. What we are now, you will be.’
Que sera, sera!
Save your money
€10.50: Castel Sant’Angelo.
€8.50: Capuchin Crypt.
€5: Picnic or pezzo (€3 and €2 for a Peroni beer).
€5: Bottle of wine.
€1: Souvenir fridge magnet (it’ll cost you much more at the airport).
€0.50: For the Trevi Fountain. Listen, it can be a one-set bit, but I’m just keeping it at a nice round number.
€7: For an al fresco spaghetti carbonara (it’s a local Roman specialty) deal with Peroni in Trastevere.
€2.50: For sweeties for the family/work… they’ll suss out though if it slips your mind and you try to bluff it and get Haribos back home.
€10: For the disfigured and displaced around St Peter’s Square…. they deserve it.
Flights: Aer Lingus and Ryanair both fly to Rome. Visit www.aerlingus.com www.aerlingus.com.com and www.ryanair.com for best offers.
Where to stay: I found Hotel Trastevere, Via Luciano Manara 24A, Trastevere on www.booking.com with a 15% reduction, down from €121 to €103.
I spent the day and night at the end of a Via Francigena pilgrimage, 100kms from Viterbo into Rome with www.ViaFrancigena.com
And check out that walk into Rome… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/small-roads-lead-to-rome/ And some tips in When in Rome… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/04/holidos-and-donts-when-in-rome/
And if you like Italy, why not check out My Anasa. https://my-anasa.com?
This article was first published in the Irish Daily Mail.