Monday, February 25, 2008

Rome: Won't break the bank

The good news: The weather has cleared, Rome is beautiful – and it won’t break the bank.

After checking into my modest hotel, I grabbed lunch with a friend, sharing a yummy plate of antipasto and a bowl of spaghetti al carbonara, a local specialty, and a cup of badly-needed espresso. Then we hopped one of the on-again-off-again tour buses – a great way to get your bearings, I’ve learned, especially when you’re jetlagged.

The commentary was a bore – too many dates, not enough storytelling to make it interesting – but the ride was well worth it. Rome is the text book case that everything old is new again. Crumbled walls, the columns still staggering centuries after they were built, churches and Roman temples and the magnificent bounty of the baroque age aren’t museum pieces here – they’re part of the offices and apartments and churches where people work and live and pray.

“Can you imagine how Miami looks to people coming from here who visit for the first time?’’ my friend Kate asked. Fresh off the shelf.


  • Train from the airport: $15 (11 euros)
  • Rome pass (begins tomorrow): $30
  • City hop-off tour bus: $20
  • Lunch at I Leoni d’Abruzzi: $13
  • Lonely Planet guide: $36 (ouch!)
  • Dinner at the friendly Hostaria Trevi (artichoke, veal stew and wine): $23
  • Visits to the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain: free
  • Bottled water: $3
  • Taxi to hotel (sore feet!): $9
  • Hotel: $115

    TOTAL: $228
    (Note: If sharing hotel, the cost would have been $170 per person including food, transport and all expenses – but not the Lonely Planet)

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