Travel Tips: 5 tips for a luxury trip to Rome for less

A visit to the Eternal City with all the bells and whistles doesn’t have to put a big dent in your wallet, says Simone Amorico, a native Roman and a co-owner of Access Italy, a company that sells luxury trips to Italy. 

“If you know where to stay, dine and shop and when to visit, you can come to Rome and have an affordable luxury trip,” he said. Here are some of his best tips to do just that.  

Time It Right 

 January through March and November and December (the week before Christmas is the exception) are the best times to visit Rome, especially if you’re looking for a break on lodging. High-end travelers can get between 30 and 50 percent off usual rates at five-star hotels. This also when hotels offer special promotions, like a third night free or a spa treatment and daily breakfast included with your stay.  

Amorico advised travelers in the United States to consider a trip during Thanksgiving week. “While Americans may have time off, Italians don’t celebrate the holiday, and it’s considered low season which means hotel prices are low,” he said.  

For those who can’t travel to Rome during off-peak season, Amorico said that it’s best to stay in hotels in less touristy but still located in well-situated neighborhoods such as Monti, Testaccio and Parioli. The properties in these areas have nightly rates at least 20 percent lower than ones in touristy spots. Or, consider renting a luxury apartment, which can be between 30 and 50 percent less expensive than a luxury hotel. Sites like Access Italy and OneFineStay offer a portfolio of Rome apartment rentals.  

Dine Smart 

Stay away from the overpriced, average restaurants situated in Piazza Navona, Pantheon and Campo dei Fiori, Rome’s main squares. You’ll enjoy less expensive and tastier meals and also get more of a local flavor of the city by dining at spots in Monti, especially on Via Urbani, where there are some excellent trattorias. Other areas worth visiting for great local restaurants include Via del Corallo, Piazza del Fico, Via Giulia and Via del Governo Vecchio.  

When it comes to lunch, Amorico suggested enjoying a thin-crust pizza (around $10) at a pizzeria or going to a trattoria for a bowl of pasta (around $12) such as his favorite, cacio e pepe. This strategy allows you to save your money for a nice dinner or two with wine in some of Rome’s terrific seafood and fine dining spots. His top recommendations are Assunta Madre for seafood and Ristorante Tullio for classic Italian dishes like cannelloni and Roman-style artichokes.

Book Private Tours on Weekdays 

A private guide is a pricey indulgence and worthwhile mainly if you’re interested in learning more about a particular topic, like historic architecture or art. But if you plan to hire one, do it during a weekday. During the week, guides in Rome cost usually around 20 percent less compared with weekends (and during low season, they can be up to 40 percent less).  

If you’re in the city between May and October and want to hire a guide to see the Vatican Museum, do it on a Friday night, when the museum is open late. “A guide will charge a lower price on these Friday nights than during the day because it’s a lot cooler and less crowded,” Amorico said.  

Shop During Sales 

Rome’s many designer stores, including big-name luxury brands you may be familiar with, usually have sales twice a year, Amorico said. Winter collections get discounted in early January while summer collections get reduced in early July. The sales last between four and six weeks.  

But Amorico also suggested checking out the fashionable and well-priced clothes, shoes and handbags from lesser-known designers for great looks on a budget. They’re usually sold in independently owned boutiques in Monti, Trastevere, Parioli and Fleming.  

Walk Everywhere 

 Finally, regardless of your budget, the best way to see Rome is by walking. Don’t bother spending your money on a car and driver or taxis, Amorico said. “Rome is like an open-air museum, and the only way to experience it is on foot,” he said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Travel

Cambodia up close: River cruise on the Mekong
Cambodia up close: River cruise on the Mekong

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — “Life is not staying still,” Vuthy spoke softly to me, like a kind older brother. “It is moving from one place to the next.” I followed his rhythmic breathing — in, out — inhaling the lotus air and untangling my own breath from the outside breeze, flowing in through the open temple doors...
You ate what?! A fearless foodie's foray into the bouchons of Lyon.

Andrew picks up his beer and leans back against the red banquette seating at Le Romarin, a tiny bistro-bar in the heart of Lyon. Over the next 48 hours, we're planning to eat our way across this famously gastronomic city, but something is worrying him. "I'm looking forward to the wine," he says. "I'm looking forward to the cheese. I'm...
Relax at Lake Oconee with golf, spa, shopping
Relax at Lake Oconee with golf, spa, shopping

It’s springtime, and the greens are calling. Pack up your golf clubs because it’s time to escape the city and head to tranquil Lake Oconee. With 117 holes of golf plus spa treatments and shopping, this waterfront destination in Greene County is a great retreat for couples, families or even a long weekend with friends. Located halfway between...
Airlines for America forecasts 151 million flyers for record-high spring travel season

Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, expects an all-time high of 150.7 million passengers – 2.47 million per day – to fly globally on U.S. airlines between March 1 and April 30, a four percent increase from 145 million passengers in the spring of 2017. To prepare for the expected increase...
Celebrate cherry blossom season with these events for all ages

Spring marks the time to put the heavy coats away and get ready to enjoy the warm weather ahead. In Washington, D.C., spring also means the familiar pink-and-white blooms of the cherry blossom tree.  In 1912, Tokyo, Japan, gave 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees to the city as a sign of unity between the two nations. The trees blossom in spring and in...
More Stories