When in Rome ....
This fabulous lady was busy sketching on old pieces of cardboard, by the Pantheon , Her trolley was full of her vibrant works.
The Pantheon exterior and interior.
Walking the streets of Rome.
Even the drain is beautiful !
One of very few Vintage Shops in Rome .
Inside the Jewish museum of Rome, some of the intricate embroidery .
One of many water spouts around Rome.
This month I was incredibly lucky and had the unexpected chance to visit Rome. Its somewhere I have always dreamed of going , but I had been advised that it can become expensive when you visit. With this in mind I did a lot of research before I went of what I wanted to do and see when I was there .
My main way of saving money was doing the entire trip on foot, I walked everywhere, and I would recommend this to anyone who is able . The streets of Rome are a museum themselves, you turn a corner and there will be an ornate fountain, another corner and some ancient Ruins. Whilst walking around we happened upon a beautiful courtyard with lemons and oranges trees and small fountains , then further along came to some ruins which are the home of a Cat sanctuary . If you are an animal lover you can go into the sanctuary and help them by sponsoring a cat ( They vaccinate and spay all the cats with money donated by visitors)
It is a visual treat (which did cause me to trip over quite a few times from looking up !) I felt like because of this I didn't actually need to go into many museums, which cuts costs. If you are adamant that you want to go inside the main sights such as the Colosseum, Vatican or the Roman Forum then I would suggest booking before you go ,there are plenty of offers that allow access to multiple attractions and also mean you can skip the queues ( which I imagine is particularly advisable during the busier and hotter seasons !) .
Its also worth mentioning that some of the smaller attractions are well worth a visit , I took a look around the Jewish museum of Rome which also includes a tour of the synagogue. It was fascinating and quite unexpected to learn about this part of the history of Rome. The Jewish Quarter itself is now a thriving and affluent area of Rome however it was once the Ghetto essentially imprisoning thousands of Jews in an incredibly small area, which ,for a great period of time ,Jews weren't allowed to leave between sunset and sunrise. The Jews were only allowed to hold certain positions and jobs within the city such as fish mongers or rag men . One of the most fascinating facts I learnt in the museum was about the women of the ghetto, due to their restrictions they were only able to source second hand fabrics , and yet they became hugely skilled in embroidering and creating the most intricate covers for the Torah. The roman Jewish synagogue is in fact the only one to have a prayer for the women saying 'may He bless all the daughters of Israel to merit in creating a skirt or covering for the Torah scrolls' . Some of these are pictured above although the majority were behind glass, you can sense the time and love spent making these objects of real beauty with little sign that they were in any way made from reused materials.
Eating can be reasonable too, find a bakery that sells pizza by the slice for lunch ( I hugely recommend the Pizza Bianca from Roscioli ) Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it from one of the many public water fountains . We found a little bar round the corner from our hotel that sold reasonably priced wine which you could then take and sit by the fountain with the locals which was really lovely.
The part that was majorly different for me compared to other trips I've been on was shopping! Normally I love to have a good shop, especially in a new city ! I spent a few of my days in Rome alone due to my husband working so the urge to shop was real ! I managed fine, I walked down the main street where all the designer shops are pretty happy that it was all entirely out of my price ( and often taste) range. I did enjoy the people watching and wish I had been braver and taken photos of some of the fabulous styles I saw ( next time !) I did however manage to find some vintage shops, there are quite a few on the street running through the Jewish Quarter, I managed to barter (ive no idea if this is standard behaviour in Rome ?! but it worked ) and get a good price for a pair of wide legged yellow trousers which I'm currently having taken in ( I imagine in the future wearing them and having memories of my time in Rome, my one special Rome purchase )
I could go on and go into much greater detail but I really wanted to focus on how it can be done economically and how the nothing new pledge impacted on my trip, which it didn't dramatically. I felt good that being more frugal actually in a lot of ways allowed me to experience more then I may have if I'd jumped on a tour bus, and I truly did have the most amazing time. I think the best way to enjoy trips like this is to read up on where you are going ( ideally try and read reports and blogs from locals too who can show you how to enjoy a more authentic - and often cheaper because its not aimed at tourist- experience) . The best advice I have (if its safe for you do to so ) is to roam ( when in Rome ... I crack myself up ) walk hire a bike , look up and down and explore without plans because you never know what you might find !