12 Hours in Rome on a Shoestring

Rome may be not have been built in a day, however on this trip that was the length of time we’d allocated for our visit to the Eternal City. Before visiting we had a list of attractions we wanted to see and thankfully for our limited budget a lot of them were free.

Rome’s a difficult city to get to grips with in a day, especially if your on foot, thankfully we had our trusty bikes with us, making the visit a damn site easier.  So with no time to spare, at 8 A.M we set off from our camp spot towards the centre of Rome.

On reflection perhaps tackling a 4 mile bike ride into the centre of Rome at rush hour wasn’t our best move, however darting in and out of the traffic alongside the armada of scooters was certainly exhilarating.

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Vatican City

Our first point of interest was The Vatican, unfortunately upon arrival we were hoodwinked into shelling out for queue jump and guided tour tickets for the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, however I’m fairly sure just purchasing the standard priced tickets and queuing wouldn’t have taken us much longer to get in. We were quite overwhelmed by how busy the Vatican was, apparently over 20,000 people visit every day, this meant that instead of wandering the museums corridors at a leisurely pace, we found ourselves tossed into a scrum of thousands of people trying to get the best views.

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The Queue Jump queue?

Once the tour was complete and having visited the St Mark’s Basilica, the largest cathedral in the world which is actually free to go inside, we were feeling slightly weerie, thankfully Rome is in no short supply of a refreshment that fits into our budget, Coffee! So with that we had our first 90 cent espresso of the day.

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The worlds largest cathedral S’t Marks Basilica

Rejuvenated, we hopped back on the bikes and made our way to heart of the city, where we parked up to explore the ancient streets, the first sight we came across was the impressive Pantheon, an ancient Roman Temple, which somewhat brilliantly, is free to visit. A short stroll from here we stumbled across perhaps the most famous water fountain in the world, The Trevi Fountain. The place was heaving with tourists tossing shedloads of euros into the water, thankfully the money that’s thrown into the fountain is collected and distributed to local charities, apparently in 2016 over €1.4 Million was collected.

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The world’s most famous Water Fountain

A few hundred metres from here, we came to the Spanish steps, after climbing to the top we were rewarded with great views looking over the city centre.

Our final stop was perhaps Romes most famous monument, The Colosseum, unfortunately because we’d spent most of our budget on getting into the Vatican we didn’t go in, however even from the outside we were pretty overwhelmed by the scale of it. Armed with a couple of slices of cheap pizza we hung around till sunset to watch the lights come on. At 8 P.M we decided it was time to call our day to an end, so with the glow of the Colosseum behind us we mounted the bikes for one last time and headed off into the night in the hope of somehow getting back to our camp sight.

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The Colosseum at sunset was worth waiting for.

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