Rome Alone
May 25, 2010 1:03 PM   Subscribe

I plan to visit Rome during the end of June primarily for a wedding and to meet up with an ex-girlfriend. I am on a very tight budget and with about 4 days alone, I would like to use the time to partake in some interesting (albeit cheap) activities. I plan on staying at Hotel Taormina due to it's location and reasonable price (43 GBP a night) although I'll take suggestions. Cheap watering holes relative to the hotel and advice on getting from Ciampino airport to the hotel (or one you suggest) would be helpful. Grazie.
posted by asharchist to Travel & Transportation around Rome, Italy (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Previous question on cheap hotels in Rome. I'd reiterate my answer there: Fawlty Towers. It's also just a few minutes from the train station.
posted by Jaltcoh at 1:09 PM on May 25, 2010

Take the train into the city from the airport.

Check out the Basillica of San Clemente. Interesting and cheap.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:19 PM on May 25, 2010

Many of the churches of Rome are free to visit, and there are many beautiful ones. I downloaded a RickSteve podcast walking tour of some of the medieval ones.
posted by garlic at 1:36 PM on May 25, 2010

Response by poster: Fawlty Towers is more expensive than the place I am planning on staying and in the same location.
posted by asharchist at 1:45 PM on May 25, 2010

Best answer: Hotel Taormina is fine; not super crazy awesome good, but reasonably priced and well located. I used to be an Italy-specific travel agent (many, many moons ago, and I have forgotten all the restaurant recs, sorry!) but we used to send people to Hotel Taormina all the time.
posted by hungrybruno at 1:46 PM on May 25, 2010

Best answer: From Ciampino your options are, in order of cheapest to most expensive:
  • Take the Cotral Bus in front of the airport* to the Anagnina Metro Station. (approx €1-2, tickets can be bought from the driver) From there, take the metro Line A to Termini (€1 ticket good for one trip on the metro; there's 3 day & week long tickets available as well. Click on "Metrobus System in Rome" on the right.)
  • A dedicated shuttlebus. The tickets can usually be purchased online in advance or at a ticket kiosk after you exit the baggage claim. Terravision I think has the lowest offer right now; seems there's a bit of a price war between the longer running Terravision & the "upstarts" who I can't find as the Ciampino airport website sucks balls and is currently "experiencing too much traffic".
  • Taxi. It's a fixed rate of €30 including baggage last time I checked.
You don't say what time you are arriving or departing; the dedicated shuttle buses usually time their schedules to the flights but double check always. The Bus/metro option has more restricted hours as the Metro opens at 5.30am and last train leaves the respective ends (of which Anagnina is one) at 23.30pm Sun-Thurs & 1.30am Fri & Sat.

*Ciampino is a seriously dinky airport. All the buses & taxis are at the front of the airport. You can't miss them.
posted by romakimmy at 2:08 PM on May 25, 2010

Response by poster: Terravision seems to be what I am looking for 8 euros for my dates/times.
posted by asharchist at 2:12 PM on May 25, 2010

Oh and I missed craven_morehead's train answer, which is totally wrong.

Unlike Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci International, there is no direct train to/from Ciampino airport.

You can however take a Cotral bus from the airport to the Ciampino train station to get to Termini. I've never taken it as taking the bus->metro option is pretty much the same deal.
posted by romakimmy at 2:16 PM on May 25, 2010

Oh, yep, completely thinking of Fiumincino. Whoops.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:17 PM on May 25, 2010

Best answer: There is no direct train from Ciampino Airport proper, which is a bit of a hassle. You have a few options; this website gives you a pretty good rundown of all of them. My personal suggestion is to split a fixed rate cab with some backpackers who will have invariably floated in on Ryanair. It's 30 euro for up to four people with their luggage, to anywhere within the Aurelian walls. The hotel you put up there is walking distance from Termini, the main train station.

If you're looking for cheap things to do, look no further than Rome's surfeit of magnificent churches, all of which are free to enter.

There are the four papal basilicas, St. Peter's, Santa Maria Maggiore, St. Johns Lateran, and St. Paul's outside the walls. Your hotel is located right between Santa Maria Maggiore and the Lateran basilica, and the other two are easily accessible via public transit. These four churches are often called "Pilgrim's Rome".

Or, you could start at the Spanish steps (take the Red Line from Vittorio, which is just a block or so away, to Spagna). Visit Trinita dei Monti, the church at the top of the steps, and then take Via Sistina all the way to Via Quirinale. There are two magnificent churches there, built by two rival architects: San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, by Francesco Borromini, and Sant'Andrea al Quirinale by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. These churches close around 12:30, so make an early morning of this one. Also, along Via Sistina, stop to check out Piazza Tritone, featuring a fountain by Bernini, and Palazzo Quirinale, with a facade by Borromini. The works of these two architects (and sculptors, in Bernini's case) litter Rome.

Another option is to head over to the Pantheon, built 125 AD by the emperor Hadrian, and still in pretty magnificent condition. The portico was going under scaffolding in April, but the interior should still be really great. Look out for the small section of the middle ring in the interior that is different from the rest: that is a hypothetical reconstruction of what that section looked like in Roman times. The rest was a Renaissance intervention attempting to regularize the section according the principles of the time. Then, head over to Piazza Navona, which was build on the site of the stadium of Emperor Domitian. On the way over, stop at Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza, another church by Borromini. In Piazza Navona, the three fountains are all Bernini works, while the church, Sant'Agnese in Agone, and the attached Palazzo Pampilij, are Borromini. See the theme?

In short, there are tons of awesome and totally free things to do in Rome. It would probably be worth it to pick up a guide book before you head over; I've only just touched the surface here. A last note: I'm not sure what you mean by late June, but if you will be there on June 27th, the Vatican Museums will be free on that day. Even if you're not, they are tied with the Louvre for the most spectacular museums ever according to daniel striped tiger, and entirely worth the admissions fee. If you have any more questions, or want for me to ramble about Rome a little longer, feel free to shoot me a MefiMail.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 3:07 PM on May 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you care at all about going to at least a couple of museums or archaeological sites, get a Roma Pass. It can be bought at most any tabaccheria, costs 25 euros, lasts three days, and gets you Metro transit, free admission to two museums/archaeological sites, and discounted admission to others. I used mine at the Colosseum/Palatine Hill (and because of it I skipped the line!) and the Galleria Borghese, and wound up saving about 8 euros or so, I think.
posted by Madame Psychosis at 7:38 PM on May 25, 2010

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