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Cheap Things to Do in Rome
Though Rome is on the fast track to becoming one of the most expensive cities in Europe, fortunately the city also has an endless supply of free and inexpensive things to do and see without causing any serious damage to your wallet.
Budget Boosters: Art and Archaeological Sites
On Valentine's Day (February 14), the Italian Ministry for Culture hosts its annual "Innamorati dell'Arte," or "In Love with Art," campaign where lovers or people in pairs can take advantage of two-for-one admission prices at all state-run museums and archaeological sites.
Also sponsored by the Ministry for Culture, during "Settimana della Cultura," or Cultural Week (typically held in April and May), many of the major archaeological sites and museums in and around Rome waive their entrance fees. Check out www.beniculturali.it for exact dates and listings.
It usually costs EUR 14 to visit the Vatican Museums, but on the last Sunday of nearly every month you can get in free. Make sure to bring comfy shoes, as the wait in line can be a bit overwhelming!
If you're up for seeing a flick, head over to the Casa del Cinema (Largo Marcello Mastroianni 1, near Villa Borghese). The movie theater, sponsored by the City of Rome, has free showings daily. See www.casadelcinema.it for listings.
Coincidentally, the Casa del Cinema also does up a nice brunch spread on Sunday.
Looking for a cheap movie night? The Metropolitan (Via del Corso 7, near Piazza del Popolo) and Warner Village (Piazza della Repubblica, 45/46) often show new releases in English during the first week of the month; on Wednesday night, ticket prices are reduced.
Econo-Tips: Music and Performances
Every year on May 1, Italy's Labor Day, hundreds of thousands of people gather for the free concert held in Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano.
Headliners are usually Italian rock bands, but occasionally folk troupes perform as well.
During the summer (mid-June through August), one of Rome's loveliest parks, Villa Ada, hosts its annual Roma Incontro il Mondo-"Rome Meets the World"—concert series.
Concerts are held nightly, with ticket prices ranging EUR 5 to EUR 13. Check www.villaada.org for details.
The aperitivo hour allows you to dine out, sort of, in some of Rome's trendiest and finest establishments without breaking the bank.
Here's how: for the price of a drink (usually EUR 5 to EUR 8), you can feast on an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Politicians head for the Riccioli Caffè, near the Italian Senate (Via delle Coppelle 13), for its sushi, oysters, and cold pastas.
A posh scene can be found at Crudo (Via degli Specchi 6) and Gusto (Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 9), where the spread includes veggies, pastas, and finger food.
The Piazza Bologna district's Momart attracts a young college crowd (Viale XXI Aprile 19) with its wood-oven pizza.
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