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As I mentioned earlier this year, we’re headed to Italy this October for 8 days of fun and sightseeing. This trip wouldn’t be possible without all the airline miles and points I collected over the last 18 months. Thanks to some cash back that I used to book cheap bed-n-breakfasts and the fact that I was able to use 80,000 American Airlines flights for our round-trip flights, this trip is pretty dang C-H-E-A-P so far. You feel me?
Now that it’s T-minus 40 days until we get up out of here, it’s time to get serious about exactly what it is we’re going to do while we’re there. I mean, Lord knows we don’t speak Italian or anything. Heaven help us if we land in Rome without some sort of plan.
My Plans for Italy On a Budget
With that in mind, I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to see as much as possible during our Italian getaway…without paying very much for anything. Here’s what I’ve figured out so far.
After a stop in Philadelphia, we’ll hop on a 9-hour flight to Rome. And since it’s an overnight flight, we’ll land in Rome at around 8:00 a.m. I know that sounds brutal, but the overnight flight really wasn’t that bad when we flew the red-eye to London last year.
Anyway, we’ll have to hit the ground running. Because I booked an excursion (more on that in a minute), we only have 2.5 days to do the whole Rome thing! With that being said, so far we have purchased the Omnia Vatican & Rome Pass to simplify the process. For our passes, which were around $85 each, we get:
- Unlimited transportation around Rome using the underground and bus system for three days
- Entry to the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel
- Entry into 2 of the top Rome attractions, including The Coliseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill, Capitolini Museums, Borghese Gallery and National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo.
- Unlimited pass for a hop on bus tour all around the city (I love these!!!!)
- Fast Track Entry to St Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel & The Coliseum – save over 4 hours at each attraction during busy periods
- A guidebook
- Discounted entry to 30 Rome attractions
Since the stuff we want to do adds up to more than $85, this was a good value for us. And as a bonus, we get unlimited public transportation and the ability to skip the lines. The last thing I want to do in Italy is queue up!
In addition to all of those plans, we also booked an excursion to see Pompeii and Sorrento. Since I’m writing a review in return, I’m comped for that…but it’s still going to be awesome!
To save money on food in Rome, I booked our room at a hotel that offers a free breakfast. We’ll probably eat quick lunches on-the-go since there’s so much to see, but I plan to have at least one sit-down Italian feast.
Surprisingly, our two train tickets to Florence were just $40 total. We only have two days to spend there, so we want to see as much as we can. Here are the main Florence attractions I plan to see (fortunately, some of them are free):
- See and shop on the Ponte Vecchio (free)
- Uffizi Gallery with guide (around $50)
- Eat some gelato. Yasssssssssss. ($10?)
- Il Grande Museo del Duomo (This could cost a million dollars for all I know. I don’t read Italian!)
- Academia Gallery to see Michelangelo’s “David” among other famous pieces of art ($40)
There are a few other things I want to see and do in Florence, but those are the main priorities. I also hope to find (and take a picture of) the hotel my mom stayed at in Florence 40 years ago. That will be a fun adventure, I think, and I’m sure my mom would like to see what it looks like now.
Our train trip from Florence to Venice only set us back a total of $79, which is pretty sweet. But since we only have a day in Venice, I don’t want to make a bunch of plans. Here are the top things I want to see and do:
- Ride a water taxi
- Go to a mask store
- Check out St. Mark’s Basilica
- See the Doge’s Palace
- Walk through St. Mark’s Square
- Take lots of selfies
Other than food costs, our stay in Venice shouldn’t cost much at all. What I really want to do is walk the streets and passageways, eat some yummy food, and just take it all in. I have a feeling we’ll fit Venice into another European tour if we like it, so I’m not too worried about seeing everything this time. I just want to relax and enjoy the scenery.
The Bottom Line
I’m getting more and more excited for this trip with each passing day. And as it gets closer, I hope to have a few more of the details ironed out. Like I said, we don’t read or speak Italian, which could be a problem. I always tell myself I’m going to learn a few words before we go somewhere new, but I never do. Somehow, I never find the time!
Fortunately, my husband is some type of navigation genius. No matter where we are and what language they speak, he can find his way around. And if I were to get lost, I suppose there is no one else I would rather be lost with. Wish us luck!
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