Image of Roman Forum in Rome, Italy during sunrise.

Check out epic monuments, cherished ruins and avant-garde culinary institutions on a memorable weekend getaway. (Getty Images)

With monumental landmarks, world-class museums and cutting-edge food, fashion and art scenes, the Eternal City is a must-visit destination for any world traveler. From the Colosseum to the Roman Forum to the Vatican, Rome brims with historical attractions and UNESCO World Heritage sites. But while there's plenty to see and do once you arrive, visiting Rome requires plenty of determination to make sure any stay – be it a weekend getaway, a weeklong jaunt or a longer adventure – fully encapsulates its splendor.

[See: 10 Beautiful Underrated Places in Italy.]

For Americans on a tight budget, a top hurdle for organizing a quick weekend trip to Rome is snagging affordable international plane tickets. Unless you live in a major hub such as New York City or Atlanta, there are few direct flights to Rome. If you want to trim costs, consider flying with Alitalia, Italy's flag carrier, which recently unveiled no-frills low-cost fares on flight to the U.S. to compete with legacy airlines such as Delta, United and British Airways. Aside from flying with a budget carrier to trim transportation costs, there are a variety of other tactics to pull off an affordable and unforgettable trip.

Here's how to make the most of your next Roman holiday.

Where to Stay

For a stay to remember, consider retreating to the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria, which is set high in the hills of a residential community near Piazza Barberini and is home to La Pergola, the only three Michelin-starred restaurant in Italy. Helmed by the acclaimed executive chef Heinz Beck, La Pergola offers gourmet seven- and 10-course menus with delicious bites such as smoked scallop tartare and cod with celery sauce and curry crust. Relax in the hotel's luxurious atmosphere, complete with soaring ceilings, marble furniture and velvet accents. If you're looking to splurge, consider shelling out for the penthouse suite, which boasts sweeping city views from its private Jacuzzi.

If you would rather stay in a boutique hotel, consider retreating to the 30-room J.K. Place Roma. Located in the heart of Rome's fashion district, just steps off of Via Condotti, the property is a 30-minute walk away from top attractions such as the Colosseum and the Vatican, and a quick 10-minute stroll away from the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and the Parthenon.

If you're looking for a more cost-effective alternative, consider retreating to the Le Méridien Visconti Rome. Situated near the Villa Borghesa as well as the Vatican, this Le Méridien outpost has transformed itself into a modern hotel with a variety of creature comforts (think: complimentary Wi-Fi access, minibars and access to a fitness center and a rooftop pool terrace ), with nightly rates starting at around 200 euros.

[See: 12 Great Destinations in Europe You Can Afford.]

Where to Eat

With a cutting-edge culinary scene, Rome has no shortage of classic trattorias and avant-garde eateries. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, enjoy top-notch gelato at Giolitti, the oldest ice cream parlor in Rome that was founded in 1890 by Giuseppe and Bernardine Giolitti. While there are two Giolitti locations, make sure to make your way to the original outpost on via Uffici del Vicario, which is conveniently situated near the Pantheon.

For dinner, Osteria delle Coppelle offers delicious staples such as fresh ricotta with honey and carbonara and grated truffles at an affordable price, and is located in Piazza delle Coppelle, a historic Roman square. For an elevated dining experience, reserve a table at the Michelin-starred Il Convivio Troiani, helmed by executive chef Angelo Troiani. Located near Piazza Navona, the restaurant features innovative twists on classic dishes, such as spaghetti carbonara and risotto with hazelnut, oyster sauce and pepper. Plus, all dishes are sourced and prepared with organic materials.

[See: 10 Money-Saving European Travel Tricks.]

What to Do

When it comes to can't-miss sites in Rome, you can't miss visiting legendary attractions such as the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. To maximize your time in Italy, make sure to buy tickets in advance to get into the Vatican (without tickets, the line can take more than two hours). And its best to take in the the Spanish Steps in the early morning before the crowds arrive. Also keep in mind, the Trevi Foundation is best seen at night when the crowds start to dwindle and bright lights illuminate the iconic baroque fountain.

Tags: travel, vacations, Italy, Europe


Sery Kim , trained as an attorney at The University of Texas at Austin School of Law, has written for U.S. News Travel since 2015. Additionally, she currently appears on-air each month for ABC and FOX while writing stories for several publications including the prestigious Travel and Leisure Magazine, Food and Wine Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, Manifesto's Brand USA and Brand America, as well as Washington Life Magazine, Business Traveler USA and Fairmont Raffles Swisshotel Magazine. Recently, Sery also began writing for Fox News National Travel, as well as Town and Country Magazine and Washingtonian Magazine. You can find out more information about Sery on her personal blog www.AdventuresInSery.com.

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