By Nina Ruggiero
February 23, 2018

They say Paris is always a good idea, but when you're craving a slice of la dolce vita (or just a bowl of carbonara), there's no place like Rome.

Somewhere between sipping Frascati in an elegant wine bar near the Spanish Steps and shopping for leather shoes on Via Condotti, however, your dream Roman holiday can easily catch up with your wallet. Luckily, Alitalia is now offering free stopovers of up to three nights in the Eternal City — which means you can spend all that cash you would've spent on airfare on pizza and Prada instead.

Related: 8 Great Airbnbs in Rome for Your Money

For the uninitiated, a stopover is a layover that's long enough to allow you to explore an extra city before reaching your final destination. More and more airlines are offering this option, and it's become a popular way for U.S. travelers to see destinations such as Iceland and Portugal before continuing on to further points of interest.

You can take advantage of Alitalia's stopover program by booking a flight from anywhere in the U.S. the airline serves (including New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Miami) to anywhere else it flies, excluding Italy and North America. If you're opting for a shorter stopover and prefer to explore Rome's very walkable city center without luggage weighing you down, you can store your bags at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino International Airport for free. Alitalia will also offer discounted rates at participating hotels once you book.

Related: The Top Hotels in Rome

Cities you can choose to fly to from Rome include Barcelona, Athens, Paris, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Sydney, Marrakech, and Johannesburg. You must book your entire trip with Alitalia, and the best way to do that is (annoyingly) by calling the airline.

As of now, Alitalia plans to only offer free Rome stopovers through the end of 2018. So if you've been dreaming of a long weekend strolling along the Tiber or lingering over late-night dinners in Trastevere, this is your year. (And if you stop to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain while you're there, maybe do us all a favor and wish for this deal to be made permanent.)

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