10 Free Things to Do in Rome

in City Guides, Sightseeing

Are you traveling Rome on a budget? Check out the stunning Piazza Novana in Rome for free - Photo: © Andrey Anisimov

When in Rome there are hundreds of things to do and places to see – but do all of them mean spending a small fortune? Think again. There are loads of awesome sightseeing activities that you can do and they are all virtually free. Here are some suggestions for a thrifty but still fun way to enjoy Rome.

Go to church – at the St. Peter’s Basilica, you can walk around the cavernous halls when there is no Mass, explore the grounds or visit the Vatican Museum, which offers free admission every last Sunday of the month. Rome has hundreds of churches with impressive architecture to boot so get out your map and start walking.

Take a fitness test – walk up the 138-steps of Scalinata della Trinita dei Monti (the Spanish Steps), the longest and widest staircase in Europe. Once you get to the top, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the whole city.

Pyramid of Cestius - Photo: © Jacek Cudak

See Egypt in Rome – or one of Egypt’s iconic figures, the Pyramid of Cestius. The 87-foot tall structure is one of the best-preserved monuments in Rome and is a popular tourist attraction.

Enjoy nature – on a sunny day there is nothing better to do than to be in a lovely park such as the Villa Borghese. Take a stroll in the heart-shaped park, read a book or take a nap under one of the trees.

Take an ancient polygraph test – the Bocca della Verita is an ancient sewer grate with a rather dreadful legendary power. According to old tales, if you place your hand inside its mouth and tell a lie, your hand gets bitten off.

Be in the center of everything – in Rome, the Piazze are where most people converge and chances are there will be free events happening. Walk around the Piazza Navona and enjoy watching the fountains or the Piazza Campo dei Fiori where there is always a local market.

Rome's Pantheon and Fontana del Pantheon - Photo: © Ben Savill

Soak up on Roman history – visit the Pantheon, an ancient pagan temple turned into a burial ground. Built in 27 BC, it is one of the best-preserved Roman monuments. Or stroll through the ruins of Foro Romano – the center of government, religion and commerce in ancient Rome. Another leisurely walk to enjoy would be down the old road out of Rome, along the Appia Antica.

Get a free pass to the museums and galleries – check out calendars or websites and find out when they are open free to the public. The Musei Capitolini, for instance, offers free admission on the last Sunday of the month.

Explore the eerie and unusual side of Rome – visit the Capuchin Crypt in the Santa Maria della Concezione with its collection of the bodies of 4,000 Capuchin friars.

Enjoy open-air music and shows – mark your calendar for special festivals and holidays where there will be parades and performances throughout the city. During summer, there is the Estate Romana where Rome is transformed into an outdoor event spectacle – concerts, film showings, dances and art on display are often offered free to the public.

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I <3 Rome and Italy

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