Free things to do in Rome

Top 10 Free Things To Do In Rome

Rome on a budget? Why not! Italy’s historic capital doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Many museums and attractions charge big admission fees, but there are famous sights that are completely free. Wander around the city, stumbling in history at every turn cost nothing. Check out my top 10 list of things to do in Rome without spending a cent.

1. Pantheon

The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a church. It was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus. The Pantheon was built almost two thousand years ago and its dome is still the world’s largest. The most remarkable part of it is its dome – The eye of the Pantheon (oculus). The diameter of the dome is 43 meters. An interesting fact is that the distance from the floor to the top of the dome is exactly equal to its diameter. The oculus is the only source of light and even rain doesn’t fall inside the dome.
Just in front of The Pantheon is the square Piazza Della Rotonda and the Fontana del Pantheon. You can fill your bottle with water from there before continue exploring the city. From there you can head to everywhere, everything is just a few steps away, and Rome is better to explore on foot.

2. Explore Trastevere

The name Trastevere comes from latin and it literally means ”beyond the Tiber”. The neighborhood is on the west bank of the Tiber, and once you cross the river, you’ll see and feel the difference. It’s filled with narrow streets lined by ancient houses, and the vibe is bohemian. You’ll find plenty of handicrafts, jewelry, art. The neighborhood is full of cafes, restaurants, and bars. At night it buzzes with local people and travelers, hanging out and drinking at the bars.

TOP 10 FREE THINGS TO DO IN ROME

3. Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Oh, that was something I wanted and dreaming of doing from a long time. The legend basically says that if you throw a coin in the fountain, one day you’ll be back. Every day thousands of people throw coins on average about 3000 euros in the water. Trevi Fountain is one of the main attractions in Rome and maybe the most famous fountain in the world, that’s why is no surprise that is always full of people. There are hundreds of people constantly throwing coins, taking pictures, etc. So, if you want to admire the beautiful architecture of the fountain without getting annoyed of so many people go there early in the morning, and by that I mean around 6 in the morning, and it’s still not sure that there would not be anyone else, but for sure there would be fewer people.

TOP 10 FREE THINGS TO DO IN ROME

4. St Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s is famous as a place of pilgrimage, but even non-believers can appreciate and admire the church’s majesty. The Pope presides at a number of liturgies throughout the year, drawing an audience of 15 000 to over 80 000 people. The basilica is regarded as the greatest building of its age. Is one of the four churches in the world that hold the rank of Major Basilica.
Be prepare to wait in a line for a long time to get inside. It may take you half an hour or more, depends.

5. Enjoy the views

Views, views, views… I love them. There are many places in Rome where you can admire the beauty of the city. One of the most famous are Gianicolo Hill and Palatine hills. You can get an amazing view over the Vaticana from St Peter’s Basilica dome, but this one is not free. The ticket cost 5/7 euros, depends if you want to take the stairs or the elevator.
My favorite view was from the Giardino Degli Aranci, which means ”the garden of orange trees”. The garden is so charming and peaceful. Standing there and staring at the monuments, rooftops, and domes, you can easily forget about time. Thank you Andreas (my roman guide) for taking me there.

TOP 10 FREE THINGS TO DO IN ROME

6. Find the secret keyhole

Just a few steps from the orange gardens is the door to the Priory of the Knights of Malta, up on the Aventine hill. Look through the keyhole and you’ll see a perfect view of St Peter’s Basilica. Is it a lucky coincidence or it was designed that way, no one knows.

7. Villa Borghese gardens

Villa Borghese is a garden, containing museums and attractions. It is the third largest park in Rome. It’s so big that you can spend your whole day there. The locals use it for different sports activities, like running, bicycling or just walking and relaxing.

TOP 10 FREE THINGS TO DO IN ROME

8. Garbatella

A different neighborhood in Rome. It was founded in the late 1920’s. The oldest section of the area is divided into project units. Garbatella is designed with curved sidewalks and angular plazas. It residents the free-thinking spirits, the neighborhood is filled with graffiti. In this area, you’ll find the Gandhi hotel, stairs of love and more, but probably you would also need a local guide to show you this places, or just ask the locals. Thanks again Andreas for showing me this area.

TOP 10 FREE THINGS TO DO IN ROME

9. EUR modern architecture

EUR is a business district, located south of the city center. The letters EUR stands for Esposizione Universale Roma. Most of the area is a property of a company owned by the Ministry of Economy and the Rome municipality. The most famous building at EUR, is the Pallazzo Della Civilta Italiana, wich has become known as the ”Colosseo Quadrato” (Square Colosseum).

10. Jewish Ghetto

Hidden in the heart of the city, between Campo de’Fiori and Piazza Venezia, this atmospheric area is studded with shops, kosher bakeries, Jewish restaurants. Its least known area of Rome, also one of the best. Of course like everywhere else in Rome there’s a layered history waiting to be discovered.

There are other things to do for free in Rome, but that is my top 10. Enjoy!

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9 Comments

  1. This is such a great list of things to do. I love Rome and there is so much to see there, but if someone only sees these 10 days, they can see a lot of the city already.

  2. My first trip to Rome happened to coincide with the death of Pope John Paul II and the new pope was being inaugurated whilst we were there. We got to be a part of history lining the streets in front of the Vatican. Whilst I am not catholic, I will never forgot the atmosphere or getting drunk with a bunch of priests from St Louis. Good times.

  3. Free is my middle name. Okay, it’s not actually, but I’m all about finding the free stuff so totally love this post. We’ve been to Rome but missed out on visiting the Trastevere area. 🙁 The secret keyhole? How did I miss that? Now I need to go back to Rome just to find that keyhole!

  4. Rome is such a magnificent city. It also needs a lot of walking. There are many free things to do as you have suggested. The Borghese gardens are huge and the Trevi fountain are a pleasure to behold. A good list for first timers to Rome.

  5. Rome was wonderful to us! We enjoyed many free things to do there, like St. Peter’s Basilica, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon. We also loved exploring many churches because they have so much incredibly beautiful art in them. The Spanish Stairs are free to see and linger upon, as well as the French church at the top of the stairs that has a beautiful version of the Pieta. And the church that Michelangelo designed when he was 84 years is amazing! He turned old Roman bath ruins into a spectacular church filled with light! (Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri)

  6. I love exploring Rome – my favorite free thing to do was to church hop! So many interesting and fascinating churches with incredible interior and architecture – and not just the famous few. Seems to be a church hidden around every cobbled road if you wander for a bit 🙂

  7. Thanks for bringing back some great moemories in Rome. These are perfect ideas for spending time in Rome. I just loved walking around the city. I’d also add exploring the many Piazzas! Or going to the market on Saturday there.

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