Things to do in Rome for free

38 Absolutely (free) things to do in Rome

There are so many fascinating, historic and fun things to do and see in Rome, and the good thing is that it won’t cost you a dime. Here are some great inside tips from travel journalist from around the world who know Rome and share some of their favorite free attractions or activities to do around the city.

Next time that you are visiting Rome, bookmark this post on free things to do in Rome and you won’t have to open up your wallet for any of these amazing experiences.

Here’s what’s free to do in Rome

Victor Emmanuel monument in Rome at night

Explore the churches of Rome

St. Peters Basilica in Rome

1. St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica holds the title of the largest (and arguably the most beautiful) basilica in Rome. Located in Vatican City, this ancient church is home to several historical masterpieces including Michaelangelo’s Pieta, Bernini’s baldacchino (canopy), and even St. Peter himself. This definitely a must do on your Rome Itinerary to visit at the start of your visit to this amazing city.

Entrance to the basilica is completely free.  Touring the surrounding piazza is free as well. If you happen to visit during a Christian holiday, you might be able to attend worship or even see the Pope — also for free.

Visit the Museo Storico Artistico to view religious artifacts or explore the underground Vatican Grottoes to see the tombs of popes past.  They even offer guided English language tours during certain parts of the year.  All for free!

There is one must-do at the basilica that isn’t free. That’s climbing to the top of the dome!  For only 8 Euros (or 10 Euros to take the elevator), you can get an eagle eye view of the entire area.  Please note, however, that there are 800+ steps to the top and even with the elevator option you will still have about 500 stairs to climb.  It’s worth the labor and the cost though!

Be warned: this is one of the most popular attractions in Rome so be prepared to wait in line!  The earlier you arrive, the shorter the queue.  Also, the church and its surrounding area is large so wear comfortable walking shoes!  Lastly, as an active place of worship, they follow strict guidelines regarding visitor dress code; no shorts, miniskirts, or bare shoulders.

Montoya with The Spring Break Family


Church of St. Cecilia in Trastevere

 2. The Church of Saint Cecilia in Trastevere

The Church of Saint Cecilia in Trastevere is one of a thousand Roman churches that house lovely art. But Saint Cecilia is special because of the understated beauty of the one main statue that is encased in the altar.

According to the story, Cecilia was a young Roman noble woman who converted to Christianity and was martyred in the 3rd Century. Before the Roman executioner cut her throat, she asked that her home be turned into a church. The church that stands here dates back to that time, so it’s entirely possible that the story is true.

But, the story does not stop there. The tomb of Cecilia was opened in 1599 when the church was being renovated. Supposedly, her body was discovered uncorrupted by the centuries. The Cardinal in charge of the renovation commissioned Renaissance sculptor Stefano Maderno to sculpt a likeness of the saint as she was found.

And this delicate rendition of a beautiful young woman, the slash on her throat visible, at peace with death, is the result. It’s my favorite sculpture in all of Rome.

Footnote: Saint Cecilia is the patron saint of music. The Paul Simon song, “Cecilia,” is about the difficulty of writing songs.

Check out Tom’s post on things to do in Rome with Travel Past 50.


Unique mass at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity of Pilgrims

3. Church of the Most Holy Trinity of Pilgrims

There is no reason for the casual tourist to visit the Church of the Most Holy Trinity of Pilgrims (Parrocchia Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini). Rome has more than 900 churches and there are no popes or ancient Roman structures to see there. No Caravaggio paintings or Michelangelo sculptures adorn its interior either. (There’s a Reni altarpiece, though)
You’ll need to visit and attend Mass on Sunday to feel why it is special. It is one of the few Churches in Rome that still celebrate Mass the way it was before the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. The Tridentine Mass had until now lasted nearly 400 years unchanged and most people under the age of 50, Catholics included, have never experienced it. They will find it different from what they are familiar with – not better or worse, but very different.
From the first minute of the Solemn Mass to the eightieth and last, you step through an incense-scented time warp. Latin is once again used instead of the Italian language; silence fills the nave while the priest quietly prays parts that today would be recited aloud; polyphonic choral arrangements of chants and propers take the place of cheerful hymns. Even the congregation is a decent size, filling every pew with locals and visitors. All this tradition comes without the lines and rude tourists found elsewhere in the Eternal City.

Nicholas with Rambling Feet


San Saba basilica in Rome

4. San Saba Basilica – supposedly the actual santa claus church

Rome has some pretty massive Catholic churches than seem to tower over tourists – and have them empty their wallets. Sometimes these places of worship can be pricey if you’d like to take a tour. However, if interested in Roman Catholic tradition and architecture, you should visit the   thousand-year-old Roman Catholic San Saba basilica on the outskirts of the city. It’s often empty and costs nothing to enter (unless you’d like to leave a small donation). Some of the tile work is kept meticulously in order, while other parts of the walls and peeling and cracked. But the best part is the story. Legend says this is the original church of San Saba – Also known as Santa Claus! Have a local guide tell you the tale or read up on the iconic saint’s legacy before visiting. On your own, you’ll spot the mural depicting the first time ‘Santa’ brought gits to young people a millennia ago.

Eileen from Pure Wander


Church of Saint Yves at La Sapienza

5. Church of Saint Yves at La Sapienza

The church of Saint Yves La Sapienza is one of the finest examples of Roman baroque architecture and designed by architect Francesco Borromini between 1642 to 1660, the ornate church is wonderful to explore inside and out. There are occasional art exhibits running in the main courtyard including art sculptures on the day that I visited this beautiful church.

Visiting the popular Rome Piazzas for free

Visit the famous Piazzas of Rome

Spanish steps in Rome

6. People watch in the Spanish Steps

“Live dangerously. Take a little time for yourself.” These lines, spoken by Gregory Peck to Audrey Hepburn in the movie Roman Holiday, were filmed at one of Rome’s most beautiful monuments, the Spanish Steps. It’s easy to recognize where this famous film moment was shot, not only for the steps but for the church at the top of the Steps, Trinita dei Monti. The Spanish Steps are a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to hang out, bask in the sun, and best of all, people watch. Popular during the day or even visiting Rome at night for this fabulous hangout out spot, the Spanish Steps is a wonderful place to visit and people watch.
I’d wager it is one of the best locations in the city to simply observe the human species.
So, why are they the Spanish Steps and not the Italian Steps? This is Italy after all. Simple, the Spanish Embassy is located at the bottom of the steps and the piazza (marked by a rather unremarkable sculpture by the father of the great Gian Lorenzo Bernini), is called after the embassy, Piazza di Spagna. The steps were simply included in the name of the piazza.
 In fact, the steps were actually designed by an Italian architect and funded by a French diplomat, and built to connect the Spanish Embassy to the Trinita Dei’ Monti above. So, take a little time for yourself. Live dangerously. Climb all the steps and check out the view from the top. Who knows, perhaps you’ll have your own film worthy moment there. And insider tip, it’s a great place to watch the sunset.
You’ll find plenty of street food in Rome here along with many cheap take away places to eat the street food here.
Check out Penny’s post Is Rome really all that with Adventures of a Carry-On

Hanging out at Piazza Navona for free

7. Hang out in the Piazza Navona

If you only have one piazza to visit in Rome, it should be at Piazza Navona. One of the most iconic spots and really the living room of Romans, the piazza is popular with lovers holding hands, children playing around the fountains, tourists taking pictures and fun people watching. It doesn’t hurt that stunning sculpture fountains by Bernini and Giamcomo and surrounded with gorgeous churches and other Baroque Roman architecture.

Tip – A great time to visit would be later in the day to sunset when the vibe is more relaxed, less tourists and tables are being set up of outdoor dining.

Check out Noel’s post on the top photo-worthy places to photograph Rome.

Campo de' Fiori outdoor daily market

8. Campo de’ Fiori

A very short walk from Piazza Navona, the Campo de Fiori translated as” Field of flowers” is popular with it’s public flower, fruit and vegetable market which is fun to explore. The gorgeous buildings surrounding the square are classic and prominent buildings like the Palazzo Orsini, along with many other important business related buildings. At night the piazza is a popular meeting spot and many of the restaurants expand into the square with outdoor dining making this a nice place to hang out in the evenings.

Piazza del Popolo in Rome

9. Villa Borghese & view over Piazza del Popolo

Rome is a beautiful city with plenty to offer in terms of free activities. Even just walking around the cobble paved roads, admiring the architecture and art is free and give you a great idea of what the Eternal City is like. One of my favourite places to walk and enjoy the Roman atmosphere is Villa Borghese. Villa Borghese is the third largest park in Rome and is located very close to all the central attractions. After walking around the gardens you can end your wanderings at Terrazza del Pincio, a square with a view over the famous Piazza del Popolo. This is also a common location for street buskers. The best time to visit is at sunset, so that you can enjoy some live music (if there are buskers on that day) while watching the rooftops of Rome turn golden.
Check out Greta’s post on Rome in a weekend with Greta’s Travels
Located on one of Romes most beloved plaza and accessed through one of the most famous streets in Rome at Via Del Corso, one of the grand boulevards to explore in Rome.

Piazza de la Rotunda

10. Chilling out in Piazza della Rotonda

Located in the heart of the city, Piazza della Rotonda is a vibrant square in the centre of Rome. It’s most famous resident is the iconic Pantheon, a former Roman temple which is now a church and it is the magnificent circular rotunda dominating the square from which the Piazza della Rotonda takes its name – the Pantheon is casually known as the church of Santa Maria Rotonda. The Piazza came to life in the 15th Century when the Pope at the time ordered that the area in front of the ancient Pantheon was cleared of the maze of tiny shops and sheds which had sprung up around it.  The Fontana del Pantheon, a beautiful and unique fountain, was then erected in the middle of the square and is topped with an Egyptian obelisk.

A constant stream of visitors to the Pantheon means the square today is bustling and full of energy. Street performers and musicians provide entertainment and the passing horses and carts bring a touch of days gone by. In the evenings the square comes alive with al fresco diners enjoying a glass of wine or a gelato as the sun goes down and the surrounding restaurants add to the lively atmosphere. It’s one of our favourite places in Rome and we’ve spent many hours soaking up the beautiful vibes of the Piazza della Rotonda.

Elaine and Dave with Show Them the Globe

piazza del popolo

11. Piazza del Popolo

For ancient Roman history lovers, there is so much more to Rome than just the Roman Forum. The Piazza del Popolo is less known outside of Italy but is a popular square that also served as the main entrance to the city during the Roman Empire. Highlights of the square, beyond spending time enjoying people watching, include the Egyptian Obelisk, the Santa Maria del Popolo, and the twin churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli. The obelisk is originally from ancient Egypt, and it was brought to Rome as part of their triumph when they conquered the territory. There’s also the Porta del Popolo, which is a Bernini original. The square as it appears today dates back to urban planning in the sixteenth century. We visited the square during my first trip to Rome back in 2011. It’s a great place to grab a quintessential Italian vacation gelato and enjoy watching locals walk through the square on a hot summer’s day. If you want to stop by the square and you’re not on a tour that comes through, it’s easily accessible on foot and by bus. 
Stephanie Craig History Fangirl
Things to do in Rome for free

The colorful public markets of Rome

Discover the public markets of Rome

12. Porta Portese Market

Rome’s largest market spans at least a mile long on Via Portuense and Ippolito Nievo and other side streets in the Trastevere district. The Porta Portese market is a very popular flea market you will find everything from antique goods and collectibles, 2nd hand jewelry and accessories, old stinky carpets, vintage and used designer clothing and even exotic pets for sale.

Tip – The Porta Portese market is open 5am-2pm every Sunday

Rome markets free things to do in Rome

13. Campagna Amica Market

The foodie market to go to in Rome happens at the Campagna Amica Market on Saturdays and Sundays at the iconic Circus Maximus. You’ll find all the delicious farm to table produce, seasonal products and prepared foods available for a quick sale. If you’re looking for amazing olives, artisanal cheese or honey or hand made pasta, this is the place to check out and sample some amazing Roman products and direct from the farm goods.

Tip – The market is open Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am to 7pm

14. Borghetto Flaminio Market

The Borghetto Flaminio market is basically a flea market held on Sundays in the area surrounding Piazza del Popolo is the place to be if you love discovering collectibles, rare antiques and other interesting finds including used designer clothes. Also you’ll find some cool fashion accessories including jewelry, hats, shoes, belts, bags and sun glasses, even fur coats.

Tip – the Borghetto market is on Sundays from 10am until 7pm


15. Campo de’ Fiori Market

“Farmer’s markets are one of the best ways to find an authentic experience anywhere you go. They’re free to visit and filled with locals selling food native to the area and crafts that are tied to the culture. Rome is no exception. The city has a number of squares that, on any given day, are filled with colorful tents shading produce, crafts, and homemade Italian treats for the tasting. Campo de Fiori is arguably the most popular.

From 7AM-2PM Monday-Saturday, the square is alive with vendors. There are rows upon rows of freshly picked vegetables from the countryside. You can order pomegranate juice and watch it be pressed into your glass right in font of you. There are liquor samplings (even early in the morning!), and a number of vendors offering bread right out of the oven.

The busy square hasn’t always been so inviting, however. For centuries, it was actually the site of public executions. In the center of the square, a morbid statue of a hooded monk stands to remind people of the square’s dark history.

When the sun goes down, the vendors fold up their tents and the square transforms into a place for late-night entertainment, filled with café, theaters, and nightclubs.

For more, visit https://pinkcaddytravelogue. com/


Rome neighborhoods free things to do in Rome

16. Wander the neighborhoods of Rome

 Rome Trastevere at night time

17. Explore the Travestere district

The Trastevere – Rome’s original public market area and Jewish neighborhood is a popular area to walk through and discover during the day time or even late into night. Filled with amazing food venues, public markets and specialty food vendors, it’s a great foodie spot to explore or just wander down the cobbled streets through this wonderful municipi (district) of Rome. While you are exploring the area, make sure to check out the fantastic main square called Piazza de Santa Maria which is wonderfully lit up with its gorgeous fountain – it’s a perfect hang out spot for locals and tourists visiting the area.

Trastevere main square and fountain at night time

Trastevere main square and fountain at night time

Quartiere Coppede in Rome

18. Off the beaten path at Quartier coppede

If you’d like to explore Rome beyond the obvious tourist attractions, then Quartier Coppede is for you. It’s a tiny quarter in Rome with buildings of various architectural styles built between 1913-1927. A mix of Ancient Greek, Roman Baroque, Medieval, and overall Art Nouveau styles, this tranquil and whimsical neighborhood designed by Florentine architect Gino Coppede will definitely delight the senses. It creates a uniquely intimate setting that many upscale Romans call home.
This definitely qualifies as exploring Rome off the beaten track and one of the free things to do in Rome.
Isola Tiberina in Rome

19. Wandering around Isola Tiberina – Tiber Island

 For something a bit different and away from the bustle of the tourist center in Rome, head to Trastevere! It’s the cute, quaint, and bohemian area of Rome that feel miles away from the nagging gladiators who want a picture for a buck and the overpriced souvenir shops.

There’s craft beer (to switch it up from the copious amounts of wine you’ve consumed), centuries-old architecture, and even an island!
And island? Weird, I know. But right there on the outskirts of Trastevere and in the middle of the Tiber River is an island bearing the same name. This is the city’s first and most ancient ports.
The island has many mysteries and legends surrounding it, including a horror story of decapitation regarding the four head statues that adorn the bridge connecting it but now, it’s just a nice place for some relief of the busyness of the city. There’s also a dilapidate bridge which is fun for those who love abandoned places (like me!).
Check out Nina’s post on Rome in 2 days with Where in the world is Nina

Free activities and things to do in Rome

Fun Rome activities and things to do

Walk along the Tiber River

20. Walk along the Tiber river

In a city as expensive as Rome, it’s incredible that one of the best things to do there is completely free. A walk along the Tiber River indeed, provides stunning view on some of the most iconic landmarks of the Italian capital. But there’s more: walking along the river is a great way to escape the crowds of tourists that invade the city. Especially on a sunny day, which Rome is typically blessed with, it’s delightful to spot monuments such as Castel Sant’Angelo, and the many bridges that connect the two sides of the city. Along the river there’s also some kiosks, where to enjoy a drink at sunset, or an icy cold lemon granita during a hot day.

Check out Claudia’s post on what to do in Rome with My Adventures Across The World

Vatican museum in Rome

Vatican museum circular staircase in Rome

21. Free museum days in Rome

You can actually see many of the important historical attractions and museums for free in Rome on the first Sunday of each month for free.  This includes popular places like the Roman Colosseum and Palatino, Villa D’est in Tivoli, National gallery of Antique arts in Barberini and Corsini and many other locations around Rome. Check out this site for a list of current museums and sites that are free to visit on those days.

Walk the Appian Way in Rome

22. Walk the Appian Way in Rome

The Roman Empire was well-known for many things, but one thing that often gets overlooked is their road system. “All roads lead to Rome,” is not just a saying. The military might of the empire was largely dependent on gaining easy access to ports and important cities to keep the military well supplied, and the Roman roads were built to facilitate this access. The Appian Way, starts at the Roman Forum and originally ended in Capua before extensions were also built. Today the road is still filled with huge stones and goes past castles, ruins, and some beautiful houses. You can easily spend a morning or even a full day walking along the road and stopping at some of the sights. To get to the best walking part of the road, take Bus 118 to the Appia Antica/Scuola Agraria stop, and n the way back you can pick the same bus back up at Via di Cecilia Metella and it will take you back to the Colosseum.

Check out Corrine’s post on tips to visiting Vatican City with Reflections Enroute.


Pope talks from St. Peters square

23. Pope Greetings at St. Peter’s Square

One of the highlights of my trip to Rome was seeing the Pope speak in Vatican City. I inadvertently stumbled upon the experience, but the thousands of others that were gathered to watch were clearly in the know.  Also, you don’t have to be Catholic to find enjoyment in the service; I personally am not part of the Catholic faith but loved seeing such a prominent world figure in person.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that you can actually see the Pope on a bi-weekly basis.  Keep in mind that changes when the Pope is out of town, however, his schedule is posted online about 2-3 months in advance so you can plan accordingly.  Head to St. Peter’s Square on Sundays at 12:00PM and Pope Francis will appear from the window of one of the papal apartments for Angelus. He will spend 15-20 minutes greeting the crowd in multiple languages followed by the Angelus and ending with an Apostolic blessing.  The Pope also holds a Papal Audience on Wednesdays at 10:30 AM that normally runs for 60-90 minutes.  You do need to get tickets in advance for this but they are completely free and can be reserved both in person and online. These are the two best ways to have your own surreal experience and see the Pope in person while on your trip to Rome!

Jennifer with World on a Whim 


ostiense_street_art_blu in Rome

24. Experience the street art at Ostiense

“Part of a project aimed at revamping some of Rome’s suburbs, the murals of Ostiense district give a colourful touch to this former industrial area sprawling from Piramide to San Paolo, with the Tiber river on one side and Garbatella district on the other. The relics of Rome’s industrial archaeology, from the old gasometre to the former general warehouse, are the background that inspired several street artists to spruce up this area with their bright paints.
Some of the murals we can see on the walls of Ostiense are the Wall of Fame by JB Rock in Via dei Magazzini Generali, Ozmo’s portraits of Italian politician Antonio Gramsci and British poet Percy B. Shelley under the tunnel in Via Ostiense, both buried at the nearby Protestant Cemetery, and the colourful murals by Blu in Via del Porto Fluviale.
Considered one of the world’s best street artists, Blu’s huge rainbow mural covers the whole facade of the former military warehouse and took two years to finish. For sure it’s the first thing you notice when you approach the neighbourhood. Since you are here, do yourself a favour and stop at Gelateria La Romana for a delicious ice cream or at Romeow Cat Bistro for a vegan organic meal.
Of course, the murals are not over. Wander towards the bordering Testaccio district and you will see ROA’s Jumping Wolf embodying the discomfort in the modern urban context.”

Angela with Chasing the Unexpected

Free walking tours of Rome

25. Free Walking tours of Rome

Yes there are free walking tours (guides do accept tips for their services) that cover different aspects of a visit to Rome. Check out these locations or based on topics below:

New Rome free tour – The oldest free tour established in Rome, the tours cover approximately two hours of walking and two different tours to choose from.

Free tours by foot – you have a choice of self tours or walking with a guide on various locations and popular attractions around the city.

Free tour Rome – another free tour program where you pay what you want to give to the guides in tips. There are a variety of tours in the city which averages  2 hours per tour.

Non catholic cemetary in Rome

26. A visit to Rome’s non-Catholic Cemetery

Catholics believed that non-Catholics are not allowed to be buried in Catholic churches or in consecrated ground. Because of this, a patch of land was established as a burial ground for non-Catholics in early 1700s. As a result, Rome’s non-Catholic cemetery is one of the most densely populated burial grounds for famous and the important people. English poets John Keats and Percy Shelley are buried here, as well as Goethe’s only son, a handful diplomats, sculptors, authors, and scholars.

This famous cemetery has a few names: Cimitero Acattolico – non-Catholic Cemetery, Cimitero dei protestanti – Protestant Cemetery, Cimitero degli Inglesi – Englishmen’s Cemetery, and the Cimitero Acattolico per Stranieri – Non-Catholic Cemetery for foreigners. But not only are English and Protestants buried here. There are many Jews, Orthodox Christians, Muslims, and other non-Catholics from all over the world.

In 1918, the cemetery was granted a special protected status: Zona Monumentale d’Interesse Nazionale, or Monument of the National Interest.

This cemetery is the ideal place to view the many Italian cypress trees, as well as pomegranate trees and picturesque meadows. As a backdrop, you can also see the impressive Pyramid of Caius Cestius and the Aurelian city wall.

Halef with The Round The World Guys


Free historic sites to visit in Rome

Free Historic Roman landmarks


colosseum in Rome

27. The Colosseum and Roman Forum

Colosseum and Roman Forum are two major tourist sites in Rome. The Colosseum is a medieval amphitheater which was used as a venue for gladiatorial combats, executions, and mythological dramas. The colossal theatre is estimated to hold over 65,000 spectators with around 80 entry points. Though the structure is partly in ruins due to the damage caused by earthquakes and the fire the grandeur of Colosseum will never fail to astound. On a tour of the Colosseum, you can explore the underground Colosseum from where the gladiators and animals entered into the arena to stage the contests.
At a walkable distance from Colosseum is the Roman Forum, the public square of ancient Rome. Roman Forum is the location of several ancient government buildings and monuments most of which are in ruins. 
Though both have an entry fee they are absolutely free on every first Sunday of the month. So if you are planning to visit the city of Rome do plan around the first Sunday to make use of this benefit. 
Roman Forum and Colosseum are about 10 minutes walk from Piazza Venezia one of the prominent squares in Rome. Several buses from this square connect different parts of the city.
Check out more of Rashmi & Chalukya’s Rome and Vatican tour with Go Beyond Bounds
Trevi fountain in Rome

28. Throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain for good luck

The Trevi Fountain is the ideal spot in Rome to combine some amazing people watching with securing your future wealth and prosperity. Take a couple of low value coins that are just making your wallet way to heavy and throw them into the magnificent Baroque fountain with your right hand. Make sure to thing about your wish while the coins are plunging into the clear water. And you are all set. Your future will be bright.

Now, after you have no more worries, take a step back and enjoy the scenery. The incredibly beautiful Fontana di Trevi is one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Around €3,000 worth of coins are thrown into the water every single day. Looking at the busy circle of tourists coming, throwing money and leaving is one of my favorite things in Rome.

By Mike of 197 Travel Stamps
Views to the Roman forum

29. Explore Campidoglio 

‘One of my favourite bits of Rome and one I always recommend to visitors is the Campidoglio. One of Rome’s 7 hills, the Campidoglio is one of those rare places when all of Rome’s souls come together: its ancient past, its Renaissance splendour and a touch of the chaotic, dynamic city Rome is today.

The Campidoglio lies in Rome city centre and rises above the city traffic, intense in this part of town.  You access the hill via large, elegant steps and the first area you encounter is its monumental piazza. Designed by Michelangelo  in the XVI century, the square is overlooked by a statue of Marcus Aurelius and is framed by imposing buildings now hosting the city’s museums and the mayor’s office.

The square is what draws visitors here but the real surprise awaits those who venture down the narrow lanes at the back of the piazza.

Here, a small belvedere overlooks the whole plain of the Roman forum and offers the most spectacular view over ancient Rome you can get without paying for admission. While not unknown to tourism, this small corner still retains an intimate feel that makes you feel like you discovered something truly special.  Head here early in the morning or at sunset for the best light.’

Marta Correale with Learning Escapes
Trajan's column and forum in Rome

30. Explore Trajan’s Column

Located in the Imperial Forums, Trajan’s Column stands majestic and was created to celebrate Trajan’s victories in his military campaigns in the Dracian wars of 101 to 106 AD. The Column is over 115 feet tall and used to have a bronze statue of Trajan and was replaced with a statue of St. Peter which still stands today.  Placed in the northernmost section of Trajan’s forum, the column is the most prominent landmark still standing in the forum complex. The remaining ruins around the column represent the spacious piazza with colonades, two libraries and a possible temple in the main civic space.

Theater of Marcellus in Rome

31. Theatre of Marcellus

Rome is full of incredible historical sights but one that fascinated me the most was free to visit and wander around.
Close to the Jewish Ghetto and the banks of the Tiber, the Theatre of Marcellus is a huge open air Roman theatre.
Built in the final days of the Roman Empire, in its heyday the theatre held up to 20,000 spectators who came to watch
plays and musical recitals.
Teatro di Marcello is made of fired Roman brick and originally it would have been clad in travertine marble, though this
was plundered over the years. You can walk around the outside of the impressive structure among the ruins and admire
that the theatre is still standing and magnificent.
Unfortunately it is not possible to go inside. The top floors of the theatre were converted into the Orsini family’s private
apartments in the 18th century. You can only wonder what they are like as they remain private and a closely guarded secret.
While you are in the area, it is a short walk to the Portico d’Ottavia. This huge structure was once the walkway entrance
to the temples of Juno and Jupiter, boasting over 300 columns. In medieval times there was a fish market on the site, and
later a church.
Both sights are a great way to discover how Rome has evolved over the centuries and the ingenuity of its people to reuse and
reimagine buildings.

Check out more of Kathy’s post on Best tours in Rome from Untold Morsels

Views of Rome from Villa Borghese park

32. Walk around Villa Borghese

A favorite place for locals and visitors, Villa Borghese is a green park and respite from the busy urban center of Rome. Inside these beautiful public gardens is the gorgeous villa built by an influencial Roman Cardinal which is now a museum housing the Borghese Gallery.

The grounds surrounding the Borghese Gallery are free to explore and it’s definitely worth paying for the entrance to view the magnificent artwork, sculpture and personal collections of cardinal Scipione Borghese, including famous artwork by Bernini, Caravaggio, Titian, Canova, Raphael, Rubens and Corregio.

pantheon interior in Rome

33. Visiting the Pantheon in Rome

“A temple that became a church: that is the story of the Pantheon in Rome, whose current building has been standing as a witness to history for nearly 2,000 years–and that’s not even counting earlier versions of the former temple that stood on the same spot!
The Pantheon is not only famous for its beauty, but for its construction: almost 2,000 years after it was built, the rotunda in the Pantheon still holds the record for being the biggest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. Staring up at it from the center of the room will leave you in awe not only of how ornate and gorgeous it is, but at the marvel that is the engineering that went into building it so long ago.
The interior, like many Italian structures, is covered in ornate
marble–what makes it fascinating is that the round structure, while today standing as a church, is clearly observable for what it once was: a temple in the pre-Christian Roman religion.
Unlike many famous attractions in Rome left behind by the Roman empire, this one is completely free to enter–make sure you don’t leave the city without stepping inside and admiring this architectural masterpiece.”
Check out Kate’s post on 2 days in Rome with Our Escape Clause.

More free things to do in Rome

Rome views from Above

Where to find free scenic views of Rome

34. Gianicolo – Janiculum hill

You can get spectacular views of Rome from Climbing up Janiculum hill in Gianicolo. Top sites to see from there include Castel Sant Angelo, St. Peters Basilica, Pantheon, Monument of Victor Emmanuel.

Tip – after seeing all the gorgeous views, walk back downhill to Trastevere and spend a lovely evening at a delicious trattoria or wandering around the cobbled streets in the neighborhood.

Piazza del Popolo in Rome

35. Pincio – Rome view at Villa Borghese

From the lovely terraced areas of Village Borghese park, you’ll spot some amazing views of Rome and rooftops. Highlights to visiting would be views of Piazza del Popolo, Prati district with the Vatican and St. Peters in the background.

36. Rome view from Piazza Venezia

Make your way to Piazza Venezia at the Il Vittoriano monument and from various levels you get free views to the city. But for a nominal fee, take the elevator to the top of the platform and you’ll get panoramic views all around Rome for a 360 degree views.

Rome at Il Vittoriano monument

37.  Vittoriano

The famous marble landmark that is at the center of Rome and looks like an oversized wedding cake has a lot of free views from different platforms, but you can get some nicer views from the top platform, but there is a lift that takes you to the top for a nominal fee.

Scenic views of Rome from above

38. Orange gardens at Aventine Hill

One of the seven hills of Rome, the Aventine Hill overlooks the Tiber River and panoramic views of Rome below.  This quiet spot is a great area to just relax or picnic with fantastic views of the city.

Where to stay in Rome

Where to stay in Rome

Finding a great place at a cheap prices is not so easy in Rome especially if you want to be in the central district. So the first thing in finding some affordable is to be outside of the historic areas of Rome. Here are some suggestions on more affordable neighborhoods in Rome where you can find some decent and well priced (cheaper hotels) properties to stay and are accessible by public transportation.

The Tiburtino area east side is affordable with easy public transportation access to various smaller inns and hotels. Check here to view hotel properties and prices.

Ostiense district – located on the southern area of Rome and easily accessible to central and historic parts of Rome. Hotels are cheaper and well priced, check here for hotels or inns in the area and current prices.

San Lorenzo district – also on the lower east side and closer to the main train station, you’ll find affordable and nice hotels and pensions in the area. Check here for hotels or inns and current prices/availability.

Check here for more top rated hotel reviews in Rome from Trip Advisor based on value and current prices or check out the best hostels to stay in Rome.

Horse rides at the Pantheon

How to get around in Rome cheap or free

Getting around Rome is very easy with public transportation by metro, buses and other modes of Transport. Here are some suggestions of how to get around the city on a dime.

Tip – You might want to invest in this theft proof back pack to carry all your essential items, snacks and travel gear while you are exploring this amazing city.

Walk around the city for free

Rome is definitely a walking city and the popular neighborhoods of Piazza Navona, Campo de Fiori, Vatican, Villa Borghese, Pantheon, Spanish Steps and Trastevere are all easy to get to on foot and a few have pedestrian lanes going through these sites to make it easier to visit many of them. The best tactic would be to group 3 or more neighborhoods into one excursion so it’s easy to visit them all without getting exhausted from walking long distances.

Take public transportation like the metro

Public transportation is cheap and goes through all of Rome’s neighborhoods and popular venues. Taking the buses are a little tricky to master unless you know some Italian. So I would recommend taking the metro which covers most areas of interest for visitors. One ticket which is valid on the metro, trams or bus cost 1.50 Eur and is valid for 100 minutes which is a good deal. You can also buy a week transport pass called the CIS for 24 Eur.

Catch an Uber

If your tired of walking or taking public transportation especially late at night, then catching an Uber is probably a nice alternative but a little more pricey because the only Uber available is black which is the luxury option. Check the app ahead of time to see if the price at time of booking is something you are willing to splurge on.

The Pantheon and fountain in Rome

Here’s some other posts on Rome

A travel guide to Rome in 3 days

20 pictures of Rome to inspire you to visit

Tastevere – Tasting food at popular specialty shops & markets

Tiber river and Castel Sant Angelo

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Free activities and things to do in Rome Italy

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