Free things to do in Rome

Top 15 Free Things to Do in Rome

Rome is full of different attractions and there are many free things to do for those, interested in budget tourism. Italy vacations may become unforgettable without spending lots of money if you will follow walking and sightseeing tours, prepare with Rome guides, and by plan day trips in advance.

Here’s the list of top 15 things to do in Rome for free:

Visit One of Roman Markets

Rome is plenty of markets. For instance, Campo dei Fiori Market functions daily until 3 pm and locates on one of the most popular squares of the city. The memorial to Giordano Bruno stands in the middle of Campo dei Fiori and there are many bars, hookah places and restaurants that surround the square. Testaccio market is another classic Roman standby. It has an energetic atmosphere and is an amazing spot where you can try many Italian delicacies for free or to buy souvenirs. You will find there not only food, but almost everything you can imagine. Also, near Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo), there is Campagna Amica market which works every Saturday and Sunday. Undoubtedly, this is nice place for local delicacies degustation. The market is large and contains huge variety of interesting and tasty products.

The most famous Roman Market is probably Porta Portese, opened each Sunday. Visit to this mammoth flea market is a unique chance to see another side of Rome. You will find different books, clothes, old mp3 players and many other interesting things there. It is one of the best budget shopping options in Rome.

Porta Portese market

Overall, Roman markets are excellent option for tourists of any budget, since they contain a variety of natural Italian products for cheaper prices than in souvenir shops and one can try most of the food sold there for free.

Admire Masterpieces in Roman Churches

Madonna di Loreto art work of Caravaggio

Did you know that you can admire originals of masterpieces by such notable artists like Bernini, Raphael or Michelangelo in Roman churches without paying anything? For instance, the church of San Luigi dei Francesi contains three artworks by Caravaggio and has the 18th-century interior. Moreover, if you ever noticed symmetrical churches in one of the most famous squares, Piazza del Popolo, there are also artworks of Caravaggio in the Cerasi Chapel. Also, the Basilica of Saint Peter’s, among all masterpieces, has Michelangelo’s most famous “Pieta”, which you can see for free. However, it is better to explore the Vatican during the sunrise tour with a private tour guide to skip long lines.

Have a Picnic in One of Roman Villas

villa ada

Rome has not only remaining of ancient buildings and monuments, but it is also full of greenery. Villas of the city are huge parks, where locals enjoy good weather, walk with their pets, do sports, or come for a picnic. For instance, Villa Borghese has plenty of attractions for its visitors, such as an artificial lake, where you can rent a boat for 3 euro per person, visit the smallest cinema in the world or enjoy views on the city from one of the most beautiful observe decks. This is an amazing site to visit with whole family, especially if you are on vacation with kids. Other famous green parks of the Eternal City are Villa Ada and Villa Pamphili. Each of them is huge and full of different plants and animals such as squirrels, birds or swans.

Throw a Coin Into The Trevi Fountain

Fountain Trevi best time to see

The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world. Thousands of tourists daily come to admire the masterpiece of the 18th century and to throw a coin into the Baroque fountain. Do you know why? The throwing of coins into the water comes from a couple of legends. The first is that the throwing of a coin from the right hand over the right shoulder will ensure that you will return to Rome in future. The second legend was created after the film “Three Coins in the Trevi Fountain”, which claims that you should throw three coins into the fountain. The first coin guarantees your return to Rome; the second will ensure new romance; the third will ensure marriage. Just try!

Visit The Pantheon

The Pantheon

The Pantheon is an ancient temple dedicated to the Roman gods, which embodies the greatness of the Roman Empire. Something special about this place? Yes, in the morning, by 8.30 am, you can come inside first to enjoy this huge temple without tourists. Its walls are 7 meters wide and there are tombs of notable people as Raphael Santi or Victor Emmanuel II, and Umberto I. However, the most fascinating part of the current church is its giant dome, which was the largest in the world for 1300 years. Today, it remains the largest unsupported dome in the world with the diameter of 43.30 meters of 142 ft.

The Pantheon is the best-preserved ancient monument

Enjoy Views from The Gianiculum Hill

Gianicolo hill in Rome

The Gianiculum (Gianicolo) hill is extremely popular among locals. It offers one of the best views on the Eternal City, contains important monuments and there is the fountain of Acqua Paola (the grandfather of the Trevi Fountain!) This is one of the most romantic spots of the city.

Explore Roman Churches

san giovanni in laterano church in Rome

There are more than 900 churches in Rome, including Roman Catholic Marian churches. The entrance to each of them is free of admission, while many churches contain notable masterpieces by famous artists and impressive frescoes. Moreover, each of them has different decoration.

Enjoy The Atmosphere of Trastevere

Trastevere area in Rome

Have you ever been in Trastevere district? It is one of the most charming spots in Rome because of its tiny streets, beautiful corners and impressive Basilica of Saint Mary in Trastevere (Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere). There is plenty of local and international bars and restaurants, gelaterias, souvenir shops, and local designers’ brands. It is easy to fall in love with Trastevere from the first sight.

We invite you to our private walking tour around Trastevere area

Learn About Rome’s War at The Historical Museum

Historical Museum of Liberation in Rome

The Historical Museum of Liberation (Museo Storico della Liberazione) is located in the building that, during the months of Nazi occupation of Rome (1943-44) was used as a prison. Nowadays the building is dedicated to all imprisoned people and is a reminder of the times of suffering under Nazi Germany.

Explore Modern Architecture in EUR

EUR district in Rome

Tired of ancient monuments? Then, it’s time to visit the EUR district. Built as a project of Benito Mussolini for the World Exhibition, the area is considered as modern and new part of Rome. Moreover, the most notable feature of the district is its “square Colosseum”, which houses Fendi fashion brand nowadays. The area is beautiful, and you can explore it with us during the private tour through Rome of Mussolini.

Walk to The Orange Garden

Orange Garden in Rome

The Orange garden, located on the top of the Aventine hill, is one of the most charming gardens of Rome. There is an amazing observe deck and beautiful decoration orange trees. You will immediately fall in love with the atmosphere of the place, since it is peaceful and full of greenery.

See The Keyhole on Piazza dei Cavalieri

the keyhole on Aventine hill

Piazza dei Cavalieri is also located on the Aventine hill, right near the Orange Garden. If you come there during the daytime, there will be a queue of tourists near the huge door. You may ask why? There is the famous keyhole, where you can see three governments at the same time: Italy, Vatican, and Malta.

Visit Pope’s Weekly Audience

Pope Francis at the audience in Vatican

The Weekly Wednesdays Audience in the Vatican usually starts at 10 am. This is a chance to see Pope Francis, but to get a good seat you will need to arrive to Saint Peter’s square up to 3 hours before the beginning of the audience. The average duration of the audience is 1.5-2 hours and the Pope gives speeches in different languages, where main ones are English, French, Spanish, German, Polish, Portuguese, and Italian.

Admire Cats in Largo di Torre Argentina

largo argentina

Largo di Torre Argentina has remaining of 4 ancient temples. This place is famous because Caesar was assassinated there. But today, Largo Argentina is popular among visitors because of its cat shelter with more than 200 friendly pets. You can adopt one!

Explore Angels on The Bridge of Angels

bridge of saint angels in Rome

Undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful bridges in the world is the Bridge of Angels (Ponte Sant’Angelo). The ancient construction was built by the Emperor Hadrian to link the bank of the Tiber with the Castle of Saint Angel (Castel Sant’Angelo). You can make a journey along the Via Crucis and admire ten sculptures of angels deigned by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, which decorate the construction.

Rome isn’t cheap city, but even for a budget tourist there are plenty things to discover. Any other free things to do in Rome? Tell us about your experience!

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Author: Kate Zusmann

For the last five years I live in Rome, Italy. Recently, I've graduated from the American university of John Cabot with major in communication and minor in entrepreneurship. I have a passion for writing, traveling, and exploring new things.