The eternal city of Rome is a place where you can easily find things to do and places to see for free. Here’s the list of 50 things you can do in Rome for free or for a small amount of money.
1. Pantheon – this old roman temple which was transformed to a church is completely free to enter. This is one of the most famous churches in Rome and it is a great place to hide from the sun or rain.
2. St. Peter’s Basilica – you will have to stand in a long line to enter this mother church of Catholicism but the entrance is free. You will also have to pass the metal detector.
3. Spanish Steps – this beautiful set of stairs is always crowded with people and you will always have fun there next to the beautiful architecture on the square around it.
4. Di Trevi Fountain – this famous fountain is free to see and if you want to toss the coin over your shoulder you can choose any coin. That money is going to charity
5. Mouth of Truth – if you put your hand in the mouth of truth and tell a lie, the legend says that bad things will follow you around. Do you want to try your luck? Or better stick to the truth.
6. Piazza Navona – in the high season you will find number of street performers and musicians. The café’s around are quite expensive but you can always come and enjoy the view of piazza.
7. Constantine’s Arch – Near the entrance to the Colosseum, this giant triumphal arch is Rome’s biggest, and built in the 4th century.
8. Villa Borghese Gardens – these gardens are perfect place for a picnic and great place for kids to run around. The entry to the gardens is free but if you want to enter the gallery you will have to pay a fee.
9. The Pyramid – right next Pyramid Rome metro stop you will find the only pyramid in Rome. It was built in 12th century BC as a tomb of Gaius Cestius.
10. Campo dei Fiori – if you are up for some flowers or vegetable shoping in the morning head to this piazza. In the evening this is a place where numbers of restaurants are set and place where Romans come before heading to clubs.
11. Trastevere – this is a neighbourhood in Rome where you can stroll around and imagine what rome used to be like. Cobbled streets are just perfect for walking around and it is, well you can guess, free.
12. Gianicolo Hill – for excellent view of the city climb this hill right from Trastavere or take a bus number 15 if you are too lazy to climb. There is a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, a cool 17th-century fountain (including pieces of an older version of St. Peter’s Basilica – using old buildings to make new ones was the way they used to “recycle”), a cannon (which is fired daily at noon), and a free puppet show (they accept donations).
13. Appian Way – maybe all roads don’t lead to Rome but this one does. It was made in the 3rd century BC. You can rent a bike and drive around this road if you don’t like to walks.
14. Vatican Museums – if you are in the city on the last Sunday of every month, the Vatican Museum is free. On those days, the doors open at 08:30 and the last entry is 12:30 (the museums close at 14:30).
15. White Night – more famous as the La Notte Bianca. It is one night in September when all museums in Rome stay open all night long and waive their admission fees. In addition, the streets turn into an all-night party.
16. Cappuchin Crypt –the crypt doesn’t charge admission and you will probably be enchanted by it, you can leave a small donation. this is a place where 4000 monks were buried and it is located inside the Santa Maria della Concezione church.
17. Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary – this is a place where famous death scene of Julius Cesar killed by Brutus and now it is no-kill cat shelter in central Rome. You will get tours of the Roman ruins the shelter inhabits for free, but they’re hoping you’ll donate to the cause.
18. Protestant Cemetery near the Pyramid – is an interesting place to visit and some famous Romans are buried there.
19. Testaccio – is also an old neighborhood which was built around a hill of Amphora fragments discarded by Roman era merchants who docked nearby at the ancient Tiber port. Recently, car repair shops and trendy clubs have been carved out of the base of this hill. Testaccio is rapidly becoming popular with the young, clubby crowd. You can eat organ meats here, the real Roman cooking.
20. Brunello – is a small restaurant that offers free appetizers and glasses of champagne.
21. Il Vittoriano – this large white-stone monument on Piazza Venezia near the Capitoline Hill was made at the beginning of the 20th century. It is honoring Victor Emmanuel II who was the first king of unified Italy. You will also find the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and an eternal flame.
22. San Clemente – is a church on Via San Giovanni where you will find three churches in one. The lowermost level contains a mithraeum, an ancient worship site; this is the best preserved of 12 similar sites discovered in Rome. Above the mithraeum is the first version of the church as a Christian worship site, with a sanctuary dating to the fourth century A.D. The fresco depicting St. Sisinus dates between the eighth and 11th centuries. The top level is home to a sanctuary built in the 12th century that contains some spectacular mosaics.
23. The Gallery of the National Academy of San Luca – is a place where you will find works by members of the academy which includes Guido Reni.
24. Historic Museum of the Liberation of Rome (Museo Storico della Liberazione) – this museum was converted from the former Nazi headquarters of the SS Kommandatur. In this place many leaders of the Roman Resistance were tortured and imprisoned.
25. Numismatic Museum of the Italian Mint – it is amazing collection of more than 20000 pieces of coins and you can learn about techniques to make money.
26. Rome’s national museums have good deals for entrance fee on some days. You just have to ask around in tourist office for that.
27. Villa Ada is a place where you will find offices of several organizations (like the World Wildlife Fund) and this place offer free activities for children. In addition, the city holds free exercise sessions for adults at the pond on Sundays.
28. Caffarella is a valley which is going all the way from the south to the center of Rome. This unique natural area is a place where you can come across anything from chic city Romans on a stroll to herders guiding sheep. You can even find yourself alone in this expanse of fields that shelters the ruins of old Roman houses and temples.
29. Blessing of the animals (Benedizione animali) is a tradition dating back to the 8th century, held yearly on or around January 17 at the church of St. Eusebio. On this day, hundreds of citizens come to have their pets blessed by a priest; animals include everything from cats and dogs to fish and lizards.
30. The Glass Hostaria restaurant offers a free beverage if you book online for the table. You can get drinks like a prosecco or Italian spumante, and an amuse-bouche (small appetizer).
31. Hostaria Romana Ristorante offers free cookies, grappa, and after-dinner limoncello.
32. Bakeries are great places in closing time. They are usually discard the goodies they haven’t sold that day. If you find yourself close to the bakery in closing time you can ask to get some of that goods. Delicious food will get into your hands and for free.
33. Tour of the Pantheon is completely free in small groups. Just show up at the Pantheon and look for the tour guides holding umbrellas with angels on them every day around 7pm. This tour is 30 minutes.
34. Isola del Cinema is the summer film festival in the small island in the middle of Tiber and entrance is free for movie projections.
35. International Urban Theater Festival is in September and you can see dance, music and all kind of acting performances all around the city.
36. Estate Romana is the biggest festival in Rome. When this festival is held, the whole Rome becomes stage. You can see hundreds of concerts, film showings, dances, and art displays. Many of them are free to the public. Spend a warm evening listening to a blues concert on the steps of a palazzo or watching a theater performance among the ancient ruins at Ostia Antica.
37. Gran Ballo di Ferragosto is a day when streets become alive with dance. This is held on 15th of August and the Piazzas become a stage for professional dancers to show off their skills, with each square in Rome home to a different dance performance: hip-hop, tango, ballroom, and more. You can dance too.
38. Miracle Players at the Forum is English-language cosmopolitan theater troupe which is funny and has original plays. In the summer they are performing for free in Roman Forum.
39. Roman Forum – is a place where you have to pay the fee but in the summer there are loads of events happening there and you can get in for free on many occasions.
40. Chatting with Romans – is always fun thing to do. Actually that won’t be chatting. They laugh and shout a lot and you will never be bored when you meet true Romans.
41. Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is decorated with beautiful mosaics from the 5th-century and it is worth visiting.
42. The Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli is a place where you will find Michelangelo’s Moses. This is also a place where you can see the chains worn by St. Peter during his imprisonment.
43. The Chiesa di San Clemente is the 12th century church which was built on the grounds of 1st century house and inside the church you can see some remaining of the house.
44. Villa Pamphilli (Monteverde) and Villa Ada (Corso Trieste) are famous parks in Rome and beautiful places to stroll or have a rest
45. Villa Torlonia is beautiful villa and garden. Once it was Mussolini’s family residence, it then fell into disrepair and is now being restored. The garden is full with exotic plants and large trees. The Casina dellle Civette is a great museum that’s remarkable for its stained glass windows.
46. 100 Painters on Via Margutta – Via Margutta has well hidden art market and it has a bad reputation since 17th century of being a notorious haunt for bohemians and starving artists. This was a place where Marlon Brando and Sophia Loren hanged out in the 50’s. The exhibit takes place from October 29th through November 1st.
47. Aula Octagonale – at Piazza della Republica you will find ancient Roman sculptures and rooms and this is considered to be one of Rome’s hidden treasures. They are nestled close to the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli. The room was part of the Baths of Diocletian.
48. Papal Mass – it doesn’t really matter what is your religion since this is the thing you need to see. On Sunday’s at 10am you can come to Piazza San Pietro and listen to the Pope’s mass. Pope Benedict XVI Sunday mass is moving for everyone.
49. Via Sannio Market (San Giovanni) is a flea market and great place to stroll around. You can see loads of things and antiquities and you don’t need to buy anything.
50. Art lovers Day – on the 14th of February you can get 2 tickets for price of one for loads of museums in Rome. This is a great way to spend St. Valentine’s day.
Feature image: pascalmwiemers