15 Free Things to See in Rome
Trips to just about any destination in Europe can seem virtually impossible for those of us on a budget. The truth, however, is that those traveling on a budget can, and do, visit some of the most popular and pristine cities in the world. How do they manage? They donâ€™t tangle themselves up in a web of expensive tourist traps. Instead, they stick to casual dining, make a few tweaks to the itinerary, and stick to free attractions â€“ and yes, every city has them. Headed to Rome on a budget? Here are some free attractions you should plan to check out.
15. Explore the Fountains
Roman fountains have played a huge role in the history and development of the city. There are dozens scattered throughout the city and all of them, located in separate piazzas, are free to see.
14. The Roman Pyramid
Located off of the Piramide Rome Metro stop is apyramid built to serve as the tomb for Gaius Cestius. Itâ€™s been a part of Rome’s stunning and ever-evolving cityscape since 12BC.
13. Acro di Constantino
Not far from the Colosseum youâ€™ll find the Arco di Constantino. Built in 315AD, it is the highest arch in Rome. The arch stands 20 meters (or 65 feet high) and was built to honor the success of Emperor Constantine after his triumph over Maxentius.
12. Climb the Spanish Steps
In the Piazza di Spagna youâ€™ll find a set of stairs extending towards the Trinita dei Monti. Formally known as the Scalinta di Spagna, the stairs offer stunning views of the city below.
11. Capuchin Crypt
Located beneath the Santa Maria della Immacolata Concezione church is a crypt you wonâ€™t want to miss. Inside youâ€™ll find a collection of bones creatively decorating the walls of a series of small chapels. The remains of more than 4,000 monks are inside. Why are so many people buried there? Because the dirt inside originally came from the holy land of Jerusalem.
10. Campo dei Fiori
If you love shopping, youâ€™ll really appreciate the bustling activity at the open air market known as Campo dei Fiori. The open air market features several great fruit, veggie, cheese and flower vendors.
9. La Bocca della Verita
If you canâ€™t make it to all of the aforementioned fountains, make sure you make a special effort to see La Bocca della Verita, also known as â€œThe Mouth of Truth.â€ Featured prominently in the classic film Roman Holiday, the marble icon is in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. As legend as it, if you tell a lie while your hand is in the fountainâ€™s mouth, it’ll snap it off.
8. Visit the Vatican â€“ On a Sunday
It usually costs a pretty penny to get inside the Vatican, but if you visit on the last Sunday of the month you can visit the Vatican Museum free of charge. The Vatican sometimes offers free tours of the underground excavations and audiences with the Pope are also free â€“ though youâ€™ll need to do some pretty extensive legwork to get the right reservation for that privilege.
7. Protestant Cemetery
Not far from the Pyramid is the Protestant Cemetery, also referred to as the â€œNon-Catholic Cemetery.â€ Several notable individuals are buried here, including John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Itâ€™s a quiet place, but beautiful and worth the time spent strolling the grounds.
6. Wander Gianicolo Hill
At the top of Janiculum Hill, youâ€™ll find more spectacular views of the city. Youâ€™ll also see a few nice fountains, statues, old buildings, a cannon that is fired daily and a free puppet show.
5. Numismatic Museum of the Italian Mint
Want to learn how money is made in Italy? There are more than 20,000 artifacts on display at the Numismatic Museum of the Italian Mint, educating visitors about both past and present money-making procedures.
4. Explore the Pantheon
The Pantheon was originally built to serve as a pagan temple. It wasnâ€™t converted to a church until 608AD, in an effort to save it from destruction. Itâ€™s located in the Piazza della Rotunda, on the same site where it has existed (in some form) since 27BC.
3. Largo Argentina
Largo di Torre Argentina square is home to a quartet of ancient temples, the magnificent ruins of the Theatre of Pompey and a somewhat curious attraction in the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. Rossini’s The Barber of Seville premiered in the piazza’s Teatro Argentina.
2. Septemberâ€™s White Night
If you plan to visit in September, ask the concierge or booking agent at your hotel in Rome about White Night, or La Notte Bianca. On this night only, admission to every museum in the city is free. It’s a huge party night in the streets too.
1. St. Peterâ€™s Basilica
There are literally dozens of free things to see and do in the Italian capital. Before you know it, your itinerary will be jam-packed with free and low-cost attractions â€“ and you can save your extra money for more gelato.