Europe

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 don’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 – 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

Fountain of the four Rivers, in the middle of Piazza Navona - Rome, Italy

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

Pyramid of Caius Cestius, 1st. C., Rome

Located off of the Piramide Rome Metro stop is apyramid built to serve as the tomb for Gaius Cestius. It’s been a part of Rome’s stunning and ever-evolving cityscape since 12BC.

13. Acro di Constantino

Arch of Septimius Severus (foreground), Temple of Saturn (background) - Roman Forum

Not far from the Colosseum you’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

2007 italy, rome in september (00), spanish steps

In the Piazza di Spagna you’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

The Crypt Of The Capuchins

Located beneath the Santa Maria della Immacolata Concezione church is a crypt you won’t want to miss. Inside you’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

Campo dei Fiori .. during the day

If you love shopping, you’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

La Bocca della Verita'

If you can’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 “The Mouth of Truth.” 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 fountain’s mouth, it’ll snap it off.

8. Visit the Vatican – On a Sunday

Rome from Basilica di S.Pietro, Vatican City

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 – though you’ll need to do some pretty extensive legwork to get the right reservation for that privilege.

7. Protestant Cemetery

protestant cemetary

Not far from the Pyramid is the Protestant Cemetery, also referred to as the “Non-Catholic Cemetery.” Several notable individuals are buried here, including John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley. It’s a quiet place, but beautiful and worth the time spent strolling the grounds.

6. Wander Gianicolo Hill

Day 5 - at the Janiculum View-

At the top of Janiculum Hill, you’ll find more spectacular views of the city. You’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

Money

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 - Rome, Italy
The Pantheon was originally built to serve as a pagan temple. It wasn’t converted to a church until 608AD, in an effort to save it from destruction. It’s located in the Piazza della Rotunda, on the same site where it has existed (in some form) since 27BC.

3. Largo Argentina

Sunken ruins of Largo di Torre 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. September’s White Night

millions of people in the streets for

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. Peter’s Basilica

St-Peter Basilica. Basilica de S. Pietro
St. Peter’s Basilica is the most well known Catholic church in the world, let alone Rome or Italy. A visit means tough security and long lines but the wait (and free entry) is well worth it.

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 – and you can save your extra money for more gelato.

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