Europe Travel, Featured, Italy

21 Free Things to Do In Rome

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases, at no cost to you. 

Visiting the Eternal City doesn’t have to break the bank. Rome is such a magical city to visit, with many low-cost or free options to experience all of its glory. From beautiful monuments and fabulous fountains sprinkled throughout to city, to seeing most of the sights up close and personal, there’s plenty to do in Rome on a budget.

Compared to most of Europe’s hottest tourist destinations, Rome has a surprising number of famous sites and things to do that are completely free to visit. Read on to see the best free things you can do in Rome!

You May Also Like: 15 Can’t-Miss Sights in Rome

Free things to do in Rome

1. Toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Visit the world’s most famous fountain and iconic Rome tourist attraction: the Trevi Fountain. Toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain for good luck, or as the legends say, to find love in Roma!

2. View the Colosseum

It’s free to check out the Colosseum from the outside. Take a walk around the perimeter and snap pictures at your favorite spots!

3. Get a bird’s-eye view of the Roman Forum

If you don’t want to spring for a Colosseum or Roman Forum ticket, you can view most of the Roman Forum from Terrazza sul Foro. Here you can overlook most of the Roman Forum and take some amazing pictures!

4. Visit the Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore

This incredible basilica is not only beautiful from an architectural stand point (featuring gold ceilings and mosaic windows, and such intricate details!), it’s also an incredibly important Catholic Church. It is one of the Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome and is still used by the pope to this day. It’s also the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary

You can enter the Cathedral for free, or admire it from outside like we did. But if you want to climb to the top of the bell tower or the top of the Cupola, there’s a ticket you’ll need to buy.

5. First Sunday of the Month

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting on the first Sunday of the month, several of the most popular museums and historic sites open their doors to the public for free. These tourist sights include:

  • The Colosseum
  • Castel Sant’Angelo
  • Roman Forum/Palatine Hill
  • The Borghese Gallery
  • Baths of Caracalla
  • Ostia Antica
  • National Rome Museum
  • Villa Giulia
  • Palazzo Corsini
  • Galleria Spada
  • Palazzo Venezia

And others.

6. Admire St. Peter’s Basilica

Visit the city’s largest, most spectacular basilica for free – though there will probably be a large line to get in. After taking 126 years to build, maybe a little waiting in the line won’t feel so bad! Admire three of Italy’s most stunning masterpieces in the basilica: Michelangelo’s’ Pieta and his soaring dome, and Bernini’s 95 ft baldachin over the papal altar. 

7. Take a stroll through Vatican City

While you can’t go into the Vatican Museum or the Sistine Chapel without a ticket, you can absolutely spend time wandering around Vatican City. Enjoy the beautiful architecture, view the fountains, grab a coffee at one of the city’s cafes, and soak up the Vatican vibes from the outside!

8. Watch the street artists on Piazza Navona

This bustling square is not only full of tourists, but is also full of street performers and artists throughout the day, usually until dusk.

9. Piazza Navona fountains

While you’re there, check out the three beautiful fountains found in the Piazza Navona. There is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) representing the important rivers of continents where Christianity spread. Then there is the Fontana del Moro, originally called the “Seashell Fountain” and lastly, the Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune).

10. Visit the Vatican Museums on the Last Sunday

Similarly to how many of Rome’s state-run museum’s offer free admission on the first Sunday of the month, the Vatican opens their doors to the public for free on the last Sunday of every month. Just keep in mind, it can get very crowded!

11. Walk Down Appian Way

As one of the oldest roads in Rome, there are lots of historic sites to see nearby and along the road. While many people opt to bike the road, walking it is free and a great way to see all of its smaller details.

12. Stand (Almost) Beneath the Arch of Constantine

Located between the Colosseum and Palatine Hill, you’ll find the Arch of Constantine. This historic and cultural landmark is a well-preserved monument that encompasses the true beauty of Roman architecture. 

13. Walk Up The Spanish Steps

Visit one of the most well-known sites in Rome by taking a walk up the Spanish Steps from the Piazza di Spagna below. In the spring, you’ll find the steps covered in colorful flowers!

14. Visit Campo de’ Fiori

Campo de’ Fiori is the main market in Rome, and here you’ll find everything from Italian pasta and authentic olive oil, to fresh flowers and produce. While making a purchase here isn’t free, you can absolutely wander around and see all the market has to offer for free!

15. Visit where Julius Caesar was killed

Next to the Pantheon, in the center of Rome, there’s a square called Largo di Torre Argentina, that has to be reached by a stairway. The area is also well-known for having been the scene of Julius Caesar’s murder in 44 BC, with a plaque on one of the temple columns designating the place of the alleged murder.

16. Stand Atop Capitoline Hill

Situated in the center of the city, Capitoline Hill is one of Rom’e seven hills and has an excellent view of the city. As the site of various temples, honoring various Roman gods and goddesses, it’s a cool perspective in Rome.

17. Take a walk through Trastevere 

Once a hidden gem in Rome, this neighborhood has become more popular among tourists in recent years. Stroll through the neighborhood, admiring the architecture and piazzas.

18. Wander through Quartiere Coppedè

The Quartiere Coppedè is one of Rome’s smallest and most unique neighborhoods, with nothing like it anywhere else in the city. The neighborhood’s architecture blends Art Deco, Baroque, Art Nouveau, and medieval styles, making it feel like a fairy-tale as you take a stroll through it!

19. Relax in the Gardens of Villa Torlonia

This villa served as Mussolini and his family’s home during World War II, and now houses a museum that can be toured for a price. However, the estate’s gardens are beautiful and can be toured for free.

20. See the Foro Italico

This huge sports complex was built between 1928 and 1938, and originally called the Foro Mussolini. Here, you’ll find two stadiums that host Rome’s soccer teams, and see 60 marble sculptures meant to show power and strength.

21. Visit Villa Borghese Gardens

Similarly visiting the Gardens of Villa Torlonia, you’ll need to buy a ticket to enter the building but enjoying the park and beautiful scenery is free!

You May Also Like: 20 Essential Tips For Your First Trip to Rome

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *