First do these free things upon arrival in Rome. Then follow Liz Gilbert advice and eat your way through the city on the saved money.
Last updated: September 20, 2023
Top 10 Free Things to Do and Places to Visit in Rome
Rome on a shoestring? Surprisingly, it’s more than possible. Besides city’s famous and sometimes expensive attractions, there are ample free places to visit and things to do in Rome. The only catch here is that you need to know when and where to look for them. I hoped this grabbed your attention. If so, let’s find some of the best free things to do and places to visit in the classic city of Rome.
THE BEST FREE THINGS TO DO IN ROME
1. Visit the Pantheon
After spending an impressive amount of money on the Vatican (technically not part of the capital of Italy), the idea of visiting Rome on a budget slowly begins to fade away. At least it was the case with me when I almost gave up on finding any free things to do in the city.
The turning point happened when one of the locals suggested that I visited the Pantheon. According to her it was one of the must-visit, free things to do in Rome at any time. Standing in line early next morning, I still wasn’t sure if she was right. It turned out, the Pantheon was indeed one of a few historic places you can visit in Rome for free.
TIP: On the other hand, the line in front of the building can be really long. You have more chances of being one of the first people to enter the former temple early in the morning.
2. The Mouth of Truth
You don’t need to wait for Christmas to find out who’s been naughty or nice. When in Rome, find your answers by placing a hand in the Mouth of Truth. The legend says, your hand will be bitten off if you’ve lied.
The Mouth of Truth is located outside of the Church of Santa Maria on the Piazza Bocca della Verita or Square of the Mouth of Truth. The famous attractions is free of charge. Moreover, you get a chance to see the Temple of Portunus, the Temple of Hercules Victor, and the Triton Fountain located nearby.
3. Wander through the Villa Borghese Gardens
Some of the free places to enjoy in Rome are hidden behind their paid parent-attractions. While you need to purchase a ticket to visit the Villa Borghese Gallery, strolling through the Villa Borghese Gardens is free of charge.
4. The Spanish Steps
Not far from the Villa Borghese Gardens is another free landmark that you don’t want to miss in Rome. The Spanish Steps are known for their irregular butterfly-shaped design and offer good views of the city from the top of the steps.
5. Toss a Coin into the Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain is another epic place to add to your list of the free attractions in Rome. This Roman landmark is the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world.
It’s believed if you toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, you will return to Rome. Considering the amount of money thrown into the fountain during a day, this free attraction surely collects its entrance fee by itself.
6. Step into St. Peter’s Basilica
Built in the Renaissance style, the St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most famous catholic churches in the world. For many, it’s the main reason to travel to Rome. And yet, despite its fame and glory, the St. Peter’s Basilica doesn’t have any admission fees.
TIP: Make sure to devote enough time for this visit, as half of it you may spend in line waiting for your turn to enter the Basilica.
7. Explore Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City are usually not the first places to add to your budget-friendly itinerary in Rome. But if you get to these renowned destinations on the last Sunday of the month from 9 a.m. to 12:30. p.m., you won’t need to pay a dime to see all the treasures they hold.
Souvenirs at the Vatical Museums are a different story. To get them, you surely need to dig into your pocket.
8. Enjoy Free Rome at Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona is by far one of my favorite free places to sit and people-watch in Rome. Built on the site of the former Stadium of Domitian, the place astounds with its grand size, baroque palaces and churches, and opulent fountains.
9. Visit Free Museums
To take advantage of affordable places in Rome, plan your visit on the first Sunday of the month. On this day, more than 25 museums, galleries, and gardens welcome locals and visitors free of charge.
10. Admire Roman Forum from Above
Unless you visit Rome on the first Sunday of the month, the Roman Forum doesn’t fall into the category of the free things. Fear not, though. If you want to save some money, you can still see a lot of it from the street. A wide sidewalk at the Via dei Fori Imperiali is a good place to start.