Known as the Eternal City, Rome is a major attraction of breathtaking architecture and prominent religious sights. The city can be expensive, but as with most visitor hotspots, there are a surprising number of ways to enjoy the city for free. Take a look at some of these popular activities.
Walk Around the Piazza Navona
Close to many of the affordable hotels in Rome, the Piazza Navona is famous for its fountains, which were sculpted by Bernini. Built on the old Roman Stadium of Domitian, it’s lined with cafes and ideal for people-watching, as many locals enjoy coming to this part of Rome.
Admire the Views
Rome is teeming with picturesque viewpoints. One of the best views of the city is from the Parco Savelli, a beautiful picnic spot and walking area. Aventine Hill is in an upmarket area of the city and within easy distance of many affordable hotels. Don’t forget to look through the keyhole of the Knights of Malta in nearby Piazza Cavalieri di Malta, where you’ll see several famous buildings lined up in succession.
Visit the Pantheon
At over 2,000 years old, the Pantheon is one of the most amazing buildings in the world. Built by Agrippa in 27 A.D., this temple to the gods is famed for its original dome. It has been in constant use and is the best preserved of the ancient Roman buildings.
Relive a Movie Moment
The movie Roman Holidayturned many landmarks of Rome into cultural icons. Walk up and down the Spanish Steps or sit down and watch the world go by. Visit the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin to find the Mouth of Truth, another movie highlight.
Listen to Mass
Not just any mass, but the Vatican open air mass on Sunday. Head out early to join the crowds in St. Peter’s Square for morning mass, which is often led by the Pope.
Browse a Vintage Market
In the Monti District there’s a popular urban market each weekend with a plethora of vintage items and other eclectic finds. The Mercato Monti is perfect for browsing as well. For food markets, check out the colorful Campo Dei Fiori.
Gaze Out From Gianicolo Hill
The views from Gianicolo Hill stretch out across Rome and include many famous historic sights, such as a statue of Garibaldi at the top of the hill. Every day at noon, a cannon is fired from the hill, signaling the time to the bell towers across Rome.
Explore St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most important churches in the world and is full of art treasures. Take time to explore the basilica and contemplate the art, including Michelangelo’s Pietà. You’ll have to pay a fee if you want to visit the Sistine Chapel, though.
Visit On Free Museum Days
In Rome, many of the archaeological sites, museums and galleries are free on the first Sunday of each month. It’s the ideal time to visit the Forum and other famous landmarks. Every fourth Sunday in the month, the Vatican art museums are free from 9:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
Enjoy the Fountain
With its Bernini sculptures, Trevi Fountain is one of Rome’s most beautiful water features. If you’re staying at the Relais Fontana di Trevi, you’ll be just minutes away. Make sure to throw a coin in the water if you plan on returning to Rome some day. With so many beautiful sights, one visit to the Eternal City is never enough.