5 Free Things To Do In Rome.

Rome, Italy, is one of the most expensive cities in the world and it can cost a lot to visit, but travel doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think, and even some of the most expensive destinations in the world have some amazing free sites and activities to keep even the tightest of budgets happy. Check out these 5 free things to see and do in Rome.

Since the peak of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Christian church via the Renaissance, from Charlemagne to Caesar,  Rome has developed into one of the most culturally and historically rich cities in Western Europe. It has also become one of the most expensive!

With expensive accommodation costs and restaurant bills that will make a grown man weep, it can be hard to imagine being able to see this stunning city without a huge budget, or a politicians expense account! But there is some good news, you may not be able to get away from the hotel bills, but there are plenty of things to do and ways to see some of the best sights Rome has to offer – all for free!

The Trevi Fountain.

This fountain is one of the most beautiful and ornate in the world, and is a huge tourist attraction for that very same reason. Not only is it one of Rome’s must see sights, but it is a perfect place to sit back and people watch on a sunny afternoon, and the best thing is, it won’t cost you a penny! Unless you decide to indulge in the traditional coin tossing off course! If you toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, legend has it you will return to Rome, but it won’t be a legend that draws you back, it will be sights like this!  

Eat For Free.

Seriously! If you are trying to keep costs down then you need to get creative, and yes you can get free food without having to do a runner before the cheque comes!

There is a big culture of Aparitivo in Rome, and plenty of bars will serve up a snack between 18.00 and 21.00 if you buy a drink. Okay, so technically the drink will cost you money, but if you buy a cheap alcoholic drink, you will get a whole plate of snacks to help soak it up! Some places are better than others of course, some may just offer a pizza slice or a sandwich, but others will offer up a whole all you can eat buffet for the price of a drink! So free food! Good times!

Indulge In Some Art Appreciation.

Rome is famous for its art, and if you are going to take time out to discover some of the most famous paintings, frescoes and sculptures in the world, Rome is certainly the place to do it! A simple aimless wonder around Rome’s winding streets will see you come across dozens of atmospheric churches with some amazing hidden frescoes. San Pietro in Vincoli al Colle Oppio holds the statue of Moses by Michelangelo,  the tomb of an unknown soldier is surrounded by a massive monument on Piazza Venezia that is topped by a statue of Victor Emmanuel, and then of course there is St. Peter’s Basilica, perhaps one of the most famous Catholic buildings in the world and a work of art in its own right, before you get to even more famous statues by Michelangelo and other high Renaissance artists. You quite literally can’t walk more than a few feet in Rome without coming across some wondrous piece of art and architecture, and experiencing all of that will cost you nothing.

Relax In The Gardens.

Rome may not be famous for green spaces but there are numerous expansive gardens throughout the city that are perfect for an afternoons stroll, a romantic picnic, a family outing or simply lounging in the sun. Villa Borghese is one of the largest in the city and extremely well kept. Villa Sciarra is great for families or those with young kids, as there is a fair sized playground next to an aviary where you can feed some exotic birds, whilst Villa Ada has a range of free kids activities throughout the day and free exercise sessions for adults on Sundays.

The Vatican Museum.

If you visit on the last Sunday of every month then the Vatican museum is absolutely free to visit between 09.00 and 12.30 which will save you the cost of a ticket. There really is no need to give an introduction or reason to visit this stunning, completely unmissable attraction, but if the Sistine chapel and the myriad of famous artwork and sculptures held inside don’t convince you then how about this, it’s free!

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.

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5 Free Things To Do In Venice.

10 Ways To See Rome Like A Local.


Michael Huxley is a published author, professional adventurer and founder of the travel website, Bemused Backpacker. He has spent the last twenty years travelling to over 100 countries on almost every continent, slowly building Bemused Backpacker into a successful business after leaving a former career in emergency nursing and travel medicine, and continues to travel the world on numerous adventures every year.

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12 comments on “5 Free Things To Do In Rome.
  1. vickyinglis says:

    Great tips! I might be going out on a limb here, but I wasn’t massively impressed by the Sistine chapel. Not the art particularly, just the crowdedness of the room and queuing, and walking for miles through the museum at a shuffling speed.

    I did love looking at St. Peter’s Basilica though, which is free to enter, and quite spectacular. For a few euros you can climb up to the base of the dome inside (and a few euros more take the lift), go out onto the roof, then climb higher to the very top of the dome for amazing views across St Peter’s Square and the rest of the city. If you go in late afternoon in autumn you might be able to catch the start of the sunset. Worth the small charge.

    • I absolutely agree it is more than worth the small charge, and the money you save from all these free tips can help pay for it! ;D

      I know exactly what you mean about the Sisitine Chapel though, the crowds are horrendous, but that can’t be helped unfortunately. It’s the same in many sights around Rome, or most major cities for that matter! (Have you ever tried to view the Mona Lisa at the Louvre?!) I still think the artwork more than makes up for any inconvenience though!

      Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate the comment.

  2. globalmouse says:

    Another place I love, Rome! I haven’t been for years and can’t wait to go back. I remember picking up a slice of pizza and just wandering through the streets in awe…Rome is one of those places where you can just wander and have a great time looking around! Thanks for another great post!

  3. Sandra Wu says:

    Interesting post! Italy is probably one of the most expensive places to travel to but you can still enjoy an afternoon without spending anything. My favourite is a wander through Piazza Navona, it could take me forever to capture all the photogenic angels!

  4. Oh yeah, I´m quite familiar with the eat for free =) This way you also do some (bar)sight seeing, how lovely! Rome is a great city to do things for free, there is so much to see so many things to do.. Great post, makes me miss Rome… Hopefully one day I´ll be living there =)

    • Not to mention meet some great new people too! ;D You’re right it is an amazing city and can easily be seen on a budget. I hope you manage your dream of living there one day! Thank you for visiting and commenting. 🙂

  5. Some great tips for one of the most expensive cities we’ve ever visited! It was a bit of a shock to the system, but when in Rome… We got the Roma pass which saved us money as we visited pretty much everywhere we could. I’m with Vicky in that the Sistine chapel was far less impressive than expected, probably because all of Romes architecture is so amazing. Another tip for free things to do – visit churches! They’re all free, with very few visitors, and honestly some of the most gorgeous buildings we’ve ever seen. Even the little back street churches you’d walk pass and easily miss. Just take a moment to look inside, you won’t be disappointed.

  6. ishood says:

    Nice tips for a place like Rome 🙂

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Hi, I'm Michael! I'm a former nurse turned published author and world travelling professional adventurer! I have spent over twenty years travelling over 100 countries and I want to inspire you to do the same! Want to know more about me? Just click here!

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