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!
5. 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!
4. 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!
3. 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.
2. Relax in the gardens.
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.
1. 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!
I hope you are enjoying this ‘free things to do in …’ series and find it useful, if you have any specific requests then please let me know in the comments section below. If I have been there then I’ll add it to the list!