Company Logo - Home Link

50 Free Things to Do in Rome

Updated: February 12, 2024

This post will cover the best free things to do in Rome, including nighttime and family-friendly activities. Each of these attractions has been confirmed to be either free or very affordable as of 2024.

We also include a few cheap things to do in the eternal city of Rome.

TOP FREE THINGS TO DO IN ROME

The following section will cover a variety of activities you can enjoy for free in Rome.


1. Take a Free Walking Tour

First, you can take free, self-guided tours of Rome and see the city at your own pace.

We have tours of the city centre, ancient Rome, Vatican City, Trastevere, the Appian Way, and more. Many come with audio as well.

There are some pretty good pay-what-you-wish walking tours that you can take. These are free to take and you can pay whatever you wish or could afford, at the end of your tour.

Tours listed below are run through us. More guided tours are available here.

Searching Availability...

These services usually focus on the city centre, providing a look at some of the more popular and notable locations in the area.

See and learn about sites such as the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.


2. Enjoy Domenica al Museo

On the first Sunday of every month, several of the most popular museums and historic sites such as the Colosseum and Castel Sant'Angelo open their doors to the public for free.

This is an excellent opportunity to visit locations that usually cost at least €10 - €15 per ticket.

Here are a few of the more notable landmarks you can visit:

NOTE: Many of these attractions are included with at least one discount pass offered in this city.

For more details, make sure to read our post about Rome tourist passes.


3. Enter The Vatican Museums on the Last Sunday

This is one of the most popular attractions in all of Rome, but tickets are usually required for admission.

Thankfully, on the last Sunday of every month, the Vatican Museums open their doors to the public for free.

If you want to see some of the most historic artwork and artifacts in the city (including the Sistine Chapel), this is an excellent opportunity that you won’t want to miss. 

The only problem with going to the Vatican Museums on this day is that it can get very crowded. 

Even if you can’t make it to the Vatican Museums on the last Sunday of the month, you might still want to check out St. Peter’s Basilica.

This historic church is free to visit and there are a lot of notable attractions to see inside.

Rome Travel Tips Facebook Group

4. Visit The Pantheon

As of July 2023, the Pantheon is no longer free to the public. It will now cost €5 per person, but that's a pretty reasonable price for this attraction.

Worshippers are still allowed to attend mass for free, but tourists will need to pay for entry.

It's an especially beautiful place to visit when it's raining or snowing as the rain and snow come right though the roof into the building.

For a full list of things to see and do, make sure to read our post about visiting the Pantheon.


If you’re going to be in the area of the Pantheon, you may want to consider making a stop at the nearby Piazza Navona as well.

This historic plaza was once the location of the public market in Rome and us now one of the busiest in the city.

There are three beautiful fountains here – two of which were crafted by Bernini.

You can also expect to find street artists in the area providing entertainment to visitors at the plaza.


6. See the Pope

Believe it or not, there are a few different ways that you can see the Pope for free while visiting Rome.

During special holidays, he will be on hand to celebrate both at the Vatican and in other locations in Rome.

There are also audiences held twice a week on Wednesday and Sunday.

While you will need tickets for the Wednesday Papal Audience, the Sunday Angelus is free for everyone to see in St. Peter’s Square.

Even the tickets themselves won’t cost you anything to obtain – all you have to do is request them from the Vatican.

If you want to learn more about both of these opportunities, please read our guide about how to see the Pope.


7. Walk Down Appian Way

Via Appia Antica (otherwise known as the Appian Way) is one of the oldest roads in Rome, and there are a lot of interesting historic sites to see nearby.

To this day, you are free to walk down the Appian Way and enjoy all of the landmarks along the road.

While some of the locations you can visit will require you to pay for admission, others are free to enter and see for yourself.

It’s worth noting that this is where you will find the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella, which is just one of the many sites you can visit for free during Domenica al Museo.


8. Throw a Coin into Trevi Fountain

This is one of the largest baroque fountains in all of Rome, and it is also one of the most popular locations to visit. Visiting the Trevi fountain is free to do, there is no fee.

If you throw coins in the foundation, the myth has it that good things will happen.

With one coin, you'll return to Rome. With two coins, you'll fall in love with an attractive Italian. With three coins, that meeting will result in marriage.

The best thing about the Trevi Fountain is that it looks magnificent both day and night.

If you’re looking for more great reasons to see this beautiful fountain, there are a lot of notable and historically relevant sites nearby which are also free to visit.

For more details, make sure to read our post about going to the Trevi Fountain.


9. Take the Spanish Steps

Whether you’re looking for poetic inspiration or you just want to see one of the most well-known sites in Rome, a trip to the Spanish Steps above Piazza di Spagna is an absolute must.

In addition to serving as a popular meeting location, there are also a lot of interesting things to see and do in the area.

If you visit Rome during the spring, make sure to come and see when they line the Spanish Steps with thousands of Azaleas.

This is a special event that only happens once per year, and it gives the landmark an entirely different appeal.


10. Visit Campo de’ Fiori

If you’re interested in doing a bit of shopping, this is one of the first places you should look.

Campo de’ Fiori is the main market in Rome, so you can expect to find a lot of different things on sale in the area.

This is an especially good place to look for fresh fruits and vegetables if you’re looking for something to eat.

There are a lot of interesting things to do in this part of Rome, and we actually offer a self-guided walking tour which starts at Campo de’ Fiori. 


11. Take a Tiber River Walk

If you're trying to get somewhere quickly, this won't be the path to take.

But if you have time for a wandering walk or a bike ride along the Tiber, then you'll come across such landmarks as S. Maria in Cosmedin, Tiber Island, Teatro Marcello, Palazzo Spada, Palazzo Farnese, Vatican City, Castle Sant Angelo, the Palace of Justice, and loads of historic bridges.

This is something you'll want to do only in the daytime.


12. Walk or Drive Via dei Fori Imperiali

This avenue likes between the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia and is one of the best ways to see ancient Rome in a short time.

You'll be passing such landmarks at the Forum of Augustus, the Forum of Neva, and the Forum of Trajan in just about 15 minutes.


13. Visit Where Julius Caesar Was Killed

In the center of Rome, next to the Pantheon, lies a square called Largo di Torre Argentina. It lies meters below street level and has to be reached by a stairway

The square is renowned for its four ancient Roman temples, which were uncovered in the 1920s while working on a new structure and date back to the third century BC.

The area is also well-known for having been the scene of Julius Caesar's murder in 44 BC; nowadays, a plaque on one of the temple columns designates the place of the alleged murder.

In addition to being a popular tourist destination, Largo di Torre Argentina is also the location of ongoing archaeological research and excavation and the home of a cat sanctuary.


14. Stand (Almost) Beneath the Arch of Constantine

Between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill, stands the Arch of Constantine, a triumphal arch.

The Arch of Constantine is regarded as a significant historical and cultural landmark because it is a well-preserved example of Roman monumental architecture.

To honor Emperor Constantine I's victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge, it was erected in AD 315.

The arch is famous for its considerable use of spolia, or recycled elements from earlier structures, including sculptures and reliefs from the eras of Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius.


15. Take a Gaze At Trajan's Column

Trajan's Column is a triumphal column that may be found at Trajan's Forum, an ancient public square built by Emporer Trajan.

To honor Emperor Trajan's triumph in the Dacian Wars, it was constructed in the second century AD.

Trajan's Column

The column is carved with a spiral relief that depicts Trajan's military campaigns in Dacia and is 30 meters tall.

As one of the best-preserved specimens of Roman monumental sculpture today, Trajan's Column is a well-liked tourist destination in Rome.


16. Visit An Ancient Shopping Mall

Near Trajan's Column is the old market complex known as Mercati di Traiano or Trajan's Market.

The emperor Trajan constructed it as a multi-level "shopping mall" and an administrative hub around the beginning of the second century AD.

The market has been renovated and turned into a museum detailing daily life and trade in ancient Rome.

The market's numerous levels can be explored by visitors, who can also view exhibits on the history of the structure, the commodities sold there, and the individuals who worked and patronized the market.

There are a number of ways to get special tickets that allow you to enter for free including visiting on the first Sunday of each month.


17. Stand Atop Capitoline Hill

One of Rome's seven hills is Capitoline Hill, commonly known as Campidoglio in Italian. It is regarded as one of Rome's most significant sites and is situated in the center of the city.

The hill has a long and colorful past; in the fourth century BC, it was the site of a variety of temples honoring various Roman gods and goddesses.

Capitoline Hill

The great Renaissance architect Michelangelo was hired to rebuild Piazza del Campidoglio and create a new grand stairway.up to the hill.

The piazza is bordered by a number of remarkable buildings, such as the Palazzo Senatorio which is currently home to the Rome mayor's office.

Several noteworthy structures and museums are there as well including the Capitoline Museums which are home to a collection of antiquity Roman art and antiquities.

At the foot of Capitoline Hill is the Tabularium, a historic building that served as a record office in ancient Rome. Today it is home to a museum devoted to the history of the Roman Forum.


18. Stroll Through Testaccio

On the western bank of the Tiber River is the medieval district known as Testaccio.

Testaccio has its own charm and character, even though it may not be as aesthetically attractive as some of Rome's old and picturesque neighborhoods.

The neighborhood bears the imprint of its industrial past, and many of the structures and streetscapes speak to its working-class origins. The area was well known for its marketplaces, butcheries, and meatpacking facilities.

Today, Testaccio is a vibrant and ethnically diverse area with a booming restaurant and food scene, busy street markets, and a wide variety of bars.

Additionally, it is the location of museums such as the MACRO, the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum. It has which has a sculpture garden that can be viewed for free.

There's also the Centrale Montemartini Museum of Industrial Archaeology.

The CittĂ  dell'Altra Economia, a cultural center and exhibition space that holds events, also hosts a farmer's market.

You can find a great view of Rome from atop Monte Testaccio, a hill made of broken terracotta amphorae.

And if you're a lover of literature or a lover of the arts, you can find the final resting place of poets Keats and Shelley, and of painter Joesph Severn, at Protestant Cemetary.


19. Relax in the Gardens of Villa Torlonia

Originally constructed in the 18th century, Villa Torlonia was built by the affluent Torlonia family, who owned the land for more than a century, and originally resided in the villa.

The villa served as Mussolini and his family's home during World War II, and it now houses a museum that can be toured for a price.

However, the estate's gardens are renowned for their elegance and variety and can be toured for free.


The estate's more than 14 hectares are divided up into various garden areas, each with a special charm.

In addition to a wide range of flowers, fountains, and other beautiful features, this park is home to numerous rare and exotic trees.

In general, Villa Torlonia's gardens are a lovely place to unwind and appreciate the wonders of nature.

They offer a tranquil respite from the bustle of the city and a window into Rome's rich history and culture.


20. Visit Villa Borghese Gardens

There are a lot of great family-friendly attractions in and around Villa Borghese, but the park itself is also a great place to visit.

Needless to say, it’s entirely free to walk through the park and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Villa Borghese

If you have young children, you may also want to consider heading to Cinema dei Piccolo, a theatre in Villa Borghese that offers free admission for kids.

This is also where you will find the Zoo, a puppet theatre, and several notable museums such as Villa Borghese.

You'll also find Villa Torlonia, a museum that is free to enter in some cases.

If you want to do some sightseeing while you’re in the area, you’ll find the Spanish Steps just south of Villa Borghese.

There are also other notable landmarks such as the Trevi Fountain just a short walk from this location.

TIP: Some hop-on-hop-off bus tours provide nearby stops which can make it easier to get here.


21. Stand on Pincio Terrace

At the edge of Borshese Gardens is the Pincio Terrace, a place at the top of one of Rome's 7 hills that provides panoramic views of the city.

From here you can see such sites as the Spanish Steps and St. Peter's Basilica. It is a great place from which to watch the sunset in Rome.

This is a popular location for picnics, strolls, and other leisure activities. It is surrounded by rich vegetation and sports 229 monuments, sculptures, and fountains.

The terrace, designed in the early 19th century, can be reached by stairs leading from Piazza del Popolo, or from a path leading up from the Spanish Steps.


22. See the Hieroglyphs in Piazza del Popolo

One of the largest squares in Rome, the "People's Square", stands near the old Porta del Popolo gate through which visitors made their way into the city.

A striking landmark sits in the middle of Piazza del Popolo. This is the ancient hieroglyph-covered Egyptian obelisk named Obelisco Flaminio or Flaminian Obelisk.

The obelisk was originally erected in Eqypt in the 13th century BCE, then later brought to Rome in the 10th century CE, eventually finding its way to the center of Piazza del Popolo in the 16th century.

The base and the cross on top add up to a height of 36 meters (118 feet), making it one of the tallest landmarks in the city, and it is composed of red granite.

Also on the square are the "twin" churches Santa Maria dei Mirsoli and Santa Maria Monsanto.


23. Visit an Open-Air Art Museum

Muro, the Rome Ubran Art Museum, is an open-air art museum containing more than 200 pieces of art that are dispersed across the city.

A group of artists and curators founded the museum in 2010 with the goal of providing a venue where street art and graffiti might be valued as genuine art forms.

Works created by local and international artists include contemporary street art and graffiti and are being added to or replaced in the collection on a regular basis.

Stencils, murals, installations, and sculptures, among other styles and methods, are all represented in the collection.

Many of the pieces address social and political themes, and some have come to represent the city in indelible ways.


24. Walk Through the Former Jewish Ghetto

Rome's Jewish Ghetto was created in 1555.

Confining its large Jewish population to one part of the city allowed the Jews to be controlled better by the Catholic Church.

The community managed to survive and even thrive in certain respects despite the difficult circumstances they were forced to live under, including crowding and certain legal restrictions.

Numerous notable individuals in the disciplines of science, art, and literature came out of this area, and it developed a distinctive culture and cuisine.

The neighborhood today is picturesque and colorful, and there are plenty of places to try traditional Roman Jewish dishes.

A few things to see during a walk are the Jewish Museum of Rome, the stunning Great Synagogue of Rome, Teatro Marcello (AKA the Jewish Coliseum), Piazza Matteri and its Fountain of the Turtles, and Portico d'Ottavia, a well-preserved ruin dating back to the 2nd century BCE.


25. Attend a Free Concert

The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is a renowned music school and performing arts institution.

It is one of the oldest musical institutions in the world, having been founded in 1585, and has a long tradition of supporting the growth of musical talent and promoting classical music.

It offers several concerts throughout the year for free, ones feature some of the finest classical artists in the world.

Visit their website for more information.


26. Take in Some Byzantine Mosaics

At the 8th-century Basicalla Santa Prassede, located in the Esquiline Hill neighborhood, you'll find some stunning mosaics.

The church is where Saint Praxedes and her sister Saint Pudentiana lived in the 2nd century. Legend has it that the women gathered the blood of Christian martyrs in the church's underground chambers.

Byzantine artists were commissioned by the Pope to decorate the church, and the mosaics created provided insight into the religious beliefs of the era.

The apse mosaic, which portrays Christ's Second Coming, is the most well-known mosaic in the church.

Christ is depicted enthroned in the mosaic among a number of angels and saints, including Saints Praxedes and Pudentiana.

The archangels Michael and Gabriel stand on either side of the image of Christ, who is encircled by a mandorla, a representation of divine splendor.

The church is also home to the relic known as the Column of Flagellation. It was believed this was part of the pillar where Jesus was flogged before his crucifixion.


27. Visit Fellini's Old Neighborhood

Located near the Spanish Steps is Via Margutta, a picturesque street known for its quaint ambiance, beautiful buildings and courtyards, and creative heritage.

Via Margutta has a long history of being connected to the arts and has housed numerous musicians, writers, and artists.

Well-known directors, actors, and producers have lived or worked on the street, including Federico Fellini whose house is now a museum dedicated to him.

Today, Via Margutta is a well-liked destination for art lovers and shoppers because of its array of galleries, antique stores, and artisan studios.


28. See the Foro Italico

The Foro Italico, originally called Foro Mussolini, is a sports complex that opened in 1932.

The facility was created to highlight Italy's sporting accomplishments, and was meant to symbolize the fascist regime's focus on physical fitness,

Today it is one the largest sports complexes in the country and is home to a number of statues that were created as part of fascist propaganda.

There you'll see 60 marble sculptures of idealized male figures, in a style sometimes called "heroic realism," one meant to show power, strength, and superiority.

In addition to statues of mythological figures, athletes, and soldiers, there is a large bronze statue of Mussolini that still stands at the entrance today.


29. See the Elephant in Piazza della Minerva

In Piazza della Minerva, in front of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva church, there is a sizable marble statue of an elephant.

This whimsical elephant was created in the 17th century by sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

His original creation was deemed too plain by the Dominican friars who commissioned him, so he then inserted an ancient Egyptian obelisk into the elephant's back.

The church on the square is of the rare-in-Rome Gothic Style and dates back to the 13th century. Inside is a sculpture by Michelangelo and a fresco by Lippi.


30. Cross Some Historic Bridges

As the Tiber river runs through Rome, there are 28 bridges connecting neighborhoods on each side.

Many of these bridges have become iconic landmarks, with some dating back thousands of years.

A few of the most popular bridges include:

  • Ponte Fabricio: dating back to 62 BCE. This is the oldest bridge in the world, in a picturesque location leading to Isola Tiberina
  • Ponte Milvio: dating back to 106 CE, known for the Battle of the Milvian Bridge between Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius.
  • Ponte Sant'Angelo: dating back to 136 CE and known for its 10 16th-century Bernin-designed angels
  • Ponte Sisto: dating back to the 15th century, the cobblestoned bridge has a view of St. Peter's Basilica
  • Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II: this 20th-century bridge links the historic center of Rome to Vatican City and has four bronze winged Victories statues

31. Wander Quartiere Coppedè

The Quartiere Coppedè is one of Rome's smallest and most unique neighborhoods. You won't find anything quite like it anywhere else in the city.

The architecture of the neighborhood is a blend of many styles and influences, including Art Deco, Baroque, Art Nouveau, and medieval, and the words "fairytale-like" are often used to describe it.

There you'll find decorative balconies, ornate fountains, and detailed mosaics and frescoes.

There are many restaurants and cafes to stop in at as you walk its whimsical streets.


32. Stroll Through the Park of the Aqueducts

Parco degli Acquedotti is a public park in the Appio-Latino neighborhood.

It has ancient ruins, including the aqueducts that until the 6th century, CE brought water to Rome.

You can also find part of Via Latina, an ancient Roman road, there along with a mausoleum, and a bathhouse.

It's the perfect place to walk, run, or bike scenic paths and catch sight of various flora and fauna.

Tip: bring water during the summer months.


33. Step Into Galleria Sciarra

This little multi-storied shopping arcade, completed in 1888 and near Trevi Fountain, is a feast for the eyes.

It has walls covered in frescoes of ancient mythological scenes painted on the walls. They are said to be some of the finest examples of Art Nouveau in Rome.

Part of the ceiling is made of glass, which floods the gallery with light and shows off its intricate stucco work.

It still functions as a shopping arcade today, so folks can indulge in a bit of spending if they wish.


34. Visit Isola Tiberina

The small Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) sits in the middle of the Tiber River, between the Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere.

It's believed to have been created back in the 6th century BCE, becoming home to a temple of the god of healing, Aesculapius. The ruins of the temple can still be found there.

Also found there are the ruins of the Ponte Rotto, of which a few arches remain, a medieval tower; an ancient Roman house; the Colonna infame; a church, and a hospital. There are also a few restaurants.

In the summer the has Estate Romana, an annual cultural festival that runs from June through September and includes music, art, dance, and film screenings.


35. Visit a Hidden Gem

In the church courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio, one will find the circular Bramante's Tempietto.

One of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Rome, this small temple was created by famed architect Donato Bramante who also created St. Peter's Basilica.

The structure was meant to commemorate the spot where Saint Peter was said to have been crucified.

It was commissioned by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and erected in 1502.

For a number of reasons, the Tempietto is regarded as a significant piece of Renaissance architecture.

Many other Renaissance architects would later be influenced by this style of architecture, which came to be associated with the era.

Inside are frescoes and sculptures, and a copy of Raphael's Transfiguration (the original was moved to the Vatican Museum).


36. Find a Magic Door

The Porta Alchemica (Alchemy Gate) or Porta Magica (Magic Portal) sits in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, a park that used to be the gardens of a villa that now lies in ruins.

This small stone door is embellished with complex symbols and inscriptions that some think are connected to alchemy and the hunt for the philosopher's stone, a fictitious substance thought to have the ability to turn base metals into gold and to bestow perpetual life.

The Marquis Massimiliano Palombara, who supported alchemy and aimed to establish a secret laboratory for alchemical experiments, constructed the door in the 17th century.

Giuseppe Francesco Borri, an Italian alchemist who some believed had discovered the philosopher's stone, was said to have used the door.

Rumor has it there are more doors in the area yet to be found.


37. Visit Aula Ottagona

The Aula Ottogona (Octagonal Hall) was first constructed in the 3rd century CE, likely as a meeting place for Roman dignitaries.

It was possibly even a place for ritual cleansing as it sat near the Baths of Diocletian.

After gradually falling into disrepair, the architect Pirro Ligorio was engaged to study and restore it in the 16th century.

He studied the octagonal shape and columns and discovered colorful geometric mosaics on the floor and frescoes on the walls.

Four marble and bronze statues from as early as the 2nd-century grace the hall, and several sarcophagi have been discovered over the years.

The site is today part of the National Roman Museum.


CHEAP THINGS TO DO IN ROME

In this section, we will provide a list of low-cost activities you can enjoy in Rome that is almost free.

If you’re looking for additional ideas, don’t forget that you can always take a pay-what-you-wish walking tour


38. The Baths of Caracalla

This is one of the most underrated sites in all of Rome.

Many people discover the historic landmark while visiting nearby attractions like the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, as it’s actually visible from each location.

In addition to seeing the ruins of the baths that still remain, you can also purchase tickets for a new VR experience which gives you an idea of what the structure looked like when it was still in use.

Tickets are reasonably priced at €8 or less per person, so it won’t cost much to add this to your itinerary.

For additional details, make sure to read our post about the Baths of Caracalla.

NOTE: Admission to this attraction is included for free with the Rome Turbo Pass and the Roma Pass. You can also save 20% on tickets with the Rome City Pass


39. Stop in at the Pyramid of Cestius

The Pyramid of Cestius is an ancient pyramid-shaped tomb in the lovely Aventine area of Rome.

It was built around 18-12 BC as a final resting place for Gaius Cestius, a magistrate and member of one of Rome's religious orders.

On the third and fourth Saturdays and Sundays of every month at 11:00, people can tour the inside of the pyramid which has frescoes on its walls.

Tickets cost €5.50 and are conducted in Italian.

Visit the website for more information.


40. Visit the Catacombs of Rome

There are several different locations where you can actually enter some of the catacombs of Rome.

While some of these sites offer free admission, others require a very reasonably priced ticket. 

At most, you can expect to pay around €8 per person, so it’s a fairly affordable activity.

Here are a few of the more popular locations you may want to visit:

  • Capuchin Crypt
  • Catacombs of St. Callixtus
  • Catacombs of St. Sebastian
  • Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella
  • Catacombe Domitilla
  • And More!

NOTE: Many of these historic sites are actually located alongside Via Appia. If you want to visit the Catacombs of St. Callixtus or St. Sebastian, it might make sense to combine your trip with a walk down Appian Way.


41. See the Villa Farnesina

Agostino Chigi, a wealthy banker, had Villa Farnesina designed for himself in the early 16th century.

Raphael, Sebastiano del Piombo, and Il Sodoma, among other prominent artists of the era, were commissioned to paint murals portraying scenes from ancient mythology, history, and the Bible on the walls of the villa.

These frescoes are regarded as some of the best examples of Italian Renaissance painting in all of Italy.

A particularly interesting painting is the trompe l'oeil masterpiece called Sala delle Prospettive (Room of Perspectives), painted to seem like an open-air terrace with views over Rome.

This museum, which costs €5-10 per person to enter, is located in the Trastevere district.


42. Visit a Street Market

If you want to feel like a citizen of Rome, you might want to visit one of the city's bustling and vibrant street markets.

They cost nothing to visit, although you might be tempted to purchase a souvenir or two.

A few of the markets are:

  • Porta Portese Market | in Trastevere on Sundays | Rome's most famous flea market with antiques, furniture, and vintage clothing
  • Mercato Testaccio | in Testaccio Mon-Sat | high-quality foods including seafood, meats, cheese, and baked goods
  • Mercato Monti | in Monti Sat-Sun | a favorite featuring jewelry, vintage clothes, and handmade goods
  • Borghetto Flaminio | in Falminio on Sundays | used designer clothes, antiques, and goods from the wealthy of Rome

Tip: If you do decide that you want to purchase something, it's rumored that vendors expect to get half of the starting price; be sure to haggle down to at least that figure.


43. Visit Basilica di San Clemente

This fascinating and richly decorated church is made up of three levels. It is described as a lasagna of history, with each layer representing a different era in Rome

The first level was originally a Roman house, one owned by a wealthy nobleman.

The house was converted into a Mithraic Temple, and there is still a shine there to the god Mithras. One can find the ruins of ancient walls, mosaics, and frescoes there.

The second level was originally a 4th-century church. Found there are marble decorations, frescoes, and more.

The third level is a 12th-century church, which includes the tomb of St. Cyril, a bell tower, and a fresco showing the crucifixion.

The church can be found near the Colosseum. Tickets run €5-10 per person.


FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS

This section will provide a few ideas for fun things you can do for free with your family in Rome.

Don’t forget that many popular sites are included for free with Roman tourist passes. This is a great opportunity to save money while sightseeing with your family.


44. Circus Maximus

This is one of the most historic sites in Rome, and it’s entirely free to visit.

Circus Maximus was once a famous chariot racing stadium, but over time it has fallen into such disrepair that it is now used as something of a public square.

During certain holidays, Circus Maximus will often be the site of special events such as fireworks displays and live performances.

The former stadium is also often used as one of the sites included in triathlons or races.


45. Go on an Art Walk

Rome has been home to several notable artists throughout the centuries, so it shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise that a lot of their artwork can actually be found simply by wandering around Rome.

Not only can you find the work of creators like Bernini, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Caravaggio all over the city, but some of their most famous work is actually free to enjoy.

Check the following locations for some of the most beautiful and historic artwork in Rome.

Church of San Luigi dei Francesi

  • The Martyrdom of St. Matthew by Caravaggio

Church of Santa Maria del Popolo

  • The Crucifixion of St. Peter by Caravaggio
  • Creation of the World by Raphael
  • Feoli and Cicada Chapels by Bernini

Church of Sant’Agostino

  • Madonna di Loreto by Caravaggio
  • The Prophet Isaiah by Raphael

St. Peter’s Basilica

  • Pieta by Michelangelo
  • The Dome by Michelangelo
  • Saint Longinus by Bernini

Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva

  • Cristo della Minerva by Michelangelo
  • Pulcino della Minerva by Bernini

Piazza Navona

  • Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi by Bernini
  • Fontana del Moro w/ work from Bernini

Ponte Sant'Angelo

  • Angel With the Crown of Thorns by Bernini
  • Angel With the Superscription by Bernini

46. Visit the Cavalieri di Malta Keyhole

This might not be the first place that people visit when they come to Rome, but it is a great opportunity for one of the most unique views in the ancient city.

At the top of Aventine Hill, you'll find the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta.

On the gated entrance to the nearby churches, there is an old keyhole that has gained some notoriety over the years for a very special reason.

It just so happens to line up perfectly with the dome of St. Peter's Basilica across the river.

Over the years, the Cavalieri di Malta Keyhole has become a fairly popular tourist destination.

Many people come to see if they can spy on the famous church through this small keyhole, and it's a great activity for both young and old visitors.


47. Stick Your Hand in La Bocca della VeritĂ 

The enormous stone mask known as La Bocca della VeritĂ , or "the Mouth of Truth" in English, has a fascinating history.

The mask, which was initially utilized as a drain cover at the Temple of Hercules, is believed to have been made in the first century AD.

Later, in the 17th century, it was relocated to the front of Santa Maria in Cosmedin church, where it still is today.

The Bocca della VeritĂ  is said to have the ability to identify whether someone is telling the truth or lying.

Their hand would stay intact if they were telling the truth, but if they were lying, the mask would allegedly bite off their hand.

People put their hands into the mask's mouth throughout the Middle Ages, something folks can do today for just €2 for anyone over 10 years


48. Go to a Free Museum

Aside from all the museums you can visit for free on Domenica al Museo, there are some museums in Rome that are always free for all guests. Here are each of the city-run attractions you can enjoy without paying even one euro!

  • Museo delle Mura
  • Villa di Massenzio
  • Museo Carlo Bilotti
  • Museo Napoleonico
  • Museo Pietro Canonica
  • Museo di Casal de' Pazzi
  • Museo di Scultura Antica Giovanni Barracco
  • Museo della Repubblica Romana e della memoria garibaldina

FREE THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT

The following section will cover a variety of activities you can enjoy for free after the sun goes down in Rome.

Some of our other sections include ideas that would also be fun after dark, such as visiting the Catacombs or going to Trevi Fountain.


49. Testaccio Market

During the summer and fall, Testaccio Market extends its hours well into the night for an event they call “Open Days.”

These days, there will usually be live musical performances and some of the business owners in the area will offer additional services.

One of the things you can do is purchase fresh meat from the butcher and have it cooked on-site!


50. See Historic Fountains

There are a lot of famous fountains to be seen in Rome, and many of them include lighting to make it easier for visitors to enjoy after dark.

According to some travelers, these magnificent and often artistic pieces are even more beautiful at night.

We’ve already mentioned a few locations that you can see for free whenever you want, but we’ll include some additional fountains to check out below.


51. Vittoriano Monument

This is one of the most historic sites in all of Rome, and it's a great place to visit at any time of the day.

That being said, many visitors feel that the experience is even better at night, as they light up the Vittoriano Monument after the sun goes down.

While you can't go inside at this time, it's still quite nice to visit just to experience the beauty of this landmark after dark.

Also known as the Altar of the Fatherland, this structure is located right next to sites such as Piazza Venezia, the Capitoline Museums, and Complesso del Vittoriano.

NOTE: The Capitoline Museums are included with both the Omnia Vatican & Rome Card and the Roma Pass.


RELATED POSTS

About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: February 12th, 2024
Back to Top
cross