Free Walking Tours in Rome

There are essentially 5 types of free tours in Rome, and we let you know about your options, provide schedules, and explain what you will see on each tour.

 

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OVERVIEW AND SCHEDULE

There are 5 types of free tours in Rome, one of ancient Rome, another of Rome’s centre, the Vatican museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, one that covers the Trastevere neighborhood, as well as free food tours.

This model of free tours is technically free to take and there is no obligation to pay anything at the end.

However, they are popularly understood as pay-what-you-like tours. You can pay what you think your walk was worth or what you could afford at the tour’s end. 

TIP: We do offer a GPS-led audio tour of Rome’s City Centre.

 

 

According to online reviews, most participants contribute between €10 to €20 per adult to the tour guide when they felt the tour was good.

Just about all of the companies are locally owned, with larger outfits such as Sandemans absent from the market.

There are a variety of different free walking tours in Rome. While some focus on the ancient history of the area, there are some that provide a closer look at the city centre.

Alternatively, if you want to learn more about the Trastevere neighborhood or the Jewish Ghetto, there are also tours that cover these locations as well.

In addition to these sites, you can also take a free tour of the Vatican Museums and one of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Finally, there is at least one free food tour you might want to consider if you’re looking for the best eats in Rome.

 


FREE ANCIENT ROME TOURS

These free walking tours will cover notable historic sites which in some cases date back thousands of years. 

If you’re interested in learning about the ancient history of Rome, these tours will give you plenty of information about how this city became home to one of the most remarkable empires in the world. 

 

Free Ancient Rome Tours

 

Here are a few of the ancient sites you can expect to see on these tours:

  • Roman Forum
  • Palatine Hill
  • Colosseum
  • Capitoline Hill
  • Circus Maximus
  • And more!

The free tours will not include admission to any of the attractions listed above and cover them from viewing platforms. 

You can purchase tickets for them either before or after your free tour.

However, the free tours cover areas not usually covered on the paid tours, including the Imperial Roman fora.

The paid tours, on the other hand, all include tickets to the Colosseum, Forum, and Palatine Hill.

Reservations are required for all tours.


New Rome Free Tour

Discover the history of the Roman Republic and Imperial Rome on this 2-hour free walking tour of the most ancient locations in the city.

This company has an overall rating of 4 ½ out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor, and reviewers suggest that they provide tips to help you get inside popular landmarks quickly, efficiently, and affordably. 

You can take this pay-what-you-wish tour every day at 11 am, and they also offer a tour of the city centre at 16:50 (4:50 pm) on the same day!

Find out more or book this tour. Reservations are required.


Amedeo’s Ancient Rome Tour

This pay-what-you-wish walking tour will take you past some of the most historic sites in Rome, and it has a rating of almost 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewers report that the tour guide Amedeo is willing to answer any question you might have about Rome, taking the time to interact with each guest. 

You can take this 2 ½ – 3-hour free walking tour daily at 9 am.

Reservations are required. View the calendar above for the current schedule (which might be affected by the pandemic).


Rick Steves’ Ancient Rome Audio Tours

Although this company doesn’t offer a pay-what-you-want tour, they do have a few self-guided audio tours you can use which cover notable locations in ancient Rome.

These audio tours are entirely free to download, and they come with maps that you can download onto your smartphone so that you can find your way around each site.

**You will need to purchase a ticket to enter the Colosseum as this audio tour is conducted from the inside.

If you’d prefer these in podcast form, you can also download the Rick Steves app on your smartphone using iTunes or Android.


Paid Ancient Rome Tours

If you’re looking for a tour which offers small group sizes, there are several paid tours you can take which you might want to consider.

In contrast to the free tours, all of these tours include admission to the Colosseum, the Forum, and Palatine Hill. 

Ticket prices range from €20-€80 and last for 2-4 hours on average.

Check this list of paid ancient Rome tours to find an outing that fits your itinerary.

 


FREE CENTRAL ROME TOURS

These free walking tours focus on the centre of Rome rather than structures like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and other sites just South of the city. 

While some of the sites you’ll see are very old, this type of tour is about both helping you become more familiar with the city and covering its history.

 

Trevi Fountain Rome

 

If you’re looking for an introductory tour that provides a look at a wide variety of attractions and historical landmarks, central Rome tours are an excellent option.

Here are a few of the sites you can expect to see on these outings:

  • Piazza Navona
  • The Pantheon
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Spanish Steps
  • Venice Square
  • And more!

Discover what you can see with our self-guided tour of Central Rome.

To learn more about these locations and get help finding your way around the city, consider one of the free walking tours listed below.


GPS-Led Audio Tour

Before we list the live guide tours, if you are looking to explore on your own in this age of social distancing, then we recommend taking a look at the following resource.

We offer a GPS-led audio tour of Rome’s City Centre researched, written, and recorded by one of our very own tour guides. 

Self Guided Tour Rome

 

Our tour begins at the Spanish Steps and visits some of Rome’s top sights, including most of the locations listed above in the intro.

Here’s a sample.

Download our free walking tour app on (iTunes) or (Android).


New Rome Free Tour

This company offers a free guided tour of the city centre which covers some of the most notable or historic architecture and the artwork you’ll find throughout Rome.

With an overall rating of 4 ½ out of 5 stars, this is one of the best-reviewed tour services in the entire city, and reviewers indicate that they also provide tips on the best places to eat!

Their 2-hour city centre tour is available daily at 16:50 (4:50 pm), which means you can enjoy both this outing and their Ancient Rome tour on the same day!

Reservations are required. Book this tour or learn more.


Amedeo’s Roman Fountains Tour

There are a lot of notable and historic fountains in Rome, and this pay-what-you-want walking tour covers some of the best examples located in the city centre.

Amedeo’s service is very highly rated, and reviewers indicate that their guide is very attentive and will answer any question you may have. 

Normally, this 2 ½ hour tour is available in English and Italian at 14:00 (2 pm) every Sunday – Friday and in French every Thursday – Sunday at 10 am. 

Reservations are required. View the calendar above for the current schedule (which might be affected by the pandemic).

 


TRASTEVERE + THE OLD JEWISH GHETTO

Discover a side of Rome that you might not otherwise visit on a tour of neighbourhoods you usually won’t visit on other tours.

 

Free Tour Trastevere

 

Trastevere is the area across the river Tiber, and in addition to visiting this location, you’ll also make a stop on Tiberine Island to see the area once known as the Old Jewish Ghetto.

You can expect to visit the following locations while taking one of these free walking tours:

  • Trastevere
  • Vicolo dell’Atleta
  • Isola Tiberina
  • Portico d’Ottavia
  • Jewish Ghetto
  • And more!

If you want to learn more and see these neighbourhoods for yourself, consider taking one of the tours listed below.

We also have our own self-guided walk of the Old Jewish Ghetto.


Maria Grazia

In addition to their Best of Rome tour, this company also offers a 2 ½ hour tour which covers both Trastevere and the Jewish Ghetto.

This service is very well rated at almost 5 out of 5 stars, and reviewers suggest that their tour guide is very passionate about the history of these Roman neighbourhoods.

You can take this pay-what-you-wish walking tour in English on Friday and Saturday at 12:30 pm. 

Book the tour or learn more. Reservations are required.

This outing is also available in Italian at different times.


Rick Steves’ Audio Tours

If you want to discover these neighbourhoods at your own pace, Rick Steves offers 2 separate audio tours, one of Trastevere and one of the Old Jewish Ghetto. 

You can use your smartphone to either download the Rick Steves app and listen to the audio tour with their service, or you can download the audio file and listen to it that way.

There is also a map you can download with each tour which will help you to find your way around the city.


Paid Tours of Trastevere & Jewish Ghetto

There are a variety of paid services that cover the Trastevere and Jewish neighbourhoods. 

Whether you want to learn more about the area on foot, by bike, or by segway, there are several different tours to choose from.

In addition to these options, there are also some food tours in each location you might want to consider.

Ticket prices tend to range from €60-€100 or more, and many of these tours are also limited to smaller groups or are entirely private, allowing you to decide who joins you on the outing.

Check this list of paid Trastevere and Jewish Ghetto tours to learn more and find a service that fits your itinerary.

 


FREE VATICAN TOURS

Although the Vatican Museums do require a ticket for admission, there are some audio tours you can use for free after entering the building.

There is also at least one audio tour that covers St. Peter’s Basilica as well (which is free to enter).

 

Guide to St. Peter's Basilica

 


Maria Grazia

This is one of the only pay-what-you-wish guided tours which focuses on attractions surrounding Vatican City.

Although this free walking tour does not include admission to the Vatican Museums or the Sistine Chapel, it does enter and explore St. Peter’s Basilica. 

You can take this tour in English every Tuesday and Thursday at 12 pm. It is also available in Italian on Tuesday and Thursday at 9 am.

Book this tour or learn more.


Rick Steves’ Audio Tours

If you’re planning to visit either the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel or St. Peter’s Basilica, this company offers an audio tour of each location which is available either to download or via their app.

In addition to Rick’s audio tours, there are also maps that will help you find all the best pieces of art and historical sites within each building.


Paid Vatican Tours

There are several paid tours for visitors who are looking for a guided tour or a different kind of experience at the Vatican. 

Some of these outings offer reserved entrance, others cover both the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, and there are even early morning priority access tours you may want to consider.

Ticket prices range from €20-€60 on average, and some tours are either private or limited to small groups so that you can enjoy your trip without having to worry about vying for attention from your tour guide.

Look at this list of paid Vatican tours to find the right service for your needs.

 


FREE ROME FOOD TOURS

Currently, there is only one company offering free food tours in Rome, and they focus on three neighbourhoods in the city: the Jewish Ghetto, Trastevere, and Monti.

 

Free Rome Food Tours

 

Each of these outings includes at least 3-4 stops at great restaurants and food shops where you’ll find some of the best dishes in the city.

The foods you will try on these tours vary quite a bit depending on which neighbourhood they cover, but most outings will cover some of the following options:

  • Pizza
  • Gelato
  • Pastries
  • Prosciutto
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • And more!

Although you don’t have to pay for the tour, you will have to pay for any food you might purchase along the way, and you should expect to spend around €10-€15 on average.

The nice thing is that even if you tip them another €10-€15 for the tour, you’ll still spend significantly less on this than you typically would on a paid Rome food tour.

If you’re looking for another option, consider our self-guided Rome food tour.


New Rome Free Tours

In addition to their free walking tours, this company also provides 2-hour pay-what-you-wish food tours which allow you to pick and choose the dishes you will try.

Their Trastevere food tour is offered on Thursdays at 11 am. 

You can also take their Old Jewish Ghetto food tour on Fridays at the same time.

Alternatively, you may also want to consider their Monti food tour on Mondays through Thursdays + Saturdays at 16:00 (4 pm). It also runs on Mondays at 11:00 am.

Book one of these free food tours. Reservations are required.


Paid Rome Food Tours

If you’re looking for a different kind of food tour or one that covers another area of the city, there are several paid options to choose from.

While some outings cover specific types of dishes such as street food, others provide a look at the best places to grab a bite in the city centre, Testaccio, and many other locations in Rome.

Ticket prices range from €40-€100 and some services offer small or private tour groups so that you’ll get the full attention of your guide.

Take a look at this list of paid Rome food tours to find one you like.

 


FREE TOURS WITH TOURIST PASSES

A tourist pass (or city pass) bundles together several tours and attractions into one discounted ticket or gives you discounted entry.

 

Free Tours with Rome Pass

 

If you are considering purchasing a tourist pass, keep in mind that some might come with free walking tours already included.

Read our post on these passes.


FREE WALKING TOURS IN OTHER CITIES

Enjoy free walking tours in other cities around the world with Free Tours by Foot and our recommended companies.

Here are just a few.

 

About the author

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.