Piazza Navona things to do in rome

Rome is known as one of the most iconic cities in the world. The city prides itself on the world’s most beautiful arts and architecture. Rome is also known as the center of the Roman empire which is known as the most powerful and largest empires in world history. 

With the city’s big role in history, arts, economics, architecture, and religion, Rome has become one of the most visited cities in the world. Which makes it more expensive to visit.

However, even if the city is a bit more expensive to visit, there are lots of fun and free things to do in Rome, Italy. And you can still visit some of these world-renowned landmarks without spending a dime on it.

Free Things To Do In Rome Italy

1. Enjoy the view of the city in Gianicolo – Janiculum Hill

Gianicolo Hill rome

Gianicolo is one of the best spots in Rome for sunset and breathtaking views of the city. Walk up the steep winding pathway catching glimpses of the view as you go. At the Terrazza you can sit on the low wall and take in the views across the city.

Dozens of domes, bell towers, and statues punctuate the skyline. Look out for the Pantheon, the Altare alla Patria (the typewriter) and St Peter’s Basilica. Each day at noon for the past 165 years a cannon has been fired and this continues to this day.

Arrive in time for sunset when a soft golden glow washes over the city. Afterward, walk back down to Trastevere and find a cozy trattoria for pizza and Chianti, you’ll have earned it after that climb.

How to get to Gianicolo

The hill lies behind Trastevere. Start at Piazza della Rovere, near St. Peter’s Basilica, and head up the hill on. The street is Via di Gianicolo and will take you to the top in around 30 minutes. It’s a strenuous walk so you may want to take a taxi.

Source: Suzanne Jones of The Travel Bunny

2. Time travel in the ancient Rome at the PantheonPantheon Rome

The Pantheon is a well preserved ancient Roman buildings and one of the top attractions in Rome. It is also one of the best free things to do in Italy. The 2,000-year-old former Roman temple was built by emperor Hadrian.
The building was converted into a church dedicated to ‘St. Mary and the Martyrs’ in the 7th century AD and is also known as ‘Santa Maria Rotonda’. The Pantheon is also a burial site for important painters and Kings.
The entrance of the building features a portico supported by Corinthian columns. But the most impressive feature of the interior is the magnificent dome which is the worlds largest unreinforced concrete dome. 
The Piazza Della Rotonda is the square opposite the Pantheon. The square is dominated by the remarkable fountain called ‘Fountain of the Pantheon’ built in the 16th-century. An Egyptian obelisk was added later in the 18th-century.

How to get to Pantheon

Pantheon is about 10 minutes walk from the prominent square Piazza Venezia. Several buses ply from Piazza Venezia to different parts of the city of Rome. Take one of the buses (no 81, 160, 40) from Piazza Venezia to Pantheon.
If you are coming from Vatican City you can take one of the buses heading to Piazza Venezia and get down at stop close to pantheon which is 5 minutes walk away.

Source: Rashmi & Chalukya of Go Beyond Bounds

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3. Visit the Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli

Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli

Saint Peter in Chains, that’s what the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli translates to. This church located in the Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli was built in circa the 5th century to house the chains that held Saint Peter while he was arrested in Jerusalem.

Unlike other Roman churches that speak of splendor, this church is simply decorated. But what makes this church a must-visit (apart from the chains) is the mausoleum of Pope Julius that holds Michelangelo’s statue of Moses.

Moses looks so lifelike that Michelangelo himself tried to talk to him at one time. When the statue didn’t reply, Michelangelo threw a chisel at the statue. The mark of the chisel on the statue’s knee can still be seen today.

How to get to the Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli

The Piazza di San Pietro in Vincoli is 400 m North of the Piazza del Colosseo making it a short 7-minute walk. You pass through the erstwhile Domus Aurea on your way there.

Source: Abby of The Winged Fork

4. Explore the Villa Borghese Gardens

Villa Borghese Gardens Rome

When you want to escape the crowds in Rome, Villa Borghese is a wonderful place to retreat to. Covering 148 acres, Villa Borghese is the second-largest public park in the city. It’s an ideal spot for relaxing with gelato and on scorching summer days, the trees offer welcome shade.

But the gardens are even more beautiful at sunset, when everything is bathed in golden light. There’s plenty to see in Villa Borghese and if you’re feeling energetic, you can spend an hour or two walking around the park. Highlights include the Boating Lake, the Shakespeare Theatre, the Bioparco (zoo), and Museum of Modern Art.

Don’t miss Pincio Terrace for sweeping views of the city. It’s magical at sunset when you can look out over Piazza del Popolo and see the dome of St Peter’s Basilica framed against the sky. The park is open every day from dawn until dusk.

How to get to Villa Borghese

The easiest way to get to Villa Borghese is to take the metro Linea A to Flaminio. From
Flaminio, walk to Piazza del Popolo and climb the steps to Villa Borghese. You can also reach the gardens from the top of the Spanish Steps – simply turn left and walk along the road.

Source: Grace of The Idyll

5. People watch In Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona things to do in rome
Image by djedj | CCO | Pixabay

There are lots of places to visit in Rome – and you’ll feel the need to see everything from the Roman Forum to the Pantheon. However, make sure to save some time to enjoy the beautiful squares and plazas in the city! My favorite is Piazza Navona, a quick walk from the Pantheon.

During the day it fills up a market, and it’s generally a great spot for people-watching. There’s a great restaurant right off the square with fabulous food, but, more importantly, it’s the spot where Julius Caesar was assassinated.

So grab a gelato, savor the Bernini fountain, and watch as tourists and Romans alike pass through the square. In the square, check out Bernini’s fountain The Four Rivers, the Baroque Church of Nostra Signora del Sacro Cuore, and stop by the Palazzo Braschi to check out the Museum of Rome.

How to get to Piazza Navona

There’s no nearby metro station; however, it’s on several bus route as well as the tourist hop-on-hop-off buses. In addition, it’s an easy walk from almost anywhere in the historic center.

Source: Stephanie Craig of History Fangirl

6. Relax At The Spanish Steps

spanish steps rome free things to do in rome
The Spanish Steps run off of the street of designer shops, and you can walk right up to them and climb them without a wait. The Spanish Steps are regularly pretty busy, but you can get some amazing shops of the steps and the beautiful Trinità dei Monti church which stands at the top of the steps.

At the bottom relax in the Piazza di Spagna, watch the water fountain trickle or grab a bite to eat at any of the fantastic restaurants around the square.

How to get to Spanish Steps

Visiting the Spanish Steps in Rome is pretty simple, you can catch the train almost anywhere in the city for a couple of Euros.

Source: Natasha of Meldrums On The Move 

7. Be amazed at St. Peter’s Basilica

st. peter basilica places to visit in rome

Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the top things to see in Rome, not just because it’s famous as the home of Catholicism, but because it is insanely gorgeous and absolutely free to visit.

You can walk around the main hall and explore the catacombs without paying a dime, however, if you want to climb to the top of the dome you’ll have to fork over 5 Euros. The downside of such a famous and awesome place being free is that the crowds are massive. At times the line to get in can seem almost as impressive as the basilica itself.

To avoid the crowds be sure to get there early. St. Peter’s Basilica opens daily at 7:00 am and closes at 7:00 pm (6 pm during the offseason Oct. – Mar.). You will be turned away at the door if not wearing appropriate clothing so make sure to have your shoulders and knees covered when visiting St. Peter’s Basilica.

How to get to St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is located in Vatican City at Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square) and is most easily reached via the metro. Take Line A (red line) and get off at Ottaviano Station.

Source: Cara of Crawford Creations

8. Throw a coin in Trevi Fountain

trevi fountain things to do in rome
Image by kittyvanrooij216 | CCO | Pixabay
If you think that Trevi Fountain is one of the main attractions in Rome (and probably one of the most famous fountains in the world) – not only because it is free to visit but also because it the Baroque architecture is quite impressive.
It is not only the height that makes it almost impossible to miss (standing at 26 meters) but also because of the people around.  There are people – a lot of people. A crazy amount of people. Tourists and probably locals alike.
There is not that much to do at Trevi Fountain in that sense, but the sight itself is a pretty place and totally picturesque. Bring your own food and drinks and take a seat at one of the benches and just enjoy the view, life, and end your day at this beautiful place.
There are also a lot of restaurants and cafes close by – though the view is probably not as good. Okay, admittedly it is not completely free – it is an unwritten rule to throw in a coin into the water, but apart from that, you can enjoy this wonderful place for free.

How to get to Trevi Fountain

It is right in the city center, no bus stop just in front, but several buses stop near (it is easy to get there from the Spanish Steps by foot actually). The closest metro station is Fontana di Trevi.

Source: Arzo Nayel of Arzo Travels 

9. Enjoy the street arts in Quadraro

quadraro what to do in rome

In a city as expensive and crowded as Rome, it’s refreshing to know that it is possible to get away from the crowds and to do it for free – unless counting the costs of public transportation.

One of the best free things to see in Rome is visiting Quadraro, to discover a good example of the architectural style of the 1960s (Quadraro was originally built to host the athletes attending the Olympics), and to admire the incredible array of street art on display.

Located on the south side of Rome, Quadraro has been used by famous international artists such as Gary Baseman, Alice Pasquini, Jim Avignon e Diavù to create open-air art galleries.

How to get to Quadraro

From the Vatican area, you need to go to Ottaviano, take metro A, and get off at Via Scribonio Curione (it’s 17 stops) and then walk for around 5 more minutes.

Source: Claudia Tavani of My Adventures Across The World

Looking for more off-the-beaten path site in Rome? Check out 
Via Appia Antica!

10. Window shop at Campo De’ Fiori

campo de fiori

Campo de’ Fiori is one of the prettiest squares in Rome and used to be and is still a public market in Rome for over 1400 years. Surrounded by palatial buildings the market sells colorful produce, handmade Italian products, and finished goods and other tasty treats every morning except Sundays.

If you love to visit markets to take pictures or just enjoy the scenery and sample some locally made products, then head out to this wonderful market and also explore the rest of the piazza.

How to get to Campo De’ Fiori

Campo de Fiori is very close to Piazza Navona in Rome, at the border between Rione Parione and Rione Regola and a block from Palazzo Farnese.

Source: Noel Morata of Travel Photo Discovery

11. Walk around in Quartiere Coppedè

Quartiere Coppede rome

It’s getting more and more difficult to find a quiet place in Rome. But once you get to Quartiere Coppedè, you will see that this hidden gem is still off the beaten track. You can take a walk and enjoy the intricate architecture.

You might end up feeling like in a scene from Alice of Wonderland. Because of the design of the houses, the details, the colors, they all take to a fantastic realm hidden in the Italian capital. And you can end your walk with a proper Italian coffee at one of the pastry shops in the area.

How to get to Quartiere Coppedè

If you want to spoil yourself and enjoy a tranquil and magical afternoon in the Quartiere Coppedè, you will have to take trams no. 3 or 19 to Piazza Buenos Aires. There are also several buses that will take you to the Buenos Aires station, respectively no. 63, 80, 83.

Source: Andra of Our World To Wander

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Free Things To Do In Rome

11 Free Things To Do In Rome Italy | trip to italy | rome italy tips visit rome | travel rome | rome tips | rome tours | rome travel | rome travel tips | travel to rome | rome vacation | rome italy attractions


  1. I missed alot of these in Rome! Now I really need to go back. I want to go to Quartiere Coppede! I love to find off the beaten path things to do in cities!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I wish I had checked out the Janiculum Hill views and the quadaro street art on my most recent trip, but I’ll be sure to update my Rome map to include these…I’ve also included a lot of other free Rome activities here, so check it out for more inspiration 🙂


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