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 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 Pantheon
How to get to Pantheon
Source: Rashmi & Chalukya of Go Beyond Bounds
3. Visit the 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
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
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
Source: Stephanie Craig of History Fangirl
6. Relax At The Spanish Steps
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
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
How to get to Trevi Fountain
Source: Arzo Nayel of Arzo Travels
9. Enjoy the street arts in Quadraro
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 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
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
If you like what you read, please share! And also follow us through our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts for updates.
LIKE IT? PIN IT
This is a fantastic list, we board a ship in Rome in November and hope to spend a few days in the city. I cannot wait to go back and try out the whole list
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!
[…] Also check out this post for free things to do in Rome […]
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 🙂