Rome is full of world class museums, amazing eateries and beautiful scenery. While you can easily turn any stay in the Eternal City into an unforgettable luxury escape, there are also so many free things to do in Rome that it can be hard to know where to start.
Gaze upon masterpieces by Caravaggio and Michelangelo, or step inside ancient ruins, all without ever paying a dime. To see Rome for free, you simply need to know where to look.
Here are 50 of the best free things to do in Rome to get you started:
Free things to do in Rome
- Take advantage of the first Sunday of the month when state museum and sites are free for Domenica al Museo.
- Climb to the Pincio Terrace for sweeping views of Rome.
- Take a breather on the Spanish Steps and revel in Roman piazza life.
- See some of the most unique architecture in Rome with a visit to the Quartiere Coppede – an interesting neighborhood you can wander through for free.
- Get your culture on with a viewing of Caravaggio’s masterpieces in Piazza del Popolo.
- Check out the renovated Trevi Fountain. Then be sure to waste a few cents by throwing a coin over your shoulder and into the fountain in order to ensure you’ll come back to Rome again some day.
- Take a walk in Villa Borghese.
- Pack a picnic lunch for the Giardino degli Aranci.
- Find Bernini’s cheeky elephant statue.
- Marvel in the blend of religion and science by checking out the meridian line in Santa Maria Degli Angeli and dei Martiri.
- Gaze through Rome’s keyhole.
- Window shop along Via dei Coronari.
- Bask in the gold gilt mosaics of Santa Maria di Trastevere.
- Visit the manicured gardens behind Palazzo Barberini.
- Be awed by the oculus of the Pantheon, and pay your respects to Raphael while you’re there.
- Hike up the Gianicolo hill to see all of Rome from above Trastevere.
- Walk back down through Trastevere to explore the winding cobblestone alleys.
- Pay homage to Santa Francesca Romana – the patron saint of taxi drivers – near the Roman Forum.
- Take a lap around Circo Massimo, and imagine what it must have been like for the chariot racers of days gone by.
- See Michelangelo’s Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica (but give yourself plenty of time for the security line).
- Take a quiet moment in the cloisters of Ospedale Nuovo Regina Margherita in Trastevere.
- Want to see the Vatican Museums without paying for a ticket? Go on the last Sunday of every month before 13:30.
- Fill up your water bottle at a traditional nasoni fountain, which flow freely throughout the city.
- Stroll along the Tiber river and catch Triumphs and Laments before it fades away.
- Walk up to the first level of the Vittoriano for an elevated view of the Colosseum.
- Visit Rome’s beautiful non-Catholic cemetery, and circle the Pyramid of Cestius. (€3 donation recommended).
- Get romantic by visiting the skull of St. Valentine.
- Stick your hand in the mouth of truth (I guess. If you want).
- Walk along the Appia Antica, one of the oldest roads in the world.
- Seek out this tiny but charming turtle fountain near the Ghetto.
- Walk through the ruins by Teatro Marcello, and listen in if you happen to be lucky enough to pass by during a concert.
- Wander under the swinging chandeliers of Rome’s fanciest church – Santa Maria in Ara Coeli.
- Get splashed in Piazza Navona by hanging out next to Bernini’s stunning Fountain of the Four Rivers.
- Stop to smell the roses with a late spring visit to Rome’s rose garden.
- Take a passegiatta (evening walk) down Viale dei Fori Imperiali.
- Wander through the pretty Piazza della Pietra to admire Hadrian’s temple.
- Hop from corner to corner to see all four fountains on Via delle Quattro Fontane.
- During the summer, watch a free outdoor movie in Piazza San Cosimato.
- See the glory of Ancient Rome’s aqueducts with a visit to Parco degli Acquedotti.
- Admire the sculptures at the Giovanni Barracco Museum – a free exhibit of ancient art in between Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Navona.
- One of my favorite free things to do in Rome takes just a few minutes. When exploring the historic center, seek out the hidden Arco degli Acetari to discover a unique medieval courtyard in the heart of the city.
- Take a hike in Villa Ada, Rome’s second largest park that is both scenic and quiet.
- Check out the morning stalls in Campo de’ Fiori for a taste of an old world market.
- For a glimpse of modern Rome, visit the street art in the Ostiense neighborhood and walk past the gasometro.
- Transport yourself to jolly old England with a visit to La Piccola Londra – a street that looks like it belongs in London rather than in Rome.
- Peek inside the multi-colored marble world of Santa Maria dei Librai.
- Walk under the Roman pines and admire the stately gardens in Villa Pamphilj – Rome’s largest park.
- Stroll across Ponte Sisto and take a seat in Piazza Trilussa for some serious people watching.
- Catch the Pope’s blessing every Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square.
- Take in a Michelangelo masterpiece for free by visiting the church of San Pietro in Vincoli to admire his horned Moses.
Rome is basically one giant open air museum, so it is easy to visit incredible parts of the city without any admission ticket. You can also find plenty of cheap eats in Rome if you are on a budget.
Are there any other free things to do in Rome that you would recommend?
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10 thoughts on “50 Free Things to Do in Rome”
Wonderful list, thanks Natalie. Many of them my favourites, but also the chance to see, for free, the paintings of Caravaggio, and others, as you will know, in several churches…Santa Maria del Popolo, Sant’Agostino, San Luigi dei Frances. How good is that, to ponder them in the quiet, uncrowded (and cool) ambience of the churches…just step in the door (modestly dressed, of course). I love it.
Thanks, Jude! And wonderful recommendations for where to see more Carvaggios!
I will be in Rome on Sept 11th! cant wait!
Have a fantastic trip!
What a good list, unfortunately I have seen at all at least twice. But never mind.
There are still a few free things I would add:
Museo Carlo Bilotti
Viale Fiorello La Guardia, 6, 00197 Roma RM, Italië
Via Lazzaro Spallanzani, 1A, 00161 Roma RM, Italië
Viale del Foro Italico, 00135 Roma RM, Italië
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Thanks for the many great options for being frugal during our upcoming visit. I expect to be referring to this list during the trip.
one of my favorite things to do was visiting all the churches, the paintings , statues , alters , marble ,art, was great and got some AC in the summer ,and some warmth in the winter when I went there last just before the pandemic. Also was the big flea market on Sunday amazing to see ,and did cost me lunch and a pair of shoes , but at great price!!!
My favorite hidden gem right in the heart of Trastevere is Bernini’s Beata Ludovica Albertoni in the Chiesa di San Francesco a Ripa. Mi manca Roma!!!