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What to see in Rome for free

In this article we will tell you some few attractions that you can see in Rome for free. All these free attractions are walking distance from the city center.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is one of the most famous Piazzas in Rome. In the center of the piazza you can see Bernini’s fountain of Four Rivers.

A very interesting fact about piazza Navona is that it is shaped as an oval and the reason why is because in ancient times they used it as a stadium. In fact this piazza in Roman times used to be the Stadium of Domitian and it was used for athletic competitions.

The Bernini’s fountain of four rivers, it is a perfect example of Roman Baroque sculpture. The four rivers are the Nile which represents Africa, the Danube which represents Europe, the Ganges representing Asia and the Rio de la Plata representing the Americas. On top of the four rivers you can see a replica of an Egyptian obelisk. 

Piazza Navona
The Fountain of the Four Rivers

Piazza Navona is also the perfect spot to sit and have a cappuccino or a glass of wine in the evening.

The Pantheon

The pantheon is one of the few Roman temples in existence that is completely preserved.  The reason why is it kept like this well is that it was turned it into a church This is a free thing to do in Rome that you cannot miss let’s go inside

Rome the Pantheon
The Pantheon

When you come to the pantheon we recommend that you arrive first thing in the morning like 8:30 or 9 o’clock in the morning before everybody else, because during the day there could be a long lineup.

The Dome of the Pantheon
The Dome of the Pantheon

The Pantheon inside is really spectacular. The Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome after almost two thousands years from its construction. Inside the Pantheon you can admire the tomb of the famous painter Rafael, also the tombs of two Italian kings.

Raphael Tomb
Raphael Tomb

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi fountain is probably the most famous free thing to do in Rome. This stunning fountain is always packed with tourists. The most famous thing to do is to take a coin and throw it over your shoulder in the fountain. The legend says if you do that you’re gonna come back to Rome.

One thing folks if you visit the Trevi fountain do not go swimming in the carabinieri or the local police they’re gonna get you.

Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican

When you reach Saint Peter’s square  you can see the country border.  This is the border to the Vatican State. A very popular thing to do is to stand with one foot on one side of the border and one foot on the other. That way you are standing in between countries. 

Vatican border
Standing between two countries

Another free thing to do in Rome is visit the saint peter’s basilica. To visit the Vatican you should come early to avoid long lines.  The Basilica is completely free of charge.

Saint Peters in Rome
Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome

If you are planning on visiting Saint Peter’s remember to wear pants or skirts that cover your knees and shirt or polo that  cover your shoulders. 

Inside the Basilica you can admire one of Michelangelo masterpieces The Pietà. Also you can visit the crypt with the tombs of many Popes also completely free of charge.

Tombs of the Popes
Tombs of the Popes

If you want to visit the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel these are not free.

Portico D’Ottavia

We continue our tour of the free things to do in Rome with the Portico D’Ottavia. This is the Jewish ghetto or the Jewish area of Rome.

Portico D'Ottavia
Portico D’Ottavia

In here you can walk around some incredibles roman ruins completely free. You can actually walk to the  theatre of Marcello which is an ancient roman theatre that is perfectly preserved. A lot of people think it’s a Colosseum but it’s not it’s actually another theatre and it’s totally free.

Teatro Marcello Rome
Teatro Marcello Rome

In the Portico D’Ottavia area you can stop for lunch or dinner and experience the great Roman Jewish cuisine. We strongly recommend it. 

The Mouth of Truth

The mouth of truth it’s another three things to do in Rome. It is located just few steps away from the Teatro Marcello.  The legend says if you’re a liar and you put your hand in the mouth the mouth is gonna chop your hand off.

In the same church where you have the mouth of truth, Santa Maria in Cosmedin, is another free thing you can see in Rome. This ancient church was built on top of the foro boario, which was the place where the Romans used to trade cattles.  The church also has inside the Tomb of Pope Adrian the First. 

If you want to visit the mouth of truth remember you need shorts that covers your knees and no tank tops.

Piazza Del Campidoglio

Another free thing to do in Rome is piazza del Campidoglio. Originally, in Roman times, this used to be the temple of Jupiter, now it is city hall. This piazza was designed by Michelangelo himself and in the middle of the piazza there’s a statue of the emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Piazza Del Campidoglio
Piazza Del Campidoglio

Behind city Hall there’s another very important three things to do in Rome which is the best view of the forum. From this terrace the view  of the Forum is quite spectacular, and in my opinion there’s no point in paying the admission to go inside, because what you can see from here is probably better than walking inside. 

The Forum from the Campidoglio
The Forum from the Campidoglio

Just a few steps away from Piazza del Campidoglio you can see the insula of the Ara Coeli.  this is another three things to do in Rome. In Roman times this used a condominium.

Altare della Patria

The monument of Vittorio Emanuele the Second or the altar of the motherland is another free thing to see in Rome. The monument itself is nothing special from its top, the view of Rome is breathtaking and it’s completely free. 

Altar of the Fatherland
Altar of the Fatherland

On the first level of the Monument  you can see the memorial of the unknown soldier.  In 1921 a mother of a soldier that died in WWi  picked a dead body of an unknown soldier from one in the battlefield. This soldier was buried here in memory of all the soldiers that died in world war one. In front of this monument there’s always a Guard of Honor.

Monument of the unknown soldier
Monument of the unknown soldier

On the second  level of the Monument, you can see the statue of the king Vittorio Emanuele the II. This was the first king of Italy and from this level you can have an amazing view of Rome.  In fact  you can see Piazza Venezia and the dome of Saint Peter.

From the highest level the view is absolutely amazing. You can see the Dome of Saint  Peter, the dome of the Pantheon, Piazza Venezia, the Parliament, Villa Medici, the Quirinale palace that is the residence of the President of Italy, the imperial forum and of course the Colosseum. 

The view from the monument of the fatherland
The view from the monument of the fatherland

Keep in mind one thing as many other secret monuments in Rome you have to wear clothes that cover your shoulders and your knees. 

San Pietro in Vincoli

The church of San Pietro in Vincoli is another free thing to do in Rome. From outside the church doesn’t look like much but inside there is one of the most famous statues by Michelangelo, The Moses.

The Michelangelo Moses was sculptured  to be the tomb of the pope Julius ii Della Rover,e one of the most powerful pope in the Renaissance.

This statue is considered one of Michelangelo masterpieces.

Michelangelo Moses
Michelangelo Moses

Few steps away from the church of San Pietro in Vincoli,  you have the best view of the Colosseum in Rome. This is one of the most iconic views of the Colosseum. This spot is pretty popular,  and it is incredibl;y busy. One of the best times to come here and admire the Colosseum is at sunset when you can see the sun set behind the monument.

Sunset at the Colosseum
Sunset at the Colosseum

The Colosseum is not free inside but honestly it’s better from outside. 

Buco della Serratura (Palace of the Knights of Malta)

The Palace of the Knights of Malta is on top of the Aventine hill, one of the hills of Rome. In this building there’s a famous keyhole. If you look inside the keyhole you can have a beautiful view of the dome of Saint Peter.

The view from the Buco della Serratura
The view from the Buco della Serratura

If you want to take a photo from the keyhole it is very tricky and it might require a few try. In fact it is almost impossible to get the right exposure if you take a photo in an automatic setting. You will have better results if you switch to manuals.

Buco della Serratura

To reach the top of the Aventine hill you will have to walk up a bit of a steep hill so it’s best to take a taxi or rent  one of these scooters.

Campo Dei Fiori

Campo dei Fiori is a beautiful piazza with a market all the time here in Rome.  This is another free thing to do in Rome. In this piazza there are plenty of places where you can actually look around and find specialties and flowers. In the middle of the piazza you can see the statue of the philosopher Jordan Bruno that was sent to death in this piazza.

Statue of Giordano Bruno
Statue of Giordano Bruno

Spanish Steps

The Spanish steps are absolutely beautiful things to do in Rome for free. The church on the top of the step is called Trinita dei Monti and it’s actually a very beautiful church to visit as well and it’s completely free.

The Spanish Steps in Rome
Spanish Steps from Piazza di Spagna

In the Piazza in front of the steps we have another very famous fountain in Rome it’s called the fountain of the Barcaccia from Pietro Bernini. You probably don’t know that in every fountain in Rome the water is totally drinkable and you can drink the water straight from the fountain. A very important thing to know is that you cannot sit on the Spanish steps anymore. 

Fontana della Barcaccia
Fontana della Barcaccia

This concludes our article about the free things to do in Rome. Which one was the one you liked the most and what is the one that you’re gonna plan to visit when you come to Rome? Let us know in the comments below.

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