Free Things To Do In Rome, Italy april 1, 2022 – Posted in: Italy, Travel – Tags: Attractions, Holiday, Holiday On A Budget, Italy, Rome, Vacations, Weekend Breaks
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Holiday in Rome on a budget
Looking for free attractions in Rome? The major attractions in Rome can quickly take a big chunk of your holiday budget, but luckily there are also many free sights in Rome.
A holiday in Rome is already very much about prioritization, because there is so much to see! However, it is not at the entrance to the Colosseum that you have to save your money. Even though you can see the impressive building from the outside, it doesn’t compare to going being on the stands, overlooking the giant arena. Some things you just have to see, and if you have come all the way to Rome, then the Colosseum is a must!
Free admission to sights in Rome
Fortunately, in Rome, all state-owned archeological sites have free admission on the first Sunday of the month. You can read more about this at the bottom of the article. Many of the major in Rome are located with an open access and are free to enter. This both applies to the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon, where you don’t have to pay to get in.
If you want inspiration for more free sights in Rome, read along!
Free attractions in Rome
St. Peter’s Basilica and The Vatican Museum
St. Peter’s Basilica is built over the tomb of Saint Peter, and it is free to enter and see the impressive Basilica Church. There are often long queues with a waiting time of an hour or more. If you don’t want to wait, you can buy a ticket to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum, where you skip the queue. In the Vatican Museum, where you can see the Sistine Chapel with the famous painting by Michelangelo, there is only free admission on the last Sunday of the month. The queue is very long!
In Piazza della Rotonda you will find the Pantheon, built in the year 126 AD. The ancient temple of all the Roman gods is one of the best preserved buildings in Rome, which is due to the fact that it has been in use as a church since the 7th century. The Pantheon is best known for the large dome with the giant hole facing the sky. It is also here in the Pantheon that Professor Langdon in the book “Angels and Demons” looks for clues from the Illuminati fraternity. It is free to visit the Pantheon.
The Spanish Steps and The Trevi Fountain
The Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain are always free to visit. From the top of the Spanish Steps, there is a nice view of the bustling life of Piazza di Spagna. Here there are lots of tourists and street vendors. Please note that it is not allowed to sit on the stairs.
A 10-minute walk away you will find the Trevi Fountain, another of Rome’s iconic sights. The Trevi Fountain was immortalized in the Fellini film “La Dolce Vita,” in which Anita Ekberg takes the famous bath in the Trevi Fountain. According to myth, you should throw a coin over your left shoulder with your right hand – then you will return to Rome.
It is possible to see the remains of the large palaces on Palatine Hill without paying to enter. When standing on the Circus Maximus, you have a direct view up the historic hill. Otherwise, there is not much to see on the old racetrack that is used today for concerts and festivals. But when stading in the large, deserted square, it is easy to imagine the historic horse races that took place here in buildings as impressive as the Colosseum.
Via Appia Antica
The Appian Road is one of the sights that most tourists never see! That is indeed a shame, because a wonderful – and completely free – trip awaits you along the historic main road between Rome and Bridisi. From Circus Maximus it is about a half hour walk to Porta San Sebastiano, where Via Appia Antica begins.
On the ancient Roman road you get a sense of the buzz of history, and also how ancient Rome was planned as a modern city with a well-thought-out infrastructure. It is recommended to visit Via Appia Antica on Sundays, when there are few cars. Remember water and packed lunches – and solid walking shoes! Read more about Via Appia Antica here: Hidden Gems and Unusual Sights in Rome, Italy
A stoll around Rome to the large squares
Rome offers many pretty large and smaller squares where Romans and tourists meet. Take the time to just walk around between the tall houses in the inner city, which then suddenly open up into one of the large squares. At Campo de ‘Fiori, for example, you will find one of Rome’s most popular markets. At the traditional market you can buy vegetables, cheeses and lots of Italian specialties. The oval Piazza Navona with its beautiful fountains is one of the most popular squares in the city and filled with tourists, street performers and buskers.
The race track in Capanelle
If you want to experience something local and authentic that tourists usually never find, take a day out to vist the race tracks in the small suburb of Capannelle. At the Ippodromo Roma Capannelle, the locals relax with horse racing, just as they did in Roman times. Free to enter, it’s really all about the horses. The Italians show up in nice clothes and doesn’t get drunk.
Tips for seeing Rome on a budget
If you are going on holiday in Rome with a tight budget, there are several ways you can make the most of your money:
- November is off season and in this month it is inexpensive to go to Rome and to stay there. In November, there are still many hours of sunshine, but remember raincoat and a pair of waterproof shoes. Another plus is that you avoid the large tourists crowds who visit Rome in the summer.
- Rome is best seen on foot, but at the metro stations you can buy a 24-hour ticket for €6, a 3-day ticket for €16.50 and a weekly pass for €24 (prices from November 2020). Then you can travel around Rome by metro and bus as much as you like.
- Around the city you will find small pizza bars selling pizza al taglia, small pizza slices costing a few euros. It is a good and cheap breakfast. If you are going to a restaurant, look for the local trattoria and osteria where the Romans eat. These are small, informal restaurants where you can often get a pizza for under €10 and a glass of wine for €2-3.
- Bring a packed lunch to the sights! Around the major sights it’s expensive to eat. Buy a sandwich at the local pizza bar or supermarket before heading out into the city.
- The water in the public fountains comes, as it has done for many thousands of years, up from the mountains. It is drinkable and tastes good, so bring a water bottle.
- Many of the major sights have different discounts on tickets. Children are often admitted for free, and young people between 18-25 get a discount.
Free admission to museums and archeological sites
The first Sunday of each month there is free admission to all of the archeological sites. This offer applies, among others, to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Ostia Antica. Please note that especially at the Colosseum there can be a long queue. Come before they open and line up – or wait until after lunch.
From 2019, the state-owned museums have introduced 8 free admission days during the year, which they can plan themselves. Check the individual museum to find a day where you can visit the museum for free. You can read more about museums and archeological sites with free admission days here.
Find a great hotel in Rome
On Booking.com you get thousands of hotels to choose from when you search for accomodation in Rome. It can be difficult to choose – which hotel is actually the best hotel in Rome? Rome offers hotels in all price ranges, and here you get recommendations for good hotels in Rome, all of which can be booked through Booking.com. See more hotels by performing your own search here:
An apartment in Rome for a family
On our last visit to Rome, we stayed in a beautiful apartment with the most amazing view of St. Peter’s Church. St Peter’s View Apartment is located a 10 minute walk from St. Peter’s Square. The apartment consists of two rooms, a living room, shower & toilet and a small kitchen.
However, we never got to use the kitchen! Just around the corner from the apartment is the small café Capitan Cono. Here we had our morning coffee every day and the crispiest croissants, and dinner was eaten at some of all the lovely restaurants in Rome. Read more about the apartment here: St Peter’s View Apartment
A holiday in a medieval defence tower
If you want a completely unique hotel experience, book a room in Residenza Torre Colonna. The tower was built in 1247 to protect the distinguished Colonna family and today houses an exclusive boutique hotel. The old medieval defense tower has five spacious rooms and is located right in the center right next to all the major sights.
Bring your breakfast up on the small roof terrace and enjoy the view of the very oldest part of the city. Residenza Torre Colonna is a hotel for those who want to be in the middle of history, but with a spa and air conditioning.
An affordable hotel in quirky Trastevere
On the other side of the Tiber lies Trastevere, an area that offers plenty of good restaurants and bars. Within walking distance of Campo de ‘Fiori you will find an affordable guest house, Relais Le Clarisse. The small and charming B&B was formerly a convent belonging to the Order of Le Clarisse.
For a small fee, you can have breakfast in the old herb garden of the nunnery, under the shady olive and citrus trees. Right in front of the hotel there are both buses and trams, ready to transport you right to the city center. Relais Le Clarisse is for you who want to stay on a budget in the middle of the historic city life of Trastevere.
How do you get to Rome?
Rome has two airports: Ciampino and Fiumicino. Ciampino is the oldest and smallest and is mainly used by the low cost airlines. Fiumicino is the largest, with more than 25 million passangers every year. Both airports are located south of the city, but at different ends, so remember to take the location of the airport into account when booking your hotel in Rome.