Top Ten Free Things To Do in Rome - (FCO)
Rome is one of the most magical cities in the world. There's so much to see, that it takes several trips to take it all in.
And a lot of the sites are free!
You can save your Euros for extravagant pasta feasts or rooftop cocktails. Here’s a list of my top-ten favorite spots that cost absolutely nothing to visit!
Number 10: The Arch of Constantine - Free
Located beside the Coliseum - I could stare at this arch for hours. There’s so much to take in.
It’s over 23 meters high – and covered in reliefs. If you’ve ever taken an Intro to Art class you’ve probably studied this iconic piece of architecture. The arch was built to commemorate a military victory in 312 (over a bridge crossing the Tiber) – and it’s still standing strong today!
Number 9: Basilica di Santa Maria del Popolo - Free
This is one of my favorite religious sites in Rome. I had always overlooked this jewel on on previous trips - and only popped in when I was on a Dan Brown Angels and Demons sight-seeing trek.
What a magnificent, Renaissance gem!
There are so many treasures in this church - but the best ones include the Caravaggio masterpieces (the Conversion of St. Paul and the Crucifixion of St Peter) and Raphael’s Cappella Chigi (the tiled dome is wonderful!).
Number 8: Vittore Emanuelle Monument - Free
This extravagant, humungous, white-marble edifice is a showstopper. It’s absolutely massive. Locals refer to it as the “Wedding Cake.”
It was built to honor the first king of Italy, Vittore Emanuelle, who unified modern Italy.
There aren’t many buildings in the world that mirror it’s impact or grandeur! Make sure climb right to the top. Along the way you will pass the tomb of the unknown soldier. You’ll also have spectacular views of the Forum and the Colosseum.
Number 7: Ponte Sant'Angelo - Free
This is my favorite bridge in Rome. It’s adorned with majestic statues of angels – looking down at pedestrians as they pass by. The bridge has no automotive traffic – so it has an extra heavenly feel to it!
It was originally build in 175 AD by Hadrian to connect the city to his mausoleum– which is an imposing, grand building on the other side of the bridge (and a great framing device in photos!)
Number 6: Piazza Navona - Free
The Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful – and photographed – squares in they city. It used to be a sporting stadium for the Romans – which accounts for its massive size.
At the center of the square is a famous fountain by Bernini. It features the four river gods – and a huge obelisk from ancient Egypt. The Piazza is lined with restaurants (all a bit too expensive – but the views are spectacular). It’s all particularly magical at night in my opinion.
Number 5: The Spanish Steps - Free
The Spanish Steps are an absolute must see for any visitor: beautiful and enchanting. And if you are a lover of “Roman Holiday” it’s easy to imagine Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck descending the central staircase.
The best place to take it all in is at the foot of the staircase –beside Bernini’s fountain - Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat). From this vantage spot you’ll be able to take in the breathtaking views – and capture the energy of the crowds that flock to this site.
And if you are thirsty – and who isn’t on a hot Roman day - sample the water from the fountain, which comes from the Acqua Vergine (an aqueduct from 19 BCE). It’s been nourishing people for over 2000 years!
Number 4: Outside The Colosseum - Free
Every child dreams of seeing the Colosseum – and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s incredible! It’s the largest amphitheater EVER built – and it’s almost 2000 years old.
You have to pay to go inside – but the free views from the outside are priceless. Millions of people visit this site each year – so expect crowds. But you’ll have a fab time absorbing the history – and imagining what it might have been like to go to a sporting event in ancient times.
Number 3: St.Peters Basilica - The Vatican - Free
I don’t need to tell you to go to St. Peter’s Basilica. It’s on almost every traveller’s list for Rome. Make sure you give yourself enough time to take it all in. The basilica is monolithic and there’s so much to see. The mosaics and art on the walls are almost over-powering.
Go as soon as the place opens up – as the sun is rising. At that time of the day, the interiors take on an ethereal, heavenly feel.
Number 2: The Fountain of Trevi - Free
One of the most famous monuments in the world!
It’s not the easiest place to find – but it’s worth the search! It’s an incredible fountain that has attracted visitors for centuries. An absolutely spectacular piece of art and energy.
Whenever I’m there – I can almost see Anita Ekberg from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita traipsing through the water in a black gown. Glamour at its utmost!
Number 1: The Pantheon - Free
You might not agree with me making the Pantheon the number one free spot, but it’s my favorite building in Rome! There’s something about it that draws me right in – every time I visit.
The former Roman temple is captivating. The massive, ancient structure features a dome that opens-up to the heavens – and it's particularly interesting when it rains! I can’t believe that something so big and unique was constructed 2000 years ago! How does the roof stay up?
Rome for Free
The city is full of fantastic, iconic sites – and there’s a ton you can see for free! You could spend two weeks there and not see everything it has to offer. Have fun – and enjoy this amazing city!