Rome, the Eternal City, is a treasure trove of history, culture, and architectural wonders. While it's true that Rome offers a plethora of iconic attractions, you don't always have to break the bank to experience its beauty. In fact, there are plenty of incredible things to do in Rome that won't cost you a dime. From ancient ruins and charming neighborhoods to breathtaking viewpoints and vibrant markets, this guide will take you through the ten best free activities the city has to offer. So, let's embark on a journey of discovery and unravel the magic of Rome without spending a single euro.Discover How HomeExchange Works
1. Wander around The Roman Forum
Step back in time at the Roman Forum, an archaeological complex that was once the heart of ancient Rome. As you stroll among the ruins of temples, basilicas, and government buildings, you'll be transported to a bygone era. Marvel at the grandeur of the Colosseum from the Forum and imagine the hustle and bustle of daily life in ancient Rome. The Roman Forum offers a fascinating glimpse into the city's rich history and is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike. It's truly like walking in the footsteps of the Romans so go ahead and let your imagination transport you to another time, strolling these paths as they once did!
2. Go Inside the Pantheon
Did you know that the Pantheon is among free things to do in Rome? No entry fee necessary here. So, prepare to be awestruck by the grandeur of the Pantheon, a magnificent Roman temple that has stood for over two thousand years. With its impressive dome and magnificent interior, the Pantheon is an architectural masterpiece that showcases the ingenuity of ancient Roman engineering. You'll love stepping inside to witness the breathtaking oculus, which allows a beam of natural light to illuminate the space. It's actually one of the best preserved buildings in Rome, simply because throughout the centuries it has always been in use and thus never fell into ruin. This makes the Pantheon a true testament to Rome's namesake "eternal" beauty and offers a free and awe-inspiring experience for visitors.
3. Make a Wish in the Trevi Fountain
No visit to Rome is complete without a visit to the iconic Trevi Fountain. This Baroque masterpiece is not only a sight to behold but also carries a tradition with it. We may be stretching the truth by a few cents with this one, but only because if you want to make a wish in the Trevi Fountain it's best to throw a coin in. We'll go ahead and consider this a free activity anyhow, as if you're really pinching pennies you can simply just admire the beauty of what is perhaps the most famous fountain the world! No wish necessary. If you do decide to go for it, the right way to throw a coin is to turn your back to the fountain and with your right hand over your left shoulder, throw it in. Legend has it that tossing a coin into the fountain ensures you'll return to Rome! Join the crowd of visitors, take a moment to appreciate the fountain's intricate sculptures, and make a wish as you toss your coin into the clear waters. The Trevi Fountain is a symbol of romance, luck, and the allure of Rome.
4. Take in the Beauty of Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona, one of Rome's most picturesque squares, is a vibrant hub of activity and a feast for the senses. Marvel at the grand fountains that adorn the square, including the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini. Take a seat on the steps of the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi and soak in the lively atmosphere as street performers entertain passersby. One of the best things about Piazza Navona is that it's the perfect spot for people-watching, another free activity we love when traveling! So head here to immerse yourself in the local culture, capturing the essence of Rome and observing the locals and tourists alike.
5. Climb the Spanish Steps
One thing you'll surely be doing in Rome is eating well. If you're worried about working off those calories we have the perfect idea – climb the Spanish Steps! Not only is it a good excuse to let yourself indulge in as much gelato as you like, it's a historical experience! This monumental staircase connects Piazza di Spagna with the Trinità dei Monti church. Despite its name, the Spanish Steps have become an iconic symbol of Rome. Reach the top of the steps and enjoy a panoramic view of the city, with the elegant Trinità dei Monti church as a backdrop. The Spanish Steps are a popular meeting place for locals and visitors alike, offering a delightful spot to relax, chat, and soak up the Roman ambiance.
6. Walk the Appian Way
Ready for a break from the hustle and bustle of the Italian capital? Escape the city center and venture onto the ancient Appian Way, one of the most important Roman roads of ancient times. As you walk along this historic path, you'll pass by ancient tombs, ruins, and lush countryside. You can also marvel at the impressive remains of the Tomb of Cecilia Metella or visit the Catacombs of San Callisto, an underground burial site that holds the remains of early Christian martyrs. The Appian Way is an excellent choice for a leisurely walk, providing a serene and scenic escape from the urban chaos while also experiencing this piece of history.
7. Discover the Quirinal Hill and Gardens
You can also escape the crowds and find a bit of tranquility at the Quirinal Hill and its beautiful lush gardens. The Quirinal Palace is the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, and it dominates the hill offering amazing views as well as lush walkways to explore. While access to the palace is restricted, you can roam these Roman gardens (pun intended!) and enjoy their serene atmosphere at no charge, making it one of the great things to do in Rome for free. Leave your wallet behind and come to take a leisurely stroll through the manicured lawns, admire the statues and fountains, and revel in the breathtaking views of Rome from the hill's vantage point. The Quirinal Hill offers a peaceful retreat where you can recharge and appreciate the city's natural beauty, all for free!
8. Enjoy the Ambiance of Campo de' Fiori
To see Rome in full swing, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Campo de' Fiori, a lively square that has served as a marketplace since ancient times. Visit in the morning to witness the bustling market where locals gather to buy fresh produce, flowers, and other goods. As the day progresses, the square transforms into a meeting place with cafes, bars, and restaurants that come alive with activity. Go ahead and grab a seat at one of the outdoor terraces, sip on a cappuccino, and soak in the lively ambiance. Campo de' Fiori offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and gastronomy, making it an ideal spot to experience the authentic spirit of Rome.
9. Explore the Trastevere Neighborhood
Cross the Tiber River and venture into the charming neighborhood of Trastevere. You'll love losing yourself in the narrow cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings and adorned with hanging ivy and vibrant flowers. Trastevere is known for its bohemian atmosphere, lively nightlife, and authentic Roman trattorias. Come here to take a leisurely stroll, admire the medieval churches, and get a taste of daily Roman life as you explore the neighborhood's hidden corners. Trastevere is a haven for photographers, food enthusiasts, and anyone seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience in Rome. It's also one of our favorite neighborhoods to stay in Rome, and a great place to get a feel for local life.
10. Admire the Views from Janiculum Hill
Last but not least, one of our favorite free things to do in Rome or anywhere else really, is to stop for a while and admire an amazing view. For breathtaking panoramic views of Rome, head to Janiculum Hill, the second-highest point in the city. As you ascend the hill, you'll be rewarded with sweeping vistas of Rome's iconic landmarks, including St. Peter's Basilica and the Tiber River. Pack a picnic and relax in the scenic park, or visit the statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, a symbol of Italian unification. Janiculum Hill offers a serene escape from the bustling city below and provides an ideal spot to watch the sunset and witness the city's golden glow.
Cheap Things to Do in Rome
If you're traveling Rome on a budget you'll probably want to prioritize free things to do in Rome. While not entirely free, there are even more amazing cheap things to do in Rome as well that will hardly set you back a few euros. Here are a few of our favorite ideas...
- Grab a gelato and stroll along the bridges and banks of the Tiber river while you eat it.
- Browse the bargain bins for fashionable treasures in the amazing vintage shops of Travestere.
- Shop for fresh fruit and vegetables at the Campo de'Fiori market and bring them back to your Home Exchange to try your hand at cooking Italian cuisine.
- Sample slices of pizza across the city and vote for the best!
- Save on dining out for a nice meal by sitting at the bar, where prices are often cheaper.
Stay with HomeExchange in Rome
From ancient ruins and architectural marvels to charming neighborhoods and vibrant squares, Rome's free attractions are a testament to its cultural heritage and vibrant spirit. With its timeless beauty and rich history, there are so many things to do in Rome for free. In fact, did you know you can stay in Rome for next to nothing with the help of HomeExchange? As the largest home exchange network in the world, we are proud to have hosts and homes in the eternal city already exchanging with visitors from all over. If you're traveling on a budget and looking for free things to do in Rome, then you should definitely consider staying with home exchange here. So sign up and start browsing the perfect places for your Roman Holiday!See homes in Rome