Travel on a Budget: Top 10 Free Things to Do in Rome!

Rome is the center of art and architectural delight in Italy, and it is also known for its historical monuments and tourist-filled streets.

Tourists usually believe that exploring the glorious monuments of Rome is costly, but this is not true!

You can explore some of the most iconic monuments in Rome even when traveling on a budget, as they are entirely free on some days in a year.

In this article, we will discover some beautiful spots that are free on all days and free on a few days throughout the month so that you can plan your trip accordingly!

Free Things to do in Rome Italy, on all days

If you have already booked your escape to Rome and cannot reschedule your flight for the days on which certain attractions are free, this is the section for you!

Here are some everyday free things to do in Rome Italy, whenever you visit. 

Admire the Holy St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is the holiest Church in Vatican City, which is a walking distance away from Rome and a must-see!

Marvel at the beautiful architecture of the Basilica, designed by the famous architect Michelangelo and other Renaissance masters.

Outside the basilica stands a massive Pieta by Michelangelo, which is a realistic sculpture of Mary cradling the crucified body of Jesus in her lap.

The inside of the Basilica is packed with 15th-century ornate artworks, like the bronze Baldacchino and St. Peter’s altar chair by Bernini. 

Every wall of the Chapel is covered with beautiful frescos and other marble elements. 

If you are visiting Vatican City and want to explore on a budget, check out our Free things to do in Vatican article for the best experience!

Timings: 7 am to 7 pm
Address: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City. Get Directions.
Closest Public Transport:Ottaviano S. Pietro Metro Station, a 12-minute walk away.

Make a Wish at the Trevi Fountain

Rome’s most stunning Baroque fountain is a perfect spot for magic lovers because of its architecture and magical story!

The majestic fountain Nicola Salvi and Giuseppe Pannini designed in the 18th century has a massive statue of Oceanus riding a seahorse-led chariot.  

Did you know that you can also wish to return to Rome in the Trevi Fountain, and you will definitely be bought back?

Visitors who enjoy Rome so much that they want to come back and admire more of it should definitely visit the fountain. 

It is a highly recommended spot for design and architecture lovers!

You can also see the beautiful Fountain of Love on the right side of the Trevi Fountain for free. 

Timings: Open 24/7
Address: Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy. Get Directions. 
Closest Public Transportation: Spagna Metro Station, an 11-minute walk away. 

Enjoy a Nature Walk at Villa Borghese

The Villa Borghese has some of the most stunning English landscaped gardens in Rome, designed by Flaminio Ponzio.

Covering 80 hectares of land, the Borghese Gardens is also considered to be the third largest Roman garden.

You can also hop on a boat and enjoy a calming trip across the lake in the garden, overlooking an ancient temple.

The Pincio Terrace in the garden offers the city’s most stunning views at sunset and is a must-explore for photographers! 

The Villa Borghese Gardens also house the Borghese Gallery and Biparco di Roma Zoo, but both attractions have paid entry.

Timings: Open from dawn to dusk on all days. 
Address: 00197 Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome Capital, Italy. Get Directions. 
Closest Public Transport:Spagna Metro Station, a 10-minute walk away.

Climb the Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps is the best place to make some local friends, as it is a popular gathering place for locals and tourists.

It is a 135-step stairway connecting Piazza de Spagna to the Church of Santissma Trinita dei Monti at the top.

The beautiful staircase is lined with flowering terracotta potted plants on both sides, which makes for the perfect group picture spot!

You can ascend to the top and admire the view before entering the gorgeous Trinita dei Monti Church, having marvelous frescos and stunning architecture. 

After exploring the Church, you can enjoy an exciting walk along the Spagna district, known for its fashionable clothing stores.

Timings: Open throughout the day
Address: Piazza di Spagna, 00187 Roma RM, Italy. Get Directions.
Closest Public Transportation: Spagna Metro Station, a 3-minute walk away. 

Explore the famous Piazza Navona 

Piazza Navona is Rome’s most vibrant and bustling area, known for its marvelous architecture, food stalls, and shopping centers. 

You can admire some stunning fountains, including the Four Rive Fountain by Bernini, Fontana del Moro, and the Fountain of Neptune!

These are less crowded than the Trevi Fountain and perfect for exploring on weekends to take a great uncrowded photo. 

The Stadium of Domitian, an ancient stadium under Emperor Domitian, still stands under Piazza Navona and is one of the best things to do in Rome for free!

Did you know that the entire Piazza Navona is designed per the old stadium’s layout? This makes it a famous spot among historians. 

A four-minute walk from Piazza Navona will take you to the Biblioteca Angelica, a paradise for all bookworms, the oldest European library. 

Timings: Open to explore throughout the day
Address: Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma RM, Italy. Get Directions.
Closest Public Transportation: Arenula/Cairoli Rail Station, a 9-minute walk away. 

Please note: If you plan to explore any surrounding attractions in the above spots, check their official websites for timings and entry details.

Things to do in Rome for free on certain days of the week

If you still need to plan your trip to Rome, we recommend that you schedule your trip to match the free dates of the most iconic attractions in Rome!

Here is a list of attractions and experiences that are free on particular days every month and are famous worldwide. 

Explore the Iconic Colosseum

The Colosseum is one of the most famous attractions in Rome, attracting over four million visitors for its rich history.

Centuries ago, the Colosseum stood as an amphitheater, hosting gladiator fights, and it was also an important spot where announcements were made.

The Colosseum is a paid attraction, but visitors can explore this marvel for free on the first Sunday of every month!

The entry is based on a first-come, first-served, so you must collect a free ticket from the ticket office in the Colosseum.

You can also collect free passes from the entrance of the Roman Forum. 

Kids below 18 years old and visitors requiring mobility assistance from Europe can explore this attraction for free on all days of the week!

You can also explore the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill for free on the first Sunday of every month.

Both these attractions are a minute’s walk from the Colosseum, so you can plan a joint trip on the same day! 

The combined ticket price for the Colosseum, Roman Forum, & Palatine Hill on other days of the week is €40.  

Timings: 8.30 am to an hour before sunset. 
Free on: First Sunday of the month
Address: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy. Get Directions.
Closest Public Transportation: Colosseo Metro Station, a 4-minute walk away. 

Wander through the Historical Vatican Museum

The Vatican Museum is the most famous Musuem in the world, attracting over five million visitors every year!

The museum is a collection of 54 galleries housing unique Renaissance masterpieces that Popes owned.

The most famous room in the Vatican Musuem is the Sistine Chapel, covered in beautiful fresco paintings like Michelaneglo’s Creation of Adam!

The museum and chapel are paid attractions, but you can explore all the exhibitions of the Vatican Museum for free on the last Sunday of each month!

You cannot collect these tickets in advance, and they must be collected from the ticket office on the last Sunday.

To avoid the long queues on this day and get a chance to enter, we recommend visiting early morning as soon as the museum opens.

The Vatican Museum tickets for a guided tour costs €95 on other days of the week. 

Timings for the last Sunday: 9 am to 2 pm, with the last entry at 12.30 pm.
Free on: Last Sunday of every month. 
Address: 00120 Vatican City. Get Directions
Closest Public Transportation: Ottaviano S. Pietro Metro Station, an 8-minute walk away. 

Receive Blessings from the Pope at St. Peter’s Square

St. Peter’s Square is famous for the Papal Audiences held by the Pope here every Wednesday!

This spot is the only one in the city where you are guaranteed to find the Pope on your visit, and you can even get his blessings here.

The Papal Audience is a two-hour session of Catholic teaching by the Pope. 

You can attend this event for free but must apply for a seating ticket by emailing the Prefecture of the Papal Household or by faxing +39 06 6988 5863.

This booking should be done at least two weeks before the Papal Audience.

If you cannot get your ticket online, you can collect leftover tickets from the Swiss guards standing at the bronze door. 

This option is only for those with less than ten group visitors.

Timings for the Papal Audience: 9 am to 11 am.
Address: Outside St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. Get Directions
Closest Public Transportation: Ottaviano S. Pietro Metro Station, a 13-minute walk away. 

Admire the Iconic Roman Pantheon

The Roman Pantheon is an architectural marvel, now a Basilica, attracting over seven million visitors annually.

It was previously a Roman pagan Temple, converted to a Catholic Church in 609 AD and renamed the Basilica of St Mary and Martyrs. 

The attraction is known for its iconic one-of-a-kind oculus dome, which stands without the support of any columns!

You need a ticket to explore this attraction, but visitors and locals can enter for free on the first Sunday of every month. 

You can collect your free entry ticket at the Roman Pantheon on the same day.

The Pantheon is also free for residents of Rome, kids under 18 years old, and disabled visitors. 

The Roman Pantheon tickets cost €8 with an audio guide and fast pass access on other days in the month.

Timings: From 9 am to 7 pm, with the last entry at 6.45 pm. 
Free on: First Sunday of every month.
Address: Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy. Get Directions
Closest Public Transportation: Arenula/Cairoli Rail Station, a 10-minute walk away. 

Enter the Emperor Hadrian’s Mausoleum at Castel Sant’Angelo 

Standing on the left bank of the Tiber River, the Castel Sant’Angelo is a monumental structure in Rome, attracting over a million visitors every year. 

The Castel is a mausoleum with an attached museum showing ancient Roman funerary artifacts and other items. 

Entry to the Castel Sant’Angelo is free on the first Sunday of every month!

The museum is also free for kids under 18 years old to explore on all days of the week. 

The Castel Sant’Angelo tickets cost €27 with skip-the-line entrance on all other days of the month.

Timings: 9 am to 7.30 pm, with last admission at 6.30 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays. 
Free on: First Sunday of every month. 
Address: Lungotevere Castello, 50, 00193 Roma RM, Italy. Get Directions. 
Closest Public Transportation: Roma Vaticano bus stop, an 8-minute walk away. 

Tips to remember when exploring the City for free 

Here are some tips to follow when exploring Rome for free to save more money and have a better experience!

  • Book your experiences in advance if needed. This helps you avoid long queues and the chance of missing out.
  • Buy a Roma Pass if you also want to save money on public transportation.
  • Visit as soon as the attraction opens to avoid massive crowds since some attractions are free for a limited period. 
  • Try to add a walk in the charming Roman neighborhoods of Trastevere and others instead of hopping on public transport. This allows you to explore more scenic spots in a day. 
  • Check for any free special concerts or events being organized in Rome on the date of your visit.
  • Plan an itinerary so you don’t miss out on your bucket list spots.

FAQs on Free Things to Do in Rome

What is there to do for free in Rome?

Some things you can explore for free in Rome are the St. Peter’s Basilica, Villa Borghese gardens, the fountains and the Spanish staircase.

You can also see some of the most iconic attractions, like the Vatican Museum and Colosseum, for free on some days. 

What are free days in Rome?

Visitors can explore most of Rome’s historical and cultural sites and museums for free. 

Are there free museums in Rome?

Some uncrowded free museums you can visit in Rome are:
• Villa di Massenzio 
• Museuo della Mura
• Museo Carlo Bilotti
• Museo Pietro Canonica

Is the Sistine Chapel free?

 The Sistine Chapel is free to explore on the last Sunday of every month. 

What is free at the Vatican?

You can enter the city for free and explore St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. Visitors can also attend the Pope’s Papal Audience for free at the Vatican. 

Is entry to Pantheon Rome free?

Entry to the Roman Pantheon is free on the first Sunday of the month. Roman visitors, kids below 18 years, and disabled visitors can also explore for free. 

Can you see the Pope for free?

You can see the Pope at the Papal Audience for free on Wednesdays in St. Peter’s Square. 

What day is the Colosseum free? 

The Colosseum is free on the first Sunday of every month. 

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