3 days in Rome for free!
Italy is one of our favourite countries and Rome is one of our favourite cities. It’s busy, atmospheric and packed with more sights than any other city we can think of … and you can experience a lot of it for free. If you visit all the following, it will be a busy 3 days.
Many of the big hitters are free: St Peter’s Basilica – which houses Michelangelo’s Pieta, the Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, the iconic Roman Pantheon, the 1st century Mouth Of Truth and the massive centrepiece of Il Vittoriano – you can explore most of the viewing spots for free, but the very top level comes with a fee.
Importantly, if you time your visits carefully, Rome’s three most famous attractions can also be free: the Colosseum and Forum are free on the first Sunday of each month; and the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel, are free on the first Sunday of each month.
Parks and squares:
Many of Rome’s parks and piazzas are sights in themselves. Don’t miss the following squares: our favourite, the Piazza Navona, the grand Piazza del Popolo, and Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio. Top parks include: Villa Borghese a massive oasis to get lost in; The Appian Way – one of the oldest roads in Rome and now a nature park and home to the best preserved catacombs; and the Circus Maximus a large park on the site of an ancient chariot racing stadium.
Art and churches:
Visiting churches may not normally be on your travel itinerary, but you should make an exception in Rome. Plus, as the main art galleries charge, it’s a fantastic way to see world class art for free in splendid settings. The choice is massive with many lesser known churches also hosting relics, artwork or catacombs. Here’s our selection:
Santa Maria del Popolo – dates to the 15th century and contains a mosaic designed by Raphael and two Caravaggios above the altar; Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria houses Bernini’s Ecstasy of St Teresa; there’s three Caravaggios in the Baroque Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesci; the Gothic Santa Maria Sopra Minerva has a 1521 statue of the Risen Christ by Michelangelo and frescoes by Lippi; and in San Pietro in Vincoli there’s also three figures by Michelangelo.
Just wander – many views in Rome are legendary especially along the Tiber. The most picturesque areas to stroll are buzzing Trastevere; the Jewish Ghetto – home to the ruins of the Portico d’Ottavia and Teatro di Marcello; and the charming Via Margutta possibly Rome’s most beautiful street.