Home » Budget-friendly Rome: 10 attractions and museums you can enjoy for free

Budget-friendly Rome: 10 attractions and museums you can enjoy for free

by Paola Bertoni
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If you’re planning a trip to Rome, but have already spent a lot of money on Vatican Museum tickets, you might want to know about the 10 free attractions and museums in the city. Rome has numerous free attractions and museums that can help you save money during your trip. Check out this article to learn more about these free attractions and museums.

1. Pantheon

The Pantheon is one of Rome’s most iconic monuments. Built in 80 AD as a pagan temple, the Pantheon became a Christian church in 609 AD. The building is famous for its huge dome with a central opening, which was one of the largest in the world for many centuries. Inside the Pantheon, you can see the tombs of famous people such as the painter Raphael and the King of Italy Victor Emmanuel II.

Save money on entrance fees and transportation costs with the Roma Pass. This City Card offers free entry to two attractions, as well as discounts at other museums and archaeological sites, including the Colosseum, the Roman and Imperial Forums, the Capitoline Museums, the Ara Pacis and other must-see.
To stay connected in Italy, remember to buy an Airalo eSim online, with data and phone coverage for your trip to Rome.

Regrettably, the Pantheon in Rome, which was once free to visit, now requires an entrance ticket for admission. However, if you decide not to purchase a ticket, you can still appreciate the magnificence of this ancient temple from the outside. The stunning architecture of the Pantheon and its rich history will undoubtedly leave you in awe while you soak up the lively atmosphere of the surrounding city.

Façade of the Pantheon in Rome
Façade of the Pantheon in Rome

2. Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful squares in Rome, known for its elongated shape and its fountains. The most famous is the Fountain of the Four Rivers, whose human figures represent the four main rivers of the world, Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio de la Plata. On either side of Piazza Navona are numerous cafés and restaurants, ideal places for a stop-off with a view during your visit to Rome.

Detail of the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona in Rome
Detail of the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona in Rome

3. Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is a well-known tourist site in Rome. Erected in 1762, this monumental fountain stands about 26 meters in height and 22 meters in width. According to tradition, throwing a coin into Rome’s fountain ensures your return. The collected coins are donated to charity.

Trevi Fountain in Rome
Trevi Fountain in Rome

4. Spanish Steps

The Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, also known as the Spanish Steps, is a famous landmark located in Rome. Constructed in 1725, it comprises of 135 steps that lead up to the Trinità dei Monti Church. The staircase has been featured in multiple movies and is notably appreciated for its stunning appearance during spring when adorned with flowers.

The Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna in Rome
The Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna in Rome

5. Basilica of Saint Mary Major

The Basilica of Saint Mary Major is one of the oldest churches in Rome and entry is free. Constructed in 432 A.D., the building is famous for its beautiful Baroque and Renaissance decorations. The basilica houses numerous treasures, including mosaics, artwork, and a silver urn that holds a relic of the baby Jesus’ manger.

6. Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli

The Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli (Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains) is famous for housing Michelangelo’s Moses, an iconic Renaissance masterpiece. The sculpture depicts Moses seated on a chair, holding the tablets of the Ten Commandments in his left hand, with a furious expression on his face. Entrance to the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli is completely free of charge.

7. Church of St. Mary of the Victory

St. Mary of the Victory Church in Rome is a must-visit attraction, and the best part is that it’s free. The church, constructed in the 1600s, houses Bernini’s world-famous sculpture, the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. This stunning artwork depicts the Spanish saint, Teresa of Avila, during a mystical vision.

The sculpture of St. Teresa portrays her in an ecstatic stance, with eyes half-closed, mouth half-open, and her hands outstretched. The angel that supports her appears to merge with her, symbolizing a moment of intense religious experience. However, the interpretation of this scene may vary depending on the observer’s cultural and personal perspective, which may not align with the artist’s or subject’s original intentions.

Church of St. Mary of Victory in Rome
Church of St. Mary of Victory in Rome

8. Park of the Aqueducts

Aqueduct Park is an amazing free attraction located on the outskirts of Rome. The park spans a vast area where you can observe the ancient Roman aqueducts, built for supplying water to the city. The view of the aqueducts, stretching for kilometers, is truly awe-inspiring. Additionally, the park is a perfect place for a leisurely walk or a bike ride.

9. Museum of the Walls

The Museum of the Walls is located inside the Aurelian Walls in Rome and offers free admission to the visitors.The museum displays the history of Rome’s fortifications from ancient to modern times, including the walls built by Emperor Aurelian in the 3rd century A.D. The Walls Museum also provides insights into the construction techniques, restorations, and various transformations of the Aurelian Walls over the years.

Museum of the Walls in Rome
Museum of the Walls in Rome

10. Museo Spazio Vespa

The Spazio Vespa Museum in Rome is a must-visit for Vespa enthusiasts. It is located inside the Spazio Vespa shop in the Ostiense district, and there is no entrance fee. The museum boasts an extensive collection of Vespas, ranging from the very first model introduced in 1946 to the latest models. Apart from the motorbikes, the museum also houses numerous vintage objects, documents, photos, and accessories that showcase the rich history of the Vespa.

Exploring Rome without spending: free bonus activities

Apart from the attractions that I have recommended, there are several cost-effective ways to explore Rome in an exciting and unique way. For instance, you can take a stroll through the marvels of Ancient Rome, passing by iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill, completely free of charge. You can visit these archaeological sites in Rome for free on the first Sunday of every month.

Walking in Rome’s parks, such as Villa Borghese or Villa Pamphili, is a great free activity to enjoy. As you can see, there are many attractions and museums in Rome that can be visited for free. Including the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and important churches.

Where to stay in Rome

I have tried several hotels in Rome during my travels and I recommend staying in the city centre to avoid the chaotic traffic of the capital. Among the hotels I suggest, the charming Roma Suites Navona has family rooms and is in a great location just a few steps from Piazza Navona.

If you prefer a hotel with a buffet breakfast, you can choose the Bloom Hotel Rome, very close to St Peter’s Basilica, while if you arrive by train, the best choice near Termini station is the DoubleTree By Hilton Rome Monti hotel with double and family rooms.

I hope you enjoyed these tips on budget-friendly ways to explore Rome. Share your favorite free attractions in the comments below.

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