Walking around in Rome is walking in history itself, and every step brings you something new and extraordinary to see and to feel. But you don’t have to spend much money to enjoy the beauties of the Eternal City: there’s plenty to do and to see even for free. You will be able to pass at least three or four days visiting Rome without paying one lira… or one euro!
1 – Squares and fountains
Toss a coin in Trevi’s fountain to guarantee a return to Rome, relax on the Spanish Steps, or walk through Piazza Navona and admire its fountains. Every Square has its beauties, and everyone is free. Here’s a list of the best ones!
2 – Churches
Everybody can enter into a Church for free in Italy. Even Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Pantheon have no admission ticket to pay, and just with two or three of these churches you can spend half a day immerse in wonderful art: you can find Michelangelo’s statues, Caravaggio’s paintings, famous tombs, astonishing ceilings and pieces of architecture. Here’s a list of the 10 best churches in Rome.
3 – Enjoy outstanding views of the city form Janiculum hill, Aventine hill and Pincian hill
Outside the ancient city, the Janiculum hill provide one of the most spectacular views of the city, across rooftops, ruins, domes and spire that make up the historic skyline. Undoubtedly one of Rome’s most romantic spots. At the top of the hill there is an equestrian statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi, where you can get the best view over the Eternal City. Art lovers can enjoy here the Tempietto del Bramante, a good example of Renaissance architecture in Rome, and nature lovers can find, to the north of the district, Rome’s largest public park: Villa Pamphilj. Surrounded by a citrus orchard and by the well-kept Italian gardens, the Casino del Respiro is simply a joy to see. If, by chance, you are on the top of the Janiculum hill at the end of the morning, don’t be scared of a cannon shot: it means that is midday! Since 1847, on the order’s of Pius IX, a special cannon fires blanks every day at noon. The Pope wanted to set a standard time for all the bells of the Churches of Rome so that they would chime at the same time.
The Aventine hill offers another spectacular view of Rome, ideal at sunset maybe for a picnic with a bottle of wine in the little Parco Savelli (also known as Garden of the Orange-trees). Nearby you can peek through the famous keyhole of the Knights of Malta (in the Piazza Cavalieri di Malta): three sovereign territories (the Knights’ garden, Rome and the Vatican) line up in glorious perspective, with the dome of St Peter’s in the background.
The Pincian hill is in the northeast quadrant of the historical center of Rome: from the wonderful terrace of Piazza Napoleone I you can see one of the most breathtaking views of the world, that includes Castel Sant’Angelo and Saint Peter’s Dome. It’s incomparable at sunset time…
4 – Stroll along Via dei Fori Imperiali
Enjoy a taste of antiquity starting from 2000 years ago with the Colosseum, the Arch of Constatine and the Roman Forum: even from outside they can make you feel the greatness of Ancient Rome. Go on towards Piazza Venezia, make a stop to the Tajan’s Forum and admire the Trajan’s Column, that commemorates Roman emperor Trajan’s victory in the Dacian Wars. 98 ft tall, made from a series of 20 colossal Carrara marble drums (each weighing about 32 tons), its spiral bas relief artistically describes the epic wars between the Romans and Dacians. Cross the street and enjoy Piazza Venezia and the Altar of the Fatherland, or National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, also known as Vittoriano. The monument was built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, the largest monument in white marble Botticino (Brescia) ever created, that features stairways, Corinthian columns, fountains, an equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel and two statues of the goddess Victoria riding on quadrigas. The monument holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame, built under the statue of Italy after World War I. Reach then Piazza del Campidoglio, a monumental civic plaza designed by Michelangelo. You can keep going to reach also the ruins of Torre Argentina: the area contains the remains of four Republican temples as well as Pompey’s Theatre, the site at which Julius Caesar is believed to have been assassinated. This particular spot is home to a cat sanctuary, where the animals can be seen lounging and frolicking among the ruins: this is one of Rome’s more curios attractions. It’s obviously free, although tours are offered by the shelter (in English) and donations are welcome (for the cats!).
5 – Public Parks
Many public parks in Rome have their origins from the properties of a noble roman family: Villa Ada, Villa Doria Pamphilj, Villa Borghese. One for all, the Villa Borghese Park, occupies a vast area in the heart of the city and is one of the biggest in Rome (80 hectares or 148 acres). It has nine different entrances, and contains a number of buildings, museums (like Galleria Borghese and the Biopark), monuments and attractions: little lakes, fountains, a neoclassic temple, bridges, a water clock, a puppet theatre, bicycle rent… Enough to spend a wonderful day, especially with children. Here other parks and gardens in Rome.
You can book a free guided historic-botanical tour of some parks and Ville of Rome, for groups at least of six persons: more details here.
6 – Museums, monuments and archeological sites
The Vatican Museums are free of charge on the last Sunday of every month, from 8:30 am to 2 pm (last admission at 12:30 pm). From July 2014 all State-run museums and monuments are free of charge on the first Sunday of every month. Here a list of the top museums in Rome, some of which are free one Sunday a month.
Photos: wikipedia, wikimedia commons, coolturehunter.it