Rome is an eternally young city with ancient masterpieces of architecture and beautiful temples. Despite millions of tourists and high prices, Rome is ideal for a budget holiday – dozens of churches and museums are free to enter. We will tell you how and where you can relax with children, visit the palace, at the concert of organ music and learn the history of Ancient Rome for free.
Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli is known for Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses, which adorns the magnificent tomb of Pope Julius II and the chains in which the Apostle Peter was chained.
The Arch of Constantine is a huge triumphal arch built by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century near the Colosseum. Its striking bas-reliefs and medallions are perfectly preserved to this day.
Santi Quattro Coronati is a 6th-century convent with unique 12th-century votic frescoes, mosaic floors, and an ancient cemetery. To get to the monastery, book a visit in advance on the monastery’s website.
The Spanish Steps are the widest and longest staircase in Europe, built in the 18th century. It offers a great view of the city, here from morning to night magicians, acrobats and musicians perform.
The Basilica of Sant’Agostino is a Renaissance temple with frescoes by Raphael and paintings by Caravaggio.
The Numismatic Museum of the Italian Mint houses more than 20,000 rare coins, from ancient Roman to modern.
St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican is the main Catholic cathedral in the world, which the great architects of the Renaissance built: Bernini, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bramante. Inside the basilica, you will see Michelangelo’s Pietà and Bernini’s striking Canopy over the tomb of the Apostle Peter.
The Basilica of Santa Prassede is a modest church with the exceptional beauty of Byzantine mosaics.
2. Places where you can relax with the whole family
Janiculum Park is on the hill of the same name. Janiculum Hill is the highest in Rome, and the park at its top offers a panoramic view of the city. There is also the Botanical Garden and the Teatrino di Pulcinella Puppet Theatre with free performances on weekends.
The Pyramid of Cestius is a pyramid-shaped tomb decorated from the inside with frescoes, built about 2,000 years ago when Rome conquered Egypt and Egyptian culture and art became extremely popular.
Cat cattery on the ruins of The Torre Argentina Square. It was in this square in 44 BC that Julius Caesar was killed. Today, archaeological excavations are carried out here, where about 100 cats live on ancient ruins, which are kept at the expense of the city budget. Many of them are very affectionate and allow themselves to be stroked.
Gardens of Villa Borghese and Villas Squiarra. In the huge gardens of Villa Borghese, there is a zoo and a botanical garden, and there are playgrounds, boats, and bicycle rental, fountains beat everywhere. In the park of Villa Sciarra, roses bloom, rare birds live, and from its lawns offers a panoramic view of the city.
Cafarella Park is a beautiful park where about 80 species of birds and animals live. There are ancient tombs and towers on its territory, an ancient Roman temple, and a sanctuary at the source dedicated to nymphs.
3. Performances and concerts
Almost all Roman churches host free organ and sacred music concerts several times a month, so read the ads on church doors carefully.
The Quirinal Palace hosts classical music concerts every Sunday. You can find out the schedule and book a place on their website.
And you can visit dozens of concerts of all genres and performances for free during summer holidays and festivals: Estate Romana (Roman Summer) in June, Ferragosto on August 15, and in September at the International Theater Festival in Rome.
4. Places with a unique Roman atmosphere
Appian Way. Through this road, which is 2300 years old, Rome was connected with Greece and Egypt. Along it grow pines, Christian catacombs, and ruins of ancient Roman villas.
The Jewish ghetto is a colorful area with artisan shops in narrow streets and excellent kosher restaurants. On its territory are the Portico of Octavia and the Fountain of Turtles, small but very beautiful.
The Porta Portese flea market is one of the largest in Europe, where you can find antique furniture and antique coins, books, and jewelry at low prices.
The Trastevere district is the most fun and romantic area of the city, lying south of the Vatican. Here the atmosphere of old Rome has been preserved – with tiny squares and courtyards, ivy-entwined houses, and cheap restaurants and cafes.
5. Ancient temples and theaters
The Pantheon is a legendary temple of all gods, almost 1900 years old, with the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
The Marcellus Theatre is the oldest in Rome, the predecessor of the Colosseum, which accommodated 15,000 people.
The mouth of truth in the portico of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin is a round marble slab depicting Triton with an open mouth. According to legend, the one who lied, putting his fingers in the stone mouth of Triton, he will bite off his fingers.
Chirco Massimo is the ruins of the largest hippodrome of Ancient Rome, where 150,000 spectators watched the chariot races.
The column of Trajan – all 38 meters of the column – is a continuous bas-relief, which depicts the battles of the emperor Trajan with the tribe of the Dács and the triumph of Rome. The bas-relief is made so carefully that it is possible to consider the details of the clothes and equipment of Roman soldiers.
Museums, the entrance is always free: Gallery at the Academy of Arts of St. Luca, House-Museum of Boncompagni-Ludovisi with a collection of decorative art, Museum of the artist Hendrik Andersen, Museum of Modern Art Carlo Bilotti, Theater Museum of Burcardo, Napoleon Museum.
State museums with free admission on the first Sunday of the month: Colosseum, Palatine, Roman Forum, Capitoline Museums, Galleria Borghese, Villa Farnesina, etc. But get ready for 2-3 hour queues at the most popular museums.
The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel welcome visitors free of charge every last Sunday of the month.