Rome, the eternal city, is a true marvel of history, architecture, and culture. With its rich past and its stunning monuments, Rome is a city that has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there’s always something new to discover in this magical city.
For those looking to experience the best of Rome on a budget, there are plenty of free activities and sights to enjoy. From exploring the ancient catacombs to wandering the charming streets of the Aventine Hill, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Rome without spending a dime.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at five of the top free things to do in Rome, and share some insider tips for making the most of your visit. So come along with us and discover the best that this incredible city has to offer!
1. Visit the Catacombs of San Callisto
The Catacombs of San Callisto are a must-visit for tourists because they offer a unique glimpse into early Christian history. These underground tombs, located along the Via Appia Antica, are among the largest and best-preserved in Rome and are a testament to the devotion and faith of early Christians. With their maze-like tunnels and intricately carved walls and ceilings, the catacombs are a fascinating and atmospheric place to explore.
Additionally, the site is home to several important early Christian frescoes and inscriptions, making it a valuable resource for those interested in the history of Christianity. Overall, the Catacombs of San Callisto are a fascinating and educational experience that offers visitors a window into the past and provides a deeper understanding of the early Christian community in Rome.
Located at Via Appia Antica, 110/126, 00178 Rome RM, Italy, the Catacombs of San Callisto are a must-visit for those interested in early Christian history. The site is open Monday to Saturday from 9:00am to 12:00pm and from 2:30pm to 5:00pm, and Sunday from 9:00am to 12:00pm.
Insider tip: Be sure to book your visit in advance, as the number of visitors is limited to ensure the preservation of the site.
2. Explore the Appian Way
The Appian Way is a must-visit for tourists because it offers a unique glimpse into the history and beauty of Rome. This ancient road, which was once one of the most important in the Roman Empire, is a testament to the ingenuity and ambition of the ancient Romans. Today, the well-preserved section of the Appian Way is a peaceful and picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, dotted with charming parks and monuments.
Visitors can walk or bike along the road and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and the city in the distance. The Appian Way also provides an opportunity to learn about the history of the Roman Empire, as it was the main route for the Roman army and was used to transport goods and people between Rome and other parts of the empire. Overall, the Appian Way is a beautiful and educational experience that provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the history, culture, and beauty of Rome.
The Appian Way is located along the Via Appia Antica, one of the oldest roads in Rome. Visitors can start their exploration from the Porta San Sebastiano, near the Colosseum, and walk along the well-preserved section of the road.
Insider tip: For a truly unique experience, rent a bike and explore the Appian Way and the nearby parks and monuments at your own pace.
3. Check out the Mercato Centrale
The Mercato Centrale is a must-visit for tourists because it offers a unique glimpse into the food culture of Rome. This bustling indoor market is a hub of activity, where locals come to shop for the freshest ingredients and sample the best of Roman cuisine. Visitors can stroll through the market and take in the sights and smells of the stalls selling everything from produce and meat to cheese and pastries.
The Mercato Centrale is also a great place to try some of the local specialties, such as porchetta, cured meats, and traditional Roman dishes. Additionally, the market is a cultural melting pot, where visitors can experience the diversity of the city and meet locals from all walks of life. Overall, the Mercato Centrale is a delicious and educational experience that provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the food culture of Rome and a chance to immerse themselves in the city’s vibrant atmosphere.
Mercato Centrale is located at Via Giolitti, 36, 00185 Roma RM, Italy, in the heart of Rome. The market is open Monday to Saturday from 7:00am to 2:00pm.
Insider tip: If you’re looking to try some authentic Italian street food, be sure to check out the Mercato Centrale’s food court, where you’ll find a wide variety of tasty treats.
3. Explore the Aventine Hill
The Aventine Hill is a must-visit for tourists because it offers a unique glimpse into the charming and peaceful side of Rome. This historic hill is one of the seven hills of Rome and is home to some of the city’s most beautiful gardens, charming streets, and breathtaking views. Visitors can wander the quiet streets and take in the greenery and serenity of the hill, or visit the famous Keyhole at the Priory of the Knights of Malta for a stunning view of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Additionally, the Aventine Hill is home to several important historical landmarks, including the ancient Temple of Juno Regina and the Santa Sabina church, which date back to the 5th century. Overall, the Aventine Hill is a peaceful and educational experience that provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the history and beauty of Rome, and a chance to escape the busy city center and enjoy a bit of tranquility.
The Casina delle Civette is located in the Villa Torlonia park at Via Nomentana, 70, 00187 Roma RM, Italy. The villa is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00am to 1:00pm and from 2:00pm to 5:00pm.
Insider tip: The Casina delle Civette is a small and intimate site, so be sure to arrive early to avoid crowds and get the most out of your visit.
4. Take a stroll through Trastevere
Trastevere is a must-visit for tourists because it offers a unique glimpse into the bohemian and charming side of Rome. This historic neighborhood, located on the west bank of the Tiber River, is known for its narrow streets, charming houses, and lively atmosphere. Visitors can stroll through the winding streets and take in the vibrant colors and street art, or enjoy a meal in one of the many cozy trattorias and sample the traditional Roman cuisine.
Additionally, Trastevere is home to several important historical landmarks, including the Santa Maria in Trastevere church and the Piazza di Santa Maria, which are considered to be some of the most beautiful in the city. Trastevere is also famous for its nightlife, with numerous bars, clubs, and jazz venues offering a lively and eclectic atmosphere well into the night. Overall, Trastevere is a charming and cultural experience that provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the art, history, and atmosphere of Rome, and a chance to escape the busy city center and enjoy a bit of local flavor.
The Aventine Hill is located in the heart of Rome, and is easily accessible by foot or by public transportation. The hill is dotted with charming piazzas and parks, including the Giardino degli Aranci, which offers panoramic views of the city.
Insider tip: Be sure to visit the Church of Santa Sabina, which is one of the oldest basilicas in Rome and is known for its beautiful 5th-century wooden door.
These are just a few of the many off-the-beaten-path things to see and do in Rome. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, the city has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, be sure to take the time to explore Rome’s hidden gems and discover its many secrets!