Top 10 Free Rome tourist attractions.
I am often asked what are the top Rome tourist attractions and also the best free things to do in Rome, so I made a list and combined them all into one. These are the top 10 free and (mostly) unique Rome tourist attractions...
Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 10:
Piazza del Campidoglio and the Victor Emmanuel (Vittorio Emanuele) monument.
The views over the Roman Forum from just behind the square are also excellent.
Occupying the same hill is the Vittorio Emanuele monument. Dedicated to King Vittorio Emanuele II, it's often referred to as Rome's largest wedding cake. Love it or hate it, you can climb the steps to the top of the monument and appreciate the views over Piazza Venezia.
Piazza di Campidoglio on Capitoline hill
The paving, facades and grand staircase overseen by Michelangelo.
Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 9:
Views through keyhole at the entrance gate to the Military order of the Knights of Malta.
At the end of Via Santa Sabina is the "Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta" (square of the knights of Malta) at this square you will find a large white sculpted entrance facade of the Military Order of The Knights of Malta. In these gates there is a brass keyhole where you can look through three lands (Malta, Italy and The Vatican) and see the Cupola of St Peters.
Also at the top of Aventine Hill in Via di Santa Sabina stands the Santa Sabina Monastery. Inside the church you will find beautifully decorated marble friezes, flooring, and a well lit nave, but outside in Parco Savello (the monastery's gardens) you can admire the second best views of Rome (after Janiculum hill) over and across the Tiber River towards St Peters.
Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 8:
Mouth of truth (Bocca della Verità). Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Temples of Hercules and Portunus, the Fontana dei Tritoni (fountain of the Tritons), and Arch of Janus are all within a hundred meters of each other and form part of the Forum Boarium. They are all absolutely gratis and in the open.
The mouth of truth is located in the portico of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin. The story goes that the mouth will slam shut over a liar's hand. This legend probably originates from an old Roman story that tells of a rich Roman patrician's wife who was accused of adultery.
The patrician insisted that the wife prove her innocence and challenged her to put her hand inside the mouth of truth. The woman, knowing her guilt, came up with an ingenious plan....just before the test while a crowd of onlookers gathered by the stone the woman's lover, dressed as a dirty crazy beggar, ran from out of the crowd grabbed her and kissed her. She pretended not to know the dirty beggar and the crowd chased him away.
Upon putting her hand into the mouth of truth the woman announced that apart from her husband and the dirty beggar who had just kissed her she had never kissed another man. Her hand and marriage were saved!
For more information and a map of the area see my page on Campo de Fiori.
Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 7:
Free concerts and choir performances in Rome's churches. www.rivistadellenazioni.it have some info on the various cultural events in the churches of Rome. The site is only in Italian but click on the "Grande musica in Chiesa" link and then translate the page using http://www.babelfish.com or perhaps Google translator.
Johann Sebastian Bach, Air No 3, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church
My wife and I went to a concert by the Nova Amadeus orchestra at Christmas time in the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva (just around the corner from the Pantheon) it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen and heard. I had goose bumps throughout the whole performance.
Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 6:
The Janiculum hill.
A) at night time: This is especially romantic if you go with your partner. The views of the lights and monuments of historic Rome are breathtaking. On the way up to the Janiculum (il Gianicolo) why not make a detour via Ponte Milvio (Milvio bridge). Keep a Roman tradition alive and declare your love to your partner by locking a padlock (with a love phrase on it) to a chain around the lamppost in the middle of the bridge. (The Ponte Milvio is about 2 km upstream of the Castel Sant Angelo.)
B) during the day time: The best views of Rome are to be had from the Janiculum Hill (il Gianicolo) you can see right across to the hills of Castelli Romani. If you feel like stretching the legs you can walk up through the gardens from Trastevere.
Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 5:
Walking through Rome during the day time.
Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 4:
Piazza di Campo de Fiori market. The square was originally an open field and the name Campo de Fiori translates to field of flowers. It's also the only square in Rome without a church!
Continuing from its medieval reputation the square continues to be the social heart of the Campo de Fiori area. Here you will find a market every morning and you can purchase anything from flowers and spices to football jerseys and jeans. However, most tourists venture here to absorb the culture and witness Romans being very Roman. This is an authentic Roman culture feast.
On Sunday afternoons, they have a multitude of street performers, many travel from other countries to perform in the square. Not to be missed! In the evening things really liven up and all the pubs, restaurants and cocktail bars throng with party goers and atmosphere seekers.
Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 3:
Walking through Rome at night:
Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 2:
The Pantheon. In the Pantheon's square (Piazza della Rotonda) during winter time it's already dark by 5Pm in the evening (Pantheon closing time 7:30Pm) the atmosphere and setting of Rome's oldest best kept monument is absolutely captivating.
Entrance to the Pantheon is free and inside it has a combination of being both serene and awe inspiring. Buy yourself a slice of Pizza or an ice cream, sit on the steps of the square's fountain and take in the atmosphere.
Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 1:
The Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica. The last Sunday of every month the Sistine Chapel is free (opening hours 09:00 until 12:30). Get there very early, at least by 8Am. Beyond 9 Am the queues are intimidating. (St Peter's Basilica is not a cathedral, as it is often mistakenly referred to, it has no Bishop.)
Entrance to St Peters and the Pope's tombs below are free. Flaunted as the most impressive church in the world, it's not difficult to agree after visiting. It's way over the top, as a friend of mine said "It looks like pimp my church!" nonetheless a visit to Rome is incomplete without a visit to the Vatican.
Even though we're talking free Rome tourist attractions, the climb up to the dome (cupola) of St Peters costs 5 Euros but is well worth it! Do slap yourself on the forehead if you forget your camera in the hotel room!