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.
At the top of Capitoline hill (Capitolino), you will find the Piazza del Campidoglio. The facades of the 3 buildings, the main staircase and the paving (only added 4 centuries later) were all designed by Michelangelo. Two of the buildings that lead off the staircase are slightly skewed to give a widening effect. The square is especially beautiful at night.

rome tourist attractions
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.
(Open from 10Am until 1 hour before sunset.)


Piazza di Campidoglio on Capitoline hill

The paving, facades and grand staircase overseen by Michelangelo.


Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 9:

view of st peters through the keyhole

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.


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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.

mouth of truth bocca della verita

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. 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 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.
Visit the Pantheon area guide for more info about the area and Santa Maria Sopra Minerva.


Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 6:

The Janiculum hill.

rome tourist attractions ponte milvio
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.
Find more info at my Trastevere and Janiculum area guide.


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Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 5:

Walking through Rome during the day time.

  • Walk along the Tiber River. It's only a few meters down from street level but you get a completely different and tranquil perspective of historic Rome.
  • rome tourist attractions villa borghese
  • Stroll through the Villa Borghese gardens. The gardens are big, beautiful and well kept (and full of beautiful fountains).
  • The ancient Appian Way (Appia Antica) was one of ancient Rome's most important roads. It connected Rome with Brindisi. It's lined with statues, villas, monuments and temples from Roman times.
  • Walk up to the top of the Spanish steps (Piazza di Spagna) and enjoy the views from the Trinità dei Monti, the church at the top of the steps. Or take a seat on the steps and just soak up the atmosphere like many others.
  • Tired of all the walking? Buy an ice-cream and sit on the steps in front of the Trevi Fountain.


Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 4:

rome tourist attractions piazza campo de fiori market

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:

  • Walking through Trastevere at night. The cobbled narrow alleyways, the characterful restaurants and cafes, the little street lamps diffusing light in this perfect artists pose, they all play their part in creating what is arguably the most authentic Roman suburb. Something interesting greets you around every corner in this gem of Rome.
  • fontana dei quattro fiumi rome tourist attractions
  • Piazza Navona at night. The square and restaurants are always buzzing. The fountains are enchanting. If you're lucky enough to be in Rome at Christmas time then you're in for a real treat. The square is lined with traditional stalls with everything from roasted chestnuts to nativity scenes.
  • Piazza di Campo de Fiori at night. Again, soak up the atmosphere, of the many pubs, cocktail bars and restaurants that line Rome's most vibrant square.


Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 2:

the pantheon at nighttime

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.
Visit the Pantheon area guide for more info.


Top free Rome Tourist attractions, no 1:

rome tourist attractions st peters basilica

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! via veneto smiley

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Top 10 Free Rome Tourist Attractions.

rome tourist attractions

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