12 cheap or free tourist attractions in Rome

With Rome’s reputation, the Eternal City can allow itself to get a bit expensive. And it does. But can you visit Rome on a budget? Are there free attractions in Rome? Here’s a guide on the best budget attractions in Rome.


Rome on a budget


tanie bilety Rzym

Of course, Rome does have plenty of free attractions. So many, in fact, that we had trouble picking out the best ones. There’s certainly enough for you to occupy you for a whole budget weekend in Rome.


Trevi Fountain


Fontanna di Trevi

As long as you don’t throw any coins into the fountain, it’s naturally completely free to see. The Trevi Fountain was built in 1762, designed by Nocole Salvi, and is one of the most famed and beautiful fountains in the world. Its name comes from the three roads intersecting at its spot, Via Poli, Via Delle and Via De’ Crocicchi. The entire structure of the fountain is massive, at 26 metres tall and 49 metres wide.

The Trevi Fountain was filled by water from the hills as far as 8 miles away, carried by the aqueducts.


Gianicolo, Janiculum


The view from Gianicolo

This is a lovely spot in the area of Trastevere. You can take a stroll up to the top of the Janiculum Hill to get one of the best viewpoints in Rome. As you can imagine, it’s completely free! There’s a park at the top with a panoramic view of the centre of Rome.

You can also find Parco del Gianicolo, the Botanical Garden and the statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi on top. The Hill of Janiculum is not one of Rome’s Seven Hills by the way.


St Peter’s Basilica in Rome


Bazylika Świętego Piotra

Vatican’s best attraction, St Peter’s Basilica, is completely free to enter! Admittedly, if you’re visiting in the high season, you’ll have to pay with your psyche, but it’s still quite worth it. The best time to visit is admittedly during the low season – when we visited in February, we only had to wait 15 minutes to enter (trust us, that’s literally nothing when compared to high season).


Spanish Steps


Schody hiszpańskie

Another beautiful site in Rome, equally free to the rest. This 135-step-stairway is one of the more popular sights in the city, as they lead to the church of Trinità dei Monti and another free attraction in Rome, the Villa Borghese Gardens. At the base of the Spanish Steps lies the Spanish Square. If you’ve watched Roman Holiday, that’s the spot.


Free Sunday at the Museum in Rome


niedziela muzeum Rzym

This is likely the best bargain you can get in Rome. Every first Sunday of the month means free entry to public museums for all visitors in Rome. Of course, access is still limited by time slots, but you can just book well in advance. Which museums can be accessed for free in Rome on the first Sunday of the month?

  • Colosseum / Roman Forum / Palatine Hill
  • The Borghese Gallery (booking required)
  • Baths of Caracalla
  • Castel Sant’Angelo
  • Ostia Antica
  • National Rome Museum (Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, Crypta Balbi, Diocletian Baths)
  • Villa Giulia (Etruscan museum)
  • Palazzo Barberini
  • Palazzo Corsini
  • Galleria Spada
  • Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli
  • Villa d’Este in Tivoli
  • Palazzo Venezia
  • National Museum of Oriental Art
  • National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography (EUR)
  • The Museum of Folk Arts and Traditions
  • The Museum of the Early Middle Ages
  • National Museum of Musical Instruments

(list from romewise.com, check them out for all your Rome needs)

Remember that it is usually only free to enter museums or facilities without visiting, for example, temporary exhibitions.


Sunday at the Vatican Museums


Muzeum watykańskie darmowe bilety

You can also visit the Vatican Museums for free (with a free ticket) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on every LAST Sunday of the month. Catholic holidays tend to be exceptions, though then the Vatican usually offers other alternate days. Be warned, as queues for the Vatican Museums are even bigger than they usually are on these days.





It used to be the case that the Pantheon was another staple for budget lists, as it used to be free from Monday to Friday. Sadly, this isn’t the case anymore, though there’s still the first Sunday of the month that remains free, just like the rest of the museums mentioned above! It’s one of the best preserved buildings of ancient Rome. The name Pantheon comes from the Greek pantheion, meaning ‘related to all gods’. Be sure to pay attention to the distinctive portico at the top of the dome, giving way for natural light to enter the temple.


Piazza Navona


Piazza Navona

This is one of the most popular squares in Rome. You will find many charming cafes, restaurants and monuments here, such as the Fountain of the Four Rivers, Fountain of Neptune, the Fountain of the Moor and the Sant’Agnese in Agone (which you can also enter for free). This place is the little unofficial heart of old Rome where the residents used to gather in the stadium of Domitian, which was once located in this place.





We hope this does not come off as disrespectful that we put the Pope’s celebrated masses as an attraction of Rome, but it’s a really wonderful experience. And, of course, they’re completely free. There have even been cases where the Pope has met visitors to the Vatican Museums by chance in the corridors. It is also customary to celebrate the Angelus with the Pope at the Vatican every Sunday – so that’s when you can see the Pope in St Peter’s Square.


Via Appia, the Appian Way


Via Appia

This is the most famous road in the world, and also a free attraction in Rome. It is the oldest Roman road connecting Campania and Apulia with Rome. It was built between 312 and 264 BC. The Via Appia Antica can be found in the south of Rome and can be reached by buses 118 and 218 or you can use a bike. The walk can be long, but the park itself surrounding the Via Appia is lovely.

Gdzie jest via Appia w Rzymie

Appia longarum… regina viarum


Villa Borghese gardens


villa borghese

Another interesting free attraction in the heart of Rome. This is the third largest park in Rome, located in the north of the city. It is full of museums, art and beautiful nature. Admission to the Villa Borghese Park itself is completely free. In 1605, Cardinal Scipione Borghese initiated the conversion of an old vineyard into a park, and so here it is. You will find many charming artificial lakes here, as well as the Temple of Aesculapius, Siena Square, the Museums, the Villas Roghese, the Villas Medici, the Villas Giulia and much more. Recommended for a walk on hot days to take refuge in the shade of the trees.


The centre and streets of Rome


centrum Rzymu

Finally, probably the best cheap and free attraction in Rome, which is simply the city itself. Walking through the streets of Ponte, Regola, Trastevere or along the banks of the Tiber is the most charming part of the city for us. We recommend heading into the smallest alleys, as Rome has many secrets in its centre. For us, the most fun part was just walking from the centre to the Vatican, through Trastevere, the Gianicolo and back to the centre. You’ll have plenty of churches along the way which you can usually enter for free, as well as various piazzas and other places of interest.


Where to eat cheaply in Rome?


tanie jedzenie w Rzymie
Cacio e pepe, or relatively cheap pasta in restaurants in Rome

Finally, after exploring so much, you’ll probably want to stop by for lunch. What do we recommend on a budget? Naturally, the choice is quite small here, as it’s Rome. We really liked a restaurant right next to the Vatican, Angelo’s in Via di Porta Cavalleggeri, 45a. We also strongly recommend Pane e Salame in Via Santa Maria in Via, 19 or the fast food joint Mizio’s in Via degli Zingari, 54a.

You can find very good sandwiches for just €4.50 at Pane e Salame! Remember that there’s no coperto in Lazio, though you’ll often get extra bread or olives for extra charge in restaurants. Of course, in fast foods and paninerias, that’s not an option.


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