Rome, Italy can be expensive but if you need to give your pocketbook a vacation while you are on vacation here are plenty of things to do that won’t cost you a thing.
Fountains are everywhere in Italy. Two of the best are in Rome, the Fontana di Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain.
2. The Borghese Gardens and the Via Veneto.
Wander up the Via Veneto to the Borghese Gardens. The Via Veneto is home to cafés, bars, stores and one really nice book store. At the top of the Via Veneto you can see a section of the old walls that surrounded Rome. On the other side of the wall are the Borghese Gardens, a large public park with its own fountains and statues.
The Piazze are considered the centers of life in Italy. The Piazza Navona is my favorite. You can sit in the Piazza and enjoy the fountain (Fontana di Quattro Fiumi) and the architecture of the surrounding buildings.
4. The Pantheon
Built between AD 118-125 the The Pantheon is a marvel of ancient Rome.
The churches in Rome are spectacular and many of them are free. Just as important, in the summer they are cool. San Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter’s in Chains) is home to Michelangelo’s statue of Moses. Remember, most churches do not allow shorts or bare shoulders, so cover up.
6. The Spanish Steps.
The Spanish Steps are a good place to sit and take a breather from a day of touring. You can sit on the steps, but you cannot eat on the steps.
7. Campo de’ Fiori
Campo de’ Fiori is a large, open air market is a hub of activity. Flowers, fruits, vegetables, cheese, are all sold here. Strike up a conversation with the vendors, ask them where they are from and where their produce was grown. If you are lucky they will give you a free taste.
8. Bocca della Veritá.
Set into the wall of the portico of Santa Maria in Cosmedin is the “Mouth of Truth”. It is thought that the Bocca della Veritá is an ancient drain cover. It is Medieval folklore that if you stick your fingers in the mouth and tell a lie, the Bocca della Veritá will bite your fingers off.
9. Via dei Fori Imeriali.
Wander up the Via dei Fori Imperiali and see Trajan’s Market (Mercati di Traiano), the Colosseum (Colosseo), Arch of Constantine (Arco di Costantino), Roman Forum (Foro Romano) and the Palatine Hills (Palatino). This is the heart of what is left of ancient Rome. The Roman Forum and Arch of Constantine are free.
10. Window Shopping.
Stores are everywhere and they range from the cheap to the absurdly expensive, but window shopping won’t cost you a thing.
After saving all this money treat yourself to a Gelato, in the flavor of your choice, and sit and look around you. Think what it would have been like to live in Rome 2,000 years ago, consider all that has happened in that span of time and then think of how many things are still the same. You may come away with a new appreciation of your place in the world.
Here is a YouTube video on Free Things to To in Rome:
Eyewitness has a Top 10 Guide for larger cities that is chock full of information. The Eyewitness Guide Top 10 Rome, Italy captures the essence and spirit of this great city in a small pocket size guide. The Eyewitness Guide to Rome includes usable maps on the inside cover. This small guide will fit in the back pocket of your jeans. It joins the AAA Spiral Guide as my favorite travel guides.