Often referred to as “Caput Mundi”, or the “Capital of the World”, Rome is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Home to the Colosseum and other famous landmarks, the Italian capital has many things to offer curious travelers, from great dishes to entertaining activities that will keep you busy throughout your entire stay.
Full of art and history museums and beautiful sights to enjoy, the city of Rome will no doubt take your breath away and make you want to stay forever. There are many places to visit and new things to try, so make sure to keep an organized schedule so as not to get overwhelmed by the number of possibilities; or, if you are feeling adventurous, let your instincts guide you through the Italian streets and see where they take you!
Of course, everyone who visits Rome should make time to try some authentic Italian food. Nowadays, many restaurants around the world make great Italian food – but they’ll never compare to the real thing, which will most definitely be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. By taking a Rome food tour, you’ll get the opportunity to experience Italy’s favorite dishes, and the many exquisite ingredients will feel like an explosion of flavor inside your mouth. Are you getting hungry already?
Five things to do for free while staying in Rome
1. Domenica al Museo
The decreto Franceschini – first implemented in July 2014 – allows visitors to occasionally visit galleries, museums, parks, archeological digs, monuments, and monumental gardens without paying for a ticket.
This fantastic initiative means that, on the first Sunday of each month, many Italian museums and historical sites open their doors to the public for free, allowing everyone to discover and enjoy the country’s rich, exciting history. The Colosseum, the Borghese Gallery and the Roman Forum are just some of the amazing places you can visit at no cost during Domenica al Museo.
Keep in mind that this only applies to the main sections of most locations, and you may still be required to pay if you want to peruse more exclusive exhibits.
2. The Pantheon
The Pantheon represents one of the greatest architectural feats in the world, so take a good look while you’re visiting. There are so many things to see and experience that you risk overlooking some essential details if you’re not paying close enough attention.
Once inside, you’ll have a chance to admire the incredible layout of the former Roman temple, including the Rotunda and the Oculus, where the sun shines through. You’ll also be able to gaze upon the tombs of the first two kings of Italy, as well as Raphael’s, and visit a wide range of chapels.
Whether or not to start charging an entrance fee for the Pantheon is a constant subject of debate. But such a fee has yet to be implemented, so rest easy: this landmark is still free to visit to this day.
3. Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona is one of the most stunning and famous city squares in all of Rome. It was commissioned by Emperor Domitian, who came up with the idea of setting it out in a unique, elongated shape. Three beautiful fountains line the piazza: the Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi (constructed for the Pope and designed by Bernini), the Fontana del Moro (another one of Bernini’s additions), and the Fontana di Nettuno (surrounded by sea nymphs and built by Giacomo Della Porta).
It was initially used as a stadium for athletic competitions and gladiator shows following fire damage to the Colosseum, and it bore the name “Circus Agonalis”. Later on, it became the site of Rome’s public market for a long period of time.
4. Fontana di Trevi
Ah, La Fontana di Trevi! Undoubtedly one of the most popular locations in the entire country, one of the largest fountains in all of Rome and one of the most beautiful worldwide. Not just because of its size or design, inspired by the baroque movement, but because its beauty will make you fall in love as soon as you cast your eyes on it.
Nicola Salvi was in charge of this project in the early 1730s, and it took 30 years for the fountain to be completed, partly because of wars, budgetary issues and other difficulties which took place during this time. Unfortunately, Salvi didn’t live to see the project come to fruition, having passed away ten years earlier – the architect Giuseppe Pannini took over to finalize the project.
The fountain is located in the Roman neighborhood of Trevi, hence the name, and there are many historically relevant sites of note nearby which are also free to visit!
5. Via Appia
A must-see when staying in Italy, the oldest and most famous Roman road runs all the way from Rome to Campania and southern Italy. You are free to take a walk down the Via Appia, and there are many notable landmarks and historical sites which you can visit for free too along the way. You can expect your walk to last up to 2 or 3 hours, or even more, depending on your final destination.
Here is where you will find one of the sites which are free to visit during Domenica al Museo: the Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella. The latter was a notable Roman matron during the beginning of the 1st century BC.
The Via Appia was initially intended to transport armies and supplies across the empire, but its use was quickly amplified once its construction was completed.
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