Does a city like Rome even need an introduction? The city is like a living museum. Ancient sights and classic architecture can be found on practically every street corner, right next to modern buildings and tasty gelato stands! The best part? It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – Rome is full of beautiful sights you can visit for absolutely nothing!
St Peter’s Basilica
This stunning church is not to be missed when visiting Vatican City. It’s one of the most lavish churches in Rome and, indeed, the world – which is no surprise given it was designed by architects including Michelangelo himself! If the Pope is in residence you can head to St Peter’s Square on Sunday to see him appear at the window of the Church at noon, to bless the crowd below.
If you want to climb the church’s famous Cupola, visit St Peter’s Treasury, check out the Vatican museums and wander through the gardens you’ll be expected to pay an admission fee. But to visit the stunning exterior and main interior of St Peter’s Basilica is completely free!
The Vatican Museums
Originating as a group of scultptures collected by Pope Julius II (1503 – 1513), the Vatican Museums today includes the Borgia Apartment, home to Pope Alexandra VI, the Vatican Historical Museum and the iconic Sistine Chapel.
This museum complex is actually one of the more expensive sights to see in the city, but if you plan your flights to Rome well, you’ll know to book them for the last weekend of the month. Why? On the last Sunday of each moth, the Vatican Museums offer free admission between 9am – 12:30pm! Just arrive early to beat the queue.
If you want to avoid dishing out for the Colosseum, there are plenty of other ancient Roman sights to see in the city – take the Pantheon for example. Built in the 2nd century AD as a temple for the Roman gods, it was later converted to a Catholic church. Today it remains one of the best preserved Ancient Roman buildings and its dome retains its position as the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. Known for its striking architecture, it’s also free to visit!
Bonus tip: Arrive at the Pantheon at 7pm to join a free 30-minute tour with Angel Tours.
The Mouth of Truth
Remember that scene in Roman Holiday when Audrey Hepburn is coaxed into putting her hand in the “Bocca della Verità”? Legend has it that if you tell a lie with your hand inside, it’ll bite it off! Whether it’s true or not, this is a classic Rome photo opportunity. Find The Mouth of Truth inside the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Whilst you’re there, take a walk around the church itself and check out the beautifuly carved 11th century doorway.
The Villa Borghese Gardens
These expansive landscaped gardens in Rome also make up the third largest public park in the city. Free to visit, you can wander around to your heart’s content, admiring the beautiful buildings and museums which can be found there as you go. The gardens also offer a breathtaking view over Rome: an unmissable sight on your trip to the city.
The Fountains of Rome
The city’s fountains are sights in and of themselves and you can find them practically around every street corner. The Trevi Fountain is of course the most famous but you’ll rarely find it not surrounded by hoards of tourists. Other fountains not to miss include:
- Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Piazza Navona)
- Fontana della Barcaccia (bottom of Spanish Steps)
Have you been to Rome? What was your favourite part of the city?