Some of the most important and beautiful sites in Rome can be experienced gratis.
Castel Sant'Angelo (exterior)
Mouth of Truth
St. Peter's Basilica
And don't forget, every church in Rome is free. Whether you have a passion for mosaics, paintings, sculptures, or martyrs' bones and relics, there are world-class examples of each inside almost every church in the historical center.
Free the last Sunday of the month:
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
Capitoline Museums and Tabularium
And for EC citizens...
EC citizens aged 18 years and under or 65 and over are entitled to free admission to most of the museums and monuments of Rome.
» Masterpieces by artist
Inside St. Peter's in Chains (S. Pietro in Vincoli) 7am-noon/3:30pm-6pm, off Via Cavour. Metro Line B: Cavour.
St. Peter's Basilica. 7am-7pm. Metro Line A: Ottaviano or bus 40 Express to Piazza Pia.
Cristo che porta la croce
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Piazza della Minerva, near the Pantheon. 7am-7pm. Bus 40 Express or 64 to Largo Argentina.
Piazza del Campidoglio and the steps leading up to it (the cordonata). Bus 40 Express, 170, or 64 to Piazza Venezia.
Basilica di St. Pietro
Access to the top 8am-5:30pm. € 3.62 to walk the entire way up; € 4.13 for the elevator to the halfway point--from there you'll have to walk 20 more stories of a narrow and slanted stairway to get to the top, but the view over Rome once you're up there is exhilarating! Metro Line A: Ottaviano or Bus 40 Express to Piazza Pia.
L'estasi di Santa Teresa
Santa Maria della Vittoria. Via XX Settembre, 17., corner of Largo S. Susanna. Mon-Sat 8:30am-11am/3:30pm-6pm; Sun 8:40am-10am/3:30pm-6pm (In August 7:30am-11:30am only) Bus 492 or 175 to Largo S. Susanna, or a short walk west from Termini.
La benedizione di Ludovica Albertoni
San Francesco a Ripa. Piazza S. Francesco d'Assisi, Trastevere. 7am-noon/4pm-7pm. Tram 8 two stops down Viale Trastevere or Bus 23 to Ponte Cestio.
Dentro la Basilica St. Pietro :
The baldacchino (bronze canopy), Cathedra Petri (the chair of St. Peter), the monument to Pope Urban VIII, and the monument to Pope Alexander VII are all by Bernini. 7am-7pm. Metro Line A: Ottaviano or Bus 40 Express to Piazza Pia.
Fuori la Basilica St. Pietro :
The square and colonnade. If you stand on one of the dots about 20m away from the obelisk, all four rows of columns magically fall into one. Metro Line A: Ottaviano or Bus 40 Express to Piazza Pia.
La fontana dei quattro fiumi:
In Piazza Navona. Bus 40 Express or 64 to Largo Argentina.
Outside Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Bus 40 Express or 64 to Largo Argentina.
An elaborate bridge lined with Baroque statues, a great place to be at sunset, and a beautiful spot for taking pictures of St. Peter's. Bus 40 Express or 64 to the end of Corso Vittorio Emanuele.
Sant'Andrea al Quirinale
An elegant little church at the corner of Via del Quirinale and Via Quattro Fontane. Wed-Mon 8am-noon/4pm-7pm. Metro Line A: Barberini or bus 492 or 62 to Via Quattro Fontane.
Dipinti di S. Pietro e Paolo
Santa Maria del Popolo. 7am-12:30pm/4pm-7:30pm. Metro Line A: Flaminio.
Madonna dei Pellegrini
Sant'Agostino. Via della Scrofa, 80. 7:30am-noon/4:30pm-7:30pm. Bus 492 to the top of Corso Rinascimento.
La vita di S. Matteo (tre pitture)
San Luigi dei Francesi. 8:30am-12:30pm/3:30pm-7pm (closes at 5pm in the summer). Closed Thursday afternoon. Between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon. Bus 40 Express or 64 to Largo Argentina, or 492 to Corso Rinascimento.
Piazza del Campidoglio
This spectacular Renaissance piazza is one of the best spots in Rome, especially at sunset and later. In the middle of its Michelangelo-designed pavement, you'll find a bronze statue of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius on horseback (a beautiful copy of the original which is now inside the Capitoline Museums). From the terraces on either side of the Palazzo Senatorio there are powerful views over the Roman Forum.
Look down over all of Rome's monuments. Reach the summit by walking from Via Garibaldi, Trastevere. The cannon goes off every day at noon. Bus 870 from Piazza Fiorentini (off Corso Vittorio Emanuele, where it meets the Tiber).
Orange Garden (Giardino degli Aranci or Parco Savello) offers one of Rome's most picturesque gardens, with a beautiful view over Trastevere. Just down the street (about 20m from the end, on your right) from the Orange Garden, you'll find a small key hole in a large green door that offers a memorable view of the dome of St. Peter's. Metro Line B: Circo Massimo, then walk north along the Circus Maximus and turn left up the hill (Via Valle Murcia to Via di Santa Sabina).
Part of the Borghese Gardens, raised up above Piazza del Popolo, near the Spanish Steps. From here there are spectacular vistas of St. Peter's and the Victor Emanuel monument. Metro Line A: Spagna.
Another fantastic view is from the Palatine Hill, above the Roman Forum. It does cost € 6.20 to go to this magnificent spot, but it's well worth it.
Huge park with long avenues of trees and picturesque villas, which double as museums and galleries, dotted throughout. If you don't have time to wander through all of it, at least go to the Pincio, the look-out above Piazza del Popolo. Metro Line A: Spagna or Flaminio.
Surrounds Nero's Palace (the Domus Aurea). Metro Line B: Colosseo.
Only part of this park is open to the public. Open from dawn to sunset. Bus 38 or 310 to Piazza Istria.
A beautiful villa and garden, once Mussolini's family residence, it then fell into disrepair and is now being restored. The garden contains many exotic plants and large trees. A new museum has opened in the Casina delle Civette, remarkable for its stained glass windows. Bus 36 or 62 to Via Nomentana/Torlonia.
A small and serene villa, raised up with a great view, provides tranquility in the heart of the city. At the bottom of Via Nazionale, entry on Via Mazzarino. Bus 40 Express or 64 to Via Nazionale.
Parco degli Scipioni (Park of the Scipios)
Excavations carried out in the late 19th century unearthed the remains of the tombs of the Scipios, an influential Roman family in the 3rd century BC. Nowadays just a pleasant stretch of greenery and intermittent archaeological sites between the Baths of Caracalla and the Appian Way.
This huge park dating back to the 1600s, redone in the mid-1800s, has formal gardens and lawns and is popular with runners and dog-walkers, although it is a bit far from the sights. Bus 40 Express to Chiesa Nuova, or 64 to the end of Corso Vittorio Emanuele, then bus 870 from Piazza dei Fiorentini.
» Scheletons Bodies & Spirits
Does "Night of the Living Dead" not do it for you anymore? Do you want to see real bones, bodies, and images of death? Then stay tuned for the following...
Crypt of the Cappuccini Monks, in Santa Maria della Concezione
The crypt ceiling and walls are elaborately decorated with the bones of 4,000 monks. Trust us: this is not to be missed. Via Veneto, 27 - 20m up from Piazza Barberini. Admission by donation (€ 0.51 - € 1.03 suggested). 9am-noon/3pm-6pm. Closed Thurs. Metro Line A: Barberini or bus 492 or 62 to Piazza Barberini.
Santa Maria dell'Orazione e Morte
An 18th century church richly embellished with images of death, skulls, and skeletons. Via Giulia, right behind Palazzo Farnese. Open 6pm Sunday for mass. Bus 116 to Via Giulia or 23 to Ponte Sisto.
Museo delle Anime dei Defunti
This may be the weirdest museum in Rome, devoted to the souls of the dead trapped in purgatory who keep leaving messages for the living. (!) Inside the church of Sacro Cuore del Suffragio, Lungotevere Prati, 12. Free. 7:30am-11am (10am in the summer)/5pm-7:30pm. Bus 492 to Piazza Cavour.
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
Here lies the body of St. Catherine. After her death, it was separated from her head, which remained in Siena, the town where she was born. Piazza della Minerva, near the Pantheon (look for the elephant obelisk outside the church). 7am-7pm. Bus 40 Express or 64 to Largo Argentina, or 116 to the Pantheon.
Sant'Agnese in Agone
Look for the door marked "Sacra Testa di Sant'Agnese" inside this Borromini architectural gem. Little Agnes was decapitated in the stadium of Domitian (now Piazza Navona) in the 4th century and her head has been here for centuries as a relic. (The rest of her body is several miles away at the church of Sant'Agnese Fuori le Mura on the Via Nomentana.) Piazza Navona. Bus 40 Express or 64 to Largo Argentina, or 492, 81, or 87 to Corso Rinascimento.
Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
You know, some martyrs had it worse than others: first they tried to suffocate little Cecilia in the hot steam room of her own baths, then when that didn't work they tried to chop off her head, but after three strokes of the ax they could not completely sever her head from her body. She managed to stay alive for three more days, all the while singing hymns to the glory of God--one reason why she is now the patron saint of music! Go up to the altar and check out the marble statue of Cecilia's body as it was found in 1599, complete with scars from the failed decapitation attempt. Bus 23 to Ponte Cestio, then a short walk west through the small streets of Trastevere.
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