As the money seems to just leak out of your wallet, remember there are many things to do for free in Rome that will give you just as much insight into the city as visiting the big museums and attractions. There are also special days and events to help you see the major sights on a budget.
On the last Sunday of every month there is free entry to the Vatican Museums between 9am and 12:30pm. The queues are very long so get there early. Similarly the Musei Capitolini also has free entry on the last Sunday of the month. Also the Galleria Nazionale di San Luca has a lovely small picture collection and is free entry Monday through Saturday mornings.
There is no charge for standing gazing into the falling waters of the Trevi Fountain. The scale is huge – 85 ft high (26m) and 66 ft wide (20m) – and the square it stands in surprisingly small. They say that if you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain you will one day return to Rome.
The Spanish Steps are another icon of Rome and free to walk up and sit upon, although don’t leave any rubbish behind. In spring the steps are adorned with flowers. From the top outside the church of Trinita dei Monti and further up you get good views of the city.
The Pantheon is the best-preserved remainder of Ancient Rome and is a wonderful round church, once a pagan temple. Make sure you wander around the outside and look at the rough brick walls built so many centuries ago for Hadrian around 120AD. It’s located in the Piazza della Rotonda, a good place for sitting to people-watch day or night.
Some churches charge an entry fee but many are free to wander inside and this being Rome you’ll find all sort of wonderful paintings and sculpture adorning them.
The Appian Way is the most famous of Roman roads. On Sundays it is closed to traffic and makes for a great walk in the footsteps of the Roman legions. Along the way are tombs and catacombs, ancient walls and sacred rivers.
BOCCA DELLA VERITA
There’s no charge for putting your hand in the mouth of truth, but if you’ve been telling lies superstition says the hand will be chopped off. Located in the Piazza Bocca della Verita.
Porta Portese Market is the main flea market in Rome held on Sundays until 2pm. It’s in Via Portuense and Via Ippolito Nievo in Trastevere. Also there’s the daily Campo de Fiori food market, Rome’s oldest market, in Piazza di Campo de Fiori.