RSS Feed

Subscribe to the blog NOW!

Subscribe NOW!

Best Free Attractions in Rome

posted in: Europe  |  posted by: Ian Harrison on March 25, 2009  |  1 Comment

The capital of Italy is a ceaseless parade of Renaissance, Baroque and other attractions that unfold in pristine fashion, one after the other. Rome is a marvel and premier world destination, with UNESCO World Heritage charm and a cityscape that did not fall prey to the savage destruction of World War II.

As a result, the city with just under 3 million people is fraught with architectural gems, recognizable landmarks and monuments and sheer structural beauty. Only London and Paris receive more visitors in all of Europe and while the streets teem with admirers throughout the year, one must go to Rome to explore a panoply of historic sights that surely count among the very best on the planet.

Here are the best free attractions in remarkable Rome.

The Forum

Between Palatine Hill and Capitoline Hill, the structural remains of the Roman Forum are impossible to miss. The nexus point of the ancient Roman civilization, the Forum contains some of the most important landmarks from the Empire, from basilicas and temples, to arches and royal residences.

The Forum

Piazza di Trevi

A coin toss in Trevi Fountain has become more than cliche but the trip is well worth it. The fountain, despite the immense crowds, is spectacular and the piazza is a great place to hang out and enjoy a gelato.

Trevi Fountain

Piazza Navona

Another superb piazza in Rome is Navona, home to a wonderful obelisk and Baroque creations by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. These include the indelible “Fountain of the Four Rivers”, although Navona’s “Fountain of Neptune” by Giacomo della Porta is also rather famous. The beautiful Palazzo Braschi, Palazzo de Cupis and Palazzo Torres Massimo Lancellotti also grace the piazza.

Piazza Navona

Piazza di Spagna

The Piazza di Spagna is familiar to most visitors as the Spanish Square, or Spanish Steps, to hone in on the landmark feature of the attraction. The stairway with 138 steps is a popular hangout and sheperds affluent tourists to the posh designer shops of Via Condotti.

The Spanish Steps

The Pantheon

Built near the dawn of the modern era, the Pantheon was a temple to the gods of Rome. No mere tribute however, the awesome structure is one of the most admirable in antiquity and a constant source of inspiration, even today. The grand interior, from the tomb of Raphael to numerous works of art, is a source of awe.

The Pantheon in Rome

The Vatican

No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to The Vatican. This much is obvious but the home of the Pope is not just one homogeneous attraction. There is St. Peter’s Basilica of course, the premier church in the world, with free access to the interior except for the scenic confines of the dome. With contributions by the likes of Michelangelo and full of spectacular details, the Basilica is fabulous. Best of all however, is the Vatican Museum, with one of the best collections of art in the world, from the Sistine Chapel to works by Raphael, Caravaggio and da Vinci. Although the line is notoriously long, the wait to get in the last Sunday of every month, when access is free, is worth it.

The Vatican

Bocca della Verita

La Bocca della Verita or Mouth of Truth, was made famous in the Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck classic Roman Holiday. The history of the sculpture in the portico of the Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin however, dates back to the 1st century. The legend of course, is that the mouth removes the hand of those who utter falsehoods.

La Bocca della Verit?

Campo de’ Fiori

Near Piazza Navona, Camp de’ Fiori contains a beautiful monument to philosopher Giordano Bruno and the superb Palazzo della Cancelleria.

Campo de' Fiori

Castel Sant’Angelo

Less commonly known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, the Castel Sant’Angelo was once indeed a mausoleum for the notable Roman Emperor. At nearly 2,000 years old, the landmark has also been a fortress and castle, though today it attracts visitors as a national museum.

Castel Sant'Angelo on the left

Villa Borghese

One of the most exquisite palaces in all of Italy, the Villa Borghese hosts the superb Galleria Borghese, which unfortunately, is not free. The Gardens in the back of the estate however, are a public space and rank second in public park size in Rome. A masterpiece of landscape art, the Borghese Gardens are 148 acres of sheer perfection and contain many fine points of interest.

Check out terrific hotel deals in and around the great city of Rome.

Villa Borghese

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Responses to this Article

One Response to “Best Free Attractions in Rome”

  1. Believer says on

    Let’s be accurate about the monument to Giordano Bruno at Campo d’Fiori. Calling it a beautiful monumnent to a philospher is a bit like saying ‘too bad we burnt you at the stake because we called you a heretic!’
    If one does visit the monuent then they must be prepared to ask the question, why after so many years of Giordano Bruno’s scientific heresies, philosophizing, womanizing, and contempt for the robes he wore as a Dominican priest, did Pope Clement finally have him burned at the stake. Why only now is the Vatican prepared to say that not only did they violently extinguish this great man but rob history of one of its greatest thinkers of the time.
    What was it that prevented Clement’s predecessor, Sixtus V, a pope notorious for his murdering of close to thirty thousand opponents that he had labelled as brigands from doing so much earlier. And why was it only after Bruno spent two years in Prague, as friend and sometimes confidant of the Emperor Rudolf II, (a man also despised by the Church until they removed him a few years after burning Bruno by forcing him to abdicate and naming his brother Matthias as Holy Roman Emperor) that the Church finally felt it had to act? Even then, it was only after eight years of imprisonment that they finally were able to sentence him on a new charge of denying the Trinity. What exactly did he confess to that they felt it necessary to extinguish his brilliance? History is not without its sources that escape the book burnings and bannings in spite of the Church being very thorough in its eradication programs. Many of the clues as to what Giordano Bruno did during those two years in Prague that finally sealed his fate can be read in the book Shadows of Trinity released by Eloquent Books. Bruno was a complex and complicated man, who took a path which led him to his own personal salvation. What he learned about the Trinity in Prague sealed his fate. It is actually representation of the ugliness that mankind is guilty of in the name of religion. When you stare up at the stature remember that the Church feared him most of all which led to his final comment as they put the flames to his pyre, “I believe you fear me more than I could ever fear this sentence?”


  • No trackbacks.

Leave a Reply

Last Minute City Guide

Prague: Last Minute City Guide

Prague, “City of a Thousand Spires”, is consistently one of the most desirable tourism targets in Europe, if not the world. Over the past decade, th...