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Free or cheap things to do in the Eternal City

Rome, Roma, the Eternal City, the Sacred City, the Capital of the World, the City of the Seven Hills... The Ancient City of Rome has many names. One of the reasons is that Rome has a recorded history for more than two millennia and it's probably from even further back. It was once one of the biggest empires in the world and the city still has traces of it left, which is extraordinary to gaze upon. Here's what to see in the Eternal City. In can be done in a weekend if you're a good planner, which is definitely one of my best (or worst) traits.

The Spanish Steps

I did not get a picture of the Spanish Steps because of the crowds. When I visited it was noon - prime time - and I actually couldn't see the steps for all the people. Instead I got to see the beautiful Monty Neighborhood surrounding the steps, which is also worth the trip. The metro station is called the Spanish Steps and it stops right next to the place. If you want to avoid the crowds go really early in the morning, however, if you ask me: Save your early mornings for something even better!

The Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is worth your early morning! We went for sunrise and got the place all to ourselves. We brought a few pennies to throw in and make a wish - a must. It's also a good spot to enjoy an ice cream. There's not a metro station near it, so we hopped of at the Spanish Steps and walked for like 10 minutes.

The Pantheon

After Trevi Fountain head over to the Pantheon, a magnificent building, and free to enter in the opening hours. From Trevi to Pantheon, you'll see the beautiful Monty neighbourhood and discover how real Roman people live.

The Colosseum

The famous amphitheatre, Colosseum, is of course a must when in Rome and it's worth a visit in both daylight and night time. Now it is only ruins, but back in the days, the Colosseum hosted gladiatorial shows among others. We visited right before sunset and instead of finding an expensive nearby restaurant with Colosseum views, we bought some food at a local supermarket and had dinner on top of the brick walls across the street. It's the most famous viewpoint - you can't miss it. There's people day and night but it's always possible to find a good spot.

If you want to go inside entry is free on Sundays. On the outside, the best viewpoints are Via Nicola Salvi or the Oppian Hill. Via Nicola Salvi is where we had dinner with the view below.

The Roman Forum

Next to the Colosseum you'll find the ancient ruins of the great Roman Forum, which used to be important government buildings. The greatness of the ruins really makes you feel small! The best free view of the Roman Forum is from Via de San Pietro, Carcere Street.


The Vatican City is actually not part of Rome but an independent city-state located in the heart of Rome. Nevertheless, it's something you have to visit when in Rome. The Vatican City is the smallest state in Europe with only 0,44 square kilometers. For free you can go inside and visit St. Peter's Square and St. Peter's Basilica (pictured). The Vatican Museums is also worth a visit if you're into art. Within the museums lies the Sistine Chapel and the work of the famous artist Michelangelo. My favourite spots are the Sistine Chapel, the Spiral Staircase and the Gallery of Maps.

On the last Sunday of each month the museums are free to visit, but be aware that it is not open any of the other Sundays! On weekdays the best time to go is super early or at closing time. The last tickets are sold at 4pm, however, the museums close at 6pm.

Castel Sant'Angelo

The cylindrical building has been a prison and a castle once, but now it is a museum. The best part of the museum is the view from the rooftop. Castel Sant'Angelo is one of the lesser known sunset spots, however, it provides you with great views of the St. Peter's Basilica - since it's in the same area - and the rest of the city as well. Unfortunately, the museum is not one of the many free things do in Rome. It costs approximately 10€ for an adult, however, if you are an European youth you'll only have to pay 2€!

On this side of the Tiber river you'll also find the neighbourhood Trastevere. A neighbourhood famous for its quiet and authentic display of the Roman everyday life. Be aware that that is not the case anymore. Now it is full of tourists at all times of the day. Nevertheless, the neighbourhood is great for a nice local lunch or dinner.

More photos of beautiful Rome:

The view from Castel Sant'Angelo

St. Peter's basilica early in the morning

The streets right outside the Vatican City

Trevi Fountain upclose

The Dome of St. Peter's basilica

The Colosseum

The Colosseum seen from the viewpoint across the street

Monty Neighbourhood between Trevi and the Pantheon



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