Alas, with Roman hotel rates higher than ever and the dollar at depressing lows against the euro, it can be difficult to find any budgetary relief for tourists in Italy’s capital city. Or is it?
This morning we were doing a little research on the value of “all-in-one” tourist passes in Rome, when we realized that quite a few sights in Rome are actually free to visit… or at least free to gaze at from outside. After all, most of them are located outside and are just part of the Eternal City’s street scene.
Some of our favorite Roman freebies:
St. Peter’s Basilica – Visiting the seat of the Catholic Church is free, and the Pilgrim Tourist Information Center, located along the colonnade on your way into the basilica, offers free brochures and information. Note that if you show up in the summertime wearing shorts, you may have to buy paper pants from eager vendors in order to enter the religious site.
Spanish Steps – Nobody will charge you to waltz your way down (or up) the famous outdoor staircase, nap in the afternoon sunshine, or pose for that postcard shot.
Trevi Fountain - The city’s most famous fountain is overflowing with visitors night and day, and the most it will cost you is whatever coin you flip into it.
Pantheon – The oldest intact structure from the ancient world, this domed temple is an absolute must — and absolutely free.
Some other Roman freebies include the Baths of Diocletian, Capitoline Hill, and walking around the exterior of the Colosseum and the Castel Sant’Angelo. Of course the city’s famous squares are also free to hang out in, including the Piazza Navona and Campo De’ Fiori.
What do you need to pay to visit? Several big sights, including:
The Colosseum (interior) – €9
Borghese Museum & Gallery – €8.50
Vatican Museum (and Sistine Chapel) – €13
Capitoline Museum – €6.50
And, as of March 2008, the Roman Forum is charging admission (€10). Certain all-in-one cards allow discounts to multiple sights (including the Forum), although it’s not quite as well organized as in other cities. For example, the city’s “Archaeologia Card” provides admission to the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatinum and Palatinum Museum, National Roman Museum, Terme Di Caracalla, Cecilia Metella, and Villa dei Quintili. It costs €23.50 for adults. For EU citizens between 18 and 25 years of age, the Archaeologia Card costs just €13.50 and is valid for one week.