When traveling to Europe on a budget, finding free activities is vital. In Rome, Italy, there are many attractions that are free, consisting of museums, monuments, churches and other religious sites. Here are five free attractions that can be enjoyed even when travelling on a budget.
The Pantheon is an ancient temple dating back to at least 125 AD. It was later converted into a church, and its dome was studied by Michelangelo before he started work on the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. The Pantheon is a perfect sphere resting inside a cylinder and is a magnificent building with its original bronze doors, Corinthian columns and monumental tombs. Entry to the Pantheon is free and Angel Tours Rome conducts a free tour starting at 7pm (look for the umbrella with angels on it). The Pantheon is open Mon-Sat 8.30am-7.30pm and Sunday 9am-6pm and photography is permitted. The Pantheon is located at Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, Italy. For more information call 06-6830-0230.
The Scala Santa
The Scala Santa or Holy Staircase, according to tradition, are the stairs that Jesus climbed in the house of Pontius Pilate. The stairs were brought to Rome in the fourth century by St Helena, Emperor Constantine’s mother. The stairs are often visited by pilgrims and on Good Friday there is usually a queue. Unless you are prepared to climb the stairs on your knees, with a prayer for each step (walking up the stairs is not permitted) use the non-holy steps to the side to climb to the top. The Scala Santa is open 6.15am-noon and 3.30-6.30pm daily during April to September and 6.15am-noon and 3-6pm daily during October to March.
Unofficially known as the Protestant Cemetery, this cemetery is an oasis of peace in the midst of all the traffic. Filled with a profusion of flowers and greenery and overlooked by towering cypress trees, this cemetery is home to many famous people. Here you can find the final resting place of Keats and Shelley as well as many other painters, sculptors and authors. Opening hours are Mon-Sat 9am-5pm and 9am-1pm on Sundays and public holidays. Cimitero Acattolico is located at Via Caio Cestio, 6
00153 Rome, Italy.
Museo delle Anime dei Defunti
This museum attached to the church of Sacro Cuore di Gesù in Prati houses a gruesome collection. Here you can view hand and fingerprints left behind by dead loved ones on the clothing and prayer books of the living. The dead do this to request masses so that their soul can be released from purgatory. The collection includes an incandescent handprint left on the habit of a nun and a pile of scorched bank notes left outside a church by a soul wanting masses said. Opening hours are from 7-10am and 5.30-7.30pm daily from July to mid September and from 7-11am and 4.30-7.30pm daily from mid September to June. Museo delle Anime dei Defunti is located at Lungotevere Prati 12, Rome, Italy. Call 06 6880 6517 for more information.
San Luigi dei Francesi
San Luigi is the church of the French community in Rome and was completed in 1589. The interior of this church is lavish and decorated with many frescoes and paintings. In the fifth chapel on the left, scenes from the life of St. Matthew painted by Caravaggio draws many visitors. The scenes were painted in 1600-1602 and display Caravaggio’s distinctive use of light and shade. Frescoes by Domenichino painted in 16154-1617 depicting the life of St Cecilia can be found in the second chapel on the right. San Luigi is located at Piazza San Luigi dei Francesi and opening hours are from 8.30am-12.30pm and 3.30-7pm Mon-Wed and Fri-Sun and from 8.30am-12.30pm on Thursday.
Pantheon – Rome, Italy
Free – Search Results – Time Out Rome