Rome is among the most popular tourist destinations in the world, receiving an average of 7 - 10 million visitors a year. And no wonder; the city resembles a gigantic outdoor museum full of ancient ruins, countless churches of outstanding beauty, and Baroque fountains. This article will offer you a 3-day itinerary filled with free attractions.
Start off by admiring one of the most iconic attractions in Rome - the Coliseum. Unfortunately, you have to pay for entrance unless you are less than 18 years old or arrive on the first Sunday of a month. In any case, the Coliseum on the outside still looks impressive.
While still on the Piazza del Colosseo, take a look at the Arch of Constantine, which was erected to commemorate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge. Incidentally, this is the biggest Roman triumphal arch.
From there, walk along the Via dei Fori Imperiali. On the right, you may admire Trajan's Forum with its famous Trajan's Column. On the left, you'll see the white and majestic Altare della Patria (also known as the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II). Climb the monument to enjoy some truly spectacular views of the city and enter the museum of Italian Unification.
Go to the Capitoline Hill to admire Michelangelo's masterpieces - an impressive piazza with a statue of Marcus Aurelius. You can also have a free peep at the Roman Forum from there.
The Via del Teatro di Marcello will take you to the Theater of Marcellus, the only existent ancient theater in Rome. Finish your tour on the Tiber Island.
Start your day by visiting the Piazza di Spagna with its Column of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Climb the Spanish Steps for some panoramic views of Rome and enter the Trinita dei Monti, a small Catholic church on top of the stairs.
Next, go the most iconic fountain in Rome - the Trevi Fountain. Regardless of the season, the Baroque monument is always hogged by countless tourists. If have a wish, throw in a coin with your right shoulder over the left one. The money from the fountain helps feed the needy in Rome, so your coin certainly won't go to waste!
Your next stop is the Column of Marcus Aurelius. The monument was modeled on Trajan's Column, and its reliefs tell the story of the emperor's wars.
Rome is full of small yet marvelous churches, which may easily escape your attention. One of such temples is the Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, worth a visit because of its stunning ceiling frescos. If you see other churches on your way and you've got time on your hands, give it a go - you won't pay anything, and you may discover a hidden gem.
Next, go the Pantheon. Built as a temple to the Roman gods, it now serves as a Catholic church. Today's Pantheon is not the original one from the first century BC but a later reconstruction from the second century AD.
Go to Piazza Navona to admire a couple of famous Baroque fountains (the Fountain of the Four Rivers, the Fountain of Neptune, and the Moor Fountain). You may also enter the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone.
Whether you are religious or not, you can't miss out on the most important place of Catholicism - the Vatican. You can admire the Piazza san Pietro and one of the most breathtaking Catholic churches in the world - St Peter's Basilica (entrance is free of charge). As the Basilica is almost always full of tourists, you may want to visit it early in the morning to beat the biggest crowds.
On leaving the Vatican, go towards the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Although you can't enter it for free, you may still admire its majestic silhouette. Continue your walk along the Tiber until you reach the Ponte Cavour. Cross the river to get to the Mausoleum of Augustus. Finish your walk on the Piazza del Popolo.
As Rome is filled with free attractions, it is possible to plan three rewarding days there without spending anything on museums. This itinerary offers you a walk around the most important sights in Rome, such as the Coliseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon.