Written by  Kat Mackintosh

If you’ve not been to Rome you will, most likely, have already visited its piazzas, monuments and churches in galleries, history lessons or at the cinema. Even if you have been before it’s the kind of city that leaves you wanting more, and this guide will help you get more out of Rome for much less, in fact for free.

Rome, home to the Pope and heart of the catholic religion, is a city of churches. Some grand and ancient, others smaller and more intimate, many of them harbour important artifacts, works of art or beautiful frescos, and all are free to enter. There are too many to visit them all but the top three must surely include St. Peter’s Basilica, designed and decorated by Michelangelo, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Rome’s oldest and first church - its relics include the table from the last supper and supposedly the heads of St. Peter and St. Paul - and Santa Maria Maggiore of the ancient mosaics and beautiful gilded ceiling.

First a temple and now a church, the Pantheon is also free. It’s survived two thousand years of Roman history and is just as awe inspiring as you imagine it to be. Stand under the oculi, the hole it its roof, and admire the way the beams of sunlight make the marble glow, or even better let God rain directly on you. On the last Sunday of the month the Vatican also offers free entry.

If your love affair with Rome springs from the idea of a beautiful girl on the back of a Vespa= Roman Holiday style, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Bocca della Veritá(The Mouth of Truth) is free to visit, although if you tell it a lie it could cost you a hand. The city’s great sights and sites, which said girl scoots by, The Colosseum, the Castel Sant’Angelo, Spanish Steps and the beautiful Baroque waterworks of the Trevi Fountain are also free to admire from the piazzas that surround them. And if you throw your coin in the fountain you’ll save having to worry about coming back to this eternal city – that’s what tradition demands and Roma is very traditional. Drinking from Bernini’s fountain at the foot of the Spanish Steps, beside romantic poet pilgrimage high church, the Shelley-Keats House is supposed to solve your problems with lady luck.

If the great works of art decorating the walls and roofs of Rome’s churches have whetted your appetite for the glow of fleshy pinks and the chubby faces of cherubs there is more art to see per la libera (for free). The Galleria Nazionale Di San Luca is attached to an art academy and its collection is open to the public in the mornings, or one of the biggest museum complexes, the Capitoline Museums is free on the last Sunday of the month.

Best of Rome

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