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This article is dedicated to you from “Oh Rome“, supplier of over 250 apartments in Rome since 2005.

The Euro might be down, but Western Europe can still be an expensive place to visit. Rome – Italy’s capital city – is no exception… especially if you’re at the mercy of jacked up tourist prices. Have no fear; here’s a roundup of five things to do in Rome that are free.

Stick Your Hand in the Mouth of Truth…. Maybe

It might be free to visit La Bocca della Verità – or “The Mouth of Truth” as it’s known in English -  but sticking your hand inside could come with a hefty price. Legend has it that if one tells a lie before putting their hand in the mouth of truth, the mouth will bite it off. Want to test your luck? Head towards the giant marble face at 18 Piazza Bocca della Verità.

Contemplate Life and Death at the Crypt of the Cappuchin friars

The Crypt of the Cappuchin friars near Piazza Barberini in Rome was in the 17th century by Capuchin monks using the bones of 4000 deceased friars for ghastly “decoration.” In the final chamber, find the famous inscription: “What you are now we used to be; what we are now you will be…” How often do you get a life lesson that’s completely free?
Via Vittorio Veneto 27; 39 06 48 71 185.

Watch the Cats at Largo Argentina

What is it about stray cats and Roman ruins? Maybe it’s all of the delightful nooks and crannies in the rubble that sucks them in. This square – housing the scattered remains of Pompey’s Theater – attracts hordes of stray cats year-round, and has become a no-kill shelter cat sanctuary. Let it attract you, too, as you watch the dozens of kitties play and doze in the shadow of the ruins of ancient Rome. Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary: Via Marco Papio 39 15; 06 68 72 133.

View from the Spanish Stairs. Source: Eva

View from the Spanish Stairs. Photo: Eva

Relax on The Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps are an extremely popular meeting place for visitors and locals alike. You’ll find all types of Roman lifeforms here, from Japanese nuns to Libyan flower vendors, sunning themselves on the marble steps and taking in the view of the Fontana della Barcaccia (“fountain of the giant boat”). This area’s brilliant for people watching and high-end shopping, but keep a sharp eye on your belongings.

Stop and Smell the Roses at Villa Borghese

The idyllic parks surrounding Villa Borghese are some of the largest and most beautiful in Rome; ideal for picnics, strolls, and impromptu games of frisbee. An hour here can help you forget the madness of Rome. Take your time. Smell the roses. Why not? It’s free!

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