Free sights in Italy

Free sights, experiences, monuments, museums, and events in Italy

There's an old Andalucian proverb: "Of things which are free, you must fill your basket." Very practical, admirably pragmatic, but freebies would seem to have nothing to do with what most people wrongly view as the rather expensive exercise of Italian travel. Not true.

There's more to see and do for free in Italy than you'd think—from churches and cathedrals stuffed with ancient wonders and Old Masters to gloriously landscaped parks and gardens and amazing palaces and marketplaces. If you know just where and when to go, you can find free concerts. There are even ways to eat for free and sleep for free (no, really).

You could easily spend a fun-filled week in Rome without ever spending a Euro-cent on sightseeing.

In other words, I'm here to help you fill that basket.

The lowdown on Italy for free

And sometimes forcing yourself into penniless sightseeing is a great way to discover new and offbeat sights, whether it's the Museum of Dead Souls in Rome or the gondola workshop in Venice.

There are even ways to get into such biggies as the Vatican Museums for free.

Admission to most of Italy's thousands of churches is free (except, increasingly, in Florence, a trend I hope doesn't spread). These giant piles of Gothic and Renaissance architecture often seem to have been built as little more than magnificent display cases for frescoes, sculptures, paintings, mosaics, and stained glass by Italy's top artists.

A stroll along the Arno or streets of Venice remains free of charge, as does a ringside seat to the carnival of life in an Italian piazza. There are dozens of special moments and unique experiences available everywhere, and I'll try to point out as many of those as I can, even if some do carry a tiny price tag (perhaps the cost of a bus ticket or a cappuccino).

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