25 Free Things to Do in Italy to Awesomize Your Vacation

by Bianca @ Italian Fix


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free things to do in italy

Looking for free things to do in Italy?

Here’s a list of 25 trip awesomizers that won’t cost you a dime.


1. Drink out of a lion’s head: public fountains are everywhere.

2. Wake up at dawn and take photos. You’ll score good light and empty streets; it’s what the pros do.

3. Learn manners on your first day. Write simple Italian greetings on a sticky note and attach it to your wallet. Try please (per favore), thanks (grazie), and bye-bye (arrivederci or ciao).

4. Smile more + worry less (also essential for life in general).

5. Use a credit card with no “foreign transaction” fees. Typically credit cards charge an additional fee (around 2.5%) when you charge an item in a foreign currency — but you can avoid that scam and carry a card without the fee. We’ve written a post about all kinds of money matters in Italy, complete with a list of great travel cards we recommend.

6.  Write down epiphanies (cause they fade).

7. Take a photo of every person you talk to in one day.

8. Visit an Italian festival (here’s a list). Sharing the energy of the Venice film festival or Carnivale won’t cost you anything more than extra planning.

9. Ask your hotel for a free room upgrade.

10. Ask your hotel if you can checkout late (but not at the same time you’ve asked for an upgrade).

11. Ask a local builder, “Where do you eat lunch?”  His suggestion won’t be in your guidebook.

12. Walk in the graveyards.

13. Visit a church.

14. Don’t read the menu, just asks the waiter to bring you her favourite meal.

15. Help a traveller who is lost or struggling; practising kindness releases serotonin in the brain (serotonin makes you feel good, and it’s what anti-depressants are designed to release).

16. Talk to strangers.

17. If travelling alone, sit with someone else who’s also travelling alone.  In Italy during the lunch rush this is commonplace.

18.  Walk up to the highest landmark: you’ll find a church or a villa up there with a crazy good view.

19. Complain less, especially when things aren’t going your way.

20. Download free travel apps. For speaking, for flying, for photo editing, for currency conversions, for organizing itineraries.

21. Score free museum visits (check individual museum websites). For example, the Vatican Museum is free the last Sunday of each month in the morning.

22. Flirt with your waiter

23. Talk to fellow travellers at breakfast and ask them about the favourite things they’ve done since arriving.

24. Go to free mass at the Pantheon in Rome on Saturdays at 5 p.m. or Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Or go on this free tour.

25.  Attend “Notte Bianca” – a special night that many Italian cities celebrate with shopping and museums open late and cultural events planned throughout the night. To find the schedule for the time and place you are travelling just Google “Notte Bianca [city] [year]”.

It’s your turn. Share YOUR favourite ways to awesomize your travels without breaking the bank in the comments below.

Love, Bianca


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Monique @ Italian Fixdalia abd allahShaliniBianca GignacAntoinette Herivel Recent comment authors
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Great ideas! I’ve visited a graveyard in Florence and it was beautiful, the view of the city from there was amazing.


if you have a blog, you are a ‘journalist’ — before your trip, research where you’d like to eat or take a cooking lesson or a tour and contact their PR peeps and ask for a complimentary invitation/experience, works pretty well!


Antoinette Herivel

Good you mentioned free Vatican day- most of the big museums have a free day/ or evening. In Paris they are all free on last Sunday of the month. It’s also a good idea to book ahead for entry to Uffizi and then you don’t need to wait – I… Read more »


Hi Bianca. These ideas and your blog on Cinque Terre is awesome. I am planning a 9 day trip in July end and would leverage all of these hacks. Thank you so much. Love, Shalini

dalia abd allah

great ideas and you can add this to it : Prepare your self to visit tons of impressive point of views, virtually every city has a belfry or castle (or two), and they are constantly, constantly worth the climb! Many of these impressive points of views (such as the Piazzale… Read more »

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