Our Rome expert offers a guide to the city’s top free attractions, including the best parks and free museums
An insider’s guide to the best free things to do in Rome, including attractions for kids, families and couples and how to see sites such as the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, St Peter’s, Trevi Fountain and the Villa Borghese. By Lee Marshall, Telegraph Travel’s Rome expert.Aventine Hill (1)To be plebeian in Roman times simply meant you were not born into the ruling class. Many plebs were very rich – and the leafy Aventine was their district of choice, a Classical-era Beverly Hills dotted with posh villas, at a safe and salubrious distance from the rough-and-tumble river port down below. It was through the latter that cults from all over the known world made their entrance to the city, with temples to their exotic gods built up here on the heights. Today’s Aventine preserves the upmarket cachet; it’s a quiet residential area whose pricey houses are given added value because many have gardens – a rarity in central Rome. The view over the city from pretty Parco Savelli is one of my favourites; it’s a great place for a sunset picnic with a good bottle of wine. Nearby, join the queue of people waiting to peek through the famous keyhole of the Knights of Malta in Piazza Cavalieri di Malta: three sovereign territories (the Knights’ garden, Italy and the Vatican) line up in glorious perspective, with the dome of St Peter’s in the background.