You don’t have to spend a bucketload to make memories in our beautiful Melbourne. Here’s the best free events happening this March.

That’s amore

Swing over to Italy – in Southbank. You’ll be spoilt for culinary choice at the Gradi Italian Festival. As well as the usual pizza and pasta suspects, we hear there will be a salumi e formaggi station and cannoli bar. Aside from treating your tummies, you can admire the array of free live entertainment and there’ll be plenty of activities for the kids. The festival kicks off at noon daily from 15-17 March at the Crown Entertainment Complex.

Never mind

Exercising on holidays can be a drag, we know. But how about exercising your mind? Collingwood studio The Mind Room can help with that. They open their doors for free drop-in mindfulness classes each Wednesday in March from 1.15-1.45pm. Suited to both newbies and advanced wellness warriors, the sessions cover mindfulness through meditation and everyday activities, including a focus on either breath, body, emotions, compassion or connection. Make sure you book your spot at themindroom.com.au

In your stride

Combine your Sunday with a Free Event morning walk with a good cause on March 24. Walk For Autism kicks off at 10am at Princes Park, with each step raising money for the estimated 2019 population of 240,000 Australians living with autism. Young and old are encouraged to join, and individuals are free to set their own pace and distance. Simply register, decide your distance and ask your friends to sponsor your stride.

Story time

Admire a vibrant and insightful collective of artwork from the Central Australian Aboriginal communities of Yuendumu and Nyirripi. Head to the free exhibition at DoubleTree by Hilton and learn about the artists and their dreaming through colourful unrestricted palettes, ancient iconography and the sharing of their Jukurrpas (Dreaming stories). It’s on every day until March 24.

Hit the roof

Rise above the hustle and bustle and settle into the serenity of your mat with a free rooftop yoga class. Yoga teacher Olivia Hanus and others instructors will lead vinyasa and yin-style sessions on top of the world at Rooftop Bar on Swanston Street. And forget the buzz of traffic – the class will be soundtracked by some of the city’s best DJs. Once mats are rolled up, you can wind down with a tea or chai – or a Bloody Mary if you’ve had a big Friday night. The over-18 event is on Saturday, March 2. Head to downtownstudio.com.au to secure your place.