Rome Itineraries

Rome is jam-packed with things to do and see. These are some of our suggested itineraries. Make sure to leave yourself time to just wander and get the feel of the city as well.

Rome in 1 Day

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if that’s all you have to see it, take a deep breath, strap on some stylish-but-comfy sneakers, and grab a cappuccino to help you get an early start. Get ready for a spectacular sunrise-to-sunset tour of the Ancient City.

Begin by getting a coffee at the bar of the Caffè Sant'Eustachio right when it opens at 9 am. Close by are two opulently over-the-top monuments that show off Rome at its Baroque best: the church of Sant'Ignazio, with its stunning painted ceiling, and the princely Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, packed with great Old Master paintings. Mid-morning, head west a few blocks to find the fabled Pantheon, still looking like Emperor Hadrian might arrive shortly. A few blocks north is San Luigi dei Francesi, home to Caravaggio's earliest major commissions.

Just before lunch, saunter a block or so westward into the gorgeous Piazza Navona, studded with Bernini fountains. Then take Via della Cuccagna (at the piazza's south end) and continue several blocks toward Campo de' Fiori's open-air food market. This is a great place to stop for lunch.

Two more blocks toward the Tiber brings you to one of the most romantic streets of Rome—Via Giulia—laid out by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century. Walk past 10 blocks of Renaissance palazzi and ivy-draped antiques shops to take a bus (from the stop near the Tiber) over to the Vatican.

Gape at St. Peter's Basilica, then hit the treasure-filled Musei Vaticani (for the Sistine Chapel) in the early afternoon. During lunch, the crowds thin out some, but you can avoid lines entirely if you book online at (the €4 service fee is well worth the time saved). Wander for about two hours and then head for the Ottaviano stop near the museum and Metro your way to the Colosseo stop.

Climb up into the Colosseum and picture it full of screaming toga-clad citizens enjoying the spectacle of gladiators in mortal combat. Follow Via dei Fori Imperiali to the entrance of the Roman Forum. Photograph yourself giving a "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" oration (complete with upraised hand) by a crumbling column. At sunset, the Forum closes and the floodlights come on.

March down the Forum's ancient Via Sacra and back out into Via dei Fori Imperiali where you will head around "the wedding cake," the looming Vittorio Emanuele II Monument (Il Vittoriano), to the Campidoglio. Here, on the Capitoline Hill, tour the great ancient Roman art treasures of the Musei Capitolini, and admire the view over the Forum from the Tabularium and toward St. Peter's from the terrace by the museum's caffè. If you're not entering the museum, there is a spectacular view over the Forum from the Capitoline Hill (at the top of via Monte Tarpeo).

After dinner, hail a cab—or take a long passeggiata walk down La Dolce Vita memory lane—to the Trevi Fountain, a gorgeous sight at night. Don't forget to toss a coin in over your shoulder to ensure a trip back to Rome.

Rome in 3 Days

More time in Rome will allow you to explore more of the Roman Forum and the Vatican Museums, check out some less touristy sights, and drink your way through hip neighborhoods like Trastevere.

Day 1: Ancient Rome

Spend your first day in Rome exploring the likes of the Roman Forum, Musei Capitolini, and the Colosseum. This area is pretty compact, but you can easily spend a full morning and afternoon exploring its treasures. It’s best to try and beat the crowds at the Colosseum by getting there right when it opens at 8:30 am (advance tickets help, too). A guided tour of the Forum is also a good way to make the most out of your afternoon. After your day of sightseeing, stop for a classic Roman dinner in nearby Monti.

Day 2: The Vatican and Piazza Navona

Another full day of sightseeing awaits when you make your way to the city-state known as the Vatican. You’ll once again want to try and avoid the biggest crowds here, especially for a glimpse of the Sistine Chapel (the best way to do this is to make online reservations for an extra €4 ahead of time). Booking a tour of the Vatican Museums is a good way to take full advantage of the site; most tours last two hours. Be sure to stop in and marvel at St. Peter’s Basilica, too. Stop for lunch in nearby Prati, but after you're done with the Vatican, cross the river to Piazza Navona. Spend some time exploring this glorious piazza and its sculptures, but make sure to stop by the Pantheon before heading to Campo de’Fiori for dinner at an outdoor restaurant. Afterwards, there are plenty of nearby bars to keep you occupied.

Day 3: Piazza Di Spagna, Villa Borghese, and Trastevere

Start your morning with breakfast near the Trevi Fountain, before doing some window-shopping up Via Condotti and the many surrounding backstreets as you make your way to the Spanish Steps. Pose for some postcard-worthy photos there before heading to nearby Villa Borghese. If you’re sick of museums, feel free to explore Rome’s main park and enjoy the great views; if you’re up for some more art, the Galleria Borghese is one of the city’s best art museums. Afterwards, head to trendy Trastevere for dinner, and soak in the cobblestone streets and charming medieval houses as you bar-hop your last night in town.

If You Have More Time

If your trip to Rome is on the longer side, be sure to put aside one day for a trip out to Ostica Antica, an ancient port city that is now one of the best preserved archaeological ruins in all of Italy. A train to the site leaves every 15 minutes from the Porta San Paolo station; the trip takes a mere 35 minutes. Take your time exploring these impressive ruins, and be sure to stop for lunch in town, too. Other great day trips include the gorgeous villas in the town of Tivoli, the charming small villages of the Castelli Romani, and the whimsical gardens of Bomarzo.

If you want to make the most of your time in the city itself, take your time exploring the many churches and cathedrals like Sant'Ignazio or San Clemente. You can also stop by to explore gorgeous palaces like the Palazzo Doria Pamphilij and check out lesser known but just as impressive museums like the MAXXI or the MACRO. Visiting the ancient Roman road known as the Via Appia Antica and its spooky yet mesmerizing catacombs is another great way to spend an afternoon immersed in Roman history.

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