As a professional travel advisor, I am often asked for advice on how to make the most of a short visit to Rome, Italy. With so much to see and do in this historic city, it can be overwhelming to plan a trip. In this guide, I will highlight the most important sights and attractions in Rome, suggest some great places to eat and sleep, and provide tips for getting around the city.
Day 1: Ancient Rome
On your first day in Rome, start your sightseeing in the historic center of the city. Begin with a visit to the Colosseum, one of the most iconic landmarks of Rome. You can take a guided tour or explore the structure on your own.
Next, head to the Roman Forum, which was the political and social center of ancient Rome. This sprawling complex of ruins includes the remains of temples, public squares, and government buildings.
After a morning of sightseeing, stop for lunch at Pizzeria da Baffetto, a popular pizza restaurant in the heart of the city. Be prepared to wait in line, as this is one of the most popular places to eat in Rome.
In the afternoon, head to the Pantheon, one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in Rome. This temple, originally built as a place of worship for all the gods, is now a Catholic church.
End your day with a visit to the Trevi Fountain, one of the most famous fountains in the world. Legend has it that throwing a coin into the fountain will ensure your return to Rome.
Day 2: Vatican City
On your second day in Rome, head to Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world and home to some of the most important art and artifacts in the world.
Begin with a visit to the Vatican Museums, which house the extensive art collections of the Catholic Church. The highlight of the museum is the Sistine Chapel, with its famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo.
Next, head to St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world and the center of the Catholic Church. The basilica is home to many treasures, including Michelangelo’s Pieta.
For lunch, try La Pergola, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant located on the top floor of the Rome Cavalieri hotel. The views of Rome from the restaurant are breathtaking.
In the afternoon, take a stroll through the beautiful St. Peter’s Square, which is surrounded by colonnades designed by Bernini. If you’re lucky, you may even see the Pope!
Day 3: Modern Rome
On your final day in Rome, explore some of the city’s more modern attractions.
Begin with a visit to the Galleria Borghese, which houses a stunning collection of art and sculpture from the 15th to the 18th century. Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as entry is limited to a certain number of visitors per day.
Next, head to the Piazza del Popolo, a large square in the northern part of the city. The square is dominated by an ancient Egyptian obelisk, and is surrounded by beautiful churches and palaces.
For lunch, try Ristorante Nino, a classic Italian restaurant that has been serving traditional Roman cuisine since 1938.
In the afternoon, take a stroll through the Villa Borghese, a large park in the heart of the city. The park is home to several museums, including the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea.
End your day with a visit to Piazza Navona, one of the most beautiful squares in Rome. The square is surrounded by stunning Baroque architecture, including the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi.
Routes in Rome
If you’re short on time, consider taking a guided tour of Rome to make sure you see all the highlights. There are many companies that offer walking tours, bike tours, and even Segway tours of the city.
Another option is to take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, which will take you to all the major sights in the city. These tours allow you to get off at any stop and explore at your own pace, before hopping back on the bus to continue your tour.
Where to Stay
Rome has a wide variety of accommodations to suit all budgets. If you’re looking for luxury, consider staying at the Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria hotel with stunning views of the city.
For a more affordable option, try the Hotel Santa Maria, a charming hotel located in the Trastevere neighborhood.
Where to Eat
There is no shortage of great places to eat in Rome, from classic pizzerias to fine dining restaurants.
For a classic Roman pizza, try Dar Poeta, a popular pizzeria in the Trastevere neighborhood. For a more upscale dining experience, try Il Pagliaccio, a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves modern Italian cuisine.
If you’re on a tight budget, consider taking advantage of one of the many free tours available in Rome. These tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will show you around the city and provide insights into its history and culture.
One popular option is the Free Tour Rome, which covers the major sights in the historic center of the city.
What is the best time of year to visit Rome?
The best time to visit Rome is in the spring or fall, when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. Summer can be very hot and crowded, while winter can be rainy and chilly.
Do I need a visa to visit Rome?
If you are a citizen of the United States or the European Union, you do not need a visa to visit Rome for stays of up to 90 days. If you are from another country, check with the Italian embassy in your home country to find out if you need a visa.
What is the best way to get around Rome?
Rome has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, trams, and a subway system. The subway is the fastest way to get around the city, but it can be crowded during peak hours. Taxis and Uber are also available, but they can be expensive.
What should I wear when visiting Rome?
When visiting Rome, it is important to dress appropriately for the sights you will be visiting. In churches and other religious sites, you should dress modestly and cover your shoulders and knees. Comfortable shoes are also a must, as Rome is a city that is best explored on foot.
Is it safe to walk around Rome at night?
Rome is generally a safe city, but it is always important to be aware of your surroundings, especially when walking around at night. Stick to well-lit areas and avoid empty streets and alleys.
Rome is a city that truly has something for everyone, from ancient ruins to world-class museums to delicious cuisine. With a little bit of planning and some insider tips, you can make the most of your visit to this amazing city. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Rome is sure to leave a lasting impression.
If you’re looking for more information on visiting Rome, be sure to check out the official tourism website for the city of Rome.