Rome in a day?
Is it possible? The answer is yes – it is possible.
For my second visit to Rome, I was going to Rome with a friend of mine (it was her first time in Rome) and we originally had planned to spend 2 days in Rome, before going to Florence.
But due to our flight delay, we ended up arriving in Rome late at night and ended up having only one full day.
During my first visit to Rome, I spent 4 days in Rome, including a day trip to Amalfi Coast, and felt like there was more to see in the city (I will do another post on this itinerary later). So one day is not really a recommended amount of time, but feasible.
Here is what you need in order to see Rome in a day:
- Decide if you want to get the Roma pass (€ 36 for 3 days, € 28 for 2 days) – this allows use public transportation in Rome for free and also free entry to the first visited museum/archaeological site of your choice (two free entry with the 3 day pass, one free entry with the 2 day pass) as well as a few other museums in Rome. It’s worth it if you plan to go to the Colosseum (admission is €12) + another museum + you will be using the metro during your stay in Rome (metropass for the day is €6). Similar to the Museum Pass in Paris, the Roma pass lets you bypass the line-ups at these tourist attractions as well – this was one the main reason I got the Roma pass to see Rome in a day, as I didn’t want to waste time waiting in line.
- Book your Vatican night opening ticket in advance – one of the reasons why I was able to fit in the Vatican, in addition to visiting the key sightseeing spots in Rome is because I had the Vatican night opening ticket booked. The night opening means they are extending the visit hours from 7pm to 11pm. To book your tickets for Vatican night opening, click here.
- Be prepared to walk A LOT!
Here is a summary of my itinerary for Rome in a day (if you have more than a day in Rome, I recommend visiting all these sights but in a less rushed way):
Colosseum -> Arch of Constantine -> Roman Forum and Palatine Hill -> Piazza del Campidoglio -> Victor Emanuel II Monument -> [Lunch] -> Pantheon -> Sant’Eustachio Il Caffe (coffee) or Giolitti (gelato) -> Piazza Navona -> Piazza del Popolo -> Spanish steps -> Via del Corso -> Trevi Fountain -> Bar Pompi (tiramisu) -> Vatican -> St. Peter’s Basilica -> Castel Sant’Angelo (night view) -> Victor Emanuel II Monument (night view) -> Fontana de Trevi (night view)
Here is my itinerary for Rome in a day with details & photos:
1) Colosseum (Colosseo)
Go to the Colosseum when it opens in the morning (8:30am) to avoid spending time lining up to get in.
If you have the Roma pass, you can use it here.
For more details about hours and admission fee for the Colosseum, click here.
2) Arch of Constantine
You can see the Arch of Constantine on your way to Foro Romano and Palatino from Colosseum.
It’s not as big as the Arc de Trimophe in Paris, but it is one of the historical monuments in Rome as it was built in 315.
3) Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (Foro Romano e Palatino)
Foro Romano and Palatino is located near the Colosseum. After you pass the Arch
So you can walk over there after you see the Colosseum.
You can also use your Roma pass at Foro Romano and Palatino.
For details about hours and admission fee for Foro Romano and Palatino, click here.
4) Piazza del Campidoglio
Piazza del Campidoglio is a beautiful square designed by Michaelangelo.
Once you exit Foro Romano (from the opposite side of where you entered) by walking up the stairs, you will walk into Piazza del Campidoglio.
5) Victor Emanuel II Monument (Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II)
From Piazza del Campidoglio, you walk straight down the street and you will reach Victor Emanuel II Monument.
6) Piazza Venezia
Across from Victor Emanuel II Monument is Piazza Venezia.
From this square, you can walk to Via del Corso (shopping street in Rome, similar to 5th avenue in NYC or Avenue des Champs Elysees in Paris) or take a bus to other tourist attractions (there are over 20 buses that stop by this bus station).
By this time, it was lunch time. So my friend and I stopped by a pizzeria for lunch.
It was a random pizzeria we found, but it was still really good!
But unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the pizza place to share the details :(
Next stop is Pantheon. There is no admission fee here, so you can just walk in.
The architecture of this building is very impressive and a must see when you are in Rome.
8) Sant’Eustachio Il Caffe
I am a coffee lover, so before I went to Rome, I did some research about famous coffee shops in Rome.
From Pantheon (walking distance), we went to this coffee shop I found from my research called Sant’Eustachio Il Caffe.
For my blog post about Sant’Eustachio Il Caffe, click here.
If you are a gelato lover, you can also go to a famous gelateria near the Pantheon called Giolitti.
For my blog post about Giolitti, click here.
9) Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona is walking distance from Pantheon/Sant’Eustachio Il Caffe/Giolitti.
There’s lots of street artists and cafes/restaurants and fountains in/around Piazza Navona.
So there’s lots to see and do in and around the square.
11) Piazza del Popolo
Piazza del Popolo is the largest urban square in Rome.
It is about a 20 minute walk from Piazza Navona.
12) Spanish Steps
From Piazza del Popolo, you can walk along Via del Babuino and you will reach Piazza di Spagna, where the Spanish Steps are.
Spanish steps are famous for the location of one of the scenes in the movie Roman Holiday, where Audrey Hepburn was eating her ice cream ;)
13) Via del Corso
Via del Corso is the main shopping street in Rome (like 5th avenue in NYC).
To get here from the Spanish steps, continue on walking Via Condotti and you will get to the intersectoin of Via Condotti and Via del Corso.
They have all the luxury brands on this street, so this is the place to make big purchases if you are into shopping ;)
14) Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)
Trevi Fountain is one of my favourite spots in Rome.
I recommend going to the Trevi Fountain once during the day and once at night.
15) Bar Pompi
Before going to the Vatican, I stopped by Bar Pompi for some Tiramisu.
From Trevi Fountain, the best way to get to Bar Pompi is to take the metro. Closest metro station from Trevi Fountain is Repubblica.
Click here for my blog post on Bar Pompi.
Every Friday from May 2nd to July 25th and from September 5th to October 31st, the Vatican Museum will be open to visitors from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm (last entrance at 9:30 pm). Click here to book your tickets on the Vatican’s night opening days.
17) Roma by night
By the time I was done at the Vatican, it was dark outside.
Rome is very beautiful at night, so starting from the St.Peter’s Basilica beside the Vatican, I did night sightseeing of Rome.
- Recommended route of Roma by night: St.Peter’s Basilica -> (walk to) Castel Sant’Angelo -> (take a bus to) Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II -> (walk to) Fontana de Trevi