If you intend to organize a trip to Rome and have planned to dedicate a little more than a weekend to the "Eternal City", this itinerary is for you! Scrolling down the page you will find a summary of the things to see in Rome in 3 days, ideal for falling in love with the city from the first trip!
A name that contains the weight of a millenary history built up on its 7 hills: the Aventine, Celio, Esquiline, Palatine, Quirinal, Viminal and Campidoglio. An incisive name, which presents itself with the characteristic grandeur of its structures, such as the Coliseum and Pantheon. A warm name, like the character of the people who live there and live it every day. An important name that belongs to the Italian capital fair!
Well, Roma the master of the world, is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and attracts tourists from all over the world, making great competition to other cities of the caliber of Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Bratislava ... it is practically a must to visit it at least once in a lifetime, but if the time is running out and you have a chance to dedicate only 3 days to it, this itinerary is the best you can follow!
A positive fact that can be found in the various ways to visit Rome, is that the city can be explored mainly on foot, the best way to enjoy the beauties of the city by walking along the streets that have marked history.
FREE TOUR IN ROME
One of the problems we all have, is that we arrived in a new city, we don't know which "way to turn"
"Where to start visiting the city?"
Then I discovered free tours. The free tours help me, at the first contact with a new place, to find an orientation on the things to see first.
In the case of Rome, there is this free tour in Rome, which helped me, without obligation, to understand how to move and the most important things to see. For this I recommend it:
You can find out more here
Considering the pedestrian paths, you can freely cross the historic center, the Capitoline Hill, Piazza del Campidoglio and the Altare della Patria.
Let's start with ours 3 days itinerary in Rome!
Keep in mind that this itinerary was created in such a way that every day was "exchangeable": for example if you only have two days you could decide to follow only days 2 and 3, or 1 and 2 ...
- Tips for visiting Rome in 3 days
- 1 day
- 1. Palazzo Massimo and the National Roman Museum
- 2. Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
- 3. Quirinal Palace
- 4. Monti district
- 2 day
- 1. Colosseum
- 2. Roman Forum
- 3. Palatine Hill
- 3 day
- 1. Vatican City
- 2. Castel Sant'Angelo
- 3. Piazza del Popolo
- 4. Piazza Navona
- 5. Pantheon
- 6. Trevi Fountain
- 7. Spanish Steps
- What to do in Rome in the evening
Tips for Visiting Rome in 3 Days
Here are some tips for visit Rome in three days that will help you prepare your trip to the Eternal City:
If you want to stay in a traditional neighborhood in Rome take a look here at Residenza San Calisto, located in a historic building a few meters from Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere.
Arrive just before dawn to see the city's most essential sights like la Trevi Fountain or Colosseum, without people.
If you want to save some money and not spend too much time queuing at the most important attractions, I recommend you book the OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card. This tourist card gives you free, no-wait access to the main attractions of Rome, including the Colosseum, il Roman Forum and Vatican Museums. It also has good discounts at 30 other attractions in the city and theunlimited use of public transport.
Another good option for visit the Vatican Museums without crowds, entering 30 minutes before the start of the group tours and an hour and a half before the opening to the public, is book these first access tickets if you don't want a guide.
But for me the best is book here a guided tour in English of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.
For the most tourist attractions in Rome it is always best to book tickets in advance: with the Covid-19 among other things, for some it is mandatory which means that if you show up without a ticket, you will not enter.
Below are the links to tickets for the 4 monuments to be purchased absolutely in advance:
- Here you will find the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Ticket
- Here you will find the ticket for the Colosseum. Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- Here you will find the ticket for Castel Sant'Angelo
- Here you can find the Borghese Gallery Ticket
Check the prices of the menus and drinks, before taking a seat on any terrace or restaurant located near a tourist attraction.
Find out more about the history and curiosities of the city, can book this free tour of Rome o this free tour around the Vatican, both among the best free tours of Rome.
If you arrive by train, surely to reach the historic center you will have to go through the Roma Termini station. The airport arrives direct in Piazza del Cinquecento which is the largest railway station in Italy, as well as the fifth in Europe for passenger traffic.
The Rome station is featured in many films, including Federico Fellini's Ginger and Fred and Oceans Twelve (with Brad Pitt and George Clooney).
From the station you can access the two main metro lines of the city: line A and line B.
1 - Palazzo Massimo and National Roman Museum
In any case, it would be possible to visit only in Termini Massimo Palace, or one of the offices of National Roman Museum. The museum is organized according to a chronological criterion:
- il ground floor, dedicated to the evolution of the Roman portrait from the late Republican era to the beginning of the Empire.
- il first floor where the development of the imperial image from the Flavian age to late antiquity and mythological sculpture is illustrated.
- il second floor, which is dedicated to the exhibition of frescoes, stuccos and mosaics belonging to the most prestigious Roman residences.
Al basement on the other hand, there are the numismatic and goldsmithing sections.
2 - Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore
The beautiful basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore it is one of the four papal basilicas of Rome (the others are the Basilica of San Pietro in Vaticano, the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano and the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura).
This historic Basilica is dedicated to the cult of the Madonna, as history tells that the previous church on which the basilica was later built, was inspired in a dream by Pope Liberius and the patrician Giovanni by the Madonna herself.
The Basilica is famous for the colors of the mosaics which depict a cycle of stories from the Old Testament, among which a gorgeous gold prevails.
3 - Quirinal Palace
From Termini it is possible to reach the Quirinale area, including the Quirinal Palace, the square, the wonderful gardens and the stables.
Il Quirinale Palace it is the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, therefore it represents one of the most important symbols of the Italian State.
Architects of the caliber of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Domenico Fontana worked on its design and construction. Its interior is a true artistic masterpiece: starting from the staircase of honor, the Corazzieri hall, the Pauline chapel, the various dedicated rooms including the room of the Scrigni, the Mirrors, the Music, the Peace, the Ladies and the Zodiac.
Within the Quirinal Gardens, which provide a splendid panoramic view thanks to their elevated position over Rome, is the first hydraulic organ.
The organ is powered by a waterfall with a drop of 18 meters and is fully mechanical transmission, with a single keyboard of 41 notes (the first octave scavezza), without pedal, on which it is possible to perform two madrigals.
These historic gardens are almost 500 years old, they measure 4 hectares, during which it is possible to admire a remarkable variety of flora. Several secular plants were gifts made to the popes, such as huge Cycas.
Il Palazzo delle Scuderie al Quirinale it is located in front of the presidential residence. It is important to visit as it is the most popular venue for temporary art exhibitions in Rome!
If you have become hungry during the visits, you can drop by Monti district, in which there are many characteristic restaurants excellent for enjoying local food!
4 - Monti district
Il Monti district it is one of the most picturesque corners of Rome. Its beauty derives from the particular narrow streets, from the ancient buildings, from the faded signs of inns and characteristic taverns, from the atmosphere that refers to a slightly vintage Rome that fascinates people from all over the district.
In this neighborhood you can admire the beauty of Rome's historic buildings such as Palazzo Brancaccio, the last noble palace built in the capital with elaborate baroque rooms, Lateran Palace, seat of the Historical Museum of the Papal State and of the offices of the Vicariate of Rome and the House of the Knights of Rhodes, used by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
In addition, the Monti district hosts the Viminale Palace, seat of the Ministry of the Interior, in the square of the same name.
After the first day of settling in, it's time to throw yourself in the great classics!
1 - Colosseum
Il Coliseum it is the most famous monument in Rome and the most visited in all of Europe. It is the largest amphitheater in the world as well UNESCO heritage together with the whole historic center of Rome, the area of the Holy See and the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura.
The Colosseum clearly expresses the architectural and construction concepts of the early Imperial Age, which envisaged the use of the curved and enveloping line offered by the oval plan, with particular attention to the structural relationships of arches and vaults.
To find out more about the Colosseum, read mine guide to visiting the Colosseum!
What can I say, enter this truly colossal structure and let yourself be enveloped by the density of emotions experienced by the spectators of the gladiator fights, hunting, battle, circus, mythological dramas ... shows of all kinds were represented in the amphitheater!
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2 - Roman Forum
Now you have to take some time to continue the archaeological circuit towards the visit to the Roman Forum. The Forum Magnum is an archaeological area of Rome which is located between the Palatine Hill, the Campidoglio and the Colosseum.
It's a real one historical relic of the Roman civilization, in fact, it represents its political, juridical, religious and economic center. It can be defined in all respects as the beating heart of ancient Rome.
In Roman civilization, the forum was the official meeting point for citizens of all territories. The Roman forum was born from a swamp, of which only a monument remains in memory of the only lake (the lacus Curtius) "escaped" from the Cloaca Maxima, the first drainage system ever invented.
In the area of the forum all the great public and sacred buildings of Rome in the Republican age were concentrated, for example Temples (that of Titus and Vespasian, of Concordia, of Augustus ...) and Basilicas (among the most important we can include Emilia or that of Maxentius and Constantine).
Then there is the Curia area, that is the meeting place of the senate, as well as the center of power of republican Rome. Here it is possible to admire the Silla and the Comitium. The Comizio square is bordered by the triumphal arch of Septimius Severus.
THEarch of Triumph it is a structure that was built for their invincible and unstoppable army, which after a long bloody battle needed to purify itself before beating again the sacred soil of Rome. Once you have passed this area, you can go to the Rostri tribune, the place where the oratories used to go.
In the forum it is still possible to admire what remains of the temple built in honor of Julius Caesar.
3 - Palatino Glue
The last visit that concludes the tour of the most illustrious and visited archaeological sites in the world, is the one at Palatine Hill. It is one of the seven hills of Rome and is the oldest part of the city. It is a real open-air museum! According to Roman mythology, on the Palatine Hill Romulus and Remus came to light, the famous brothers suckled by the wolf who became the founders of the city.
Either way, the Palatine Hill remains one of the most evocative places in the city, as it was the seat of the houses of the ruling class of ancient Rome and, later, of the gardens of the Farnese family. The pleasant green of the rich vegetation envelops the vestiges of the past and accompanies people on this historical journey.
1 - Vatican City
La Vatican City it is definitely one of the things to see in Rome. It is a country of its own, within the city, and is home to world-famous places of interest including the Vatican Museums Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter Basilica.
Read also my Complete Guide to the Visit of the Vatican Museums !!!
Get here early and head straight to the Vatican Museum with the skip-the-line ticket: if you buy a Omnia Rome and Vatican pass, you will have the option of book in advance a time window to skip the endless queues.
Another option is to book i tickets online directly from the Vatican Museums website, this will also allow you to skip the line, but if you plan on seeing most of the sights in Rome, this one not my recommended option (with combined tickets you save more). I want to make sure you know it's an option.
The doors of the Vatican Museum open at 9, so try to buy your ticket for the visit around that time. The Vatican Museum it gets really busy as it gets closer to noon, so getting here early will let you enjoy the quiet for a while before there are too many people.
There is a lot to see in the Vatican Museums, which span 7km of exhibits, so you could spend a lot of time there. Among my favorites are the Sistine Chapel and fabulous double helix stairwell.
Then go to the Saint Peter Basilica. Once again, my recommendation is to have a ticket that allows you to skip the line, which at peak times can extend across the square.
You will still have to go through security, but it will be a matter of minutes rather than hours. A skip-the-line ticket is available with the Omnia Rome and Vatican pass.
Once visited, you will be able to enjoy the visit of the largest church in the world and what is considered one of the holiest Catholic shrines.
I highly recommend that you go up to the top of the dome from where there are beautiful views across the city, as well as the chance to see the Basilica from above.
Vatican City is sure to be the highlight of the day, so feel free to spend a few hours there exploring at your leisure. The rest of Rome can wait.
SPECIALE LOW COST
Se you want to save I recommend you to buy the combined tickets: this is one of the best which includes the visit to the Vatican City and the Colosseum
Others tour with skip-the-line tickets that may interest you are (click on the links to find out more):
- Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, priority access
- Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with audio guide included
- Dome tour (priority entrance to both the Dome and the Basilica)
2 - Castel Sant'Angelo
Originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, Sant'Angelo castel it remained on the banks of the Tiber River for nearly two thousand years. In this time it evolved from its initial role as a tomb, becoming first a fortress, then a castle and finally a museum.
Today it is open to the public and you can climb to the top for great views over the city. You will also be able to admire the construction techniques that have allowed it to survive for two millennia.
From spring to autumn, the last entrance to Castel Sant'Angelo is at 18 pm, for the rest of the year it is at 13.00 pm.
Below are skip-the-line tickets:
Castel Sant'Angelo Ticket Skip the line
3 - Piazza del Popolo
From Castel Sant'Angelo it is a pleasant twenty minute walk along the banks of the Tiber River to Piazza del Popolo. This was the location of the northern gate of Rome, and is where, for countless years before trains, planes and cars, travelers would actually arrive in Rome.
From here, three streets extend southward in a trident formation, with the central street, the Via del Corso, running straight through the center of Rome to Piazza Venezia. Originally this would have been the route from the northern gate of Rome to the Roman Forum.
In the center of the square there is an Egyptian obelisk, theFlaminio obelisk, dating back to the rule of Ramses II (the pharaoh who built Abu Simbel in Egypt), which was brought to Rome in 10 BC and placed in this square in the XNUMXth century. On the south side of the square are the twin churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto e Santa Maria del Miracoli, on the sides of Via Corso.
4 - Piazza Navona
Navona Square it is one of the most famous in Rome, built on commission from the Pamphili family. Once in the square, you cannot miss a tour of the famous market, which, especially during holidays, is enriched with traditional banquets and characters parading in the square!
Pause to compliment the street artists who dedicate their time to making the route more interesting and lively.
5 - Pantheon
Il Pantheon it is an imposing temple dedicated to all the Roman gods which is based on a circular structure on which stands a portico of large Corinthian granite columns. A rectangular vestibule connects the portico to the rotunda, which is surmounted by the largest caisson dome, in unreinforced concrete, ever built in the world.
6 - Trevi Fountain
From the Pantheon you can go to the Trevi Fountain. Over the years this fountain has undergone many changes and was rebuilt several times, but the final version presents a façade consisting of a large central niche with a coffered cap, flanked by an order of four Corinthian columns that support a grandiose attic dominated by the coat of arms of Clement XII and crowned by a balustrade with four statues symbolizing the four seasons.
Inside the central niche there is an imposing statue of '' Oceano '', carried on a shell-shaped chariot, pulled by tritons and two sea horses, one quiet and the other tormented. They symbolize the two aspects of the sea.
Among the legends that are told about the famous Trevi fountain, the best known certainly is that according to which the one who throws a coin into the fountain, strictly from behind, will return to Rome.
7 - Piazza di Spagna
Among the most famous squares to visit, it is worth mentioning Spanish Steps. It looks like an elegant and refined square, thanks to the frame offered by the ocher-colored buildings, the Bernini fountain and the staircase on which the church of the Trinità dei Monti stands.
There are several theories regarding the name '' Fontana della Barcaccia ''. It could have been inspired by the presence of a dry boat brought by the flood of the Tiber in 1598, or it could have been a place formerly used as a small naumachia.
The Fountain is located at the foot of the Trinity Church, to get there you have to go through the famous Spanish Steps. The first part of the church, built between 1502 and 1519, is in the Gothic style. A new building was added to the Gothic nave, surmounted by a barrel vault and closed by a facade decorated with two symmetrical bell towers. Pause to observe the marvelous frescoes contained in the chapels!
At the end of this day you can relax walking through the gardens of Villa Borghese or indulge in unbridled shopping in Via Condotti!
Some advice on what to do in Rome in the evening
In Rome, the sunset brings unexpected magic. A walk in the cool of summer is made unforgettable by the romance of the Eternal City. Once the museums close and the crowds disperse, Rome relaxes. The city - so large and monumental by day - becomes intimate and accessible.
During my Roman night walks, when the traffic noise fades, I enjoy sitting by a bubbling fountain: the streets of central Rome are safe and inviting for a sunset stroll, and there is no better way to hear the beat of the city.
If you want to be elegant, take a stroll around the area around the Spanish Steps, where people look out in front of luxury boutiques. For a more like-I-am vibe, head to Piazza Popolo or Via del Corso.
The working-class youth of the suburbs converge in these places, like American children who gather at the mall. The Italians call this show the struscio (literally “the rubbing”), with everyone checking each other out.
After a pleasant walk, take a break with an aperitif. Pick a rooftop bar at a hotel for a splurge, or just sit at the outdoor bar tables. You can sit for as long as you like, with a drink, and enjoy a front row view of Rome.
When it is time for dinner, you will find that Romans love to dress up, go out and socialize with friends.
Rome has some fast food outlets, but try to prefer restaurants, Roman cuisine will amaze you: dinner alone can easily become evening entertainment. Gather around a ramshackle outdoor table (with a cacio e pepe pasta in front of it), with traffic roaring and crowds roaming around, the Romans still manage to create a small slice of intimacy.
Il lively Monti district (already mentioned before) has many good restaurants. But if you don't have enough money to take your partner out - no problem! The main square of Monti is an impromptu gathering point for people, the beer in the kiosks is cheap!
Personally I am a fan of Trastevere: Rome can be a big bustling city, but Trastevere proves that it has never lost its village atmosphere. Coming here, you enter the intimate side of the Capital, a place of pastel red buildings with green ivy hanging down from the facades of the houses, and squares full of cafes and pizzerias, with "front row" seating to observe the river and the life that flows around him.
This itinerario touch only the most characteristic places of Rome, to have a presentation of the city in all its beauty! It will be impossible not to fall in love with it and if you have thrown a coin into the Trevi Fountain as a sign of good luck, you will surely have to return to Rome Caput Mundi to deepen your journey in Roman history!