3 Days in Rome: What to See and Do

Introduction and Recommended Hotels

Taylor McIntyre / © TripSavvy

Rome is a popular travel destination in Italy full of attractions. Today’s Roma is a vibrant and lively city with reminders of its past everywhere. You’ll encounter ancient Roman sites, medieval and Renaissance buildings and fountains, great museums, and beautiful squares. The city is a living museum of history from Roman times to present. It also boasts many fine restaurants, cafes, and good nightlife too.

Prior to the first full day, you will check into your hotel. Take some time to wander around the neighborhood near your hotel. Although Rome is a huge city, its historic center is small, making it easy to walk. If you want to see more of the city, take public bus number 110 (from the train station or ask your hotel for the closest stop). Riding on this bus is an inexpensive way to get a good overview of Rome.

For a more in-depth and personalized introduction to the city, book a walking tour through Viator. You’ll see top sights such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Arch of Constantine, Palatine Hill, Spanish Steps, Trinita dei Monti church, Trevi Fountain and more.

Here are 4 recommended hotels, with additional guest reviews and prices from TripAdvisor:

  • Daphne Inn: Small, personal bed and breakfast with 2 central locations, especially good for first-time visitors. They even give you a cell phone so you can call them if you have questions or need help.
  • Hotel des Artistes: convenient central hotel and dorm rooms near the train station.
  • Hotel Residenza in Farnese: Quiet, small 4-star hotel in a former monastery in a great location off Piazza Farnese near Campo dei Fiori.
  • Palazzo al Velabro: short-term apartments, great for families.

Check out where to stay in Rome for other top-rated budget, luxury, and historic hotels and more suggestions, or check out TripAdvisor’s Best Rome Hotel Deals.

Tip: If you like using physical maps, buy the Rome Transportation Map at a newsstand or tourist shop. It’s a good map and if you want to take a bus or the metro, it will be very useful. You might also want to buy a Rome Pass or Discount Card to use on transportation and admissions.

02 of 05

Day 1: The Glories of Ancient Rome, Trevi Fountain, and Dinner near the Pantheon

Taylor McIntyre / © TripSavvy

On your first full day in Rome, visit Ancient Rome‘s best monuments and ruins.

Palatine Hill and Colosseum

The Roman Colosseum, Ancient Rome’s huge amphitheater, was built in between 70 and 82 AD as a venue for gladiatorial and wild animal fights. Today it’s one of the best and most popular monuments of Ancient Rome. Check out ways to avoid the long ticket line and Rome Passes and Cards for discounts on admissions.

Nearby you can visit the excavations and museum on the Palatine Hill, home to Roman emperors and aristocrats, also included with the Colosseum ticket.

Tip: On Sunday, the Via dei Fori Imperiali leading to the Colosseum is closed to traffic, making a nice place to walk.

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum, a huge complex of ruined temples, basilicas, and arches, was the ceremonial, legal, social, and business center of ancient Rome. Give yourself at least two hours to wander around. 

Trevi Fountain and Gelato Break

Now you’ll try what many consider the best gelato in Rome at San Crispino on Via Panetteria near the Trevi Fountain. Then see the magnificent Trevi fountain, completed in 1762. Toss a coin in the fountain to ensure your return to Rome.

Pantheon and Dinner

The Pantheon, the best-preserved building of ancient Rome, has a spectacular dome and free admission, closes at 7 pm. For dinner try Armando al Pantheon, in a street to the right of the Pantheon as you’re facing it. (Salita de’ Crescenzi, 31, closed Saturday evening and Sunday and part of August). After dinner, splurge on a drink outside in the Pantheon’s lively Piazza di Rotonda.

Tip: Bars and cafes charge more to sit outside but it’s worth it if you stay awhile and enjoy the ambiance.

03 of 05

Day 2: Capotiline Hill Museums, Rome Neighborhoods, and Traditional Cuisine

Stella Levantesi / TripSavvy 

Today you visit a few of Rome’s neighborhoods and museums and sample the traditional Roman cuisine.

Campo dei Fiori, Trastevere, and Jewish Ghetto

Campo dei Fiori is alive in the mornings with a market and flower vendors so it makes an interesting start to your day. From there wander along the Tiber River to Ponte Sisto, cross the Tiber to the Trastevere neighborhood and visit the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Rome’s first Christian church. Cross back to the other side and continue to the Jewish Ghetto. There are several places to sample Rome’s interesting Jewish cuisine in the Ghetto.

Tip: If you’re up early and want good photos of Piazza Navona, start the itinerary there, before the tourists arrive. Then continue to Campo dei Fiori.

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