You are about to spend 3 days in Rome – one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the entire world!

And let me tell you something, I envy you a lot! Rome is my favorite city! It’s a risky statement to call a place favorite when there are so many stunning sites around the world, but…yeah… Rome is my favorite city!

The City of the Seven Hills, The Eternal City, The City of Love, no matter what you call it you already know the road will take you there someday (you know where all roads lead to, right?). If this day is the first out of 3, you may have enough time to taste the ancient ingredients and the renaissance flavor of Rome. .

 Enough with the cliches, let’s get down to business. To take full advantage of this 3 days in Rome itinerary, I recommend arriving there as early as possible (or the night before) and have 3 full days before you leave. The city is stuffed with things to see and it’s impossible to check them all, but with good time management and some comfortable shoes, you can check enough to fell in love.
3 days in rome

 


Three Days in Rome Itinerary – Day One – The City Roam


 

3 days in rome - city of rome
In the first out of our 3 days in Rome, the aim will be to get comfortable with this pastel colored city and feel what Rome is all about. After breakfast and cappuccino in any of the local cafes we start our day with:

 

Piazza Navona

3 days in rome - piaza navona
A public place since the 15th century, the plaza is most famous with its three fountains – Fontana del Moro, Fountain of Neptun and the biggest one – The Fountain of Four Rivers by Bernini. It’s also a place for various street performers and vendors. Don’t have breakfast there though. As tempting as it is, to have coffee and croissant while enjoying the view of naked roman gods, the price would be at least double the normal.

The Pantheon

3 days in rome pantheon

A short walk from the piazza you will find the most preserved ancient building in Rome – the Pantheon. Built between A.D 118 and 125 as a temple to the gods, The Pantheon was converted into a Catholic church in 609 and still serves as one today. There is a mass every Sunday and weddings from time to time.

The inscription:”M. AGRIPPA.L.F.COSTERTIUM.FECIT” is basically an ancient copyright statement meaning:“Marcus Agrippa son of Lucius, having been consul three times made it”.

The Trevi Fountain

3 days in Rome itinerary day 1 - The Trevi Fountain

Close to The Pantheon, you will find the Trevi Fountain – a serious Rival of the Colosseum as a main symbol of Rome, it was finished in 1762 by and is not only the largest baroque fountain in the city but also the most beautiful one in the world! Originally it was said you have to drink a glass of the water in order to come back to Rome. Today the legend evolved, and now says: you should stand with your back to Trevi and toss a coin over your left shoulder ( i throw in 2…just in case) to ensure your return to the Eternal City.
It’s closed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 am – 9 am for coin removal.

Do you want to know how much they get out of it? It’s close to 3000 euro (!) per day and its all donated to the needy.

 


To throw a coin in Trevi is one of the 1700+ ideas I have on my bucket list. 

See what else is on it!


The Spanish steps

The steps are a great place to stop, rest a little bit and eat a slice of pizza or gelato. Why are they called Spanish steps? The stairway was built in 1725 to connect the Spanish embassy with the Trinità dei Monti church. At the base of the steps is Piazade Spagna and Fontana della Barcaccia (“Fountain of the ugly Boat”), built by Pietro Bernini (the father of the famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini)

spanish steps

It’s not that ugly

Villa Borghese gardens and Galleria Borghese

villa-borghese

Behind the steps is the third largest park in Rome but the most picturesque one by far. Villa Borghese is a landscape garden and contains a number of buildings, museums, and even a zoo. The most famous museum is Galleria Borghese. It’s an art museum featuring masterpieces of many Italian artists, most notable being Raphael and Bernini. Since it’s not a big place, they let only a fixed amount of people at a time and booking is mandatory. You can buy tickets here, or schedule a guided tour here. If you plan to use a Roma Pass / Omnia Card, you have to book your entry hour by the phone ( +39 06 32810 ).

Sunset at Pincio

pincio hill
Finish your first out of 3 days in Rome with a stunning sunset on top of Pinicio. It’s on the west side of the Borghese gardens and it’s one of the most romantic places in the world to go for a sunset watch. The whole experience is complemented by local musicians playing catchy Italian jingles and all-time classic ballads.

“Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.”


Three Days in Rome Itinerary -Day Two – The Ancient Marvels


 

In the middle of our 3 days in Rome adventure, we will continue touring the biggest highlights of the city. First thing in the morning, we start with the one thing in Italy that’s more famous than the Colosseum itself:

Food tour

pizza

Begin the day with a tour of Rome’s best foodie neighborhoods and taste 18 different roman specialties. Led by a local guide you’ll start with a cappuccino and handmade Cannolo. After breakfast, your guide will take you to the oldest market of Rome where you’ll get to know the ancient food heritage of the city, talk to some Italian chefs and taste various samples of traditional Italian foods (the Mozzarella di Bufala is out of this world) The end of the tour would be in the best pizzeria in the world (as per Anthony Bourdain) .

Oh, and there is a wine tasting too!

Book the tour here or pick another here.

Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

3 days in Rome itinerary day 2 - The Roman Forum

Time to get to the big guys now – The Roman Forum and The Colosseum. They are both situated next to each other and you can visit them both with the same ticket (as long as you visit on the same day).

Why do we start with the forum and not the Colosseum?
Because of the entry lines. Everybody starts from the Colosseum so the line for the tickets is quite long. The line for the forum, on the other hand, is not even close to that and if you use one of the side entries ( go down the street behind the Arc of Constantine – “Via di San Gregorio and it’s after the bus stop, to your right) you may get tickets without waiting on a line at all !
The Forum itself is a vast area with ancient ruins of a marketplace, temples and political buildings. It is the place ancient Romans used for triumphal processions, public speeches, and even gladiatorial matches.
The Forum is a must-see and the fact it shares the same ticket with the Colosseum makes it inexcusable to miss it even if your time is limited.

Prices:
FULL: 12,00 EUR
REDUCED: 7,50 EUR (EU citizens between 18 and 25 years old)
TICKET ON-LINE: reservation fee  2.00 EUR
FREE: EU and non-EU citizens under 18
Free admission on the first Sunday of the month! On this occasion, it’s not possible to make a reservation.

the constantine arc

Arch of Constantine is between the Forum and the Colosseum. The side entrance to the forum is behind it.

The Colosseum

3 days in Rome itinerary day 2 - The Colosseum sunrise
Here it is – the grande of them all, the symbol of ancient and modern Rome. The Colosseum!

The ancient amphitheater was used mainly for gladiator battles but also for animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles and even sea fight mock-ups! The spectacles often gather more than 80.000 people (the capacity of the biggest stadium in Rome nowadays, The Olimpico, is 72,698) and they were divided (of course) by class.

The first tier, called The Podium, was reserved for the Imperator and senators (the VIP area), the second tier was for the noble class- Equites and knights. And the worst seats were for the common folk. It’s good to see how much the human kind have progressed since those barbaric years and how equal we are now (bad joke, sorry).

rome itinerary inside the colosseum

 


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The Orange Gardens and the most beautiful view in Rome

orange gardens

End the long day in The Giardino Degli Aranci. A walking distance from the Colosseum it’s considered to be one of the most romantic places in The City of Love. The gardens are located on the on the idyllic Aventine Hill but before we enter, there is another place to check.

Once on Via di Santa Sabina go past the gardens to the end of the street. There you will notice a queue in front of the door. People are not waiting for the door to be open though, they are waiting for a look through the famous Aventine keyhole also known as the most beautiful view in Rome.

3 days in Rome itinerary day 2 - The Aventine keyhole

The best keyhole in the world!

After that, go back to the orange gardens and enjoy the sunset while eating a freshly picked orange.

“Rome was a poem pressed into service as a city.”


Three Days in Rome Itinerary – Day Three – The Holly City


 

It’s the last of our 3 days in Rome, and it’s time to get out of the country and check the home of the Catholic religion – Vatican City.

St. Peter’s Basilica

3 days in Rome itinerary day 3 - The Basilica of St.Peter

Get early and be on St. Peter’s Square at 7 AM. There shouldn’t be many people there yet, so you can marvel at the white city at peace. Get in line (if there is even a line that early) and go into the largest and most famous church of all churches – St.Peter’s Basilica.

st peter basilica

Designed by Bramante, Michelangelo, and Bernini, the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture is one of the holiest Catholic shrines. All popes are buried here including the first one – St. Peter himself!
If you want to go to the top of the dome you better do it before you enter the church. It’s a different entrance to the right and there is a line with an entrance fee. The whole climb is 551 steps of various forms and sizes but if you pay a little extra, you can take an elevator for the first 320. The view from the top is heart-stirring and I strongly recommend to do the climb.

st.peter

551 steps worth it!

Important: make sure it’s not Wednesday or Sunday since the Pope has open masses on those days and you will have to wait for him to finish (at least 4 hours) before you are allowed to enter the basilica
They have a strong dress code in the Vatican city. Avoid tank tops or shorts or bring a scarf/shawl to cover yourself.
Prices:  St.Peter Basilica – free.
If you get there late and you don’t want to wait in line – 15 EUR fast entrance (buy on the spot) or 19.5 EUR if you get it online (online one includes audio guide)
Climbing to the dome: 6 euro on foot; 8 euro with the elevator.
Guided tour: 27 EUR

Vatican museums

 

vatican museums

Here’s a little info about me – I love museums! Everywhere I go I try to visit at least one.
The Vatican Museums are the 5th largest museum in the world with more than a 43.000m2 gallery space and it’s my favorite museum in the world (again with this favorite thing…).

3 days in rome itinerary-vatican stairs

3 days in Rome itinerary day 3 - Vatican Museums

Make sure you got your ticket online thus skipping the enormous line and prepare yourself for 7km travel trough time. It starts with all the things Romans stole from Egypt (there is a real mummy too!) goes through various Roman epochs, shows you formal papal residences – designed and painted by Raphael (the painter, not the ninja turtle), and ends up in the magical Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is one of those places impossible to describe. From the moment you set foot inside, the whole place starts bombarding you with energy. I spent an hour and a half listening to every word my audioguide had to say (twice) and when I got out it felt like walking out of a dream. Absolutely out of this world experience!

seagull

Taking photos inside the chapel is forbidden so here is a seagull

Cheapest place to get tickets is from the official site. If its broken (quite often) you can get them from here. A guided tour can be booked here.

Castel Sant’Angelo

3 days in Rome itinerary day 3 - Castel Sant Angelo

Once out of the Vatican, grab a quick lunch and go alongside the Tiber river until you see the bridges and an old castle. Built in 135 AD by emperor Hadrian it was actively used as a defense structure, but it also used to be home to one of the Popes when there was a deadly epidemy in 590 AD. It’s a 5 floors museum today where you can see ancient catapults, secret corridors, and the preserved papal residence. The top floor is a balcony displaying a spectacular panoramic view of the city. Perfect for sunset watching or photo hunting (or both).

rome city view

seagulls

You can find new friends up there

Working hours: from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm. On Friday, the opening hours are extended to 10:00 pm. The museum is closed on Monday

Price: Adults: 10,50€; EU citizens (aged 18 – 24): 7€

Rome by night

3 days in Rome itinerary day 3 - The Colosseum at night

Spent the evening walking around the center, and enjoy the vibe city gets after dark. Have dinner in one of the small alleys, get yourself some souvenirs and savor your last hours in the city.

More than 3 days in Rome?

You’ve got more than 3 days in Rome? You lucky, you! Ok, here are some extra attractions to check out:

The Capitoline Hill and Museums

capitolini hill

One of the seven hills of Rome, The Capitoline Hill (also known as Campidoglio) is situated right between the Forum and the Campus Martius. Been a temple of Jupiter in the ancient times, most of the ruins are covered by Renaissance palaces (that house the Capitoline Museums) and surround a piazza made by non-other but Michelangelo himself!

Why is it not included in the 3 days itinerary?
Too many Museums and Piazzas can easily lead to burnout.

 

Largo di Torre Argentina

3 days in rome-cat sanctuary

Largo Argentina is a square home to the ruins of a few temples and Pompey’s Theatre. It’s most famous about been the place where Julius Caesar was assassinated. The ruins are not that impressive, but it’s curious to know that today they also serve as a cat shelter. Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary is run by a group of volunteers who sterilize stray cats. It even has a small nursing room in one of the temples where the kitties can recover after sterilization!

Why is it not included in the 3 days itinerary?
Ruins are not that impressive and not everybody like cats.

 

Piazza del Popolo

3 days in rome piazza di popolo

A neoclassical piazza near the Spanish steps, what Popolo is most famous about is the giant Egyptian obelisk in the middle. Brought to Rome more than 2000 years ago, the obelisk of Ramesses II from Heliopolis is the second biggest in the city ( number one is on Piazza di San Giovanni in Laterano).

Why is it not included in the 3 days itinerary?
It kind of is. You enjoy the panorama view of the piazza from the top of Pinicio on day one.

 

Campo de’ Fiori

rome itinerary - camo de fiori

Campo de’Fiori translated from Italian means “field of flowers”. While the name comes from Middle Ages when the area was a meadow full of flowers, today the piazza is more likely a field of vegetables. Unlike other piazzas in Rome full of statues and obelisks, this one is home to the daily street market, and it’s the best place to get fresh ingredients for your Italian dish. There is one statue though – of the philosopher Giordano Bruno who was burned alive on the square for his beliefs the earth was round (yeah, the piazza was also used for executions back in the day).

Why is it not included in the 3 days itinerary?
If you have only 3 days in Rome, you probably won’t have the time and desire to cook your own meal.

 

The Complesso Vittoriano

3 days in rome itinerary-vittoriano

The Complesso Vittoriano located on Piazza Venezia is a giant white building that houses an art museum, a military museum, serves as an Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) and has an excellent (but expensive – 7€) panoramic viewpoint of Rome.
The colossal monument was inaugurated in 1911 as a tribute to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of Italy after the country’s unification.
Due to its color and design, it’s known as “The Wedding Cake”.

Why is it not included in the 3 days itinerary?
The viewpoint is expensive, and there was no timeslot open to include an art museum.

 

Trastevere

3 days in rome itinerary-trastevere

Take a trip across the river Tiber and explore the charming medieval neighborhood of Trastevere. Famous for its restaurants, Trastevere is a bit away from the main Roman attractions making it way less touristy and crowdy that the historical center.

Why is it not included in the 3 days itinerary?
You need to make a detour from the other attractions to include Trastevere to the itinerary.

 

Pyramid of Cestius

Yes, it’s a real pyramid, and no, it’s not stolen from Egypt (unlike the obelisks). The pyramid was built around 18–12 BC as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a magistrate and high member of the society. While not as impressive as it’s counterparts in Giza, the Pyramid of Cestius still stands 37 meters high, and it certainly is one of the most curious attractions in Rome.

Why is it not included in the 3 days itinerary?
It’s too far away from the other attractions.

 

Santa Maria della Concezione crypt

roman crypt

This is a creepy one, but if you enjoy such things, it’s easy to add to the first of the 3 days in Rome itinerary. The church of Santa Maria is not like all the others. In 1631, the Capuchin friars made Santa Maria della Concezione their new home and were ordered by the pope’s brother to bring the remains of the deceased friars along with them, so that all the Capuchin friars might be in one place. Instead of burying the remains of their dead brethren, the Capuchin friars decided to decorate the walls of the crypt with their bones as a reminder that death is always waiting behind the corner.

Why is it not included in the 3 days itinerary?
It’s not for everybody.

 

The Mouth of Truth
rome itinerary-mouth of truth

Bocca della Verità or the Mouth of Truth is a 1300kg marble mask which stands on the portico of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church. People believed that the mouth of the marble face would close if anyone put his hand in it and tell a lie.

Why is it not included in the 3 days itinerary?
It’s a popular photo opportunity in Rome but needs a little detour from the main itinerary.

 

Baths of Caracalla

The Baths of Caracalla used to be one of the greatest and most spectacular thermal complexes in ancient times. Built between 212 and 216 the baths are pretty well preserved nowadays. Another big plus is they are not that popular with the tourists so you may enjoy the glorified ruins in peace.

Why is it not included in the 3 days itinerary?
It’s too far away from the main attractions.

 

Ostia Antica

Ostia theatre near Rome

Not exactly in Rome but since it’s very close to the biggest Roman airport – Fiumicino, I decided to put it in here. The Ostia Antica s a large archaeological site that is considered to be Rome’s first colony.
You can walk over the main street of the ancient town – Decumanus Maximus and enjoy the many well-preserved houses, shops, or even the reconstructed amphitheater.

Why is it not included in the 3 days itinerary?
It’s in a galaxy far far away.

Some extra information about your 3 days in Rome:

 

When to visit?

You can visit Rome any time of the year but for the best experience, I recommend Spring (March-May) and autumn (September- November). Winters (December -February) are mild but still cold enough to discourage you from exploring the city by foot. Summer (June -August) on the other hand, is extremely hot and also the most active tourist season so it’s better to be avoided.

Where to stay?

AirBnB (never used it before ? Register here and get free 26 euro travel credit) is the best option in Rome. While the good location hotels are seriously overpriced, you can find a decent bnb for as little as 30euros per night. If you prefer a hotel or a hostel, try to book it a few months prior or you risk getting a bad location. Here are some awesome hotels you should consider if you have the budget for hotels:


Colosseum Palace Star

where to stay in rome- the colosseum hotel

This hotel will give you the once in a  lifetime experience to see the Colosseum from your window. Some rooms even offer Colosseum view from the bathroom. Imagine taking a shower while watching the old beauty :sigh: Did I mentioned I love Rome?

Check latest prices here


Maison Degli Artisti

where to stay in rome-maison-degli-artisti

This boutique hotel offers great location (right next to the Spanish Steps) with a modern art interior. You also have a balcony where you observe the Roman lifestyle buzzing underneath you. If you decide to get this one pick the piano room.

Check the latest prices here


Relais Navona71

where to stay in rome- navona91 hotel

This small hotel is located on another Roman classic – Piazza Navona. If you want to see some classical fountains from your window and to be minutes away from the Parthenon and Caste San’Angelo, this is the place for you.

Check the latest prices here


What about transportation?

Transportation from the airport can be done by shuttles(6 euro) or a taxi (45 euro fixed). You can also talk with your bnb host and check if he can meet you at the airport. The ride to the city center is around an hour from both roman airports.
For transportation around the city, I suggest to put on your most comfortable shoes and walk around the tiny alleys, absorbing the smell of basil and wine. If walking is not your thing, however, you can use the public transportation. The ticket(known as B.I.T) cost 1.5 euro and it’s good for 100minutes of travel since activating ( putting it in a machine on the bus or using the entry barrier of the metro). Bear in mind you can’t use it twice for the metro but you can use it for a metro + bus combo. You can find the tickets at the metro stations, in convenience stores or newsagents.

Is it safe?

All the major attractions are guarded by heavily armed carabiners so you’ll feel safe quite often. While Rome is one of the safer cities in the world, you are always just a moment of bad luck away from a disaster. From a twisted ankle to a slimy pickpocketer, various things may go wrong and ruin your vacation. What I do for all my trips is getting travel insurance from World Nomads. Once you have a few journeys under your belt, you can easily appreciate its tremendous value and the freedom it gives you.
While I sincerely wish you never have to use it, life happens (even more when you are traveling) and it’s always good to be prepared.

See how much your safe travel is worth

 

What about the water?

Tap water is supposed to be safe but I advise against drinking it. It’s just not worth the risk. There are various drinking fountains in the city as well but my advice is to use bottled water and save yourself from unexpected stomach problems.

How is the internet?

Good Wi-Fi can be found everywhere. If you are from the EU you should be able to use your own data plan too.

What Is the Rome Omnia card and is it worth it?

The Omnia card is a sightseeing pass and discount tourist card valid for 72hrs.
It includes:
Free entry to Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel – plus a free Wi-Fi downloadable audio guide for St Peter’s Basilica. | Sistine Chapel is included in the regular ticket anyway and there is no real audioguide for the museums. Value – 29 EUR.
Free entry to your choice of 2 out of 6 top Rome attractions including The Coliseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill, Capitolini Museums, Borghese Gallery and National Museum of Castel Sant’Angel.You can go to the Colosseum and the Forum using the same ticket too. To use it for Villa Borghese is a bit of a hassle since you have to make reservations on the phone. You won’t have time to check the other museums while the ticket to St. Angelo is only 10.50 EUR. Value – 15 EUR (Colosseum and forum ticket price).
Fast Track Entry to St Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel & The Coliseum  | Be there early and you won’t wait in line for the Basilica. The online tickets for the museums include “skip the line” and if you buy the ticket for the forum, you won’t wait for the Colosseum. Value – 0.
Free hop-on-hop-off bus tour ticket of Rome for 3 days. | it’s really hard to spot the stops of these things and even if it wasn’t –  Rome is all about walking. If you do enjoy this type of activity though, its value is 27 EUR.
Free travelcard for unlimited access to Rome’s public transport system. | it’s 1.5 euro ticket and you will use it 3 times at max. Value – 4.5 EUR.
Free detailed Guidebook to help plan the perfect trip | You already have this. Value – 0.
Discounted Entry to another 30 plus sights, attractions, and museums in Rome. You don’t have the time and the discounts are around 10% anyways. Let’s say random value – 5 EUR.   
And they give you a paper map of the city…Yeah… you get a paper map in 2018.
Sooo the total value of the card is..drum roll..80.50 EUR. And this is if you use the hop-on-hop-off bus. Without it, it’s 53.50 EUR.
The actual price of the card is..drum rolls again… 113 EUR!
Why is it recommended by so many bloggers then? Simple answer – commission fees (bloggers have to eat too, right ?).

To be fair the card is not all that bad. It’s quite convenient to have all your tickets at one place and It also saves you the hassle of buying them separately. If your accommodation is far from the city center you’ll end up using the public transport quite often so the Omnia card would be useful. Since I spent all my time walking, and I had no problem to go out early and avoid the lines, for me the card wasn’t worth it. If you, however, prefer the hassle-free way, you can order the Omnia card from their site.

Three days in Rome – Itinerary map

If you are not a fan of paper maps, click here to see the itinerary in google maps.

3 days in Rome itinerary map

That’s all from me, I hope you enjoy your 3 days in Rome!
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If you haven’t planned your trip there yet, find out how I plan my trips!
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I’ve got 41 bucket list ideas for Italy. See my impossible bucket list of 1700+ adventures!


 

You have a question about Rome or you have something to add to the list?

Let me know in the comments below.


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