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 – I know. To call a place favorite, when there are so many stunning sites around the world is irresponsible, 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. .
3 Days in Rome Itinerary – Day One – The City Roam
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
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 8000 euro (!) per week 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)
Villa Borghese gardens and Galleria 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
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.”
3 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:
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!
Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
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.
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.
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).
Curious about exploring another markee European capital? See how to get the best of Madrid in just 2 days
The Orange Gardens and the most beautiful view in Rome
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.
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.”
3 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
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.
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.
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
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…).
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!
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).
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: 10,50EUR; EU citizens (aged 18 – 24): 7 EUR
Rome by 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.
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:
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?
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.
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.
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 there is nothing to worry about. Be vigilant for pickpocketers though.
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.
– 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.
3 days in Rome – Itinerary map
If you are not a fan of paper maps, click here to see the itinerary in google maps.
That’s all from me, I hope you enjoy your 3 days in Rome!
If you haven’t planned your trip there yet, find out how I plan my trips!
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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