When you only have 3 days in Rome, a city with irresistible food, art, shopping and charm, every minute counts. Your mission is to see as much as possible, while still being able to stop and enjoy the gelato. Our mission is to help you plan to spend every precious moment wisely.
Before you set your Rome itinerary, you will want to take into account what days of the week you will be visiting. Will you experience Rome on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, or is Rome a weekend jaunt for you? The days you will be in Rome will affect which sites you should choose to see. Before committing to any travel plans, you need to confirm that the locations and destinations you are going to visit will be open. Contact your travel specialists to get advice and ensure the sites or facilities you want to visit will be open. To help you plan your 3 days in Rome itinerary, here is a plan to give you a lasting and memorable journey to Italy.
Today is your first day in Rome, so you want to get accustomed to the layout of the city. If you have just arrived in Europe, you might be feeling some jet lag, which can definitely slow you down, so try to take it easy on your first day. Find tips for avoiding jet lag here.
Explore the City
Start your first day in Rome by strolling the streets near your hotel to get acquainted with nearby surroundings, like cafes, gelato shops, grocery stores, and restaurants. Meander through some of Rome’s most famous neighborhoods, including the Trastevere neighborhood, to get a glimpse of the Basilica of Santa Maria. Relish in the beauty and history of this famous church, built first in the 340s, and then completed in the 13th century. Continue your walk to Campo dei Fiore. This plaza will often have produce and flower vendors, where you can stop and smell the roses, literally. They typically start clearing things up by lunchtime so be sure to stop by early!
Time to Grab Lunch
There are lots of budget restaurants Campo dei Fiori, so take a look at your options and it won’t be hard to find something tasty.
The Capitoline Museums
For the rest of the afternoon keep with the slow pace by checking out the Capitoline Museums. These museums are actually a group of ancient structures featuring multiple archaeological sites and art collections. The buildings themselves were constructed in 1471. Today, the museums’ collection includes a vast display of historical wealth, including jewels, coins and works of art from the Renaissance and medieval times. Ancient Roman statutes, including the “Esquiline Venus,” “Dying Gaul,” and the statue depicting Cupid and Psyche are all on display at this Roman art and history mecca.
Eating Like the Locals
For your first dinner in Rome, choose a restaurant that is a hidden secret among the locals. The Picnic Store is a family-owned spot, featuring fresh pasta and pizza, while Pane e Salame takes the top prize for affordable meat and cheese boards, showcasing locally sourced ingredients. Neither of these options will disappoint.
Arriving in Rome in the Afternoon?
For those who are arriving a little later in the day and don’t have too much time for day 1 consider an espresso and gelato walking tour. You’ll walk the streets of Rome with a guide, taste some amazing espresso and have gelato to snack on along the way. This tour starts at 3 pm and stops in front of many famous landmarks including the Pantheon.
Be One with Rome
Today is the day to go all out. You are on day two of your 3 days in Rome, so make it count. Today your Rome itinerary will cover destinations that are most popular by tourists, as well as rich in history dating back to the ancient Roman times. So, bring your walking shoes, charge your camera’s batteries and be prepared to walk, walk, walk. We’ve noted two alternative travel itineraries for this morning to give you a variety of options for your 2nd morning in Rome.
Option 1: Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon
During this busy day, in order to keep energy levels boosted, continuous gelato and cappuccino breaks as needed to help you boost your energy levels. The best gelato in Rome, and most likely on the planet, comes from San Crispino near the Trevi Fountain. So be sure to check this place out! The Trevi Fountain is a Roman wonder, so take a moment and soak in all your surroundings, while savoring your gelato. To follow the superstitious Roman legend while you are here, throw in a coin to promise the city of your return some day. The Highlights of Baroque Rome guided tour that we offer, includes the Trevi Fountain, along with exploring the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Navona Square, and the National French church of San Luigi dei Francesi. These are all must-see sites, so if you want a more in-depth guided experience, this is the way to go.
Tip: You will not be able to enter the churches if you are not dressed appropriately, so to ensure this won’t happen, abstain from wearing shorts, vulgar printed clothes, having revealing clothing and uncovered shoulders, etc.
Option 2: Vatican City
Another option here is to begin day 2 by making your way to the Vatican Museums in Vatican City. Offering an experience of a lifetime, whether you are Catholic or not, this holy site is one that anyone visiting Rome must behold. However, due to its popularity, tourists flock to the Vatican when the church is open. Therefore, you want to explore this site via a professional tour guide. Trust us, it’s worth it! Our Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica tour will cover everything that you will want to see in the Vatican. With the tour departing at 8:30am and including transportation, you will arrive to the church before it gets too crowded. Thanks to your decision to go with a guided tour, you get to skip the lines! Take note that the tour of the Basilica of Saint Peter is not available on Wednesdays. Plan accordingly to ensure that your Vatican visit is not on that day, if you want to enter the church.
Head on over to the O’vino restaurant to dine on some of the most outstanding Italian food. Ranked as the No. 1 restaurant in Rome, this place gets top marks from diners, thanks to its fantastic fare at affordable prices. A lunch at O’vino will allow you to test some of the freshest and most authentic Italian and Mediterranean food ever. They take reservations, so book early, because you will be hungry and not want to wait after a full morning tour of the churches.
Pantheon, Catacombs and Shopping Districts
If you chose option two, and decided to go with the Vatican visit in the morning, spend the afternoon exploring the Pantheon, which is the most well-preserved ancient Roman building complete with an awesome dome. Afterwards, travel along the Via Appia Antica, an ancient Roman highway of sorts, to get to the catacombs of San Callisto. Explore the surrounding monuments, tombs and parks of the catacombs as you get to know Rome’s history. Now, take some time to do a little shopping before dinner. The main shopping avenue is Via del Corso, where you will be able to do some luxury items right in the heart of the fashion capital of the world.
After working up quite an appetite, it’s time to sit down and enjoy a hearty dinner. We recommend IL Tamburello di Pulcinella. You’ll taste authentic Italian home cooking as if you are in the chef’s apartment! This family-style dining experience is sure to please.
As this is your final day, you want to make sure to tackle the Roman ruins. This is your last opportunity to see the Roman Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill. To be able to get to all of these hugely significant sites. Consider booking a walking tour led by an expert guide to get the most out of your last day in Rome.
You can choose from a couple of options: the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill morning walking tour, which departs at 9:30 am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the spring and summer months. In the fall and winter it departs Saturday and Sunday at the same time. To avoid crowds, avoid the first Sunday of the month, when entrance fees are waived and there is no priority admission. Note, this tour lasts approximately 3 hours.
If you wanted to go a step further with this walking tour, check out the Underground Colosseum (plus Third Tier), Roman Forum and Palatine Hill tour package. You get a chance to go underneath the Colosseum, where all of the gritty gladiator action took place, as well as a visit to the premium third tier of the structure.
This is a walking tour for small groups and includes priority admission and skip-the-lines entry. You are provided a professional tour guide for the entirety of the excursion,departing at 10 am most days of the year. It is not operational on May 1st, and may be limited during January and February. This upgraded tour lasts for approximately 5 hours and includes a half hour break.
A Picnic Lunch in the Park
Depending on which tour you take, your lunch will be accordingly. If you don’t have a chance to stop and eat at a sit-down restaurant, stop at a food market on your way into the city center. Grab a bottle of Italian vino, a bunch of grapes, some freshly baked bread, a chunk of handmade cheese, and have a picnic. Some of the best parks for picnics in Rome, include Villa Borghese, Park degli Acquedotti, Villa Ada and Villa Celimontana. There are tons of parks that offer a history lesson of Rome, so indulge yourself in the outdoors for lunch time.
Eating Indoors in Winter
For those visiting in the colder winter months, a picnic is out of the question. Instead, look for a Roman cafe or deli where you can sit and savor the flavors of the season. The authentic Italian hangouts will be your best bet. By going to where the locals are eating, you will save the most money while also getting the most authentic Italian cuisine.
Baths of Caracalla
As the afternoon approaches, make the most of this last stretch of your Roman exploration. The Baths of Caracalla are an excellent place to go and unwind. These monumental ruins are reminiscent of actual public bathing that used to take place in the city. Also housing an ancient public library, the baths were not simply a destination to get clean, but also show an indication of being a social gathering place. While you can no longer bathe in public here, you can certainly go to an opera or concert at the venue onsite. There are also some Italian sculptures to take in here, including The Farnese Bull and the Farnese Hercules. For some extra adventure, rent a Vespa and do like the locals by rolling along the busy and winding, streets.
Final Meal in Rome
As this is your last meal in Rome, you will want to get the most bang for your buck while making for a memorable occasion. Make your way over to LABottega Pastificio con cucina for handmade pasta that will make you to want to stay in Rome forever. Best of all, this restaurant is quite affordable. Choose from fresh pasta, ravioli, lasagna, or cannelloni, as these are their signature pasta dishes. Unlike most restaurants in Rome, keep in mind that this particular restaurant closes at 7 pm, Monday through Saturday, so plan accordingly.
Exploring Rome in three days isn’t impossible, however, it does require planning and preparation. As long as you do your research ahead of time, you can decide in advance which restaurants, sites, tours, and experiences will best suit your travel plans. Hopefully this itinerary for 3 days in Rome will give you the inspiration you need and some ideas to help get you started with your own Italy getaway plans!