Are you visiting Rome for three or more days and looking for an itinerary that covers the very best to see and do? Look to further.
As a native Italian, I’ve been to Rome many times and have visited all the major tourist attractions many times (Colosseum, Forum, Sistine Chapel, etc…). Rome can be extremely overwhelming, and for this reason, I have created a simple itinerary that covers the very best that of Rome for a three-day visit. Putting it differently, this is my simplified guide to get the best out of Rome in three days.
Day One The Vatican – The Best of the Best in Rome
If you’ve never been to Rome before and have any inclination to visit the Vatican, I’d suggest you dedicate your first day to the Vatican. Notably, the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican museum is enormous and most of the time packed with tourists. For that reason, you must buy the tickets in advance to skip the line. Ideally, I would recommend a guided tour as the visit can be overwhelming. As a result, having a guide that helps you navigate among the many corridors and rooms will be helpful.
The Sistine Chapel is at the end of the Museum. To be sure, it is one of the best parts of the visit to the Vatican. Unfortunately, the Chapel itself can be packed with tourists, and photos are not permitted.
Saint Peter Basilica
After you visit the Vatican museum, you can devote about an hour, an hour and a half to visit Saint Peter Basilica. The church is humongous and full of incredible artifacts. For this reason, it is worth it.
I am pretty sure that after the intense day at the Vatican, you’ll be exhausted. As a result, you should grab some dinner and get some rest. One of my favorite areas for dinner is “Trastevere.” It was once an impoverished and neglected part of the city. Nowadays, it’s one of the more active parts of the city. At night it is alive with many restaurants that serve the typical Roman dishes. Reservations are recommended, especially in peak season.
Day Two: Colosseum, the Forum, and More!
The Colosseum is probably the most iconic landmark in Rome, and everyone wants to see it. To be sure, whether you are in Rome for One, Two, or Three days, this is one of the very best sights to visit. Consequently, it is always packed with tourists. For safety reasons, only 3,000 people are allowed inside at the time. Consequently, delays are possible even for visitors that have booked in advance. Tickets can be purchased in advance here. I strongly recommend buying the tickets for the Colosseum, and the Forum combined to avoid unnecessary lines. Indeed, a guided tour might help to understand the beauty of the Colosseum. You want to book an early tour to get ahead of the crowd.
The Forum and Palatine
After visiting the Colosseum, you can enter the Forum and Palatine area. Interestingly, this was the heart of Ancient Rome. It is quite incredible to think that you are walking on a street on which Caesar or Adrian once walked too.
After visiting the Forum, you should grab some lunch. Avoid the overly touristy area around the ruins. If a restaurant offers fettuccine Alfredo on the menu walk away. It is a tourist trap for sure!
You can now dedicate the afternoon to the Spanish Steps area. Starting at the Colosseum is about 25 minutes walking. If you are tired, you can catch a taxi for a 5 minutes ride.
The Spanish Steps area is also the luxury shopping part of Rome. For example, many designers have stores and boutiques here. And also, it’s perfect for a stroll and people watching.
Day Three: Let’s Explore the Rest of Rome!
Here is what I like to do in Rome if I am there for a day. I love to start nice and early and enjoy walking around all day.
Go to the Pantheon Nice and Early
I love to walk to the pantheon first thing in the morning before the major rush of tourists. I know the Pantheon is a bit touristy, too, but I love it, and I love to visit it every time I go. Every time I walk inside the Pantheon, I am amazed to think that it is standing for more than two thousand years!
Walk to Piazza Navona
Stroll to Piazza Navona, which I consider one of the most beautiful piazzas in the world. I love it. From the Pantheon is a very brief walk. In the Piazza, you can admire the Bernini Masterpiece: The Fountain of the Four Rivers.
Have a Slice of Roman Pizza for Lunch
Roman pizza is usually baked in big long slabs cut in tranches and sold by weight. It’s delicious, and I love to try all the different toppings. I can’t get enough of it. The area near the Trevi Fountain has some great places to grab some.
Coffee Break at Giolitti
Giolitti is a historic coffee shop near the Parliament. For example, they serve the best coffee and the most exceptional gelato! Here, you can often spot some Italian politicians having a coffee or a snack here.
Take a Segway Tour
A segway tour of Rome is probably one of the best and most fun tours in the city! Usually, the tour generally starts in front of Castel Sant’Angelo, and they zip around the narrow streets of Rome up to the gardens of Villa Borghese. Segway tours are Absolutely FUN!
Discover Aperitivo Hour by Campo Dei Fiori
In case you don’t know what aperitivo is, you’re missing out! Specifically, aperitivo is a pre-dinner drink (usually around 7:00 pm), and it always comes with some complimentary finger food. Even better, some aperitivo places also offer a finger food buffet included in the price of the drink. Consequently, I think this is one of the very best things you can see and each of your three nights in Rome! Finally, I love the Campo Dei Fiori area, always alive, and the perfect spot to sit and enjoy watching people.
Go for Dinner in the Jewish Ghetto
I like to walk by Teatro Marcello to the Portico D’Ottavia, the center of the Jewish area of Rome (The Ghetto is the actual name). The Jewish Ghetto is my favorite area for dinner in Rome. Roman Jewish food is delicious, especially in the artichoke season, when you can taste the deep-fried mouthwatering 🤤.
Walk to the Trevi Fountain at Night
From the Jewish Ghetto, I recommend walking through “piazza di Torre Argentina.”
Also, here’s a not so well known fact: the ruins in this piazza are the actual place where Julius Caesar was killed).
Then, walk by via Minerva, in front of the Pantheon, then to the Tempio di Adriano. And at last, you will then end up at the Trevi Fountain. Even at night, this iconic spot is packed with tourists, but with the lights on, I think it is even more beautiful than during the day. I also think the best place to see the Trevi Fountain is from the 2nd floor of the clothing store across in way!
Walk Along via del Corso to Piazza Venezia:
I suggest walking back along via del Corso toward Piazza Venezia. Then, you can stop in front of the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele and take a night photo.
Walk up the Campidoglio
I always love to finish my days in Rome by looking at the Forum at night. For example, the area is always packed with tourists during the day is calm and serene at night. Also, the view from the Campidoglio is stunning. Here, I can stop and take some photos. Then, I can walk down toward the Foro Traiano and catch a taxi back to the hotel and pack for the night. After three days in Rome and 30,000 steps a day, my feet need a rest!
Here is a little fun tip if you get thirsty in Rome!
Andrea was born and raised in Northern Italy. At the age of 30 he moved to Vancouver Canada. Over the years he traveled extensively in North America, Europe, Central America and Asia. He is passionate about traveling, cruising and travel photography. He likes to write about his traveling and shows his travel photos.