How To Spend One Day In Rome Italy (City Itinerary)

Experience the magic of one day in Rome, where ancient history and vibrant culture converge in a captivating journey. From the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain, savor the best of the ‘Eternal City’ in just one unforgettable day.

two people taking a photo in front of the colosseum in rome italy

Rome, often referred to as the “Eternal City,” is a place where history, culture, and modern life coexist in perfect harmony. A single day in Rome can be a captivating journey through millennia of art, architecture, and culinary delights.

If you have more than one day to spend in this incredible city, I highly recommend doing so. But if you are only there for a short time due to a cruise port day or other travel plans, this will help you make the most of your full day.

In this blog post, we will guide you through an ideal day in Rome, where you can explore some of its most iconic sites, indulge in delectable Italian cuisine, and immerse yourself in the city’s enchanting ambiance.


Rome, Italy, is the capital and largest city of Italy. It is one of the world’s most iconic and historic cities, often referred to as the “Eternal City” due to its rich history and enduring influence on art, culture, and civilization. 

Rome is renowned for its ancient monuments, such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, as well as its role as the center of the Roman Empire.

The city is also the spiritual center of the Roman Catholic Church, housing Vatican City, an independent city-state within Rome, where St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums are located. Rome’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the city is celebrated for its art, architecture, and cuisine. 

It’s a top tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world who come to explore its treasures, including famous landmarks like the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps. Rome is a city where the past seamlessly blends with the present, creating an enchanting and captivating atmosphere.


While Rome is a fantastic destination, like any major city, there are some things to watch out for to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit:

  1. Pickpocketing: Rome is known for pickpocketing, especially in crowded tourist areas, public transportation, and around major attractions. Be vigilant, keep an eye on your belongings, and consider using anti-theft bags or pouches.
  2. Traffic: Rome’s traffic can be chaotic, and drivers may not always obey traffic rules. Exercise caution when crossing streets and be aware of your surroundings.
  3. Unofficial Tour Guides: Some individuals may offer unofficial tours around popular attractions. It’s best to book tours through reputable agencies or guides.
  4. Dressing for Religious Sites: When visiting churches or religious sites, dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees. It’s a sign of respect and may be enforced at some locations.
  5. Tourist Crowds: Consider visiting major attractions early in the morning to avoid long lines.
  6. Street Sellers: While some street sellers are legitimate, others may sell counterfeit goods. Be cautious when making purchases on the streets.
  7. Emergency Services: Know the emergency numbers in Italy. Dial 112 for general emergencies, 113 for police, 115 for the fire department, and 118 for medical emergencies.
  8. Late-Night Transportation: Public transportation is limited late at night in Rome, so plan your evenings accordingly. Taxis or rideshare services like Uber are alternatives.
  9. Water Fountains: While Rome has many beautiful public water fountains, not all of them are safe to drink from. Stick to the ones labeled “Nasone” for clean drinking water.
piazza di trevi fountain with buildings in background


When visiting Rome’s historical and cultural highlights, it’s essential to know how to obtain entrance tickets. Here are the details for accessing skip the line tickets to some of Rome’s most renowned attractions:

1. Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill:

It’s highly recommended to purchase a combined ticket that grants access to all three sites: the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.

Tickets can be purchased in advance online through the official website of the Colosseum, on Viator website, or at the ticket counters located at the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Consider opting for a tour guide for a more informative experience.

2. Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica:

Tickets to the Vatican Museums, which include the Sistine Chapel, can be purchased in advance online through the official Vatican Museums website. 

Be aware that St. Peter’s Basilica does not require an entrance fee, but there might be lines for security checks. Consider a guided tour for skip-the-line access to both the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica.

3. Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona:

These iconic sites are open to the public and do not require entrance tickets. Visitors can explore them freely.

4. Borghese Gallery:

Tickets to the Borghese Gallery should be purchased in advance through the official website or by calling their reservation center.

Entry is time-specific, so book your tickets for the desired time slot.

5. Castel Sant’Angelo:

Tickets for Castel Sant’Angelo can be purchased on-site or in advance online through their official website. Consider a guided tour for historical insights and to skip the ticket line.

6. Capitoline Museums:

Tickets for the Capitoline Museums can be purchased on-site or in advance through their official website. The museums also offer a combined ticket that includes the Capitoline Hill and the Palazzo dei Conservatori.


Hop-on hop-off bus tours are a convenient and popular way to explore Rome, Italy. These tours offer a flexible way to visit the city’s major attractions while providing informative commentary about the sights you’re passing.

view of people on hop-on-hop-off bus in rome

Here’s what you need to know about hop-on hop-off bus tours in Rome:

1. Routes and Stops: Hop-on hop-off buses typically have multiple routes with designated stops at major landmarks and attractions. These routes often include stops at the Colosseum, Vatican City, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, and other popular destinations. Be sure to check the specific stops and routes offered by your chosen operator.

2. Ticket Options: You can purchase tickets for 24-hour, 48-hour, or 72-hour durations, depending on your stay and how much time you want to dedicate to the tour. Some tickets may include extras, such as guided walking tours or boat cruises.

3. Audio Commentary: Most buses offer multilingual audio commentary through individual headsets, providing historical and cultural information about the places you’re passing.

4. Flexibility: The “hop-on, hop-off” feature allows you to disembark at any stop to explore a specific attraction, and then rejoin the tour when you’re ready to continue. Buses run at regular intervals, typically every 15-20 minutes, so you won’t have to wait long.

5. Maps and Information: You’ll receive a route map and detailed information about each stop when you board the bus. This makes it easy to plan your day and decide which sites you’d like to visit.

6. Traffic and Weather: Keep in mind that Rome’s traffic can be heavy, especially during peak tourist seasons, which may affect the tour duration. Also, consider weather conditions, as some buses may have open-top decks.

7. Booking Online: It’s often more convenient to book your tickets online in advance, as it can save you time and money.



The Vatican, also known as Vatican City, is an independent city-state and sovereign entity that is entirely surrounded by the city of Rome, Italy. It is the smallest independent state in the world, both in terms of area and population. Some key points about the Vatican include:

  1. Spiritual Center: The Vatican is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and the residence of the Pope, who is considered the spiritual leader of the Catholic faith.
  2. St. Peter’s Basilica: One of the most iconic landmarks in the Vatican is St. Peter’s Basilica, a magnificent Renaissance-era church known for its stunning architecture, Michelangelo’s dome, and the Pietà sculpture.
  3. Vatican Museums: The Vatican Museums are a vast complex of art and historical museums that house an extensive collection of art, including masterpieces by renowned artists like Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci. The Sistine Chapel, famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling and The Last Judgment frescoes, is also part of the museum complex.
  4. Apostolic Palace: The Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the Pope. It includes the papal apartments, the Vatican Museums, the Vatican Library, and other administrative and ceremonial buildings.
  5. St. Peter’s Square: St. Peter’s Square is a grand plaza in front of St. Peter’s Basilica and is a significant site for religious and public gatherings. It features a central obelisk and two semicircular colonnades designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
the vatican catholic church and museum in rome italy

The Vatican is not only a religious center but also a place of immense cultural and historical importance, housing numerous art and historical treasures. It draws millions of visitors from around the world who come to admire its religious and artistic heritage. 

The combination of its spiritual and historical importance, stunning architecture, and artistic treasures makes the Vatican a must-visit destination in Rome. Even just seeing the outside of it was absolutely breathtaking.


Piazza Navona is a vibrant and historic square in the heart of Rome. It’s known for its elegant Baroque architecture and stunning fountains. Here are some highlights of Piazza Navona:

  1. Historical Origins: Piazza Navona stands on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, a 1st-century AD stadium used for athletic competitions and races. The square still retains its elongated shape, reminiscent of the ancient arena.
  2. Three Fountains: The square is home to three notable fountains. The central and most famous fountain is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The other two fountains, the Fontana del Moro and the Fontana del Nettuno, also add to the square’s artistic allure.
  3. Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone: At one end of the square, you’ll find the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone. The church’s façade was designed by Borromini and is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture.
  4. Street Performers and Cafés: Piazza Navona is a bustling square with street performers, artists, and musicians adding to the lively atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely coffee or meal at the many cafés and restaurants that line the square.
  5. Markets and Events: Throughout the year, Piazza Navona hosts various events, fairs, and markets, such as the Christmas market. It’s a hub of activity during Rome’s festivals and celebrations.
  6. Architectural Beauty: The surrounding buildings showcase Baroque and Renaissance architecture, making Piazza Navona one of Rome’s most picturesque and charming squares.
front view of piazza navona fountain with two people in front


The Pantheon is an ancient Roman temple that has stood the test of time and is one of the best-preserved buildings from antiquity. It’s approximately a 5-minute walk from the Piazza Navona. 

Here are some key facts about the Pantheon:

  1. Historical Significance: The Pantheon was originally constructed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD, although it was built on the site of an earlier temple dating back to 27 BC. It was dedicated to all the gods of ancient Rome.
  2. Dome and Oculus: The most striking feature of the Pantheon is its massive concrete dome with an open hole at the top called the oculus. This oculus not only provides natural light but also serves as a symbolic connection between the temple and the heavens.
  3. Architectural Marvel: The Pantheon’s architectural design, with its perfectly proportioned dome and rotunda, has long been admired and has inspired countless architects and builders throughout history.
  4. Religious Conversion: The Pantheon was converted into a Christian church in the 7th century and is now known as the Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres. It remains a functioning church where masses and religious ceremonies are held.
  5. Artistic Significance: The interior of the Pantheon features stunning marble columns, intricate patterns, and impressive statues. It’s also the final resting place of several notable figures, including the artist Raphael.
  6. Tourist Attraction: The Pantheon is a popular tourist destination and a place where visitors can experience a tangible link to ancient Roman engineering and architecture.


The Trevi Fountain is Rome’s most beautiful fountain. It is a Baroque masterpiece and one of the largest fountains in the city. Here are some key details and facts about the Trevi Fountain:

1. Historical Significance:

  • The Trevi Fountain was completed in the 18th century, with construction spanning from 1732 to 1762. It was designed by the Italian architect Nicola Salvi.

2. Location:

  • The fountain is located in the Quirinale district of Rome, near the Piazza di Trevi. It is situated at the end of the ancient Aqua Virgo aqueduct, which brings water from a spring in the nearby Sabine Mountains.

3. Superstition and Tradition:

  • One of the most enduring traditions associated with the Trevi Fountain is the act of throwing a coin over the left shoulder into the water. According to legend, this ensures the thrower’s return to Rome. Throwing a second coin is said to bring love, and a third coin, marriage.
  • The coins thrown into the fountain are collected daily and donated to Caritas, a Catholic charity organization, to help the needy.

4. Cinematic Fame:

  • The Trevi Fountain has been featured in numerous films, most notably in Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita,” in which actress Anita Ekberg famously waded into the fountain.

5. Crowds and Nighttime Illumination:

  • The Trevi Fountain is a major tourist attraction and can become quite crowded during the day. However, it’s also a popular spot for evening visits when it is beautifully illuminated, creating a magical atmosphere.
photo of the trevi fountain in rome italy

The Trevi Fountain is not just a work of art; it’s a symbol of good fortune and a place to marvel at the artistic and architectural prowess of the Baroque era. Its stunning design, sculptural details, and the tradition of tossing coins into its waters make it a must-visit landmark in the heart of Rome.


Lunch in Rome is an integral part of the city’s culinary culture. Embracing the local dining traditions and savoring classic Roman dishes is the key to experiencing the city’s flavors. 

Roman lunches are not rushed affairs. Take your time, savor each course, and engage in leisurely conversation. Romans appreciate the social aspect of dining as much as the food itself.

1. Start with an Aperitivo:

  • Begin your late afternoon lunch experience like a Roman by enjoying an aperitivo, which is a pre-meal drink to stimulate the appetite. Aperitivos often include classics like Aperol Spritz (Aperol, prosecco, and soda) or a Negroni.

2. Antipasti:

  • Typically, Romans start their meals with antipasti, which are appetizers or small bites that can include bruschetta (toasted bread with toppings like tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil), supplì (fried rice balls), or a plate of cured meats and cheeses.

3. Primo Piatto:

  • The first course, or “primo piatto,” is a crucial part of the Roman meal. Traditional Roman pasta dishes like cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper), carbonara (eggs, cheese, pancetta, and black pepper), and amatriciana (tomato, guanciale, pecorino cheese, and red pepper) are favorites.

4. Secondo Piatto:

  • The second course, or “secondo piatto,” usually consists of meat or fish. Popular options include saltimbocca alla romana (veal with prosciutto and sage) and abbacchio (roast suckling lamb).

5. Contorno:

  • Romans often complement their secondo piatto with a contorno, which is a side dish. A simple salad or sautéed greens like cicoria (chicory) or broccoli rabe is common. This pairs well with a crusty bread basket and wine.
top down view of pizza and salads at a restaurants with aperol spritz in rome italy

6. Coffee and Dessert:

  • Conclude your Roman lunch with a shot of espresso or a small coffee, just like the locals. If you have room for dessert, try classic Roman sweets like tiramisu or panna cotta.


The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is one of the most iconic and enduring symbols of ancient Rome and is a must-visit destination in Rome, Italy. 

My top tip for you is getting skip-the-line colosseum ticket, otherwise you may be waiting in line for hours depending on the time of year. Ticket prices vary but cost approximately $70 USD.

Here’s what you need to know about this incredible historic site:

1. Historical Significance:

  • The Colosseum was constructed in the 1st century AD under the Roman emperors Vespasian and Titus and was completed in 80 AD. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman engineering and architecture.

2. Architectural Marvel:

  • The Colosseum is a massive amphitheater with a capacity to hold approximately 50,000 to 80,000 spectators.

3. Design Features:

  • The Colosseum features an elliptical shape with multiple tiers of seating, supported by a complex system of arches, columns, and corridors.
  • The outer facade is constructed of travertine stone and concrete, and it originally had a retractable awning system (velarium) to provide shade for the audience.

4. Gladiatorial Battles:

  • The Colosseum is most famous for its gladiatorial contests, where trained fighters engaged in combat for the entertainment of the Roman populace. These battles often had a deadly outcome.

5. Historical Events:

  • It was the site of many other events, including reenactments of famous battles, animal hunts, and mock naval battles, as the Colosseum could be partially flooded for this purpose.
  • Over the centuries, the Colosseum suffered damage from natural disasters and stone-robbers. Efforts have been made to preserve and restore the structure, and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
view of the colosseum in rome italy where

Visiting the Colosseum is a captivating and educational experience that allows you to step back in time and marvel at the grandeur and history of ancient Rome.


If you are on a cruise and have limited time you will most definitely not have time for this. But if you have a longer day you may be able to make this your last stop.

Just a short walk from the Colosseum, explore the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, where the heart of ancient Rome once beat. Stroll through the ruins, and imagine the bustling city center that it once was.


Take part in the Italian tradition of the passeggiata (evening stroll). Wander through the charming streets of Rome, especially in the Trastevere district, and soak in the romantic ambiance.

End your day with a scoop of creamy gelato from one of Rome’s renowned gelaterias. There’s nothing quite like savoring this sweet treat while strolling through Rome’s enchanting streets under the moonlit sky.


While Rome is renowned for its iconic historical sites, there are many smaller, off-the-beaten-path attractions that offer unique and enriching experiences. Here are some smaller tourist attractions in Rome, Italy, that are worth exploring:

  1. Catacombs of San Callisto: These ancient underground burial chambers provide insight into early Christian history. They feature well-preserved frescoes and miles of tunnels.
  2. Capuchin Crypt: Located beneath the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, this crypt contains the skeletal remains of Capuchin friars arranged in intricate designs, serving as a memento mori, or a reminder of mortality.
  3. Aventine Keyhole: Located at the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, this keyhole offers a unique view of St. Peter’s Basilica perfectly framed by the hedges in the garden of the Priory of the Knights of Malta.
  4. Villa Borghese Gardens: A peaceful escape from the bustling city, these beautiful gardens are perfect for leisurely walks and picnics. Inside Villa Borghese, you’ll also find the Borghese Gallery, known for its remarkable art collection.
  5. Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verità): This ancient marble mask, located in the portico of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, is said to bite off the hands of liars.
  6. Ponte Fabricio: Also known as the “Bridge of the Four Heads,” this ancient Roman bridge connects Tiber Island to the mainland. It’s a charming and less-visited spot.
  7. Villa Farnesina: This Renaissance villa is a treasure trove of frescoes by artists like Raphael and his pupils. It’s a hidden gem in Trastevere.



The best time to visit Rome is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild, and the crowds are smaller. Summers can be hot, and winters are cooler and wetter.


Rome boasts numerous iconic attractions, including the Colosseum, Vatican City (St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums), the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps, among others.


Booking tickets in advance is highly recommended for popular attractions like the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, and the Borghese Gallery to skip long entrance lines.


Italy uses the Euro (EUR, €) as its currency.


Italian is the official language spoken in Rome, but you’ll find that many people in the tourism industry speak English, especially in major tourist areas.


Yes, tap water in Rome is safe to drink. You can refill your water bottle from public fountains throughout the city, known as “nasone.”


Italians appreciate polite behavior. Greet people with “Buongiorno” (good morning) or “Buonasera” (good evening). Tipping is not as common as in some other countries, but it’s appreciated for good service.


Credit cards are widely accepted in Rome, especially in hotels, restaurants, and shops. However, it’s a good idea to carry some cash for small purchases and for places that may not accept cards.


Rome, Italy, experiences a Mediterranean climate with distinct seasons. Here’s an overview of the weather in Rome throughout the year:

Spring (March to May):

  • Spring in Rome is a lovely time to visit. The weather is mild, with daytime temperatures gradually rising from the high teens to the low 20s Celsius (mid-60s to low 70s Fahrenheit).
  • Rainfall is more frequent in March but becomes less common as spring progresses. Showers can occur, so having an umbrella handy is a good idea.
  • Spring is a popular tourist season, so expect larger crowds at major attractions.

Summer (June to August):

  • Summers in Rome can be hot and humid, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 30°C (86°F) in July and August.
  • Rainfall is minimal during the summer months, and sunshine is abundant. This is the peak tourist season in Rome, so expect crowded streets and attractions.
  • If you can handle the heat, summer offers long daylight hours for exploring.

Autumn (September to November):

  • Autumn is another favorable time to visit Rome. Temperatures begin to cool down gradually from the high 20s to the low 20s Celsius (low 80s to low 70s Fahrenheit).
  • Rainfall increases again in October and November, so some precipitation can be expected.
  • Crowds thin out compared to the summer, making it a pleasant time for sightseeing.

Winter (December to February):

  • Winters in Rome are generally mild, with daytime temperatures ranging from 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F). However, it can be chilly and damp.
  • Rainfall is relatively common, and there may be occasional light snowfall, although snow in Rome is infrequent.
  • Winter is the least crowded season for tourists, so it’s an excellent time to explore attractions without long lines.

Other Things You May Want To Know Before Your Travels!


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  1. Everything a person needs to know

  2. Thank you so much for this blog! I can’t wait to visit!

    1. Hi Rose,

      You’re so welcome! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! 🙂

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