Also known as “The Eternal City”, Rome is surely one of the most amazing places to visit. A blend of ancient and modern, it has a unique city vibe that will leave you asking for more.
Although it’s hard to visit Rome in one day, you can use this guide to make the best of your stay.
09:00 Start your day at Piazza Del Risorgimento (metro station Ottaviano), and before exploring the city, take your Italian-style breakfast: espresso and brioche, at one of the local bars in the area. Passing through Via Ottaviano street you will see a lot of souvenire shops where you can find a good bargain.
09:30 On your way to the Vatican, you will pass through the Via di Porta Angelica street before coming to St. Peter’s Square. Since it is necessary to pass through a security area to enter the Vatican, you will have to wait a bit in the queue. That’s why it’s good to have an early morning start and begin your tour at the Vatican, when it’s still not so crowded. Inside the Basilica, you can see the famous sculpture Pietà, Michelangelo’s masterpiece, and the altar with Bernini’s baldacchino (30 meters tall, largest piece of bronze in the world). For 7 euros and a bit more waiting time, you can climb up the Basilica’s Dome and admire the best view of the city!
12:30 Walking down the Via della Conciliazione, you will reach Castel Sant’Angelo (also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian), and the beautiful pedestrian Sant’Angelo bridge (the Bridge of Angels) with 10 angel sculptures, designed by the famous sculptor Bernini.
13:00 Crossing over the Tiber river, and following the Via Giuseppe Zanardelli, you will reach one of Rome’s famous squares, Piazza Navona. Admire the fountains, take a break to sip another espresso or the famous Italian spremuta (squeezed orange juice).
13:30 Close to Piazza Navona, there is a small church called San Luigi dei Francesi. If you are particularly interested in art, you may want to check it out to see the paintings of Caravaggio before visiting the Pantheon.
13:45 At the Pantheon (former Roman temple, now a church), check out the tomb of Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of united Italy. Pay attention to the acoustics inside the Pantheon and to the concrete dome with a wide hole that actually presents a giant sundial.
14:00 Just around the corner from the Pantheon, you will find the church of Sant’Ignazio di Loyola. What is so special about this church is that it has a fake dome. On entering the church, look up at the dark dome and then walk forward to the altar. When you look up again you will see how the perspective changes giving you the ultimate 3D illusion.
14:15 It’s time to visit the famous Trevi Fountain. Walking past the Via delle Muratte, you will come directly in front of this magnificent work of art. The fountain was designed by an Italian architect, Nicola Salvi, and it is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome. But be prepared: it’s one of the most crowded places in Rome.
In the area around Trevi Fountain there are a lot of restaurants where you can sit for your lunch break. You can try the famous Italian pizza or lasagne al forno (baked lasagna) at Ristorante Al Picchio. If you want to try the traditional wine, Frascati Superiore (a sort of dry white wine) would be the best choice in Lazio region, and if you are a beer lover, the local Birra Moretti is the most popular. For the dessert, you can try the traditional gelato or cannoli siciliani (traditional Sicilian pastry with sweet ricotta filling and toppings of your choice) at Don Nino pastry shop right next to the Trevi Fountain.
16:30 After lunch, it is time to continue your adventure. Passing through Via di Propaganda, you will reach Piazza di Spagna with the famous Spanish steps (that were actually built by the French!). Here you can see the oldest palm trees in Rome, as well as Bernini’s famous “Fountain of the Ugly Boat” (Fontana della Barcaccia).
17:00 On your way down to Piazza Venezia with the “Altar of the Fatherland” (Altare della Patria), you will pass through Via dei Condotti, a famous shopping street offering brands like Gucci, Hermès, Céline, Michael Kors, etc. From Via dei Condotti you will exit directly on another shopping street, Via del Corso, where you can find Zara, Mango, Trussardi, Massimo Dutti, and a very popular Disney store. Take some time for shopping!
18:00 When you reach Piazza Venezia, you will see the famous Altare della Patria, built as a national monument in honor of Victor Emanuel II, the first king of united Italy. This gigantic structure, all in white marble, will leave you breathless. And there is a panoramic lift offering visitors a 360-degree view of Rome!
18:30 Next to the Altar, you will see some remains of Trajan’s Forum, and a bit further you can catch a glimpse of the remains of Roman Forum, located next to the famous Colosseum, which is the largest amphitheatre ever built. The Arch of Constantine is also in the same area.
19:30 Take a short walk from the Colosseum and you will be at Circus Maximus (ancient Roman stadium for chariot racing). There you will also find the famous Bocca della Verità (the Mouth of Truth), that appears in the 1953 movie Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.
20:00 Walking around the riverbank, you will reach the trendy neighbourhood of Trastevere. Pick a place to eat from the restaurants in the area, e.g. Le Mani in Pasta. Most restaurants are not open before 19:30, when they start preparing dinner.
22:00 Trastevere offers a great number of bars and cocktail-bars, and Freni e Frizioni is definitely among the most popular ones. Try some crazy cocktail combination and relax after a long day.
If you would like to visit Rome, you can check getbybus.com to find the best travel option from your city. In case you will be arriving by plane, check our posts about reaching Rome city center from the airports of Fiumicino and Ciampino.