Rome In 3 Days - How To Get The Most Out Of Your Trip!

Wondering how to see Rome in 3 days?

Wondering what to do and how to fit it all in?

You've come to the right place!

trevi fountainFind out how you can see the major attractions in Rome, like the Trevi Fountain, in a 3-day visit.

Rome in 3 Days - How to Fit it All In

I know one size does not fit all.

But after years of helping thousands of people plan their visit to Rome, I've learned there are some fairly common elements to many visitors' trips to Rome, especially if it's their first time (or their first time after a long time).

If I moved away from Rome, then came back to visit Rome with a friend who'd never been here before, this is how we'd see Rome in 3 days.

NB - One big must-see for me is the Borghese Gallery, which I didn't list above. You may or may not be able to fit this into your 3-day visit to Rome. We'll go over this on this page.

roman forum from palatine hillThe Roman Forum as seen from above on the Palatine Hill, top Rome attractions that are included with your Colosseum ticket and doable in one day.

Rome in three days - what will work for you?

  • Is it your first time in Rome?
  • Are you on a romantic city break?
  • Are you visiting with small children? Teenagers?
  • Are you a solo traveler?
  • Have you seen all the main things, and are you now looking for new ideas for things to see in Rome?
  • Do you like to "see as much as you can"?, staying out all day to maximize your time? Figure you'll sleep when you get home?

These are some factors I know can make a difference in how people decide what to do when they visit Rome.

So we'll take them into account when appropriate, in the 3-day Rome itinerary below.

Rome 3-day itinerary - Day One

Your first day in Rome will affect how you think about Rome when you leave it.

rome rooftops from pincio hillRooftop view of Rome from the Pincio hill - in my opinion, one of the best ways to begin a visit to Rome.

On my first visit here as a college backpacker, I did NOT enjoy Rome at all.

I now know why.

My friend and I did it all wrong.

We had no plan, no idea where to go, and just decided last minute to go visit the Vatican Museums and see the Sistine Chapel.

We went without checking their hours or anything at all about what a visit would be like.

We did not get there in time, did not get in, and wasted half the day.

We also TRAVELED there the wrong way, and only experienced loud busy streets, traffic, and tons of tourists.

Bad impression.

It does NOT have to be this way. 

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Day 1 - Getting to Know Rome

I've put this 3 days in Rome itinerary in the order I'd do them.

Of course you could mix up the days as you prefer.

In addition, the Vatican Museums are usually closed on Sundays so you may need to move the days around if your Rome visit includes a weekend.

Regardless, the perfect Rome itinerary will focus mostly on the historic center and of course the Vatican.

But First, Coffee

Let's start our sight-seeing in Rome with a typical Roman breakfast.

cappuccino e cornetto in romeI love having a cappuccino and cornetto (Italian version of a croissant) to start my day in Rome.

We'll do as the Romans do, and just find the nearest bar (café).

A typical Roman breakfast (at a bar) consists of cappuccino (or another hot drink) and cornetto (Italian version of a croissant, and there are many versions of this - plain, filled with cream, jam or chocolate, whole-grain, etc).

You can have your breakfast standing at the counter (which is what the Romans do, and which is what costs the least).

Or you can plunk yourself down at a table, preferably outside, and watch the scenery unfold before you.

piazza san lorenzo in lucina tables outsideEnjoying the atmosphere at the Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina is a very Roman thing to do.

First time in Rome

Be aware that it costs more to sit down at a cafe and consume anything than it does to stand at the bar.

Make sure to look for the price list showing bar vs. table prices before you order.

Traveling with children

You might get them a fresh squeezed orange or pomegranate juice, or a hot chocolate.

In Italy, hot chocolate is pretty dense.

If you opt for whipped cream on top, know that it may not be as sweet as your kids are used to.

Solo traveler

Stand at the bar if you feel like getting a move on (and saving money), but otherwise, don't be shy.

It's common to see people sitting alone at a cafe enjoying their coffee. No need to feel self-conscious.

If you only have the afternoon on Day 1

  • You may be arriving in Rome from another city in Italy or Europe, or from a cruise ship. If your first day will begin at lunch or post-lunch, you can still do the below, perhaps after a quick Roman coffee first.
  • You may be arriving in Rome early morning from overseas and will be jet-lagged. I suggest having a small walk around until you can check in to your room/apartment, a max 2-hour nap, then heading out in the early afternoon. It's not easy to sight-see in Rome on no sleep.

Bottom line - you can do the below Rome itinerary as a half-day activity, fitting in what you can.

Check out my YouTube video where we do this walk:

Let the sight-seeing begin

After we've fortified and soaked up some Roman ambiance, we'll walk around the historic center and see some of the most beautiful sites in the world

These sites are all fairly close to each other.

You may see some or all of these sites. Just go at your own pace.

Piazza Barberini - our starting point for our first day in RomePiazza Barberini in Rome's city center is a great place to start our walk. Barberini is one of the most central Metro stations, and we begin with one of Gian Lorenzo Bernini's beautiful fountains.


I usually suggest walking around Rome, in particular on the first day.

For more ways to get around Rome, visit my pages about

As you can see from this map, you could start where you want (it opens in a new window).

If you are staying outside of Rome's historic center, take a taxi or public transportation to one of the starting points. (For more about where to stay in Rome, visit my page here.)

I suggest starting our visit of the Eternal City at Piazza Barberini and walking up via Sistina to the top of the Spanish Steps.

1 - Trinità dei monti

One reason I love to start at the top of the Spanish Steps is that we begin high up, and will slowly make our way down. 

top of the Spanish Steps in RomeStarting Point for Rome in 3 Days - Top of the Spanish Steps, also known as Trinità dei Monti for the Catholic church here. Part of being high up is starting with some pretty nice views of Rome.

Looking for a guided tour?

This half-day walking tour covers the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon, many of the must-see sites in central Rome.

2 - Pincio

The Pincio offers some of the most beautiful, and usually uncrowded, views of Rome's rooftops.

It just gets better as we walk along.

Pincio and views of Rome rooftopsThe Pincio hill offers some of the best rooftop views of Rome.

When the road forks, we'll take the one going up, so we can get this view.

That's Piazza del Popolo down there.

After enjoying the views from up here, we'll go down there next.

Piazza del Popolo from aboveView of Piazza del Popolo (and Saint Peter's basilica in the background) from the Pincio

Traveling with small children?

cycling in villa borghese parkThe Villa Borghese park makes a great stop for some green space and to take a leisurely stroll or bike ride.

Just behind you is the Villa Borghese park.

If you walk back into it, you will come to a carousel, a café, places for bike and other rentals, and lots of fun things to do, for adults and kids alike. 

3 - Piazza del Popolo

Walking down from the Pincio, we arrive in Piazza del Popolo.

That Egyptian obelisk in the middle, with its original hieroglyphs, is one of the oldest and largest in the Eternal City.

Augustus' obelisk in Piazza del PopoloThe Flaminio obelisk was made in Heliopolis, Egypt around the 13th century BCE, and stands about 70 ft (24 m) tall.

Rome's first emperor, Augustus, brought it back from Egypt in 10 BCE as a sort of war trophy.

This obelisk stood in the middle of Circus Maximus in Ancient Rome, and was moved to this piazza in the late 1500's.

Ready to plan your trip?

Book your train

Planning to travel between cities in Italy and other parts of Europe?

Use Trainline to see all the different options available across the different rail companies.

Find your hotel

Find your perfect place to stay in Rome.

Use to choose between hotels, guesthouses, and self-catering apartments in neighborhoods throughout the Eternal City.

Buy your TurboPass

Purchase the convenient Turbopass and visit all of Rome's top attractions including the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Vatican.

With one handy pass, it's all included.

Are you an art-lover? Looking to see more stuff?

Pop into Santa Maria del Popolo, the church at the edge of the piazza.

santa maria del popoloSanta Maria del Popolo - a treasure-trove of art from the Renaissance to the Baroque.

This Renaissance church is home to a treasure-trove of art, including works by Caravaggio, Bernini, Raphael, Pinturicchio, Carracci, Bramante, and others.

Travelling with kids/teenagers?

Not just for kids, the exhibit of Leonardo da Vinci's inventions underneath the church is extraordinary, and much larger and more interesting than it appears from the outside. 

leonardo da vinci museum in piazza del popoloThe Leonardo da Vinci museum underneath the church of Santa Maria del Popolo is a fantastic thing to visit, for all ages.

4 - Via Margutta

We are going to make our way back towards the bottom of the Spanish Steps.

I love cutting back to this sweet little street, via Margutta.

It's one of my favorite streets for escaping the crowds in Rome.

Via Margutta in Rome in summerOne of the prettiest streets in Rome, via Margutta goes from wisteria in early spring, through jasmine, bougainvillea, and other flowering plants throughout the summer.

It's mostly an artists' street, filled with art galleries, antique shops, one-off artisan shops, and lots of local ambiance.

It also happens to be where Gregory Peck's character lived in the 1960's classic movie "Roman Holiday." Swoon!

(If you're a film buff, you may be interested in this Roman Holiday Segway tour.)

On a Romantic break?

Are you visiting Rome on a romantic getaway

The Hotel de Russie, immediately to our left as we start walking down via del Babuino, is one of the most luxurious, and most beautiful, hotels in Rome.

And they have a garden in the back.

hotel de russie gardenThe garden in the back of the Hotel de Russie is one of my favorite "secret" spots in Rome, for a coffee or aperitivo.

You can visit it year round (there are heat lamps for winter.)

It's not inexpensive but it is a very special way to spend a few moments enjoying a coffee or aperitif.

5 - Bottom of Spanish Steps

Once at the plaza called Piazza di Spagna, we can take some nice photos of the whole panorama. 

Spanish Steps in RomeThe Spanish Steps, including the church at the top, Trinità dei Monti, and the Barcaccia fountain below.

Limited time/energy?

You can skip the Pincio/Piazza del Popolo/via Margutta, and walk straight down the steps from our starting point at the top. 

The Spanish Steps neighborhood is central Rome's primary shopping zone.

The most famous street in the area, lined with many of the most notable fashion brands in the world, is via Condotti. I prefer to walk down via Frattina, but it's up to you.

via condotti shopping street in romeVia Condotti is Rome's most famous "posh" shopping street.

6 - Pantheon

The Pantheon never fails to stop me in my tracks every single time I see it.

rome pantheonThe Pantheon in Rome's city center. It just awes me every single time I see it. Can you believe it's still standing after nearly 2000 years?

Built by the emperor Hadrian around 120 C.E., it has the world's largest un-reinforced concrete dome.

The Pantheon was originally built By Marcus Agrippa in 25 or 27 BCE under Rome's first emperor, Augustus.

We are not entirely sure of its original use(s), but in the 7th century it was turned into a church, which is one reason it's mostly intact.

It's also a mausoleum for Italy's kings and queens, and the artist Raphael is buried here too.

Find out how to visit the Pantheon here.

A great way to get the most out of this visit is with a self-guided audio tour.

If you're a shopper, you may enjoy my guide to shopping near the Pantheon.

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Want to fit in more stuff?

On this 3-day itinerary in Rome, we pass a lot of churches, many of which have exquisite art and architecture.

Right here near the Pantheon, you can visit:

  • Saint Ignatius - stunning ceiling with a trompe-l'œil dome (optical illusion.)
  • Santa Maria Sopra Minerva - the only Gothic church in Rome, with a statue of Christ the Redeemer, by Michelangelo.
  • San Luigi dei Francesi - a beautiful French church, with a chapel containing 3 Caravaggio paintings depicting the Life of Saint Matthew.

No matter what season you visit Rome, here are 4 things never to leave at home:

Disclosure: If you make a purchase through a link on this page, I may receive a small commission - at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my site!

7 - Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is arguably one of the most beautiful piazzas in Rome's city center (and just a 3-minute walk from the Pantheon.)

The piazza was built on top of what was originally a stadium in Ancient Rome (in use at the same time as the Colosseum.)

piazza navona in romePiazza Navona - my favorite, and in my opinion, the most beautiful piazza in Rome.

Today Piazza Navona is home to stunning baroque architecture, in particular the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, and three fountains, two of which were designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Want more stuff to do? Visiting Rome with teenagers/kids?

You can visit part of the remaining structure of Domitian's stadium, underneath Piazza Navona.

Go towards the rounded end of the Piazza and on the left-hand side you will see the entrance.

Click here to book tickets and audio tour of the underground.

Visiting Rome on a romantic city break?

Head to the rooftop terrace of the Eitch Borromini hotel (May - October), for stunning rooftop views of Rome, and sunsets.

To get there, walk behind Piazza Navona to Via di Santa Maria dell'Anima, 30.

A CAVEAT - This spot has become very popular in recent years and now you will need to reserve in advance to snag a spot. I don't recommend trying to just "pop in."

8 - Campo dei Fiori

Just a short walk from Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori is another beautiful piazza from Renaissance and Baroque times (used as a market, but also for public executions).

Today it's mostly known for its open-air market, and its high concentration of lively bars and pubs and places to eat.

campo dei fiori in romeCampo dei Fiori is home to Rome's only outdoor covered market, and is full of beautiful art and architecture from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

That statue in the middle of the square honors the philosopher Giordano Bruno, burnt at the stake on this spot for heresy in 1600.

He was later exonerated for his "crimes", hence this statue of him.

Staring hard, straight across the Tiber river at the Vatican.

9 - Largo di Torre Argentina

Largo di Torre Argentina is known for two things: It's where Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March, 44 B.C.E.

The ruins at Largo Argentina in RomeLargo di Torre Argentina is where Caesar was assassinated on March 15, 44 B.C.E. You can see some wonderful examples of Roman temple architecture here.

And it's a city-sanctioned cat sanctuary.

If you are a cat-lover, you will be pleased to see many cats living among the ancient ruins.

You can even go down the stairs on one side and visit them (and you can adopt, even from afar.)

If you are not a cat-lover, just know the cats are fed, cared for, and living in the ruins and will not bother you.

And, as of June 2023, you can now visit this site and I highly recommend it!

It's usually not crowded, there are no long lines to buy tickets (5€), and you can see it in less than half an hour.

10 - Trevi Fountain

We'll top off our day with the one, the only, the Trevi Fountain.

trevi fountain in romeThe Trevi Fountain in Rome - a must see!

Built over a period of 130 years, and with some traces of influence by Bernini, this iconic fountain was completed in the 18th century by Nicola Salvi.

My favorite thing about the Trevi fountain is that you can hear it before you see it.

Listen as you get closer and you will hear it too.

And that's a wrap for Day 1!

Where to Eat?

Looking for someplace to eat nearby?

They are on the map linked on this page, Rome in 3 Days.

But you can also visit my pages about

Looking to save money?

Visit my page about where to eat in Rome on a Budget.

3 Days in Rome itinerary - Day Two

Today we visit the Vatican and Vatican Museums (unless it's a Sunday, or you had to book a guided tour or special visit another day).

There are many ways to approach this visit but for our purposes, we are going to take a mid-morning guided tour.

1 - Coffee, of course

Most people not staying near Vatican City take the Metro and come out at the Ottaviano stop.

This is perfect for us, too.

As you can guess, I want to start the day with a yummy Roman breakfast

So we'll head to Sciascia Caffè for the perfect coffee and a pastry.

scia scia cafe in romeScia scia café is one of the beat places to have coffee near the Vatican.

First, it's near Ottaviano, one of the metro stations closest to the Vatican Museums.

Second, it's famous for serving up some of Rome's best coffee.

And that's saying a lot!

2 - Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

The best way to visit Vatican City is with a very good guide. (When you book a tour, you always skip the line.)

I opted for a small-group tour, so we can hear the guide up close, and also have a better chance to ask questions.

(If you want to save money, you can also opt for the Vatican Museums' audio guide, which isn't bad.)

the creation of adam by michelangelo - sistine chapelThe Creation of Adam, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums - Michelangelo Buonarotti 1508-1512

Every Vatican Museums guided tour includes the Sistine Chapel.

It's the last thing to visit inside the Vatican Museums.

3 - St. Peter's Basilica

St Peter's Basilica Shortcut

You can only take the shortcut from the Sistine Chapel to St Peter's Basilica if you are on a tour that INCLUDES the basilica.

The shortcut is open from 9:30 am - 5 or 5:30PM, and it's ONLY accessible to tour companies or private guides that you book OUTSIDE the Vatican Museums website.

The Vatican Museums does not have any ticket or tour that includes the shortcut.

This means that you won't have access to the shortcut during the KeyMaster tour, the Extra Time tour, or any other tour that does not specifically include the basilica.

If you book any tour of the Vatican Museums, you can check the details to see if it finishes in the Sistine Chapel or the basilica.

Click here to view a map of Vatican City (it will open in a new page.)

If you're on a tour, take the shortcut from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter's basilica.

I like getting a tour of the basilica as well as the Vatican museums.

It IS the largest church in the world and there's just so much history, art, and architecture

st peters basilica in vatican citySaint Peter's Basilica - don't miss this when you visit Vatican City!

Once our guide leaves us, we'll just sit down in a side-chapel and rest a little.

What better place to contemplate our day, and what we've seen and done so far?

4 - St. Peter's Dome

This next bit is optional, depending on how much time and energy you have.

Also, the second part of this climb can be claustrophobic and also tiring as it's stairs only, so you may want to leave this out if it's not for you.

And for those with walking issues, you can take the elevator to the halfway point if you like.

Next, we'll make our way back to the entry of the basilica, and turn right towards the ticket office for climbing the dome.

What an amazing view of Saint Peter's Square from up there!

view from top of the dome of st peters basilicaThe view of Saint Peter's Square and Rome as seen from the top of the dome of St. Peter's basilica in Rome

Once we come down from the dome, we'll end up back in the basilica.

One last long gaze at Michelangelo's Pietà and off we go.

michelangelo's pietà inside st peter's basilicaMichelangelo's pietà inside Saint Peter's Basilica

5 - St. Peter's Square

We still have to walk through St. Peter's Square, where there is quite a lot to see!

st peter's square vatican citySaint Peter's basilica, with a fountain by Bernini, as seen from St. Peter's Square

This gives us a pretty complete tour of Vatican City.

Should you skip the Vatican Museums?

If you're short on time and/or energy, you might consider skipping the Vatican Museums.


Yes, you want to see the Sistine Chapel, I know.

But that visit takes around 2 hours, and if you skip it, you can still enjoy all the other art and architecture of Vatican City by visiting the Basilica and Saint Peter's Square.

6 - Castel Sant'Angelo

It's possible (and a great idea) to visit Castel Sant'Angelo on a visit to Rome in 3 days.

While I think we've done plenty for the day, Castel Sant'Angelo is right on our way back across the Tiber river to the city center, and it's convenient to visit it after a Vatican Museums visit.

So if you want to fit in more stuff, this is a great option.

castel sant'angelo in romeCastel Sant'Angelo dates back to the early days of the Roman Empire, and is a fantastic and fascinating monument to visit, and great if you can fit it into a Rome-in-3-Days itinerary

If you decide to do this, you should go to the roof, where you can enjoy a little refreshment, and one of the best café views in Rome.

There is sometimes a line to get in. 

If you think you want to do this, you can book ahead here.

Where to eat?


I've listed places to eat on the map embedded on this page.

7 - Angel Bridge

If you visiting Rome for a short stay, you may not have time to visit Castel Sant'Angelo.

But on this itinerary, we will cross Ponte Sant'Angelo, the Angel Bridge.

The bridge has spanned the Tiber River since ancient Roman times, but the angels are from the 1600s. 

the angel bridge,or ponte sant'angeloMany people think Bernini made the angels but they are not his. He did make models for a couple of them, and those models are in the church of Sant'Andrea del Fratte.

The 12 angels on this bridge represent the 12 stations of the cross.

8 - Via dei Coronari

One of the prettiest streets in Rome, and one of the most fun strolling/shopping/people-watching streets, is via dei Coronari.

via dei coronari romeVia dei Coronari, one of Rome's prettiest shopping and strolling streets

We end up right near Piazza Navona.

For the rest of today, we can visit some sites we may not have gotten to on the first day, stroll around or take a nap before dinner.

And that's a wrap for Day 2!

Want more stuff to do?

Visit Palazzo Altemps, part of the Rome National Museum system, right near Piazza Navona.

This wonderful collection of Greek and Roman sculptures resides in an old ducal palace that's a work of art in itself.

NB - After the Vatican Museums, I usually don't recommend trying to see another art museum like the Borghese Gallery on the same day. However, Palazzo Altemps is a relatively easy museum to visit and also logistically in the area of this itinerary.

Rome 3-day itinerary - Day Three

On Day 3, we can spend half or a whole day visiting the sites of Ancient Rome - Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

We'll get a relatively early start.

This way, we have the second half of the day free.

We may want to see some sites we missed the first day, get in some shopping, relax, or fit in one more site.

Much of what we've seen already on our Rome itinerary has included ancient stuff.

The Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Largo Argentina, even the Vatican all have history and architecture going back to ancient Roman times.

But on today's schedule, we are going to visit Rome sites commonly referred to as "Ancient Rome" - the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

How to free up this day

If you want to free this day up for more stuff, like the Borghese Gallery, the Capitoline Museums, shopping, a day trip, or something else, you could consider visiting the Colosseum by night.

This option is typically available from spring - December on weekends, and tickets can be hard to come by.

Also, you don't get to visit the Roman Forum or Palatine Hill with this ticket.

But it would give you an extra day to plan other activities while still allowing you to see Rome's most famous monument.

1 - Coffee, What Else?

By now, you know my drill.

I love to start a day of sight-seeing with my Roman cappuccino and cornetto

Er Baretto coffee bar in Monti in RomeEr Baretto is a sweet bar with outside tables, on via del Boschetto in Monti. A lovely spot for a morning coffee.

2 - Piazza Venezia

Let's start day 3 of our Rome in 3 Days itinerary at Piazza Venezia.

The most obvious thing to see here is this giant white "wedding cake" (that is one of several not-very-flattering nicknames the Romans have given it).

Piazza Venezia wedding cake in RomeThe Complesso Vittoriano, also known as "The Wedding Cake"

The building, Complesso Vittoriano, was built in the late 1890s and completed in 1925.

It was built as a tribute to Victor Emanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy.

Although not fascist in style, the monument is often associated with Mussolini.

If you look up at the building on the right-hand side as you face the monument, you will see the balcony where Mussolini declared war in 1940

palazzo venezia in romePalazzo Venezia, where Mussolini had his headquarters, and the balcony where he declared war in 1940

The big white monument is today known for housing the tomb of the unknown soldier (you can see two soldiers there, guarding two "eternal" flames, and if you want, there is free entry, and you can go inside to visit the tomb).

tomb of the unknown soldier romeSoldiers guarding the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Victorian Complex in Rome

3 - Campidoglio

We'll head around the wedding cake, and walk up the ramp to Campidoglio, city hall (and where I got married)!

campidoglio rampThe ramp to Campidoglio, or Capitoline Hill. Don't miss this for some of the best views of the Roman Forum Palatine Hill!

This is Capitoline Hill, where the Ancient Romans had their temple to Jupiter.

Later, Michelangelo redesigned the square, as you see it today.

The equestrian statue in the middle of emperor Marcus Aurelius is a copy.

The original is inside the Capitoline Museums.

capitoline hill in romePiazza Campidoglio, or Capitoline Hill, as designed by Michelangelo

The main reason I want to come here is for this view over the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

view of the roman forum from capitoline hillFrom here we can see the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill and in the back, the Colosseum. The perfect way to begin our visit to those sites.

Want to fit in more stuff?

Visit the Capitoline Museums right here on Capitoline Hill.

It will easily take 2 or more hours, so make sure you will have time and energy for this.

You could also opt to take the elevator to the top of the Vittoriano for some of the most stunning 360 degree views of Rome.

4 - Via dei Fori Imperiali

We'll walk down the curving slope and end up on the via dei Fori Imperiali, or, the Street of the Imperial Forums.

This is where some of Rome's emperors (and also Julius Caesar) built their government centers.

via dei fori imperial, street of the imperial forumsVia dei Fori Imperiali, one of the most beautiful and dramatic thoroughfares in Rome

Imperial Forum vs. Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is where downtown city life was in Ancient Rome.

It's off to the right as you walk down this road towards the Colosseum. You can go inside as part of a visit to the Colosseum.

An Imperial Forum was the forum that an emperor built, which is where he would conduct matters of state.

On this road, you can see 4 fora (forums): Coming from Piazza Venezia towards the Colosseum - On the right-hand side is the forum of Julius Caesar.

On the left, you have the forums of Trajan, Augustus, and Nerva.

5 - Colosseum (and Roman Forum if You Like)

Here's a way to combine 3 main locations in one day if you are really short on time: 

Rome in a Day Tour with Vatican, Colosseum & Historic Center

To visit one of the most famous monuments in Rome, if not the world, we are going to take a guided tour.

There is way too much information and Roman history to try to figure it out on our own. 

inside of the colosseum in romeThe inside of the Colosseum in Rome - it's fascinating, but why is so much of it missing? Partly from disuse (and earthquakes) over the centuries. But also because people used the marble to make other things, like the Vatican!

I booked a small-group tour that will take us into the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

roses in the roman forumThe Roman Forum is beautiful to walk through, in particular when roses are in bloom from spring through fall

If you prefer not to take a guided tour, you can just purchase a skip the line ticket and go on your own.

On a Romantic city break

If you can, visit the Colosseum towards closing time so you might catch a bit of sunset.

Afterwards, hop over to the Hotel Forum or the NH Fori Imperiali for a romantic rooftop aperitivo.

If it's winter and the rooftops are closed, go to nearby Palazzo Manfredi and check out the swanky The Court with a stunning view of the Colosseum.

Traveling with small children

You may want to only visit the Colosseum and not the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

You may also opt to not go inside and simply walk around the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine, and the via dei Fori Imperiali, taking it all in, without the stress and commitment of going inside these sites.

None of these sites is very stroller-friendly.


For more to do in this area, try:

Or if you really want to fit in another must-see site, consider the Borghese Gallery, although it is in a different area of the city and you'll need to plan your transportation there.

6 - Palatine Hill and Roman Forum

When you buy a ticket to the Colosseum, it includes entry to the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill.

I put these two together because they constitute one archeological park.

The main thing to know is you cannot leave the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill and come back again.

view of roman forum from palatine hillView of the Roman Forum from the Palatine Hill. Both are included in your Colosseum ticket

So if your tour or visit to the Colosseum ends in the Roman Forum, and you want to also see the Palatine Hill, either make sure your tour includes this part, or stay in the park until you've visited all you want to see.

7 - Lunch, and . . .

Winding down this visit of 3 days in Rome, we'll head for a bite.

There are lots of places to eat near the Colosseum.

Or you can just grab a sandwich or slice of pizza

tonnarelli cacio e pepe romeA nice plate of tonnarelli cacio e pepe seems like a great reward after all that tromping around ancient Roman ruins

Rome in 3 Days - the rest of the story

We have one more half day in Rome.

What will we do?

When you visit Rome, I believe in leaving a little bit of your trip unplanned.

Perhaps just a meander back to your hotel, stopping for a drink along the way.

Or maybe you want to shop.

Perhaps go back to one of the sites you saw (or missed) one of the other days.

Want to see something else?

Try Trajan's Market, another incredible set of ancient ruins, and nearly always uncrowded.

Or, visit the Capitoline Museums, or the Galleria Doria Pamphilj.

If you want to make sure you have this second half of your day planned, I suggest trying to book in advance the Galleria Borghese, one of Rome's best museums.

No, you can't actually see it "all" in Rome in 3 days.

But you can see a lot.

And that's a great start. Next time, you'll see more!

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