In Rome for a short while and wondering what to do? Our carefully curated itinerary is designed to show you the best of Rome in 3 days, with the best of the city's culture and history, helping you make the most of every second of your vacation.
3 Days in Rome - How To Spend Your Day
Rome In 3 Days - Detailed Itinerary
Exploring The Ancient Ruins Of Rome
Roman Forum & Palantine Hill
The Colosseum is perhaps the most recognized structure in all of Rome. This amphitheatre was used for gladiator contests and other public spectacles like animal fights, mock sea battles, etc. This oval amphitheatre, with ties to the Roman Catholic Church, was made entirely of sand, and could hold up to 80,000 spectators back in the day. At 157 feet, the Colosseum was also the tallest amphitheatre ever built, falling only 26 feet short of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Colosseum stands tall as an architectural marvel from a time long past and each nook and corner in its 6-acre area has a story to tell. Check out the best Colosseum guided tours available online and grab them at discount on Headout.
- The first Sunday of the month means free entry into the Colosseum, but we recommend not to go then because it is very crowded. Browse through the best Colosseum Skip the Line tickets to beat queues & crowds anytime, anyday.
- Since the tour is entirely open-air, make sure you check the weather forecast the day before.
- A trick to beat the crowds would be to visit the Roman Forum before the Colosseum- it's usually less busy.
- Consider taking a Colosseum Underground tour for access to an exclusive, lesser-known part of the Colosseum.
Then, head to the Roman Forum right outside the Colosseum. Once the city centre of Rome, the landmark looks strikingly similar to something straight out of a fantasy movie, with tall buildings, pillars, columns, arches, etc. Today, the Forum is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations. Even so, this landmark draws over 4 million tourists every year. Highlights include the Temple of Antoninus Pius, Temple of Castor and Pollex, and the Arch of Septimius Severus among others.
Travel back in time to where Ancient Rome was discovered: the Palatine Hill. Smack dab in the middle of the seven hills, Palatine overlooks the Roman Forum on one side and the Circus Maximus on the other. Many legends are associated with the Palatine hill, which you'll find out about on your visit (hint: one involves Hercules striking Cacus).
- Wear comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate clothing for the season you're in Rome.
- A self-guided tour is just as fun as a guided tour. Just make sure you download the Parco Colosseo app before heading out.
- Bring a bottle of water with you- there is a fair bit of walking through the site and you'll need to hydrate!
- Bring along a snack to munch on. There are a few benches in the area or you can plop down on the grass for a quick bite if you'd like.
Take a stroll around the local's favourite hub - Trastevere. From Vatican city, walk north on the Via della Lungara and you shall reach Trastevere in 15 minutes. Though you can walk around and experience the neighbourhood yourself, exploring the Trastevere neighbourhood with a local is a couthy experience that takes you through spots frequented by the the local Romans. You will get a chance to discover local tastes, learn about Italian cuisine and how it is more than just pizza and pasta. You'll witness a mix of Rome’s most famous food stops and family-run gems, where you’ll get to meet the passionate people whose dedication to this city's cuisine and traditions is fueled by their love for it. If time permits, you can also learn how to make carbonara at an exclusive masterclass!
- Walk in and out of the shops and cafes of Via del Moro. Explore the cobblestone streets lined with crumbling buildings as well- both act as great backdrops for your Instagram-worthy pictures.
- There are many food tours for you to participate in- enjoy the local cuisine to the fullest.
Descend underground to delve deeper into the many layers of Rome: enjoy a tour that showcases how the Eternal city evolved through the years and the many historic sites that can be found here. Explore the Catacombs of Domitilla, the Catacomb of Santa Priscilla, the Basilica San Clemente, and more. A guided tour of the Roman Catacombs is recommended as simply walking through the ruins without knowing the history is simply spooky.
- uests suffering from claustrophobia must be cautious as the tunnels are entirely underground and cramped.
- Carry water and snacks with you as the catacombs are not within close proximity to shops or restaurants.
- Wear comfortable shoes as the catacomb tunnels are not entirely flat.
Sauntering Through Central Rome
Trevi Fountain & Spanish Steps
Start your day after a hearty breakfast, around 10:30 AM and walk the length of one of Rome's most treasured squares, the Piazza Navona. Centered around 3 lavish fountains - Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro and Fontana di Nettuno ; Piazza Navona is a true example of a hive of activity. It flaunts Bernini sculptures, elaborate fountains, a magnificent church, colourful casts of street artists, quaint cafes and lots of open space, bathing in sunshine and brimming with tourists. If you like a slow start to your day, grab a coffee, catch a nook and spend an hour simply people watching. Locals like to call this place where the liveliness of Roman life is explicitly tangible and we absolutely agree.
- Try roasted chestnuts while walking through Piazza Navona- a quintessential activity here!
- Visit the piazza during spring or autumn when the weather is ideal for walking.
Visit next, the Pantheon, Ancient Rome's pride and glory, and its bestt-preserved monument. A stone's throw away from Piazza Navona, enter this magnanimous structure and admire its striking interiors. Built originally as a temple for all gods, the exact date of construction is still unknown. Legend has it that it was built on the very site where Romulus - the mythological founder of Rome - ascended from heaven.
- Looking to beat the crowds? Visit the Pantheon an hour before closing time.
- The best recommended time to visit for the full expeirence is around noon. When the sun shines through the oculus, make sure to stand straight under it and look up.
- Be careful on rainy days as the floor may be slippery.
Next, make your way to one what's considered to be one of the most famous fountains in the world. The Fontana di Trevi, or Trevi Fountain, is one of the most breathtaking fountains and stands out starkly from the other 1,352 fountains in Rome. Designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi, it makes for a great sight at both day and night, but do be aware that it’s likely going to be crowded here at pretty much any time of day! Make sure follow through the age old tradition of tossing a coin into Trevi fountain. Legend goes that you will one day return to Rome if you stand with your back facing the fountain and flip a coin into the water, and you definitely want to return to the Eternal city. Right?!
- Be alert of your surroundings: people will be brushing up against each other, so keep your belongings and valuables safe.
The Spanish Steps are also known as Piazza Spagna, or Spanish Square. The steps lead from the baroque fountain - Fontana della Barcaccia at the base, up to the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. It gained popularity when the film "Roman Holiday" (featuring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck) shot a scene on these iconic steps. So, if you're a fan of Audrey Hepburn, you'll want to relive that exact moment here. The steps are free to visit, and a photo of you on them (ideally eating gelato), is pretty much a staple when visiting Rome!
- Are you a John Keats fan? Check out the house he lived and died in, located near the Spanish Steps.
The Borghese Gallery
Visit the Borghese Gallery, a dream come true for art lovers everywhere. Admire Roman art as you stroll through the gallery, features one of the world’s greatest private art collections. The collection is rich in ancient Roman, Renaissance, and Baroque art, with major works by Bernini, Titian, Caravaggio, Raphael, Correggio, Rubens, and Canova. Check out the top 10 Borghese Gallery highlights. With ticket options aplenty, choose your preferred Borghese Gallery Ticket.
The Borghese Gardens
Rome's green lung, or Villa Borghese is a quick walk away from the Spanish steps. Find yourself enveloped in greenery (80 lavish hectares of it) in Rome's most extensive gardens. What's even better? This attraction doesn't have an entrance fee. Explore it to your heart's content!
- Visiting the Borghese Gallery and Gardens during the weekends is not recommended for those looking to avoid crowds.
- The first Sunday of the month is free of cost- but avoid booking as it'll be very crowded.
- The zoo is a ticketed entrance, so if you want to include that in your itinerary, buy the tickets online.
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Discovering The Vatican City Jewels
St. Peter's Basilica
Begin your third day at arguably one of the most important museums in Europe, the Vatican Museums. A collection of almost 20,000 pieces of art, the Vatican Museum is undeniably one of the most impressive displays of art in the world. The museums have many classical sculptures, tapestries, and paintings by Renaissance greats such as Raphael, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Bernini and Leonardo da Vinci on display throughout all 54 galleries. The Vatican Museums also have a collection of Modern Religious Art with paintings and sculptures from artists like Carlo Carrà, Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso. With ticket options aplenty, choose from our list of Vatican Museum tickets.
- We recommend fitting into the Vatican Museums at or before 9 AM because it gets very crowded later in the day.
- Remember to dress appropriately when visiting the Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica: shoulders, thighs, knees, midriffs, and cleavage should not be exposed.
The Sistine Chapel may be a part of the Vatican Museums, but it is definitely considered a separate Vatican highlight. One of Michelangelo's finest masterpieces, the Sistine Chapel is a must-visit for all. Thankfully, all tickets to the Vatican Museums get you access to the Sistine Chapel. Located in the Apostolic Palace, it is the official residence of the Pope and is the last stop on your Vatican Museums tour.
- The best days to visit are Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mondays, Fridays, and weekends are very crowded. On Wednesday, you have the Papal audience to look out for.
- Winters are typically the low-season months, so if you want to beat crowds, head out to the Vatican then.
Explore the St. Peter's Basilica next, the biggest church in the world. Perched atop the tomb of St. Peter and located on the Vatican Hill, St Peter’s Basilica dominates the skyline of Rome. Check out both levels below the basilica as well: the Vatican Grottoes and the Vatican Necropolis!
- We recommend buying St. Peter's Basilica tickets online. The wait time could be anywhere between 45 minutes to 3 hours.
- No shorts, mini skirts, or bare shoulders allowed in the basilica.
- Need help figuring out the best St.Peter's Basilica entrance? Save time and energy at the location.
Explore the Vatican Necropolis, a dark city of house-like mausoleums lined along dark streets filled with frescoes, inscriptions, and stucco decorations. In the early 1940s a grave was excavated here with the words “Petros Eni” (Peter lies here) inscribed on it. Inside, the remains of a tall man were discovered, claimed today by the Vatican as the bones of St. Peter, one of the original Apostles.
- We recommend booking tickets to the Necropolis ahead of time- this attraction ticket is high in demand.
- The Necropolis is dimly lit. Since it is underground, it has little ventilation and dimly lit. guests with serious medical conditions must take caution.
- Please be dressed appropriately: shoulders must be covered.
Built as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian, this attraction is also known as the Hadrian’s Tomb. The Castel Sant’Angelo sits on the banks of River Tiber and is easily one of Rome's oldest standing buildings. Over the years, it evolved from a tomb to a fortress to a castle, and finally, a museum. Climb to the top for striking views of the city!
Spend 3 Days in Rome Under 190 Euros
Barring your accomodation and food expenses, here's an approximate of how much you'll spend in Rome over 3 days. Headout guarantees the best price on the internet, so simply buy your attraction tickets from the Headout website and get 5% Cashbacks and 6 Euros Discounts on every other purchase!
Day 1 : Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palantine Hill, Trastevere,
Day 2 : Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps,
Day 3 : Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St.Peter's Basilica,
Vatican Necropolis, Castel Sant’Angelo
Book your Rome Attractions tickets on Headout, and spend just €187 on your 3 day vacation in Rome! Hit up all the prime attractions in the Eternal city and save more while you explore more.
Recommended Experiences for your 5 day Rome itinerary• Priority Entrance Tickets to Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
• The Original Rome Capuchin Crypts and Catacombs Tour
• Best of Rome: Walking Tour with Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain & Pantheon
• Villa Borghese Gallery: Skip The Line Guided Tour
• Skip-the-Line Tickets: Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
• Vatican City Tour with St. Peter's Basilica Dome Climb
• Castel Sant Angelo Skip-the-Line Ticket with an Audioguide
More Rome Itinerary Options?
Tips & Hacks For Making The Best of 3 Days in Rome
- Getting Skip The Line Tickets is always recommended in Rome. The ticketing queues can be excruciatingly long. Pay a little extra to avoid waiting around in line and thank us later.
- Most restaurants listed on popular websites like TripAdvisor are tourist traps- they can be quite hefty on the pocket. When in Rome, eat like a local. Head to where the locals flock and taste authentically-Italian grub! If you're interested in squeezing in local food tour on your 3 day trip, check out our list of the Top Local Food Tours in Rome.
- The all new Walk On Walk Off Pass : This is a fairly new concept and we are completely blown by it ( you will be too!) If you like exploring a city on foot, nothing gets better. Check out our review of the Walk On Walk Off Pass.
- Rome is infamous for its scamsters and fraudsters, so, keep an eye out for your belongings and keep them near and close.
- There are many non-decorative fountains along the streets with free-flowing water. This water is perfectly safe to drink, so bring your water bottles and fill them up from here
- Italians don’t drink cappuccinos after 11 AM. Order an espresso to shun funny looks.
- Most museums and sites are closed on Mondays, so if you're in Rome on a Monday, make sure you have a Plan B of things to do.
More Rome Guides
Here are a few detailed guides that will help you plan your trip to Rome better.