Rome, the Eternal City! One of the most visited places on Earth, and a must-see if you are visiting Italy. I get a lot of readers asking “how long should you spend in Rome?” Many people will visit Italy for 10 days and I always recommend spending at least 3 days in Rome if you can. It is a large city with so much to see, and you’ll want a few days to take it all in!
The majority of visitors will fly in and out of Rome because it’s usually the least expensive flight from the US and you can easily connect to other parts of Italy through Rome. Wherever else you’re planning to go in Italy, it’s wise to plan a day or two in Rome on each end. My personal preference is to spend 2 days when you land and then one day before you fly out to see everything you missed the first two days.
3 days in Rome is not enough time to see everything, but it’s enough time to enjoy the city and really get a feel for it! This Rome itinerary will help you make the best of your limited time.
Before planning your 3 days in Rome, be sure to check out this important information:
How to See Rome in 3 Days
This guide to Rome in 3 days will help you see as much of the city as possible. This itinerary is not too busy, and you can choose to do them in order or not, it doesn’t matter! Just be sure to take time to wander the streets and soak up the massive amount of ancient history all around you!
Day 1 – Early Morning Walk &
On your first day in Rome, you’ll likely be getting over jetlag and waking up at a totally unfathomable time in the morning. Take advantage of your sleep depravation and explore the city in the wee hours of the morning, while the light is barely peeking over the hills and the rest of the city is still asleep. It’s my very favorite time in Rome and a completely different experience than seeing it during the day. You’ll also be able to get some fabulous pictures without crowds, which is nearly unheard of in this bustling city.
I recommend walking to the busiest places in Rome first. Start with the Trevi Fountain. By sun-up, this place will already be packed, so make this your first early morning stop! You can throw coins in the fountains as these are collected regularly and given to charity, but don’t ever remove coins. It’s considered bad luck, and just plain rude. Fun fact: the Trevi Fountain is one of the oldest water sources in Rome.
The Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps is another good early-morning stop, since this gets really crowded as well. Climb the 135 steps and take some pictures. Fun fact: the Spanish Steps were actually built with money donated by a Frenchman! They are called the Spanish Steps because of the Piazza di Spagna, named for the Spanish Embassy, sit at the base of the stairs.
Another good early morning stop, the Pantheon is the best-preserved Ancient Roman monument, and worth going inside later in the day, but it’s also magnificent to see it without crowds, vendors, and cars parked in front of it.
Conveniently located around the corner from the Pantheon, Piazza Navona is considered one of Rome’s most beautiful squares. Be sure to see the beautiful fountains.
Dinner in Trastevere
In the evening wander across the river to the beautiful Trastevere neighborhood. This colorful, bohemian area of the city is known for its incredible trattorias and artisan shops. And you really can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants for dinner. Reservations are recommended.
Day 2 – Sistine Chapel, Cooking Class & Borghese Gardens
Today is a more relaxing day, where you’ll visit the beautiful Sistine Chapel and the Vatican, take a cooking class, and stroll the Borghese Gardens, but it will still require an early wake up call.
Sistine Chapel Tour
Start your day bright and early, with the Pristine Sistine Vatican tour. I almost always recommend this specific Vatican tour to visitors. It’s early in the morning, but you will have the Sistine Chapel all to yourself which is pretty amazing! If you wait to visit in the middle of the day, you’ll have to do so with hundreds of other visitors.
There’s nothing like Italian food! During the afternoon, take a cooking class. You cannot leave Rome without learning how to make your own pasta. That knowledge will be the best souvenir you bring home with you! This pasta-making class is a great way to hone those cooking skills and learn something new!
Wander the Borghese Gardens
In the evening, walk off the meal from your cooking class by wandering the beautiful Borghese Gardens. There are a number of museums here, but for the sake of time, I’d just enjoy the landscaped gardens and the view of Rome from Pincian Hill.
Day 3 – Vespa Tour & Colosseum
On your last day in Rome, visit the infamous Colosseum and take a Vespa tour to see anything you missed during your first two days.
The Colosseum, Roman Forum, & Palatine Hill
If you plan to visit the Colosseum while in Rome, I always recommend doing a skip-the-line tour. The lines at the Colosseum do get really crazy, so going with an approved guide is a great way to bypass this and also learn a lot!
This might just be the most fun you’ll have in Rome. This exhilarating tour will take you for the ride of your life on the back of an iconic Italian Vespa scooter. Discover iconic sites and hidden gems as your knowledgeable guides take multiple stops to tell you the history and myth behind the Eternal City.
Your guides will be able to take you almost anywhere in the city, so if you want to see something specific, just let them know. They can meet you at your hotel and drop you off wherever you’d like, preferably at a restaurant of their recommendation!
Whatever you decide to do, I’m sure you’ll have an amazing 3 days in Rome. Even if you’re able to accomplish half of this list, you’ll have a great time and good memories.