Planning to spend 2 days in Rome, Italy and looking to see the city’s top attractions? There are so many things to see and do in Rome and this 2-day Itinerary will help you make the most of your time in this lovely city.
As the famous saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, which though true, it is most definitely possible to visit its highlights in two days. Branded the ‘Eternal City’, Rome has a history unlike any other city in the world; from the days of Gladiators and Chariot racing to Renaissance paintings and architecture, all the way up to modern-day, the metropolis continues to thrive.
Whether you prioritise sightseeing and ticking landmarks off of your bucket list, or simply soaking in the atmosphere of a city, this two-day itinerary has you covered to get the most out of your trip to Rome.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Two Days in Rome: Where to stay?
- 2 How to spend 2 days in Rome – a Detailed Itinerary
- 2.1 Rome in 2 Days: Day One
- 2.2 Rome in 2 Days: Day Two
- 3 Practical Information for your 2-day Rome Itinerary
Two Days in Rome: Where to stay?
Royal Rooms – Via Del Corso: Located on the main shopping street, within walking distance of the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps and within easy reach of the metro, this elegantly decorated hotel has comfortable rooms and kind staff. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Palazzo Medusa: Within walking distance of the main attractions and well-located for The Vatican yet tucked away in a quiet location away from the hustle and bustle, this guest house has elegantly decorated rooms with a shared lounge and a cafe opposite where you can enjoy breakfast. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Navona Colors Hotel: Within walking distance of the main sights as well as bars and restaurants, this hotel is located on a pedestrianized street in the Baroque area of the Old Town. Rooms are decorated in an elegant olde worlde style with exposed beams and tiled floor. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
How to spend 2 days in Rome – a Detailed Itinerary
Rome in 2 Days: Day One
Tip: Two days in Rome is not much time for what the city has to offer. In order to be able to see the major attractions and not spend your time waiting in lines under the hot sun (if you are visiting in summer) I highly recommend that you book your skip the line tickets and tours in advance especially for the Colosseum – Roman Forum – Palatine Hill and for the Vatican.
The best way to start your Roman experience is to eat breakfast the way Italians do. As you may know, the locals are fanatic about their coffee and the way in which it is drunk; head to one of the many cafes dotted around the city, otherwise known as Snack Bars, and order yourself a cappuccino and a cornetto (croissant).
Italians detest drinking coffee with hot milk after around 11 am, so the cappuccino is very much considered a morning drink. Enjoy your coffee like a local by standing at the bar and drinking it, rather than sitting down, as sometimes, you will be charged more.
Founded in the 16th Century, the Vatican Museum houses an extensive collection of masterpieces and artifacts. The scale of the Museum and the sheer number of works is breath-taking, and you could spend your entire trip to Rome here.
Discover some world-famous paintings by the artistic greats, such as Caravaggio, Titian and Da Vinci, as well as the stunning Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512.
Tip: Visiting the Vatican is an essential Rome experience, and it will be quite overwhelming! Before anything, you should know that the queues are huge. No matter how much you think you can wait, you can’t. The queues go on for seemingly forever, so I recommend a skip-a-line tour.
Another way to enjoy the Vatican if you don’t have much time is by this Pristine Sistine, early entrance small group Vatican tour by the Walks of Italy. The reason I like this tour is that you get inside the Vatican one hour before it opens, the group is up to 14 people and you get to see the Vatican in under 4 hours.
All times I’ve been to the Vatican (3 so far) were with the skip the line guided tour, and it added to the overall comfort and convenience of my entire visit there.
If you’re not really into tours, you can wander on your own and skip the lines.
St Peter’s Basilica
Next, join the queue to enter St Peter’s Basilica; you must make sure that your legs and shoulders are covered, so either wear longer clothing or a scarf, otherwise you will not be allowed in. The inside of St Peter’s is awe-inspiring, and immense inside, so ensure that you take your time to appreciate all of its glory. You can also access the Vatican Grotto, which lies beneath the main building and is the resting place of previous Popes.
After this, purchase your tickets to visit the top of the dome; for the stair-route it is 8 euro each, and to take the elevator it is 10 euro each. From the top, you can see all of Rome, as well as having a perfect view of the Vatican Gardens and St Peter’s Square.
12:30 pm Lunch
What better place in the world to eat pizza than Italy? In Rome, it is very common to pay for pizza by the weight of the slice, so you will see many pizzerias that offer this; it is perfect, as it means you can have as little or as much as you want, and in most places, pay a very reasonable price for it.
Just make sure you ask first as to roughly how much a slice is, as some places will take advantage of the fact that you are a tourist and rip you off.
After the Vatican Museum, head towards the river, where you will come across Castel Sant’Angelo; completed in 139AD, this landmark was built as a mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian.
In the 6th Century, it was turned into a Papal Fortress, which you can visit today, and admire gorgeous panoramic views of Rome from the top, and visit the vast collection of artefacts inside.
Tickets are 15 euro each, or 7.50 euro each if you bring your valid documentation stating that you are a European Union citizen.
After visiting the Vatican and the Castel Sant’ Angelo, head along the river towards the neighbourhood of Trastevere. Here you will find cobbled streets and ivy-covered buildings and feel as though you have stepped out of the hustle and bustle of Rome, and into a quaint Italian town.
There are so many restaurants to choose from, and all offer something different. After feasting on some Italian pizza and pasta, venture to the main square for some street entertainment and watch the sunset.
Rome in 2 Days: Day Two
Like the previous day, the best way to have breakfast in Rome is in true Italian fashion; locate a Snack Bar or café and order yourself a beautiful cappuccino and cornetto.
Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill
One of the world’s Seven Wonders, the Colosseum is one of the most incredible and famous landmarks on earth. Construction began in 70 AD, and it was used as an amphitheater for Roman entertainment.
Continue your visit at the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill for the best views of Rome.
After the Colosseum, stroll down towards the forum and gaze in awe at some Ancient Roman ruins; there are many information boards scattered around this area, informing you as to what the particular ruin used to be, and how it may have looked.
Afterward, continue on towards Altare della Patria; often branded as ‘The Wedding Cake’, this stunning white tiered building was completed in 1925, to honor Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of a unified Italy. You can take the elevator at the top and admire some wonderful views of Rome.
Next to Altare della Patria is Palazzo Venezia, a gorgeous Venetian style palace dedicated to Renaissance artefacts, whilst also boasting beautiful Italian gardens and architecture.
If you are visiting Rome in summer, at this point you will likely be exhausted from the heat, so Palazzo Venezia is the perfect way to cool down; regular tickets are 10 euro each, but if you bring your European Union identification, it is only 5 euro each.
Campo de’ Fiori
Just behind the restaurant lies Campo de’ Fiori – Field of Flowers. This is a wonderful daily market which runs from 10am until 2pm, where you can find fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers and clothes. As well as these, there are lots of souvenirs you can purchase, such as a vast selection of Limoncello and olive oil.
Once you have explored what the market stalls have to offer, visit one of the many bars dotted around the edge of the square; in the afternoon, lots of the bars have a happy hour, that typically charge around 5 euro for an Aperol Spritz – a popular Italian drink that the locals and tourists alike enjoy! Just a minute off of the main square is Arco degli Acetari, a hidden Medieval courtyard where vinegar makers used to work; it makes for a gorgeous photo.
There are so many enticing restaurants and cafes across Rome, so much so that you will feel spoiled for choice when selecting where to eat. One recommendation is Café Bianco, located just behind Piazza Navona. Here, you can indulge in a 12-euro deal, that consists of a starter, a main and a drink. The food is delicious, the service is quick and friendly, and the location is incredibly central.
Stroll onwards towards Piazza Navona, an immense and bustling piazza, full of tourists and locals like, boasting an array of restaurants, bars and street entertainment. The piazza has an extensive history as well; it was originally built in the 1st Century to house games, and was later paved over to make it what it is today.
Museo di Roma
Once you have explored Piazza Navona, just next to it is Museo di Roma, a wonderful museum that houses a large collection of famous artefacts and paintings. It is the perfect way to escape the crowds and cool down.
After visiting the Museum, walk for just a few more minutes and you will stumble across the Pantheon; this temple is one of the oldest buildings in Rome, and has remained un-tampered with, meaning it is entirely authentic. The temple’s purpose was to serve as a place of worship to Roman Gods, and today, you can visit this amazing sight for free!
After lunch, take a stroll around Piazza Spagna, and admire the magnificent Spanish Steps. In the tourist months, the steps are crammed with visitors snapping selfies and admiring the view, whilst in the quieter months, it is a lot more peaceful; nonetheless, it is one of Rome’s highlights.
If you are finding the Steps a little too busy, dive into The Keats-Shelley Museum, which is located at the bottom. Here you can discover the famous Romantic poet, John Keats’s last resting place, as well as many other artefacts of the Romantic era, such as those of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron.
Just a short walk from the Spanish Steps is the wonderful Trevi Fountain; it is obligatory that you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain and make a wish! Like most sights in Rome, the Trevi Fountain does get incredibly busy in peak season, so it may be a struggle to get close to the Fountain.
However, the surrounding area is beautiful and there are lots of lovely shops and bars, so if the crowds and heat are getting too much, stop for a gorgeous Italian coffee or Gelato.
Practical Information for your 2-day Rome Itinerary
When is the best time to visit Rome
Visit April-May (with the exception of Easter week) or September-November to avoid the crowds whilst still benefiting from good weather, bearing in mind that April, October, and November are generally the wettest months so you’ll need to pack an umbrella and waterproof jacket.
In September, as soon as the schools go back, the crowds lessen but the temperatures are still beautiful hitting highs of 27c whilst in October, the leaves start to change colours on the trees the temperature dropping to between 12c-23c with the Rome Film Festival taking place at the end of the month. November can still bring bright blue skies and warm days but by now, the temperature is only reaching up to 18c with 10 days of rain.
July-August are the hottest and busiest times of the year for tourism with temperatures hitting highs of 38c so are best avoided however, there’s lots going on with Rock in Roma and Lungo Il Tevere Roma, a fun event with pop-up bars, restaurants, and music venues both taking place in July and in August there’s Isola del Cinema, a Summer film series that takes place on Tiberina Island.
Winter shouldn’t be ruled out as, despite the colder temperatures which can range anywhere from 3c-12c, there won’t be the long queues and you can usually make good savings on flights and accommodation outside of the holiday period. Or, pay a little more and enjoy Rome’s Carnevale in February or visit for Christmas/NewYear and peruse the Christmas Market before seeing the life-size nativity unveiled at the Vatican on Christmas Eve.
How to get to and from Rome–Fiumicino International Airport
Train: There are 2 trains that go to the city center from the airport. The fastest option (and more expensive) is the non-stop Leonardo Express which runs from 06.28-23.23 from the airport to the city center (Termini Station) and 05.35-22.35 from the central station to the airport with a journey time of 30minutes.
The cheaper but slower option is the regional commuter train, the FL1, which goes to Trastevere (30 minutes journey), Ostiense, Fara Sabina, and Tiburtina (40minutes journey) along with other stations and runs from 05.58-23.38. From these stations (ideal if you’re staying in Campo de’ Fiori, Piazza Navona, within the Pantheon area, or the Sabina area) you can make a connection to the city center on another FL1 train or via metro, bus, or tram. Both trains depart every 15-30 minutes from the station outside terminal 3. Price: €8– €14 Duration: 30-50 minutes
Bus: 5 bus companies travel between the airport and the city centre with at least 1 bus every 40minutes.
Taxi: There is a flat rate fee if traveling from the airport to the city ring (inside the Aurelian Walls), but if traveling outside of the city ring, you will be charged by the time/distance as determined by the taximeter. The flat-rate fee goes up if traveling between 00.00-05.00. Price: €48 day, € 53 night Duration: 40minutes
Private Transfer: Pre-book online with Welcome Pickups, at which point you can order child seats and other essentials, and know that your driver will be waiting for you outside of arrivals at the airport or outside of your hotel. Click here to book your private transfer.
How to get around the city
You can easily walk between Rome’s top tourist attractions in the central historic district which includes the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon however, to reach the Vatican (a 3km walk from the Colosseum) or the Trastevere district (a 2.7k walk from the Colosseum), your fastest option is to take the metro or, to see more, take the bus or tram.
Rome’s metro consists of 3 lines but is limited compared with other European cities, good to get to the Vatican as it’s faster than the buses and trams but not as extensive as the above ground public transport network. You can use the same ticket on all of Rome’s public transport (metro, bus, or tram) whether you opt for single tickets which give you 100minutes of travel or get a 24, 48, or 72 hour ticket.
For ease and convenience when sightseeing, consider buying a 24hr or 48hr ticket for the hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus – you’ll save those aching legs whilst benefiting from information about the places you’re passing and the sights the bus stops at.
Despite there being so many sights to see in Rome, part of the city’s charm is the general hustle and bustle of Italian culture. Although Rome’s public transport is brilliant, this city is meant to be walked; that way, you don’t miss the gorgeous side streets and abundance of life that the city exudes.