Planning a trip to Rome? Get some inspiration on what to do while you’re there with our idea of a perfect three-day itinerary. History, culture, entertainment, restaurants… Pack it all in at a comfortable pace and don’t miss a thing!
From the legend of the founding of Rome by two brothers who had been raised by a wolf to its current status as the Italian capital, via the glory of the Roman Empire and the masterpieces of the Renaissance, Rome is deservingly known as the Eternal City. Seat of the papacy, centre of the Roman Empire, cradle of Western civilization and law, the city of Rome is a living monument in which every street, façade and fountain is a delight.
Begin your exploration of the city on the Capitol, the smallest and most central of Rome’s seven hills. Here you will find the Piazza del Campidoglio, one of the most beautiful squares in the world, designed by Michaelangelo. It is home to the Capitoline Museum, the oldest museum in the world which contains many masterpieces of antique sculpture. You will also find the Palazzo Senatorio, the current city hall, on this square.
Heading south, you will come across the Forum. This public square was used during Antiquity as a focal point where the Romans would discuss, argue and haggle. Take the opportunity to wander among the remains of temples and basilicas in the open air and understand a little more about life in Roman antiquity.
The walk through the forum will take you to the Coliseum. This huge amphitheatre was the largest in the whole Roman Empire, and is arguably the most famous monument in the city. The Coliseum is associated with the terrible fights between gladiators and wild beasts, and there were even mock naval battles staged here, which gives an idea of the power of the Empire at that time.
Continue further south, and you will discover another monumental vestige of the Roman Empire: the Circus Maximus, which could accommodate 250,000 spectators, making it the largest sports arena the world has ever known. It is also a pleasant green space for a stroll.
Depending on how much time you have left, you could continue your tour of ancient Rome, if you wish, by visiting the Baths of Caracalla, the Trajan Market or the Palatine.
In the late afternoon, go back to the north of the forum to discover the city and its famous Trevi Fountain, one of the best known monuments in the city. A magnificent example of Baroque art, it is customary to throw coins into the fountain for good luck or to make a wish. All money thrown in is then collected by the City and distributed to charities.
Next, enjoy an ice cream at nearby San Crispino, after all, gelato is one of the reasons to come to Italy!
The next day you will be visiting another country, crossing the border into the Vatican city. It’s best to go early, because the site is extremely popular with tourists and the queues can be very long if you go too late. Once inside, you will visit the celebrated Sistine Chapel and its world-famous ceiling painted, in part, by Michelangelo.
Once out of the Vatican Museums, make your way into the most famous church in Christendom, St. Peter’s at the Vatican, which is the Pope’s parish church. Inside this majestic building, don’t forget to admire the sublime Pietà sculpture by Michelangelo. Note how the foot of the statue of St. Peter has been eroded by the pilgrims kissing his foot upon entering in the basilica.
After such a busy morning, the afternoon will be calmer. Spend a quite few hours exploring the city’s most beautiful squares, starting at the Piazza Navona where you will discover the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini. Next, head to the Piazza di Spagna which is located in a great shopping district, and finally, the Piazza Venezia on which stands the monument to Victor Emmanuel II. In the evening, have a pizza at Da Ricci or at Dar Poeta, restaurants that will do justice to this world famous Italian speciality.
For your last day in Rome, you will follow an exceptional guide: director Nanni Moretti, who in his film "Caro Diario" presents the most beautiful areas of the city based on their facades. If you want to follow the path he travels on his trusty Vespa, begin in the district of Garbatella, south of the city centre, a 1920s residential area, then go to Spinacetto, further south, then head to Casal Palocco, a district designed in the 1930s by the fascist government, which later became a middle-class residential neighbourhood. Finally, head to Ostia, at the edge of the sea, and like the director, contemplate the place where Pier Paolo Pasolini was killed.
On your last night in Rome, take the opportunity to sample the city’s vibrant nightlife. Make your way to the district of Trastevere, in which you will find a profusion of restaurants and bars. You will find nightclubs in the Testaccio district, or head to the banks of the Tiber to enjoy a relaxed drink in a friendly atmosphere, especially on warm summer evenings.
It would be presumptuous to think that three days would be enough to truly get to know the Eternal City. Nevertheless, on your short stay you will discover the essential, while also taking a little time to soak up the unique atmosphere of the Italian capital. If you have the opportunity to spend a little more time in the city, take the opportunity to visit some of the many sumptuous palaces, such as Palazzio Farnese, Castel Sant'Angelo or the Villa Borghese. And just outside the city you can visit Vesuvius and the remains of Pompeii.