How to see Rome in a day
The Eternal City wasn’t built in a day, so we never suggest only spending one day in the city on your next Italian vacation. But, if you’ve only got 24 hours, you can still taste authentic Roman living, see some sights, and indulge in decadent eats that will make you start planning your next trip before even leaving!
Enjoy our detailed itinerary for couples and families, and enjoy what we think is the perfect day in Rome.
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Itinerary for a couple
The day will be jam packed, so after exiting the train station at Roma Termini, we always recommend pausing for a sweet Italian breakfast. When in Rome, do as the Romans do and head to Regoli for a steaming hot cappuccino and maritozzo, a classic sweet bun spit open and topped with whipped cream.
Santa Maria Maggiore
Around the corner is Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the four papal basilicas in the city. Take some time marveling at the marble columns and gold covered ceiling that dates back to 432.
A day in Rome wouldn’t be properly spent without visiting one of its worldly attractions. So let’s visit the one that takes the gold medal: the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Spend a few hours wandering by yourself or participate in one of our Colosseum tours.
By now, it is lunchtime, so who is hungry? Head towards the Jewish ghetto and snag a spot at Giggetto, a classic 3rd generational eatery for some Roman fare. Save room for dessert because you absolutely cannot leave this charming quartiere without a stop at Pasticceria Boccione for a slice of cherry ricotta pie.
Campo de’ Fiori
After a leisurely lunch and an hour or so of rest, lace up your walking shoes because we are headed to the center of town. Cut through Campo de’ Fiori and catch a glimpse of the bustling market.
Time for a gelato
Coffee and a gelato break, anyone? Around the corner from the Pantheon is Giolitti. Established in 1900, this gelateria is arguably the city’s most well-known gelateria that never disappoints.
Piazza di Spagna
After a quick sweet pick-me-up, make your way towards Piazza di Spagna and climb the stairs to the Pincio Terrace for a sweeping view of Rome that is worth a thousand words.
After a beautiful golden hour, walk along the river or hail a cab and head towards Trastevere. Get lost amongst the color, noise, and graffiti that make this neighbourhood unique. There are also great boutiques not to miss out on!
Pizza o Pasta?
Every night can be a pizza night in Rome! There are a handful of local joints along the streets but don’t fall victim to the tourist traps! Snag a table at Ivo a Trastevere or Pizzeria Marmi for a real Roman Experience. Before the main course, order a plate of fritti misti and a cold beer.
On your way home, cross over Ponte Sisto and get lost in the Vatican’s twinkly lights from a distance.
Wake up early and head to the Vatican before leaving town! Prefer traveling in comfort? Discover our transfer services.
Itinerary for a familyAre you visiting Rome with family? Check out the best things to do with kids in Rome
An early wake-up call requires caffeine and something sweet to kick-start the day. Even if your kids don’t drink coffee, they can enjoy nutella and jam filled pastries, fresh squeezed orange juice, and other specialities which Italian kids indulge in each morning. Check out our Rome Breakfast Guide.
Golf Cart Tour
Turn a long walking tour into an adventure and discover the Roman Hills with one of our private tours by golf cart. Discover the legendary heroes and architectural innovations that made Rome the capital of the greatest empire in the world.
Kids not up for a tour? Check-out our kid’s guide to the Eternal City.
After a fun-filled adventure, it’s time to sit down at one of our favorite pizzerias for a relaxing lunch. In the historic center try places like Emma or Pizzeria da Baffetto or read our list of the top pizzerie in the city.
After lunch and a bit of down time, make your way to the Trevi fountain. Let the sounds of water and crowds guide you. Toss a coin, make a wish, and then enjoy a gelato break afterwards!
The day is almost over, but not until your family indulges in some classic Roman cuisine: think carbonara, cacio e pepe, and amatriciana. Some favorites include Armando al Pantheon, Da Alfredo, Il Marchese or Da Gino al Parlamento. Tables fill up quickly, so be sure to make a reservation!
If you didn’t enjoy a tiramisù after dinner (which we always recommend), head for another gelato before heading home and parting ways with the Eternal City bright and early the next morning.