What to do in Rome in one day
Rome was not built in a day. Yet, you can enjoy some of its main attractions in that same period. Given the nature of Rome’s city center and its main tourist attractions were all close to each other and easily accessible by foot, seeing some of Rome’s most relevant landmarks in less than 24 hours is feasible. Arm yourself with a good pair of walking shoes – or a bike – a light backpack, and plenty of curiosity. It might sound like a race against the clock but if you follow our instructions, you’ll have nothing to fear, nor sights to lose. Ready, set, go!
Circo Massimo, Bocca Della Verità, and Teatro Marcello
Let’s start our one-day Rome tour by hopping off the Metro B at Circo Massimo station. Here you will have the chance to walk in an Ancient Roman chariot-racing stadium, and the biggest stadium of all time while gazing at a beautiful panorama. Walking on Via Dei Cerchi, then turning left, on Via dell’Ara Massima di Ercole, and then right on Via Della Greca, you will get to the Mouth of Truth, one of the most famous symbols of Rome. The legend says that the marble disk would bite anyone who lied while sticking their hand in its mouth. Although there is usually a very long line, it is worth a try. But if it bites you don’t blame it on us! After you survive your encounter with the Mouth of Truth, keep walking along Via Luigi Petroselli, with the Foro Boario on your left. You will eventually get to something that looks like the Colosseum, Teatro Marcello. This theater was built in 13BC and is still a stunning view.
Piazza Venezia, Capitoline Hill, and Vittoriano
If you keep walking on Via di Teatro Marcello, on your right you will find a steep staircase which will bring you to the Capitoline Hill, the smallest of the seven hills of Rome. You will probably meet some newly-weds taking pictures. At the center of Piazza del Campidoglio, you will see a replica of the statue of Marcus Aurelius – the original one is in the Capitoline Museums. The Capitoline Hill was, and still is, an important political hub for the city of Rome. For our next stop, you can either walk down the staircase again, or you can go round the Vittoriano Complex walking down Via di S. Pietro in Carcere, which will bring you on Via Dei Fori Imperiali, which cuts in half the Roman Forum.
Turning left, you will reach Piazza Venezia. Here you will see both the Victor Emmanuel II National Monument and its beautiful quadrigas and the Monument to the Unknown Soldier. This gigantic neoclassical monument was inaugurated in 1911, and it hosts a beautiful museum. You can reach the top of the monument and get a wonderful view of the city by visiting the panoramic terrace. In Piazza Venezia, you will also be able to see the balcony of Palazzo Venezia, from which Benito Mussolini gave some of modern history’s most crucial speeches. Take a break to eat something in the city center.
Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill
After your lunch break, it’s time to visit the world renowned Colosseum, one of the seven wonders of the world. Built between 70 and 80 A.D., this ancient monument is the place where Romans assisted to incredible and rather gruesome spectacles, from naval battles to gladiators battling wild animals. You can either buy a ticket at the Colosseum’s ticket office, or you can skip the line by purchasing a ticket or tour online through us. You can also purchase a skip-the-line ticket inclusive of a 3d reconstruction of the Colosseum with the use of Samsung Oculus VR! Tickets include a visit to the Roman Forum, which was the downtown of ancient Rome, which sits right next to the Colosseum. Here you will see where the ancient markets were, Trajan’s Column, and numerous other iconic monuments.
Just above the Colosseum and the Roman Forum towers the Palatine Hill, one of Rome’s seven hills. Being an open-air archeological site and one of the most ancient parts of the city, it hosts numerous monuments, such as the Temple of Cybeles and the Houses of Livia and Augustus. Take a half-hour break and enjoy what is around you.
Book your Colosseum tour online
Book your Colosseum virtual reality experience
Via del Corso, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Spagna, and Piazza del Popolo
For this section, we will use Via del Corso as our main signpost in order not to get lost. From the Colosseum, head to Piazza Venezia and stroll down Via del Corso, one of Rome’s main shopping hubs: here you will find numerous shops: the Alberto Sordi Gallery, Via Dei Condotti and Via Frattina’s high-end boutiques, and much more. Turn left on Via del Caravita, which then becomes Via del Seminario, and reach Piazza Della Rotonda, which hosts the Pantheon. This incredible monument was a temple dedicated to all the Gods back in ancient times, and the hole in the dome (oculus) is the only source of light in the temple, and although the ceiling is effectively open, seldom rain comes in. When you’re done with the Pantheon, go back on Via del Corso and turn right on Via Dei Sabini – which then becomes Via Dei Cruciferi – and admire the wonderful Trevi Fountain. Pay attention not to throw a coin in someone’s face, it can get packed in there, and good luck with getting a picture in one of the most iconic places on Earth!
Go back to Via del Corso and, on the left, you will see Piazza Colonna with its Column of Marcus Aurelius, and Palazzo Chigi, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Italy. Turn right on Via Dei Condotti and reach the Spanish Steps. Here you can admire the wonderful Barcaccia Fountain and the Church of Trinità de’ Monti, which you can reach by walking up the stairs. The view is stunning at all hours of the day! From Piazza di Spagna take Via del Babuino, another high-end street, with its Babuino Fountain and the All Saint’s Anglican Church of Rome. This street will take you to Piazza del Popolo. For centuries, Piazza del Popolo, inside the Aurelian Walls, was a spot for public executions. Now you can just enjoy some time there and take a break on the Egyptian obelisk’s stairs. From the Piazza, you can see the Pincio, another of Rome’s seven hills, which hosts one of the most beautiful parks of the city, Villa Borghese.
Prati, Piazza San Pietro, Castel Sant’Angelo
Take the Metro A in Piazza del Popolo and reach Ottaviano station. You have effectively crossed the Tiber river and are now in the Prati neighbourhood, another central area of Rome! Walk on Via Ottaviano and get to Piazza Risorgimento. From here two main traffic arteries of Rome start: Via Cola di Rienzo, with its elegant buildings and shops, and Via Crescenzio, which gets you directly to Piazza Cavour. However, if you do not have time, ditch it, and walk directly to Piazza San Pietro. Of course, you already know where we’re taking you. You’re strolling towards the Vatican City, hosting St. Peter’s Basilica, the biggest church in the world.
Realistically speaking, you will have to come back to visit the Vatican Museums (unless you’d rather visit the Vatican Museums instead of the Colosseum). They are full of marvelous sights to behold, but the lines are insane – unless you book a tour or buy a line-skipping ticket online – and the place is huge. Stroll around the square, admire its incredible architecture, and when you’re done, head towards the Tiber river on Via Della Conciliazione and reach Lungotevere Castello, with its wonderful Castel Sant’Angelo and the stunning Ponte Sant’Angelo. When you are done filling up your eyes with beauty, you can head towards Trastevere by walking the Lungotevere in Sassia and entering Via Della Lungara. Trastevere will offer you numerous eating options, so it is a good idea to stop here for dinner.
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Trastevere, Piazza Navona, and Campo de’ Fiori
After you’re done eating, go explore a bit of Trastevere, one of the most iconic neighborhoods in Rome. Once a popular district, now it has become one of the main centers of nightlife after recent gentrification. It hosts some very nice bars, cafes, and restaurants. But what you really cannot miss are Piazza Trilussa, Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere and its beautiful Church, and Piazza di San Calisto, where you can grab a beer at the super-famous eponymous bar. Stroll around for a while and get lost in the small, colorful alleys. Head back to Piazza Trilussa, where you’ll cross the street and walk over Ponte Sisto, which will bring you back to the other side of River. From here you can see the beautiful Isola Tiberina, and Island on the Tiber River. From here, we’ll head towards the Campo de’ Fiori neighborhood.
Start from Via Dei Pettinari, and then head towards via Dei Giubbonari, and head straight on Corso del Rinascimento, head left on Via de Canestarti and you’ll reach the beautiful Piazza Navona. With its beautiful three mountains – Fontana del Moro, Fontana Dei Fiumi, and Fontana di Nettuno, Piazza Navona is particularly spectacular at night-time, when there are fewer tourists are the lighting exposes the magnificence of the statures and the surrounding architecture. When you’re done here, let’s head four our last stop, Piazza di Campo de’ Fiori. Going back to where you first entered Piazza Navona, turn into Via Della Cuccagna and follow it until you cross Corso Vittorio Emanuele Secondo, and turn on Via Dei Baullari, which will take you directly to Piazza di Campo de’ Fiori. The Piazza is famous because of the Statue of Giordano Bruno, a philosopher who had numerous incredible insights already in the 16th century. Because of these insights, in fact, he was burned at the stake by the Roman Tribunal for the Inquisition in what is now Piazza di Campo de’ Fiori. Here you can sit in one of the bars that surround the Piazza, grab some drinks, and finally relax after a truly incredible day in Rome.
Where to eat or where to sleep during your stay in Rome?
Take a look at our Neighborhood Guides of Prati, the Historic Center, Trastevere, and Campo de’ Fiori to find the perfect fits for you. Here’s also a list of some budget accommodations in Rome!
Cool activities for your day in Rome
Whether you’re visiting for a day and it’s your first time in Rome or you know the city quite well, we’ve got a few great activities to recommend. From biking along the Ancient Appian Way to wine tasting in a boutique enoteca in Campo de’ Fiori and making your own mosaics in Trastevere, there are plenty of amazing activities to do in Rome.
Travelling with kids?
If you’re spending your time in Rome with kids, the last thing you want to do is walk too much or visit museums/monuments for a long time. We suggest you book a golf cart tour for the family! This way, you’ll get to see Rome in a fun and interactive way with a guide. You’ll be able to turn a long walking tour into an adventure!