Here is a relaxed itinerary for Rome if you have 3 days to visit the City.
Rome is sort of a big city. So staying close to the attractions would mean little distances to cover. I would say stay somewhere near the pantheon, which is more or less equidistant to the Vatican and ancient Rome (Colosseum and palatine hill), and the famous Trevi Fountain.
Day 1: Itinerary for Rome 3 days
Visit Trevi fountain early
Wake up early and head to the Trevi fountain to get some good pictures. It gets busy during the day, so the earlier the better. Toss a coin in the fountain.
The legend goes, tossing one coin means that you’ll return to Rome – tossing two means you will return and fall in love – three means you’ll return, find love, and marry.
Breakfast & then Spanish steps
Grab breakfast on the way to Spanish steps, go into one of the little cafes, and have breakfast like an Italian standing by the counter.
Situated in Piazza di Spagna, the Spanish steps has 138 steps. The fountain is called Baraccia.
Walk up the stairs for a panoramic view. There is a metro stop right next to it, spagna, so you can get off here if you’re coming different part of the city.
Many use the steps as a good meeting point. There are also many high-end shops around so if you want to shop it’s a good place to do that.
Make your way back to Pantheon
Use maps to get to the Pantheon.
This one is a Catholic church built on an old Roman temple that was built during Emperor Augustus’ reign. But it was burned down and Emperor Hadrian built a Church on top of it. The date of construction is not really known, because Hadrian didn’t put a date on it, but the experts think it is around 126 AD.
The church’s name when translated into English is “the Basilica of St Mary and the Martyrs” – Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres in Italian.
The name Pantheon is from the Greek word Pantheum meaning temple of all the gods.
It is a beautiful structure, with large columns and with the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
Next, Walk to Piazza Navona
This square was built on was once a stadium stood that was built in 1st AD. The Romans went there to watch games and such. Now busy with tourists and several restaurants around the square.
Maybe, get gelato here? while you walk to the next sight.
Make your way to Castel Sant’Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel)
This was built by Emperor Hadrian and was a mausoleum, which just means it has the remains of dead people. Remains of many emperors including that of Hadrian were placed here. It was also later used as a fortress and a castle. Hadrian’s tomb is often referred to as Hadrian’s mole.
There is an entry fee.
The Vatican is right next to this structure after crossing the road. But that we will have another full day for exploring the Vatican.
Once you’ve explored the castle and the garden and have taken some pictures against the gorgeous bridge across the tiber river and the numerous houses on the hill, head back to the center, enjoying the walk.
Have dinner, and retire to your accommodation.
Day 2: Itinerary for Rome 3 days
On day two we explore ancient Rome.
Walking is the best way to take in the sights, but Rome is a big city, I chose to walk from the Pantheon and took about 30 mins to reach this area.
The plan is to walk coming across the monument of the fatherland, the roman forum, and then end at the colosseum, before taking the metro back to the center.
First stop: Altar of the fatherland
On the way to the colosseum, you will come across this structure. This is the Altare della Patria, the national monument that is dedicated to Vittorio Emanuelle II, the first king of unified Italy.
You can climb up to the terrace to get a panoramic view of Rome.
This monument is relatively new and finished its construction in 1925.
The Imperial Forum & the Roman forum
Turn the corner at the left to the fatherland monument and then comes the Imperial forum on your left.
The imperial forum is where the administrative tasks of Rome were carried out. Walk further down and then you will come across the Roman forum to your right. This is where all the artsy stuff took place. As you approach it you will see big columns of a temple and ruins in the distance. This is a big area, there is an entrance where the Colosseum is as well.
You can enter here and exit at the colosseum if you wish.
Colosseum: One of the seven wonders in the world
Exit the Roman Forum at the colosseum. Make sure you’ve brought your tickets online. And arrive in time for your time slot.
A Magnificient structure. Unfortunately, when I was there, I didn’t get to go inside, missed my time slot.
Once you’re done with exploring the colosseum, you can take the metro back to the center.
Contactless cards are accepted in the metro, so if you’re one of those you can just tap your apple pay or google pay enabled device at the gates to the metro instead of waiting in line to get a ticket at the ticket machines.
The hill next to where the colosseum and the Roman Forum stands is called Palatine hill, maybe watch the sunset here before heading back to the center.
Day 3: Itinerary for Rome 3 days
Today is Vatican day. Visiting the smallest country in the world.
Purchase all the tickets in advance and make your way to the Vatican. Be ready to go through an airport-style security check, so don’t carry anything with you that you wouldn’t take to an airport.
When I visited the Vatican was almost devoid of any tourists, the pandemic and all.
Revel in the magnificence of St Peters Square
Take some pics here in front of the St Peters basilica before heading in, which is where the security check is.
St Peters Basilica
The largest basilica in the world is in the Vatican.
Spend the afternoon at Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums
Once that is done spend the afternoon exploring the Vatican museums and the Sistine chapel. I don’t have any pictures of the inside since I didn’t go inside, not a big museum fan, but I hear good things about it. Here are some Instagram pictures.
I hope this 3 days Rome itinerary helps you plan your trip to Rome.
Some tips for your 3-day Rome visit
- Steer clear of scammers – bracelet scams, and accidentally stepping on pictures scam are popular ones.
- Don’t answer the seemingly innocent “where are you?” question
- Use contactless to use the metro for convenience
- Book tickets in advance to avoid the queues and save time – tours may enable you to skip the lines.
- Use Get your guide or Viator for tours.
- Use the convenience stores or kiosks next to bus stops to use the buses.
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