Travel isn’t cheap, and travelling for long periods just adds to the cost. To minimize the fees, we decided to visit Rome, Italy for only two days to see everything we wanted to see. Granted, if you stayed longer, you could fully immerse yourself more with the culture, food, and history, but 2 days is more than enough to explore major tourist and notable points. Here’s our 2 day Rome Itinerary that covers most major attractions.
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It’s important to note that throughout our trips in Europe, Daniel and I planned our days in a way where we pick a major point or two to visit, and walk there, which also resulted in many stops along the way that were also major and minor attractions. That way, it could be the most stress-free and relaxed vacation. As a result, this itinerary has been slightly altered from what we originally did to best optimize time. We also stayed at Hotel Navona, so the 2 day Rome Itinerary always starts and ends close to it. Each day also starts after breakfast.
Also, if you’re looking for photos in prime Instagram spots, I’d recommend waking up exceptionally early and changing the Rome itinerary to target the important locations first, or visit in an off-season. Rome can be very congested with tourists in the summer.
Rome Itinerary Day 1
As with every trip with lots of walking, I’d recommend bringing lots of water and snacks. For this day in particular, it’d be best to buy lunch before starting the day and bringing it with you, as there will be a lot of walking around and visiting tourist-filled areas. Trying to find an empty restaurant close-by can be a challenge. Try picking up some pasta to go or a sandwich from a local store before-hand.
There are also a lot of stops for Day 1, it is assuming you aren’t taking any tours of things like the Roman Forum or Vatican City/Building, but rather viewing it from the outside. With all those in mind, it’s easy to visit and complete the 2 day Rome itinerary without stress. However, if you really wish to take a tour, I’d recommend taking it in Day 2, as it’s more relaxed and flexible with more free time.
The main attraction area for Day 1 of the Rome itinerary is the Colosseum and the surrounding area. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of other notable buildings.
The first stop on the day 1 Rome itinerary is the Pantheon. This former temple turned church is famous for being one of the best preserved buildings in Rome. You’ll find many people around the building either having a coffee, shopping, or just taking photos. It’s surrounded by a variety of businesses to make your visit as comfortable as possible.
2. Area Sacra di Largo Argentina
Translated to english, “The Four Sanctuaries for the Gods”, is an archeological site that houses four Republican-era temples. It’s in a pretty busy area, so if you’re wandering around Rome often, you’ll find yourself walking or driving by it a few times.
3. Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II
In english, this building is the “Altar of the Fatherland”, which also has many names like the “Altare della Patria” and “II Vittoriano”. This is a strikingly beautiful building designed in 1885 consisting of marble elements, statues, and fountains. Walking by, you can’t miss it. However, there will be cars driving alongside the building, so if you’re approaching it from the opposite side, be careful when crossing the road!
Along the way to the Colosseum, you’ll find:
- Casa del Cav. Di Rodi
- Colonna Tralana
- Arco di Tito
- Roman Forum
If you’re not too interested in getting tickets and lining up to get into the Roman Forum, you can view majority of it from the outside as you walk to, from, and around the Colosseum. We found obtaining tickets to be a challenge, so we opted to just walk around the Roman Forum and peer in.
At the main attraction of the day 1 Rome itinerary, this is a very notable structure. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, this is where gladiator and wild animal fights took place. Since it opened in A.D 80, it was actively used for 400 years. Today, it’s an iconic structure that reminds people of the history in Rome.
Unless you visit Rome during an off-season, I would not recommend getting tickets to go into the Colosseum. As you can tell from the photos, it’s quite congested inside, making it possible to sour the experience. We chose to view it from the outside, and walk around to see all the different angles to avoid the crowds.
Around the Colosseum, You’ll find:
- Arco di Costantino
- Santi Giovanni e Paolo
- San Gregorio Magno al Celio
- Arco di Dolabella
5. Lunch Break
As mentioned before, I’d recommend bringing a lunch to eat while sitting down or walking. This is where the day 1 Rome itinerary is different from what Daniel and I actually did on our trip. Instead of going to the Trevi Fountain, we weren’t sure if we’d have enough time to visit the museum near Navona Square, so we went straight there. However, after attending the viewing, we realized, because we didn’t take any tours of the inside of Roman buildings, we would have had ample time to visit the Trevi fountain on the way back instead of waiting until Day 2.
On the way to Trevi Fountain you’ll find:
- Domus Aurea
- St. Pietro in Vincoli
6. Fontana di Trevi
Also known as “Trevi Fountain” in english, is known to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing fountains in Rome. This is a spot you’ll find on not only my Rome itinerary, but also many others’. To make the fountain as exquisite as it is, it took 32 years to build (1730-1762).
If you’ve ever watched The Lizzie McGuire Movie, you’ll find that she threw coins into the Trevi Fountain as a part of a Roman tradition. One coin symbolizes a return to Rome, two symbolizes searching for love, and three are for wedding bells. According to SoftSchools, about $4000 USD in coins is thrown into the fountain each day. The coins collected in the fountain are used for charity purposes and are illegal to steal.
Because this is such a well known attraction, if you plan to take photos with the fountain, be sure to go during an off season or wake up extremely early because as you can see from my vlog, it gets very congested.
On the way back to Piazza Navona, you’ll find:
- Palazzo Chigi
- Templo Adriano
7. Piazza Navona
In english, it’s called the “Navona Plaza”. This plaza is right beside the hotel that we stayed at and had many food places around it, including our favourite, Mamma Roma. It’s a great place to visit because it never gets too congested, and still has many remarkable structures. Often, you’ll also find street performers like dancers, a gold man/woman, and bubble performers.
8. Museo di Roma
This museum is just outside of the Navona Plaza, in the Palazzo Braschi. This is the only place in the Rome itinerary that requires money to enter. It isn’t a large museum, but it is a great place to be when you need to take a breath and relax, while still being immersed into the culture and history of Rome. You’ll find many paintings and some statues inside. We found it fascinating to see what Rome used to look like in the painting versus what it looks like now. There is also air conditioning and the museum itself is a beautiful piece of architecture on the inside.
The End of Day 1
Depending on how long you spent at each location, you may even have time to shop before dinner. If you’re full of energy and feeling adventurous, walking around can also grant you some great views, even if you’ve already been there. It’ll look much different in the evening. Just remember to be safe!
Rome Itinerary Day 2
Again, this day begins after breakfast. The main attraction of this day is the Vatican City. The South West area from the hotel will be explored along the way and the day will end with shopping or your choice of more attractions.
What you’ll find going to the Vatican City:
- Fonte Acqua Paola
- Piazza G. Belli
- Ponte Garibadli
- Piazza Trilussa
- Ponte Sisto
- Palazzo Spada
- Palazzo Farness
- Campo de Fiorr
1. Basilica S. Pietro in Vatican City
On your way into the Vatican City, you’ll find yourself being face to face with the Basilica S. Pietro, or also known as “St. Peter’s Basilica” in english. This place is believed to be the burial spot for one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, Saint Peter.
Outside, you’ll find it is very spacious, and will have many people around, but because of how much space there is, you won’t find it congested. It is also lined with pillars and statues.
What you’ll also find in the Vatican City:
We didn’t explore much further into the Vatican City, but in day 2 of this Rome itinerary, there is plenty of free time to explore. Feel free to purchase a few tours or admissions and plan lunch time accordingly.
- Vatican Museum
- Sistine Chapel
- Vatican Gardens
- Vatican Auditorium
Like many trips, shopping and looking at boutiques is a great way to blow some steam, and find whatever collectibles and souvenirs you wish to bring home. In our case, we were on a hunt for Daniel‘s Souvenir tie.
A great blog to find the best shopping spots is by An American in Rome.
Other Notable Places to Include in Your Rome Itinerary
If you have spare time, or plan to stay longer than 2 days, here are a few other places you may want to add to your Rome Itinerary
- Castel Sant’Angelo
- Piazza Del Papolo
- Villa Medici
- Trinita Dei Monti
- Palazzo Piombino Margherita
- Giardini Piazza Vittorio
- Basilica di San Giovanni Laterano
- Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore
- Palazzo di Giustizia
Overall, day 1 of this Rome itinerary is more busy with a lot of walking and day 2 is more flexible and relaxing. Anything you want to revisit can be done in the second day.
Have you been to Rome? Where’s your favourite place you’ve visited?
Looking to take a trip to Italy? Check these out:
- Important Things to Know BEFORE Visiting Venice
- How to Spend a Day in Venice, Italy
- 11 Free Places to Visit in Venice, Italy – Travel Guide
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