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How to See the BEST of Rome in 2 Days: Itinerary, Map & Planning Tips

How to See the BEST of Rome in 2 Days: Itinerary, Map & Planning Tips

Visiting Italy’s capital Rome for 2 days and wondering how to plan your time so that you get to experience the very best of the city? In this guide, we share a suggested Rome itinerary for two days that brings you to all the must-see places, introduces you to the local food, and allows you to explore the city just a little bit deeper than most standard itineraries. Find out!

If you are visiting the Eternal City for the first time, you are probably wondering how much time you need and if two days are enough for Rome?

Rome is a big city with so much history, impressive landmarks, and so many interesting places that you could spend a month and still just scratch the surface… So no, you can’t see everything in Rome in just two days.

However, 2 days in Rome is a sufficient amount of time in order to see all the ‘musts’, including the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon. In addition – if you plan well – you can get just a bit off the beaten path and explore the city center deeper, which will make your trip so much more memorable!

In this guide, we show you how to best plan your time so that you can make the most of your 2-day trip to Rome. We also include several options so that – in addition to the ‘musts’ – you can choose what else to see based on your interests.

At the bottom of this article, you can also find a short version of this itinerary, a map indicating all the places mentioned in our guide, and some essential tips. Take a look!

Two days in Rome
View from the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican

Good to know: Please note that the hours below are just indicated for your reference and based on the situation as it usually is in the high season (+-April-October). Be sure to double-check the opening hours of the places you want to visit/ the tour starting times and adjust the itinerary if needed.

TIP: If you want to see some of the best places in Rome in two days in a most relaxed way and without having to plan or arrange anything, check out this private 2-day VIP tour.

This tour has a great itinerary and everything including transportation, tour guides, entrance tickets, etc. will be arranged for you. And because you have a guide and a driver, this itinerary will require much less walking than if you ‘do it yourself’. Accommodation and meals are not included, of course, but they pick you up/drop you off at your hotel each day.

And if you want to plan your own trip, here’s how we recommend spending 2 days in Rome:

DAY 1: Colosseum & Historic City Center

PLANNING TIP: Book the Colosseum tickets in advance. The tickets are recently really hard to get, but this Rome Tourist Card usually has some slots available if you book at least a week or two upfront. If you rather go with a guide (recommended), check out this all-in tour. It includes all the levels of the Colosseum, one of which can only be visited with a guide. If you’d like to take a bike tour or a walking tour mentioned below, be sure to book it in advance as well! Nowadays, you can also pre-book the tickets for the Pantheon.

On your first day in Rome, we recommend covering all the ‘musts’ of ancient Rome and the most famous landmarks in the city center. Plan at least 3 hours for the Colosseum area (Colosseum + Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum).

Here’s what your first day in Rome could look like:

8 AM: Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain is one of the most popular landmarks in the historic city center of Rome and it can get extremely crowded here during the day. But it’s usually much quieter in the morning. And if you are staying nearby (as we were), it’s really simple to visit this famous fountain before day tourists arrive.

So we highly recommend starting your visit to Rome here. That way, you can see the impressive Trevi Fountain without the biggest crowds. And you can always come back here later in the day or in the evening when the fountain is nicely lit.

Don’t forget to toss a coin so that you come back to Rome again! For that, you should stand with your back towards the fountain, and throw the coin over your left shoulder.

Next, walk to the Pantheon (+-10 minutes walk from Trevi).

Trevi Fountain in Rome Italy
Trevi Fountain is only this quiet early in the morning

9 AM: Pantheon

If you absolutely want to visit the Pantheon inside and see its famous oculus, be sure to be here at least half an hour before it opens. The Pantheon is generally open from 9 AM, but it doesn’t harm to double-check before you go!

Good to know: Nowadays, there is an entrance fee to visit the Pantheon. It’s also possible to book a timed-entry ticket in advance, however, getting the earliest time slots is not easy. You may want to check the official website and also Tiqets and GetYourGuide to see what’s available for your travel dates. In any case, keep in mind that you have to pick up the actual ticket at an external location (they do like to complicate things more than necessary…).

Alternatively, you can just stand in line and hope to get in without too much of a wait (in that case, arrive long before it opens). Or make it easy for yourself and book a guided tour (likely later than 9 AM though, so you’ll have to adjust this itinerary accordingly).

You only need 10-15 minutes for a visit inside the Pantheon, but if you want to learn more about this unique temple that was turned into a church, and its 2000-year-old history, make sure to plan some time to listen to the audio guide as well. An audio guide is included with all tickets and takes about 35 minutes if you listen to the whole narrative.

Pantheon - must see in two 2 days in Rome
The Pantheon is a must-see in Rome!
Pantheon oculus
Pantheon oculus

9.30 AM: Walk to the Colosseum via Piazza Venezia

If you are staying in the center of Rome, we recommend that you simply walk to Colosseum. It’s about 25 minutes walk from the Pantheon.

On your way, you’ll pass Piazza Venezia and you can also walk past Capitoline Hill. Here you can see Capitoline Wolf – a small statue depicting a wolf that saved and cared for Romulus and Remus, twin brothers that later founded the city of Rome.

Continue on Via dei Fori Imperiali in the direction of the Colosseum.

Altar of the Fatherland at Piazza Venezia in Rome
Altar of the Fatherland, Piazza Venezia
Capitoline Wolf (Lupa Capitolina) in Rome
Capitoline Wolf (Lupa Capitolina)
Via dei Fori Imperiali, Rome Italy
Via dei Fori Imperiali

10.30 AM – 2 PM: Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

The Colosseum is one of the main landmarks in Rome and a must-see. While you can always just admire this ancient amphitheater from the outside, a visit inside is well worth your time!

However, this is one of the busiest places in Rome, so planning in advance is essential! But you don’t absolutely have to rush here first thing in the morning – it will be busy no matter when you come and – in summer – it will be hot anyway.

Just be sure to book your priority tickets (regular or with the Arena Floor access) or a guided tour of the Colosseum in advance. So that you can actually visit it at the time you want and can make the most of your day.

Good to know: Colosseum normally releases their tickets about one month in advance. However, recently they have been really hard to get. Guided tours have better availability and they are really worth it. I hear from so many people that they find the Colosseum overwhelming, miss certain parts, are not able to return, etc.

TIP: We highly recommend going with a local guide because it’s so much more relaxing. The Colosseum itself is crowded, there are many entrances and various levels to visit, and just finding the right entrance can be a very stressful experience in itself. The same counts for the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. These are all huge areas with so many interesting sights that you will not know where to go first (or what you are seeing)…

We have been to Rome several times and on the most recent visit to the Colosseum, we took this highly rated tour and it was the best decision. In just 3 hours, we visited the Colosseum (including the Arena Floor and underground level that you can only visit with the guide), the Palatine Hill, and saw the main sights of the Roman Forum. We wouldn’t have been able to see half as much if we went on our own!

PRO TIP: Even if you are short on time, we highly recommend seeing all the levels of the Colosseum. It’s a great experience and gives you a totally different insight into what this entertainment arena is truly about.

Good to know: No matter how you decide to visit the Colosseum – on your own or with a guide – your ticket will also include a visit to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. You really need at least three hours in order to visit all three sites, and you could easily spend the whole day here too. But with just two days in Rome, 3-3.5 hours should be sufficient for the highlights (once again, it helps to go with a guide).

LEARN MORE: Colosseum Tickets & Levels Explained

Colosseum - must see in Rome in two days
Colosseum Underground and Arena Floor
Colosseum Underground and Arena Floor
Colosseum and Roman Forum as seen from Palatine Hill
Colosseum and Roman Forum as seen from the Palatine Hill
Roman Forum in Rome
Roman Forum

2-3 PM: Lunch

After your visit to the Colosseum and the other sites nearby, it’s time for lunch. There are lots of restaurants near the Colosseum, and it shouldn’t be a problem to find something to eat.

I recommend that you sit down for a decent lunch. You’ll be tired after all the walking and this is also the hottest time of the day – you’ll be glad to rest a bit.

There are quite a few restaurants in the area east of the Colosseum. Trattoria Luzzi, Naumachia Ristorante, or Pasqualino Al Colosseo are all good options, and there are quite a few others (we indicated these on our map further below). Often, it’s not a matter of choice, but just being able to find a free table in this area at around lunchtime.

READ ALSO: Where to Eat in Rome

Spaghetti alla carbonara at La Locanda di Pietro restaurant near the Vatican
Spaghetti alla carbonara

3.30-4.30 PM: Baths of Caracalla

After lunch, I highly recommend visiting the nearby Baths of Caracalla. It’s about 20 minutes walk to get there and you need about 30-45 minutes for a visit, but it’s absolutely worth it! And no, this is not a must-see place and many tourists don’t even know about it, but – to us – this is one of the most special places we visited in Rome and so if you can squeeze it in your itinerary, definitely consider!

Dating from the 3rd century, Caracalla Baths were one the largest Roman public baths with several heated baths, saunas, an Olympic-size pool, sports facilities, and even a library. This archeological site is quite well preserved, and you can also see some stunning mosaics that give you a glimpse of how grand and decorative these baths were.

To us, the Baths of Caracalla is one of the most special places in Rome. And while you won’t often read about them, I highly recommend including a visit here into your 2-days Rome itinerary. This is one of those unique places that will make your visit so much more special. It’s also a good place to escape the crowds. Despite being so close to the Colosseum, this is one of the hidden gems of Rome that most tourists never see.

Good to know: The Baths of Caracalla are open daily except on Mondays and some public holidays. Here you can find the official opening times and also get tickets, but it’s not really a must – normally, you can just get a ticket at the entrance.

Mosaics of Caracalla Baths in Rome
Mosaics at Caracalla Baths give you a better idea of how grand and luxurious these baths were.
Baths of Caracalla, Rome Italy
Baths of Caracalla

5 PM: Back to the city center

Next, make your way back to the city center.

Depending on where you go next, you can either take a metro or walk. Circo Massimo is the nearest metro station, about 10 minutes walk from the Baths of Caracalla.

You can further explore the city center on your own, or opt for a walking tour (see below).

5.30 – 6.30 PM: Free time: shopping, drinks, gelato…

We recommend that you take a metro to Flaminio station, close to Piazza del Popolo.

Here, you’ll find Rome’s most popular shopping neighborhood (around Via del Corso, Via del Babuino, etc.). You can also visit the two churches on the square – Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto.

But after all the sightseeing, you may want to simply sit down for a coffee or get some gelato and take a short break. Gelateria dei Gracchi is one of the best places for ice cream in this area.

Or – depending on your preferences and whether you had a good lunch – you could also get an early dinner at one of the many restaurants nearby.

Piazza del Popolo, Rome
Piazza del Popolo
Gelateria in Rome
Gelateria in Rome

7-10 PM: Evening walking tour of the historic center

If you want to get the most out of your visit to Rome and see as much as possible in a short time, we highly recommend taking an evening walking tour of the highlights of the historic city center.

In summer, it’s often difficult to really appreciate all the sights during the day – it’s so busy everywhere and also so hot that all you want to do is look for some shade. Going in the evening, you can actually enjoy the landmarks of Rome.

There is a very good city highlights tour that starts at Piazza del Popolo at 7 PM (but do double-check the times!). With this 3-hour tour, you visit ALL the main sights that you absolutely should see in the center of Rome.

And yes, you can see all these places on your own, but a commentary from a local guide will help you appreciate it all so much more!

Good to know: If you rather explore the city center on your own, it’s perfectly doable too. Some of the places you should absolutely see include Piazza del Popolo, views from Pincio Terrace, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Piazza della Rotonda and the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, as well as Campo de’ Fiori.

If you do one of the walking tours, they end at Campo de’ Fiori, which is a good neighborhood for dinner. Italians eat quite late, so you’ll have no trouble finding a restaurant at 9 or 10 PM.

Pantheon in the evening
Pantheon in the evening
Trevi Fountain in the evening with lots of people around it
Trevi Fountain is always impressive, but so are the crowds…
Rome Spanish Steps lit at night
Spanish Steps

ALTERNATIVE (less walking)

If you want to see a lot of Rome in 2 days without having to walk much, you can also opt for an e-bike tour of the city highlights. There is a very good and highly-rated e-bike tour that starts very close to the Colosseum, so it’s quite easy to fit it into your itinerary. In the high season, this tour starts at 3 PM.

Going by bike will save you lots of walking and you’ll be able to cover lots of ground in a short time. Furthermore, having a local guide, you don’t have to plan much AND you’ll get to see some a different side of Rome, places that you’d likely not get to otherwise (or not in just 2 days anyway).

The afternoon tour includes the following places: Colosseum, Circus Maximus and the view of the Palatine, Aventine Hill and Orange Garden with a panoramic view of Rome, Trastevere, Piazza Farnese, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, the Jewish ghetto and Portico di Ottavia, and Theater of Marcellus.

It’s also possible to take this tour in the morning and see the more popular sights in the city center. In that case, you simply turn this itinerary around and book the Colosseum visit in the afternoon.

Portico of Octavia (Portico d'Ottavia) in Rome
Portico of Octavia
Piazza Navona in Rome
Piazza Navona

DAY 2: The Vatican + Catacombs OR Villa Borghese OR Trastevere & Food Tour

PLANNING TIP: Book the Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel tickets or a Vatican tour in advance. Wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Also, keep in mind that the Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays and also on some religious holidays, so adjust your itinerary accordingly. And – normally – you can still visit St. Peter’s Basilica even if the museums are closed. If you plan to do the Catacombs tour, visit the Borghese Gallery, or do the food tour, be sure to book these in advance as well (see below for more info).

EARLY MORNING: St. Angelo Bridge & St. Peter’s Square

On the morning of your second day in Rome, walk to the Vatican. Coming from the city center, you’ll pass St. Angelo Bridge and Castel Sant’Angelo.

The bridge and this entire area is always crowded during the day, so early morning is by far the best time to appreciate it.

Also the nearby St. Peter’s Square is nice to see without the crowds. So be sure to stop by here for a few minutes before heading to the Vatican Museums.

Sant'Angelo Bridge and Castel Sant'Angelo
Sant’Angelo Bridge and Castel Sant’Angelo
St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican
St Peter’s Basilica
St Peter's Square at the Vatican
St Peter’s Square at the Vatican

MORNING: The Vatican

The Vatican is the main highlight that you should plan to see on the second day of your 2-day Rome itinerary.

Just as Colosseum, this is one of the most popular places in the city, and booking your tickets for the Vatican Museums in advance is a must!

There are SO MANY options when it comes to the Vatican tours. You can just get the tickets for the Vatican Museums (including Sistine Chapel) + visit St. Peter’s Basilica (on your own or with a tour). Or you can opt for a tour of either the museums, the Basilica, or a combination of the two.

With just two days in Rome (and if you want to make the most of your time), it’s probably wise to get a tour that includes the main highlights of the Vatican. If you don’t mind spending the bigger part of the day at the Vatican, you can also visit everything on your own.

TIP: If you want to see the main places in just 3-4 hours, then go with a local guide. That way you can be sure that you will cover all the ‘musts’ in the most efficient way.

The Vatican Museums are overwhelming. And while all the routes seem to lead to Sistine Chapel, in the beginning, it’s not clear where to go at all… We recently visited on our own and I really regretted we didn’t book a tour here.

St. Peter’s Basilica is free to visit and you can easily see the church on your own. However, it’s massive and there’s so much to see, so a guide is nice to have here too. As a minimum, get a digital audio guide so that you have a better idea of what you are seeing around you. I also highly recommend that you check out the underground crypts where some of the popes are buried and also climb the Dome.

Vatican museum staircase
Momo Staircase at the Vatican Museum
Raphael Rooms Vatican
Raphael Rooms at the Vatican Museums
St Peter's Basilica
St Peter’s Basilica
Grand interior of St Peter Basilica in Rome
St. Peter’s Basilica

Here are some of the best Vatican tours that will allow you to make the most of your visit:

  • Early morning tour that includes everything. This tour includes ALL the musts of the Vatican: St. Peter’s Basilica with a visit to the underground crypts and the dome climb + the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel. Keep in mind that the entire tour will likely last 5 hours, so until 1 PM.
Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel
Vatican Gardens as seen from St Peters dome
Vatican Gardens as seen from St. Peter’s dome

Lunch & make your way to your next destination

There are quite a few nice restaurants in the neighborhood just next to the Vatican Museums, so it’s a good place for lunch. We had lunch at La Locanda di Pietro – a local restaurant with excellent food and very friendly service.

Rome is so much more than the Colosseum and the Vatican, but with limited time, most tourists never get the chance to experience this incredible city beyond the main landmarks. Often, simply because it’s so busy everywhere and so overwhelming that you don’t even know where to go and what else to see…

So for the afternoon, we have 3 different suggestions on what you could see and do, depending on your interests: (1) a crypts & catacombs tour, (2) Villa Borghese, or (3) Trastevere + local food tour.

Below, you can read more about these three options. And no, you can’t see all of these with just 2 days in Rome (and if visiting all the main landmarks)… But no matter what you decide, it will make your short visit to Rome so much more special than if you would just concentrate on the ‘musts’.

If you are planning on doing the Catacombs tour OR visiting Villa Borghese Gallery and Gardens, take a metro to Piazza Barberini. There’s a direct metro line between the Ottaviano metro station near the Vatican and Piazza Barberini, and it’s just 4 stops.

The catacombs tour leaves from Piazza Barberini at 2.30 PM. And if you are going to Villa Borghese, you can walk there from Piazza Barberini in about 15-20 minutes.

If none of these two options interest you, you can also explore the Vatican deeper and at a slower pace. Afterwards, visit the Trastevere neighborhood and go on a local food tour. Food tours usually start at around 5 PM.

Below is some more info for each of the options.

Piazza Barberini in Rome
Piazza Barberini

AFTERNOON OPTION 1: Crypts, Catacombs & Bone Chapel Tour

If you want to see some of the oldest and most unique sites in Rome, you may opt for this highly-rated crypts, catacombs, and bone chapel tour. This tour starts at 2.30 PM and lasts until 6 PM.

This is your chance to get acquainted with a very different side of Rome and visit the centuries-old burial sites (catacombs). These miles-long underground tunnels also served as a hiding place for the early prosecuted Christians.

You then visit the 4th-century Basilica of San Martino ai Monti with ancient frescoes.

This tour also includes a visit to the Capuchin Crypt with quirky ‘art works’ created using the bones of nearly 4,000 monks.

Good to know: These tours normally run daily throughout the year, except for some religious holidays. Which catacombs you visit might depend on the day of the week.

Bone chapel of the Capuchin Crypt in Rome
Capuchin Crypt
Capuchin Crypt bone chapel in Rome
Bone chapel of the Capuchin Crypt

Villa Borghese is one of the most beautiful public parks in Rome. It’s also home to the famous Borghese Gallery where you can see some of the most famous paintings and sculptures by Caravaggio, Raphael, Canova, and many others.

Good to know: The Borghese Gallery is very popular, the tickets are timed, and they usually sell out long in advance. So if you want to be sure to visit, be sure to reserve your tickets in advance! The Gallery is closed on Mondays and on some public holidays.

Also here, you’ll probably need about 3 hours for a visit to the gallery and the gardens, so +- 3 to 6 PM.

Sculptures at Galleria Borghese in Rome
Galleria Borghese
Villa Borghese park in Rome
Villa Borghese park

AFTERNOON OPTION 3: Trastevere & Food Tour

The most relaxing option of the three is spending more time at the Vatican during the day, exploring the Trastevere neighborhood, and then going on a food tour in the early evening.

You could either take a taxi or walk to Trastevere after visiting the Vatican. If you walk, you can either go via Gianicollo Hill (about 40-50 minutes) or next to the river (about 30 minutes walk).

Trastevere is one of the nicest local neighborhoods in the center of Rome. It’s a colorful and lively area best known for its many restaurants. Be sure to visit Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere and also Basilica Santa Cecilia in Trastevere.

Afterwards, take a food tour with a local guide. Food tours are great for getting to know the more local side of Rome and exploring some cool neighborhoods, while at the same time enjoying some delicious traditional food that you’d likely never taste otherwise.

Taking a food tour is truly one of the best ways to get a bit off the beaten path and experience different facets of Rome! I highly recommend this – it will make your visit so much more special!

There are many really good options when it comes to food tours in Rome and it might be difficult to choose which one to take. I don’t think you can really go wrong with either of them, but do check where and when they start so that you can easily fit it into your itinerary. Also, read some reviews so that you know what to expect.

Our experience: We took this street food tour on our most recent trip to Rome and it was a great experience. Even having visited Rome several times in the past, we learned a lot of new things, saw some places we had never seen before, and tasted some really delicious local food. This tour starts at 5 PM close to Campo de’ Fiori, about 10 minutes walk from Trastevere. It takes 2.5 hours and ends close to the Pantheon.

Another good option that would fit this itinerary well is this food tour in Trastevere. It starts at a local restaurant in Trastevere at 5 PM and takes about 4 hours. And if you are not interested in a food tour, there are plenty of nice restaurants in Trastevere. I indicated a few of them on our map below.

READ ALSO: Rome Street Food Tour: What to Expect

Basilica Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
Basilica Santa Cecilia in Trastevere
Pizza Romana - local pizzeria in Rome
Roman pizza at one of the stops during our food tour
Carciofi alla giudia - traditional Roman dish
Carciofi alla giudia – traditional dish originating at the Jewish Quarter in Rome

Rome 2 days itinerary

So, these are our suggestions on how to spend two days in Rome. As you can see, there are some absolute must-sees (like the Colosseum or the Vatican) that should be in any itinerary. But it’s those additional options that will make your visit so much more special and more memorable.

And yes, you can visit pretty much everything in Rome on your own and you don’t absolutely need a tour for most places. However, going with a tour will often not only save you time, but will also give you unique insights and will allow you to experience Rome to the fullest. So choose wisely, but definitely consider some tours if you want to make the most of your 2 days in Rome!

Here’s a short summary of everything listed above – this should give you a better overview and let you decide how to plan your time.

Two-day Rome itinerary suggestions:

DAY 1:

  • 8 AM Trevi Fountain.
  • 9 AM The Pantheon.
  • 9.30 AM Walk to the Colosseum (via Piazza Venzia).
  • 10.30 AM – 2 PM: Colossem, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill.
  • 2 PM Lunch near the Colosseum.
  • 3.30-4.30 PM Baths of Caracalla.
  • 5 PM Metro to the city center.
  • Evening: The highlights of the city center (on your own or with a 7 PM tour).
  • OR Afternoon e-bike tour (+- 3-7 PM).

DAY 2:

  • 7 AM Walk to the Vatican (via St. Angelo Bridge).
  • 8 AM – NOON Vatican Museums & St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • 12.30-1.30 PM Lunch near the Vatican.
  • 2 PM metro to Piazza Barberini (depending on the option chosen).
  • 2.30-6 PM Catacombs OR Villa Borghese (+ dinner in the city center).
  • OR Trastevere + 5 PM food tour.

Good to know: This itinerary is suitable for any time of the year. The only thing to keep into account is the summer heat (pack a water bottle and sun protection!) or – in late fall/winter – shorter days. However, we recently visited Rome in November when it gets dark at around 5 PM, and we could see everything we planned. So this 2-day itinerary would definitely work for the darker and colder months as well.


Map of places to visit in Rome in 2 days

And here’s a map of Rome showing all the places mentioned above. In addition to the main landmarks, I also indicated some restaurant suggestions, best places for ice cream, metro stations, etc.

The places we recommend visiting on day 1 of this itinerary are indicated in purple, day 2 – in red. Restaurant suggestions are in yellow, and metro stations – in blue.


How to use this map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.


Practical tips & info

To make the most of your two-day trip to Rome, here are some useful tips:

  • Stay in the historic city center. We love the area close to the Pantheon and we always stay in this part of town because it makes sightseeing so easy. On our most recent visit, we stayed at 9Hotel Cesari, just a few minutes walk from the Pantheon or the Trevi Fountain, 20 min from the Colosseum, and 30 min from the Vatican.
  • Start your days early and book the tickets/ tours in advance. As a minimum, you really have to get skip-the-line tickets for the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums. If you are planning on visiting these sites on your own, check out this digital Rome Tourist Card. It’s a combined ticket that includes entry to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica & its dome. This card allows you to choose time slots for all the top attractions in one go and saves you time and money.
  • Wear comfortable shoes – you’ll be walking a lot.
  • Wear respectable clothing (knees and shoulders are covered). This is a must if you are visiting the Vatican and the Catacombs, but also for churches.
  • Take a reusable bottle. You’ll find lots of water fountains all over Rome where you can refill your bottles for free. Ideally, you have one bottle per person, especially if visiting Rome in the warmest months. Something like this is perfect for travel, but any sturdy plastic bottle will do just fine (and there are foldable travel bottles as well).
  • Leave big bags at your hotel. You’ll have to pass airport-style security at the Vatican and the Colosseum, so the less stuff you have with you, the easier it will be. A small backpack is fine, but ideally, you take as little with you as possible. We always take crossbody bags instead of backpacks for European city trips.
  • Pack a power bank for your phone and/or some extra batteries for your camera. Also, Italy uses European plugs, so if you are traveling from the US, UK, and some other parts of the world, be sure to pack a European adapter.

For more travel tips for Rome, take a look at our guide via the link below.

LEARN MORE: Tips for Visiting Rome

So, this is our suggested Rome itinerary for two days. I hope that it helps you plan a fun and truly memorable vacation in Rome!

Have a great time!

TIP: If you are not yet sure how much time to spend in Rome or are looking for some additional information or more travel inspiration, take a look at our other guides to Rome:

READ ALSO: 2 Weeks Italy Itinerary

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Rome itinerary for 2 days
How to see the best of Rome in two days - itinerary for 2 days in Roma, Italy

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John and Kelly

Wednesday 15th of November 2023

Hi Jurga, what a great page... We are going to stay in Rome a couple of days and follow your guide. I've already bought the pantheon tickets and the sweet colosseum underground tour. We're looking for the correct walking night tour you recommended. The link takes me to a ton of tours, but none seem to start where you noted. Is there a specific one you'd recommend?

After a couple of days in Rome we are going to Tuscany for 9 days (We're going to look through some of your recommendations and links before I book anything). When we get back to Rome on the backend of the trip, we are staying at a place on the beach right near the airport. My question is: should we get there a day early to tour that area or is the extra day better spent in Tuscany? We soooo appreciate all you do here!

John and Kelly


Wednesday 15th of November 2023

Hi Kelly and John, I see that indeed the evening tour that we recommended is at the moment not available. There are tons of other walking tours but I couldn't find one exactly as that one. This evening tour that starts at Piazza Navona and ends at the Spanish Steps is as close as I found to the one we originally recommended, but it's quite a lot more expensive than most others. From what I see, it spends more time in the old town and I think it also enters the Pantheon (except on Sundays) which could be a nice extra. This highly-rated tour is much cheaper, but it has a very different itinerary, starting at Piazza Navona and ending at Piazza Venezia (and they also walk to the Colosseum which you will likely have seen already if you follow this itinerary as it is). Most other tours that I found also follow an itinerary similar to this one. As for Tuscany, yes, we have quite some articles about various places, so please use the search button or take a look at an overview on our Italy travel page. You can see a lot in 9 days, but you will still have to make choices because the region is huge and there are so many amazing places. You can spend 3 days in Florence alone and never get bored... So I strongly encourage you to make an approximate plan in advance - that way, you know what you absolutely want to see and get a better idea whether it's better to spend an extra day in the region or head back to Rome earlier. Anyway, close to the airport you could visit Ostia Antica. You need about 2 hours for it. The same ticket also includes the entry to the Castle of Julius II (Castello di Giulio II), Museum of Ships in Fiumicino (Museo delle Navi di Fiumicino), Imperial Ports of Claudius and Trajan (Porti Imperiali di Claudio e Traiano), and Necropolis of Porto on Isola Sacra (Necropoli di Porto). These additional sights are not absolutely must-see, but there's enough to fill a day. For the rest, there are some beaches, but nothing really wow I think. If you have a car, on your way out or back to Rome, you could also visit Villa d'Este and Adrian's Villa in Tivoli. They are both located close to each other and are well worth a detour. You will likely need a good part of the day for these. If you don't have a car, it's a nice day trip from Rome and there are lots of tours that go there. Hope this helps. Have a great trip!


Tuesday 15th of August 2023

Hi Jurga, I'm so happy I stumbled upon your page. My husband & I are headed to Italy for 10 days to celebrate our nuptials. We are mids 50, love to eat, shop, music, art, walking & blending in with the locals. I'm going through your post trying to ensure we hit the "must see" spots but I struggle with knowing timing to be alotted. Here's our layout thus far: 1. Sorrento - 3 nights: Capri Boat Tour with Blue Grotto (8 hrs); 2. Florence - 4 nights: Italian Cooking Class (Brunch) 4 hrs; 3. Rome: 3 nights: Colesseum Tour; Vatican Tour.

Above are those we know we want to do that we will booked and do as "guided tours". Any other "must -do" fillers you can add? Also, are you aware of any photographers in Florence and/or Rome that can do a mini-photo shoot? Also looking for the best 1 day trips out of Florence / Rome? What's the best shopping places to go to from / in Florence? I appreciate your info. Enjoying your blog.


Thursday 17th of August 2023

Hi Dee, please take a look at the following articles for more ideas on how to plan your trip: Amalfi Coast itinerary Best Things to Do in Capri Italy Itinerary for 2 Weeks (this will give you an idea of how you can fit it all in, but use it just as inspiration, of course) Best things to do in Florence (including some day trip suggestions at the very end of the article) For photoshoots, here you can find lots of options in Rome and here in Florence. For shopping, in Rome, the area around Spanish Steps. In Florence, around Via Roma or San Lorenzo Market if you are looking for leather etc. Hope this helps.

Maggie fernandez

Wednesday 14th of June 2023

Hi, we will be staying in Rome for two days and will be doing the 2 day itinerary thank you so much for that…. We are planning on staying at Positano to do the Amalfi coast. Before we head there we have an about 5 or six days to visit others cities like Venice, Florence but not sure. What would you suggest? Thank you Maggie F

Maggie F

Wednesday 14th of June 2023

@Jurga, Thank you so much for your in put… I really Appreciate it…Just trying to see how I can fit Venice into my trip… I really want to spend some time there. Even if it’s for a day. Any suggestions of how to fit that in… I will be staying in Positano for 5 nights… what would you recommend and seeing while I’m there… open to suggestions. I will be in Italy for a total of two weeks..

Thank you


Wednesday 14th of June 2023

Hi Maggie, since Amalfi Coast is south of Rome and Florence and Venice are in the totally different direction, you have to think well what you want to do or you'll waste too much time on the trains. Florence could be doable since it's not that far from Rome. Take a look at our Florence guides for some ideas of what to see/do there. In addition, Naples area is amazing, and you could easily spend 5-6 days there alone (and visit places like Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius, Capri, Amalfi Coast, etc). You could also just head that way from Rome, and spend a few days in Naples and/or Sorrento first before going to Positano. You can also easily visit Positano and other villages on the Amalfi Coast from Sorrento if you don't like changing hotels too often. We have lots of articles about those areas. You can find an overview here. You may also want to read our guide on the beast places to stay on the Amalfi Coast. There are countless ways to plan any trip to Italy and you can't go wrong with any of these areas. I think you'll enjoy your visit more if you don't have to take a train and change hotels daily, so maybe limit your choices to just 2-3 places and do short day trips nearby. If you are starting in Rome, you could do 2 days in the city, 1 day trip to Florence by train (see our Florence 1-day itinerary for recommendations). After that, take a train to Naples and stay there for a few days or head straight to Sorrento and base yourself there for day trips in that area. Hope this helps.


Friday 31st of March 2023

We are booked on a cruise leaving Rome Nov. 10, so we have Nov 8-9 in Rome. We like the lesser seen locations without huge amounts of walking - we are 70. Can you advise.


Sunday 2nd of April 2023

@Jurga, thanks so much for the quick reply. I like the idea of the hidden gems of Rome and I think I might take you up on that. Since we’re going in November, it shouldn’t be too crowded. I wish we had more time but our cruise will take us through the Mediterranean and that should be lovely. .


Sunday 2nd of April 2023

Hi Terrie, you may want to take a look at our guide to the hidden gems of Rome for some inspiration. You'll find a map in that article too, so you can see which places could possibly be combined together without having to walk too much. But overall, there is no way to explore Rome to the fullest without walking, unless you want to take taxis or - for some places - the metro, but often it's just more convenient on foot. Alternatively, you may want to consider some tours to the lesser visited places e.g by golf cart or by bike if you are confident enough to bike in Rome.


Saturday 7th of January 2023

Hi Jurga, First of all, thank you for the articles on your website. They have been incredibly helpful. We are planning a trip to Italy in April and will be staying in Rome for 2.5 days. I am overwhelmed since it is our first European trip. 1. I am skeptical about the tours since I am not sure what all they cover and how genuine they are. I was looking at the tour you've recommended and I think we will go with it, but does it provide a guided tour to the Roman forum. The description stated that they leave you to peruse the forum on your own. Do I have to book another tour for the forum?

2. Laundry is my biggest issue since we have kids. Do the hotels have laundry machines and dryers? We always travel light and rely on the washing machines and dryers in the hotels.

Any help will be highly appreciated. Thank you!


Monday 9th of January 2023

Hi Lovee, 1. It's less complicated than it looks, but there are so many options that it can get overwhelming indeed. While some tours only offer a guided visit to the Colosseum (giving you the tickets to explore the rest on your own), there are many tours that include a guided visit to both - the Colosseum and the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill. Here's one just as an example of such tour. The tour that we did included a guided visit to all the parts, plus the Colosseum Underground and the Arena Floor, but someone told me that for some strange reason, it's not available in English anymore. Here is another highly-rated tour that has the same itinerary and is available in English. It includes the guided tour of the Colosseum (+ underground and arena), and also a guided tour of the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.

2. As for the laundry, that is trickier since hardly any hotels in Europe offer self-service guest laundry. And if you ask them do it, it costs a fortune. What we normally do on longer trips is look for an apartment with a washing machine for a few days somewhere halfway through the trip and do the laundry there. Finding a dryer, however, is very rare and definitely in Italy. Italians usually just hang their laundry to dry outside. For apartments, we usually look on, where you can usually also filter your selection by certain criteria like 'kitchen', 'parking', etc. However, I don't think there is a filter for a washing machine, so you have to read the descriptions carefully so that you know what kind of facilities they offer.

Hope this helps!

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