Our guide to the all the things to see in Rome in one day. Follow our Rome in one day itinerary and discover all the things you can see and do with 24 hours in Rome. Good walking shoes essential! 

Can you visit Rome in one day? Romans say ‘A lifetime is not enough to know Rome’ and, Roman that I am, I agree.

There is just so much to see in Rome, so many layers of history, beauty and so much going on in this very busy city, that you can live here all your life and still not even scratch the surface of her many secrets.

However, I believe it is possible to get a taste of Rome in a day and, with the right itinerary and tips for visiting, get a lasting impression of this unique city.

I lived in Rome most of my life and  I have created an itinerary which follows closely my wanderings around the city whenever I feel like being a tourist in my own town.

To make the most of one day in the city, it is worth choosing accommodation wisely:

Check here our article about where to stay in Rome and here to find out about Rome neighborhoods.

How to use this Rome in one day itinerary

This is not a street by street itinerary, but rather an idea of parts of Rome that can be visited, on foot, in one day.

You will see that majour landmarks (St Peter’s basilica just to name one) are not included, simply because  they a bit further away and awkward to reach and better visited as a stand alone attraction.

Rome in one day: overview

  • Time needed for this Rome itinerary: a full day
  • Gear: comfortable shoes, a bottle of water to refill freely  from street fountains
  • What to see in Rome in one day: ancient Rome highlights (Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon), Rome main piazzas (Piazza Venezia, Piazza Navona, Campo de’ fiori), Rome’s historical neighbourhoods (Monti and Trastevere)
  • What to do in Rome in one day:stroll around Rome ancient ruins, discover some of Rome more interesting churches, get a proper coffe, have a break with gelato and don’t forget to finish your day in front of a pizza!

Must see Rome itinerary

The perfect itinerary to see the best of Rome in one day.

Ancient Rome

I love to start my tour of Rome from the ancient part of it. It is stunning, unique and convenient, thanks to the metro station and the many buses stopping nearby.

The Colosseum is your first must see. It  magnet for tourists and the sea of baseball caps, umbrellas and ‘gladiators’ expecting you as you step under its magnificent shade taints the mystique of the place; however, the monument itself is so beautiful and its remains to imposing I believe excluding it from your itinerary would be a real shame.

If you only have limited time in Rome, I suggest you do not visit the inside and limit yourself to the area around it. If you take a stroll down via dei fori imperiali, the wide road along the forum) you get a wonderful overview of the forum layout and a glimpse of Trajan’s markets which will give you a sense of ancient Rome without eating up all your day.

Part of the Roman forum, with Piazza di Spagna in the background

Part of the Roman forum, with Piazza Venezia in the background

Something special: before you head down via dei fori imperiali, climb up the small hill in front of the Colosseum. This is called Colle Oppio and the small climb will reward you with three Roman gems: a view over the Colosseum, the stunning San Pietro in Vincoli church, which hosts and amazing statue of Moses, and the cloister of the faculty of Engineering, open to the public for visits.

 

Rione Monti

Close to the Colosseum and the forum lays an area all Romans love, rione Monti  (rione means area). This is an old area of Rome full of restaurants, wine bars, vintage and knick-knack shops. It is a dusty, buzzing area mixing old charme and hip vibes and it the perfect stop for a coffee or a light lunch.

Piazza Venezia

Back on via dei fori imperiali, it only takes a few minutes to walk to piazza Venezia. This is a busy but historically important piazza: from sinister Palazzo Venezia, Mussolini used to reel the crowds and declared the beginning of the II world war.

The most impressive monument here is il Vittoriano: Romans have a love-hate relationship with it – it’s very much a symbol of the city, but its awkward shape can’t be denied. We call it: the typewriter!

Romans are known for their cynicism and also for being quite fussy when it comes to aesthetics!

Rome in one day, Rome from il Gianicolo, view

Il Vittoriano is the big white monument on the right, as seen from Il Gianicolo.

 

Spanish steps and Trevi Fountain

If you want to visit the Spanish steps and fontana di Trevi, you can do so from piazza Venezia, walking.

To be honest, I don’t go here often: I find they get easily overwhelmed by the crowds and Piazza di Spagna is also a well-known pickpockets paradise. But both spots are beautiful and if you are there in the early morning, or in the evening, it’s definitely worth a stop: I sometimes go there after window shopping along via dei Condotti.

From there, you might stretch all the way to piazza del popolo: if you saw ‘Angels and Demons’, you will find some familiar spots!

Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori

By far, my favourite part of Rome city centre.

Piazza del Pantheon and the adjacent piazza della Minerva are where you find small winding streets, dusty cafes, gelaterie and as many churches as your imagination can think of!

This part of the city is so packed with things to see the best way to enjoy it is just to get lost with your nose in the air.

It’s also the home of some of the best food in Rome: make sure you stop at ‘caffe’ tazza d’oro’ for a granita or in Piazza Sant’Eustachio for, allegedly, the best coffee in Rome!

Rome in one day: Piazza della Minerva

Rome in one day: Piazza della Minerva

Not far from the Pantheon there are two more amazing squares that you should definitely include in your day: piazza campo de fiori and piazza Navona.

These are impressive squares with very different vibes: campo de’ fiori hosts a market in the morning, it is hustling and bustling and has the feeling of a medieval square.

It’s overlooked by the statue of Giordano Bruno, who lost his life here defending science and the light of reason. It’s a fantastic place to visit in the morning if you like the buzz of a market, but I find it even more pleasant in the evening: it has plenty of wine bars and, whenever I can, I go there for a glass of red and always interesting people watching.

Piazza Navona is more monumental and touristy: I love it and always marvel at how beautiful it is, but during the day it gets really crowded (think selfie sticks…) and I find the many tourist-menus restaurants there off-putting.

However, I consider it a must see in Rome: make sure you stop at the famous ‘fountain of the four rivers’ and then head to piazza del teatro, nearby, for fabulous ice cream.

All you can see in Rome in one day

Trastevere

By the time you have seen all this you are likely to be exhausted, but if your feet allow, I think you should cross the river and head to Trastevere.

Rome in one day: piazza del teatro (home of amazing ice cream!)

Rome in one day: piazza del teatro (home of amazing ice cream!)

 

Trastevere is often described as the most authentic part of Rome and I think this is true, to a point. Less monumental than the city centre, it has a lovely student-y, arts-y vibe and feels less posh than many other parts of Rome.

Still, don’t let the dusty streets deceit you: it’s not cheap to live here and tourism has discovered Trastevere a good while ago so this is no hidden gem! Oon a summer night, you are likely to hear more English spoken here than Italian but this doesn’t mean you cannot also get a decent meal and mingle with locals.

For me, it remains one of the nicest areas for a dinner out and I think a great way to end the day, especially if in front of a pizza!

So, this is my list of things to do in Rome in one day.

Will your feet ache by the end of the day? Absolutely yes. Will you have seen everything Rome has to offer? Not even close. But it will be a start and I am pretty sure it will make you want to come back to Rome and spend there at least some of that lifetime we Romans go on about.

What is your favourite part of Rome?

 

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