3 Days in Rome: The Best Rome Itinerary + Tips From a Local

3 Days in Rome Itinerary - The View From the Dome of the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

Are you planning your dream vacation to Italy and wondering what to do in Rome for 3 days? You’re in the right place. I grew up in Rome and after living here for 12 years, have gotten to know the Eternal City like the back of my hand.

This 3 days in Rome itinerary is not your typical travel guide. It’s packed with insider tips to help you avoid tourist traps, discover off-the-beaten-path places, find the most magical sunset spots, and enjoy the best of Italian cuisine in locals-approved eateries.

You’ll also find tips on how to budget and skip the lines during your trip. So without further ado, I hope you enjoy this unique local’s guide to Rome in three days.

You might also be interested in:
🏡 Where to Stay in Rome: Best Areas + Hotels
🛵 4 Days in Rome: The Perfect Itinerary
🍝 Top 12 Rome By Night Tours to Take

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can learn more about this in my disclosure policy.

🌟 3 Days in Rome Itinerary: Top Tips

Most scenic: Otivm Hotel (⭐ 9.0)
Most romantic: Singer Palace (⭐ 9.4)
Luxury pick: Martis Palace (⭐ 9.3)
Budget pick: Hotel Amalfi (⭐ 8.8)

The Best Colosseum Tour (⭐️ 4.6/5)
The Best Vatican Tour (⭐️ 4.4/5)
The Best VIP Vatican Tour (⭐️ 5/5)
The Best Pantheon Tour (⭐️ 4.8/5)

⛲ Rome in Three Days: Itinerary Overview

Here’s an overview of the top things to do in Rome in 3 days, with all the places covered in this Rome itinerary.

Day 1 — Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Galleria Sciarra, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Villa Borghese + Galleria Borghese, Terrazza del Pincio

Day 2 — Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill, Vittoriano, Piazza del Campidoglio, Portico of Octavia + Jewish Quarter, Trastevere, Gianicolo, Isola Tiberina

Day 3 — Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica & Dome, Castel Sant’Angelo, Lungotevere & Ponte Umberto I, Campo de’ Fiori

Giardino degli Aranci in Rome, Italy - Rome Itineraries 3 Days

Related: Where to Stay in Rome: The Best Areas + Hotels

🗓 Day 1 in Rome: Historic Center + Villa Borghese

1. Piazza Navona

Suggested visit time: 8:30 am / Visit duration: 30 mins – 1 hour

Start your 3-day Rome itinerary with a stroll in Piazza Navona, one of the most magical squares in the historic center. The majestic sculptures, artsy fountains, and vibrant atmosphere of this square are a great introduction to Rome.

If you get here very early in the morning (before 8 am), you can also enjoy it with barely anyone around — just you and a few locals walking their dogs. Seeing the piazza practically empty is totally worth waking up for; it feels like walking into a beautiful painting.

At the center of the piazza is the impressive Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, designed by Bernini in 1651. This fountain showcases some truly amazing sculptural art, which is best admired with a gelato in hand — yes, there are plenty of gelaterie around this square!

While in the past, Piazza Navona hosted festivals and sporting events, today, it’s a hub for street performers, artists, and musicians. As a result, the atmosphere in this square is especially lively during the day and you can even buy some charming paintings of Italy from the artists’ stands.

🍕 Insider Tip: There are many restaurants inside Piazza Navona, but the vast majority of them are tourist traps. You’ll find plenty of authentic and cheaper restaurants elsewhere in the historic center, so I don’t recommend eating here.

Tourists Walking Inside Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy
Artists’ stands at Piazza Navona during the day

2. Pantheon

5 min walk from Piazza Navona
Suggested visit time: 9:30 am / Visit duration: 45 mins – 1 hour

The Pantheon is one of the most well-preserved and ancient structures in the Eternal City, and it’s a staple of any 3-day itinerary of Rome. Completed between 126 – 128 AD, this Roman temple was dedicated to the gods of pagan Rome and was eventually converted to a Christian church.

The architecture of the Pantheon is simply marvelous; so much so that when Michelangelo visited, he famously said, “it was the design of angels, not of man”. To understand what he meant, simply take a walk inside this monument and admire the view from underneath its oculus — the central part of the dome that opens up to the sky.

Book your skip-the-line entry ticket

The Pantheon - Visit Rome in 3 Days

Today, the Pantheon is the burial place of important Italian figures such as Vittorio Emanuele II (the first king of Italy) and Renaissance artists like Raphael. This monument also continues to function as a church, and Catholic Mass is regularly held there.

🔥 Insider Tip: As of July 2023, entrance is no longer free and costs €5. While you can pay directly at the entrance, I highly recommend booking a skip-the-line entry ticket as this is one of the most popular and crowded places in Rome. This ticket costs just a few more euros but comes with an audio guide.

The Dome Inside the Pantheon in Rome, Italy
The open dome inside the Pantheon | Itinerary 3 days in Rome
Opening hours: 9 am - 7 pm daily (last entry at 6:30 pm)
🎫 Entrance fees: €5 or ~€8 for a skip-the-line entry ticket with audio guide
🧔🏻 Guided tour: Pantheon Guided Tour (⭐️ 4.8/5)

3. Galleria Doria Pamphilj

7 min walk from Pantheon
Suggested visit time: 10:30 am / Visit duration: 1.5-2 hours

After the Pantheon, it’s time to get away from the main tourist crowd and check out a hidden gem. Dating back to the 16th century, the opulent Galleria Doria Pamphilj is home to an exceptional private collection of works by Caravaggio, Raphael, and Titian.

Amidst this gallery’s incredibly ornate ceilings and captivating hallways, you’ll be wondering how this place has managed to stay out of most tourists’ radars — it’s refreshingly peaceful and uncrowded for Rome.

Not to be missed inside this gallery is the jaw-dropping Galleria degli Specchi (Gallery of Mirrors). Unsurprisingly known as “Little Versailles”, its stunning gilt Venetian mirrors and intricately frescoed ceilings make it the highlight of the whole gallery.

As Galleria Doria Pamphilj isn’t overcrowded, you can simply just buy a ticket at the entrance and don’t need to worry about long lines. Your ticket will also come with a free audio guide (and it’s one that is actually really well done!).

🎨 Note: There’s another art gallery – Galleria Borghese – on the itinerary for later in the day. If two art galleries in one day are too much for you, choose Doria Pamphilj if you prefer fewer crowds, and Borghese if you’re an art aficionado; it has a much larger collection. But both galleries are incredibly impressive.

Opening hours: Monday - Thursday: 9 am - 7 pm | Friday - Sunday: 10 am - 8 pm
🎫 Entrance fees: €16 

4. Galleria Sciarra

4 min walk from Galleria Doria Pamphilj
Suggested visit time: 12:30 pm / Visit duration: 5 mins

Your next stop is a very quick one and might only take you 2-5 mins. But it’s well worth it. Tucked away from the tourist crowds, Galleria Sciarra is an impressive showcase of Art Nouveau architecture — a display of modern rather than ancient Roman history.

This small courtyard dates back to the 16th century, but in 1890, the wealthy Sciarra family remodeled and adorned it with liberty-style frescoes and a glass roof. Today, it’s a wonderful way to see beautiful art without the crowds.

Due to its size, it only takes a few minutes to explore Galleria Sciarra. You’ll see that most people who “visit” are locals passing by, using its covered walkway as a shortcut. Admire the art and architecture here and snap a few photos before moving on.

Opening hours: Monday - Friday: 9 am - 6:30 pm
🎫 Entrance fees: Free

5. Lunch near Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain is a 2 min walk from Galleria Sciarra
Recommended duration: 12:40 pm – 2 pm

Your next stop, the famous Trevi Fountain, is basically a next-door neighbor of Galleria Sciarra, and there are also a lot of restaurants in this area. With a packed morning, it’s a good idea to take a break and grab some food before more sightseeing.

🍕 Food Tip: Avoid the tourist traps directly outside the Trevi Fountain. Instead, walk a few minutes in any direction, and you’ll come across much more affordable and authentic options.

Some restaurants I recommend near Trevi Fountain are: L’Antica Pizzeria di Trevi, Ristorante Sora Lucia, and DEROMA – Farine Romane. Be sure to try some Roman specialties such as amatriciana, carbonara, and cacio e pepe!

Spaghetti Carbonara in Rome, Italy
Spaghetti alla carbonara — a must-try on your itinerary for Rome in 3 days

6. Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)

2 min walk from Galleria Sciarra
Suggested visit time: 2 pm / Visit duration: 20-30 mins

A trip to Rome would be utterly incomplete without a stop at the Trevi Fountain. Completed in 1762, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the Eternal City. Built on top of an ancient water source, this fountain stands 26 m (85 ft) tall and 49 m (160 ft) wide.

A famous tradition is to throw a coin into the water with your right hand over your left shoulder. Legend has it that tossing one coin means you’ll return to Rome, two coins: you’ll return and fall for an Italian, and three coins: you’ll end up marrying them in Rome.

Whether or not you believe in this myth, the coins go towards a great cause. Roughly 1 million euros get collected from the fountain every year to be donated to local charities.

🌅 Top Tip: The Trevi Fountain is always swarming with tourists during the day. Come back early in the morning, at sunrise, for a completely different atmosphere. You’ll be able to truly enjoy this place and take photos with barely anyone else around.

The Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

7. Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps)

10 min walk from Trevi Fountain
Suggested visit time: 2:45 pm / Visit duration: 30-45 mins

From the Trevi Fountain, head north on Via del Corso to make your way to the iconic Spanish Steps, one of the most famous landmarks in Rome.

Via del Corso is the most well-known shopping street in the historic center. Lined with fashion stores and a few gelaterias, the atmosphere there is incredibly lively, making it a great place to people-watch as well.

Once you reach the splendid Spanish Steps, take a moment to admire the Baroque-style Fontana della Barcaccia (“Fountain of the Leaky Boat”) at the foot of the square. This fountain was built to remember a particularly bad flood of the River Tiber in 1598, which left a boat behind in Piazza di Spagna.

Tourists on the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy

It’s definitely worth climbing up the 174 steps to the top of the Spanish Steps, where you’ll be greeted by artists painting portraits as well as the beautiful Trinità dei Monti Church, which is absolutely worth checking out.

While the view from the top is lovely, be sure to also stop at the first terrace during your climb — you’ll get a unique view of Via dei Condotti, the fashion shopping hub of Rome.

The View From the Top of the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy
The beautiful view as you climb up the Spanish Steps | Rome 3-day itinerary

💸 Please note: As of 2019, it is no longer allowed to sit on the Spanish Steps (in order to preserve this UNESCO Heritage Site). You can also get fined up to €400 if you’ve dirtied or damaged the steps in any way.

Related: 36 Famous Landmarks in Italy That Will Take Your Breath Away

8. Villa Borghese

16 min walk from Spanish Steps (to the Porta Pinciana entrance)
Suggested visit time: 3:45 pm / Visit duration: 45 mins – 1 hour

Next, it’s time to escape the crowded streets of the historic center and take a relaxing stroll inside Villa Borghese, a charming park. Lined with trees and green fields, Villa Borghese is also home to many beautiful Roman sculptures and fountains.

🗺 Top Tip: The entrance to Villa Borghese is located at Porta Pinciana – don’t put “Villa Borghese” on Google Maps; it won’t take you to the actual entrance gate. Instead, simply head to Porta Pinciana and you’ll see the entrance there.

Inside the park, stop by the lake (Laghetto Di Villa Borghese), where you can rent a boat and row around. Or, simply relax on one of the many benches and take in the laid-back atmosphere. You’ll be surrounded by local families with kids and dogs, skaters showing off their tricks, and young lovers lying underneath the trees.

Note: Your next stop is Galleria Borghese, which is inside this park. If you’ve chosen to do Galleria Doria Pamphilj in the morning and skip this gallery, you now have more time to simply relax inside this park. Or, head straight over to Terrazza del Pincio – the stop after Galleria Borghese.

🚴 Insider Tip: A fun way to explore Villa Borghese is to rent a bike. You can rent one in either Viale Goethe or Viale dell’Uccelliera — both locations are inside the park. You can choose between regular bikes, 2-people tandem bikes, and even 4-people quadricycles (perfect for families with kids!).

Rows of Trees at Villa Borghese Park in Rome, Italy
The lush Villa Borghese – perfect for 3 days in Rome with family

9. Galleria Borghese

Located inside Villa Borghese
Suggested visit time: 5 pm / Visit duration: 2 hours

One of the main highlights of Villa Borghese is Galleria Borghese (Borghese Gallery), one of the most impressive museums in Rome. It is situated at the eastern end of the park, and you can easily make your way there on foot or by bike from anywhere inside Villa Borghese.

Galleria Borghese showcases an impressive collection of art, including masterpieces by Raphael, Botticelli, Caravaggio, and Tiziano. Walking around, you’ll see stunning frescoes on the walls and ceiling, breathtaking mosaics, and impressive sculptures in every hall.

Book your skip-the-line entry ticket

A Statue in Front of Galleria Borghese in Rome, Italy

Galleria Borghese is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm, with the last entrance allowed at 5.45 pm. Note that except for the 5.45 pm slot, you can only enter at the whole hour (e.g., at 11 am or 5 pm, but not at 11:30 am or 5:15 pm).

🔥 Top Tip: Don’t enjoy waiting in line? Book a Borghese Gallery guided tour (⭐️ 4.7/5) to get right in! This will also allow you to get the colorful backstory behind each piece of art. If you don’t want a tour, you can still save lots of time with a skip-the-line ticket.

The Galleria Borghese in Rome, Italy
‘The Rape of Proserpina’ by Bernini (1621) in the Galleria Borghese
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 9 am - 7 pm (last entry at 5.45 pm) | Closed on Mondays 
🎫 Entrance fees: Regular - €15 | Age 18-25 - €4 | Free with the Roma Pass or OMNIA Card (but you still need to book in advance; more info here)
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Borghese Gallery guided tour (⭐️ 4.7/5)

10. Terrazza del Pincio – Sunset

20 min walk or 10 min bike ride from Galleria Borghese
Suggested visit time: 7:30 pm or sunset / Visit duration: 20-30 mins

Villa Borghese has one more must-visit attraction for your three days in Rome itinerary: the magnificent Terrazza del Pincio, a terrace that offers a spectacular view of Rome, especially at sunset. Visiting this observation deck is an unforgettable experience.

As the sky turns pink and orange and the Eternal City starts to light up, you can unwind to the fabulous view of Piazza del Popolo right beneath the terrace, the famous Vittoriano rising above the historic buildings, and the dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica in the far distance.

The Sunset View from Terrazza del Pincio in Rome, Italy
The sunset view from Terrazza del Pincio | 3 days in Rome, Italy

You’re also likely to find talented musicians on the terrace, providing the perfect soundtrack to this surreal view. It’s hard to stress just how magical the view, paired with the live music, is. It’s something you have to witness in person.

🌅 Top Tip: Check the sunset time in Rome so you can time your visit accordingly.

11. Aperitivo + Dinner Near Piazza del Popolo

Right underneath the Terrazza del Pincio is Piazza del Popolo, which is surrounded by restaurants. Simply walk down the stairs from the terrace to reach this piazza.

They say when in Rome, do as the Romans do. And in this case, it means going for an aperitivo — a pre-meal drink meant to “open the stomach” before dining. This is a big Italian cultural tradition that’s very worth experiencing.

🍹 Note: Aperitivo usually takes place between 6 pm and 8 pm in Italy. Then, we usually go for dinner between 8 pm and 10 pm. While this may seem late to some of you, don’t worry — you’ll find tons of snacks paired with your aperitivo, so you won’t starve 🙂

Aperitivo in Rome, Italy

🍹 For aperitivo: Acquaroof Terrazza Molinari — This restaurant/terrace bar is just a few steps from Piazza del Popolo. Enjoy some Aperol Spritz or Negroni on their terrace, and nibble on olives, cheese, and bread. Bonus: you also get a beautiful view of Ancient Rome from there!

🍝 For dinner: Il Gabriello — While you can stay in Acquaroof Terrazza Molinari for dinner, too, you can also walk 7 minutes to this restaurant for some of the best cacio e pepe of your life. They also serve tons of delicious seafood and desserts.

Wherever you choose, just be sure to make your reservation weeks in advance!

Tagliatelle Cacio e Pepe in Rome, Italy

12. Evening Walk in the Historic Center

After dinner, you can easily revisit many of the places you saw during the day — this time, to see them lit up in all their glory in the dark. Aside from the sheer beauty of these monuments in the evenings, another advantage is that there are fewer people around at night, so the atmosphere is a lot calmer, too.

Some of the key places to see in the evening include the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Vittoriano, and the Colosseum. If you have extra time, head over to Piazza della Repubblica to see more gorgeously lit-up buildings and fountains.

A Fountain in Piazza della Repubblica in Rome, Italy at Nighttime
Piazza della Repubblica by night | 3-day itinerary Rome

🛵 Top Tip: There are many night tours of Rome that allow you to explore the city in unique ways. You can find everything from haunted tours and evening photography walks to e-bike night tours with food & wine tasting.

Read more: Top 12 Rome By Night Tours to Take

🗓 Day 2 in Rome: Ancient Rome + Trastevere

1. Colosseum

Suggested visit time: 8:30 am / Visit duration: 1.5 hours

Start the second day of your three-day trip to Rome by exploring the iconic symbol of the city — the majestic Colosseum. With almost 2,000 years of history, this monument provides an amazing glimpse into life during the ancient Roman Empire.

The Colosseum was built between 72 AD and 80 AD, and it quickly became the greatest amphitheater in the Roman world; it was the main entertainment hub of the Roman Empire. Today, it’s one of the most important stops on any Rome itinerary.

Book your skip-the-line Colosseum tour

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

This amphitheater could hold more than 50,000 people, who watched as gladiators brutally fought exotic animals and each other in the arena. The games took place for over 500 years, and sadly, more than 500,000 people and 1 million wild animals have lost their lives here.

Since the 6th century, the Colosseum suffered damages from earthquakes, lootings, and WWII bombings. That’s why only part of it is still standing today. Thanks to its extensive history, it is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World and is one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions.

What does this mean? Unless you plan your visit in advance, you’ll be standing in line for hours. While you can book an entry ticket online, I highly recommend joining a guided tour instead, and I’ll explain why below.

🧔🏻 Why You Should Visit the Colosseum on a Guided Tour

Exploring the Colosseum on a guided tour is the fastest way to get in and the best way to maximize your time. Given the sheer number of tourists visiting the Colosseum, there will always be a long line at the entrance, even if you book your tickets online.

With a guided tour, you can join a very short line and be inside the Colosseum in no time. Your guide will then navigate you to all the key spots inside so you won’t have to spend time finding them. After all, with only three days in Rome, there’s little time to waste!

Plus, with an expert local guide, you’ll be able to better understand and appreciate the history of the Colosseum. Depending on the tour you book, you can also get exclusive access to restricted areas of the Colosseum, such as the Arena and the Underground.

Book your skip-the-line Colosseum tour

🌟 My Recommendations: The 2 Best Guided Tours of the Colosseum
The Colosseum in Rome, Italy
🏟 Top Tips for Visiting the Colosseum Without a Guided Tour
  • Buy a skip-the-line entry ticket — it costs an extra €3 but can save you hours of waiting in line, especially in peak and shoulder seasons.
  • The best time to visit the Colosseum is at 8:30 am, right when it opens. Reserve your timeslot when you book your ticket (it’s mandatory) and arrive at least 30 mins before opening time to get through the entrance faster.
  • You can get free entry to the Colosseum with the Roma Pass, the OMNIA Rome Card, or the Best of Rome Pass. It’s still mandatory to reserve your timeslot online in advance. You can do so on the official website under the Roma Pass section.
  • There’s a cap on the number of visitors allowed per day. If tickets on the official website are sold out for the day you want to visit, you can still buy your ticket via Tiqets here.
  • You’ll see considerably fewer crowds at the Colosseum from November to March.
  • Visiting with kids: Anyone under 18 gets free entry to the Colosseum, but their visit cannot be booked online. If you’re an adult who booked your ticket, your child will receive their free ticket when entering with you.
  • If you’re under 18 and visiting without an adult, you can get your free ticket at the ticket office on-site (by standing in line).

Book your skip-the-line entry ticket

The Roman Forum and Colosseum Area in Rome, Italy
Opening hours: See here for live info
🎫 Entrance fees: (Combined Colosseum + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill ticket) Regular - €18 | EU citizens aged 18-25 - €4
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Tour (⭐️ 4.6/5)

2. Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

5 min walk from Colosseum
Suggested visit time: 10 am / Visit duration: 1.5 hours

A ticket to the Colosseum includes same-day entry to its stunning next-door neighbors: the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Most Colosseum guided tours include these two stops as well. The Roman Forum was the center of political, religious, and social life during the Roman Empire.

Walking around the area today, you’ll see ruins of what used to be the oldest and most important monuments of Ancient Rome, including temples and shrines. The Forum became abandoned, forgotten, and buried under the earth after the fall of the empire, and was only excavated in 1898.

The Ruins of the Roman Forum in Rome, Italy

Next to the Roman Forum is the beautiful Palatine Hill, considered by many as the birthplace of Rome. While it’s home to lots of ancient arches and temples, the best thing about it is the magnificent panoramic view of the Colosseum you’ll get from there.

🔥 Insider Tip: If you don’t buy your Colosseum ticket in advance and decide to get it on-site instead, do so at the Roman Forum or Palatine Hill ticket offices and visit these places first. The lines there are shorter than at the Colosseum ticket office.

With that said, they won’t let you into these three sites if all the timeslots for the day are booked up, which happens often during the high season. They also only sell same-day tickets, so booking your ticket online or visiting with a guided tour is always your safest bet.

Book your skip-the-line Roman Forum tour

View From the Palatine Hill in Rome, Italy
The view of the Colosseum from Palatine Hill | Things to do in Rome 3 days
Opening hours: See here for live info
🎫 Entrance fees: (Combined Colosseum + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill ticket) Regular - €18 | EU citizens aged 18-25 - €4
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Tour (⭐️ 4.6/5)

3. Lunch Near the Colosseum & Roman Forum

Recommended duration: 11:30 am – 1 pm

In total, the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill should take roughly 3 hours to explore. Before heading to your next stop, I’d recommend having a tasty lunch.

There are way too many tourist traps around the Colosseum, so here are some authentic eateries in the area. It’s essential to call them and book your spot in advance — pretty much all restaurants in the city center have English-speaking staff.

  • Taverna Romana — A meal at this restaurant tastes homemade; it’s the perfect place to have some traditional Roman dishes, such as l’amatriciana.
  • Pizza della Madonna dei Monti — This hidden pizzeria is the perfect spot for a quick lunch. Aside from authentic pizza, they also have traditional Roman snacks such as supplì.
  • La Nuova Piazzetta — Enjoy some of the best carbonara and amatriciana among very friendly staff. They also serve delicious homemade desserts.
A Plate of Pasta Amatriciana in Rome, Italy
Pasta all’amatriciana — a must-try on a 3 day itinerary in Rome

4. Vittoriano (Piazza Venezia)

5 min walk from Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
Suggested visit time: 1 pm / Visit duration: 1.5 hours

After lunch, it’s time to explore one of the most majestic and eye-catching monuments in Rome: the Vittoriano (AKA Altare della Patria) in Piazza Venezia.

Inaugurated in 1911, this building was constructed as a tribute to Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy. Its beautiful architecture is bound to leave you speechless; you’ll see rows of Corinthian columns and endless stairs made of stunning white marble.

Take a walk around Piazza Venezia to see and capture this grand monument from different angles. Then, be sure to climb up its panoramic terrace. You’ll be doing some of it by foot via stairs, and the last bit via a glass elevator. Up top, enjoy a spectacular close-up view of Rome’s historic center.

🔥 Insider Tip: A regular ticket to the panoramic terrace costs €17, and you can book it in advance here. However, I recommend booking a ticket with an audio guide, which also includes entry to two nearby museums: the Museum of Risorgimento and the National Museum of Palazzo di Venezia.

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy
The view of Rome from the panoramic terrace of the Vittoriano
Opening hours: 9:30 am – 7:30 pm daily (last admission at 6:45 pm)
🎫 Panoramic terrace entrance fees: Adults - €17 | Under 18 years old - free 
🌐 Best online ticket: Panoramic Glass Elevator Ticket with Audio App

5. Piazza del Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill)

5 min walk from Vittoriano
Suggested visit time: 2:45 pm / Visit duration: 30 mins

At the top of the Capitoline Hill — the most important of Rome’s seven hills — lies Piazza del Campidoglio, the first modern square designed in the Eternal City (in the 16th century), by no other than famous sculptor Michelangelo.

Head up the wide stairs to reach this beautiful square, where you’ll find sculptures of Marcus Aurelius and the famous Roman she-wolf, the captivating Capitoline Museums, and hidden corners for magnificent views.

Piazza del Campidoglio Framed by Statues in Rome, Italy

With only three days in Rome, you won’t have time to tour the Capitoline Museums. So while you’re here, just head to the back of the square for a splendid view of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. It’s a postcard-worthy sight.

📸 Insider Tip: There are two viewpoints at the back of this square, and they’re reached by taking the paths on each side of the building with the tower. The path on the right side is Via del Campidoglio, and the one on the left is Via di S. Pietro in Carcere.

Be sure to check out both paths, as the viewpoints they lead to have different angles of the Roman Forum and ancient Rome. The viewpoint on Via del Campidoglio also features a cameo from the Colosseum!

6. Portico of Octavia + Jewish Quarter

Start at Teatro di Marcello5 min walk from Campidoglio
Suggested visit time: 3:30 pm / Visit duration: 1.5 hours

Hidden in the heart of town, the Jewish Quarter of Rome is a central part of Roman history. Founded in 1555, this neighborhood witnessed a very dark past. But today, it’s a thriving microcosm and celebration of Jewish life.

Wandering around this neighborhood today, you’ll find rows of traditional kosher restaurants, Jewish bakeries, and synagogues standing alongside churches and grandiose Roman architecture. It’s truly a melting pot of Jewish and Italian culture.

There are several Judeo-Roman dishes to try here, such as cassola cheesecake and carciofi alla giudia (Roman-Jewish deep-fried artichokes). Also, don’t miss the traditional baked goods at the Jewish bakery Forno del Ghetto.

Itinerary-wise, from Piazza del Campidoglio, first make your way to Teatro di Marcello, which dates back to 11 BC. Admire this mini-Colosseum before heading over to the beautiful ruins of Portico of Octavia. The latter is simply stunning and a must-see.

Then, make your way to Tempio Maggiore (AKA The Great Synagogue of Rome). Its ornate interiors are very impressive, and it also houses the Jewish Museum of Rome.

From there, head over to the charming Turtle Fountain in Piazza Mattei via the scenic path of Via della Reginella – it’s one of the many narrow picturesque alleys you’ll find in Rome. End your tour of the Jewish Quarter in the vibrant Piazza Costaguti.

The Jewish Quarter in Rome, Italy
Piazza Costaguti in the Jewish Quarter – places to visit in Rome in 3 days
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tours of the Jewish Quarter:The Jewish Quarter Walking Tour (⭐️ 4.6/5)
↠ Taste Rome Like a Local: Jewish Quarter Food Tour (⭐️ 5/5)

7. Trastevere & Basilica di Santa Maria

15 min walk from the Jewish Quarter
Suggested visit time: 5:30 pm / Visit duration: 2-2.5 hours

The next big stop on your Rome three day itinerary is the neighborhood of Trastevere, well-known for its medieval houses, narrow cobblestone alleys, and most importantly — some of the best restaurants in the entire city.

As a matter of fact, Trastevere is dubbed the foodie neighborhood of Rome; it’s one of the ultimate places in town to taste the best of Roman cuisine, so I highly recommend having dinner here or joining a mouthwatering food & wine tasting tour.

Some of the best restaurants in Trastevere include Nannarella, La Tavernetta 29, and Grazia & Graziella. Be sure to head to Bar San Calisto for an aperitivo, a traditional Italian pre-meal drink. It’s locals-approved.

Book a Trastevere food & wine tour

While there are plenty of small churches and museums hidden inside the picturesque alleys of Trastevere, one place you definitely shouldn’t miss is Piazza di Santa Maria, home to Basilica di Santa Maria, one of the oldest churches in Rome.

The Basilica di Santa Maria dates all the way back to the 3rd century and is arguably the first official Christian place of worship in Rome. Inside, you can find plenty of beautiful 12th-century mosaics and frescoes, along with stunning paintings and gold ceilings.

Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome, Italy
Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere | 3 days itinerary in Rome
Basilica di Santa Maria opening hours: 7:30 am - 9 pm daily
🎫 Basilica di Santa Maria entrance fees: Free
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Trastevere Food & Wine Tour (⭐️ 4.9/5)

8. Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill) – Summer Sunset

15 min walk from Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere
Suggested visit time: 8:30 pm / Visit duration: 30 mins

Not too far from Trastevere is a hidden gem of Rome that most tourists don’t know about — Gianicolo, a hill that offers a breathtaking 360° view of the entire city.

Gianicolo is a popular spot among local lovers. It’s not hard to see why — the view from the top of this hill is absolutely remarkable, and even more romantic when enjoyed with a bottle of wine.

If you’re here between May and August, the sun will likely set around the time you’re here. Watching the sky turn orange above the most famous monuments of Rome is a sight you won’t want to miss.

The Gianicolo in Rome, Italy
The view of Rome from Gianicolo at sunset

Note that this hill is pretty steep and climbing up is quite a workout. It therefore might not be suitable for everyone. The path is very well-paved; you’d be walking up on the sidewalk next to the main road. Consider taking a taxi if you don’t want to walk up.

🍕 Food Tip: If you didn’t get a chance to grab dinner before visiting Gianicolo, don’t worry — there are tons of authentic restaurants nearby, and 9 pm is a very normal dinner time in Rome. I suggest making your way to Dar Poeta for delicious pizza.

9. Isola Tiberina – Summer NIGHT Drinks

22 min walk from Gianicolo

If you’re planning to visit Rome in the summer and want to soak up the nighttime atmosphere in town — drop by Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) for some refreshing drinks and entertainment.

Isola Tiberina is a charming little island in the middle of River Tiber. Though it’s interesting to see during the day as well (it’s home to the beautiful Basilica di San Bartolomeo), it’s at nighttime when this place truly comes to life.

On summer evenings (and only in the summer), rows of pop-up bars, food stalls, and live music fill the riverbanks of the island. There are also tons of restaurants year-round here, as well as game stalls and an outdoor cinema in the summer.

Isola Tiberina Lit Up at Night in Rome, Italy
The vibrant Isola Tiberina at night | 3 nights in Rome, Italy

🌟 Day 2 in Rome: Alternative Itinerary

Sometimes, there’s only so much walking and sightseeing one can take in a day. So here’s an alternative suggestion if you’d prefer a more slow-paced day-2 itinerary:

🍝 Follow this itinerary up until you’re done with Piazza del Campidoglio, and then spend the rest of the afternoon in a fun pasta-making class with a local chef.

The class takes place in Trastevere, so you’d still get a chance to explore this unmissable neighborhood. Except now, you’d also be learning about generations-old secrets of pasta-making while sipping on prosecco.

Reap the fruits of your labor afterwards with a delicious meal you’ve helped make from scratch, some excellent wine, and homemade gelato.

Book your pasta-making class

A Pasta Making Class in Rome, Italy

🗓 Day 3 in Rome: Vatican City + Food Tour

1. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

Suggested visit time: 8:30 am / Visit duration: 2.5-3 hours

Start the last day of your 3 days in Rome itinerary in Vatican City, the heart of the Roman Catholic Church and the residence of the Pope. If you’re in Rome during Christmas or Easter, you’ll even be able to catch the Pope speaking from St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican.

Start your visit to Vatican City with the enchanting Vatican Museums, which showcase the immense collection of artworks amassed by the Catholic Church over the centuries, including some of the most important Renaissance masterpieces in the world.

Book your skip-the-line Vatican tour

Inside the Vatican Museums in Vatican City, Italy

There are so many remarkable rooms and hidden gems inside the Vatican Museums. Among the best ones are the Gallery of Maps, the Raphael Rooms, and the Gallery of the Chandeliers.

The key attraction inside the Vatican Museums is the famous Sistine Chapel, which Michelangelo spent 4 whole years painting. The frescoes that cover the walls and ceiling of this chapel are simply jaw-dropping. It’s no wonder why it became world-famous!

🧔🏻 Why You Should Visit the Vatican on a Guided Tour
  • You’ll get guaranteed skip-the-ticket-line entrance and save hours waiting in line.
  • Some tours provide you exclusive access to the museums before opening hours so that you can enjoy the attractions without the crowds.
  • Enter the St. Peter’s Basilica through a restricted passageway that’ll save you 20 minutes of walking and even more time lining up.
  • You’ll get to better understand and appreciate the attractions inside the museums.

Book your skip-the-line Vatican tour

🌟 My Recommendations: The Best Guided Tours of the Vatican
Vatican Museums in Rome, Italy
🌟 Top Tips for Visiting the Vatican Without a Guided Tour
  • Book a skip-the-line entry ticket to enter the museums through a separate reserved entrance (the fastest one available). It only costs €5 more than the regular ticket but will save you literally hours of waiting in line.
  • Get free entry and skip the lines with the OMNIA Rome Card or the Best of Rome Pass.
  • During the peak season of May to mid-September, arrive at least 15-30 mins before the opening time to avoid the long lines (unless you have a skip-the-line ticket).
  • Avoid visiting on Mondays or over the weekend as that’s when the museums are the most crowded. All the other museums in Rome are closed on Mondays, making the Vatican especially popular on that day.
  • The museum is free every last Sunday of each month, but be sure to arrive early in the morning if you don’t want to stand in line for hours. (Check official real-time updates as this offering is sometimes suspended.)
  • Be sure to dress appropriately — both men and women are required to have their shoulders, thighs, and necklines covered.

Book your skip-the-line entry ticket

The Vatican Museums Garden in Rome, Italy
Vatican City – a must see in Rome in 3 days
Opening hours: See here for live info 
🎫 Entrance fees: Adults - €25 | Youth & students under 18 - €8 
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Vatican Early Entrance Small Group Tour (⭐️ 5/5)

2. St. Peter’s Basilica & Dome

2 min walk from Sistine Chapel through a restricted passageway
Suggested visit time: 11:30 am / Visit duration: 1.5-2 hours

After visiting the Vatican Museums, make your way to the majestic St. Peter’s Basilica. This basilica took a whole 120 years to build and is the largest church on earth. It also has the world’s tallest dome, which you can climb up to for a spectacular view of Rome.

St. Peter’s Basilica is the holiest and most important pilgrimage site of the Catholic Church. Inside, you can see incredible pieces of art, such as Michelangelo’s famous Pietà sculpture. Everything from the ceiling to the pillars of this church is jaw-droppingly impressive.

You can even attend Holy Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica. On weekdays, it’s held at 8:30 am, 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, and 5 pm. On weekends and public holidays, it takes place at 9 am, 10:30 am, 11:15 am, 12:15 pm, 1 pm, 4 pm, 4:45 pm, and 5:30 pm.

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Italy

🔥 Top Tip: If you visit the Vatican with a guided tour, you can get to St. Peter’s Basilica from the Sistine Chapel in just 2 minutes, using an exclusive restricted passageway. If you visit independently, though, you’ll have to exit the Vatican Museums, walk for 20 minutes to St. Peter’s Basilica, and then stand in a long line to enter.

Don’t leave St. Peter’s Basilica without climbing to the top of its dome (cupola). Actually, do this climb before you explore the basilica (and as early as you can) to avoid the mid-day heat and the long lines that will form later in the day.

To get to the top of the dome, you can either climb all 551 steps by foot, or take a lift to the terrace and climb the remaining 320 steps by foot. From the dome, you’ll get a breathtaking view of St. Peter’s Square and the whole city of Rome — it’s a sight you won’t want to miss.

 Basilica & Dome opening hours: See here for live info 
🎫 Basilica entrance fees: Free
🎫 Dome entrance fees: Elevator + 320 steps: €10 | Walk all 551 steps: €8
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Vatican Early Entrance Small Group Tour (⭐️ 5/5)

3. Lunch Near Vatican City

Recommended duration: 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Most of the cafés and restaurants immediately surrounding Vatican City are overpriced tourist traps. But, a 10-15 min walk will get you to some really authentic eateries. Head to Osteria dell’Angelo if you’d like to sit down for some exquisite carbonara.

If you’re tight on time or budget, head over to 200 Gradi for some yummy panini, or to Pizzarium Bonci for some authentic pizza al taglio (pizza “by the slice”). This is a traditional Roman pizza that’s cut in rectangular slices.

You can find a variety of delicious pizza al taglio toppings, such as artichokes, potatoes, shrimps, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and zucchini. I highly recommend trying this pizza at least once!

Pizza al Taglio in Rome, Italy
Pizza al taglio – a must-try Roman specialty | Itinerary Rome 3 days

4. Castel Sant’Angelo

10 min walk from St. Peter’s Basilica
Suggested visit time: 2:45 pm / Visit duration: 20-30 mins

Once you’re done with lunch, walk down the famous Via della Conciliazione to the stunning Castel Sant’Angelo, the next stop on your itinerary. This fortress dates back to AD 139 and was built by Emperor Hadrian, who intended to use it as a tomb for himself.

In the course of its history, Castel Sant’Angelo has protected the Pope during various sieges. Today, you can go inside this fortress to see the rooms where the Pope used to reside and to get some magnificent views of the city from the terrace.

Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome

To be completely honest, since your morning at the Vatican will be pretty packed, I recommend simply admiring this fortress from the Ponte Sant’Angelo — the big bridge in front of it. You’ll find some pretty statues and plenty of beautiful angles for photos.

However, if you haven’t yet had enough of panoramic views of Rome and would like to go inside this fortress, I highly recommend booking a skip-the-line ticket.

🎆 Insider Tip: Every year on June 29th, there are stunning fireworks at Castel Sant’Angelo to celebrate the Festa di San Pietro e Paolo, a public holiday in Rome. The atmosphere at the fortress is simply incredible then, so be sure to drop by at night to witness this magic!

Opening hours: 9 am – 7:30 pm daily (last entry at 6:30 pm)
🎫 Entrance fees: Adults - €20.50 | EU citizens aged 18 – 25 - €3
(These fees are for going inside the fortress. Taking photos on the bridge is obviously free 🙂)

5. Lungotevere & Ponte Umberto I

Start right under the Castel Sant’Angelo bridge
Suggested visit time: 3:15 pm / Visit duration: 45 mins

Castel Sant’Angelo is right next to the River Tiber, and there are tons of scenic bridges in this area. From the big bridge right in front of the castle, take the stairs down to the Lungotevere — the waterfront alley that runs along the river. It’s the perfect place to go for a relaxing walk.

Bring a bottle of wine and some snacks for a lovely picnic on the riverbank. Walk towards the bridge Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II for marvelous views of the Vatican dome and Castel Sant’Angelo reflecting in the water.

Afterward, head back in the other direction to Ponte Umberto I, the one bridge you shouldn’t miss during your 3-day tour of Rome. From this bridge, you’ll get a postcard-worthy view of the St. Peter’s Basilica and the ancient buildings that surround it.

The View of the Vatican From Ponte Umberto I in Rome, Italy
The view of St. Peter’s Basilica from Ponte Umberto I

6. Campo de’ Fiori + Evening Food Tour

12 min walk from Ponte Umberto I
Suggested visit time: 4:15 pm / Visit duration: 3-4 hours

There’s no better way to end 3 perfect days in Rome than with an exquisite food tour. First, make your way to Campo de’ Fiori, a vibrant square that hosts farmers’ markets during the day. In the evenings, it turns into the center of Rome’s nightlife.

Sit down at one of the many outdoor bars in Campo de’ Fiori and enjoy some aperitivo, an Italian pre-meal drink meant to open up your appetite. Then, choose one of the several guided food tours that start inside or right by Campo de’ Fiori.

These food tours generally start at around 5:15-5:30 pm, so you’d have about an hour to sit down and relax in Campo de’ Fiori if you follow this itinerary and get there at 4:15 pm.

Book your guided food tour

Campo de' Fiori - Must See Rome in 3 Days
Campo de’ Fiori in the evening | How to spend 3 days in Rome
🍕 Why You Should Join a Guided Food Tour in Rome

Joining a guided food tour will allow you to truly immerse yourself in local culture, learn some fun facts about Italy, and taste unique specialties you’d have a hard time finding on your own. It’s the perfect alternative to just another regular dinner.

In just one evening, you’ll get to enjoy food from many different top food establishments in town — eateries that have been in business for centuries and that are widely adored by locals. You’ll also get to learn some secret Italian food tips from expert chefs.

🌟 My Recommendations: The Top 2 Evening Food Tours of Rome
Street Food Tour in Rome, Italy

🏡 Where to Stay in Rome for 3 Days

If you want to be close to the best things to see in Rome in 3 days, I highly recommend staying in centro storico, the historic center of the city. This will allow you to be within walking distance of almost all the main attractions in Rome. Here are my top picks.

A Hotel in Central Rome
Photo courtesy of Otivm Hotel via Booking.com

OVERALL TOP PICK: Otivm Hotel (⭐ 9.0)
This top-value hotel features a dreamy roof terrace that offers breathtaking views of the historic center. Guests can enjoy breakfast there with an epic view. Most attractions are within close walking distance, and the rooms are luxurious — yet priced very generously.

Check rates & availability

A Hotel in Central Rome
Photo courtesy of Singer Palace Hotel via Booking.com

TOP ROMANTIC HOTEL: Singer Palace (⭐ 9.4) This magnificent boutique hotel is only a 5-min walk to the iconic Trevi Fountain and is perfect for couples looking for a romantic getaway. Their rooftop restaurant is a magical place to enjoy a dreamy breakfast or dinner, and all the rooms feature gorgeous décor.

Check rates & availability

A Hotel in Central Rome
Photo courtesy of Hotel Martis Palace via Booking.com

TOP LUXURY HOTEL: Martis Palace (⭐ 9.0)
This stunning hotel next to Piazza Navona features an incredible roof terrace with a view. There is also an on-site bar, free WiFi throughout the property, and soundproofed rooms each with a flat-screen TV. In addition, guests can enjoy a discount at a nearby spa!

Check rates & availability

Where to Stay in Rome for 3 Days
Photo courtesy of Hotel Amalfi via Booking.com

TOP BUDGET HOTEL: Hotel Amalfi (⭐ 8.5)
This hotel is very close to the Termini train station and is a 15-min walk to the Colosseum. Each room features an AC, free WiFi, a flat-screen TV, and beautiful frescoed ceilings. There’s also an extensive breakfast with eggs, bacon, and fresh pastries.

Check rates & availability

Read more: Where to Stay in Rome: The Best Areas + Hotels

🎟️ 3 Day Rome Passes: Save Money & Skip the Lines

There’s an easy way to save time and money while spending three days in Rome, Italy: tourist passes that give you discounts and fast-track entry into the most crowded attractions in the city.

The best 3 Rome tourist passes are the Roma Pass, the Best of Rome Pass, and the OMNIA Rome Card (my top recommendation). Let’s look at each of them in detail.

💳 Roma Pass: 48 or 72-Hour City Card ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Free skip-the-line admission to one (48-hours pass) or two (72-hours pass) museums or archaeological sites (like the Colosseum) ✅
  • Discounted tickets for all other museums and archaeological sites visited afterward ✅
  • Free unlimited use of Rome’s public transportation (metro, buses, trams, etc.) ✅
  • Free guidebook + map of Rome ✅
  • Does not include fast track entry or discounts for the Vatican ❌

Learn more about the Roma Pass

🎫 Best of Rome Pass ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Free skip-the-line admission to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hills, Vatican Museums, and Sistine Chapel ✅
  • Fast track entry to St. Peter’s Basilica (can save you hours) + free audio guide ✅
  • Free unlimited use of Rome’s public transportation (metro, buses, trams, etc.) ✅
  • Valid for 72 hours ✅
  • Does not include admission to St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome ❌

Learn more about the Best of Rome Pass

🏆 Top Pick: OMNIA Rome Card ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Includes the 72-hour Roma Pass and all its benefits ✅
  • Free skip-the-line admission to 2 museums/archaeological sites (like the Colosseum) ✅
  • Free skip-the-line admission to the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel ✅
  • Fast track entry to St. Peter’s Basilica (can save you hours) + free audio guide ✅
  • Discounted ticket prices for 30+ museums and archaeological sites ✅
  • Free unlimited use of Rome’s public transportation (buses, trains, Metro, etc.) ✅
  • Free panoramic 3-day hop-on hop-off bus tour of Rome ✅
  • Free guidebook + map of Rome & Vatican City ✅
  • The 3-day Rome pass with the best value for money ⭐

Learn more about the OMNIA Card

🗺 3 Days in Rome: Travel Itinerary Map

Here’s a map of what to do in Rome in 3 days, including all the places mentioned in this itinerary. You can click here to see it in full on Google Maps.

Map of 3 Days in Rome Itinerary
Rome 3 day itinerary map

🤔 Is 3 Days in Rome Enough?

If you don’t have all the time in the world, 3 days are actually quite ideal for an introduction to Rome that doesn’t feel too rushed. You’d have enough time to cover all the main attractions alongside some hidden gems as well.

In comparison, you can probably still cover all the important sights in Rome in 2 days, but your itinerary would be very packed and pretty stressful. So if you can, stay for 3 days.

Of course, if you can afford more time, visiting for 4 days to a week would be ideal. There are still plenty of places worth seeing if you decide to stay longer. You’d also be able to sightsee at a much slower and more relaxing pace, and even take a day trip or two to the many amazing places surrounding Rome.

But if you have limited time, 3 days are actually quite perfect for Rome.

Related: The Best 4 Days in Rome Itinerary + Tips From a Local

☀️ The Best Time to Visit Rome

Consider both the weather and the crowds when planning a 3 day trip in Rome. The Eternal City never truly has a low season — tour buses fill the historic center year-round. But of course, some months see fewer crowds than others.

❄️ Low season: From mid-November to mid-December and mid-January to early March, you’ll see the least amount of crowds. Temperatures are around 3-13°C / 37-55°F. Note that Christmas and New Year’s are exceptions and see a big increase in tourists.

🍁 Shoulder season: Mid-March to early May and mid-September to early November will see a moderate amount of crowds and mild temperatures (9-22°C / 48-71°F). The shoulder season is liked by many, though, so definitely book tickets for attractions in advance!

🌸 High season: Mid-May to early September is when Rome is at its busiest. Expect very long lines at attractions and high hotel prices. Avoid this season if you can’t stand crowds. With that said, the weather is at its warmest during this time of year (17-31°C / 62-87°F).

The View From Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome
The view from Castel Sant’Angelo | Rome highlights in 3 days

✈️ How to Get to Rome

There are two airports in Rome: Fiumicino (FCO) and Ciampino (CIA).

Fiumicino (AKA Leonardo da Vinci International Airport) is the main international airport and is connected by direct flights to countless cities around the world, including Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, and New York City.

Ciampino is a much smaller airport that serves mostly domestic and European flights. Both of these airports are well connected to the city center via trains and buses, so simply choose according to flight prices.

If you’re arriving from another city in Italy, consider taking a domestic Trenitalia train to Roma Termini, the most central train station in town. You can find train tickets and timetables on Trenitalia or Omio.

Search for flights to Rome

A Bridge in Rome, Italy

🚗 Getting From Fiumicino Airport to Rome by Car / Taxi

The most convenient way to get from Fiumicino Airport to Rome is to book a private transfer directly to your hotel. The price is the same as taking a taxi, but you won’t need to wait in lines for a taxi at the airport. The journey should take 40-50 mins depending on traffic.

🚕 Insider Tip: If you do prefer taking a taxi, always take an official white taxi from the taxi stand outside the terminal. Do not go with the drivers waiting inside the terminal. A taxi ride from Fiumicino to the center of Rome should cost you a fixed rate of €50.

Book a private transfer to your hotel

🚊 Getting From Fiumicino Airport to Rome by Bus/Train

If you’re looking for a more affordable way of getting to Rome, book a direct bus transfer from Fiumicino Airport to Roma Termini. The bus ticket costs around €6 and the journey takes 1 hour. You can then take the metro to your hotel from Roma Termini.

There’s also a bus that takes you from Fiumicino to Vatican City, if you’re staying in that area. This bus ticket costs around €7 and the journey takes around 50 minutes.

Trains will get you to Rome in around half the time the bus takes. There are two trains connecting Fiumicino to Rome’s city center: the Leonardo Express and the regional train.

I recommend taking the Leonardo Express for its convenience. In 30 mins, it takes you directly from Fiumicino to Roma Termini, which is on both Metro lines A and B. A ticket costs €18, and you can book it here.

I don’t recommend taking the regional train. While it costs €8, it’s often delayed and unreliable, and taking a bus is actually cheaper.

But if you want a true local experience, the regional train stops at Trastevere (in 30 mins), Ostiense (in 30 mins), and Tiburtina (in 50 mins). To connect to the Metro, get off at Ostiense and walk to the Piramide Metro station.

Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Italy

🚌 Getting From Ciampino Airport to Rome

A taxi from Ciampino Airport to the city center should cost €31 and would take around 40-50 mins depending on traffic. For more convenience, you can also book a private transfer directly to your hotel.

🌟 Top Tip: The best balance between price and convenience is to book a shuttle bus transfer. It’ll take you directly to Roma Termini (which is on both Metro lines A and B) in 45 mins and the ticket costs €6.

With that said, the cheapest option is to take the regional train. It’d get you to Roma Termini in 30-40 mins and only costs €2.70. However, you’d have to take a bus from the ‘Ciampino Airport’ stop to the ‘Ciampino’ stop first, and switch to another train from there.

Artists' Stands in Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy
Artists’ stands inside Piazza Navona | What to see in Rome in 3 days

🛵 Getting Around Rome for 3 Days

🚇 By Foot & By Metro

Almost all the tourist attractions in Rome are within walking distance of each other, so the best way to explore the city is by walking. The city center is incredibly pleasant to stroll. Not to mention, you’ll discover the best hidden gems by getting “lost” in the cobblestone alleys.

Alternatively, you can take the Metro if your feet get sore (a likely scenario when visiting Rome). There are 3 Metro lines in Rome: Line A (red), Line B (blue), and Line C (green).

Most tourist attractions in Rome are connected by the Metro, and it’s likely you’ll have to take it when visiting the Vatican, which is a bit of a walk from the historic center.

Ride the Metro for free in Rome

🚌 By Public Bus

You can also take public buses to get around Rome, although I don’t recommend it. Traffic in Rome is really bad, so getting around by bus or car can be very time-consuming.

The buses in the city center are also usually incredibly crowded, and as a result, a breeding ground for pickpockets. I suggest taking the Metro instead for efficiency, but watch out for your belongings there as well.

🎫 Tickets for Public Transportation

You will need a BIT ticket (biglietto semplice) to ride public transport in Rome.

A one-way ticket costs €1.50 and is valid for 75 mins. It can be used for the Metro, buses, trams, and urban trains inside Rome.

Alternatively, you can get free bus & metro rides with the OMNIA Card.

You can buy BIT tickets inside any Metro station and at any tabaccheria (tobacco shop) or edicola (newsstand) around town. You will not be able to buy tickets inside buses, so make sure to have one with you before boarding!

🎫 Top Tip: Be sure to validate your ticket once you get on the bus, at one of the ticket machines onboard. Otherwise, you can get fined when the police do their checks.

Statues and Fountains in Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy

🧳 Luggage Storage in Rome

🚉 At the Roma Termini Station

While most hotels in Rome will let you store your luggage with them before check-in/after check-out, there’s an easy way to store it at the Roma Termini station as well.

Just head to Via Giovanni Giolitti 127 and you’ll see the ‘Luggage Deposit’ store on the sidewalk across from the station. You can also book this service online here.

Roma Termini is the most well-connected station in the entire city. It’s on Metro lines A and B and is the final destination for a lot of airport trains and shuttles. If you’re traveling to Rome by train from other cities in Italy, Termini is where you’ll arrive.

⛲️ At the Centro Storico (Historic Center)

Alternatively, you can store your luggage in the historic center of Rome. Head to City Center Luggage Storage – they have locations in Piazza Navona, the Colosseum, and the Vatican.

🍕 Where to Eat in Rome for 3 Days

No itinerary for Rome 3 days would be complete without a satisfying meal. While this itinerary already has tons of food tips, here are some more top-notch eateries, including ice cream shops and dessert spots.

  • Roscioli ⁠— A few steps from Campo de’ Fiori; their pasta dishes are spectacular.
  • Felice a Testaccio ⁠— Definitely make a booking before going, and try their tonnarelli cacio e pepe; you won’t regret it!
  • Forno Campo de’ Fiori ⁠— This place has some of the best pizza in town; try the Roman specialty of pizza bianca with mortazza.
  • Cantina & Cucina — A few steps from Piazza Navona, this place has incredible pizza and pasta. Try their fried octopus as well.
  • Gelateria Come il Latte⁠ — One of the top authentic gelaterias in town; just the smell inside the store will bring you to heaven.
  • Two Sizes Tiramisù — The best tiramisù in Rome is here; try their pistacchio tiramisù!
A Plate of Pasta on a Table

💰 3 Days in Rome Budget

It is totally possible to do Rome in 3 days on a budget.

For budget travelers, the daily cost of traveling in Rome would be around €50 in total. This means staying in cheap hostels and getting casual pizza/panini on the go rather than sitting down in restaurants.

Comfort travelers are likely to spend around €100 per day, staying in boutique hotels and spending moderately at restaurants. Luxury travelers are likely to spend over €175 a day. Here’s a quick breakdown of the budget:

🏨 Accommodation (per night): €7-25 budget / €40-85 comfort / €85-450 luxury

🍝 Food: €15 at restaurants (for a main dish + non-alcoholic drink) / €3-7 for pizza/panini to-go

🚇 Transportation: €1.50 per every Metro, bus, tram, or urban train ticket (valid for 75 mins) | Free with the Roma Pass or OMNIA Rome Card

🎫 Admission to museums & attractions: €8-25 | Some are free or discounted with the OMNIA Rome Card, the Roma Pass, or the Best of Rome Pass

🔮 Travel Insurance for Italy

I never thought I needed travel insurance… until I did. And I’m a careful traveler. Sometimes, things are simply out of your control.

During my many years of traveling, I’ve gotten into a really scary car accident while riding in the back of a taxi, have needed emergency dental services, and have almost had all my valuables stolen. (These were all from separate trips).

I use Heymondo and can highly recommend them — they provide 24/7 worldwide assistance (with Covid-19 coverage included), and no hidden out-of-pocket fees.

Get a quote from Heymondo

The Gianicolo in Rome, Italy

🎒 Tips for Safety in Rome

Rome is generally a safe destination, but as you’ve most likely heard: pickpockets thrive in the city center, especially at the main tourist attractions (such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Vatican), on buses, and on the Metro.

Unfortunately, the pickpockets in Rome are super fast and extremely skilled at what they do, so always keep an eye (and hand) on your belongings!

🌟 Top Tip: The risk of theft is especially high at the Termini station and on the extremely popular Bus No. 64, which goes from Termini to the Vatican. Be extra careful at the crowded Metro stations of Spagna, Barberini, Cipro, and Colosseo as well. Also, never leave your backpack hanging off the back of your chair at restaurants.

Here are a few items you can pack to make your 3 day trip to Rome safer:

This Slash-Proof Purse has slash-resistant body panels and shoulder straps, which can be secured to a stationary object. It comes with RFID blocking too to protect your cards & IDs, so you can travel with peace of mind.

This Anti-Theft Travel Backpack comes with a fixed anti-theft password lock, RFID blocking which protects your cards and IDs, and a USB charging port. It also works great as a laptop bag or a hiking daypack.

📸 My Rome Photography Gear

This is the photography gear I used to capture most of the pictures featured in this guide. You can also see my recommendations for the best cameras for bloggers.

Souvenirs at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

I hope this 3 days in Rome itinerary has been helpful!

For further reading on Rome and Italy, discover:
🏡 Where to Stay in Rome: Best Areas + Hotels
⛲️ 4 Days in Rome: The Perfect Itinerary
🍝 2 Days in Rome: The Ultimate Itinerary
🌃 Top 12 Rome By Night Tours to Take
🏠 22 Gorgeous Rome Airbnbs to Stay in
🇮🇹 36 Famous Landmarks in Italy

For further reading on other European destinations, discover:
🚗 10 Days in Europe: 25+ Epic Itineraries
🚊 3 Weeks in Europe: 15 Perfect Itineraries
🏰 28 Best Hidden Gems in Europe
🌎 50+ Best Dream Vacations to Take

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30 thoughts on “3 Days in Rome: The Best Rome Itinerary + Tips From a Local”

  1. What a fantastic piece of work! I have never been to Rome but the Italian capital is surely on my bucket-list… Thank you for all the info and such lovely inspiring photos!

  2. WOW, this is a wonderful itinerary! I am visiting Rome next week, and your tips will be really helpful to plan my trip and see all these amazing sights! Thank you very much for sharing!

  3. I’ve read lots of itineraries of places in Europe and yours is absolutely the best. Thank you for the detail. I’m going in a few months and will definitely follow your advice. Thank you for taking the time to post this. It has been so very helpful. Like a free personal tour guide!

  4. Jiayi, you are extremely talented! I think it is THE BEST trip proposal I have ever seen! With all the details, even a person who is not used to travelling will feel well-prepared.

    Let me know if you ever plan to visit Berlin, I can try to pay you back for all the work you have done planning my trip to Rome 😉

  5. This is the best way to enjoy Rome for 3 days. If I happen to visit Rome, I will follow your itinerary line by line.

  6. This is probably the best, detailed, and informative itinerary I’ve seen for any place on the internet so far. Thank you!

  7. I have visited Rome many times for business and seen almost all of these places during different visits but I am taking my partner on a mini moon there in June and I was looking for an itinerary that was realistically doable in a few days to make sure we get to see as much as possible in 3 days. This is a fantastic one and as I am pretty familiar with Rome, I know this will work very well. Thanks for this article!
    Just out of curiosity… The photography is stunning and many of them have no people in them. I know this is pretty much impossible in Rome unless you get up very early in the morning. Did you go there ridiculously early or did you use Photoshop?

    • Thank you for reading David, I’m glad you enjoyed this itinerary! Yes, the empty shots of Rome were taken early in the morning before the crowds got up 🙂 Usually at or right after sunrise!

  8. Hi!! I’m traveling to Rome soon and your itinerary has been great for me and my fiance! We were going a bit crazy trying to figure everything out (especially since we are traveling from a small island in the Caribbean and this is far from our comfort zone). We didn’t even know where to start and now feel we have a friend guiding us! THIS IS AMAZING. Thank you.

  9. Hi!!
    Love love love this article, I’m actually gonna use this itinerary for my trip! Thank you so much for such a great content.
    I do have a question, can I have these in a pdf format so I can print it? That would be wonderful!
    Thanks again!

    • Hi Martha! So happy you enjoyed this article! I unfortunately don’t have a PDF version of it, I’m sorry! I will consider adding it in the near future!

  10. I love your photos. This is such a perfect information rich article. I’m visiting a friend in Europe and considering adding some time in Rome. It’s great to read how much you can see in just three days.

  11. We are leaving Rome tomorrow after an 3 and an half day stay and followed your itinerary almost to the letter. We just got back to our b & b after finishing our food tour of the Jewish Quarter which was exceptional…thanks for all of your tips, you helped make our trip truly a once in lifetime experience.

  12. This is the BEST blog/itinerary/guide I have ever read. I am planning to go to Italy with my family this summer and was completely lost on where to start and this itinerary and all the tips has brought me so much relief. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  13. What a complete guide! I have been to Rome numerous times. Have seen most of the main attractions. This time I would like to explore the local areas where local people meet for meals, shopping. Really love your photos!

  14. Wow, just returned from our trip to Italy which included 3 days in Rome. Your guide and advice were amazingly helpful! I especially agree with your recommendations for buying tours! Even in May, Rome was very crowded with very long lines. One day of touring it rained, but we toured anyway and had fun. Just be sure to bring a raincoat or poncho and be careful at street corners where the white cement covers can be slippery.

  15. Hey, thanks for the itinerary. Really good photos. How did you manage to click most of them without any tourists? Or did you use a software?

  16. Wow, this 3-day itinerary for Rome is an absolute gem! The author’s deep knowledge of the city shines through as they guide you through the must-see attractions and hidden gems. Their insider tips are a game-changer – from beating the crowds at Piazza Navona in the early morning to the sunset views at Terrazza del Pincio. The way they break down each day and provide options for guided tours and skip-the-line tickets makes planning so much easier. I can’t wait to follow this itinerary and experience the magic of Rome like a local.

  17. This article is something else!! I am so lucky to have found it. You explain everything perfectly and i look forward to follow your suggestions as much as i am able to. Thank you so much


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