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3 Days in Rome: The Best Rome Itinerary + Tips From a Local (2021)

January 14, 2021
The View of Rome From the St. Peter's Basilica Dome in Vatican City, Italy

If you’re planning a dream vacation to Italy, figuring out what to do in Rome for 3 days might be a challenging task because let’s be real — this city simply has too much to offer.

Perhaps I’m biased; after all, I did spend 12 years growing up in Rome. But this also means I’ve gotten to know the Eternal City like the back of my hand, which is why I’m sharing all the most worthwhile things to do there — from the classic must-see attractions to the hidden gems that most tourists miss.

This 3 days in Rome itinerary is not your typical tourist guide. It is packed with insider tips that will help you avoid tourist traps, discover incredible secret spots unknown to most travelers, find the best sunset spots, and enjoy Italian cuisine in the most locals-approved eateries.

You’ll also find tips on how to budget and skip the long 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:
🍝 Top 12 Rome By Night Tours to Take in 2021

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.

🇮🇹 Planning Your 3-Day Trip to Rome: Quick Tips

Most scenic: Otivm Hotel (⭐ 9.0)
Most romantic: Singer Palace (⭐ 9.4)
Top luxury stay: Martis Palace (⭐ 9.3)
Top budget stay: Hotel Amalfi (⭐ 8.8)

Ancient Rome Full-Day Tour (⭐ 4.8/5)
Rome Wine & Food Tour (⭐ 4.7/5)
The Best Colosseum Tour (⭐️ 4.8/5)
The Best Vatican Tour (⭐️ 4.5/5)

Rome for 3 Days: The Best 3 Days in Rome Itinerary

Because there are simply too many historical sights and cultural experiences to enjoy in Rome, I highly recommend coming here with a pretty clear itinerary so that you can maximize your time. As you might know, Rome is also pretty crowded throughout the year, so booking tickets to attractions in advance is highly recommended. Some places even require advanced booking. Here’s the perfect 3 days Rome itinerary with all my local recommendations.

🗓 Day 1 in Rome: Centro Storico + Villa Borghese

1. Piazza Navona

Visit time: 30 mins – 1 hour
Suggested start time: 9 AM

Start your 3-day Rome itinerary with a stroll in one of the most magical squares in Centro Storico, the historic center of the city. The minute you step foot into Piazza Navona, the majestic monuments, stunning fountains, and artsy vibes inside this square will take your breath away.

If you get there very early in the morning (before 8 am), you’ll also get to enjoy it with barely anyone around — just you and a few locals walking their dogs. Seeing the piazza practically empty is totally worth getting up early for; it seriously 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 gelaterias near 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: You’ll see many restaurants inside Piazza Navona, and many waiters will try to lure you into them. The vast majority of the restaurants in this square are tourist traps — not authentic and excessively pricey as well. You’ll find plenty of great, authentic restaurants 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

Visit time: 20 mins
5 min walk from Piazza Navona

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 for 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 it, he famously said, “it was the design of angels, not of man”. To understand what he meant, take a walk inside this monument and admire the view from underneath its oculus — the central part of the dome which opens up to the sky!

Today, the Pantheon is also 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.

Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 8:30 am - 7:15 pm | Sunday: 9 am - 5:45 pm
Entrance fees: Free

3. Piazza del Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill)

Visit time: 15 mins
13 min walk from Pantheon

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 (by no other than Michelangelo). This beautiful square is a lot quieter than most other attractions in Rome, and its magnificent sculptures of Marcus Aurelius and the she-wolf make it an even more interesting sight.

Head to the back of the square for an incredible view of the Roman Forum (which you will visit on day 2 of this 3 days itinerary in Rome). If you’re a fan of art, sculptures, and paintings, you can also check out some exhibitions inside the Capitoline Museums which frame this square!

Piazza del Campidoglio Framed by Statues in Rome, Italy

🎫 Please note: Visiting the Capitoline Museums will take roughly 1-2 hours, and doing so might mean you’ll miss out on other more worthwhile activities on day 1. I only recommend visiting these museums if you have more than 3 days in Rome or if you don’t plan on checking out Galleria Borghese, which is recommended for later on in the day. Personally, Galleria Borghese is a lot more impressive, so I’d go with that if you had to choose.

Capitoline Museums opening hours: 9:30 am - 7:30 pm daily
Capitoline Museums entrance fees: €15 ($17 USD) | Free with the Roma Pass or OMNIA Card

4. Altare della Patria (Piazza Venezia)

Visit time: 45 mins
4 min walk from Piazza del Campidoglio

Right next to Piazza del Campidoglio is one of the most majestic and eye-catching monuments in Rome: the 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 all made of stunning white marbles.

Take a walk around Piazza Venezia to see and capture this grand monument from different angles, but don’t forget to climb up to its panoramic terrace (which can be done via elevators). The view of Rome’s historic center from there is definitely impressive!

The View From the Terrace of Altare della Patria in Piazza Venezia in Rome, Italy
The view from the terrace of Altare della Patria
Opening hours: 9:30 am – 7:30 pm daily (last admission at 6:45 pm)
Entrance fees: Adults - €7 ($8.50 USD) | Youth under 18 & seniors over 65 - €3.50 ($4 USD)

5. Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

Visit time: 20 mins
18 min walk from Altare della Patria

The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is one of Rome’s four major basilicas as well as the largest church dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the capital. Unlike most other attractions in central Rome, this basilica is quite a hidden gem and usually isn’t very crowded — making it one of the most peaceful stops on your itinerary for 3 days in Rome.

Built in the 4th century and renovated in the 18th century, this church showcases a stunning mix of different architectural styles, such as Christian, Renaissance, and Baroque. And if you think the basilica’s exterior façade is impressive — just wait until you head inside. The gorgeous ceiling, ionic columns, and mosaic art inside this church are simply breathtaking.

The best thing is that different parts of the basilica belong to different periods of Roman history. In fact, the architecture of this church is a manifestation of the development of Christian art in Rome!

Opening hours: 7 am – 6:30 pm daily 
Entrance fees: Adults - €3 ($3.50 USD) | Students & seniors over 65 - €2 ($2.30 USD)

6. Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)

Visit time: 30 mins
19 min walk from Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

Any trip to Rome would be utterly incomplete without a stop at the Trevi Fountain, the largest Baroque fountain in the Eternal City and undoubtedly, one of the most impressive sights in all of Italy. In fact, this is a monument that you can visit again and again, and yet still feel as though it’s the first time you’re laying eyes on it! At least that’s how I feel as a Roman myself.

A famous tradition when visiting the Trevi Fountain 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; 2 coins — you’ll return and fall for an attractive Italian; 3 coins — you’ll end up marrying that person.

Whether or not you believe this myth, the coins go towards a great cause at the end of the day! In fact, roughly 1 million euros worth of coins 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, but come back very early in the morning — right after sunrise — and the atmosphere will be completely different. You’ll be able to enjoy this place in peace as there will only be a few other early risers around, and you’ll even get a chance to take pictures without people getting in the way!

🍕 Food Tip: Hungry? Avoid the tourist traps directly outside the Trevi Fountain. Instead, walk 5 mins to the locals-approved Ristorante Sora Lucia and enjoy their delicious carbonara.

7. Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps)

Visit time: 30 mins
10 min walk from Trevi Fountain

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

I recommend walking through Via del Corso because it’s 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. You’ll spot local teenagers walking arm in arm, and incredibly stylish people who’ll make the whole street feel like a runway!

Tourists on the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy

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 once it ended.

It’s definitely worth climbing up the 174 steps to the top of the 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 incredible, be sure to also stop mid-way at the first terrace during your climb — you’ll get an amazing 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

💸 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 ($475 USD) 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 & Galleria Borghese

Visit time: 2-3 hours
25 min walk from Spanish Steps

The next stop on your itinerary for Rome in 3 days is the most charming park in the city — Villa Borghese. Taking a stroll inside this peaceful park is a great way to escape the crowded and busy streets of the historic center. Lined with trees and green fields, Villa Borghese is also home to many beautiful Roman sculptures and fountains.

Stop by the lake (Laghetto Di Villa Borghese) if you’d like to rent a boat and row around for an extra relaxing experience. Or, simply relax on one of the many benches around and take in the vibrant atmosphere of the park — local families with kids roaming around, skaters showing off their tricks, and young love blossoming in the corner.

Rows of Trees at Villa Borghese Park in Rome, Italy

🚴 Insider Tip: A really fun way to explore Villa Borghese is to rent a bike. This is especially refreshing to do in the summer to get some breeze! You can rent bikes 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)!

One of the main highlights of Villa Borghese is the Galleria Borghese (Borghese Gallery) at the eastern end of the park. This gallery and museum showcases an impressive collection of 15th – 18th century art, including masterpieces by famous painters such as Raphael, Botticelli, Caravaggio, and Tiziano. Walking around, you’ll see stunning frescoes on the walls and ceiling, breathtaking mosaics, and incredible sculptures by Bernini and Canova in each hall.

A Statue in Front of Galleria Borghese in Rome, Italy

🎫 Important note: Galleria Borghese is very popular, so booking your visit in advance is mandatory — only visitors with a pre-paid ticket will be let in. To ensure tickets don’t sell out, I highly recommend booking your visit online a few days in advance. You can also reserve your ticket by calling +39 06 32810.

Galleria Borghese opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday: 9 am - 7 pm (last entry at 5 pm) | Closed on Mondays 
Galleria Borghese entrance fees: Regular - €13 ($15.50 USD) | Aged 18-25 - €2 ($2.30 USD) | Free with the Roma Pass or OMNIA Card (but still need to book the visit in advance)

9. Terrazza del Pincio – Sunset

Visit time: 20-30 mins
20 min walk or 10 min bike ride from Galleria Borghese

Villa Borghese has one more must-visit attraction for your three days in Rome itinerary: the magnificent Terrazza del Pincio, a terrace that offers the most spectacular view of Rome at sunset.

Visiting this observation deck is an unforgettable experience. As the sky turns pink and orange and the city starts to light up, unwind to the fabulous view of Piazza del Popolo right beneath the terrace, the famous Altare della Patria rising above historic buildings, and the dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica far in the distance.

What makes this experience even more special are the talented musicians providing the perfect soundtrack to this surreal view. As someone who has watched this sunset countless times growing up, the experience still moves me profoundly to this day. 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.

The Sunset View from Terrazza del Pincio in Rome, Italy
The incredible sunset view from Terrazza del Pincio

Check the sunset time in Rome so that you don’t miss this experience!

🍝 Food Tip: Antica Osteria Brunetti is just a 6-min walk from Terrazza del Pincio and unlike the many tourist traps in the area, they serve traditional authentic local dishes. Try their tonnarelli alla gricia and you’ll see what I mean!

10. Evening Walk in the Historic Center

Visit time: 1-2 hours

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.

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

A Fountain in Piazza della Repubblica in Rome, Italy at Nighttime
Piazza della Repubblica by night

🛵 Top Tip: Want to make your evening in Rome even more special? I suggest joining one of the many night tours of Rome to explore the city in unique ways! You can find everything from haunted tours to photography walks, as well as e-bike, segway, and Vespa tours!

See all guided night tours of Rome

🗓 Day 2 in Rome: Ancient Rome + Trastevere

1. Colosseum

Visit time: 1-2 hours
Suggested start time: 8 AM

Start the second day of your three days Rome itinerary 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.

After the Colosseum was built (between 72 AD and 80 AD), it became the greatest amphitheater in the Roman world and was the main entertainment hub of the Roman Empire. In fact, this venue could hold more than 50,000 people, who watched on as gladiators brutally fought exotic animals and each other in the arena. The games took place for over 500 years, and sadly, over 500,000 people and 1 million wild animals have lost their lives here.

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

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

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

Joining a guided tour, however, will allow you to join a very short line instead and you’ll be inside 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, if you can only visit Rome in 3 days, there’s very little time to waste 🙂

With an expert local guide, you’ll also be able to learn and understand a lot more about the history of the Colosseum, allowing you to better appreciate the most important site of Ancient Rome. 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!

See all guided tours of the Colosseum

My Recommendations: The 3 Best Guided Tours of the Colosseum
  • Colosseum Underground, Roman Forum & Hill Tour (⭐️ 4.8/5) — The most comprehensive tour of the Colosseum with exclusive access to the Underground, Arena, and the upper tiers, from where there’s a splendid view of the city.
  • Colosseum, Arena Floor & Ancient Rome VIP Tour (⭐️ 4.6/5) — Get exclusive access to the Arena floor and walk through the gladiators’ gate; imagine what it must have been like for them to step out under the eyes of thousands of noisy spectators. Visit the gladiators’ dungeons as well.
  • Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Tour (⭐️ 4.3/5) — A regular Colosseum tour + a guided tour of the political, social, and religious hub of the Roman Empire + breathtaking views of the Colosseum from Palatine Hill.
Top Tips for Visiting the Colosseum Without a Guided Tour
  • Buy your ticket in advance on the official website here — it’ll cost an extra €2 but can save you hours of waiting in line.
  • 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 Vatican & Rome Card, or the Best of Rome All Access Pass. It’s still mandatory to reserve your timeslot online in advance though. You can do so on the official website under the Roma Pass section.
  • If tickets on the official website are sold out for the day you want to visit (yes, there is a cap on the number of visitors per day), don’t worry! You can still buy your ticket via Tiqets here.
  • You’ll see considerably fewer crowds at the Colosseum from November to March (low season).
  • 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’ll have to get your free ticket at the ticket office on-site (by standing in line).
Opening hours: 8:30 am to an hour before sunset, daily — check varying closing hours here
Entrance fees: (Combined Colosseum + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill ticket) Regular - €16 ($19 USD) | EU citizens aged 18-25 - €2 ($2.30 USD) | Free for anyone under 18 years old

2. Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

Visit time: 1-2 hours
5 min walk from Colosseum

A ticket to the Colosseum automatically includes same-day entry into its stunning next-door neighbors: the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. If you don’t buy your 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.

However, keep in mind that they will not be able to let you into the Colosseum 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.

The Ruins of the Roman Forum in Rome, Italy

So, why visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill? 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.

Next to the 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.

View From the Palatine Hill in Rome, Italy
The view of the Colosseum from Palatine Hill
Opening hours: 8:30 am – 7 pm daily
Entrance fees: (Combined Colosseum + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill ticket) Regular - €16 ($19 USD) | EU citizens aged 18-25 - €2 ($2.30 USD) | Free for anyone under 18 years old

3. Terme di Caracalla (Baths of Caracalla)

Visit time: 1-2 hours
20 min walk from Palatine Hill

If you’re curious to see what ancient Roman public baths were like, head over to Terme di Caracalla, the next stop on your Rome in 3 days itinerary. Built between AD 212 and 216, the Baths of Caracalla were some of the biggest and most impressive thermal complexes back in the days.

The Romans loved going to public baths; it was their favorite way to socialize. Terme di Caracalla housed more than just baths though — for over 300 years, people exercised there, visited the libraries in the complex, strolled through the gardens, and worshipped the gods at the temples.

Today, you merely see what’s left of the complex, but its splendor totally shines through the ruins. Unlike the Colosseum, this place isn’t super busy, so you can enjoy a peaceful stroll away from the large crowds. If you’re a fan of opera, you can also watch a spectacular concert at Terme di Caracalla! You can check the concert program here.

🎧 Top Tip: I highly recommend getting an audioguide as it will enrich your visit and help you better understand the history behind the Baths of Caracalla. To immerse yourself even more in the ancient Roman world, you can also grab a set of virtual reality goggles for an extra €7. With it, you’ll see the digital reconstruction of how each site actually looked back in the days, and it’s a super cool experience!

Opening hours: It varies — check it real-time here
Entrance fees: Regular - €8 ($9.50 USD) | EU citizens aged 18-25 - €2 ($2.30 USD) | Free for anyone under 18 years old

4. Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth)

Visit time: 10-20 mins
20 min walk from Terme di Caracalla

After the Baths of Caracalla, it’s time to make your way to the Trastevere neighborhood, but there are a few worthwhile stops along the way. The first one is the famous Bocca della Verità, which you may have seen on Roman Holiday. This marble mask has a well-known legend behind it: it will bite the hand of those who have lied.

When you get to this place, you’ll most likely see a line of people waiting to get a picture with their hand inside the Mouth of Truth. If you’re a fan of myths and legends, it’s worth stopping by here for a quick peek/photo.

The Mouth of Truth in Rome, Italy
Opening hours: 9:30 am - 5:50 pm daily
Entrance fees: €2 ($2.30 USD)

5. Giardino degli Aranci – Fall/Winter Sunset

Visit time: 20 mins
9 min walk from Bocca della Verità

Not far from the Bocca della Verità is Giardino degli Aranci (Orange Garden), one of the most peaceful and romantic gardens in Rome. Named after the orange trees growing there, this garden offers a really quiet and serene atmosphere — a great contrast to the busy morning you’ll have spent at the Colosseum.

The highlight of this park, though, is the stunning view of Rome it offers from its belvedere (lookout). Grab a bottle of wine and soak in the beautiful view of the St. Peter’s Basilica surrounded by the ancient buildings of Rome. If you visit during the fall or winter, it’s likely that sunset will occur around the time you’re here — making the view even more spectacular.

Orange Garden in Rome, Italy
Opening hours: 7 am - sunset, daily
Entrance fees: Free

6. Trastevere & Piazza di Santa Maria

Visit time: 1-2 hours
21 min walk from Giardino degli Aranci

The next big stop on your Rome three day itinerary is the splendid medieval neighborhood of Trastevere, well-known for its colorful houses, narrow cobblestone alleys, and most importantly — the best restaurants in the entire city. In fact, this district is dubbed the foodie neighborhood of Rome; it’s the absolute place to be in if you want to taste true Italian food.

Some of the best restaurants in Trastevere are Nannarella, La Tavernetta 29, and Grazia & Graziella. If you’re looking for some aperitivo (a traditional Italian pre-meal drink), head over to Bar San Calisto, where the locals are.

Another thing you’ll love about Trastevere is that it’s a lot quieter than the historic center of Rome. You’ll see a lot fewer tourists and a lot more locals in this part of town and can enjoy its charming colorful streets in peace.

While there are plenty of small churches and museums hidden inside the picturesque alleys of Trastevere, one place that you definitely shouldn’t miss is Piazza di Santa Maria, home to one of the oldest churches in Rome. The atmosphere inside this square is simply fantastic, and it’s definitely one of the most enchanting places in Trastevere.

Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome, Italy
Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere

7. Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill) – Spring/Summer Sunset

Visit time: 30 mins
15 min walk from Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere

Not too far from Trastevere is another hidden gem of Rome that most tourists don’t know about — Gianicolo, a hill that offers a breathtaking 360° view of the entire city of Rome. For this reason, Gianicolo is commonly known among locals as the gathering place for couples (especially teens). It’s not hard to see why — the views from the top of this hill are absolutely remarkable, and even more romantic when enjoyed with a bottle of wine.

If you’re here during spring or summer, the sun will likely set around the time you’re here, and watching the sky turn orange above the most famous monuments of Ancient Rome is definitely a sight you don’t want to miss!

The Night View From Janiculum Hill in Rome, Italy
The view of Rome from Janiculum Hill

🍕 Insider Tip: If you don’t get a chance to grab dinner before visiting Gianicolo, don’t worry — there are tons of authentic restaurants nearby. I suggest making your way to Dar Poeta for some of the most delicious pizza in Rome.

The Gianicolo is absolutely worth checking out even if you can’t make it for sunset (check sunset time in Rome here). The view of the city lit up in the dark is just as mesmerizing!

8. Isola Tiberina – Summer Evening Drinks

Visit time: 1-2 hours
22 min walk from Gianicolo

If you’re planning to visit Rome for 3 days in the summer, there’s one more activity you absolutely shouldn’t miss — drop by Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) for some refreshing evening drinks and an unforgettable nighttime atmosphere!

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, rows of pop-up bars fill the riverbanks of the island. As soon as you approach the area, you’ll hear live music and the vibrant chatters of locals unwinding with drinks. There are also tons of restaurants all year round on the island, as well as an outdoor cinema in the summer!

Isola Tiberina Lit Up at Night in Rome, Italy
Isola Tiberina at night
Related: Top 12 Rome By Night Tours to Take in 2021

🗓 Day 3 in Rome: Vatican City + Food Tour

1. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

Visit time: 3-4 hours
Suggested start time: 8:30 AM

The last day of your 3 days in Rome itinerary will be largely spent in Vatican City, an independent country in the center of Rome. As you may already know, the Vatican is the heart of the Roman Catholic Church and the residence of the Pope. If you’re in Rome during Christmas or Easter, you’ll be able to hear the Pope speak from St. Peter’s Square, which surrounds the famous St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

To maximize your time in Rome, I highly recommend starting your visit to Vatican City with the Vatican Museums, though, and to see the basilica afterward. This is to avoid the long lines you’ll encounter at the museums if you go later in the morning.

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, though, is obviously 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. You have to see this masterpiece with your own eyes to fully appreciate why it’s so well-known around the world.

Top Tips for Visiting the Vatican Museums
  • Book your ticket online in advance to avoid the incredibly long lines at the ticket office.
  • Book a skip-the-line entry ticket if you want to completely avoid the lines and enter the museums through a separate entrance (the fastest one available).
  • Get free entry and skip the lines with the OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card or the Best of Rome All Access Pass.
  • During the peak season (May to mid-September), arrive at least 15-30 mins before the opening time to avoid the long lines.
  • Avoid visiting on Mondays or over the weekend as that’s when the museums are the busiest and most crowded (almost all 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 should have their shoulders, thighs, and necklines covered.
The Vatican Museums Garden in Rome, Italy
Why You Should Visit the Vatican Museums on a Guided Tour
  • You’ll get guaranteed skip-the-ticket-line entrance
  • Some tours provide you with exclusive access to the museums before opening hours so that you can beat the crowds and enjoy the attractions in peace and quiet.
  • 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 learn a lot more about the attractions inside and understand their historical significance.

See all guided tours of the Vatican Museums

My Recommendations: The Best Guided Tours of the Vatican Museums
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 8:30 am – 6:30 pm (last entry at 4:30 pm) | Closed on Sundays except the last one of every month; 9 am – 2 pm with last entry at 12:30 pm | Opening hours vary frequently so always check it real-time here.
Entrance fees: Adults - €17 ($20 USD) | Youth & students under 25 - €8 ($9.50 USD) | Free for children under 6

2. St. Peter’s Basilica & Cupola

Visit time: 1-2 hour
2 min walk from Sistine Chapel through a restricted passageway

After visiting the Vatican Museums, it’s time to explore the majestic St. Peter’s Basilica and the view from its cupola (dome). This basilica is the holiest and most important pilgrimage site of the Catholic Church and can accommodate up to 20,000 people. Walking inside, you’ll be mesmerized by all the incredible pieces of art, which include Michelangelo’s famous Pietà sculpture.

A visit to St. Peter’s Basilica would be incomplete without climbing up to the top of its cupola. You’ll get a breathtaking view of St. Peter’s Square and almost the whole city of Rome from up there — it’s truly a sight you won’t want to miss!

🎨 Insider Tip: If you visit the Vatican with a guided tour, you’ll get access to a restricted passageway reserved for tour groups that takes you from the Sistine Chapel straight into the St. Peter’s Basilica in 2 mins. If you visit individually, though, you’ll have to exit the Vatican Museums and walk for 20 mins back to St. Peter’s Basilica and then stand in line to enter. If you want to avoid this detour but don’t want to join a guided tour, try to tag along with one of the many tour groups when the guards aren’t looking.

🍕 Food Tip: Most of the cafés and restaurants immediately surrounding Vatican City are overpriced tourist traps. A 10-15 min walk will get you to some really authentic and high-quality eateries though! Try Osteria dell’Angelo for delicious pasta, 200 Gradi for yummy sandwiches, and Pizzarium Bonci for the local specialty pizza al taglio.

Basilica opening hours: October to March: 7 am - 6:30 pm | April to September: 7 am - 7 pm
Basilica entrance fees: Free
Cupola opening hours: 8 am - one hour before the Basilica closes, daily
Cupola entrance fees: Lift to the terrace + 320 steps: €8 ($9.50 USD) | Climbing all 551 steps by foot: €6 ($7 USD)

3. Castel Sant’Angelo

Visit time: 20-30 mins
10 min walk from St. Peter’s Basilica

Once you’re done with the St. Peter’s Basilica, walk down the famous Via della Conciliazione which will lead you straight to the stunning Castel Sant’Angelo, a fortress that dates back to AD 139. This castle was built under the orders of 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 nice views of the city from the terrace, but to be completely honest — the visit isn’t worth the high ticket price. You will see a lot more impressive rooms in other museums in Rome, such as Galleria Borghese or the Capitoline Museums mentioned earlier in this itinerary for Rome, Italy.

Instead of going inside this castle, I suggest strolling the Ponte Sant’Angelo — the big bridge right in front of the building. There are some gorgeous statues on this bridge, and the perspective from there gives you lots of great photo ops!

🎆 Insider Tip: Every year on June 29th, there are stunning fireworks at Castel Sant’Angelo to celebrate the Festa di San Pietro e Paolo (Feast of Saints Peter and Paul), 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*
Entrance fees: Adults - €15 ($17.50 USD) | EU citizens aged 18 – 24 - €7 ($8.50 USD) | Free for children under 18
*These hours and entrance fees are only for entering the castle. You can walk around it and on the bridge in front of it anytime without a ticket.

4. Lungotevere & Ponte Umberto I – Sunset

Visit time: 20-30 mins
Start right under the Castel Sant’Angelo bridge

Castel Sant’Angelo is right next to the famous River Tiber, meaning there are tons of scenic bridges and riverbanks surrounding it. From the Ponte Sant’Angelo right in front of the castle, take the stairs down to the Lungotevere — the waterfront alley that runs along the river — and take a peaceful and romantic walk right by the water.

Bring a bottle of wine and some snacks for a lovely picnic on the riverbank. Walk towards the bridge Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II and then to Ponte Principe Amedeo Savoia Aosta for marvelous views of Castel Sant’Angelo reflecting in the water.

Before leaving the Lungotevere, head back the other direction to Ponte Umberto I, the one bridge you shouldn’t miss during your 3-day tour of Rome. This is the bridge you should aim to be on by sunset time because you’ll get to witness the sky turning a beautiful pink above the St. Peter’s Basilica, which is splendidly reflected in the water as the city dims.

If you want to get one of the most magical views of the Vatican and River Tiber, don’t miss out on Ponte Umberto I!

The View of the Vatican From Ponte Umberto I in Rome, Italy
The view of the Vatican from Ponte Umberto I

5. Campo de’ Fiori + Evening Food Tour

Visit time: 4-5 hours
12 min walk from Ponte Umberto I

Finish your 3 perfect days in Rome by embarking on the most exquisite foodie adventure. Start it off by making your way to Campo de’ Fiori, a public square that hosts farmers’ markets during the day, but that turns into the center of Rome’s nightlife in the evenings with plenty of bars around.

Depending on how much time you have, I suggest sitting down at a bar in Campo de’ Fiori and enjoying the Italian tradition of aperitivo, a pre-meal drink meant to open up your appetite. Afterward, I highly recommend tasting some delicious local specialties on a guided food tour.

Campo de' Fiori in Rome, Italy
Campo de’ Fiori in the evening

There are several guided food tours that start at or very close to Campo de’ Fiori. Joining a guided food tour in Rome offers the chance to truly immerse yourself in the local culture and taste some unique specialties you’d have a hard time finding on your own.

The various evening food tours of Rome will take you to the absolute 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 3 Guided Evening Food Tours of Rome
  • Rome 20+ Tastings Food Tour by Night (⭐️ 4.9/5) — This tour starts at the Cipro Metro station (30 mins by bus from Campo de’ Fiori). You’ll learn secret food tips from local experts and enjoy 20+ delicious tastings of prosciutto, pasta, cheese, pizza, gelato, and more.
  • Jewish Ghetto & Campo de’ Fiori by Night Food Tour (⭐️ 4.9/5) — This tour starts at Piazza Mattei (5-min walk from Campo de’ Fiori). You’ll taste various traditional specialties, learn local recipes, and enjoy dinner among the ruins of an ancient Roman theatre!
  • Traditional Rome Food & Wine Tasting Tour (⭐️ 4.7/5) — This tour starts right from Campo de’ Fiori and takes you to various eateries to enjoy local cheese, artisanal salamis, traditional Roman pizza al taglio, and exquisite wine. End the night with gelato.

See all guided food tours of Rome

🏡 Where to Stay in Rome for 3 Days

If you want to be close to the best places to visit 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

MOST SCENIC HOTEL: Otivm Hotel (⭐ 9.0)
Situated right next to the stunning Piazza Venezia, this hotel has a dreamy roof terrace that offers spectacular views of the historic center. Most major attraction are within close walking distance, and guests can enjoy free WiFi, AC, and a 24-hour front desk.

Check rates & availability

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 Singer Palace Hotel via

A Hotel in Central Rome
Photo courtesy of Hotel Martis Palace via

TOP LUXURY HOTEL: Martis Palace (⭐ 9.3)
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

TOP BUDGET HOTEL: Hotel Amalfi (⭐ 8.8)
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

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

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

There’s an easy way to save time and money while traveling in Rome for 3 days: tourist passes that give you discounts and fast track entry to the most crowded attractions in the city. The 3 best Rome tourist passes out there are the Roma Pass, the Best of Rome All Access Pass, and the OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card (my top recommendation). Let’s look at each of them in more detail below.

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

  • Free skip-the-line admission to 1 (48-hours pass) or 2 (72-hours pass) museums or archaeological sites (such as the Colosseum) ✅
  • Discounted ticket prices for all other museums and/or archaeological sites visited afterward ✅
  • Free unlimited use of Rome’s public transportation (buses, trains, Metro, 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 All Access 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 ✅
  • Valid for 72 hours ✅
  • Does not include admission to St. Peter’s Basilica’s Cupola (dome) ❌

Learn more about the Rome All Access Pass

Top Pick: OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Includes the 72-hour Roma Pass and all its benefits ✅
  • Free skip-the-line admission to 2 museums/archaeological sites (such as 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 Rome 3 days pass with the best value for money ⭐

Learn more about the OMNIA Card

🗺 Rome 3 Day Itinerary Map

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

3 Days in Rome Itinerary Map

⛲ 3 Day Itinerary Rome Overview

Here’s a summary of what to do in Rome in 3 days, with all the activities mentioned in the itinerary above. This is the perfect trip plan for a long weekend in Rome!

Day 1: Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Piazza del Campidoglio (+ Capitoline Museums if there’s time), Altare della Patria (Piazza Venezia), Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Galleria Borghese, Terrazza del Pincio

Day 2: Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill, Terme di Caracalla (Baths of Caracalla), Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth), Giardino degli Aranci, Trastevere & Piazza di Santa Maria, Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill), Isola Tiberina

Day 3: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica & Cupola, Castel Sant’Angelo, Lungotevere & Ponte Umberto I, Campo de’ Fiori, guided evening food tour

☀️ The Best Time to Visit Rome

When planning a trip to Rome for 3 days, it’s important to consider both the weather and the crowds. The Eternal City never truly has a low season — tour buses fill the historic center all year round. But of course, some months see fewer crowds than others. Here are some things to consider:

❄️ Low season: Mid-November to mid-December and mid-January to early March are the best months to visit Rome if you want to see the least amount of crowds. This is obviously due to the cold weather (3-13°C / 37-55°F). Note that Christmas and New Years 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, but definitely much less compared to the high season. This is the best time to go to Rome to enjoy warm weather (10-27°C / 50-80°F). Do keep in mind, though, that the shoulder season is liked by many, so definitely book tickets for attractions in advance!

🌸 High season: Mid-May to early September is when Rome is at its busiest. The crowds in the city center can get so dense that it’s actually hard to move around town, so I recommend avoiding this season if you can. It is also scorching hot during this time of the year (17-34°C / 62-91°F).

Castel Sant'Angelo Reflecting in River Tiber at Night in Rome, Italy

✈️ 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 flight to countless cities around the world, including Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, and New York City. Ciampino is a much smaller airport that serves mostly flights to and from Europe.

🌟 Insider Tip: If you can freely choose between these two airports, I suggest going with Fiumicino because even though it’s further from the city center, it’s a lot better connected to the city and gives you more transportation options.

If you’re arriving from another city in Italy, consider taking a domestic train to Roma Termini, the main and most central train station in town. You can find train 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 fastest and easiest way is to get from the Fiumicino Airport to Rome is to book a private transfer from the airport to your hotel with Expedia or Get Your Guide.

Booking a private transfer is actually cheaper than taking a taxi — you can save almost €8 ($10 USD)! It’s also a great option if you don’t want to take public transportation and would like to skip the long lines for taxis at the airport.

🚕 Insider Tip: If you do prefer taking a taxi, always take an official white taxi from the taxi stand outside the terminal and do not go with the drivers waiting inside the terminal. A taxi ride from Fiumicino to the center of Rome will cost you a fixed rate of €50 ($60 USD).

Getting From Fiumicino Airport to Rome by Bus/Train

Alternatively, you can also get to the city center by booking a direct bus transfer from Fiumicino Airport to Roma Termini, which puts you within close walking distance of the historic center. A bus ticket costs around €6 ($7 USD).

There are also two trains connecting Fiumicino to Rome’s city center: the regional train and the Leonardo Express. A regional train ticket costs €8 ($10 USD) and stops at Trastevere (30-min journey), Ostiense (30-min journey), and Tiburtina (50-min journey). You will then have to connect from one of those stations; if you need to take the Metro, get off at Ostiense and walk to the Piramide Metro station.

I recommend taking the Leonardo Express train as it is a lot more convenient — in 30 mins, it takes you directly from the airport to Roma Termini, which is on both Metro lines A and B and located a lot closer to the historic center. A ticket for the Leonardo Express costs €14 ($16.50 USD) and is totally worth the price. You can book it here.

Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Italy

Getting From Ciampino Airport to Rome

A taxi from Ciampino Airport to the city center of Rome should cost €30 ($35 USD). The problem is that unlike Fiumicino, many taxi drivers in Ciampino don’t go by the fixed rate and will make up reasons to charge you more.

To avoid this hassle, you can book a private transfer or shared shuttle from the airport to your hotel with Expedia or Get Your Guide.

There are no trains or Metro stations connecting Ciampino Airport to the city center, so the only other way to get there is by public or private bus. The most popular private bus company is Terravision, which costs €10 ($12 USD) and will take you directly to Roma Termini in 40 mins. From there, you can connect to either Metro lines A or B.

Taking the public Bus No. 720 is the cheapest way to get to the city center from Ciampino — it costs only €1.50 ($1.70 USD). However, the journey is longer and more complicated because the bus takes you to the Laurentina station (30-min journey). From there, it’s another 30 mins to the city center via the Metro.

I suggest taking the Terravision bus instead if you don’t mind paying more to lessen the hassle.

Artists' Stands in Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy

🛵 Getting Around Rome for 3 Days

Getting around in Rome is quite easy as almost all the tourist attractions are within walking distance of each other. That’s why the best way to explore the city is by walking. In fact, the city center of Rome is incredibly pleasant to stroll in. You’ll truly discover the best hidden gems by getting lost in its cobblestone alleys and wandering around without aim.

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

You can also take public buses to travel around Rome, although I personally don’t recommend this. Traffic in Rome is really bad, so getting around by bus or car can get 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!

🎫 Top Tip: You will need a BIT ticket (biglietto semplice) to ride public transportation in Rome. A one-way ticket costs €1.50 ($1.70 USD) and is valid for 75 mins. It can be used for the Metro, buses, trams, and urban trains inside Rome. You can buy tickets inside any Metro station, at a 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! Alternatively, you can get free bus & metro rides with the OMNIA Card.

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 checking in/after checking out, there’s an easy way to store your luggage at the Roma Termini station as well.

Head over to Via Giovanni Giolitti 127 and you’ll see the luggage storage 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.

At the Centro Storico (Historic Center)

Alternatively, if you prefer to store your luggage in the historic center of Rome, you can do so at this STARBIKE shop near the Colosseum. There’s also another luggage storage service with locations in Piazza Navona, Piazza Venezia, Pantheon, and the Vatican — you can check them out here.

🍕 Where to Eat in Rome for 3 Days

No itinerary for Rome 3 days would be complete without some foodie adventures. While this itinerary already has tons of insider food tips, here are some more top-notch eateries — from the best ice cream shops to the most authentic places in town to taste delicious Roman specialties.

  • Roscioli ⁠— A few steps from Campo de’ Fiori; their pasta dishes are absolutely 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 as well!
A Plate of Pasta on a Table

💰 3 Days in Rome Budget

For budget travelers, the daily cost of traveling in Rome should be around €50 ($60 USD) in total. This means you’d be staying in cheap hostels and getting pizza/panini on the go rather than sitting down in restaurants.

Comfort travelers are likely to spend around €100 ($118 USD) per day, staying in boutique hotels and spending moderately at restaurants. Luxury travelers are likely to spend over €175 ($200 USD) a day. Here’s a quick breakdown of the budget:

🏨 Accommodation (per night): €7-22 ($8-26 USD) budget / €40-85 ($50 – $100 USD) comfort / €85-450 ($100 – $550 USD) luxury

🍝 Meals (per person): €15 ($17.50 USD) at restaurants / €3-7 ($3.50-8.50 USD) for pizza/panini on the go

🚇 Transportation: €1.50 ($1.70 USD) per every Metro, bus, tram, or urban train ticket (valid for 75 mins) | Free with the Roma Pass or OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card

🎫 Admission to museums/attractions: €7-17 ($8.50-20 USD) depending on the attraction | Free with the OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card, the Roma Pass, or the Best of Rome All Access Pass

🔮 Travel Insurance for Italy

Having travel insurance gives me peace of mind, and I highly recommend getting it if you weren’t considering it before because let’s be real — the last thing we want on any trip is for accidents and mishaps to get in the way. I use a service called World Nomads and can highly recommend them — they offer affordable prices, great coverage, and a reliable 24/7 on-call service.

Get a quote from World Nomads

🎒 Tips for Safety in Rome

Rome is generally safe to travel in, but there is one important thing to keep in mind: 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 popular Bus No. 64, which is usually swamped with tourists as it 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 a chair at a restaurant.

Here are a few items you can pack to make your Rome 3 days trip 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 for more options other than the ones listed below.

Souvenirs at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

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

For further reading on Italy, discover:
🇮🇹 36 Famous Landmarks in Italy That Will Take Your Breath Away
🌃 Top 12 Rome By Night Tours to Take in 2021
🏡 22 Gorgeous Rome Airbnbs That Will Blow You Away

For further reading on other European destinations, discover:
🏰 28 Best Hidden Gems in Europe: Epic Secret Spots You Must Visit

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  • Jayati November 19, 2020 at 9:50 am

    This is such a detailed itinerary! Totally agree with your recommendation of taking a guided tour of Colosseum – it gives a different perspective altogether. Roma Pass also was a life-saver for us. My personal favourite is the one that you mentioned in number 1 – Piazza Navona. Its a very nicely written and helpful itinerary that will surely help travelers plan their trip to this eternal city.

  • November 19, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    beautiful photos and such an inspiring article! loved every single bit of it! well done!

  • Anuradha November 20, 2020 at 11:52 am

    What a detailed and informative post! I like all the little details and tips you have shared! I had been to Rome almost a decade back and have faded memories of my experience! This post did cheer me up, and makes me want to visit Rome again!

  • Jacqueline November 20, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    You photos are absolutely stunning. It’s true that Rome is full of tourist traps, and I have been a victim myself. I will definitely use your itinerary for future trips for a more authentic experience. Thanks!

  • Claire November 20, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Rome certainly has enough activities to keep you busy for a few days – unfortunately the Spanish Steps were under construction when i went 🙁

  • Georgina November 20, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    Oh my goodness – this is such a complete guide!! Yes, 3 days in a city like Rome is too short a time but you have made it possible with your itinerary. I’m believe in embedding at least one guided tour on each vacation and I am certain to visit the Colosseum on a guided tour. Beautiful photos. Lovely post.

  • Kat November 21, 2020 at 3:45 am

    I visited Rome two years ago and it’s such a beautiful city! I definitely have to go back as I missed some of these keys sights. Thanks for sharing your thorough itinerary.

  • Niry November 21, 2020 at 8:46 am

    Rome, the Eternal City!!!I live in Italy and have been to Rome many times but haven’t seen it all yet! Imagine!!!

  • Agnes November 21, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Such an excellent guide to Rome. Great tips and lots of detail and fabulous photos. Rome is perfect for a 3-day trip. I like going back to this city.

  • Pam November 21, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Love this! It’s definitely do able in 3 days if you are organized – which this itinerary helps with. great job!

  • Hannah November 21, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    This is a fantastic itinerary! We were hoping to return to Rome this year but obviously didn’t quite manage it! Fingers crossed we might get there next year instead. I’m going to save your guide to put to use on our next trip. I love all of the insider tips…they’re great! Thanks so much!

  • Mark and Chuck's Adventures November 21, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    WOW! Incredible amounts of great information. And, your photos are beautiful. It seems like you could stay in Rome for a month and not see everything you want to explore.

  • Marina November 21, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Wow Jiayi this is the best guide for Rome I’ve ever seen! Thank you for all your tips and recommandations, I cannot wait to go back to Italy and visit this amazing city one day!

  • Lynne Nieman November 22, 2020 at 3:10 am

    Fabulous itinerary and beautiful photos!

  • Taylor November 22, 2020 at 4:15 am

    Rome looks like such a dream. I was supposed to go this past year, but obviously that didn’t happen, so I’m hoping to go this upcoming spring. Great article Jiayi! I’m definitely keeping it handy. 🙂

  • Joanna November 22, 2020 at 11:13 am

    I love Rome so much. There was a time when I used to visit at least once a year. Now it’s been at least 7 years since I’ve last been there. My favorite part of Rome used to be Transtevere, I loved walking around the quiet beautiful streets and delight myself with proper authentic Italian food at one of the small, side street restaurants.

  • Aradhana November 22, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Wow, what a cool and detailed three day itinerary of Roma! Love the pictures, how did you manage to find the Trevi Fountain empty. The Spanish steps were cordoned off when I went, back in 2016 due to some renovation work, so couldn’t make it to the top! I loved the Colosseum. The Vatican was a wonderful experience too and the Italian gelato is out of this world. Piazza Navona would be my favorite!

  • Krista November 22, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    I can’t wait to visit Rome, and this post will really come in handy – thanks for all the fantastic tips!

  • Josy A November 22, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    Aaah Jiayi, as always it is a pleasure to follow you around and see your gorgeous photos! This looks like a fantastic itinerary and it is full of great tips about booking online etc! I have only visited Rome once, so I still have quite a lot to go back and see!

    p.s. Did you have to wake up crazily early to see the streets and sights so empty!? Even 20 years ago I never saw Rome with so few tourists!!

  • Liz November 22, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    Rome is one of my favorite places to visit!! I love this post because you have every detail down to amount of time to spend at each landmark. I love your foodie reco’s too, I love hearing where the locals eat.

  • Jori November 23, 2020 at 12:41 am

    Beautiful photos and great post! I wasn’t a huge fan of Rome my first time, but each time I go I discover more of the city and fall more in love!

  • Melinda November 23, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    You are making me want to return to Rome and do a food tour! We definitely got sucked into a tourist trap while we were there.

  • Jamie November 23, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    What an INCREDIBLE article, I can’t wait to use this guide when I go to Rome! And your photos are stunning – I feel like I was right there when I was reading through everything.

  • MacKenzie November 23, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    I wish I had this itinerary before I visited a few years ago!! There were so many things on Day 2 that I would’ve loved to do. I managed to do quite a few things on the other days, though, so I am happy about that. Sad I missed Terrazza del Pincio – the sunset does look amazing.

  • Brittany November 25, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    This is an excellent, detailed itinerary of Rome! My husband and I visited for 3 days last fall, and we followed a very similar itinerary. That’s a great tip not to eat at Piazza Navona… the gelato I got there was the worst from our trip! Thanks again for sharing this awesome guide.

  • Digitaldaybook November 26, 2020 at 2:27 am

    Such beauty and history in one place!

  • Cass November 27, 2020 at 7:10 am

    You have covered so much for 3 days! Love the way this post is laid put and gorgeous photos.

  • Caroline November 27, 2020 at 9:43 am

    I am so bummed I did not get to go back in fall! This city is just the most beautiful in the world. Also tons of ideas I did not do in this blogpost so yet another reason to go again!

  • Helga November 28, 2020 at 10:51 am

    I’ve been in Rome 9 times, and I have to say that this itinerary is fab! I can’t wait to return!

  • Christy December 2, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    I’d like to visit for the pistachio tiramisu alone!

  • Pierre April 20, 2021 at 9:46 am

    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!

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    Welcome to my travel + photography blog!

    I'm Jiayi, a Chinese-Italian photographer who's been on the move since age 6. With this blog, my goal is to provide you with invaluable tips to help you plan epic trips to both popular and unpopular destinations, and to photograph them the way you'd want to. Happy Travels! :)

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