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

June 17, 2023
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. Let’s be real — this city simply has too much to offer.

Perhaps I’m biased; 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 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: The Best Areas + Hotels
🍝 Top 12 Rome By Night Tours to Take in 2023

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)

The Best Colosseum Tour (⭐️ 4.5/5)
The Best Vatican Tour (⭐️ 4.4/5)
The Best VIP Vatican Tour (⭐️ 5/5)
The Best Private Rome Tour (⭐️ 5/5)

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

I highly recommend coming to Rome with a pretty clear itinerary to make the most of your time here. This city is also really crowded, so be sure to book tickets to attractions in advance. Sometimes, it’s even required. Here’s the perfect 3 days Rome itinerary with all my insider tips.

🗓 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 Piazza Navona, one of the most magical squares in Centro Storico (the historic center of the city). The minute you step into this square, the majestic monuments, fountains, and artsy vibes 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 waking up early 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 gelaterias 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, and waiters will try to lure you in. 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 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

Visit time: 30-45 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, simply 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.

🔥 Insider Tip: If you’re visiting on Saturdays, Sundays, or Italian public holidays, you’re required to book your visit in advance. I recommend the Pantheon Guided Tour (⭐️ 4.7/5).

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.

Opening hours: 9 am - 7 pm daily (last entry at 6:30 pm)
🎫 Entrance fees: Free
🧔🏻 Guided tour: Pantheon Guided Tour (⭐️ 4.7/5)

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 famous sculptor 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: This piazza is a quick stop, but visiting the Capitoline Museums will take roughly 1-2 hours, and doing so will mean missing out on other day 1 activities. I only recommend visiting these museums if you don’t plan on checking out Galleria Borghese (suggested for later in the day). Personally, the Galleria Borghese is a lot more impressive.

Capitoline Museums opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 9:30 am - 7:30 pm daily | Closed on Mondays 
🎫 Capitoline Museums entrance fees: €15 ($17 USD) | Free with the Roma Pass or OMNIA Card
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Capitoline Museums with Multimedia Video (⭐️ 4.3/5)

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 made of stunning white marble.

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.

A regular ticket to the panoramic terrace costs €12, and you can purchase it at the spot. If you prefer booking it in advance, the only way is to get the Panoramic Glass Elevator Ticket with Audio App. This ticket includes an audio guide as well as entry to two nearby museums: the Museum of the Risorgimento and the National Museum of the Palazzo di Venezia.

The View From the Terrace of Altare della Patria in Piazza Venezia in Rome, Italy
Opening hours: 9:30 am – 7:30 pm daily (last admission at 6:45 pm)
🎫 Panoramic terrace entrance fees: Adults - €12 ($12.50 USD) | Under 18 years old - free 
🌐 Online ticket: Panoramic Glass Elevator Ticket with Audio App

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.

Moreover, 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 – 6:45 pm daily 
🎫 Entrance fees: Free

6. Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)

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

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, and undoubtedly, one of the most impressive sights in all of Italy.

Built on top of an ancient water source, this fountain stands 26 m (85 ft) tall and 49 m (160 ft) wide. It is a monument you can visit again and again and still feel as though it’s the first time you’re seeing it. I feel that way even as a Roman who’s been there thousands of times.

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, two coins — you’ll return and fall for an attractive Italian, and three coins — you’ll end up marrying that person 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.

The Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

🌅 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 enjoy this place in peace and quiet, and take photos without other people in them.

🍕 Food Tip: 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 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 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 at the first terrace during your climb — you’ll get an amazing vista 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

Visit time: 1 hour
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. Take a stroll inside this peaceful park to escape the crowded 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) to rent a boat and row around for a fun experience. Or, simply relax on one of the many benches in the park 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 love blossoming at every corner.

Rows of Trees at Villa Borghese Park in Rome, Italy

🚴 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).

9. Galleria Borghese

Visit time: 2 hours
Located inside Villa Borghese

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.

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. Be sure to book your entrance slot well in advance and to get there 45 minutes before your entry time as it will be crowded, and there will be a long line.

Each visitor is given 2 hours to visit the gallery (except for those who enter at 5.45 pm). Note that you can only enter at the whole hour (for example, you can enter at 10 am or 11 am, but not at 10:30 am or 11:15 am).

🔥 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 ($17 USD) | Age 18-25 - €4 ($4.50 USD) | Free with the Roma Pass or OMNIA Card (but you still need to book in advance by calling +39 06 32810)
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Borghese Gallery guided tour (⭐️ 4.7/5)

10. 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 Eternal City starts to light up, you can unwind to the fabulous view of Piazza del Popolo right beneath the terrace, the famous Altare della Patria rising above the historic buildings, and the dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica in the far distance.

You’re also likely to find talented musicians at 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.

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 minute walk from Terrazza del Pincio and unlike the many tourist traps in the area, they serve authentic local dishes. Be sure to try their tonnarelli alla gricia!

11. 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, too.

Some of the key places to see 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 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: 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.

See all guided night tours of Rome

🗓 Day 2 in Rome: Ancient Rome + Trastevere

1. Colosseum

Visit time: 1-2 hours
Suggested start time: 8:30 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.

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.

This venue 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.

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

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, if you can only visit Rome in 3 days, there’s very 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.

See all guided tours of the Colosseum

🌟 My Recommendations: The 2 Best Guided Tours of the Colosseum
🏟 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 9 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. 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).
Opening hours: October 30th - February 28th: 9 am - 4:30 pm daily | March 1st - 25th: 9 am – 5:30 pm daily | March 26th - October 28th: 9 am – 7:15 pm daily
🎫 Entrance fees: (Combined Colosseum + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill ticket) Regular - €18 ($20.50 USD) | EU citizens aged 18-25 - €2 ($2.30 USD) | Free for anyone under 18 years old
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Tour (⭐️ 4.5/5)

2. Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

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

A ticket to the Colosseum includes same-day entry to its stunning next-door neighbors: 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.

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.

View From the Palatine Hill in Rome, Italy
The view of the Colosseum from Palatine Hill
Opening hours: October 30th - February 28th: 9 am - 4:30 pm daily | March 1st - 25th: 9 am – 5:30 pm daily | March 26th - October 28th: 9 am – 7:15 pm daily
🎫 Entrance fees: (Combined Colosseum + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill ticket) Regular - €18 ($20.50 USD) | EU citizens aged 18-25 - €2 ($2.30 USD) | Free for anyone under 18 years old
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Tour (⭐️ 4.5/5)

3. Terme di Caracalla (Baths of Caracalla)

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

If you’re curious to see ancient Roman public baths, 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, strolled the gardens, visited libraries, and worshipped the gods at the temples.

Today, you merely see what’s left of this complex, but its splendor totally shines through the ruins. If you’re a fan of opera, you can also enjoy a spectacular concert at Terme di Caracalla. You can check the concert program here.

🎧 Top Tip: To immerse yourself even more in the Baths of Caracalla, grab a set of virtual reality goggles at the entrance for an extra €7. With it, you’ll see the digital reconstruction of how each site looked back in the days, and it’s a pretty 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
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Caracalla Baths & Circus Maximus Tour (⭐️ 4.8/5)

4. Bocca della Verità (Mouth of Truth)

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

After the Baths of Caracalla, make your way to 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 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 quiet and serene atmosphere — a great contrast to the busy morning you’ll have spent at the Colosseum.

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

Orange Garden in Rome, Italy
Opening hours: 7 am - 6 pm daily
🎫 Entrance fees: Free

6. Trastevere & Basilica 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 neighborhood of Trastevere, well-known for its medieval houses, narrow cobblestone alleys, and most importantly — the best restaurants in the entire city.

As a matter of fact, Trastevere is dubbed the foodie neighborhood of Rome; it’s the ultimate place in town to taste the best of Roman cuisine.

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 where the locals go.

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
Basilica di Santa Maria opening hours: 7:30 am - 9 pm daily
🎫 Basilica di Santa Maria entrance fees: Free
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Trastevere Sunset Food Tour (⭐️ 4.9/5)

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

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

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 for local couples to hang out. 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 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 Rome is definitely a sight you won’t want to miss.

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

🍕 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.

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 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

🗓 Day 3 in Rome: Vatican City + Food Tour

1. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

Visit time: 2.5-3 hours
Suggested start time: 8:30 AM

The last day of your 3 days in Rome itinerary will be largely spent in Vatican City, a country inside the center of Rome.

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 catch 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. You can explore St. Peter’s 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 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!

🌟 Top Tips for Visiting the Vatican Museums
  • Book your ticket online in advance to avoid the incredibly long lines at the ticket office (you’ll still have to wait in line at the entrance, though).
  • Book a skip-the-line entry ticket if you want to completely avoid all 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 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.
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 better understand and appreciate the attractions inside the museums.

See all guided tours of the Vatican Museums

🌟 My Recommendations: The Best Guided Tours of the Vatican
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday: 9 am – 6 pm (last entry at 4 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: 1.5-2 hours
2 min walk from Sistine Chapel through a restricted passageway

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 from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica in just 2 minutes using a restricted passageway. If you visit individually, 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.

🍕 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 eateries, though. Try Osteria dell’Angelo for delicious pasta, 200 Gradi for yummy sandwiches, and Pizzarium Bonci for the local pizza al taglio.

 Basilica opening hours: October to March: 7 am - 6:30 pm daily | April to September: 7 am - 7 pm daily
🎫 Basilica entrance fees: Free
⏰ Cupola opening hours: October to March: 7:30 am - 6 pm daily | April to September: 7:30 am - 5 pm daily
🎫 Cupola entrance fees: Lift to the terrace + 320 steps: €8 ($9.50 USD) | Climbing all 551 steps by foot: €6 ($7 USD)
🧔🏻 Recommended guided tour: Sistine Chapel Early Entrance Small Group Tour (⭐️ 5/5)

3. Castel Sant’Angelo

Visit time: 1-1.5 hours
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 to the stunning Castel Sant’Angelo, the next stop on your itinerary for Rome, Italy. 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

Every visitor is given 1.5 hours to tour the castle. You can only enter the castle at the following exact times: 9 am, 10:30 am, 12 pm, 1:30 pm, 3 pm, 4:30 pm, and 6 pm. They cap the number of visitors allowed inside, so be sure to book your ticket or a skip-the-line ticket.

Afterward, be sure to stroll the Ponte Sant’Angelo — the big bridge right in front of the castle. You’ll find some gorgeous statues as well as plenty of beautiful angles for photos.

🎆 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 pm)
🎫 Entrance fees: Adults - €15 ($17.50 USD) | EU citizens aged 18 – 24 - €7 ($8.50 USD) | Free for children under 18

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 River Tiber, and there are tons of scenic bridges around it. 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. Aim to be on this bridge by sunset time to witness the sky turning orange above the St. Peter’s Basilica.

You’ll get a magical sight of the basilica reflecting in the water as the city dims, as well as stunning views of the surrounding ancient buildings.

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

5. Campo de’ Fiori + Evening Food Tour

Visit time: 3-4 hours
12 min walk from Ponte Umberto I

Finish your 3 perfect days in Rome by embarking on the most exquisite foodie adventure. 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, with plenty of bars around.

Sit down at one of the outdoor bars in Campo de’ Fiori and enjoying the Italian tradition of aperitivo, a pre-meal drink meant to open up your appetite. Afterward, it’s time to learn fun facts about Italy while tasting delicious local specialties on a guided food tour!

Campo de' Fiori in Rome, Italy
Campo de’ Fiori in the evening
🍕 Why You Should Join a Guided Food Tour in Rome

There are several guided food tours that start inside or very close to Campo de’ Fiori. Joining a guided food tour will allow you 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 Evening Food Tours in Rome

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more: Where to Stay in Rome in 2023: The Best Areas + Hotels

🎟️ 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 into the most crowded attractions in the city.

The best 3 Rome tourist passes 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 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 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 ✅
  • 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 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 (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 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 this itinerary. 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 & Basilica 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

Consider both the weather and the crowds when planning a trip to Rome for 3 days. 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: Mid-November to mid-December and mid-January to early March are the best months to visit Rome for the least amount of crowds. Temperatures are around 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 and mild temperatures (9-22°C / 48-71°F). 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. 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

✈️ 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.

🌟 Insider Tip: If you can choose between the two airports, go with Fiumicino. 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 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 transport 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. 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. A bus ticket costs around €6 ($7 USD) and the journey takes 1 hour. You can then take the metro to your hotel from Roma Termini.

There are also two trains connecting Fiumicino to Rome’s city center: the Leonardo Express and the regional train.

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 very close to the city center. A ticket costs €14 ($16.50 USD), and you can book it here.

A regional train ticket costs €8 ($10 USD) and stops at Trastevere (in 30 mins), Ostiense (in 30 mins), and Tiburtina (in 50 mins). 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.

Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Italy

🚌 Getting From Ciampino Airport to Rome

A taxi from Ciampino Airport to the city center 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 center of Rome, 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 to Roma Termini in 40 mins. From there, you can connect to either Metro lines A or B.

The cheapest way to get to the city center from Ciampino is to take the public Bus No. 720. It costs only €1.50 ($1.70 USD). However, the journey is much longer as the bus takes you to Laurentina station (in 30 mins). From there, it’s another 30 mins to the city center by Metro.

Artists' Stands in Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy

🛵 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 ($1.70 USD) 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, 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!

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

🍕 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 food tips, here are some more top-notch eateries — from the best ice cream shops to the most authentic places to taste 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!
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 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

The last thing we want on any trip is for accidents and mishaps to get in the way of enjoying ourselves. So travel insurance is always a good idea. 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 Rome and Italy, discover:
🏡 Where to Stay in Rome in 2023: The Best Areas + Hotels
🍝 The Best 2 Day Rome Itinerary + Tips for A Weekend in Rome
🇮🇹 36 Famous Landmarks in Italy That Will Take Your Breath Away
🌃 Top 12 Rome By Night Tours to Take
🏠 22 Gorgeous Rome Airbnbs That Will Blow You Away

For further reading on other European destinations, discover:
🚗 10 Days in Europe: 25+ Epic Itineraries + Budget Trips
🚊 3 Weeks in Europe: 15 Perfect Europe Itinerary Ideas [+Hidden Gems!]
🏰 28 Best Hidden Gems in Europe: Epic Secret Spots You Must Visit
🍁 38 Prettiest Warm Places in Europe in October + Hidden Gems
🏝 38 Prettiest Warm Places in Europe in November + Hidden Gems
☀️ 34 Prettiest Warm Places in Europe to Visit in January
🌎 50+ Best Dream Vacations For Your Travel Bucket List

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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!

  • Lucy Ivan November 12, 2021 at 10:36 am

    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!

  • Chris January 24, 2022 at 1:21 am

    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!

  • lucy February 6, 2022 at 12:51 pm

    Thank you so much for this amazing article <3 can't wait to visit Rome in 2 weeks now!

  • Martyna Gajos February 15, 2022 at 10:35 am

    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 😉

    • The Diary of a Nomad February 15, 2022 at 10:45 am

      You are so kind, Martyna! Thank you for this lovely message, I’m so glad it was helpful 🙂 Enjoy your trip to Rome!

  • Chetan Jadhav April 1, 2022 at 7:47 am

    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.

  • Mike April 19, 2022 at 9:27 am

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

    • The Diary of a Nomad April 19, 2022 at 3:32 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Mike! I put tons of work into it so am very happy it’s helpful!

  • David Slaviero April 27, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    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?

    • The Diary of a Nomad April 27, 2022 at 8:32 pm

      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!

  • Niki May 1, 2022 at 2:35 am

    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.

    • The Diary of a Nomad May 6, 2022 at 12:41 pm

      So happy this was helpful! Enjoy your trip! 🙂

  • Martha Ponte May 21, 2022 at 3:06 am

    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!

    • The Diary of a Nomad May 26, 2022 at 6:19 pm

      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!

  • Jenn August 10, 2022 at 7:38 am

    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.

  • Alice December 3, 2022 at 11:23 am

    Super helpful! I’m traveling to Rome next week and I’m kinda stressed about missing out on places/ stuff etc..

  • Chris December 11, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    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.

    • The Diary of a Nomad December 17, 2022 at 9:56 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that! 🙂

  • Stephany February 1, 2023 at 6:42 am

    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!

    • The Diary of a Nomad February 1, 2023 at 10:23 am

      I’m so glad this was helpful, Stephany!! Thank you for this heartwarming comment! <3

  • Karan Lathia February 9, 2023 at 3:21 pm

    Wow! Such a detailed article and found all the important information regarding Rome travel.

  • Sushma Aind February 14, 2023 at 9:23 am

    I am planning a trip to Italy and this itinerary for Rome in 3 Days is so detailed. I am definitely going to follow this one.

  • Camille February 24, 2023 at 7:35 am

    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!

  • Melanie May 13, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    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.

  • Charmi Shah July 3, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    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?

    • The Diary of a Nomad July 3, 2023 at 8:20 pm

      I woke up at 4 AM and got to those places before the crowds got there! 🙂

  • Andreas Koffer August 15, 2023 at 9:19 am

    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.

    • The Diary of a Nomad September 12, 2023 at 2:59 pm

      Really appreciate your kind words, Andreas!

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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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