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Rome in One Day: Your Ultimate Guide to a Jam-Packed Adventure

So you’re gearing up for an adventure-packed one day in Rome? Well, let me tell you, you’re in for a treat! Rome, the Eternal City, is a whirlwind of history, culture, and extraordinary sights, and even if you’ve only got 24 hours, you can still immerse yourself in the magic of this ancient metropolis.

Off the beaten path in Italy's capital with our extensive list of 25 hidden gems in Rome, and all the things you can do in Rome in one day.

Picture this: you step off the plane, excitement coursing through your veins. The clock is ticking one your one day in Rome, but fear not! We’re here to guide you through a carefully crafted itinerary that will ensure you catch the highlights and create unforgettable memories along the way.

Before you stress, yes, Rome in a day is totally possible- provided that you have comfortable shoes and a sense of adventure. From the magnificent Colosseum, where you’ll feel the echoes of gladiators’ battles, to the awe-inspiring Vatican City, where art and spirituality intertwine, Rome will captivate your senses at every turn.

But it’s not just about the iconic landmarks. Rome’s essence lies in its cobblestone streets, bustling piazzas, and the mouthwatering aroma of freshly baked pizza wafting through the air. While not as easy as a day trip to Florence, a day in Rome means that you wander through the labyrinthine alleys of Trastevere, and stumble upon hidden trattorias serving up heavenly pasta. Indulge in the simple pleasure of sipping a cappuccino in a quaint café, or people-watch in one of the charming squares.

As you stroll through the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, keep your eyes open for those unexpected moments of discovery—a local artisan’s shop, a street performer captivating a crowd, or the vibrant colors of a bustling market.

Rome is a city of contrasts, where ancient history meets contemporary life. It’s a city that invites you to immerse yourself in its tapestry of past and present, to savor every moment and create your own unique Roman experience that may be different than the way you plan your Southern Italy itinerary.

So, my adventurous friend, get ready to seize the day and embark on an unforgettable Roman adventure. In just one day, you’ll capture the essence of this captivating city and leave with memories to last a lifetime. Are you ready to explore the wonders of Rome in a day? Let’s dive in together!

Looking to spend a day in Rome but not sure where to stay? This local's guide to Rome is crafted to make sure to cover all the highlights, the best places to eat, and your budget, and places to stay in Rome. Everything you need to explore Rome in a day.

Rome in One Day: Morning Itinerary


Starting your Rome in one day trip at the iconic Colosseum is a great way to begin. This ancient amphitheater is the perfect place for you to immerse yourself in the fascinating history of Rome. It is recommended that you arrive early to avoid long queues and the midday sun.

Roman Forum

After exploring the Colosseum, make your way to the neighboring Roman Forum. This area was the center of daily life during ancient Rome and features magnificent temples, government buildings, and public spaces. Since the Roman Forum is within walking distance from the Colosseum and a part of the same architectural complex, you won’t need to worry about additional entry tickets.

Palatine Hill

Next on your Rome in a day morning itinerary is Palatine Hill, one of the most ancient parts of the city. Located just a short walk from the Roman Forum, this hill was once home to Rome’s wealthiest and most powerful inhabitants. As you wander the Palatine Hill, you’ll witness spectacular views of the Forum and Circus Maximus. Similar to the Roman Forum, entry to Palatine Hill is included in your Colosseum ticket.

Here’s a summary of your Rome in one day morning itinerary (don’t worry- they are all really close to each other):

  • Colosseum: Piazza del Colosseo, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
  • Roman Forum: Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
  • Palatine Hill: Via di S. Gregorio, 30, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

Enjoy your morning exploring these three must-see attractions during your one day in Rome, and be prepared for an unforgettable day trip in the Eternal City.


While we know that guided tours might not be for everyone, getting a tour means being able to avoid standing in long lines. And that alone is worth the price.

To make the most of your day in Rome, we highly recommend booking a tour so you can skip the lines- as they do tend to be quite long.

The tours above are normally run by experts in the field, and last between 2-3 hours- the perfect amount of time to explore and head on to the next part of your adventure.

One day in Rome: Afternoon Itinerary


After exploring the Colosseum and Roman Forum in the morning, make your way to the Pantheon during the afternoon. This ancient Roman temple, now a church, is a must-visit attraction when seeing Rome in a day. The is no entry fee.

Admire the Pantheon’s impressive portico, massive dome, and beautiful interior as you take in its history. Don’t forget to look for the famous oculus, a circular opening at the top of the dome, which provides natural light inside the Pantheon.

Looking to spend a day in Rome but not sure where to stay? This local's guide to Rome is crafted to make sure to cover all the highlights, the best places to eat, and your budget, and places to stay in Rome. Everything you need to explore Rome in a day including Trevi fountain and the Spanish Steps.

Trevi Fountain

Next on your one day in Rome itinerary is the iconic Trevi Fountain. Located just a short walk from the Pantheon at Piazza di Trevi, this stunning Baroque masterpiece is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Don’t forget to toss a coin into the fountain, which is believed to ensure a return trip to Rome. Just remember to use your right hand to throw the coin over your left shoulder.

LIFE TIP: Grab a gelato from a nearby shop and spend some time enjoying the bustling atmosphere around the fountain.

Spanish Steps

To round off your afternoon, head to the Spanish Steps, another iconic sight to include in your Rome in 1 day tour. Climbing these elegant and wide staircases is a quintessential Roman experience. Sadly, the day on sitting on the sets and people watching are long gone, but it’s stunning place to visit.

At the foot of the steps, you’ll find the beautiful Barcaccia Fountain. Take a moment to appreciate its unique design before exploring some of the upscale shops and cafes surrounding the Piazza di Spagna.

Note: it does tend to crowded here, so head here early (right around sunrise) if you’re looking to take photos.

In just one afternoon, you’ve been able to visit some of Rome’s most famous attractions, making the most of your Rome day trip. Keep in mind that Rome has much more to offer, and you may want to consider extending your stay to experience everything this spectacular city has to offer.

A Day in Rome: Evening Itinerary

After seeing Rome’s major attractions during the day, it’s time to explore some charming and lively spots in the city in the evening. Here’s an evening itinerary to make the most of your Rome in one day experience.

Piazza Navona

First, head over to Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s most beautiful squares. As you stroll through the piazza, you’ll be enchanted by the stunning fountains, historic buildings, and lively atmosphere. Don’t forget to snap some photos of the magnificent Fountain of the Four Rivers in the center of the square, showcasing Bernini’s exceptional baroque artistry.

There is also a variety of street performers and artists that bring a unique flair to this bustling locale. Piazza Navona also offers a wide array of restaurants and cafes, where you can enjoy an authentic Italian meal or a drink to recharge your energy before moving on to your next destination.


Next, make your way to the charming neighborhood of Trastevere. Located on the west side of the River Tiber, this stunning area is famous for its cobblestone streets, vibrant nightlife, and abundant dining options. Take some time to wander through Trastevere’s picturesque alleyways and soak up the local ambiance as the sun sets over Rome.

You’ll find various bars and traditional Italian restaurants where you can savor delicious Roman cuisine while enjoying the nightlife. Since you’re in the area, don’t miss out on the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, a beautiful church boasting exquisite mosaics and a striking façade.

Where to eat in Trastevere

For those getting hungry, and wanting to indulge dinner, here are 3 places to help curb your appetite.

  1. Da Enzo al 29 – This charming trattoria is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, serving up classic Roman dishes and a daily changing menu all set in a cozy setting. Address: Via dei Vascellari, 29
  2. Osteria der Belli – This rustic osteria is known for its hearty portions of traditional Roman cuisine, including pasta dishes, grilled meats, and seasonal vegetables. Perfect spot for a casual dinner with friends or family. Address: Piazza di Sant’Apollonia, 11
  3. La Tavernaccia – From homemade pastas to fresh seafood dishes, this family-run restaurant makes everything with care and attention to detail. With a warm and welcoming atmosphere, it’s a great spot for a romantic dinner or special occasion. Address: Via Giovanni da Castel Bolognese, 63

Make the best of your Rome in 1 day journey by visiting these two spots in the evening. Your Rome day trip would be incomplete without experiencing the dazzling Piazza Navona and the captivating charm of Trastevere. Immerse yourself in the Roman nightlife and create unforgettable memories during your one day in Rome itinerary.

Late night suggestions:

When it comes to late-night activities in Rome, the city truly comes alive with a vibrant energy. Whether you’re a night owl or looking to make the most of your limited time, here are some suggestions for things to do and places to visit:

  1. Enjoy Night Views from Pincio Terrace: Head to the Pincio Terrace in Villa Borghese Park for panoramic views of Rome at night. Address: Viale dell’Orologio, Rome.
  2. Experience Nightlife in Testaccio: Known for its vibrant nightlife scene, the Testaccio neighborhood offers a range of bars, clubs, and live music venues. Dance the night away and mingle with locals. Address: Testaccio, Rome.

Remember to check the specific opening hours of each location as they may vary. Embrace the enchanting atmosphere of Rome at night and create unforgettable memories in the Eternal City!


Getting Around Rome

Rome is packed with history, culture, and delicious food, and you can still experience the best of it even in a short amount of time.

TIP: To make the most of your day in Rome, we recommend starting early to avoid the crowds. Also recommend this for those who want to take photos before the city wakes up. We find just around sunrise to be the perfect time.

By using public transportation, you’ll be able to cover a lot of ground and visit the main attractions. The metro system in Rome is quite efficient, operating from 5:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., with extended hours until 1:30 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

In addition to the metro, you can explore Rome like a local by hopping on a bus. For a quick overview, consider these bus routes:

  • n1 follows the route of metro line A
  • n2 follows the route of metro line B
  • n7 stops at some major attractions like Piazza Venezia and Stazione Termini

Remember, when visiting Rome in a day, traveling light and wearing comfortable shoes are essential. Keep an eye on your belongings as pickpocketing can be an issue, especially in crowded tourist areas and on public transportation.

Looking to spend a day in Rome but not sure where to stay? This local's guide to Rome is crafted to make sure to cover all the highlights, the best places to eat, and your budget, and places to stay in Rome. Everything you need to explore Rome in a day.

How Much Does One Day in Rome Cost?

When planning your Rome in one day adventure, it’s essential to budget for various expenses. A day in Rome can vary in cost, depending on your preferences and which activities you choose to indulge in. On average, expect to spend around €170 ($182) per day on your vacation in the Eternal City.

When mapping out your one day in Rome itinerary, consider the cost of attractions and activities. While some of the best of Rome can be explored for free, such as admiring the Trevi Fountain or wandering the cobbled Trastevere streets, popular sites like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and the Vatican do require admission fees.

For instance, visiting the Colosseum & Roman Forum may cost around €16 ($18), while exploring Vatican City could set you back €17 ($19) for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. If you’re trying to maximize your Rome in a day experience, consider booking a Rome in a day tour, which may cost between €50 and €150 ($55 and $167) depending on the inclusions and the tour company.


While we know that guided tours might not be for everyone, getting a tour means being able to avoid standing in long lines. And that alone is worth the price.

While discovering things to do in Rome in 1 day, be mindful of your transportation costs and meal expenses. To navigate the city, you may spend approximately:

  • €7 for an all-day Metro pass.
  • €3 per ride if using a taxi app like Uber or FreeNow – prices may increase during high demand.
  • Alternatively, walking between attractions can save you money and provide an authentic experience of Rome’s charming streets.

Meal expenses are an essential part of your Rome day trip, with dining options ranging from budget-friendly street food to high-end authentic Italian cuisine. On average, plan to spend around €47 ($51) on meals for one day:

  • Breakfast: €5-€10 ($5.50-$11) at a typical café or bakery.
  • Lunch: €15-€25 ($16.50-$27.50) for a mid-range meal.
  • Dinner: €25-€45 ($27.50-$49.50) at a sit-down restaurant.

To make the most of your 1 day in Rome, prioritize what you want to see and do, create a plan, and keep track of your expenses. Enjoy the stunning architecture, mouth-watering cuisine, and immerse yourself in the abundant history of Rome in 1 day.

Rome in One Day: Additional Tips

Safety and Etiquette Tips

When visiting Rome in a day, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables secure. Pickpockets can be found in tourist-heavy areas, so be vigilant so you don’t get scammed in Italy. Also, remember to dress modestly when visiting religious sites, such as the Vatican or St. Peter’s Basilica. This means covering your shoulders and knees.

Food Options

Take advantage of Rome’s incredible culinary offerings during your day trip. Start your day with a cappuccino and a pastry at a local café. And for lunch or dinner, try some of the city staples such as pizza, pasta, or gelato. Don’t forget to taste Rome’s famous street food – supplì and trapizzino. Some popular areas for dining include Trastevere, Monti, and Testaccio.

Looking to spend a day in Rome but not sure where to stay? This local's guide to Rome is crafted to make sure to cover all the highlights, the best places to eat, and your budget, and places to stay in Rome. Everything you need to explore Rome in a day.

Time Management

To make the most of your one day in Rome, prioritize the attractions you’d like to visit. Here’s a suggested itinerary:

  1. Morning: Begin your day with the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. To save time, consider purchasing a skip-the-line ticket.
  2. Lunchtime: Grab a quick bite at a nearby pizzeria or café.
  3. Afternoon: Head to the Vatican City. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel.
  4. Evening: Explore the historical city center. Don’t miss the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Spanish Steps.

Keep in mind, Rome’s public transportation, such as buses and metro, can be crowded and slow. If possible, walk between attractions or use taxis and rideshares for more efficient travel. With careful planning and time management, you’ll be able to experience the best of Rome in just one day!

One Day in Rome Itineraries

Free and Budget Friendly Options

If you’re looking to experience the best of Rome in one day on a tight budget. Don’t worry – there are plenty of things you can do without breaking the bank. Start your day by visiting the iconic Colosseum and Roman Forum. You can marvel at the ancient architecture and learn the history at your own pace. Note that while entering the monuments requires a fee, you can still enjoy their grandeur from outside for free.

Next, head towards the Pantheon. This impressive building is not only one of the best-preserved examples of ancient Roman architecture but also free to enter. Afterward, make your way to the enchanting Trevi Fountain. Don’t forget to throw a coin and make a wish!

In the afternoon, stroll through the picturesque Piazza di Spagna and ascend the famous Trinità dei Monti steps. To finish off your Rome-in-a-day experience, soak up the sunset over the city at the Terrazza del Pincio.

Seasonal Itinerary Suggestions

Winter, spring, summer, or fall – there’s always something magical happening in Rome. Here are some seasonal itinerary ideas to help you make the most of your day in Rome:


In spring, everything is in bloom; the climate is mild, and Rome is adorned in color. After the morning tour suggested in the budget-friendly itinerary, spend the afternoon in the lush Villa Borghese Gardens and visit the Pincio Terrace to breathe in the fresh spring air. In the evening, explore Trastevere by night for a truly authentic Roman dining experience.


Summer in Rome can be scorching hot, so make sure to stay hydrated while ticking off must-see sites like the Colosseum and Pantheon. For a more comfortable afternoon, escape the heat at the Catacombs of San Callisto or treat yourself to Italy’s famous gelato while wandering around charming piazzas. End your day in Rome with a visit to Castel Sant’Angelo for stunning views of the city illuminated at night.


Autumn paints Rome in warm, golden hues, creating a romantic atmosphere. Start your day at the Roman Forum, and then explore Rome’s beautiful parks during their peak fall foliage, such as Villa Doria Pamphili. As the sun sets, enjoy a traditional Italian “aperitivo” in the lively Piazza del Popolo.


Wintertime Rome offers a quieter, more relaxed experience. After your morning visit to the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon, spend the afternoon wandering around the city to explore Rome’s Christmas markets. If your day in Rome falls on a Wednesday, consider attending the Pope’s audience in St. Peter’s Square or marvel at the stunning frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.

Where to stay in Rome?

Are you planning a whirlwind day in Rome and wondering where to stay? Look no further! In this guide, we’ll help you find the perfect neighborhood to make the most of your short visit to the Eternal City.

From the historic charm of Trastevere to the bustling streets of the city center, each district in Rome offers a unique experience. Whether you’re seeking ancient ruins, local markets, or mouthwatering trattorias, we’ve got you covered.

Stay near the iconic Colosseum and immerse yourself in the rich history of Ancient Rome. Or choose the vibrant neighborhood of Monti, known for its trendy boutiques and hip cafés.

With Rome’s excellent public transportation system, you can easily explore all the must-see attractions, no matter where you stay.

Places to stay in Rome

  1. Hotel Artemide – This 4-star hotel is located in the heart of Rome, just a few minutes’ walk from the Termini train station. It features a rooftop terrace with panoramic views, a wellness centre, and a restaurant serving traditional Italian cuisine.
  2. Hotel Indigo Rome – St. George – This 4-star hotel is housed in a historic building in the heart of Rome’s city centre, just a short walk from the Vatican and the Castel Sant’Angelo. It features a rooftop terrace with views of the city, a fitness centre, and a restaurant serving traditional Roman cuisine.
  3. Grand Hotel Palace Rome – This 5-star hotel is located in the exclusive Via Veneto district of Rome, just a short walk from the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. It features a rooftop garden with panoramic views, a fitness centre, and a restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine.
  4. Hotel Quirinale – This 4-star hotel is located in the heart of Rome, just a few minutes’ walk from the Termini train station. It features a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city, a fitness centre, and a restaurant serving traditional Italian cuisine.

By selecting the right neighborhood, you’ll have easy access to Rome’s cultural gems and be able to soak up the authentic Roman atmosphere during your one-day adventure. Get ready to create unforgettable memories in the enchanting city of Rome!

Looking to spend a day in Rome but not sure where to stay? This local's guide to Rome is crafted to make sure to cover all the highlights, the best places to eat, and your budget, and places to stay in Rome. Everything you need to explore Rome in a day including everything you need to know about your trip to Vatican City.

One day in Rome Bonus: Visit Vatican City

While we recommend having more than just one day in Rome to explore Vatican City, we know that heading is on a lot of people’s list.

Vatican City is an absolute must-see when visiting Rome. As the world’s smallest fully independent nation-state, it boasts incredible artworks and monuments, including St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel. Prepare for a unique and unforgettable experience that blends rich history, stunning architecture, and religious significance.

Here’s some key information to help you plan your visit:

  1. St. Peter’s Square: It’s the easiest part of Vatican City to access. Simply walk in and admire the beautiful oval square and the exterior of St. Peter’s Basilica without any advance planning.
  2. Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel: To visit these iconic sites, it’s highly recommended to book tickets in advance. This will help you avoid long lines and ensure a smoother experience.
  3. Dress Code: Remember to dress modestly and respectfully as Vatican City is a religious site. Both men and women should cover their shoulders and knees. Avoid wearing shorts, sleeveless tops, or revealing clothing.
  4. Plan your visit during the early morning or late afternoon to avoid large crowds.

By keeping these details in mind and embracing the awe-inspiring atmosphere of Vatican City, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after you leave Rome.

As your exciting day in Rome comes to an end, take a moment to think about all the amazing things you did. In just 24 hours, you explored the city’s history, admired incredible buildings, enjoyed delicious food, and soaked up the lively atmosphere of the Eternal City.

Remember, Rome is a big city with lots to see, and even though you only had a short time, you experienced some of its special magic.

Say goodbye to this wonderful place, but keep the memories of the impressive sights, beautiful art, and vibrant streets close to your heart. Rome will always be here, ready to welcome you back and show you more amazing things.

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