Italy

2 DAYS IN ROME: AN EPIC ROME ITINERARY

Girl in yellow top stands on the Spanish Steps, Rome

Rome turned out to be exactly what I imagined. 

Birthplace of one of the world’s greatest civilisations, the city is filled to the brim with ancient wonders. You can hardly turn a corner without stumbling across an amphitheatre, 2000-year-old sculpture or important ruin. 

Thrumming with scooters and wildly gesticulating Italians Rome is chaotic, yet conversely laid back. Spend your days idly wandering the streets and you’ll discover Renaissance masterpieces alongside gritty street art. You’ll taste creamy spaghetti carbonara and dark chocolate and pistachio gelato. You’ll fall in love with what is arguably the coolest ancient capital in the world. 

There’s a lot to see and do in Rome, so dive straight into this guide to discover the ultimate 2-day Rome itinerary!

DAY 1

Early Morning: Trevi Fountain & Spanish Steps

You’re in Rome, and there’s no time to sleep in! Seriously; Rome is one of the world’ top tourist destinations and the best way to see the city is when everyone else is asleep. Set your alarm and get ready for a big day exploring the Eternal City.

First up on your epic 2-day Rome itinerary; the iconic Trevi Fountain. Built in the 18th century this large Baroque fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world. I mean it even features in The Lizzie McGuire Movie, ya know? 

To get a gram-worthy shot of the fountain you’ll need to get there at sunrise. If you go any later there’ll be an impenetrable wall of people blocking your perfect shot. 

Girl sits in front of the Trevi Fountain, Rome
Girl sits in front of the Trevi Fountain, Rome
Girl sits in front of the Trevi Fountain, Rome

From the Trevi Fountain it’s a 10-minute walk to another iconic Roman photo spot, the Spanish Steps. Named for the Spanish Embassy located in the square nearby, the sweeping staircase is a remarkable monument. Pause for a moment to soak in the lovely view, but don’t sit on the stairs; doing so could cost you a €400 fine.

Spanish Steps, Rome
Spanish Steps, Rome

Morning: Roman Forum & Colosseum

Phew! It’s been a big morning already, and your day is only starting. Grab a quick espresso and get your exploring shoes back on; it’s time for an ancient ruin or two.

Next up you’re headed to the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Colosseum. To make the most of your visit plan ahead and buy a Skip the Line ticket. Tickets start from €18 and you have to select a time slot for your visit to the Colosseum.

Your ticket includes entrance to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, so plan to head there either before or after. 

The Roman Forum was once the political heart of Ancient Rome. For centuries this sprawling site was the centre of day-to-day life. Gladiator matches were fought here, elections and criminal trials held and public speeches heard. After the fall of the Roman Empire the site fell into disuse, and today you’ll find an impressive, if slightly confusing, collection of ruins.

Roman Forum, Rome
Roman Forum, Rome

The Colosseum

You can’t visit Rome and not see the Colosseum. This famous ruin truly is the jewel of Rome’s crown, and though it’ll no doubt be thronging with tourists it inevitably should be on your Rome bucket list.

The Colosseum was the largest amphitheatre ever built at the time and in its heyday held up to 50,000 spectators. Spend an hour or so marvelling at the vast construction, and make sure to check out the museum collection for a fascinating insight into the Colosseum’s history. 

Colosseum, Rome
Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Lunch: Osteria Angelino dal 1899

It’s time to get some energy for further exploring, so how about a little carb loading? Hey, travelling is hard work.

I wasn’t expecting to find any good restaurants near the Colosseum. After all, it is the tourist hotspot of Rome. I was surprised, then, when we had one of the best meals of our stay at Osteria Angelino dal 1899. The menu was all in Italian and the Cacio e Pepe spaghetti I had was carb perfection.

Afternoon: Baths of Caracalla

By now you’re probably ready to crawl back to your hotel for a nap, but the day isn’t over yet. Next up you’re off to explore another ancient ruin, the Baths of Caracalla.

The Baths of Caracalla were built in AD 212 and at the time were the second largest public baths in Rome. They were in use until the 530’s before falling into disuse and ruin. Today not much remains but you’re able to get an idea of how impressive (and massive) the baths once would have been. 

Tickets to the Baths of Caracalla are €11. 

Mosaic at the Baths of Caracalla, Rome

DAY 2

Morning: Vatican City & Sistine Chapel

You don’t have to get up for sunrise today but don’t sleep in too long; there’s still a lot to see! This morning you’ll be crossing over into the world’s smallest country, Vatican City. 

Now, a visit to the Vatican City requires a little forward planning. Like the Colosseum I recommend buying a Skip the Line ticket to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel as it’ll save you queueing time later on. Skip the Line tickets start from €26 and you can purchase yours here.

Once you’re inside spend a few hours exploring the Vatican Museums. Built to conserve the collection of art amassed by various popes from the 17th century, the Museums house Roman sculptures and Renaissance masterpieces. 

Vatican City, Rome

Sistine Chapel

Of course, the most iconic feature of the Vatican City is the world-famous Sistine Chapel. Painstakingly painted by Michelangelo for four years, the frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel depicts biblical scenes. To be honest I only recognised the The Creation of Adam, and that’s thanks to Arrested Development. Who says TV doesn’t teach you anything?

Afternoon: Castel Sant’Angelo & Piazza Navona 

Take a breather, grab some pasta and then get right back to it. Next up on your 2-day Rome itinerary; Castel Sant’Angelo. 

Also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian this imposing fortress is located by the banks of the Tiber River. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum, but was later used by the popes as a castle. Today the Mausoleum houses a museum exhibit. Make sure to climb to the top for fantastic views of the Vatican City and back towards Rome.

Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome

Piazza Navona

Your 2 days in Rome are nearly up! Before heading for more pasta goodness make sure to check out Piazza Navona, one of the most important and beautiful squares in Rome. 

The square was defined as a public space in the 15th century when the city market was transferred there. As a result, Piazza Navona was transformed into a beautiful example of Baroque art and architecture. It’s a lovely spot to grab an aperitivo before dinner. 

Piazza Navona, Rome

Dinner: Trastevere Neighbourhood 

End your 2-days in Rome with a visit to the trendy Trastevere neighbourhood. Close to the university and thronging with students, Trastevere boasts numerous restaurants and endlessly pretty streets.

Go a little early and take a look around first before heading to Da Lucia for dinner. This quaint Roman trattoria was recommended to us by our Airbnb host, and unlike other restaurants in the neighbourhood Da Lucia offers reasonable prices and delicious traditional fare. Go early or book ahead; Da Lucia is always busy. 

There you have it; a whirlwind two days in Rome filled with carbs and ancient ruins.Though you could easily spend a little longer, two days is enough to scratch the surface and start to fall in love with the Eternal City. What are you waiting for? Start planning your adventure today!

Read More: The Ultimate 3-Week Northern Italy Itinerary

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2 Days in Rome: An Epic Itinerary
2 Days in Rome: An Epic Itinerary

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