Rome is a place where history, art, and culture converge to create a mesmerizing experience for travellers. Here, visitors have a chance to immerse themselves in vibrant street life, delicious cuisine, and captivating stories. In this 3 day itinerary, we will explore some of Rome’s most fascinating landmarks while ditching the crowds and experiencing a more authentic side of this iconic city.
If you are visiting Italy, chances are you will fly in and out of Rome. While there are varying opinions on how long you need to see it, we think 3 days in Rome is perfect. Especially for adventure and outdoor enthusiasts like ourselves.
During our time in this impressive country, we visited The Dolomites, Venice, Cinque Terre, The Amalfi Coast, Florence and Rome. We knew that Rome was a must because of its historic significance, but I’m not going to lie, it intimidated us.
As people who typically plan our trips around hiking, nature, and escaping the crowds at all costs, we knew that Rome was going to test us. With some precise planning and a bit of extra patience, we were able to enjoy this marvellous city while maintaining our sanity and personal space bubbles. For the most part, anyways.
With 3 Days in Rome and this itinerary, you will be able to see all of the iconic sights, get off the beaten path as much as possible and minimize crowds when you can’t.
Day 1: Ancient Rome + The Colosseum
After arriving in Rome and dropping your bags off at your hotel, make your way to the Colosseum. This elliptical amphitheatre was built between the years of 72-80 AD to host gladiatorial contests.
The Colosseum is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built and the largest standing amphitheatre in the world. We found that wild considering its age! This is one of the busiest buildings in Rome, but I promise, it’s worth the trip.
Although it is possible to explore on your own, we would HIGHLY recommend a guide. They allow you to skip the lines, access the amphitheatre floor, and are incredibly knowledgeable about Roman history.
We took this tour with The Adventure Guy which was great!
The Roman Forum, which is accessible from the Colosseum, was included in this tour. We learned more about the structures and Roman history before hiking up to Palatine Hill for sunset. This was one of my favourite places in all of Rome! It was surreal to look out over ancient ruins in the middle of a massive new-aged city. Plus, it was surprisingly quiet.
For dinner, walk about 5 minutes down the road to Trattoria Luzzi. This restaurant was highly recommended by our local guide and the food was to die for. We were lucky enough to grab a seat on the street with a view of the Colosseum at night.
Once you’re comfortably stuffed, make your way back to your hotel and gear up for tomorrow. We stayed at The RomeHello Hostel and would recommend it to anyone on a budget. It had affordable private rooms and a great common area for travellers to relax.
Day 2: Vatican City + The Jewish Ghetto
Wake up nice and early and begin your day with a guided tour of the Vatican. Again, you can choose to visit on your own but we booked this St Peters Dome Climb with Papal Crypts and loved it! It is relatively inexpensive and allows you to gain early access, skip the lines, and learn a ton about the history of the church.
If you are interested, you could tour the Vatican Museums next. Home to an unparalleled collection of art and history, these museums are most famous for the Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michelangelo. It is possible to hire a guide here, but it’s easy enough to peruse on your own.
Next, begin walking to the Pantheon. Avoid taking the main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, and try Via dei Coronari instead. This narrow street is lined with shops, cafes, and old buildings with substantially fewer people. This is an excellent place to stop for lunch. We found a hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Pasta Imperiale which serves cheap and delicious pasta.
This afternoon at the Pantheon is likely to be busy, but again, it will be worth it.
You can either buy a ticket online in advance or at the booth once you arrive. The Pantheon is a marvel of ancient engineering and one of Rome’s best-preserved ancient buildings. Take a moment to admire the Oculus, a hole in the dome that allows sunlight to illuminate the interior.
Once you’ve had your fill, leave the Pantheon and make your way to the Jewish Ghetto. This little hidden gem is located between the Tiber and Piazza Venezia. Due to haste or lack of attention, this neighbourhood is often overlooked by tourists.
That makes it perfect for those of us looking to get away from the masses and enjoy a little slice of authentic Rome!
The historic Jewish Ghetto is filled with a rich history and vibrant culture. It has a museum, its own set of ruins, and a ton of phenomenal restaurants. Do yourself a favour and stop in at BaGhetto Milky for dinner. You won’t be disappointed.
Day 3: Exploring the Streets of Rome
On your final day in Rome, get up early and go to the Trevi Fountain. Created in the 1700s, it is one of Rome’s most iconic structures. Made of the same material as the Colosseum, this fountain was built on the site of an ancient Roman water source. Visiting first thing is the best way to avoid the crowds.
Next, make your way to the Spanish Steps. They represent the close relationship between the Sacred and the Eternal City, shown through the elevation and vastness of the monument. The longest and widest steps in Europe are important landmarks in Rome as they host events and are home to Italian traditions.
If you are leaving early in the day, this may be all that you have time for. If you have a few extra hours, we would highly recommend exploring the neighbourhoods of Testaccio and Ostiense. Although these will likely require a bus or taxi ride, they are well worth the extra effort.
Both of these neighbouring districts are known for fantastic food and vibrant street art. The best part? Not a lot of tourists make the trip. In my opinion, wandering around these colourful areas is the perfect way to end 3 days in Rome.