How to do Rome in a Day

We get it, your next European vacation might only allow you a day or two in one city. Who can blame you? You need to see everything! Whether you’re backpacking, have a long layover or just have a packed itinerary, full of cities, you don’t always have a week to spend everywhere you go. Cities like Rome have SO much to do and it may seem impossible to see everything, but believe it or not, we’ve got a list of things that you can fit into just a day (trust us, it’s been done).

The Colosseum
Fun Fact: The Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world.

Firstly, you’ve got to start your day off bright and early because sleeping in doesn’t exist when you’re traveling. It’s always a good idea to start off with one of two things, wherever it will be hottest (and Rome gets HOT) or wherever it will be most crowded, and the Colosseum meets all of the criteria. The world wonder opens at 8:30 a.m. with varying closing times. You can either pay for admission and enter individually or you can book a tour. Booking a regular tour that has access to the normal areas of the Colosseum (no underground or arena floor access) will cost roughly $50.00, but you can find some $40.00 and below options as well. The benefit of a tour is that it includes access to the Colosseum and you get to skip the line to enter, which can get LONG. Regular entrance fees cost roughly € 10,00, which comes out to about $12.00.

Trevi Fountain in Rome
Fun fact: Every night, roughly 3,000 Euros are taken from inside the fountain and donated to charity.

After your trip to the Colosseum, you’ve got to weigh your options. What’s more important to you, the Spanish Steps or the Trevi Fountain? Both are within the general area of the Colosseum and you can walk to them in roughly 20 minutes. For those who aren’t up for walking, public transit is your best friend. If you wanted to, you could easily do both of these attractions, you would just have to have quick meals and stay on a tighter schedule. If walking, the Trevi Fountain is closer to the Colosseum so we would recommend stopping there first, and then making your way over to the Spanish Steps for lunch.

While you’re at the steps, you’ll walk past Fontana della Barcaccia, a famous water fountain that is meant to resemble a ship. The water that comes from this water fountain is actually safe to drink and you will often see tourists filling up their water bottles there. There are also plenty of restaurants near the Spanish Steps, so it’s also a great opportunity to regroup and have some food.

Vatican City in Rome
Fun fact: The Spanish Steps have a total of 135 steps.

The rest of your day will essentially be taken up with Vatican City. Pro tip: don’t walk there this time. Walking is the best way to see Rome, and it is an extremely walkable city, but the walk from the Spanish Steps to the Vatican is roughly 40 minutes, and if it’s the Summer, you’ll bake. Again, public transit is your best friend. The Metro is probably your cheapest and most efficient option.

Another pro tip (not really): Be sure to cover your knees and shoulders when you’re pretty much anywhere in Italy. You can’t enter the Vatican or St. Peter’s Basilica if you aren’t dressed modestly. They sell scarves and wraps outside of the Vatican that you can buy to wrap around your shoulders or waist if you prefer that.

Fun Fact: Michelangelo only painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, other artists were brought in for the walls.

Vatican Museum ticket prices can vary, but a skip the line ticket will be € 40,00, which is about $46.00 in U.S. Dollars. This will give you access to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel at the end. The museum is filled with beautiful and historic works of art, just keep in mind that it does get very crowded, and you won’t be allowed to take your own photos. After the Sistine Chapel, you can exit to go outside and you will very quickly see the entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica. You’ll also find an open-air outside the basilica which, trust us, you’ll need because you’ll probably be packed like sardines in the Sistine Chapel. Be sure to go into St. Peter’s Basilica, it is absolutely gorgeous, the architecture is breathtaking and you won’t want to miss it.

Fun fact: St. Peter’s Basilica was built above the burial site of St. Peter.

That’s it, that’s how you do Rome in a day. Obviously, when you travel it’s for you, so substitute what you will. If you’ve already been to one place, do something else, but nonetheless, take advantage of that layover or your single day you have in the city because you can fit a lot more in than you think you can.