I’m gonna use my non-existent psychic powers to predict that you’re here to plan a wicked awesome, Rome 2 day itinerary!
Am I right?
I am! Hooray! Okay, in fairness that was a dumb question.
Obviously, you’re here for that reason given the extremely unimaginative title of this post.
Madam Cleo I am not.
But what I lack in predictive capabilities I make up for with my adorableness (hopefully), quirky sense of humor, and travel planning
So at least I’ve got that going for me.
But anyway, I’m gonna keep it real for you. 2 days in Rome is not a lot of time at all. Especially since Rome is probably one of the best places to visit in Italy.
You can see many of Rome’s top attractions within this time frame, but to really understand Rome’s people and get a feel for the city’s culture, you need at least a week in this enchanting epicenter of history.
You’ll want to maintain some semblance of sanity since sprinting from one archeological masterpiece to another can be slightly overwhelming; especially in a city that is literally overflowing with historic awesomeness.
So I promise:
Finding enough things to do in Rome will not be a problem.
Packing enough elastic waist pants just might be since you’re gonna wanna eat ALL the food and make room for your resulting food baby.
So onwards, my dear friends, to this epic Rome 2 day itinerary.
All the obvious AF stops will be on here
I mean, have you really been to Rome without seeing these places?
However, I will throw in some mildly unique Rome attractions too since I kind of wanna retain at least some of my travel related street cred.
Come on, I know you’re SUPER excited (insert winkie emoji here). If you’re lucky, you may even learn about some all too common mistakes to avoid in Rome.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
***Looking for some of the best hotels in Rome? Then definitely check out Hassler Roma (luxury hotel with impeccable service), Hotel Campo de’ Fiori (fun and quirky boutique hotel), Generator Rome (Nice centrally located, budget hotel with dorm and private rooms), and Hotel des Artistes (another great budget-friendly hotel).***
Rome Itinerary Day 1
Just as a little FYI:
Many of the top Rome attractions on this itinerary are also some of the most iconic sites in the world.
Visit at 12 pm on a Tuesday at your own peril because yes, every tour group and selfie stick-wielding tourist known to man will be there.
I suggest waking up at some ungodly hour, AKA before dawn, so that you can visit both the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain before hordes of tripod totin’ photographers descend upon either one of these architectural wonders.
So, the first stop on this Rome 2 day itinerary?
The Trevi Fountain since we’ll work our way towards the Colleseum.
I guess we should start with directions since that’s kind of a big deal.
To get here:
Just hop on the subway and get off at Barberini station.
I can’t imagine that you’d be up before the metro started running (if you are then you’re a much better human than me).
I know it’s cliched AF but legend dictates that you must throw a coin, with your right hand, over your left shoulder, and into the Trevi Fountain.
This is something that you’ll want to do since most everyone wants to return to Rome for a future visit.
And if you dare to be different:
You can also throw THREE coins into the Trevi Fountain since the first coin guarantees a return visit to Rome, the second ensures a new romance, and the third leads a lasting marriage.
I can’t promise that any of these things will actually happen to you. But, I can pinkie promise that while you’re here, you’ll enjoy the lack of crowds, the awe-inspiring architecture, the crystal blue water, and the whimsical fun of channeling your inner Audrey Hepburn while throwing a coin into the fountain.
It’s a whopping 8-minute walk to the Spanish Steps, something that I think you can totally handle.
If you don’t want to walk to the Spanish Steps:
There are a few metro stations that you can use. Obviously, Spagna is the closest since it’s literally in the Piazza di Spagna which sits at the bottom of the Spanish Steps.
Barberini and Flaminio are also viable metro stations to get off at, depending on where you’re coming from.
Once at the Spanish Steps:
There isn’t that much to do THAT early in the morning. You can sit, relax, snag a few primo Instagram photos, people watch, and just enjoy the view with behemoth trough full of coffee.
***Depending on your budget, I would suggest doing a walking tour through the highlights of Rome. I did one and enjoyed it since it was way faster than finding all these places myself. Plus, the tour gave me a better understanding and appreciation for the history and architectural significance of these amazing places. As a result, I saw more than just a bunch of pretty stairs.***
You can also explore Piazza Trinita dei Monti at the tippity top.
But by now:
All that stair climbing probably has you feeling pretty damn hungry!
And what better way to start this 2 day Rome itinerary then with copious amounts of carbohydrates for breakfast!
Am I right? If you’re nodding your head yes then follow me as we frolic through a field of cannolis!
Or aggressively ride the metro to breakfast.
Just head to the Spagna station and take the metro 4 stops to
Vittorio Emanuele and hit up Pasticceria Regoli for breakfast!
Nom, nom, nom.
And no need to wonder if they’ll be open since they are awesome and start serving at 6:30 am (they also close at 8:30 pm)!
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A tasty stop along the Quartiere Esquilino in Rome, Pasticceria Regoli is opened since 1916 #roma #quartiereesquilino #viadellostatuto #pasticceriaregoli #patisserie #pastryshop #vintageshop #vintagesignboard #streetphotography #volgoroma #vivoroma #visitroma #igersroma #thehub_roma #roma_city_official #loves_united_roma #loves_roma_ #new_photolazio
These bad boys of Italian pastry have been around since ye olde 1916 and have created one of the city’s most popular pastry shops!
And you’ll understand why when you see display cases jam-packed with an assortment of pastries that include cakes, wild strawberry tarts, maritozzo (buns filled with Panna, otherwise known as heavy cream), and more.
Not sure what to order?
Get the maritozzo, a traditional Roman pastry that was typically baked during Lent but that is now available all year long.
Once you’ve decided what to order (probably the single most important decision of your trip):
Feel free to grab your pastries to go, or place an order with the cashier and the kitchen will deliver your pastries to a table at the cafe next door.
After you’ve eat all the sugar you can stomach:
It’s just a 13-minute walk along Viale del Monte Oppio and through Parco del Colle Oppio to the Colosseum!
***If you’re taking the metro, get off at the Colosseo station and you literally cannot miss it. Also, metro tickets are €1.50 for a single metro (or bus/train) ride or €7.00 for a 24-hour ticket with unlimited rides on the metro, bus, and train (if you plan to travel via public transportation at least 5 times then the unlimited ticket is worth it).***
Trust me, you can’t get lost since the Colosseum is hard to miss!
Regardless of the time of year, or the time of day, the Colosseum is and ALWAYS will be crowded.
Purchase your skip-the-line ticket to the Colosseum (the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are included) well in advance and you’ll be able to gleefully skip past all the suckers who are waiting in line (I still had to wait for a bit so that I could exchange my ticket voucher for an actual ticket).
The top three floors of the Colosseum, known as the Belvedere and Hypogeum, are only accessible with a guided tour and are not included with a general ticket (it costs an extra €9 for a ticket to one of these sections and €15 for a combined ticket).
If you’re a Roman history nerd, love exquisite views, and are dying to discover more about this portion of the building, then definitely book a tour in advance (this way you can learn a ton of amazing facts about the Colosseum).
If you’ve attended at least one Roman history class in your life, or if you’ve ever seen the uber-hunky Russel Crowe in the movie Gladiator, then you know that this is the complex where gladiators went to do battle (and no, I’m not talking about Ice and Storm from the show American Gladiators).
I’m not about to detail the sorted history of this building and list the 10,000 emperors who had a hand in creating this structure.
For all this insanely detailed info, please see a Roman history expert that is not me.
But, let’s chat a little about what you’ll see at the Colosseum, shall we?
Along the outer walls, you’ll find three levels of arches that are made of columns and topped with either Ionic capitals at the bottom or Doric and Corinthian capitals at the top.
You’ll see that the interior was divided into three sections known as the arena, the
The arena was where gladiators did battle and consisted of an enormous wood floor, covered in sand, that not only provided combatants with traction but that also helped soak up the blood from any particularly gruesome battles.
Above the arena:
There was the
Magistrates and senior officials sat in the lowest tier, wealthy citizens in the middle tier, and the plebs, or poverty-ridden commoners, sat in the highest tier.
Yeah, we were apparently the lowest of the low and sat WAY at the top.
The podium, or the broad terrace that sat n front of the other sections of seats, was reserved only for the snazziest of Rome’s citizenry, like emperors, senators, and SUPER VIPs.
Rock on, take a ridiculous number of photos, grab an audio guide if you’re not doing a formal tour (just so that you actually know what you’re looking at), wear comfy shoes for climbing all those stairs, and pack a snack, water bottle, and sunscreen/hat since this edifice is devoid of shade as well as food and drink vendors.
Dying of hunger yet?
If you are then you’ll be tickled pink by our next stop, Templo Di Iside, which is a delightful seafood restaurant that is just a 10-minute walk
***Not into seafood? Then try I
This elegant, AKA expensive, seafood restaurant is known for having a wide array of seafood dishes that showcase ingredients like sea urchin roe, oysters, and fish carpaccio.
I loved the homemade pasta with sweet red shrimp (I skipped the shrimp) and fresh pecorino since the pasta was light, fluffy, and just decadently delicious.
I practically licked the plate clean but then social norms restrained me.
I’ve also heard that the fish ravioli with roe is excellent, but since I don’t eat fish, I haven’t tried that dish for myself.
Just remember that this place is incredibly popular.
Definitely make a reservation, especially if you want to take advantage of their delightful, outdoor seating during the summer.
Once you can’t stomach anymore seafood awesomeness, then it’s on to the Roman Forum!
Once the epicenter of all social, commercial, and political life in the Roman Empire:
The Roman Forum is now a sprawling assortment of ruins that represent the impressive temples, basilicas, and urban centers of commerce that once stood in Rome.
Simply enter via the Largo della Salara Vecchia, the Palatino, or through the entrance near the Arco di Tito.
You’ll see the Tempio di Antonin e Faustina ahead of you and to the left (if you entered the complex via the Largo
Walk to the end of the path and you’ll see the forum’s main road, as well as the Tempio di Giulio Cesare.
Make a right, up Via Sacra, and you’ll find the Curia, or the former seat of the Roman Senate (there’s also a slab of black marble in front that is said to cover the tomb of Romulus.
Continue to the end of Via Sacra and you’ll see the Arco di Settimio Severo which was built in AD 203 to commemorate Rome’s victory over the Parthians.
Other Roman Forum highlights include:
The Arco di Tito, which was built in AD 81 to celebrate Vespasian and Titus’ victories against rebels in Jerusalem, as well as eight granite columns which are the only remains from the Tempio di Saturno; an important place of worship that was also the site of the state treasury.
Also be sure to visit the Chiesa di Santa Maria Antiqua, a
Be sure to walk inside and you’ll be delighted by a variety of 6th- to 9th-century, Christian frescoes that are accompanied by a depiction of the Virgin Mary with child, one of the first in existence.
Also of interest?
And believe it or not:
These ladies were chosen as priestesses when they were between just 6 and 10 years old and were required to serve the temple for an insane thirty years!
And if the flame ever went out?
Yeah, they’d be flogged, or buried alive if they lost their virginity!
Now, are there 10,000 other things to see at the Roman Forum?
But that’s okay since this is a tiny list that details only some of the Forum highlights that you do not want to miss.
This place is huge, so be sure to grab a map, and or your nearest tour guide.
Don’t forget to wear comfy shoes since you’ll be doing a lot of walking.
And while you’re at it:
Be sure to pack a snack and carry a water bottle since it will take you a while to stroll through the Forum and you might get kind of hungry or thirsty (wear a hat or put on sunscreen during the summer).
I think that’s it but if I forgot something, I’m sure a rogue internet troll will remind me.
Now onwards to Palatine Hill!
Right in between the Roman Forum and the Circo Massimo sits Palatine Hill, the most central of Rome’s seven hills and the most exclusive neighborhood in the ancient world since it was right next door to the Roman Forum.
Much of Palatine Hill is covered in ruins from a vast palace complex that was built by Emperor Domitian during the first century AD.
As you enter through the main entrance on Via di San Gregorio:
Follow the path, to the left and up the hill, for fantastic views of Rome, as well as a nice visualization of the chronological development of the hill (as you walk higher, the ruins will get older).
Once at the top:
Enjoy the panoramic views of Rome, the charming pine trees, the exquisite ruins, and the awesome view of the Roman Forum from the Ori Farnesiani.
Other highlights include the
Once you’re exhausted and have a hunger that no protein bar can fill, it’s time again for food, glorious food!
Li Rioni (Some of the best pizza in Rome)
Because I’m a New Yorker, I’m a total pizza snob. There, I admit it. Glad I got that off my chest.
This also means that if it isn’t NY style pizza, then I don’t consider it real pizza.
I know, totally ridiculous but true.
However, before you stone me to death for my inability to love all types of pizza, both big and small, let me just profess my undying love for the pizza perfection that is produced by Li Rioni.
Sure, they serve other things as well.
But when I come here, I come for the pizza. Baked to order in a woodburning oven, the crust is thin, crispy, and consistantly delicious.
They have a ton of flavors to choose from. Therefore, everyone will walk away happy after devouring pizza amidst the restaurant’s unique, interior decor that resembles an old Roman neighborhood.
Now, since I’m a total pizza purist:
I stuck with the tomato and cheese pizza and have zero regrets since it was basically heaven in my mouth.
Also, be sure to:
Embrace your inner Roman and try some of their amazing Fritti, or fried appetizers, with your pizza.
I promise, you won’t regret it.
But what you will regret is not making a reservation since this restaurant gets incredibly crowded.
Book a table in advance and all will be right with the world.
Rome Itinerary Day 2
I know day 1 of this 2 day Rome itinerary was pretty intense, but you’ve got this! You’re a total champ!
But even champs need their Wheaties to kick start their day! That’s why we’ll be starting our day at Panificio Bonci.
And depending on where you’re coming from:
You can take the metro to Ottaviano station and walk from there.
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“Crediamo nella TERRA grande Madre generatrice di ogni risorsa Alimentare… …nei Contadini i veri EROI del Nostro Tempo” – Pizzarium e Panificio Bonci a Roma 🔝🍕😋🥖 @bonci_gabriele #bonci#boncipizzarium#gabrielebonci#ilgiocodellapizza#pizza#pizzatime#pizzaiolo#pizzagourmet#qualitytime#food#rome#panificiobonci#contadini#farmer#cereal#farina#foodlover#instafood#foodstagram#foodie#foodoftheday#foodart#taste#bestpizza#naturalmente#boncipizza#panificio#bread#foodforlife#pizzaallapala
While I love pizza all day every day:
I personally find it to be a bit
When I visited Panificio Bonci, I stuck with the flakey and buttery cornetto which is the stuff that buttery, carb bomb dreams are made of.
And while there’s nothing fancy about this bakery, since there’s neither table service nor proper seating, the food speaks for itself.
Between the bread, cookies, cakes, and pastries, I challenge you to leave this purveyor of fine food without eating at least some carbs.
Which you’ll need before our trip to the nearby Vatican, which is just a short, 8-minute walk away!
The Vatican Museums
Possibly one of my all-time favorite things to do in Rome:
The Vatican Museums should definitely be on everyone’s list of places to visit in Rome in 2 days, especially since the Vatican is also the smallest country in the world!
Oh you know, this museum was founded by Pope Julius II in the 16th century and is just home to one of the most impressive collections of art in the entire world.
But yeah, nothing major or anything.
This museum is ridiculously amazing and you could easily spend a few days here, enjoying all of the fantastic artifacts on display.
Since time is of the essence, and you have plenty of other things to do in Rome in 2 days, I suggest you pick out what you want to see the most and focus your time there.
Some Vatican Museum highlights that might be on your short list of things to see include the classical statuary in the Museo Pio-Clementino, a suite of rooms frescoed by Raphael, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, the Papal Picture Gallery with works by Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Caravaggio, among others, and more.
Before you visit though
If you listen to only one thing I say, this should be it. Because if you don’t buy Vatican Museum tickets ahead of time, you’ll be stuck, waiting in line, literally ALL DAY LONG (check out other common Italy travel mistakes)!
And while I did visit the Vatican Museums during the middle of the day, if I had to do it over, I would skip the insane crowds altogether (I visited in winter and felt like a piece of cattle that
With this ticket (which is just $20 more than a standard admission ticket):
You’ll enter the Vatican Museums a full half hour before any other tour group and a full hour and a half minutes before the general public.
You’ll have access to an expert guide who will lead you through this vast museum and towards the Sistine Chapel.
You’ll be able to enjoy this enchanting place without 12,000 other tourists jabbing you in the back with their rogue selfie-sticks.
And for this avid hater of all things morning:
I believe this ticket is 110% worth the price, and sleep deprivation, to avoid the crowds and enjoy the Vatican Museums in relative peace and quiet (FYI photos are not allowed).
***The Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays, except for the last Sunday of the month when the museum is free to visitors who enter before 12:30 pm since the museum closes at 2:00 pm.***
So after experiencing all those artistic masterpieces:
I bet you’ve worked up quite an appetite and are ready to experience some real life, foodie art for yourself!
Am I right?
If you’re nodding your head emphatically yes, then excellent because it’s just a 10-minute walk to the epic foodie wonderfulnesses that is Pizzarium.
This world-renowned pizza landmark is operated by Gabriele Bonci and is anything but formal.
With limited seating on a few, outdoor benches:
People come here for the pizza, not the ambiance.
When you walk inside, think exquisite, cold-fermented, wheat-based, pizza dough that is generously topped with the freshest of ingredients, like artisanal meats and cheeses.
And while the variety of pizza slices available change from day to day:
You can never go wrong with their signature tomato and oregano pizza or with their iconic, potato and mozzarella.
Both are served by the slice and make the perfect lunch on the go.
After devouring your weight in pizza, it’s a 20-minute walk to the one and only, St. Peter’s Square and Basilica!
St. Peter’s Square and Basilica
Once inside St Peter’s Square:
Take in the enormity and architectural majesty of a place that has served as the center of the Catholic world for well over a thousand years.
After snapping as many photos as your camera will allow:
Join the eternally long queue to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. I know it feels like it’ll take forever, but I promise it won’t. The line actually moves pretty quickly.
Before you wait on line though:
Make sure that you are appropriately dressed (no shorts, mini-skirts, or bare shoulders) since the dress code at St. Peter’s Basilica is strictly enforced.
While the Basilica itself is free to enter, there is a fee for climbing to the top of the church’s iconic dome (totally worth it for the stunning, panoramic views at the top, in my humble opinion).
And while Rome is filled with a thousand magnificent churches:
St. Peter’s Basilica is definitely the most spectacular of them all.
Originally built for the emperor Constantine in 349 AD, on the site where St Peter was supposedly buried (between AD 64 and 67), this basilica is home to some truly incredible pieces of art like both Michelangelo’s Pietà and soaring dome, as well as Bernini’s baldachin, which is prominently displayed over the papal altar.
Other places of interest include the Museo Storico Artistico (a museum of ancient relics that includes a tabernacle by Donatello), the Vatican Grottoes (home to the tombs and sarcophagi of several popes), and the Tomb of St. Peter, which can only be accessed via a private tour of St. Peter’s Basilica.
***If you want a sneak peek at the Pope, then attend one of his public addresses (tickets are required), which are held on Wednesday mornings when he is in residence at the Vatican.***
***Free, two-hour, English tours are run by seminarians at the Pontifical North American College. These start at 2.15pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday, leaving from the Centro Servizi Pellegrini e Turisti (advanced booking is not necessary).***
After you’ve gotten your churchy swerve on:
It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to Castel Sant’ Angelo, which is just a 10-minute walk away.
Perhaps not quite as flashy as many of Rome’s other top attractions:
Castel Sant’ Angelo is definitely well worth a visit, even if for just the views alone (and one of the more slightly unusual things to do in Rome).
It’s one of the few places in Rome where you don’t necessarily need to purchase tickets in advance since the lines really aren’t that long.
Originally built as a mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian:
This structure was later converted into a papal fortress and named for a vision that Pope Gregory the Great had, of angels, in 590 AD.
This historic castle houses a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, and medieval firearms that are collectively showcased in the Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant’Angelo.
Also of interest are the castle’s upper levels, which display elegant, Renaissance interiors that are embellished with amazing frescoes along the rooms’ many walls and ceilings, like in the Sala Paolina.
If you continue all the way to the top:
You’ll be delighted to find a terrace with enchanting views over all of Rome, as well as a quaint little cafe where you can enjoy a well-deserved espresso.
***Need a snack? Then obviously you need some gelato in your life since this decadent dessert is exactly what Rome is known for.Head to Gelateria del Teatro, which is just a 6-minute walk from Castel Sant’ Anngelo, and try their amazing assortment of flavors, all made with fresh ingredients daily (you’ll literally see the staff chopping ingredients up right in front of you). My personal faves are pistachio, almond, white chocolate with basil, and lavender and white peach.***
Once you’ve had your fill of intoxicating views (but can you ever really?), take a 10-minute stroll towards Piazza Navona, a vibrant center of Roman life that is filled with an eclectic assortment of tourists, artists, performers, and street vendors who sell just about anything you might want (or don’t want as the case may be).
And while the entire piazza is a lovely place to explore:
Let’s be honest, you’re really here to see Bernini’s immortal masterpiece, the Fontana del Quattro Fiumi (fountain of four rivers).
This exquisitely carved fountain features four personifications of the rivers Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Plate, as well as giant Egyptian obelisk because well, why not?
And if you really have a thing for fountains:
You can also check out the Fontana del Moro at the Southern end of the square and the Fontana del Nettuno at the Northern end of the sqaure, which depicts the God Neptune fighting some badass sea monsters, with some sea nymphs thrown in for good measure.
A fantastic place to visit if you want to save money in Rome, Italy.
***Still haven’t had any gelato? Then what are you waiting for? Immediately walk over to Punto Gelato at Piazza Sant Eustachio 47 and order the buffalo milk gelato with pink pepper corns, the caramel with Himalayan Sea Salt, or the Indonesian Cinnamon. All of these flavors are rich and. creamy and totally amazing. Excuse me while I sop up my resulting drool with a mop.***
Ready for the final stop along this Girl with the Passport trail through Rome?
I bet you are since I’m not gonna lie, seeing all of Rome in 2 days is pretty exhausting fo’ sho’ (translated as for sure)!
But before you can kick up your feet and eat your face off, we have one more stop!
No 2 day tour of Rome would be complete without a trip to the Pantheon.
It’s free (And the crowd goes wild) and perfect for anyone who is solo traveling through Rome)
The best preserved of all of Rome’s ancient monuments:
The Pantheon is a 2000-year-old temple, now church since it was consecrated in AD 608 as the Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres., that was dedicated to the Greek Gods and built in 125 AD by emperor Hadrian.
And while the exterior may not be uber impressive:
Just walk through the enormous bronze doors, gaze up at the ceiling, and prepare to be amazed by the largest, unreinforced dome ever built.
I swear, it’s much more impressive than it sounds.
Plus, the giant oculus at the center was created to symbolically connect the temple with the gods, while simultaneously providing some vital structural too.
But it gets better!
This building is also home to the tombs of ultra-famous Italians like the artist Raphael, as well as the kings Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I.
Truly a fantastic way to conclude our ridiculously busy, 2 days in Rome.
But, I can’t leave you without one final foodie recommendation!
And I pinkie promise:
No more walking since this place is literally a hundred feet away!
Armando al Pantheon
And trust me, this place is pretty EPIC!
But you know that it has to be since this restaurant has been serving some of Rome’s most iconic dishes for over 50 years.
I love the traditional spaghetti with garlic oil and chile, but my meat eating friends have informed me that the oxtail braised in tomato and celery is pretty bangin’ (translated as good) too.
Also try to save room, if you can, for their delicious, seasonal sides like Catalonia Chicory (no idea what that is but someone said it’s good) and simmered artichokes.
Truly delicious food at a reasonable price (I know I sound like an infomercial but it’s true).