Rome in one day itinerary

How To Do Rome In One Day: Full Day Itinerary 



If you had asked me the same question a month ago – Can you do Rome in one day? – I would have answered absolutely not. So what changed?

After spending a full week in Rome, looking at Google Maps so much to plan my itineraries, and later reviewing them to write about my experiences, I realized that you could actually see Rome in a day.

I personally wouldn’t suggest going to Rome on a day trip, and neither for one night, but if that’s all you have, I think Rome is so special, that a little time spent in this city is better than no time at all.

So let me share with you a simple hassle-free itinerary you can use to visit Rome from any nearby cities.

PS: Make sure to come back because there’s so much more we won’t be able to fit in just 8 hours.

Rome In One Day: Things To Know

Before I share all the stops on this itinerary, let me give you some general information that will help you plan your day in advance so you can enjoy Rome once you are there.

  1. Make sure to book your transportation in advance. I like to use the Trainline, in case you are wondering.
  2. I suggest you try to arrive as early as possible, ideally by 8 am, and book a later train back to your base city, after 6pm.
  3. If you can budget at least one taxi from the station to the first attraction on the itinerary, that’s going to save you a lot of time and energy.
  4. In this itinerary, I will be including the most important attractions in Rome. However, there won’t be time to visit them all, that is to go inside them with a ticket. Rome is a busy city when it comes to tourists, so even with a ticket, there are long lines to enter the popular attractions.
  5. The duration of this itinerary is approximately 3 hours, walking at a relatively fast pace. If you consider slowing down to admire everything around you and taking pictures, plus taking breaks for breakfast, lunch, and a snack, you should factor in double the time.
  6. Considering the duration of this itinerary, you might have time to visit one of the attractions on the list. Make sure you time the visit correctly and book the tickets in advance. 
  7. Bring proof of identification with you, as Italian police officers like to perform random checks at train stations. If you have your document, the check will be quick and won’t affect your day in Rome.
  8. Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
  9. Don’t bring extra weight with you that’s going to make you tired and slow down your pace.
  10. Keep your belongings safe. We felt completely safe in Rome, day and night, but we were always mindful of our behavior and our belongings. Close your bags, and just keep them tight if you are going through a crowded space.

One Day In Rome Itinerary

Below you can find the full itinerary organized by time. I hope this helps you make the most of your day in Rome.

8 am – Arrive at Rome Termini

8.15 am – Grab breakfast at Panella inside the station (read my review)

8.30 am – Taxi to Villa Borghese (transport info below)

arriving by train - Rome in one day guide

8.45 am – Arrive at Villa Borghese

Explore the gardens and the Museums in under 2 hours, or just spend 30 minutes in the gardens for free.

You can buy Villa Borghese Museum tickets here.

This is not a must-see attraction in Rome, in my opinion, especially if you only have one day. However, it’s close to the next attraction – Piazza del Popolo, so why not visit the gardens for free?

visit Piazza del Popolo

9.15 am – Piazza del Popolo

Admire the huge Porta del Popolo door, the square itself, and Santa Maria del Popolo, Fontana della dea di Roma, and Fountain of Neptune.

9.30 am – Start Your Walk To Piazza di Spagna

This is one of my favorite walks in Rome. You can read about the others here.

Depending on which way you take, you might pass by the Bulgari Hotel, which has a gorgeous terrace on the ground floor.

9.45 am – Spanish Steps

Take the time to walk along Via dei Condotti, admire the square, and go up the Spanish Steps onto the Belvedere di Trinità dei Monti.

If you are ready for a second breakfast, I share a very interesting experience about the most expensive cafe in Rome.

visit Trevi Fountain

10.30 am – Trevi Fountain 

Alternatively you can walk to the next stop on the itinerary, the famous Fountain in Piazza di Trevi, and after admiring this iconic spot in Rome, you can walk 1 minute to Antico Forno di Piazza di Trevi

If the queue is too long, no worries, instead of waiting in line for the cafe, you can buy a maritozzo, croissant, or other sweet and savory delicacies next door. They have a big bakery and delicatessen shop.

visit the Pantheon - Rome in one day itinerary

11.00 am – Pantheon

PS: If you can spare twenty minutes, I suggest taking a detour onto Lungotevere Marzio, a large street next to the river Tiber. That street is really gorgeous. 

Once you get there, you can admire the Pantheon from the outside (I prefer this view to the inside), or you can purchase a ticket online here.

If you purchase a ticket, wait in the central queue until you are allowed to enter.

PS: There are two sandwich shops in this area, but only one is worth your time and money, in my opinion. If you are interested in trying the best Roman sandwich with mortadella, read my Rome Sandwich shop review.

You can eat your sandwich as you walk towards Piazza Navona. The queue is usually short, so you won’t waste a lot of time.

Piazza Navona - Rome in one day itinerary

11.30 am – Piazza Navona

This is my favorite square in Rome, other than the Vatican one. I love the unusual long and narrow shape. Walk along it, and take a look at the three fountains – Fontana di Nettuno, Fontana dei Fiumi, and Fontana del Moro.

Noon – Castel Sant’Angelo

When you arrive near the castle walk to Ponte dell’Angelo and admire the view of the Tiber River as well as the exterior of the castle.

A visit to this attraction will give you gorgeous views of Rome. Consider booking your ticket here.

12.30 – Vatican City

If you decide not to visit the castle, the time should be around 12.30 pm. You can take a short walk to the Vatican, and explore the square and the area around it. There are many charming streets in this area and good restaurants too, in case you skipped the sandwich and are ready for lunch.

Feeling hungry? If you can wait another hour, the next stop on the itinerary is the foodie neighborhood of Rome.

PS: Unless you are going to dedicate half a day to this activity, you shouldn’t plan to visit the Vatican Museums. That requires at least 3 hours, more so four.

13.30 – Trastevere

Take a walk along the neighborhood and consider having a late lunch in one of the many restaurants I suggest in my Trastevere Food Guide.

15:30 – Monument to Victor Emannuel II

From Trastevere, it will take you 30 minutes to get here. Admire this impressive building. Should you wish to, you can also book a ticket for the lift that takes you up to the terrace with an amazing view of Rome. You can book them here.

Rome Italy Streets - Via dei Fori Imperiali

15.45 – Via dei Fori Imperiali & Colosseum (Ancient Rome)

You are just 20 minutes away from the Colosseum. However, I suggest you take the time to see the ruins on both sides of Via dei Fori Imperiali.

I personally, walked on one side and then crossed and walked back on the other side. Then I proceeded to walk towards the Colosseum. Both sides of this road are equally spectacular so don’t miss any of it.

To get a good view of the Colosseum, cross the road in front of the entrance, and go up the stairs. Isn’t the view breathtaking? Take a picture or two.

Palatine Hill is in Via dei Fori Imperiali but you’ll need a ticket to enter, and the queue is usually pretty long. This is another activity I would suggest skipping if you just have one day in Rome.

As for the Roman Forum, you can admire it from the outside. It’s really impressive.

17.15 – Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore

This is the last stop on our itinerary for this day in Rome. With the security check it should take you 20 minutes for the entire visit. If you have the time, don’t skip it.

17.45 – Rome Termini Station

Santa Maria Maggiore is very close to the central station in Rome, so you can go back on foot and catch your train.

Rome Transport Notes

Rome Day Trip: How To Decide Which Museums To Visit

The itinerary I shared above covers over 15 important attractions in Rome. Many of these can be found next to each other but might require a ticket, while others are further apart and free to visit.

Below are 9 attractions that require a ticket or a long line to enter:

  1. Villa Borghese Museums
  2. Pantheon
  3. Castel Sant’Angelo
  4. St Peter’s Basilica (free but long queue)
  5. Vatican Museums
  6. Monument to Victor Emannuel II (lift to access view & Museum)
  7. Palatine Hill
  8. Colosseum
  9. Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore 

Based on what they offer (in my opinion) and the time required to enter and visit them, these are the ones I suggest, considering you are in a time crunch.

1. Castel Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo can be visited hassle-free if you have a ticket. You can see it in under 2 hours, and other than the castle itself, you’ll get to enjoy great views of Rome all at the same time.

2. Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore

If you want to visit one Basilica in Rome this is the one I suggest because the queue is much shorter than at St Peter’s Basilica, inside the Vatican.

When I visited there was no queue, just a few people passing through security. Instead, the queue at San Pietro was likely 2 hours long.

Rome Attractions That Require More Time

If you want to fit more attractions in your day in Rome, the Pantheon can be seen in under an hour – considering both waiting and time inside. Also, Villa Borghese Museums are not usually that busy.

If you are set on entering St. Peter’s Basilica, the best tip I can give you is to go as early as possible, ideally before 8.30 am. The queue should be manageable at this time.

I suggest you skip the Vatican Museums, as you need at least 3 hours to visit them. The same goes for Palatine Hill and the Colosseum. While the latter can be visited in one hour, the queue outside even when you have a ticket, will likely bring up the total time to 2 hours or longer.

PS: If you’ve already been to Rome, and want to go again but spend a day differently, I suggest you read my 5-Day Rome Itinerary. In that one, I share multiple day itineraries that are not focused on the popular attractions.

Certain days are all about food, others shopping, and I also share one attraction that no one is mentioning plus a breathtaking seaside destination!

Read These Next

If you found this article useful (I am so happy!) there are many more like this one, all about Rome. You can browse them under the Lazio category, or pick one from the ones I selected for you below:

Best Breakfast Spots in Rome

Best Sandwich in Rome

Best Tiramisu in Rome

Best Suppli in Rome

Best Cacio e Pepe in Rome

Trastevere Restaurants

Best View Of RomeIs it Janiculum Hill?

Alessia Spampinato