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2-Day Rome itinerary: the complete guide

It is often described as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Find out the best 2 day itinerary to visit Rome.

Rome is one of the most interesting cities in the world. Although I don’t like to make comparisons I have to admit that I always had a weak spot for this place and is on my personal Top 3 of the best cities I have ever visited.

With so much history and so many monuments to visit it is clear that 2 days are not enough to see everything deserving of a visit, but often the time is limited, and you have to do what you can.

That being said, having only 48 hours to visit Rome may be enough if you plan what to see in advance. The tips I give in this travel guide are for those who visit Rome for the first time, so they include all the main attractions.

Before leaving

via appia rome

If your time in Rome is limited, it’s very important that you find a hotel in the center. It’s true that prices are higher but at least you’ll save some time. Fortunately, almost all of the main monuments are located right in the center and you can easily reach them by foot. I often use Booking.com but also on Agoda you can find some good deals.

If you decide to stay in a hotel a bit far from the center, remember that public buses are not very efficient. I have had to wait more than 30 minutes for the buses and this happened more than once. Sadly in this regard, Rome is very poorly managed.

Getting to Rome is very easy since it’s well connected with the other cities. If you are on a tight budget FlixBus might be a good option for you.

Here’s what you can see in Rome in two days.

What to see in Rome in two days: 1st day

The Vatican

vatican

On the morning of the first day (better to leave early) you can visit Vatican City(the smallest state in the world). Don’t forget to visit St. Peter’s Basilica too. It shouldn’t take too long, especially if you go during the week and it’s not too crowded.

Musei Vaticani

musei vaticani momo stair bramante

Probably one of the most beautiful museums in the world, don’t miss the Sistine Chapel and the helicoidal staircase designed by Giuseppe Momo. I suggest you check the closing days to avoid bad surprises.

Lungotevere – Tiber River

lungotevere

When you leave the Vatican city, keep walking in the direction of Castel Sant’Angelo and you’ll soon see the Tiber river. It is the ideal place to relax a bit after visiting the museums.

From the bridges over the Tiber, there is a beautiful view of the city (especially at night) and in the surroundings, you can find many good restaurants. If you want to take some nice pictures at sunset, the best view is from the bridge in front of the Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) and under the bridge Sant’Angelo.

Piazza del Popolo and the Terrazza del Pincio

pincio rome

After crossing the Tiber river you can head north-east towards Piazza del Popolo. If you keep walking you can see the nearby Terrazza del Pincio. From the terrace, you can have a great view f Rome.

From Piazza del Popolo you can then walk southwest to get to Piazza di Spagna.

Piazza di Spagna – Spanish Steps

spanish steps rome

Piazza di Spagna (it used to be called Piazza di Francia), with its famous stairs called: Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, is one of the most iconic places in Rome.

This square gets its name from the Spanish Palace seat of the Embassy of Spain among the Holy See. The imposing 135-step staircase was inaugurated by Pope Benedict XIII during the 1725 Jubilee; it was released (thanks to French loans granted in 1721–1725) in order to connect the Bourbon Spanish embassy (from which the square takes its name) to the Church of Trinità dei Monti. The steps are a good place to rest a bit if you are tired.

Trevi Fountain

trevi fountain rome

Those who see the Trevi Fountain for the first time are often disappointed because is much smaller than they would expect. In reality, the fountain is big, it is the square where it is located that it’s small. In any case, there will be a lot of people. Most likely you will have to queue a bit to get to the fountain.

At this point, most likely it will already be late afternoon or evening. If you want to relax a bit I suggest you find a nice rooftop bar to enjoy the beautiful sunset view of Rome. I went to the Aleph Hotel rooftop bar. The terrace is not very large but it is definitely classy. In addition, cocktail prices are more than acceptable.

Things to do in Rome in two days: second day

Piazza Navona

piazza navona rome

Another famous square in the capital. During the Roman empire, Piazza Navona was called the Stadium of Domitian. In the third century was renewed by Alexander Severus. It was 276 meters long, 106 meters wide, and could accommodate 30,000 spectators. In ancient times the square could be artificially flooded.

Pantheon

pantheon

It was built as a temple dedicated to all past, present, and future deities in 27 BC by Marco Vipsanio Agrippa, son-in-law of Augustus. At the beginning of the seventh century the Pantheon was converted into a Christian basilica (with the edict of Constantinople) called Santa Maria della Rotonda, which allowed it to survive almost intact the spoliation inflicted by the popes on the buildings of classical Rome.

Altare della Patria – Vittoriano

altare della patria

After visiting the Pantheon you can keep walking in Via del Corso and you will immediately see the front of the Altare della Patria or Vittoriano. It was built in 1885 and was completed by King Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy, to whom the monument is dedicated.

Fori Imperiali – Imperial Forums

fori imperiali

I think this is one of the most beautiful places in Rome, especially at sunset and during the blue hour. The Imperial Forums are a series of monumental squares built over the span of a century and a half (between 46 BC and 113 AD) in the heart of the city by different emperors.

Colosseum

colosseum

This is the symbol of Rome. Originally known as Amphitheatrum Flavium, it’s the largest amphitheater in the world. It could hold up to 75000 people and is the most important Roman amphitheater to date.

These were some of the things to see and do if you only have two days to spend in Rome. If you still have some time or you decided to skip someplace mentioned in this article I suggest you visit the Catacombs of San Callisto. The visit does not last long (about half an hour) but it’s extremely interesting.

Here you can find the list of the Free Walking Tours in Italy.

Here are more pictures I took on my trip. Here are some tips if you want to visit Rome on a low budget.

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