our best 3-day Itinerary for Rome, Italy. Tips and suggestions, ouritalianjourney.com

Is it possible to find a great 3-day day itinerary for Rome? – you betcha! There are tons of things to see and do in Rome but, you can see the top sites if you plan your time well. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and this same patience is required to appreciate this city in all its glory fully.

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In 2019, we spent 90-days in Rome and although the weather was rainy for the most part, we made good use of our time there exploring the streets of Rome and we wrote about this amazing time in our first book, “Our Italian Journey.”

Both these books beautifully capture the essence of Italy, its people, and the strong sense of community that defines life in small Italian towns. With lyrical prose and reflections, Ilene & Gary invite readers to accompany them on a journey of self-discovery and transformation in the heart of Tuscany.
Books by Ilene and Gary Modica, Our Italian Journey, When Your Heart Finds Its Home and audiobook, ouritalianjourney.com

Our 3-Day Itinerary for Rome

Three days in Rome is just enough time to appreciate the best attractions. Use our itineraries as a guide and perhaps consider adding several additional suggestions we have mentioned at the end of the post if you find you have extra time available. Always double-check the opening time of each site before going. Consequently, what we have listed will vary depending on the season.

Also, depending on where you are staying, feel free to reverse any of the itineraries. Whether you start at the last stop and work your way to the first- it doesn’t matter except – pay attention to opening times. Furthermore, in each of these suggested itineraries, we’ve kept the attractions within a close approximation so you are not zigzagging all over the city.

Always check ahead to see if any special events are happening while visiting!

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Rome City Pass

A good way to see Rome’s top attractions is to bundle them. While most major cities have a city pass, and Rome is no different. If you only want to visit a limited number of attractions, it can also be advantageous to purchase individual tickets rather than a Rome pass. 

There are several options so check these out. Almost all include some public transit on the metro, tram, and bus. If you’re visiting in the heat of the summer – you’ll probably want to make sure you have an option for some transportation. You will be happy you did.

  • This Roma Pass site will give you a general overview, but it’s not always up-to-date.
  • This site has a lot of options to choose from and is easy to use.
  • This site is a great site for comparison about tickets for Rome attractions.

ESPECIALLY RELEVANT: Rome has many free attractions on the first Sunday of every month. Of course, with free entry comes long lines.

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DAY 1: Itinerary for Rome

our best 3-day Itinerary for Rome, Italy. Tips and suggestions, ouritalianjourney.com
  1. Campo de Fiori Market
  2. Piazza Navona
  3. Pantheon
  4. Marcus Aurelius Column
  5. Trevi Fountain
  6. Spanish Steps **

Campo di Fiori

  • Opening Times: 7:00 am – 2-3 pm
  • Cost: Free
  • Time to Allow: 1 hour

This market opens early and offers a variety of fresh produce, pasta, cheeses, and more. Having a coffee and a bite to eat would be a great starting point. It also offers beautiful flowers during the spring, summer, and fall. This area transforms into a busy evening spot with restaurants and cafes.

Walk 5 minutes (550m) to Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

  • Opening Times: 24 hours a day
  • Cost: Free
  • Time to Allow: 1 hour +

Piazza Navona is one of the most famous piazzas in Rome and is built on the former site of the Stadium of Domitian. So, close your eyes and visualize the oval stadium, once filled with dirt, not cobblestones, holding athletics competitions for spectators.

This is a great place to find a restaurant, grab a coffee or breakfast/lunch, depending on your arrival time… and people-watch.

Walk 5 minutes (400m) to Pantheon


  • Opening Times: 9:00 am – 6:45 pm
  • Cost: €5
  • Time to Allow: 1 hour +

Audio guides are available inside the Pantheon which let you enjoy visiting at your own pace.

The Pantheon was built between 25 and 27 B.C. Once a Roman temple, the Pantheon was formally changed into a Catholic church in 609 AD. The Pantheon is one of the best-preserved monuments from Ancient Rome.

Pantheon, Rome, Italy

The dome is made of concrete, with thicker layers near the bottom and lighter, thinner ones, at the top. It’s still the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. The opening in the center is called the oculus or the eye. If it is around noon on a clear day, you will see a dramatic beam of light coming through the opening. Visit our post on the Pantheon.

Walk 6 minutes (400m) to the Marcus Aurelius Column

Marcus Aurelius Column

  • Opening Times: 24 hours a day
  • Cost: Free
  • Time to Allow: 15 minutes

The Marcus Aurelius column is much thicker than many similar monuments you’ll see around the city. It’s hollow with a spiral stairway inside that once allowed you to climb to the top. The detailed relief up and down the length of the column shows battles led by Marcus Aurelius against the barbarians.

Walk 5 minutes (350m) to the Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

  • Opening Times: 24 hours a day
  • Cost: Free
  • Time to Allow: 30 minutes – 1 hour
Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy is where you make a wish by throwing a coin over your shoulder.
Trevi Fountain photo credit: Wikipedia

The Trevi Fountain is set in the Piazza di Trevi and is easily the most famous fountain in Rome. While built in the 18th century, the Baroque feature is built on an aqueduct initially developed in 19 BC by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. The fountain also depicts ancient Roman gods, with the god of water, Oceanus, and Abundance and Salubrity.

The Trevi Fountain is a must-visit for your Rome itinerary. Consider visiting in the morning as the crowds will build as the day progresses. Like the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain owes some of its fame to a film – La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini. Only in the movie was dancing in the fountain allowed. Today, many face fines as it is illegal to climb into the fountain… but people still do it every once in a while. Don’t forget to revisit this site in the evening because you’ll have a completely different experience – well, I think so. Are you curious about what happens to coins in fountains? Visit our post for more…

It’s tradition to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain for good luck and the promise of a return to Rome.

Suggested Tour:  We’ve never done it ourselves, but we’ve heard this tour – Fountain and Underground Tour is pretty cool where you visit the Trevi Fountain and go 9 meters (30 feet) underground to see the ruins of an ancient aqueduct.

Walk 8 minutes (550m) to the Column of the Immaculate Conception

** (it’s not numbered on our walking map but it is on the way to the Spanish Steps)

The Column of the Immaculate Conception

  • Opening Times: 24 hours a day
  • Cost: Free
  • Time to Allow: 15 minutes

The Column of the Immaculate Conception is the centerpiece of the small Piazza Mignanelli that opens from the corner of the Piazza di Spagna. The statue on top of the column is a bronze Virgin Mary. Mary, the mother of Jesus, occupies a central place in Catholic belief, and this statue of her was built in 1857.

If visiting on December 8th (The Feast of the Immaculate Conception), the Pope will visit this spot along with the head of the fire department, which originally erected the column, and a wreath will be added.

Walk 2 minutes (140m) to the Spanish Steps

Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps

  • Opening Times: 24 hours a day
  • Cost: Free
  • Time to Allow: 30 minutes
The Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy is a great place to relax. It is one of our 17 amazing sites to check out when in Rome.

The Spanish Steps are one of the highlights of Rome. At one time you would have seen people sitting everywhere on the steps. Not anymore. You are not allowed to linger on the steps and if caught by the Polizia, you will be asked to move along or probably receive a fine.

In the middle of the square, at the bottom of the steps, you’ll see the Barcaccia Fountain, which was built by Bernini and his son in 1627. It represents a boat and the symbol of the Bernini family- the sun and the bees.

DAY 2: Itinerary for Rome

our best 3-day Itinerary for Rome, Italy. Tips and suggestions, ouritalianjourney.com
  1. Vittorio Emanuele II, Capital Bldg
  2. Imperial (Roman) Forum
  3. Colosseum
  4. Arch of Constantine
  5. Palatine Hill

These five sites are located together and can easily be visited in one day. If you start off at the Capital Building (also known as “The Wedding Cake”) and walk along Via dei Fori Imperiali towards the Colosseum – you will be walking right past the ruins of the Roman Forum. Incredibly, it can be viewed right from the street! If you don’t have time to visit this site, it’s a good way to glimpse it.

Check if any of these sites have updated free podcasts or walking tours. We listened as we walked to a free Rick Steves tour of the Roman Forum which we downloaded ahead of time from iTunes. It was useful in understanding the ruins.

Victor Emanuele Capital Building

  • Opening Times: 9:30 am – 7:30 pm
  • Cost: Free, Museum- €19
  • Time to Allow: Depends on type of visit

The Capitoline Museums, also called “Musei Capitolini” are several museums located in Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome with a large collection of statues, paintings, and objects from the history of Rome. Over the years, this giant, white monument has earned many peculiar nicknames, like ‘’Wedding Cake’’ and ‘’Typewriter’’

Victor Emmanuel Monument in Rome, Italy is one of our 17 amazing sites to check out when in Rome. Made of white marble is an amazing building.

The museum is worth the visit if you have the time. Also, there is a panoramic terrace located on top of the monument to Victor Emmanuel II where you take a glass elevator and can walk on the roof!

Walk 19 minutes (1.4km) to the Roman Forum (depending on which entrance you use)

Imperial Forum or Roman Forum

  • Opening Times: 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
  • Cost: Usually a combination ticket
  • Time to Allow: 1-2 hours

Take your time to wander through the remains of ancient structures. The forum was one of the most important places in Rome, where criminal trials were carried out.

You can book advance tickets online to avoid standing in lines. The Colosseum and Forum tickets are usually sold together. You can view most of the Roman Forum from the street, but it’s truly spectacular to walk through the ruins.

Walk 12 minutes (900m) to the Colosseum


  • Opening Times: 8:30 am
  • Cost: €24
  • Time to Allow: 3 hours

The Colosseum is the world’s largest amphitheater once used as a venue for brutal gladiator fighting and blood sports.

Consider purchasing Colosseum tickets which allow you to skip the line. These tickets are easily found online and easy to redeem.

Suggested Tour: There is a great tour that will allow you to skip the lines and have a personal, expert guide you along the way.  Colosseum, Forum and Palatine Hill tour – 

Walk 2 minutes (140m) to the Arch of Constantine

Arch of Constantine

  • Opening Times: 24 hours a day
  • Cost: Free
  • Time to Allow: 15 minutes
Arch de Constantine is located in Rome, Italy. Beautiful archecture.

The Arch of Constantine is the largest of the three triumphal arches still preserved in Rome, about 25 meters high. It is located between the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

Walk 2 minutes (130m) to Palatine Hill

Palatine Hill

  • Opening Times: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Cost: €20
  • Time to Allow: 1-hour minimum

After exploring the Colosseum, Palatine Hill is just a short walk up the road where you will find ruins that once were government buildings. While it’s mainly a beautiful grassy area. It’s worth the visit if you have the extra time.

Palatine Hill in Rome, Italy is historical and has the best views of the city.
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DAY 3: Itinerary for Rome

our best 3-day Itinerary for Rome, Italy. Tips and suggestions, ouritalianjourney.com
  1. Vatican
  2. Castel Sant’ Angelo
  3. Piazza del Popolo
  4. Galleria Borghese & Gardens

Vatican and St Peter’s Square

  • Opening Times: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Cost: Free
  • Time to Allow: 3 hours (without museum)

Many say, an itinerary for Rome that doesn’t include a visit to the Vatican – even if you aren’t Catholic – isn’t a complete visit. Were you aware that the Vatican is a separate country within Italy? The Vatican is the head of the Catholic Church and is home to the Pope.

If you have time, I highly suggest that you go up into the dome of St Peter’s Basilica and walk on the roof of the Vatican for a different perspective. St. Peter’s Basilica was built in Renaissance style and opened in 1626.

Get there early with skip-the-line access and avoid standing around as it will allow you to maximize your time enjoying the rest of Vatican City.

The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel – Cost: Varies

The Vatican Museums are the highlights of a trip to Vatican City. Most noteworthy… if you have to pick and choose – I highly recommend at least seeing The Sistine Chapel with stunning frescoes by Michelangelo. The Vatican Museums are known for their Roman, Baroque, and Renaissance architecture. They contain one of Italy’s finest collections of art and archeology.

Walk 21 minutes (1.5km) to Castel Sant’ Angelo

Castel Sant’ Angelo

  • Opening Times: 9:00 am – 7:30 pm
  • Cost: €22
  • Time to Allow: 3 hours (without museum)
Castel Sant' Angelo in Rome, Italy is one of our 17 amazing sites to check out when in Rome.

Castel Sant’ Angelo is situated between Vatican City and Rome’s city center, overlooking the River Tiber. It became a museum in 1925. Today it houses art and history collections.

At certain times of the year, the famous Passetto di Borgo, or the corridor elevated passage on the Vatican wall linking the Vatican to Sant’ Angelo is open to visitors.

Walk 20 minutes (1.5km) to Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo

  • Opening Times: 24 hours a day
  • Cost: Free
  • Time to Allow: 30 minutes

This square was built during the XVI century and it underwent many changes and reconstructions throughout the centuries. Two unique buildings on the square are the almost identical baroque churches Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto

One of the most remarkable sights on the square of Piazza del Popolo is the 36-metre high Egyptian obelisk.

At the opposite end of the piazza across from the churches, you can climb Pincio Hill using the steps. As a result and once at the top, the balcony of the Piazza Napoleone offers a magnificent view of the square and Rome.

Walk 27 minutes (1.8 km) to Borghese Gallery & Gardens

  • Opening Times: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Cost: Gardens, free – Museum €13
  • Time to Allow: 2 hours
Villa Borghese in Rome Italy has amazing art collection and the Borghese Gardens are not to be missed.
Villa Borghese

Museum tickets are not sold at the door so you must reserve tickets in advance.

The Borghese Gallery is situated in a villa that houses 15th to 18th-century artworks, including Bernini, Caravaggio, Tiziano, Raffaello, Rubens, and Botticelli. This is the private collection of Cardinal Scipione Borghese who started it at the beginning of the 17th-century.

Also, in addition to the villa and museum, the beautiful Borghese Gardens are open from dawn to dusk. Villa Borghese is the largest public park in Rome. It is beautiful and a great place to rent a bicycle and enjoy a picnic under the large trees.  

Itinerary for Rome FAQ

How many days is ideal in Rome?

I feel four days is an ideal amount of time itinerary for Rome. That extra day will give you extra time to see some of the sites we’ve listed below. I have heard of people staying a week, and I think that is more than you need.

When is Best to Visit Rome?

The best month to visit Rome is October. October still has warm temperatures and attracts fewer crowds than in July and August.

Tips for Choosing a restaurant

Choose your restaurant carefully. One sign that a restaurant is targeting tourists than authentic Italian cuisine is that the menu is laminated and shows pictures of the food on the menu.

Is Rome safe?

Rome is very safe overall. However, like most big cities, it is not immune from pickpocketing and street theft.

Other Sites to Add to Your Itinerary for Rome

So, if you find extra time, listed below are some additional worthy suggestions. We’ve given you a little synopsis to give you an idea so you can research more if needed.

  • Trastevere: A great neighborhood across the River Tiber. Trastevere is a funky, bohemian area that clings to its centuries-old, working-class roots. It’s known for traditional and innovative trattorias, craft beer pubs, and artisan shops. We wrote about our experience in our book, “Our Italian Journey,” at this awesome restaurant.
  • The Appian Way: This stretch close to Rome, the Via Appia Antica, is now part of a nature and archaeological park.
  • Quartiere Coppedè: This neighborhood is an artistic-architectural experiment that combines liberty, art deco, gothic, and medieval styles with references to Greek and Roman art. 
    It owes its name to the architect Gino Coppedè, who built it between 1915 and 1927.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, whatever the amount of time you have in this amazing city – let’s face it – it will be memorable. So, use your time wisely and decide what is a must-see, and what you will leave and return to see another day. More than likely, this will not be your only trip to Rome.

our best 3-day Itinerary for Rome, Italy. Tips and suggestions, ouritalianjourney.com


  1. Ilene. Excellent 3 day itinerary! You check so many boxes
    If you could stretch it to 4 days, including the Trastevere neighborhood, especially around Chiesa Santa Maria and that whole beautiful area- ps. That’s my spot😃. Salute. Jeff

    1. Absolutely – as why I included the three other sites. We love Trastevere and have a restaurant recommendation in the paragraph above. Great comment, as always… thank you Jeff!

  2. Sounds like a great itinerary!

    My favorite “hidden gem” is Basilica of Saint Mary of Minerva, a 3 minute walk from the Pantheon. Outside is a statue with an elephant designed by Bernini used as a based for one of the Egyptian obelisks. And inside is a beautiful sculpture by Michelangelo – Cristo della Minerva or Christ Carrying the Cross. And of course many other beautiful art treasures.

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