Last fall I visited Rome for the very first time and only had 3 days to visit the most important attractions and explore the best restaurants for pizza, pasta and gelato lol.
To start, 3 days is definitely not enough for the eternal city, but it’s still plenty of time to enjoy it if you plan your trip right. My itinerary will help guide you through the most highly sought after attractions and delicious restaurants that Rome has to offer.
Fontana Di Trevi
Honestly, this was number two on my list of “dream places” to visit (Eiffel tower being #1) since I watched a movie about it when I was a kid lol. I was extremely excited to go there and throw my coin into the fountain – the myth, originating in 1954 with the movie "Three Coins in the Fountain," goes like this:
“If you throw one coin: you will return to Rome.
If you throw two coins: you will fall in love with an attractive Italian.
If you throw three coins: you will marry the person that you met.
In order to achieve the desired effect, you should throw the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder.”
Isn’t that cool?!
The only problem with the fountain is: IT’S ALWAYS CROWDED! It’s almost impossible to take a good picture there without hundreds of people behind you. I can’t imagine how bad it is during the summer time…
If you really want to take a good picture, go early, and I mean VERY early like 6am. Look at the difference between the picture taken in the afternoon and a picture taken in the morning – around 7:30am:
Anyways, this place is completely amazing and definitely was a wish come true for me.
This is one of the most well known attractions in the world, and is also part of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The Colosseum is a dream place for history lovers and whoever is curious about the Roman Empire and everything that happened in this historic site.
The Colosseum isn’t free, and I recommend purchasing tickets in advance online, which is probably cheapest. There are a few options to visit the Colosseum:
- Colosseum ticket only
- Colosseum + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill
- Everything from above + guided tour
We weren’t lucky on the day of our visit. I initially bought the guided tour including the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, but the day of the visit it was pouring out, so we gave up on the tour and lost our money (around 30 euros per person).
We ended up buying a regular ticket for the next day very early in the morning since we didn’t have much time left on our trip. This time it was AMAZING! I can’t describe the energy of that place, seriously, one of the best experiences of my life. I’m sure I would have enjoyed even more on a guided tour, since you can learn more about the history, etc., but amazing nontheless.
Time to visit the smallest country in the world and probably the most religious: the Vatican.
We took pretty much half of the day to visit the Vatican + St. Peter’s Basilica, but honestly, you can easily spend the entire day there if you want to pour over all the details in the museum. I bought my tickets online because the lines there were insane, and I highly recommend doing this.
We wanted to start the visit from the Sistine Chapel since it’s the most crowded area, but in order to get there, we passed by many galleries of the museum first with many sculptors and famous paintings.
The Sistine Chapel is MESMERIZING! I’ve never seen a place with so much detail like that. BUT there are so many people talking and pushing each other, trying to sneak pictures and videos, the museum guards yelling at everyone to stop taking pictures… by the time you walk through it can become a chaotic experience.
*I also sneaked a pic with horrible quality because its PROHIBITED to take pictures and videos of anything there.
After visiting the Sistine Chapel, we kept walking around the beautiful galleries until we got to the famous “Helix Stairs” which is super pretty if you see it from the top, but almost impossible to take a picture of it without many people walking around.
Don’t forget to get your audio guide, otherwise you’ll be walking around having no idea on what’s going on.
Saint Peter’s Basilica
From the Vatican we walked around 10 min to St. Peter’s Basilica, the most important church for Catholics. The entrance is free, so you can imagine the line to get inside wraps around the entire square in front.
The church is incredibly beautiful and has so many details to see, but again, there were so many people in there that it gets a little annoying to move around.
We decided last minute to go to the top of the basilica to see the view of the Vatican square. The ticket costs 10 euros to go half way by elevator and 8 euros to go all the way up including 551 steps. We chose to go the entire way by walking. The beginning was all fun and games lol, beautiful views of the Basilica ceiling, this and that. Once it got to the halfway point, the stairs became super narrow, steps were very short, and I got claustrophobic. When you finally reach the top, the view is rewarding. Bad thing the weather was horrible, but I can imagine it’s ever prettier on a nice day.
I think this is the coolest area in Rome, across the Sisto bridge, with many many bars and restaurants. It’s definitely a lively area with more young people around, especially during summer.
Piazza Di Spagna – Spanish steps
The most famous square in Rome, with many designer stores, restaurants, bars and one of the most beautiful views from the top. One of the best ways to watch the sunset in the city.
Villa Borghese Gardens
The third largest public park in Rome built in 1551 as a summer residence for Pope Julius III. This is one of the most beautiful parks I’ve been to - there are museums, expositions and bikes available for rent. We didn’t have time to rent a bike while there, but I’d definitely do it next time.
There are so many things to do in a city so full of history, but we covered a lot of ground in three days. Of course, we also took a good amount of time trying out different restaurants and gelato spots lol, if you want to know where to eat in Rome, check out this post: WHERE TO EAT IN ROME
We stayed a few blocks away from the Pantheon, in a hotel called Albergo Santa Chiara, which was a perfect location, with mostly everything walking distance. If you want to book a hotel and get $25 off, just use my LINK: www.booking.com
There’s not a whole lot of public transportation in Rome, and Uber is not allowed (the app doesn’t even work in most parts of Italy), so staying in a convenient area is best to get around the city.
My general opinion about Rome: It’s an incredible city, full of world history, important monuments, delicious food, and relatively “cheap” with an endless supply of things to do. It was my first time in Italy and I was super excited to get to know this amazing city, although I thought people were a bit rude. I’m not generalizing, but most locals weren’t very nice to me (some friends told me the same), for example, I called a restaurant to try to make a reservation and the guy was extremely rude and hung up the phone on me (only one example with many others). It’s very sad to know that a city that thrives on tourism doesn’t treat the people well. Anyways, it wasn’t the best first impression, but I have no grudges in my heart lol and I’ll be back in Italy really soon, hopefully, for a nicer experience.
If you want to know where I’m going next with more pictures, details, and tips, follow me on Instagram @eat_travel_andlove.