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One Day in Rome: How to Spend the Perfect 24 Hours in Rome

Rome attractions: An elevated view of the Colosseum in the evening

Rome is a city packed with treasures and wonderful things to see and do. Being almost 3,000 years old, Rome’s history can be traced to the crumbling columns of the ancient empire, early Christian places of worship, medieval alleys, Renaissance palaces, Baroque fountains, and elegant piazzas. If you’ve got only one day in Rome, we’ve got you well covered with our itinerary. Read on to discover how to see the must-see sights of Rome in one day.

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Getting To Rome

If you’re traveling to Rome by air, you’ll either be flying to Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, popularly known as “Fiumicino” (FCO), or the smaller Giovanni Battista Pastine Airport, known as “Ciampino” (CIO). Fiumicino Airport is located about 30 km (18 miles) southwest of Rome where as Ciampino Airport is located approximately 20 km (12.5 miles) southeast of the city.

The easiest and quickest way to get from Fiumicino Airport to the city center is by taking the Leonardo Express. The non-stop journey lasts 32 minutes and the trains run every 15 minutes from about 06:00-23:00. 

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you can also take a bus from Fiumicino Airport to the city center of Rome. The journey from Fiumicino Airport to Termini Station (Rome city center) lasts about 45-60 minutes depending on traffic. There are about 15 transfers per day and tickets cost €7.

As there are still no direct rail connections between Ciampino Airport and the city center of Rome, the best option is to take one of the dedicated bus services. The journey from Ciampino Airport to Termini Station lasts about 40 minutes depending on traffic. There are about 10 transfers per day and tickets cost €6.

Is One Day Enough For Rome?

Absolutely not! Everyone knows that Rome wasn’t built in a day and accordingly there is just too much to see, too much history to explore, and too many layers of art and beauty to admire to see it all in one day. 

However, if 24 hours in Rome is all you have, you can definitely have a bucket list adventure in the “Eternal City” with some pre-planning and itinerant lust.

How To Get Around During Your One Day in Rome

The best way to get around Rome city center is on foot. Some of the attractions we’ve included in our one-day Rome itinerary are within comfortable walking distance of each other.

While Rome is a fabulously walkable city and walking is definitely the most pleasurable way to get around, you should definitely use public transport and save some precious time. Getting from one area to another in Rome using public transport is pretty easy and convenient.

For public transport in Rome, you can choose between the metro (subway) and buses. Rome’s public transport network also consists of trams and the urban railway but they are not really of any use for the sights we’ve covered in this itinerary. 

The Rome Metro is the fastest means of transportation in the city, operating daily from 05:30-23:30 (until 01:30 on Friday and Saturday). Rome also has a comprehensive bus network and serves parts of the city where the metro doesn’t reach.

For your one day in Rome, you can purchase the following tickets for public transport: 

  • BIT (Integrated Time Ticket) – €1.50 – A single ticket valid for 100 minutes; in that time it can be used on all forms of transport, but only once on the metro)
  • ROMA24 – €7.00 – Valid for unlimited use for 24 hours on all forms of transport from the moment you validate it

Rome public transport tickets are available from bars, tourist booths, convenience stores, tobacconists (called tabacchi), newspaper kiosks that display the ATAC emblem, and vending machines in all metro stations and at major bus stops. 

Keep some cash and coins on you before purchasing a ticket at one of the ATAC vending machines as not all of them accept cards.

Pro Tip

Remember to validate your ticket when you first use it. By failing to do so, you’ll be risking a hefty fine (minimum €54.90).

I wouldn’t recommend taking a taxi in Rome as it’s not necessary and you can cover all the best places by walking or with the aid of public transport. However, if you really need to take a taxi, the easiest way is to go to one of the city’s numerous taxi stands (fermata dei taxi). 

Official taxis in Rome are white in color, say “Comune di Roma” on the side, and bear a “TAXI” sign on the roof.  Alternatively, you can call for a taxi in Rome by calling +39 060609 (Rome city council) and +39 063570 (largest radio-taxi operator in Rome).

To find out more about how to get around Rome, check out our ultimate guide to public transport in Rome.

Your One Day in Rome Itinerary

Seeing the must-see attractions in Rome in one day requires having to rise early in the morning, good planning, and a bit of stamina, but it’s actually quite feasible. Obviously, you won’t have time to fully explore the attractions in depth. 

Although the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are a must-see in Rome, I’ve omitted them off this list as you require at least three hours there. It’s not really practical to see them if you are only in Rome for one day. 

This is a pretty packed itinerary that will eat up most of your day. Of course, everyone travels at a different pace so feel free to choose the destinations according to your own pace. The earlier you start your day the more time you’ll have to see the attractions. 

Below I have compiled a list of the best things to see in Rome over the course of one day:

  1. St. Peter’s Basilica
  2. Colosseum
  3. Arch of Constantine
  4. Roman Forum
  5. Capitol Square
  6. Victor Emanuel II Monument
  7. Lunch
  8. Gelato at Günther Gelateria
  9. Piazza Navona
  10. The Pantheon
  11. Trevi Fountain
  12. Spanish Steps
  13. Pincio Terrace

1. St. Peter’s Basilica

A virtually empty St. Peter's Square in the morning with the St. Peter's Basilica in the background

What better spot to start your one day in Rome than at St. Peter’s Basilica (Basilica Papale di San Pietro), arguably the grandest and most awe-inspiring church in all of Christendom? Technically located within Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world, St. Peter’s is famous as the Pope’s principal church in terms of use because most Papal liturgies and ceremonies take place there.

Before you go inside, take a few minutes to marvel at the equally impressive St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro). Masterfully designed by the Italian architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini, it is an elliptical piazza, with four rows of Doric columns arranged in two curving colonnades featuring statues of Christian saints on two sides.   

St. Peter’s Basilica was built in the late Renaissance and Baroque style between the 16th and 17th centuries, replacing earlier structures that began in 326 on what is thought to be where St. Peter was buried. As you walk in through the church doors, it’s hard to do anything but gasp at the size and the magnificence of the church.

Fun Fact

Contrary to popular belief, St. Peter’s Basilica is neither the Pope’s official church nor the principal church in Roman Catholicism. In fact, it’s not even a cathedral. Although a lot of papal ceremonies take place at St. Peter’s Basilica, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome is the official seat of the Bishop of Rome – the Pope. Considered the “mother church”, the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the oldest basilica and the number one ranking church in Catholicism.

At 186 meters in length (to the apse), 26 meters in width, and 46 meters in height, St. Peter’s nave is staggering and it is framed by wide aisles giving access to a number of chapels. The church can accommodate a congregation of more than 60,000 people!  

St. Peter's  Basilica: Michelangelo's famous Pieta sculpture, which sits behind protective glass

As you enter the massive nave, immediately to your right, behind a protective glass partition, is Michelangelo’s Pietà. This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.

In the central crossing, is Bernini’s celebrated baldachin that rises over the papal altar. Towering to a height of 29 meters, it is made up of four immense twisted bronze columns, each of which rests on a giant marble pedestal. In any other church, the baldachin would be a grotesque monstrosity but in St. Peter’s it’s a perfect fit.

Architectural details of the dome  and Bernini's baldachin of St. Peter's Basilica. PC: silverfox999/Shutterstock.com

Besides this, the entire interior of St. Peter’s is lavishly endowed with mosaics, tombs, statues, carvings, reliefs, and gilding, the historical value which is incalculable. 

Finally, the Michelangelo-designed dome of St. Peter’s Basilica is breathtakingly imposing, rising high above the supposed site of St. Peter’s tomb. The dome of St. Peter’s rises to a total height of 137 meters from the floor and has an internal diameter of 42 meters, making it one of the largest domes in the world.

While you can make the ascent to the roof and dome for sweeping views of Rome, I wouldn’t recommend it during this itinerary as you’ll be pressed for time.

Practical Information for Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is open daily from 07:00-19:00 (April-September), and 07:00-18:30 (October-March). The entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica is free. 

As with many of the top Rome attractions, if you get up super early you can beat the rush. If you arrive at St Peter’s very early in the morning, the queues, if there are any at all, will be small. Consequently, the basilica will be less crowded and you’ll get more out of your visit.

However, there are a few ways to skip the line at St. Peter’s Basilica as it can be very exhausting to wait in lines for hours on end. These are: 

Pro Tip

St. Peter’s Basilica has a strict dress code for both men and women: no shorts, no skirts above the knee, and no bare shoulders. Avoid wearing clothing with writing or pictures that could risk giving offense. You will not be let in if you don’t come dressed appropriately.

2. Colosseum

Rome points of interest: View of Colosseum in Rome at twilight

Probably Rome’s most iconic landmark, the Colosseum (Colosseo) is the largest structure left to us by Roman antiquity and still remains ancient Rome’s greatest architectural legacy. Set incongruously amid a maze of modern traffic, this large amphitheater was once the setting for innumerable bloody gladiator battles, epic combats pitting humans against wild animals, gruesome executions, and public entertainment.

The Colosseum was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD and finished in 80 AD. The labor to build this majestic amphitheater was carried out by Jewish slaves brought to Rome after the Romans suppressed their revolt in Judea. 

Fun Fact

The Roman Colosseum has not always been called “the Colosseum.” The giant arena was originally known as the “Flavian Amphitheater” after the Flavian Dynasty, which commissioned its construction. The name “Colosseum” was only introduced in medieval times and is widely believed by historians to be derived from the “colossal” bronze statue of Emperor Nero that once stood outside of the Amphitheater.

Despite being damaged over the years by neglect and theft, the Colosseum is a building of great beauty and remains a majestic sight. Its outer walls are covered in three levels of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns, and each level has 80 arches.

Rome sightseeing: A beautiful woman posing for a photo on the Colosseum arena floor

As awe-inspiring as the Colosseum is from the outside, it’s certainly rewarding to go inside. Once inside, you’re free to wander around most of the lower level and all the way around the upper level.

You can also access the arena floor in the Colosseum, which lends a completely different perspective of the amphitheater. From here, you can envision what it was like to be a gladiator, with the crowd of 50,000 roaring all around you!

Practical Information for Visiting the Colosseum

The opening hours of the Colosseum vary throughout the year. However, it is open daily from 09:00–approx one hour before sunset (last admission: 1 hour before closing). 

Advance booking for the Colosseum is required and no tickets are sold on-site. You will still likely encounter lines as you have to go through airport-like security. 

Tickets can be purchased online through the CoopCulture website, the official ticket agency for the Colosseum. Tickets cost 18 EUR but are non-refundable under any circumstances.

I like to book refundable tickets and don’t mind paying a small surcharge knowing I can always get my money back if my plans alter. I always either book through GetYourGuide or Tiqets. 

Keep in mind that access to the Colosseum arena requires a special ticket. Book early as tickets tend to sell out fast.

In case you’re interested, you can also book a guided tour of the Colosseum which also offers you access to the arena and the underground passages.

3. Arch of Constantine

Rome historical sites: Architectural details of the Arch of Constantine

Standing between the Colosseum and the Roman Forum is the lovely Arch of Constantine (Arco di Costantino), another in the cavalcade of famous historical sites in Rome. It was erected in 315 AD by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD.

The Arch of Constantine is the youngest of the three remaining imperial triumphal arches in Rome. It is 21 meters high, 25 meters wide, and is made up of three arches. 

Interestingly, many of the details on the Arch of Constantine are a hodgepodge of sculptural elements taken from older monuments. For example, the statues of Dacian prisoners were taken from Trajan’s Forum while the eight rectangular reliefs in the attic were scavenged from an arch erected in 176 AD to celebrate the victories of Marcus Aurelius.

Fun Fact

The Arch of Constantine served as the finish line for the men’s marathon event at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. The first man across the spectacularly torch-lit arch was the Ethiopian Abebe Bikila, who ran the entire race barefoot!

4. Roman Forum

Must-see Rome: A panorama of the evocative ruins of the Roman Forum

Not only is the Roman Forum (Foro Romano) one of the must-see sights in Rome, but it is also the most historically significant. This sprawling complex of ruined temples, basilicas, public spaces, and arches was the nerve center of the most powerful Western civilization in history for well over a thousand years.

The Forum is where political decisions were made, public speeches were heard, criminal trials took place, and market activities took place. Sadly, the Roman Forum was largely neglected from the 8th century AD onward and what survives of this center of Roman life and government shows only a small fraction of its original splendor.

Only fragments of the Roman Forum’s glorious past remain, but with some imagination, you can feel the rush of history here standing among its ruins. 

Some of the best things to see in the Forum are the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, the Curia, the Temple of Vesta, and the Arch of Titus.

Though you can spend at least a morning wandering through the ruins of the Forum, it is quite vast, and given that it’s often crowded, it’s difficult to get your bearings and make sense of the ruins. To get the most out of your visit, I strongly recommend considering doing a guided tour of the Forum.

Practical Information for Visiting the Roman Forum

The opening hours of the Roman Forum are the same as the Colosseum which means they vary throughout the year. The Roman Forum is open daily from 09:00–approx one hour before sunset (last admission: 1 hour before closing). Tickets to the Forum also include entry to the Colosseum.

5. Capitol Square

Rome Attractions: An empty Capitol Square (Piazza del Campidoglio) at sunrise in Rome, Italy

Next, make your way to Capitol Square (Piazza del Campidoglio), one of Rome’s most elegant squares. Located on Capitoline Hill, this stately square was designed by Michelangelo and completed in the 17th century.

With the identical facades of Palazzo Nuovo and Palazzo dei Conservatori (home to the outstanding Capitoline Museums) flanking the Senatorial Palace (Palazzo Senatorio), and the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, the square’s trapezoidal design creates a harmonious view in the spirit of the Renaissance.

6. Victor Emanuel II Monument

Things to see in Rome: The grandiose Victor Emanuel II Monument (Vittoriano) in Piazza Venezia

One of Rome’s most distinctive sights, the grandiose monument (Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II) aka Altar of the Fatherland dedicated to Victor Emanuel II, the first king of united Italy has long polarized opinion. 

Some admire its colossal bronze equestrian statue, Corinthian columns, and intricate reliefs, while others have vehemently criticized it for being too ostentatious and pompous. View it yourself to form your own opinion.

Even though the monument is a little redundant architecturally, I personally think that the structure is absolutely mesmerizing and love the way the white Brescian marble glistens in the sun. Plus, its terrace offers the most stunning panoramic views to be had of the Eternal City in every direction.

You won’t have time to ascend the Vittoriano but you can take delight in capturing some great snaps of it from across the street.

7. Lunch

Famous Italian dishes: A plate of Cacio e Pepe, a traditional Roman pasta

For a well-deserved lunch and a break from sightseeing, you can go to Virginiae, a terrific Italian restaurant serving authentic Roman classics like Cacio e Pepe and Saltimbocca alla Romana.

To find out more about what to eat in Rome, check out our article on the 20 Foods You Must Try in Rome.

8. Gelato at Günther Gelateria

Gelato: Two cups of artisanal gelato at Günther Gelateria in Rome, Italy

No day of sightseeing in Rome would be complete without sampling gelato, one of Italy’s greatest cultural exports. Rome is home to some excellent gelato shops and the excellent Günther Gelateria is one of the best places to get gelato in Rome

Employing only the highest quality milk, organic eggs, and strictly seasonal ingredients, the gelato at Günther is supernaturally creamy and the flavors are intense.

9. Piazza Navona

Places to see in Rome: People in Piazza Navona in the afternoon

Rome doesn’t really have a proper center but if it did Piazza Navona would probably be it. Built on the ruins of the Stadium of Diocletian, the dramatic piazza is certainly the most beautiful square in Rome, either by day or night.

The elongated, oval-shaped piazza is ringed by Renaissance palaces that were once private homes to Rome’s nobility. It’s known for its trio of flamboyant fountains, including Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi) which depicts the gods of what were considered at the time to be the four great rivers of the world – the Nile, Danube, Ganges, and the Rio de la Plata.

Rome must-see: The Fountain of Four Rivers, located in Piazza Navona, at the blue hour
The Sant’Agnese in Agone church and Fontana dei Fiumi, located in Piazza Navona in the morning

Though it is lined with cafés and restaurants and often thronged with tourists, street artists, and pigeons, Piazza Navona still retains a shred of elegance making a stop here one of the quintessential things to do in Rome.

10. The Pantheon

Things to do in Rome: Piazza della Rotonda seen from the north, showing the Pantheon and fountain with obelisk.

Designed by Emperor Hadrian in the early 2nd century AD, and dedicated to all the ancient Roman gods, the Pantheon is perhaps the world’s best-preserved ancient monument. The fact that it has been a church since the 7th century AD is one reason why it has managed to stay standing all these years.

Although the Pantheon is famed for its portico of 16 striking granite Corinthian columns, it’s really the building’s interior that has helped cement its lofty reputation. Trust me, step inside and you’ll see what all the fuss is about!

Rome attractions: The cavernous interior of the Pantheon in Rome, Italy. PC: TTstudio/Shutterstock.com
.

Famed for its innovative architecture, the Pantheon’s 43-meter wide coffered concrete dome hangs suspended without visible supports and is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome! The 8-meter wide hole at the top of the dome, the oculus, is the building’s only natural light source. 

It’s the Pantheon’s remarkable use of the concept of space that contributes to the remarkable unity of the building. You don’t have to look far to find the reason for this harmony – the diameter described by the dome is exactly equal to its height.

Opposite the entrance is the church’s main altar, over which hangs a 7th-century icon of the Madonna and Child. The Pantheon also contains the decorative tombs of kings and painters, the most famous of which is the tomb of Raphael, between the second and third chapel on the left.

Practical Information for Visiting the Pantheon

The Pantheon is open daily from 09:00-19:00 (last entry 6.30 pm). The entrance is free (only on weekdays) and costs at least 8.50 EUR on weekends. It is not necessary to make a reservation for the Pantheon if you are planning to visit on weekdays.

However, to visit the Pantheon on weekends and public holidays, it is necessary to make a reservation in advance. This means you will need to book either a Pantheon Guided Tour or a Pantheon audio guide ticket.

I strongly recommended booking your audio guide ticket or guided tour well in advance to avoid disappointment on the day.

Finally, expect to encounter lines stretching across Piazza della Rotonda every day. However, there is no doubt that the Pantheon is worth the wait.

11. Trevi Fountain

Places to visit in Rome: View of the famous Trevi Fountain at the blue hour

In a city of magnificent fountains, none can match the beauty and splendor of the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi). This 17th-century Baroque masterpiece is the enduring masterwork of Nicola Salvi and Giuseppe Pannini and is named for its position at the junction of three streets (“tre vie”). 

Thanks to more than a few famous films over the years, the Trevi fountain is one of Rome’s most popular sights. Most famously, the Trevi Fountain is where the blonde Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg cavorted in the water wearing an iconic black dress in Federico Fellini’s classic La Dolce Vita (1960). 

Standing 26 meters tall and 49 meters wide, the Trevi Fountain is a monumental feast for the eyes that never fails to delight. It depicts the sea god Oceanus (Neptune) in a shell-shaped chariot being led by Tritons and two sea horses. 

Don’t forget to toss a coin into its waters since legend has it that if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, it will assure your return to Rome.

Unless you go there before sunrise, you can always expect large crowds at the Trevi Fountain, but it is an iconic stop that is also one of the top Rome Instagram spots.

The Trevi Fountain is free to visit 24/7.

Pro Tip

Even though you might want to replicate Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni’s famous Trevi dip in La Dolce Vita, be forewarned that police guard the Trevi Fountain 24 hours a day to keep out movie buffs and splash-happy tourists alike. Transgressors risk a fine of up to 500 EUR.

12. Spanish Steps

Rome Instagram Spots: View of the famous Spanish Steps and Barcaccia Fountain at sunrise.

There can be few sights in the world more romantic than the dazzling sweep of the Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti). One of the great masterpieces of Rococo architecture, Rome’s most iconic staircase has been a meeting place for artists and poets, lovers, and layabouts for almost three centuries. 

Built in 1725, the Spanish Steps were funded almost entirely by the French to create better access to the Trinita dei Monti Church at the top. In English, the steps get their name from the Piazza di Spagna at the base, which itself gets its name from the nearby Spanish Embassy to the Holy See.

Fun Fact

The Spanish Steps have been immortalized in several films, including the 1953 classic romantic comedy film Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck and 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley starring Matt Damon.

At the base of the steps lies the charming Barcaccia Fountain, a stylized, fanciful Baroque interpretation of an old fishing boat. Make sure you snap a shot that captures the entire 135-step staircase – it is one of those truly Roman landscapes from the Eternal City you’ll want to keep forever. 

The Spanish Steps are free to visit 24/7.

Pro Tip

Having undergone a major restoration in 2016, the once-popular art of sitting and eating on the Spanish Steps has been outlawed since 2019. Police officers patrol the steps and those caught transgressing risk a fine of 250 EUR, which can rise to 400 EUR if the steps are dirtied or damaged.

13. Pincio Terrace

Cap off your one day in Rome by heading to the Pincio Terrace (Terrazza del Pincio). A must-do during any trip to Rome is to enjoy the views over the Eternal City in the late afternoon or early evening light and the views from this hanging terrace are absolutely sublime.

Overlooking the bustling Piazza del Popolo, the Pincio Terrace offers a staggering view of Rome’s skyline. Dominated by the high domed roof of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Victor Emmanuel II Monument, the entire cityscape is laid out at your feet – it’s the ideal place to take panoramic photos of Rome.

Pincio Terrace is open 24/7 and is free to enter.

Where To Stay in Rome

Being one of the major tourist centers in the world, Rome can offer a full range of accommodations. These range from basic budget accommodations with shared bathrooms to luxury accommodations that feature palatial settings, cloud-nine comfort, stunningly beautiful rooms, panoramic rooftop terraces, and award-winning restaurants.

Deciding a neighborhood to stay in in Rome is key before your trip. If a picturesque location is your main concern, stay in one of the small hotels around Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, or Campo de’ Fiori. Many boutique hotels can be found here, as well as a number of mid-range options.

If luxury is what you crave, head to Tridente and the area east of Via del Corso, towards Via Veneto and around the Spanish Steps, or beyond the city center, where price-to-quality ratios are high. 

The area around Termini Station, Rome’s main train station, is not the most attractive area, but it is well connected with the rest of the city by public transport and provides easy access to many of Rome’s top sights. Despite a few pricey choices, the area is most notable for its concentration of budget hotels and hostels.

Hostel: The RomeHello, funky and elegant, this snazzy hostel is one of the most popular hostels in town. Located just seven minutes on foot from the main train station (Termini), it is located within a 15-minute walk from the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.

Budget: Hotel Mariano, a rather plain hotel with no-frills rooms and services within 5 minutes of Termini Station and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. The rooms are modest but clean. Perfect for frugal-minded travelers who just want a good bed for the night.

Budget Plus: Hotel Nord Nuova Roma, an unpretentious choice within 5 minutes of Termini Station and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Midsize bedrooms are well maintained and conservatively decorated with comfortable yet simple furniture.

Mid-range: Argentina Residenza Style Hotel, situated in the heart of Rome, this chic boutique hotel is within an easy walk of many historical monuments of Rome, including Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum. Rooms are tastefully decorated and feature coffered ceilings.

Splurge: Baglioni Hotel Regina Rome, a sumptuous top-choice pick on the ritzy Via Veneto. The wonderfully decorated Art Deco rooms feature plush antique Italian furniture, Murano glass chandeliers, and silk tapestries.

Rome Travel Tips

In addition to the pointers I’ve already mentioned, here are some additional tips you should know for visiting Rome. 

1. Try to visit during the shoulder season: Visit Rome in April-May or October-November if you can as these months are generally a little less busy, but still have relatively decent weather. Prices are also cheaper, and everything is a little less overwhelming.

If possible, avoid visiting Rome in the summer from late-June to early-September when the crowds are at their fullest, hotel rooms are virtually at peak season, and the climate can be oppressively hot and muggy.

2. Book tickets and tours in advance: I cannot stress this enough but Rome is on everyone’s bucket list and chances are you’ll spend a better part of the day in queues if you do not pre-purchase your tickets in advance online. 

Although you will pay extra for a skip-the-line ticket, it’ll help make the most of your visit, rather than standing in 2-hour long queues to enter the most popular attractions.

We book virtually all of our tours and tickets through either Tiqets or GetYourGuide and highly recommend both companies.

3. Expect to encounter scaffolding: Restoration work is always taking place somewhere in Rome, and there is rarely any indication before you go in as to how much of the building is under wraps. It’s impossible to predict which buildings will be undergoing restoration in the near future so prepare to be disappointed – you are almost certain to come across scaffolding and barriers at some point.

4. Keep a close eye on your belongings:  Be aware of petty crime like pickpocketing, especially at railway stations, markets, and crowded sites. On public transport, particularly the tourist routes, hold your handbag or rucksack in front of you and be extra vigilant over your belongings when people are jostling to get on board.

5. Ditch the heels and get your walking shoes: The streets of Rome are unevenly paved and we strongly recommend wearing comfortable footwear as a day’s sightseeing can be wearisome.  Your feet will thank you by the end of the trip.

6. Don’t pay for water. Use the water fountains instead: One of the best things to know about Rome is that it’s not necessary to constantly buy plastic water bottles when you feel parched. Rome tap water is safe to drink and the city is full of drinking fountains, affectionately called “nasoni” or little noses.

The water from these water fountains is refreshingly cold!  Carry a reusable water bottle along with you as you explore Rome and fill up for free as you go.

7. Public toilets and accessibility: Public restrooms are few and far between in Rome. It’s just much easier to walk into a bar/cafe and use the toilet there. Of course, you’ll be expected to buy a little something—such as a bottle of water or espresso—in exchange for access to the facilities. 

In addition, toilets are free in museums and galleries.

8. Tipping: The bill usually includes service (servizio) of between 10 and 15 percent, but just ask if you’re not sure. Tipping is not obligatory, but it’s always appreciated. It’s customary to leave a small tip (from a euro to 10% of the bill) for the waiter, depending on the quality of service.  

It is not necessary to tip taxi drivers – rounding up to the next euro is enough. Keep small change handy for cleaners, housekeepers, doormen, and porters.

Further Reading For Your Rome Visit

That summarizes our definitive 1 day Rome itinerary. We reckon you’ll find the following resources useful for planning your trip to Rome!

More Information About Italy

Venice: Check out how to spend one perfect day in Venice!

Venice: Find out the 30 best things to do in Venice!

Trieste: Discover the 18 best things to do in Trieste!

Naples: Uncover how to spend the perfect 24 hours in Naples!

Pompeii & Herculaneum: Find out everything you need to know about visiting Pompeii & Herculaneum on your own!


Now, what do you think? How would you spend one day in Rome? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

About Mihir

Hi there, I'm Mihir! I was born in India, raised there and in Australia before spending nearly a decade in Finland. I suffer from chronic fernweh and am always looking forward to a new adventure. Besides traveling, my other loves are my beloved cats, architecture, art, craft beer, classic movies, history, cricket, and Australian Rules Football. Oh, there's also my partner in crime Jacky who's not too bad either 😉

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