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With iconic sights and ancient ruins, Rome is a must-see city. Spending 3 days in Rome is just enough time to see the highlights – but only with a good plan! Don’t worry; we’ve got it covered. Our 3-Day Rome Itinerary is packed with top attractions, sightseeing tips and city advice.
Rome in 3 Days
On our most recent trip to Rome, we met up with my mom and sister, who were both sightseeing Rome for the first time. They were on a longer London, Paris, Rome trip – and we were able to meet them in Rome for 3 days.
During our time together, we filled our Rome Itinerary with sights, neighborhoods and lots of gelato! With a Rome tourist map in one hand (you can buy yours here!), a camera in the other and good shoes on our feet, we squeezed as much sightseeing as possible into our 3-Day Rome Itinerary.
Planning Rome Trips
We think The Eternal City should be on every Italy itinerary; even if you can only manage one day in Rome, it’s worth it! Figuring out what to see and do, however, is not always easy.
Rome is a big city. Top attractions and must-see neighborhoods are far flung, which can make planning an efficient Rome 3-Day Itinerary somewhat of a conundrum. However, it is possible. In fact, our 3-Day Itinerary for Rome features the best city sights and few hidden gems as well.
That said, we know other travelers might plan more (or less) time in they city. So, whether in Rome for a weekend or staying for a week, fellow travelers can use our itinerary. We even include suggested Rome itineraries for shorter or longer trips at the end of the post.
3 Days in Rome: A Perfect Itinerary
When planning what to do in Rome in 3 days there is more to consider than just the sights. Visitors also need to know how to get around, where to stay and what to pack – which is all information we include in our 3 Perfect Days in Rome Itinerary.
Our Rome trip plan is organized day-by-day. For each day, we list the sights to see and include a brief introduction to the attractions, with links to more information.
Along with our list of things to see in Rome in 3 days, we have added a link to a map for each day’s sightseeing, as well as a map link to each sight. At the end of the post, we include all of the sights on a Rome 3-Day Itinerary Map.
The sights are listed in order to create an easy-flowing 3-day tour of Rome. We have outlined the best things to do in Rome in 3 days – but if you are planning a trip to Rome for shorter or longer stays, we have included alternate Rome itineraries below.
Our itinerary has everything you you need to know to visit Rome in three days! Save, Pin or Bookmark this Rome travel blog post so that you can use it while you plan – and during! – your trip!
3-Day Rome Itinerary
With just three days in Rome, it is possible to see all of the best sights. The Rome highlights we include in our itinerary are: Ancient Roman Ruins, Vatican City sights and picturesque Rome neighborhoods.
DAY ONE: Roman Ruins and Iconic Rome Sights
A Rome travel itinerary wouldn’t be complete without touring the 2,000-year-old Roman ruins and iconic Rome sights – so that is where we start our adventure!
Use this Link to Google Maps for a Rome attractions map of the sights on Day One of our three days in Rome.
MAP. One of the oldest parts of the city, Palatine Hill is one of the Seven Hills of Rome, which overlooks Circus Maximus and the Roman Forum. While little remains, visitors can see the outline of the grand palaces that once stood there and take in the incredible vantage points. Palatine Hill information.
Pro Tip: Buy your Combination Palatine-Forum-Colosseum ticket at the Palatine Hill entrance (30 Via di San Gregorio). The line is usually shortest here – and then you can skip standing in the long line at the Colosseum!
Pro Tip: Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum are connected; so there is no need to exit Palatine Hill and re-enter the Forum, simply use the path that leads to Arco di Tito (Arch of Titus).
MAP. The city’s most iconic sight, the Colosseum was built in the year 80 AD. The 2,000-year-old amphitheater was used for Gladiator fights, entertaining crowds of 50,000 people. Colosseum information.
Pro Tip: While the basic Combo Ticket allows access into the Colosseum, there is little additional information once inside – and the underground and stage is off limits. Visitors who are interested can book Colosseum tours that include a guide and access to normally restricted areas. Find the best tours on Viator!
Altare della Patria: Victor Emmanuel Monument
MAP. The Victor Emmanuel II National Monument (formally called Altare della Patria, or Altar of he Fatherland) celebrates Italy’s first king with a 43-foot-tall equestrian statue. At the base of the commanding statue is Italy’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Victor Emmanuel Monument information.
Pro Tip: Visitors can go to the top of the monument to the Terrazza delle Quadrighe, but a ticket is required to ride up the elevators.
MAP. On the north side of the Victor Emmanuel Monument is the historic Piazza Venezia. The busy center point of Rome sees a steady flow of traffic. The ornate square is lined with palaces (Napoleon’s mother lived in one of them). Piazza Venezia information.
Pro Tip: Nearby is the San Marco Church, which dates to the year 1336.
Largo di Torre Argentina
MAP. Largo di Torre Argentina was once a holy site, which was only discovered in 1927. The remains of four Roman temples and the Pompey Theater – where Julius Caesar was assassinated – stand in the sunken square. Largo di Torre Argentina information.
Pro Tip: Cats have long been the only creatures to walk among the ruins – humans only had a view from above. However, works are underway to build walkways through the historic site so that people can get a closer look.
MAP. Another symbol of the city, the Pantheon is an ancient wonder. Built as a temple for “all of the gods,” (but now a church) the 2,000-year-old Pantheon is the best-preserved monument from Roman times. The building’s most striking feature is the dome, which ranks as the largest unenforced concrete dome in the world. Pantheon information.
Pro Tip: For now, the Pantheon is free to visit, but a small fee may be required in the near future.
MAP. One of the world’s most famous fountains, the enormous Baroque Trevi Fountain dates to the year 1762. It is believed that tossing a coin into the fountain (with your right hand over your left shoulder) will guarantee a return visit to Rome. Trevi Fountain information.
Pro Tip: The Trevi Fountain is always teeming with tourists (which makes it a prime pickpocket spot!). To enjoy the fountain without contending with the crowds, go early in the morning.
MAP. A Rome landmark, the Spanish Steps were built in the 1700s. The 135 steps connect the Spanish Embassy to the Trinita dei Monti Church at the top of the hill. At the base of the stairs, in Piazza di Spagna, is the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat). Spanish Steps information.
Pro Tip: This is the last stop for Day 1 of our 3 days itinerary for Rome. Give your feet a rest, take a seat on the steps and relax while you revel in the lively atmosphere.
DAY TWO: Vatican and Churches
Vatican City sightseeing and visiting Rome’s churches is a must while in the city. Day 2 of your 3 Days in Rome begins in Vatican City, the world’s smallest country (don’t worry though, you don’t need a passport!), and includes other famous religious landmarks in the city.
Use this link to Google Maps for a Rome sightseeing map for Day Two of our Rome three-day itinerary.
St. Peter’s Square
MAP. St. Peter’s Square is the massive plaza that fronts St. Peter’s Basilica. At the center of the square is Egyptian obelisk. A line of people often wrap around the square, waiting to get through security checks before entering the church (hop in line, it moves fast!). St. Peter’s Square information.
Pro Tip: On Sunday at noon, be in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus Prayer; the Pope speaks from his window that overlooks St. Peter’s Square.
St. Peter’s Basilica
MAP. Considered the largest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is an awe-inspiring sight. Famous artwork – including The Pieta by Michelangelo – is housed inside the church. Visitors can also see the burial site of St. Peter (one of Jesus’s apostles and the first Pope) or climb to the top of the dome (for a small fee). St. Peter’s Basilica information.
Pro Tip: Entry to St. Peter’s Basilica is free, but visitors do need to go through a security screening before entering. Audio guides are available for a small fee, but visitors interested in learning more about the church can book a tour.
Vatican Museums & the Sistine Chapel
MAP. The Vatican Museums host a massive collection of the world’s art masterpieces, including sculptures and paintings. However, the Sistine Chapel is the highlight of visiting the Vatican Museums. The Sistine Chapel (Cappella Magna) is best known for its painted ceiling; the work of art, painted by Michelangelo is titled, “The Last Judgement.” Vatican Museums information.
Pro Tip: Tickets are required to enter the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. We recommend buying tickets in advance to skip the line – or joining a tour.
Church of San Giovanni in Laterano
MAP. Unknown to many, San Giovanni in Laterano is the Cathedral Church of Rome and the official seat of the Pope (making it a ‘higher ranking’ church than St. Peter’s Basilica). The church, which features a striking facade, is one of the oldest churches in the city and the interior is lavishly decorated. Church of San Giovanni in Laterano information.
Pro Tip: It is free to enter the church, but a ticket is required for visiting the small museum and 13th-century cloister.
MAP. The Holy Stairs (Scala Sancta), white marble covered in wood, are believed to have been walked on by Jesus during The Passion. The stairs were relocated from Jerusalem in the 4th century. Holy Stairs information.
Pro Tip: Pilgrims can climb the steps, but only on their knees. At the top of the stairs is the Sancta Sanctorum – or the Holy of Holies – which is a small chapel once used by Popes.
Day Three: Rome Neighborhood Walks
Day Three of our Rome tour itinerary explores some of the best neighborhoods in the city! Lace up your walking shoes and discover the city on this leisurely self-guided Rome walking tour.
Use this link to Google Maps for a city sightseeing Rome route map to the sights on Day Three of our 3-day trip to Rome.
Piazza del Campidoglio on Capitoline Hill
MAP. Capitoline Hill is one of the Seven Hills of Rome and the center of Rome’s government. Piazza del Campidoglio, the square atop the hill, was designed by Michelangelo in 1536; the grand piazza is ringed by museums. Capitoline Hill information.
Pro Tip: Walk around the building on the south side of the square for a phenomenal view over the Roman Forum.
Santa Maria in Aracoeli Basilica
MAP. Located on the highest point of Campidoglio Square, The Santa Maria in Aracoeli Church is one that shouldn’t be missed! The over-the-top, glittering interior is sumptuously decorated and houses numerous artworks. Santa Marie in Aracoeli Church information.
Pro Tip: The church is free to enter…you just need to climb the 124 marble steps to the entrance.
Bocca della Verita
MAP. The Bocca della Verita (Mouth of Truth) is a sculpture dedicated to the God of the Sea (whose eyes, nose and mouth are open holes). Legend says the Bocca della Verita will bite off the hand of liars, so tourists line up to prove their honesty (or test the legend). Bocca della Verita information.
Pro Tip: The Bocca della Verita is located on the facade of Santa Maria in Cosmedin Basilica, which is worth a quick look inside.
MAP. The quaint Trastevere neighborhood lies on the west bank of the Tiber River. With narrow lanes and picturesque squares, it is one of the most atmospheric neighborhoods in the city. In addition to its numerous churches, the district is also home to an abundance of restaurants and bars. Trastevere information.
Pro Tip: Our provided map leads visitors to the district, but we highly recommend wandering through the neighborhood to explore.
Pro Tip: Other sights to seek out on Gianicolo Hill are the Church of San Pietro in Montorio, the Garibaldi Monument and the Manfredi Lighthouse.
Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere
MAP. One of Rome’s oldest churches, Santa Maria in Trastevere dates to the 3rd century (although it was rebuilt in the 12th century). The interior features intricate mosaics. Church of Santa Maria information.
Pro Tip: The church is free to enter, but don’t miss the church facade, which is decorated in glittering mosaics and a rising Romanesque bell tower.
MAP. The small Tiber Island (890 feet long and 220 feet wide) lies in the middle of the Tiber River. The island is connected to both banks of the Tiber River via bridges, both of which have straddled the water since the first century. Tiber Island information.
Pro Tip: This section of the walk is best done with Gelato in hand! We recommend getting a scoop from Gelataria, before crossing north via the Ponte Fabricio Bridge.
MAP. The Roman Ghetto dates to the mid-1500s, when the Pope stripped Jews of their rights and designated that all Roman Jews live within the confinements of the district. In 1943, the Nazis descended on the neighborhood, sending more than 1,000 Jews to their death at Auschwitz. Today, however, the Jewish Quarter thrives as a quaint neighborhood. The district is home to the Great Synagogue of Rome, the Jewish Museum and an incredible number of restaurants. Jewish Quarter information.
Pro Tip: We recommend by-passing entry into the synagogue and instead just strolling through the neighborhood to see what gems you might discover!
Campo de Fiori
MAP. Once a meadow, then a site for executions, Campo de Fiori (which translates to Field of Flowers) was transformed into a marketplace in 1869. Even today, the square still hosts a fresh produce market (daily, except Sundays). Campo de Fiori information.
Pro Tip: At the center of the square is a haunting statue of philosopher Giordano Bruno. In 1600, he was burned alive after being found guilty of heresy by the Roman Inquisition; his statue commemorates the many people who perished on the site.
MAP. The grand Piazza Navona is laden with outdoor cafes and features three ornate fountains. Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers) stands in the center is is flanked by Fontana del Moro (Four Tritons) on the south end of the square and Fountain of Neptune on the north end. Piazza Navona information.
Pro Tip: This is the final stop on our three days in Rome exploration! Find a seat at an outdoor cafe and enjoy a glass of wine while people-watching.
Rome Attractions Map
Use our interactive Rome Map to navigate to the attractions listed in our Rome Three-Day Itinerary. BLUE markers are Day 1 sights; PURPLE markers are sights on Day 2; GREEN markers indicate attractions to see on Day 3.
Tips for City Sightseeing Rome
Trying to plan what to visit in Rome in 3 days is a big task! Hopefully, our Rome trip planner has helped, but we have a few more tips that will assist in your planning your Rome sightseeing itinerary.
There are hundreds of Rome tours you can book for your trip. Our best advice is to research ahead of time and thoroughly read fellow traveler reviews – and then book your spot in advance (the most popular tours can book up quickly in the high season!) Viator is a great resource for information and tours (highlighted by reviews!).
Two of the most-reviewed, top-rated Rome city tours are Ancient Sights and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Tour and Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s, Sistine Chapel tour.
Hop On Hop Off Bus Rome
While we think it is quite easy to get around Rome on foot, not everyone agrees with us! If pounding the pavement to the sights isn’t appealing to you, consider hopping aboard a Big Bus Tour. Offering multiple sightseeing routes, joining a Rome bus tour can save time! (You can view the Big Bus Tour Rome hop on hop off bus route map here.)
Rome Itinerary Suggestions
We understand that not everyone plans to visit Rome in 3 days. To help travelers with longer or shorter stays, we have a few sample Rome itineraries.
Rome One-Day Itinerary
If you are planning to see Rome in a day, we suggest creating a Rome one-day tour from the top sights listed on Day 1 of our 3-Day Rome Itinerary.
Alternatively, join the 3-hour Ancient Sights and Colosseum tour then spend the rest of the day exploring sights from Day 1 and Day 3.
Rome Two-Day Itinerary
Create your own Rome In A Weekend Itinerary by following the first two days of our 3-Day Rome Itinerary. If you have time, add an evening in the Trastevere neighborhood to your sightseeing. Even though it’s a short trip, you can see a lot of Rome in two days!
Rome Four-Day Itinerary
Rome Five-Day Itinerary
With five days in Rome, follow the above 4 Days in Rome Itinerary and on Day 5, leave the city on a Rome day trip. (See recommended day trips from Rome below.) My mom and sister had 5 days in Rome, which you can read more about in their 15-Day London, Paris, Rome Itinerary.
Rome Travel Tips
Now that you the top things to do in Rome in 3 days, we have a few more helpful tips for your trip.
Day Trips from Rome
There are plenty of places to visit in Rome, Italy in 3 days without leaving the city center! However, if you are inclined to see beyond the borders of the city, we recommend these Rome day trips:
Find more day trips from Rome on Viator.
Where To Stay in Rome
If you are going to visit Rome in 3 days, you need a place to stay! There are thousands of places to stay in Rome and consequently we have stayed in numerous different Rome hotels – and the one we most recommend is Naradizzi Americana.
While it is not particularly luxurious and the shower is really small, the hotel is affordable and the staff are kind (which isn’t always the case in Rome!). Situated near sights – as well as the train station and Metro Line, the Naradizzi Americana is ideally located. We think it is the perfect place to spend 3 nights in Rome. Check price and availability!
Looking for luxury Rome hotels or a budget Rome Hostel? Start your search on Booking.com – like we do!
What To Pack
Before you go, we have some packing tips! For more detailed advice, check out my Packing List.
While it is important to pack comfortable clothes for sightseeing in Rome, it’s also necessary to make sure you bring conservative apparel. Churches are some of the best places to visit in Rome in 3 days…but conservative clothing is required to enter most Rome churches. It is commonly required that knees and shoulders be covered. We recommend women wear comfortable knee length dresses for summer Rome sightseeing. And, carry a wrap to cover shoulders if necessary.
City Walking Shoes
Our Itinerary for Rome in 3 Days covers some ground! It’s important to wear comfortable walking shoes. I like wearing these lightweight Columbia shoes – and Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell.
Between the ancient Roman ruins and stunning architecture, Rome is a magnificent city to photograph. We recommend upgrading to an actual camera for your trip (rather than relying on your phone camera!). We use a DSLR Canon Rebel with an everyday 18-135mm lens for our travels. However, we also use a smaller and less expensive Canon Powershot for city sightseeing.
Many of the attractions in Rome are outdoors…and onn our Rome trip, we experienced some rainy weather. It’s a good idea to bring a packable raincoat and travel umbrella (which can also provide shade on sunny days!). In the summer, make sure to pack sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat. Of course, it’s also a good idea to have a refillable water bottle, too!
We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
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