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Rome in One Day – The Best Rome 1-Day Itinerary (By A Local!)

Are you planning a one day trip to Rome, but aren’t sure what to do? You’ve come to the right place!

In this one day Rome itinerary I have outlined everything you need to know to spend an incredible day in the Eternal City.

Including logistics advice like how to get around, where to stay, and what to pack, as well as a detailed step-by-step itinerary and walking route map for one day in Rome.

With its grand architecture, historic centre, ancient sites and delicious local cuisine, Rome is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and it’s easy to see why.

It’s a stunning city, with a rich history unlike any other in the world. I’m originally from Milan, but I spent some time living in Rome, so I had the pleasure of experiencing this city both as a tourist and as a local.

In this guide I have included all my insider tips as a local, to make sure you have the best time in Rome. So what are you waiting for, let’s dive in and start planning the perfect Rome 1-day itinerary!

The Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

The Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

One thing you MUST do before your day in Rome

Rome is one of the most famous destinations in the world, featuring on pretty much everyone’s travel bucket list. As such, it gets very busy and the queues to enter its main attractions can be huge.

When I was living in Rome I’d walk past the Colosseum or Vatican, and I would see such gigantic queues that it always made me wonder how people ever decided to brave them.

Considering you have limited time and only one day in Rome, you don’t want to waste it queueing outside. If you want to visit the inside of famous attractions, you HAVE to purchase tickets online beforehand.

Check out popular Rome tours below!



Exploring Piazza Navona in Rome

Exploring Piazza Navona in Rome

Ticket prices are a bit higher for skip-the-line privileges, but trust me when I say, it will be well worth the investment. Here are the entrance tickets to some of the most popular Rome attractions.

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-the-Ticket-Line Entry – This is your priority entrance to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, so that you can skip the giant queue outside.

Skip the line, and purchase your Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel entrance here!

Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel: Tour – Personally, I would go beyond the skip-the-line entrance and choose a guided tour, as having a local guide explain to you what you’re seeing is key to understanding this unique place.

Click here to book your Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel tour!

Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill Priority Tickets – You don’t want to spend hours queueing under the sun, so make sure to purchase priority tickets to the Colosseum!

Click here to book your Colosseum tickets and skip the line!

View over the Roman Forum and the Colosseum from the Campidoglio

View over the Roman Forum and the Colosseum from the Campidoglio

The famous Altare della Patria in Rome

The famous Altare della Patria in Rome

Rome 1-day itinerary map

We’ve gone over all the key knowledge you need for your day in Rome, so it’s time to finally dive into what you’ll actually be doing during your Rome itinerary! 

Here is the map of your Rome 1-day itinerary walking route. As you can see, the total walking time is just over two hours, which is easily doable throughout a day.

It gives you plenty of time to stop during the day for photos, to go inside major attractions, to take food and drinks breaks and just generally enjoy your day in Rome.

Now let’s dive into the details of what exactly you’ll be seeing!

Rome 1-day itinerary

Start at the Colosseum & Roman Forum 

Of all the things to do in Rome in one day, seeing the Colosseum and the Roman Forum have to be top of your Italy bucket list. 

For starters, it’s convenient: the Colosseum ticket allows access to the Roman Forum (and vice versa) so it makes sense to visit both to get the most out of your visit. 

Secondly, they’re right next to each other, so you won’t have to travel far between these two big-hitter sights.

I highly recommend getting a skip the line ticket for the Colosseum, which will also get you the same skip the line access to the nearby Roman Forum. 

Chilling by the Colosseum in Rome

Chilling by the Colosseum in Rome

I spent a few months living in Rome, and every time I walked past the Colosseum there was a really long line. If you only have one day in Rome, you don’t want to spend it queueing.

One tip is to make sure you book your tickets to the Colosseum for an early time slot, so that you can pack the most into your day as possible.

Plus the crowds tend to be slightly smaller early in the day, and you don’t want to waste your day waiting. 

Click here to book your skip-the-line entrance to the Colosseum & Roman Forum!

Or click below to see prices & availability!



Admiring the view over the Fori Romani in Rome

Admiring the view over the Fori Romani in Rome


Then it’s onto the famous Pantheon. This is around a 20-minute walk from the Colosseum, or you could hop on a bus (route 85; around 10-15 minutes) to get you there quicker.

I personally recommend the walk, as it will take you past Via Dei Fori Imperiali and the Altare della Patria, two beautiful sights in the heart of Rome.

Your own curated Rome-in-one-day tour stops by the Pantheon, a former ancient temple dedicated to all the Roman gods turned church. 

The original was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa in the reign of Augustus (27 BC to 14 AD). It was later rebuilt by Hadrian around 126 AD.

Take a moment to admire the impressive dome – it’s still to this day the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome! No entrance fee required.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon in Rome, Italy

Trevi Fountain

You can’t do a one day in Rome walking tour without stopping by the Trevi Fountain.

It’s an easy eight-minute walk from the Pantheon to the iconic fountain, which will no doubt be busy with visitors, but is nonetheless atmospheric and impressive to see. 

Take your iconic Rome Instagram photos of the gorgeous 18th century Baroque fountain, and don’t forget to throw a coin in (over your shoulder, of course), as is the custom.

Legend has it that if you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, you’ll come back to Rome in the future. Every Rome itinerary should include a trip to the Trevi Fountain, and you don’t have to spend long there, either.

The beautiful facade of the Trevi fountain in Rome

The beautiful facade of the Trevi fountain in Rome

Piazza di Spagna & Trinità dei Monti

Piazza di Spagna is another eight-minute stroll from the Trevi Fountain. It’s one of the most famous piazzas in the city, taking its name from the Spanish embassy which is still located in the square. 

It’s also here that you’ll find the Spanish Steps, a famed meeting point which leads to the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.

This picturesque Renaissance church overlooks the goings-on of the piazza below – and, by a quirk of history, it’s actually the state property of France!

Wandering up the famous Spanish Steps towards Trinità dei Monti in Rome

Wandering up the famous Spanish Steps towards Trinità dei Monti in Rome

Terrazza del Pincio

Otherwise known as Pincian Terrace, your one day in Rome itinerary wouldn’t be complete without an awesome view over the Roman skyline. It takes around 10 minutes to reach from Trinità dei Monti. 

Part of the sprawling gardens of the Villa Borghese, the 19th century hillside terrace looks out over the rooftops of Rome including the unmistakable dome of St Peter’s Basilica.

If you have spare time, you can spend a while strolling around the park, otherwise it’s onwards to Piazza del Popolo below (you can actually see it from the terrace).

One of the best views over Rome from Villa Borghese

One of the best views over Rome from Villa Borghese

Piazza del Popolo

Next stop on your Rome itinerary, is Piazza del Popolo. Though the name translates to “People’s Square”, the name is actually taken from the nearby Santa Maria del Popolo.

This wide-open space has a number of different interesting sights to take in, including an ancient Egyptian obelisk (it dates from between 1290 to 1279 BC!), a grand gate designed by architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini and fountains fed by centuries-old aqueducts. 

For many years, the piazza was a place of public executions, the last of which took place in 1826.

You’ll get here by late afternoon, and this might be the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat, or just rest your feet for a while, grab a coffee and do a spot of people-watching.

View over Piazza del Popolo and Rome from Terrazza del Pincio

View over Piazza del Popolo and Rome from Terrazza del Pincio

Castel Sant’Angelo

If you feel like walking, it’s 20 minutes from Piazza del Popolo to Castel Sant’Angelo; it’s a pretty cool walk, as you’ll walk along Tiber River and get to cross over Ponte Sant’Angelo with its many angelic statues. 

The castle tells the tale of Rome from its ancient past to the present day – from being built as the mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family in 123-4 AD, being pillaged by Visigoths, and used as a fortress for the Popes from the 14th century onwards. 

There’s even a secret passageway leading from the Castel Sant’Angelo all the way through the city to St Peter’s Basilica.

Sadly if you’re only spending one day in Rome, you won’t have time to go in, but it’s still an impressive building to admire from the outside.

Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, Italy

Castel Sant’Angelo & Ponte Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy

Vatican City

Of all the places to visit in Rome in one day, the Vatican City should definitely be on the list – after all, this is a whole other country to visit! It’s around a 15-minute walk from Castel Sant’Angelo to the Vatican. 

As I already mentioned, you won’t have time to visit the interior of both the Colosseum and Vatican in one day. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least admire them from the outside!

If you chose to visit the Colosseum, you can simply visit St. Peter’s Square, a pretty impressive sight in and of itself. You can wander around the square for a bit, and take in the unique sights.

There’s yet another ancient Egyptian obelisk here, not to mention the imposing facade of St. Peter’s Basilica: the centre of the Catholic Church.

If you chose to visit the Vatican, its museums and the Sistine Chapel, you’ll need to purchase a ticket online beforehand. Similarly to the Colosseum, you can get a skip-the-line entry, which I think is well worth the money.

Click here to purchase your skip-the-line ticket to the Vatican & Sistine Chapel!

Or click below to see prices & availability for your chosen dates!



The Basilica di San Pietro and main square of the Vatican in Rome

The Basilica di San Pietro and main square of the Vatican in Rome

Trastevere by night

After your trip to the Vatican City, you simply have to finish up your Rome one day itinerary in Trastevere.

This is simply a lovely neighbourhood to discover by night, with cobbled streets and lots of cool eateries and bars to discover. 

Especially if you’re visiting Rome in summer, start off with an aperitivo and unwind after your busy day of exploring. Then you can head off for some dinner at one of the many restaurants in the district.

The vibrant Piazza Trilussa, in front of Ponte Sisto, is a meeting place for locals where warm evenings bring crowds and live music, and is a great place to start your night in Rome.

This is also where many Rome by night tours start, like the delicious cooking classes or street food tours.

A delicious plate of fresh pasta from Osteria da Fortunata in Rome, Italy

A delicious plate of fresh pasta from Osteria da Fortunata in Rome, Italy

Check out the web story for this article here!

Essential information to spend one amazing day in Rome

Before we dive into the details of my step-by-step itinerary for Rome, I want to go over some useful information around logistics to help you plan your trip.

After all, you only have one day in Rome, so it’s important that you know some of these crucial tips, to make sure you make the most of your day.

How to get to Rome

Rome has two main airports, Leonardo da Vinci International Airport – Fiumicino (FCO) and Ciampino (CIA). From there you can then take either a train or bus into central Rome.

Wandering along the cute cobbled streets of Rome, Italy

Trains can be booked online beforehand on the Italian rail website; Trenitalia, or directly at the station from the kiosk. Bus tickets can be bought directly at the bus, or online beforehand. 

Personally, I always suggest booking your airport transfer beforehand, especially if you’re visiting in busy season, as they can get full pretty quickly, and if you miss it you then have to wait for the next one.

You’re only in Rome for one day, so you want to make the most of them! Not waste time waiting around before you even get into the city. You can book your airport bus transfers below.

Shuttle bus transfer to/from Fiumicino Airport

Shuttle bus transfer to/from Ciampino Airport

Private transfer to either Ciampino or Fiumicino Airport

Watching the sunset over the Vatican and Ponte Sant'Angelo from Ponte Umberto in Rome

Watching the sunset over the Vatican and Ponte Sant’Angelo from Ponte Umberto in Rome

How to get around Rome in a day

Rome is pretty big city, but when it comes to the main attractions and historical sights, these are all located close to each other in the city centre, just a short walk away.

I’m a big fan of walking as a mode of transport when I travel, as it allows you to see the side streets and true vibe of a city, way more than you would just driving from one attraction to the next.

This Rome 1-day itinerary is designed to cover all the main highlights of Rome on foot, optimising your walking route, so that you don’t end up marching back and forth all over the city.

If you don’t fancy walking for too long, don’t worry, as Rome offers plenty of options.

Walking along Ponte Sant' Angelo in Rome, with Castel Sant' Angelo in the background

Walking along Ponte Sant’ Angelo in Rome, with Castel Sant’ Angelo in the background

My personal favourite way to get around Rome is to use e-scooters, such as Lime. I lived in Rome for months and used them all the time, you’ll find loads parked all the city and they’re great for short distances.

Just watch out for Rome’s cobbled lanes – you’ll be in for a pretty bumpy ride if you take a scooter along one of these!

If you can drive a motorbike, there is also a scooter sharing service called eCooltra, which is a more “serious” way to get around, and you can also go further than with e-scooters.

Rome’s also has a good public transport system, which takes you pretty everywhere around the city. You’ll also find taxis parked all over central Rome.

Scootering around Rome - that's the Colosseum behind us!

Scootering around Rome – that’s the Colosseum behind us!

Where to stay for one day in Rome

Even if you’re only spending one day in Rome, you’ll probably have to spend a night in Rome, either before or after your itinerary.

Choosing where to stay in Rome can be challenging. Personally I would opt for a hotel near the Colosseum, or near the Pantheon, so that you’re close to all the main attractions of Rome.

Having lived in Rome on and off, I tried my fair share of apartment rentals in Rome, and can confidently suggest some over others. I listed below some cool places to stay for every budget.

Budget: YellowSquare Rome – If you’re looking for a budget Rome hostel in a great position, with clean and modern dorms and a lovely social atmosphere, this is the place!

Click here to see the latest prices and availability at YellowSquare Rome!

Mid-range: Albergo Abruzzi – This lovely boutique hotel in Rome is perfect if you want something nice that won’t break the bank. Located right next to the Pantheon, it’s in a winning position.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability at Albergo Abruzzi!

Luxury: Giallo Colosseo – If your Italy trip budget allows for it, this is a great place to treat yourself. From this apartment you get amazing Colosseum views directly from your bed, what more can you ask for?!

Don’t miss out, book your stay at Giallo Colosseo here!

The Colosseum view from the window of Giallo Colosseo in Rome, Italy

The Colosseum view from the window of Giallo Colosseo in Rome

The bedroom with Colosseum view of Giallo Colosseo in Rome, Italy

The bedroom with Colosseum view of Giallo Colosseo

Best time to visit Rome 

In my opinion, you could visit Rome at any time of the year and have a great time. Being a city, pretty much all the attractions and main sights are visible every month, regardless of the season.

That said, there are some seasons which will make your one day in Rome more pleasant. Spring in Rome is my favourite time of year.

The days are getting warmer and longer, the flowers are blooming, and Rome isn’t inundated by tourists like in summer. If you visit Italy in summer, I wouldn’t personally go to Rome, as it gets extremely hot.

I also really like Rome in winter, as the weather is milder than other places in Italy in winter, and you can do pretty much everything you would do in spring or summer, minus the huge tourist crowds and with a cheaper price tag.

The beautiful Trevi fountain in Rome

The beautiful Trevi fountain in Rome

Is one day in Rome enough?

When it comes to planning a Rome 1-day itinerary, this is the million dollar question. Locals will argue that no amount of time will ever be enough to really see a city, especially not one day.

However, having lived in Rome and having also visited as a tourist, I can confidently say that one day in Rome is enough to walk around the city, see the main sights from outside, get a feel for the Roman vibe, and visit the interior of one main attraction.

Realistically, one day isn’t enough to visit both the Vatican and the Colosseum. Not if you also want to wander around the city, see other sights like the Trevi Fountain, and in general spend an enjoyable day.

I’ve seen itineraries online saying you can do both, if you start your day at 7AM and then keep going until nightfall.

While it might be technically possible, do you really want to rush and pack your day in Rome that much?

Personally, I suggest choosing one or the other, so that you can have a more relaxed day. If you want to visit both, you will have to extend your Italy itinerary, and spend more days in Rome; at least two days in Rome, if not three.

The Colosseum in Rome at sunset

Sunset over the rooftops of Rome

Sunset over the rooftops of Rome

Do you need travel insurance for one day in Rome?

After my personal experience spending two nights in a private hospital in Tenerife, and having to pay for it out of pocket (it wasn’t cheap), I always recommend getting travel insurance.

You might not end up needing it, but for a small fee you can travel without worries. Personally, I suggest getting your Italy travel insurance with  Heymondo.

Heymondo offers tailor made travel insurance, providing the best value for money for your specific trip. You can also buy it once you’re already abroad and have forgotten about it before flying (which, if you’re anything like me, is quite likely).

Besides the usual cancellation, medical expenses, luggage coverage and general travel insurance services, Heymondo also has a 24/7 doctor chat and instant assistance through their app.

As a Greta’s Travels reader, you get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance!

Click here to get your 5% off Heymondo travel insurance!

Exploring the Pantheon in Rome

Exploring the Pantheon in Rome

Final thoughts on 1 day in Rome

There you have it, the ultimate best itinerary for one day in Rome! Have you been to Rome before? How did you find it? Let me know in the comments below!

In my personal opinion, having lived in Rome, this is the best way to visit Rome in one day.

This itinerary will allow you to see the famous sights of the Roman Empire and of ancient Rome, as well as enjoying the beautiful architecture and local vibe.

Rome is a city like no other. There’s lots to see, but by the end of this full day exploring it, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the Eternal City is all about.

Some travellers base themselves in Rome, and from there then go on a day trip to Pompeii or even Capri, but I wouldn’t recommend that. Amalfi Coast is quite far, so stay in Amalfi Coast instead, so that you can properly experience Positano, hike the Path of the Gods, go on boat trips and more! and its beautiful surroundings.

I hope you have found this Rome in 1 day itinerary useful in planning your time in Rome, as well as your Italy itinerary. If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below!

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