Are you planning a trip to Italy and have only 2 days to spend in Rome? Don’t know how to make the best out of your time in the Citta’ Eterna? By following this easy and comprehensive 2 days in Rome itinerary you will get to tick off most of the things you might have on your Rome bucket list.
While Rome is a big city you cannot get too much of, it is easy to get to see some of the most important tourist attractions when you only have 48 hours to spare.
I was lucky to spend more than 2 months in Italy’s capital, and I still went back several times because I absolutely love the vibe of this city. You simply cannot get bored of it, and you can easily spend much more exploring its history-packed streets.
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Before we start, here is some useful information worth having for your trip, no matter where you choose to go in the end.
Discover Cars is a great aggregator that will help you find and book the best option for renting a car during your trip, helping you save up to 70% on your car rental. They have a pretty good Cancellation policy that would give you options in case your flight or travel plans change. You will most probably need a car to get to most of these places, especially if you want to keep a schedule. Get your best offers here!
Day trips and experiences can be easily booked through GetYourGuide – they have a wide selection of tours and a great cancellation policy that will offer you a full refund if you cancel up to 24 hours before the tour. Explore perfect tours here!
Rail Europe – The one-stop shop for train travel – the #1 distributor for European TRAIN TICKETS & RAIL Passes, covering over 50 European train companies, including Italy. On top of that, they offer sightseeing products making it, even easier to plan your trip around Italy by train. I always love to travel by train while I’m in Italy, and if you’re in the Northern part, chances are it will be even super easy to do so. Get your train pass here!
Travel insurance – If there’s one thing we learned in recent times, is that we don’t want to make travel plans without insurance. My go-to travel insurance is Aardy.com – by using them, you will get the best possible prices on travel insurance because they compare prices from over 30 providers, and give you the best. Get the best deal for your travel insurance here!
Your perfect 2 days in Rome itinerary
Getting to Rome
If you are starting your Italy itinerary from Rome, you will most likely land at Rome Fiumicino Airport. If you are traveling by low-cost flights from another European country, the other option is to land at Rome Ciampino airport.
From either one of the airports, you will have 4 options to get to the center of Rome:
- by train – go to Rail Europe and search for trains from Fiumicino airport to Rome Termini (the price can be anywhere around 9 EUR with one easy change, and 17 EUR directly), or Ciampino to Rome Termini (only 15 minutes ride for 1.6 EUR).
- by taxi – it won’t be hard to find a taxi at the airport, and you will be charged a fixed amount of 48 EUR when traveling from Fiumicino Airport.
- by bus – the bus leaves in front of the airport at Ciampino and it takes around 30 minutes to get to the city center. From Fiumicino Airport it will take you roughly 45 minutes (depending on the traffic) to get to Rome Termini. For both options, I recommend taking the Terravisio private bus for the current price of 10 EUR. Book your ticket in advance here!
- by private transfer – this option can be similar to taking a taxi, but it will be less challenging for you because you will have everything arranged and the driver will have all the information. See private transfer options here!
Where to stay in Rome
When you only have 2 days and thus one or 2 nights, I would strongly suggest booking a hotel or apartment close to the most important tourist attractions.
This is the only way you can save valuable time and include more destinations on your itinerary.
Some great locations would be around the Vatican City, close to the Foro Romano or Colosseo, or near Piazza del Popolo.
To make things even easier, I have chosen 2 great apartments you can check out.
Vatican Luxury Penthouse with terrace
A stunning 2-bedroom penthouse with a terrace that will leave you in owe! Located only 3 minutes away from the metro this place is not only super comfortable but also typical Italian, in the heart of the city.
Rooftop Magic in Piazza del Popolo
A rooftop facing Piazza del Popolo where you could return for a stunning sunset over one of the most iconic landmarks of Rome.
Day 1 itinerary
Start your day early in the morning and make your way directly to the Vatican Museum.
A place like the Vatican could easily take up to one entire day to explore. However, since you have other things on your itinerary for the day, I suggest booking a tour with skip-the-line options.
I remember we waited for quite some time to get the ticket and go inside the museum. On top of that, we didn’t have a guide with us to explain everything we saw, and we didn’t get to see it all.
By booking a tour you will know what to expect from the start, you won’t have to waste time waiting in line to buy the ticket, and you will get a whole lot of valuable information. Additionally, you will see the famous Sistine Chapel, you will go on a tour of the Vatican Garden by minibus, and you will have an audio guide to explain everything you see.
The best part of it all? You have total flexibility! You can cancel up to 24 hours before your activity starts for a full refund.
Here are 2 great options to have in mind:
- A Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel skip-the-line tour
- A tour of the Vatican Museum that would also include a climb to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica Dome from where you will get one of the most breathtaking views over Rome. Check it out here!
Since a visit to the Vatican can easily take up to 4-5 hours, it is best to start your day here and stop for lunch in the area afterward.
Your second stop for the day will be the Castle of Sant’Angelo.
With a vast history behind it, here you can visit a series of cells in which many famous figures were incarcerated throughout the years, see Renaissance frescoes, or be amazed by the weapon collection.
From the castle, you will also get impressive views over the Vatican or the Tiber River.
From here, cross the river and make your way towards one of the most famous piazzas in Rome: Piazza Navona.
In this square and on the streets surrounding it, you can sit back and listen to music with a glass of wine in hand, admire the impressive statues and fountains, or stop at a local fortune-teller.
Make your way to the Pantheon and discover the secrets of this engineering masterpiece dating from 113 AD on a guided tour.
Here, you can see the tomb of Raphael, learn about the gods worshiped by the Romans, and understand why this building is so impressive and unique. Book your ticket and tour here!
Also within walking distance, you’ll find the famous Trevi Fountain.
Due to its popularity, this area is always packed with people and you will find it difficult to take a picture with the fountain as a background without crows of other people. However, a stop here is not an option.
By now I am sure you already feel tired, but if you can still make it, I would suggest adding the Foro Romano, the Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum to your list of places to see on your first day in Rome.
Book a skip-the-line tour that would include both attractions so that you can get in faster and see them 2 in 1.
Day 2 itinerary
We’ll split the second day into 2 areas you will need to get to by public transportation. If you haven’t managed to see the Colosseum and the Roman Forum on the first day, you can always include them here.
Read next: the full guide for visiting the Colosseum
However, if you managed to get everywhere yesterday, follow the next itinerary.
Start your day at Villa Borghese, with its beautiful park, and the impressive villa filled with masterpieces by Bernini or Caravaggio. Be careful not to slip on the stairs (as I did), and climb to the Pincio Terrace from where you can admire Rome’s rooftops.
From here, your second stop of the day will be at Piazza del Popolo and you’ll make your way on Via del Corso with all its amazing shops towards Piazza din Spagna and its famous steps.
Jump on the bus or subway and travel all the way to the Giardino degli Aranci park. This place offers a great panoramic view of Rome from above, and you will especially get to have a different viewpoint over the Vatican.
Once night falls, head over to the Knights of Malta Keyhole not far from the park, and get ready to see one of the most romantic places in town.
Also in the area, before making your way up to the gardens, you can stop and admire the Pyramid of Caius Cestius and the Baths of Caracalla.
Finish your day off with a dinner in Trastevere – an absolute must experience to have for foodies in Rome!
What else should you do in Rome in 2 days?
If you manage to do everything I’ve suggested in this 2 days in Rome itinerary, you will already accomplish quite a lot!
However, don’t leave Rome behind without:
- tasting delicious traditional local food – don’t always go for the tourist place or fancy restaurants. Try the more local-looking restaurants even if they aren’t really luxurious, that is where you will find the best food. Also, during lunchtime, try looking for the places where the locals eat. Don’t leave without trying some of these mouthwatering pizza places.
- eating some “gelato artigianale” at one of the many gelaterias in town. Again, it would be better not to head to the most crowded places, close to the main attractions in Rome.
- drink a true Italian coffee at the “banco”, while standing. Don’t ever ask for an “americano” or a coffee to go. Also, avoid getting coffee with milk (particularly cappuccino) after lunch.
- learn how to cook a true Italian meal on a cooking workshop with dinner.
Getting around Rome
While this itinerary is super easy to follow and is designed specifically to be done on foot, the easiest option to get around Rome is by public transportation, particularly by metro.
When you choose to hop on the bus and admire the city from your window, remember you must buy the ticket before from any “tabaccheria” or local bar.
For taking the metro, you will be able to buy the ticket at any metro station, just before going in, and the price for one entry and 100 minutes is 1.5 EUR.
When to visit Rome
I think I’ve been to Rome in almost any season except winter and loved it no matter what.
With nice weather year-round and not-so-low temperatures during winter, you can never go wrong. However, I would recommend planning your trip for spring (April or May and even June) or fall (September to November).
There’s always the discussion about visiting Rome during August, and that comes with both advantages and disadvantages: while on the one hand, most locals will be out of town due to vacations, on the other hand, temperatures will be very high and you will find it hard to travel around town in the heat.
More Italy travel guides and information
- All the things to know when traveling to Italy for the first time
- Take the perfect Rome to Florence day trip
- Rome in one day – is that enough?
- The best Italy subscription box ideas for when you get home
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