When we took our first cruise on the Mediterranean Sea, the starting point was the port of Civitavecchia, directly linked to Rome by train. Since they always recommend arriving one night before the ship sails, we had to explore Rome in one day.
For me, it was not the first time in the Eternal City since I’ve spent some months here with my job some years ago, but my boyfriend had seen the city in one day many years ago.
Since he is very passionate about ancient Rome, but we only had so little time, I tried my best to fit in all the best activities to have in order to make the best out of Rome in one day.
But is it enough to spend only one day in Rome?
Truly not! And no matter how many times I get back to the city, I always feel I manage only to scratch the surface, so I guess I will keep going back again and again.
And if you are lucky and have one week to spend in Rome, check out Rachel’s one week guide for inspiration.
So what did we do in Rome in one day?
If you only spend one day in Rome and you are also spending the night, make sure to book a room very close to the city center, or at least to one of the major touristic attractions ( the Vatican for example – where you will find plenty of good places).
Since we had the plane early in the morning but reached Rome only at around 11 AM, we took the bus from Ciampino Airport to Termini Station (you will find plenty of options just as you exit the terminal, with prices around 5-6 EUR one way).
Our hotel in Rome was within walking distance from Termini so we choose to check-in and leave the luggage before going out and exploring a bit of the town.
Read all the things to know when traveling to Italy
As soon as we were ready, it was already lunchtime. And please keep an eye open for the times for lunch in Italy, because if you miss that “window of opportunity” (normally until 3 PM) you will be left starving until dinner.
Somehow we found a very Italian cafeteria where corporate people went out, making this a very authentic lunch for us.
My favorite food was fried aubergine of course, and that genuine Italian olive oil makes it even tastier.
Getting back to what you really need to do and see in Rome in one day, our first stop was the Colosseum, of course.
We did not have the time to visit both the Colosseum and Forum, we chose to visit the later, but if you want to go inside the arena and get a glimpse of the past, try booking your ticket ahead of time online.
If like us, you want to visit the Roman Forum, only a few steps away from the Colosseum, you will have the chance to walk in a place filled with history and learn a whole lot of valuable facts on all the ruins available wherever the eye can see. Not only that, but this is for sure one of the best viewpoints of Rome.
We’ve spent here a few hours and did a lot of reading, and if I were to give you a piece of advice that would be to visit the sight anywhere in Spring or Autumn because the end of June was terribly hot and there is no shade in sight.
Once we’ve finished with the Forum, we took the metro and headed to the Vatican city.
I know that is a different city, but it is right in the middle of Rome and you should not miss it even if you are in Rome only for one day.
TIP: For those history lovers out there, take more days and visit also Via Appia Antica
Of course, we did not have the time to go inside and visit the Museums ( bye-bye Sixtinth Chappel), or admiring the Trevi Fountain, but also seeing the sight might be quite enough and an experience you should not miss.
We stopped by at a gelateria close by and ate delicious ice cream while taking in all the peacefulness and zen.
Since we were tired and had to get ready for traveling to Civitavecchia early in the next morning, we had dinner somewhere close to the hotel and went straight to bed.
But if you want to see more, once you’ve ticked the Vatican off your list as well, cross the Tiber river and head back to the city center because you cannot miss seeing the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.
And while you’re there, stop for dinner at one of the many romantic restaurants on the narrow streets of Rome, and finish it off with one of the many cool things to do in Rome at night.
Italy travel resources
- Have less time to spend in Italy but still want to live it up? Spend one day in Genoa on your way to the Cinque Terre.
- Take the perfect pictures for your forever memories in these Instagram spots in Positano.
- How many days are just enough for seeing Venice and living it to the fullest? I’ve been there 3 times already and I think I have just the answer you are looking for, along with all the great things you shouldn’t miss in Venice.
- See a lot more with these fabulous day trips from Genoa.
- Spend an incredible 7 days in Northern Italy itinerary and see all the destinations you’ve ever dreamt of.