After many chats with students and tourists, I realized that many people coming to Italy visit Rome just for one day.
Let me just say that I think this is a real pity, as it would be really great to spend at least three days in the city, enjoying the incredible atmosphere of the place and the breathtaking sunsets that Rome uses to charm people and conquer them for life, and just endlessly wandering around the city streets – possibly my favorite thing to do there.
But I understand that coming to Italy, most of the times, is the trip of a lifetime and you try to squeeze in as many things as possible, making the most of your stay. Therefore, I decided to help you and plan an itinerary which allows you to see Rome in just one day.
It will be a bit tiring, but totally worth it!
If you are in Rome for just one day, I bet you’d be either at the beginning or at the end of your trip or maybe coming for a day either from Florence or Naples. This means you’d probably find yourself at Roma Termini, the central train station, and I decided to start my itinerary from there.
Since there is a lot to see and you do not want to miss a single thing, you have to start super early. This is quite important if you want to visit as many places as possible, but if you want to make it more slow and relaxing, you can just skip pieces of the itinerary and you’ll be fine.
Another important thing is to get a city map at the local tourist information office, as it will come super handy during the day. I know that you can always use GoogleMaps but I strongly believe that old-style city maps are perfect to really understand how a city is built and to have a more conscious approach to it.
From Roma Termini, hop on the bus 64 – do not forget to buy your ticket in advance and validate it on board – and get off at Via della Conciliazione, just in front of the Vatican. Pay attention at pickpockets while on the bus, since the bus is always crowded with tourists and pickpockets love tourists!
Once at Vatican City, take some time to wander around Piazza San Pietro and – if the queue is not too long, visit the Basilica di San Pietro, an amazing masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, one of the largest churches in the world, and the home of the Pietà di Michelangelo.
Basilica di San Pietro
Piazza San Pietro
Once you’re done with Vatican City, walk down Via della Conciliazione towards Castel Sant’Angelo, cross Ponte Sant’Angelo and enjoy the amazing views from there. Once you’re on the other side of the River Tiber, walk down via dei Coronari and get to Piazza Navona, where you can spend some time admiring the Baroque architecture and the awesome Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, by Lorenzo Bernini.
From Piazza Navona, you can walk to the Pantheon, one of the best-preserved Ancient Roman buildings. If the queue to enter the Pantheon is too long, you can make the most of your time and visit the church of San Luigi dei Francesi to admire Caravaggio’s paintings.
Castel Sant’Angelo seen from Ponte Sant’Angelo
Lovely Piazza Navona
You may be hungry by now, it’s time to get some lunch!
Walk towards Campo de’ Fiori, a lively square where you can buy some fresh fruit at the local market and, most importantly, get some amazing pizza bianca or some sweet pastries at the Forno Campo de’ Fiori – you can’t miss it, it has a huge sign saying Forno above the entrance.
Once you belly is full and you gained some other energies, walk down Corso Vittorio Emanuele towards Piazza Venezia, where you can take some pictures of the Altare della Patria, a massive white monument in honour of Vittorio Emanuele, the first king of unified Italy, and then walk down Via dei Fori Imperiali to reach the Colosseo.
The impressive Altare della Patria
The even more impressive Colosseo
I bet you may be quite tired by now, so I’d suggest you hop on the bus 85 and get off at Fontana di Trevi, the Baroque fountain famous for the iconic scene of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. From there, you can walk a little bit and get to Piazza di Spagna, where you can relax on the Spanish Steps and watch the world go by in front of you.
Fontana di Trevi
The Spanish Steps
Your itinerary is over now, you’ve seen all the most important sights in Rome and probably got an idea of the city. It would take ages to really know Rome, however, but it is still great to be able to see a little of it.
If you still have some energies, you can get on a bus and get to Trastevere (you actually have to take bus 117, get off at Piazza Venezia and then take tram 8) for a relaxing dinner in a typical Roman trattoria. Otherwise, just get back to Termini by metro and crash on the bed or hop on your train back home!