Rome daily itinerary: Day 1

Italy is one of my favorite countries. It has all the right ingredients for everything I love about travel. The culture. The history. The food. The shopping. The beauty. The scenery. The romance. But above all, Italians have an appreciation for life that I envy and want more of. This is why a meal in Italy takes at minimum 3 hours if you are doing it right. You cannot truly appreciate a meal with loved ones in 45 minutes, and if you are eating in Italy, it would be crazy of you to try.

For many visitors to Italy, Rome will certainly be part of the plan. When you have a multi-destination itinerary, people always wonder how much time should be allotted in each place, and whether or not they deserve a stay or can be done in a day trip. What I will say about Rome is… It wasn’t built in a day, so don’t expect to see it in one. If possible, I would suggest at least 3 full days in the city to ensure you get some quality time to see and do a variety of things and not feel too rushed. In a 3 day itinerary I have put together for clients in the past, we dedicated one full day to exploring the historic center, but you could easily stretch this out to a week if this is where your interests lie and ancient monuments are something you are passionate about.  

There is something for everyone in what is known as the eternal city, and any list you come across should simply be thought of as a guideline, and further tailored to fit your individual tastes.  I’m the type of person that runs through a famous museum so I can cross it off my list (and checkin on Facebook) and then would be blissfully happy sitting at an outdoor cafe and people watching the rest of the afternoon.  So, more than anything I always encourage people to pay special attention to what kind of experience they are looking to have no matter what the destination or what any fancy guidebook tells you. 

So, what would my own 3 days in Rome look like? Let’s start with Day 1, where for me it makes sense to start with the history. View this as a bit of insight into how I work and create itineraries, and use it to inspire your own wanderlust. 

Day 1: The History

The historic heart of the city, called Centro Storico, includes the Michelangelo-designed Campidoglio, the Pantheon, the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, as well as the nearby Colosseum and Baths of Caracalla.  

  • My suggestion would be to start your day visiting the Colosseum and the Forum. (tip: make sure you buy the Roma Pass).  A tour of the Colosseum allows you to learn about the construction and history of one of the most famed structures of all time. It also allows you to imagine yourself as a Gladiator. (bonus points if your significant other resembles Russell Crowe)
  • Next up is the Forum, where you will tour what was ancient Rome’s showpiece centre. So much history was shaped here, and unless you are a total history buff, I would recommend a guided tour or at least an audio tour to properly put things in perspective.
  • You most certainly have worked up an appetite by now, so if you’re up for something special, have lunch at Aroma restaurant, set in a magical rooftop garden setting, with stunning views of the Colosseum. 
  • Finish your history day with a tour of the Pantheon, a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods of Pagan Rome. It is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome. 
  • After a nap (when in Rome…), make your way down to Trastevere. The former ghetto is chalk full of various restaurants and bars sure to please every budget and taste, with plenty of choices for entertainment afterwards.

Additional tips for Rome:

Where to stay: See my post on a great boutique hotel in Rome here.

Where to go next: Consider the Amalfi Coast and this beautiful resort I highlighted here.

Interested in the next 2 days of my Rome Itinerary? Check back next week and I will also include the 3 day Itinerary for you to download!