3 Days in Rome: Things To Do in Rome

By |February 9th, 2016|0 Comments

Beautiful, historic and diverse Rome, there are few other cities in the World that can match the abundance of sights to conquer on a vacation. I’d be lying if I said you could cover all of Rome in 3 days, more appropriately would be 5 days, but I realize not everyone is rich in time. So we’re going to tuck right into the best way for you to spend your 3 days in Rome.

With 3 days being the average a traveler has to spend in Rome, I want to show you the top sites and can’t miss things. If you have more days, great, consider diving deeper into the smaller neighborhoods or taking a day trip outside of the city. Regardless, you can still see a lot of Rome in just 3 days.

Find Accommodation in Rome: Read reviews and check prices for hotels in Rome at TripAdvisor or Booking.Com.

Day One in Rome

Roman Forum Rome Italy

Roman Forum

One of the most beautiful and complex historical sites in all of Italy, the Roman Forum is located in a valley between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum. The area was originally marshlands that were cleared with a brilliant system. The Cloaca Maxima canal was constructed to drain off the land into the Tiber River so the area could be developed as the urban center on Roma more than 1000 years ago. Several structures remain in the Forum from different periods of history and you will be blown away by how well a lot of them look today.

Opening Hours: Guided tours of Roman Forum daily 1:00pm. Oct 30-Feb 15 daily 8:30am-4:30pm, Feb 16-Mar 15 daily 8:30am-5:00pm, Mar 16-26 daily 8:30am-5:30pm, Mar 27-Aug 31 daily 8:30am-7:15pm, Sep daily 8:30am-7:00pm, Oct 1-29 daily 8:30am-6:30pm. Last admission 1 hr. before closing

Ticket Cost: 12€, ticket good for same-day admission to the Colosseum and Palatine Hill. Guided tours of Roman Forum 4€

Click to see the top tours Viator has to offer of the Colosseum.

Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Rome.

Colosseum Rome Italy

Colosseum

The Colosseum is the most iconic and recognizable place in Rome. If you have little time to see the sites, this is one you shouldn’t miss. This grand stadium was completed in 80AD and stands on an area that was drained like the Roman Forum. It has withstood years of abuse and even fire, being completely rebuilt in 222 after extensive fire damage.

This site was used for bullfights, gladiator fights, chariot races, official events and for various other forms of public entertainment. The capacity of the arena allowed for 50,000 to 80,000 spectators on the marble benches and you were seated based on the very strict caste system of the Romans. It has withstood years of use and abuse with a complete restoration in 1750 to the building we now see today.

Opening Hours: Nov-Feb 15 daily 8:30am-4:30pm, Feb 16-Mar 15 daily 8:30am-5:00pm, Mar 16-27 daily 8:30am-5:30pm, Mar 28-Aug daily 8:30am-7:15pm, Sep daily 8:30am-7:00pm, Oct daily 8:30am-6:00pm. Guided tours in English with an archaeologist 7 times per day Mar 28-Oct 30 (9:30am, 10:15am, 11:15am, 12:30pm, 3:00pm, 4:15pm, and 5:15pm)

Ticket Cost: 12€ all levels. Guided tours: 4€. Note: to the Colosseum also includes a visit to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill

Find Accommodation in Rome: Read reviews and check prices for hotels in Rome at TripAdvisor or Booking.Com.

Palatine Hill Rome Italy

Palatine Hill

The most famous of the Seven Hills of Rome, Palatine Hill is the most centrally located and stands 40 meters tall. The Circus Maximus, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum surround the hill making it a great place to visit if you want a great view from above.

Archaeological findings show the site was inhabited as early as 10BC and it is known to be the site of the Lupercal Cave where Romulus and Remus were nursed by the she-wolf. It is where Romulus began building the great city in 754BC. Due to the great views, Palatine Hill was a sought after location for the wealthy and centuries of palaces have been constructed and built over on this site.

Opening Hours: Guided tours of Roman Forum daily 1:00pm. Oct 30-Feb 15 daily 8:30am-4:30pm, Feb 16-Mar 15 daily 8:30am-5:00pm, Mar 16-26 daily 8:30am-5:30pm, Mar 27-Aug 31 daily 8:30am-7:15pm, Sep daily 8:30am-7:00pm, Oct 1-29 daily 8:30am-6:30pm. Last admission 1 hr. before closing

Ticket Cost: 12€, ticket good for same-day admission to the Colosseum and Palatine Hill. Guided tours of Roman Forum 4€

Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Rome.

Day Two in Rome

Vatican Museum Rome Italy

Vatican Museums

Located within Vatican City, the Vatican Museums comprise several exhibitions within several museum galleries. Pope Julius II and his sons started the collection in 1506 and we’re lucky to have such a collection available to the general public. The first Pope believed that the knowledge of art, history and culture should be promoted.

The Vatican Museums have various routes designed to take in all the museum highlights within a certain amount of time. There are also guided tours available that will give you more insight into what you are looking at. To walk the entire museum would require a commitment of over 14.5km.

Be sure not to miss the Sistine Chapel, the main attraction of the Vatican Museums.

Opening Hours: Nov-Feb Mon-Sat 10:00am-12:20pm, Mar-Oct Mon-Fri 10:00am-3:20pm, Sat 8:45am-12:20pm

Ticket Cost: 14€ adults, 8€ children 13 and under, free for children 5 and under

Find Accommodation in Rome: Read reviews and check prices for hotels in Rome at TripAdvisor or Booking.Com.

St. Peter's Basilica Vatican City Rome Italy

St. Peter’s Basilica

Get ready to check out the holiest and most important church in Christendom and the heart of the Catholic Church. The location is considered to be holy, as the apostle Saint Peter was believed to be buried here is 640AD. A place of worship was first established in 320AD.

Bernini worked on the church for 20 years and in total St. Peter’s Basilica can accommodate 20,000 worshipers. When you arrive to visit the holy Basilica you approach the building through the massive St. Peter’s Square created by Bernini. The entire site is a major Catholic pilgrimage site and Christians arriving here begin their visit by kissing the big toe of the Arnolfo da Cambio’s brass statue of St. Peter on the right side of the main altar.

Opening Hours: Basilica (including the sacristy and treasury) daily 9:00am-6:00pm. Grottoes daily 8:00am-5:00pm. Dome Oct-Mar daily 8:00am-5:00pm, Apr-Sep 8:00am-6:00pm

Ticket Cost: Basilica (including grottoes) free admission. Guided tour of excavations around St. Peter’s tomb 10€, children 14 and under are not admitted. Stairs to the dome 4€, elevator to the dome 5€, sacristy (w/Historical Museum) free

Click to see the top tours Viator has to offer of St. Peter’s Basilica.

St. Peter's Square Vatican City Rome Italy

St. Peter’s Square

The first site you will lay eyes on when you enter Vatican City is the expansive St. Peter’s Square. The square is located right in front of St. Peter’s Basilica and was designed by Bernini in the 1600’s. The scale of the square was created to evoke awe in the worshippers who gather here to receive the Pope’s blessings from the church. The Pope often appears here to address crowds as well.

The square is paved in cobbled stones divided up by radiating lines created from limestone and zodiac signs so that the obelisks can be used as a giant sun dial. You will enter the square through the Ponte SAnt’Angelo alond the via della Conciliazione. Be sure to take you time wandering the square and just take it all in, it is a masterpiece of architecture and beauty.

Opening Hours: Always open.

Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Rome.

Castel Sant'Angelo Rome Italy

Castel Sant’Angelo

Also known as The Hadrian Mausoleum, Castel Sant’Angelo was constructed in 130AD by Emperor Hadrian on the edge of the Tiber River. This structure has seen a whirlwind of history and change through the decades and stands as a testament to some of the brutality seen in Rome.

The history of this site is complex and varied with it acting as a sacred place, a fortress, a prision and a torture complex. Today, you can wander through it only imagining the scenes that have taken place within the walls. Visitors approach the structure by following a 400 foot long spiral ramp. Visitors can see the beautiful rooms used by the pontiffs with delicate frescoes and on lower floors they can see the prisons and torture chamber.

Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 9:00am-7:30pm

Ticket Cost: 10.50€, Free for EU citizens under 18.

Find Accommodation in Rome: Read reviews and check prices for hotels in Rome at TripAdvisor or Booking.Com.

Day Three in Rome

Piazza Navona Rome Italy

Piazza Navona

Built in the former stadium of Domitian, Piazza Navona is an elongated, oval square located in the center of Rome. It was paved in the 15th century and used as a market place and venue for special events. Today it is a popular social place with numerous cafes and restaurants touting Italian cuisine. The main attraction of the square is the three fountains, including the famous Fountain of the Four Rivers.

Opening Hours: Always open

Pantheon Rome Italy

Pantheon

One of the most simple buildings you will visit in Rome, the Pantheon was built on the orders of Hadrian in 118AD-125AD. The original temple burnt to the ground in 80AD and the original inscription can still be seen above the Pantheon entrance.

The building is in great condition due to renovations by the Byzantine Emperor Phocas in 608AD when they converted it into a church. This very church then became the final resting place for several Italian kings the artist Raphael.

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 8:30am-7:30pm, Sun 9:00am-6:00pm

Ticket Cost: Free Admission

Don’t leave home without your Lonely Planet Rome.

Trevi Fountain Rome Italy

Trevi Fountain

The Fontana di Trevi is the largest baroque fountain in the world and legend has it that if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain and make a wish to return to Rome, your wish will be granted. The fountain stands 26 meters high and 49 meters wide with 80,000 cubic meters of water flowing through the fountain every day.

The crowds can be almost impenetrable during the day, the worst being just before and just after lunch. It is best to visit this site early in the day or evening and you’ll have better light for photos at this time too. Bring a sense of humor, everyone will be battling to throw their coins in the Trevi Fountain.

Opening Hours: Always Open

Spanish Steps Rome Italy

Spanish Steps

The 137 step flight of stairs was built drawing on the technique of the terraced garden stairs. The stairs signified the peace between the Spanish and the French in the square above. The Spanish steps are one of the most romantic places in Rome and also the widest staircase in Europe.

Opening Hours: Always Open

Piazza di Spagna Rome Italy

Piazza di Spagna

At the bottom of the Spanish Steps is the Piazza di Spagna, which is also worth a visit. The 18th century square has an irregular shape and extends to the foot of Pincio Hill. The surrounding streets feature top couture stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Valentino.

Opening Hours: Always open.

Capuchin Crypt Rome Italy

Capuchin Crypt

This crypt is located under the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione and holds the bones of over 4,000 dead Capuchin monks. A visit here is not for the faint of heart. The remains are arranged in decorative designs around shriveled and decayed skeletons of their kinsmen. While strange, the crypt is beautiful and one of my favorite sites in Rome.

After a recent renovation, the crypt has been reopened to the public and can be viewed at the end of the new museum devoted to teaching visitors about the Capuchin order.

Opening Hours: Friday –Wednesday 9am – 7pm

Ticket Cost: €6 includes museum and crypt

Find Accommodation in Rome: Read reviews and check prices for hotels in Rome at TripAdvisor or Booking.Com.

Roman Gladiators Rome Italy

Note: These charlatans have been outlawed. These are simply people dressed in gladiator costumes found at the Colosseum. Do not take photos of them, as you will be hounded for tips.

Tips for Visiting Rome

Take a walking tour. One of our favorite ways to see a new city is by setting out on foot with a local guide for a walking tour. This will give you an intimate look at the city you are in and also give you local insight into the daily life. Plus, they usually know how to avoid the large tourist crowds and how to show you some hidden gems.

Watch your pockets. Most of the main piazzas and major sights in Rome are notorious for being playgrounds of pickpockets. Sometimes even groups of kids will work together to distract and then rob you of your valuables without you even noticing. While there is rarely a confrontation resulting in injury, keep your valuables secure whenever you enter a busy area. We use Pacsafe bags since they are 100% pickpocket proof. Never get pickpocket again! Click to see what bags we carry below.

Beware of Scams. Like many of Europe’s big cities, there is a multitude of scams that could happen to you. Just keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings. If someone is offering you something that is too good to be true, it probably is.


Hotels in Rome ItalyTop Hotels in Rome We Recommend

  • Babuino 181 ***** Excellent Traveler Rating by TripAdvisor

  • Portrait Roma ***** Excellent Traveler Rating by TripAdvisor

  • Deko Rome ***** Excellent Traveler Rating by TripAdvisor

  • J.K. Place Roma ***** Excellent Traveler Rating by TripAdvisor

Find Accommodation in Rome – Read reviews and check prices for hotels in Rome at TripAdvisor or Booking.Com

How Will You Spend 3 Days in Rome?

Like I mentioned earlier, you could spend a week or more in Rome and just start to touch on all there is to see. However, if your time is short then these iconic places are a great way to start on your first visit to Rome. Be sure to leave some spare time to just enjoy the culture and atmosphere of the city as there is nowhere else in the World quite like Roma.

If time permits you should also consider a day trip to Pompeii.

If you’re looking for more information on touring Italy, check out our Short Guide to Touring Italy.

Planning a trip to Italy? You simply can not miss the charming town of  Verona, check out the top things to do in Verona, Italy.

Bologna, Italy. The name alone conjures up visions of rich food and gorgeous medieval architecture. Check out: (Bologna Italy) Rough guide to the Red, Fat & Wise

Did you like this post? Pin it!


Resources for Planning Your Trip to Rome, Italy

Recommended Guide Books For Rome, Italy: 

Rome, Italy Map: Rome (National Geographic Destination City Map)

Planning a road trip around Italy? Check out Auto Europe for competitive rates.

Search for Flights: Priceline or Skyscanner offers great deals to Rome, Italy.

Find Accommodation in Rome – Read reviews and check prices for hotels in Rome at TripAdvisor or Booking.Com

Travel Insurance: WorldNomads or Allianz Travel Insurance, policies available for US and International travelers.

Search for  Tours and Trips in Rome we recommend:

  • Viator most popular Tours in Rome, Italy.
  • Best of Italy Summer (Start and end in Rome! With the in-depth cultural tour Best of Italy Summer, you have a 13 day tour package taking you through Rome, Italy and 12 other destinations in Italy. Best of Italy Summer includes meals and more.)

  • Taste Of Italy (Start and end in Rome! With the discovery tour Taste Of Italy – 8 Days, you have a 8 day tour package taking you through Rome, Italy and 9 other destinations in Italy. Taste Of Italy – 8 Days includes accommodation as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.)

  • The Italian Dream (Start and end in Rome! With the coach/bus tour The Italian Dream, you have a 8 day tour package taking you through Rome, Italy and 7 other destinations in Italy. The Italian Dream includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on the link and make a purchase, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Leave A Comment