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Rome in a Day Itinerary: How To Spend One Day in Rome

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Are you planning your first visit to Rome? Want to see the best of Rome in a day? Looking for some ideas on how to spend a day in Rome? If so, let me help you! After exploring Rome thoroughly, I tailored a perfect ‘Rome in a day itinerary’!

I have spent 7 days in Rome recently. And, it was not my first time visiting Rome, Italy. But, this time I wanted to explore the city as much as possible and at the same time to have a relaxed time in Rome. After exploring the city thoroughly, I believe I can help first-time visitors see the best of Rome in a short time.

If you have only one day in Rome, I can help you to make the most of your day in Rome. I prepared a perfect ‘Rome in a day itinerary’ for first-time visitors! 

My one-day in Rome itinerary covers the historic center of Rome, the Vatican City and Trastevere.
This ‘Rome in a day itinerary’ includes touring the historic center of Rome in the morning, the Vatican City in the afternoon, and Trastevere in the evening. 
However, if you are still wondering whether you can see much of Rome in 24 hours, let me say: Yes, you can! 
The historic center of Rome is relatively small in size, walkable, and easily explored on foot. The most popular Rome’s attractions are in the historic center. Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Piazza Venezia, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Piazza Navone, and Piazza del Popolo are some of the most popular sites in Rome and they are in the historic center.  
In addition, the Vatican City is close to the historic center. Vatican City leans on the historic center of Rome. 
And, Trastevere, one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Rome and a popular foodies haven in Rome, is just across the Tiber River from the centro storico. Trastevere means ‘across the Tiber’. 
For instance, Trastevere is only a 15-minute walk away from the Colosseum or three stops by Tram no 8 from Piazza Venezia. 

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLAIMER FOR MORE INFO. 

ROME IN A DAY ITINERARY 

But before I jump on explaining how to spend a perfect day in Rome, let me add that I suggest staying in the historic center of Rome or in Trastevere to manage this Rome in a day itinerary with ease. 
I also recommend booking a morning Colosseum tour and an evening food tour in Trastevere in advance. Take the first Colosseum tour in the morning (9 am) and the last possible Trastevere food tour (6:30 pm) in the evening.
Act wisely, and book your stay in Rome and the tours in advance, since you have a limited time in Rome (only 24 hours in Rome!) And you don’t want to waste your precious time in Rome queuing in the lines. Besides, you don’t want to miss any item of this Rome itinerary. Trust me! 

Recommended stays in Rome: Hotel Barrett near the Pantheon and Horti 14 Borgo Trastevere Hotel in Trastevere.

Rome in a Day Itinerary: Morning 

9 am – 12 pm: Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill 

The Colosseum is arguably the most famous landmark of Rome. Everybody wants to see the Colosseum in Rome. There is no doubt you don’t want to see the Colosseum if you are visiting Rome for the first time. With the space for receiving more than 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum is the largest Roman amphitheater. The Colosseum is the most spectacular Roman arena.

You can visit it independently by purchasing a ticket at the ticket office, but only on a guided tour, you will get valuable insight into the fascinating history of the Colosseum. You will learn all about the Colosseum from an expert guide on a tour. Also, the Colosseum tickets are capped at 3,000 visitors per day. Don’t gamble with your Colosseum ticket. Buy it in advance! 

The most popular Colosseum tour is the Priority Access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Tour. The tour takes up to 3 hours. Book it for early in the morning and visit the 3 top sites in Rome (the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill) within 3 hours.  

Read more: Tips for Visiting the Colosseum in Rome

The Colosseum is a must-see on any one day in Rome itinerary
The Colosseum
The Roman forum is a must see on any Rome in aday itinerary
The Roman Forum

12:05 pm – 12:15 pm: Piazza Venezia 

After visiting the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, head to the nearby Piazza Venezia. 

Piazza Venezia is one of the most iconic squares in Rome. The square is home to the Alter of the Homeland (Alatre della Patria), also called Vittoriano for short! The Vittoriano is one of the most magnificent monuments in Italy 

Climb, or take an elevator, to the terrace at the top of the Vittorano to admire the fantastic panoramic views of the Roman Forum, Colosseum, and Rome. This a must-do in Rome! Don’t miss it out! 

Piazza Venezia is a 5-minute walk from the Roman Forum. 

The Pizza Venezia is a must on any one day in Rome itinerary
The Pizza Venezia

12:25 pm – 12:35 pm: Trevi Fountain 

A short way from Piazza Venezia will take you to Fontana di Trevi.

The 18th-century Trevi Fountain is the most famous in Italy! The stunning Fontana di Trevi is one of the most beautiful monuments in the world. Take a coin with your right hand and throw it over your left shoulder to ensure to come back to the Eternal City. 

Trevi Fountain is a 10 min walk from Piazza Venezia. 

Fontana di Trevi is a must on any Rome in a day itinerary
Fontana di Trevi

12:40 pm – 12: 50 pm: The Spanish Steps 

The famed Spanish Steps, your next stop on this itinerary, is only a 7-minute walk away. 

With 135 steps and three terraces, the Spanish Steps are the longest and widest steps in Europe. They were built in the 1720s. Ever since then, they have been a famous landmark of Rome. 

There is no visit to Rome without seeing the Spanish Steps! 

The Spanish Steps are a must on any Rome in a day itinerary
The Spanish Square with Spanish Steps

12:55 pm – 1:15 pm: Coffee break at the Antico El Greco Cafe 

El Greco, near the Spanish Steps, is an iconic Rome cafe. Open in 1760, It is the oldest cafe in Rome. The Antico El Greco Cafe has been a favorite coffee place in Rome for many coffee-loving famous figures, intellectuals, artists, politicians, businessmen, etc.
Lord Byron, Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche, Wagner, Nikolai Gogol, Stendhal, Henrik Ibsen, Keats, Thomas Mann, Mark Twain, James Joyce, Orson Wells, Sophia Loren, and Elisabeth Taylor are some of those who sipped their coffee in the Antico El Greco Cafe. 

The Antico El Greco Cafe is 3 minutes from Spanish Steps and 8 minutes from Fontana di Trevi. 
Make a break and enjoy your coffee or tea with a cake in this historic cafe in Rome.  
Read more about this iconic Rome cafe: Visiting the Antico El Greco Cafe in Rome.  

Antico Caffè Greco is a must-visit on any Rome in a day itinerary
The Antico Caffè Greco

1:35 pm -2:05 pm: Pantheon 

Once an ancient Roman temple, the Pantheon became a Catholic church in 609 AD. With its round plan, colossal Corinthian columns, and a giant dome, the Pantheon is one of the most amazing buildings in Rome. It is also the best-preserved building of ancient Rome and a symbol of Rome. 
Although you can spend about 2 hours in the Pantheon, plan about 30 minutes to visit it. 

Pantheon is open from 9 am to 6.30 pm from Monday to Sunday. Tickets are available on the site. A Pantheon ticket is 5 €. 

Pantheon is 15 minutes from the Spanish Steps and 8 minutes from Fontana di Trevi. 

Pantheon is a must-see in one day in Rome
The Pantheon
Pantheon is a must-see in one day in Rome
The Eye of the Pantheon

2:10 pm -2:25 pm: Piazza Navona 

After visiting the Pantheon, head to Piazza Navona. This Baroque square with three jaw-dropping fountains (the Fountain of Neptune, Fontana del Moro, and the Fountain of the Four Rivers) is one of the most famous and beautiful squares in Italy. The fountains are the works of Bernini, while Borromini designed the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone in Piazza Navona. Each of them is a masterpiece on its own!
Piazza Navona is a 5 min walk from Pantheon.

Check out Piazza Navona and the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, before making a lunch break. 

Piazza Navona is a must visit on any One Day in Rome itinerary
The Piazza Navona
The Fountain of the Four Rivers on Piazza Navone is a must on any One Day in Rome itinerary
The Fountain of the Four Rivers

Rome in a day Itinerary: Lunch

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm: Lunch at Al Tonino 

At this point, if you follow Rome’s itinerary, you will be hungry. 

Breakfast at your hotel and a coffee with a cake at the Antico El Greco will keep you full for some time. But after visiting all the above-mentioned sites, it is time for a lunch break.
Da Tonino – Trattoria Bassetti is conveniently located 5 minutes from Piazza Navona and it is on your way to the Vatican City (the next stop). 

Da Tonino – Trattoria Bassetti is a family-run Roman trattoria that serves typical dishes of traditional Roman cuisine. Locals love it. I suggest ordering typical Roman dishes like the Roman-style artichokes or pasta alla gricia, and you will find out why locals are loyal to the kitchen of Da Tonino – Trattoria Bassetti. 

Da Tonino – Trattoria Bassetti is in Via del Governo Vecchio 18-19. Via del Governo Vecchio is one of the prettiest streets in Rome. This historic street is filled with cozy cafes, vintage shops, and lovely restaurants. 

After lunch, stretch your legs on a 20-minute walk to the Vatican City.  

Have lunch in Da Tonino trattoria on your Rome in a day itinerary
Locals love the cuisine of Da Tonino trattoria in Rome

Rome in a Day Itinerary: Late Afternoon 

3:50 pm – 5:15 pm: St Peter’s Basilica & the Dome

Plan to visit Vatican City in the late afternoon. Visit the Basilica of St Peters shortly and climb to its cupola. 

The Basilica is free to visit, but you will need to buy a ticket for climbing to the cupola. You can take an elevator or climb 230 steps. In both cases, you will need to take an additional 320 steps to get to the roof! Still, the views from the cupola are worth the money and effort. 

Tickets to the Dome of St Peter Basilica are available on the site. Tickets are 8 € for climbing the steps option and 10 € for the elevator option. 

St Peter’s Basilica is open from 7 am-6.30 pm (Oct-March) and 7 am-7 pm (April-Sept).
The Dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica is open from 8 am – 5 pm (October – March) and 8 am – 6 pm ( April – September) every day of the week, except Wednesday. The Dome is closed on Wednesdays.

Optionally, you can choose to visit the Vatican Museums instead of the Basilica and climb the dome. In this case, you need to book your ticket to the Vatican Museums in advance! Besides that, keep in mind that you need at least 3 hours to visit them comfortably. 
On this itinerary I am suggesting visiting the Basilica instead of the Vatican Museum, since visiting the Basilica is free for the public and you can easily adjust your visit (make it shorter or longer) to your available time. 

St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican city is a must on any Rome in a day itinerary
St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City
The view of St Peter's Square from the Dome
The view of St Peter’s Square from the Dome

Rome in a day Itinerary: Evening 

6:30 pm Trastevere 

After a long day sightseeing in Rome, not is time to enjoy the food and drinks of Rome. Trastevere is a famous gourmand neighborhood in Rome. Some of the coolest bars and restaurants are in Trastevere. Join the Rome Twilight Trastevere Food Tour with Eating Europe and have an unforgettable night in Rome! The food tour takes the participants to the most iconic food places in Trastevere (like Da Enzo Restaurant and Enoteca Ferrara), where they enjoy typical Roman food along with top wines. The tour lasts about 4 hours. Take the last possible tour of the day. Check out the dates and the tour schedule! Book the last tour of the day! And, a delicious night in Rome is granted. 

Alternatively, you can have dinner and do some spend bar hopping in Trastevere independently! 
RELATED READ: Best Traditional Food in Rome

Hope you enjoyed this Rome in a day itinerary! Buon Viaggio!

Map of the Rome in a Day Itinerary

Suggested hotels for this One Day in Rome itinerary

Hotel Barrett – a lovely hotel with an excellent location near the Pantheon in the historic center of Rome, great service and breakfast.
Horti 14 Borgo Trastevere Hotel – a luxury boutique hotel with large designer rooms and fabulous breakfasts in Trastevere.

Estimated budget for this ‘Rome in a Day Itinerary’

The Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Tour.: 64 €
Piazza Venezia: free
Trevi Fountain: free
The Spanish Steps: fee
Antico Greco El Cafe: $$ (espresso 7 €, caffe latte 10 €, cake 10-12 €)
Pantheon: 5 €
Piazza Navona: free
Lunch at Da Tonino: $$
St Peter’s Basilica: free
Dome of St Peter’s Basilica: 10 €
Trastevere Food Tour: 129 €
TOTAL: 208 € + Lunch + Coffee & Cake

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