A Perfect 3 Days in Rome, Italy Itinerary with Pro Tips

Rome, the Eternal City, is a captivating destination that beckons travelers from across the globe. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and mouthwatering Roman cuisine, it’s no wonder why this fabulous bustling city in the heart of Italy is a must-visit. 

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, crafting the perfect 3 days in Rome itinerary can be a daunting task. That’s where this comprehensive guide comes in, offering a meticulously planned 3-day Rome itinerary, complete with insider tips and recommendations to ensure you make the most of your time in this iconic city.

Day 1 of 3 days in Rome, Italy

Your first day in the Eternal City will be a whirlwind of historical wonders, iconic landmarks, and unforgettable culinary experiences. Brace yourself for an immersive journey through the heart of ancient Rome.

1. Stop at a Bar (Cafe)

Kick off your Roman adventure by embracing the local culture and indulging in a quintessential Italian breakfast. Head to a nearby “bar” (cafe) and order “Un cappuccino, por favore!” – a delightful way to start your day like a true Roman. Savor the rich, creamy coffee and a freshly baked pastry, such as a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate croissant, while standing at the counter – a local tradition that will save you from paying a premium for table service.

2. Tour the Colosseum

After fueling up, it’s time to delve into the heart of ancient Rome with a visit to the iconic Colosseum. This magnificent amphitheater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a testament to the grandeur of the Roman Empire. 

To avoid long lines and make the most of your time, purchase your tickets in advance, opting for the earliest time slot available, typically around 9 AM. Consider booking a guided tour to gain invaluable insights into the history and significance of this awe-inspiring Wonder of the World.

3. Explore the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Your Colosseum ticket grants you access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, two must-see attractions that offer a captivating glimpse into the daily life of ancient Romans. Wander through the ruins of the Roman Forum, once the bustling heart of the city, and marvel at the remnants of temples, basilicas, and government buildings. 

Climb the steps of Palatine Hill, one of the Seven Hills of Rome, for breathtaking views of the Forum and the iconic Colosseum in the background – a perfect spot for a postcard-worthy photo.

4. Have lunch at Pane e Salame

After an exhilarating morning of exploration, it’s time to refuel with a delectable Roman lunch at Pane e Salame. This charming restaurant, located just a 15-minute walk from the Forum, is renowned for its mouthwatering charcuterie plates and freshly made sandwiches. 

Indulge in a large shared charcuterie tray, featuring an array of cured meats, cheeses, spreads, and freshly baked bread. Don’t forget to savor an Aperol Spritz, the quintessential Italian aperitivo, to accompany your meal.

5. Take a Walking Tour

With your appetite satiated, embark on a guided walking tour through the historic center of Rome. Download the free Rick Steves Audio Tour onto your phone and bring a pair of headphones to immerse yourself in the rich history and stories of iconic landmarks such as Campo de’ Fiori, Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and the awe-inspiring Pantheon. The walking tour will provide an in-depth understanding of the city’s architectural marvels and cultural significance.

6. Get a Granita di Caffe

After exploring the Pantheon, one of the best-preserved ancient Roman buildings, treat yourself to a refreshing Granita di Caffe at La Casa del Caffe Tazza d’Oro, a charming café just steps away. This frozen coffee delight, topped with whipped cream, is the perfect pick-me-up on a warm Italian day, providing a burst of energy to continue your Roman adventure.

7. Take a Siesta

Embrace the Italian way of life and indulge in a well-deserved siesta (afternoon rest) after a jam-packed morning. Italians understand the importance of taking a break during the hottest hours of the day, allowing you to recharge and prepare for an evening of exploration. Return to your accommodation, freshen up, and get ready for an unforgettable Roman night.

8. Aperitivo at The Court

As the sun begins to set, immerse yourself in the beloved Italian tradition of aperitivo. The Court, a rooftop bar overlooking the iconic Colosseum, offers the perfect setting for this pre-dinner ritual. Sip on a refreshing Aperol Spritz or your favorite cocktail while indulging in a spread of complimentary snacks – a true taste of la dolce vita (the sweet life).

9. Dinner at Rosciolis

Cap off your first day in Rome with an unforgettable dining experience at the renowned Rosciolis Salumeria. This celebrated restaurant, highly recommended by local food experts and featured on shows like Stanley Tucci’s “Searching for Italy,” offers a menu showcasing classic Roman cuisine. 

Savor the four iconic Roman pasta dishes – Carbonara, Cacio e Pepe, Amatriciana, and alla Gricia – or explore their diverse offerings, all made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to make reservations in advance to secure a table at this sought-after establishment.

Day 2 of 3 days in Rome, Italy

Day 2 of 3 days in Rome, Italy

Your second day in Rome takes you on a journey to the heart of Vatican City, the smallest internationally recognized state in the world. Prepare to be awestruck by the grandeur of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, followed by an evening filled with authentic Roman flavors and nightlife.

1. Wake up Early to See the Trevi Fountain

Rise and shine before the crowds descend upon the city streets. Make your way to the iconic Trevi Fountain, one of Rome’s most famous attractions, and experience its breathtaking beauty in the tranquil early morning hours. Arrive around 7 AM to capture stunning photos without the throngs of tourists that typically populate this site later in the day.

2. Vatican for Breakfast

Fuel up for an unforgettable day at the Vatican Museums with a unique “Breakfast at the Vatican” experience. By purchasing this special ticket, you’ll enjoy an early morning breakfast right in the museum’s courtyard, granting you access to the galleries before the general public. 

Savor a leisurely breakfast while marveling at the stunning surroundings, and then explore the museum’s vast collection of ancient artifacts and masterpieces with fewer crowds, making your visit truly exceptional.

3. St. Peter’s Basilica

After exploring the Vatican Museums, make your way to the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica, located in St. Peter’s Square. This iconic Renaissance church, one of the largest in the world, is a masterpiece of architecture and art. 

While entry is free, be prepared for long lines that can stretch for hours. Arrive early in the morning to minimize your wait time, or consider booking a guided tour for a more in-depth and insightful experience.

4. Market for Lunch

Venture across the Tiber River to the vibrant neighborhood of Testaccio, where you’ll find the bustling Testaccio Market. This local gem is a foodie’s paradise, offering a wide array of stalls serving up authentic Roman cuisine. Indulge in the legendary potato pizza from Casa Manco or explore the market’s diverse offerings, savoring the flavors that locals love.

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5. Siesta Time

After a morning filled with awe-inspiring sights and delectable bites, it’s time to embrace the Italian tradition of siesta. Return to your accommodation for a well-deserved rest, recharging your batteries for an exciting evening ahead.

6. Food Tour

No visit to Rome is complete without indulging in a food tour, and what better way to explore the city’s culinary heritage than with a local expert? Consider booking a tour that takes you through the charming neighborhood of Trastevere, known for its vibrant atmosphere and authentic eateries. One of the highlights of any Roman food tour is a stop at Trapizzino, where you can savor their legendary creation – a pocket of fluffy bread filled with savory goodness.

7. Explore Rome at Night

After indulging in a feast of Roman delicacies, take to the streets and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant nightlife. Stroll along the Tiber River, where you might stumble upon the lively night market during the summer months, with vendors selling local wares, street food, and live music filling the air.

Admire the Colosseum’s majestic silhouette illuminated against the night sky, and then venture to a local bar frequented by Romans to sip on a refreshing aperitivo. End your evening on a sweet note with a heavenly scoop (or two) of gelato from Gelateria La Romana, a beloved institution with multiple locations across the city.

Day 3 of 3 days in Rome, Italy

On your final day in the Eternal City, delve deeper into the city’s rich culinary traditions with a hands-on cooking class, followed by an exploration of remaining iconic sights. Savor every moment as you bid farewell to this enchanting destination, but not before creating lasting memories and a newfound appreciation for Roman cuisine.

1. Coffee and a Croissant

Begin your day like a true Italian by seeking out a local “bar” (cafe) frequented by Romans. Order a creamy cappuccino and a freshly baked croissant, savoring the simple pleasures that start each day in the Eternal City.

2. Take a Cooking Class

Immerse yourself in the heart of Roman cuisine by participating in a cooking class, where you’ll learn the time-honored techniques and recipes that have been passed down through generations. Whether you opt for a class within the city limits or venture into the countryside for a more immersive experience, you’ll return home with a newfound appreciation for the art of Italian cooking and a repertoire of dishes to impress your friends and family.

3. Explore the Remaining Sights around Rome

With your culinary skills honed, spend the afternoon exploring the remaining iconic sights that Rome has to offer. Visit the serene Villa Borghese, a sprawling park featuring lush gardens, a tranquil pond (where you can rent a rowboat), and the renowned Borghese Gallery, home to masterpieces by Raphael and Bernini.

Marvel at the grandiose Altare della Patria, affectionately known as the “wedding cake” building for its ornate white facade, and consider ascending to the rooftop for breathtaking panoramic views of the city.

Indulge in a touch of whimsy by visiting the Knights of Malta Keyhole, where a perfectly aligned vista reveals the stunning St. Peter’s Basilica in the distance. Then, embrace your inner adventurer by sticking your hand into the Mouth of Truth, a carved image of a pagan god said to bite off the hands of liars – a tradition immortalized in the classic film “Roman Holiday.”

Finally, visit the iconic Castel Sant’Angelo, a cylindrical fortress that has served as a mausoleum, military stronghold, papal residence, and prison throughout its storied history. Explore the museum or simply admire its striking silhouette from the picturesque bridge leading to its entrance.

4. Enjoy An All You Can Eat Appetizer Buffet

As the evening approaches, partake in another beloved Italian tradition – aperitivo – at Freni e Frizioni in the vibrant Trastevere neighborhood. This lively establishment offers an indulgent all-you-can-eat appetizer buffet, accompanied by refreshing Aperol Spritzes or your preferred aperitivo cocktail. Savor the flavors and atmosphere as you prepare for your final Roman feast.

5. Dinner in Trastevere

For your last evening in Rome, immerse yourself in the authentic local dining scene by reserving a table at Da Enzo al 29, a beloved institution in the heart of Trastevere. Be prepared to wait in line for a coveted spot, but the anticipation will be well worth it when you savor the exquisite Roman specialties prepared with time-honored techniques and locally sourced ingredients.

6. Wander the Streets with Gelato

As your Roman adventure draws to a close, take one last stroll through the enchanting cobblestone streets, gelato in hand. Indulge in a creamy scoop (or two) from Otaleg, renowned for serving some of the best gelato in the city. Soak in the sights, sounds, and ambiance of this timeless city, and don’t forget to toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, ensuring your eventual return to this magical place.

Things to Know About 3 Days in Rome, Italy

Things to Know About 3 Days in Rome, Italy

To make the most of your Roman escapade, keep these essential tips and insights in mind:

  • Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as exploring Rome’s historic streets involves a considerable amount of strolling. However, don’t neglect style – the Italians have a knack for dressing fashionably yet comfortably.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated while taking advantage of Rome’s free public water fountains, which offer safe, refreshing drinking water.
  • While Rome is highly walkable, don’t hesitate to hail a taxi when fatigue sets in. The city’s taxis are affordable and can quickly transport you to your next destination.
  • Politely decline street vendors and aggressive salespeople by firmly stating “No, grazie” and continuing on your way without lingering.
  • Never settle for subpar food. Rome is a culinary paradise, but tourist traps abound. Plan your meals in advance, research reputable establishments, and have backup options to avoid settling for mediocre fare.
  • While Rome offers an abundance of attractions, consider venturing beyond the city limits to explore other captivating regions of Italy, such as the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Tuscany (including the thermal springs of Saturnia and the gelato haven of San Gimignano), and the enchanting canals of Venice (with a side trip to the vibrant island of Burano).

Where to stay for 3 days in Rome, Italy

Choosing the right accommodation can greatly enhance your Roman experience. Here are some recommended options across various budgets:


Chiara’s place at Pantheon: A well-reviewed vacation rental located steps away from the iconic Pantheon, offering an unbeatable location at an affordable price.

Domus 21 Luxury Suites: A centrally located hotel that seamlessly blends old-world charm with modern amenities, providing excellent value for money.

A Trastevere da M.E.: Immerse yourself in the authentic Roman lifestyle by staying in the vibrant Trastevere neighborhood, where many of the city’s best restaurants are located.


The Pantheon Iconic Rome Hotel: A Marriott property boasting an unbeatable location near the Pantheon, offering the comfort and reliability of a well-known brand.

Cosmopolita Hotel Rome: Part of the Hilton family, this centrally located hotel provides a familiar level of quality and service.


The St. Regis Rome: Indulge in the epitome of luxury at this opulent hotel, where impeccable service, stunning accommodations, and a prime location near the train station await. While not in the heart of the historic center, the splendor of this property is well worth the slightly longer walk to major attractions.

Packing list for 3 days in Rome, Italy

To ensure a seamless and enjoyable Roman adventure, be sure to pack the following essentials:

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Lightweight, breathable travel clothing
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Anti-theft purse or bag
  • Power bank for charging devices on the go
  • Bluetooth headphones for guided audio tours
  • Euros (cash and credit/debit cards

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