Last updated on April 3rd, 2023 at 10:21 am
Are you booking a long-weekend or short stay in Rome, Italy and not sure where to start with planning? Look no further – I have compiled a detailed plan to help you on your journey.
In this post, I will go through my recommendation of where to go each day. This way you can see the best of Rome in 72 hours.
What to do in Rome for 3 Days? Rome is an ancient city in Italy with outstanding art, architecture, history and religious culture. Not to mention the delicious food. As Rome is such a big city, it is a good idea to visit a specific area each day.
For example, it is a 55 minute walk from the Colosseum to the Vatican city, so you don’t want to do those on the same day, if you can avoid it. Let me walk you through the 3 day Rome itinerary now…
- Day 1 – Vatican City & Villa Borghese
- Day 2 – The Colosseum & Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore
- Day 3 – Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon & More
- Where to eat in Rome?
- Where to stay in Rome?
- How to get around Rome?
- Should you get a Roma Pass?
Why not explore more of Italy and take a look my one week itinerary – Rome, Florence & Venice in 7 Days.
Need help packing? Have a look at this women’s packing list.
Rome in 3 Days: Day 1
Visit the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
These museums are really big and hold a wide selection of art. We spent 1 hour there but we did it quite fast. I would advise leaving yourself at least 2 hours to spend there. The more of an interest you have in art, the longer you will spend taking it all in.
Explore St Peter’s Basilica
When we went to St. Peter’s Basilica, there were massive crowds in St Peter’s Square (which is directly in front of the Basilica) and we could not get in to see the Basilica as there was a canonization mass on. Now, this is important…
If you want to go into the Basilica, do your research to ensure there are no important masses/canonizations etc. on in St Peter’s square when you want to go. The best time to go is between 7am and 9am when the queues are smaller.
Tip: There is a dress code for both the Basilica and Sistine Chapel: You have to cover up – no belly tops, your shoulders and knees need to be covered and no low-cut tops either.
Admire Castel Sant Angelo
Only a 9 minute walk from St. Peter’s Basilica, be sure to walk by Castel Sant’Angelo and take in the sight of this ancient cylindrical building. There is a museum inside that displays a variety of art, architecture and artefacts in Rome.
If you are interested in visiting, the cheapest way is to buy a ticket on arrival. It is free for those under 18, €2 for EU citizens aged between 18 and 25 and for everyone else it is €15. The best time to visit is after 5pm, when the queue will be at it’s lowest.
Stroll through Villa Borghese Park
It will take 22 minutes to walk from Castel Sant’Angelo to Villa Borghese Park. We entered the park from the Piazza del Popolo side, which brings you up a winding hill. On top, we found a lovely view of the Piazza and the City. Wait, there’s more…
There is a charming lake in Vialle del Lago, another area of this park. Here you can see turtles swimming around, you can even rent a boat and row around the lake for €4 per person. This was a nice area for a walk and a must see while in the area.
What’s more, we came across markets in the park too, selling fruit, veg, oils etc and with a brass band parading around. Click play below on the video for a snippet of magical Rome.
Rome in 3 Days: Day 2
Explore The Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
Make sure to book your tickets online in advance to ensure you get one (1 ticket admits you to all 3 attractions). This only cost me €4 as I am a European citizen between 18 and 25 years old. If you are older than 25, it costs €18. We bought our tickets here.
However, if you can, I would advise visiting early in the morning or later in the evening. Since this involves a lot of walking, you don’t want to be walking around outside in peak heat (like we did).
Tip: If you want a drink near the Colosseum, we stopped in the Royal Art Cafe which is directly across the road with a lovely view, where we paid €10 for a cocktail. But if you don’t want to pay that much for a drink, we also went into a shop and bought a cocktail in a bottle and a beer (a total of €5) and drank it on the grass in front of the colosseum.
Enter Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore
Just a 17 minute walk from the Colosseum, Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest Roman Catholic Marian Church in Rome. It is one of the City’s four major Basilica’s. Inside there is a mix of mosaics, marble floors and frescoes that fill the ceiling. Have a look inside, it is free to enter.
Rome in 3 Days: Day 3
Here is the route to take on Day 3, to see more of the iconic attractions that Rome has to offer. The starting point will be near the centre at the Spanish steps and the ending point will be to the west of the City at the Giuseppe Garibaldi Monument, but there is plenty to see along the way.
You will be glad to hear that all of these places are free to enter. The Spanish steps and Trevi Fountain are the busiest. Due to this, the best time to visit is before 9am, when the crowds are lowest. That is why they are the first 2 stops at the start of the day.
- Spanish Steps
- Trevi Fountain: 8 minute walk from Spanish steps
- Vittoriano: 14 minute walk from the Trevi Fountain
- Pantheon: 12 minute walk from Vittoriano. You do not need to pay to enter but on Saturdays and Sundays and public holidays, you need to make a reservation, which is free.
- Piazza Navona: 4 minute walk from Pantheon
- Basilica de Santa Maria: 16 minute walk from Piazza Navona
- Fontana dell’Acqua Paola: 11 minutes from Basilica de Santa Maria
- Giuseppe Garibaldi Monument: 6 minutes from Basilica de Santa Maria. Here you can get a 360 view over the whole city and is not crowded either.
WARNING: In many of these areas, there are many men trying to sell you roses, who are very persistent. You have to be persistent that you don’t want any (unless you do, then you will have many men to choose from).
Where to Eat in Rome?
We went for food and drinks in different places depending on the area we were that day. Everywhere we went had nice food so the options in Rome are endless.
To find restaurants and pubs that are cheaper, I would suggest walking away from the tourist attractions so you don’t have to pay extra for a view of the Colosseum, for example. Here are some of the places we went that I would recommend.
Scholars Lounge Irish Pub: If you want to watch sports while you’re on holiday, here is a really great place to go. We watched 2 hurling matches here. They have numerous TV screens – while we were there, there was hurling, tennis, soccer, rugby and cricket on. They also do great food and really big portions, with reasonable prices for Rome.
Travel Book Bar is located between the Vatican City and Castel Sant’Angelo. It is the perfect place for a drink outside. We tried out some cocktails. They bring you out appetisers to have with the drinks and free food will always make me happy. It is very reasonably priced for the area and the staff are really friendly.
Where to stay in Rome?
Appartamento in Lucina
We stayed in ‘Appartamento in Lucina‘ which we booked on booking.com. It was €325 for 3 nights (€108 per night). It was a double room with an ensuite and a shared kitchen. This was a great price for a private room in Rome.
It is an 8 minute walk from the Trevi fountain, an 8 minute walk from the Spanish steps and 6 mins from Pantheon. The most it takes to walk to any of the major tourist attractions is 30 minutes. This made it an ideal location to see Rome in 72 hours. I would highly recommend it!
Budget Rooms des Artistes
Budget Rooms des Artistes is a hostel that has a very good rating on Booking.com of 8.4. It offers both private rooms and dormitory rooms (also female only dorms). For this reason, it is suitable for solo travellers as well as couples.
The location is about 2km from the centre, but public transport access is very good here. Castro Pretorio Metro Station is only a 1 minute walk and Termini Station is just a 9 minute walk. It might be a good idea to invest in the 2 or 3 day ticket for the metro (mentioned below), if you stay here. The prices are good here.
How to get around Rome?
From Termini Train Station to Rome
We arrived in Rome on a Friday Morning. We got the train from Florence and arrived in Roma Termini, which is the main train station in Rome. After this, we got the metro, which is €1.50 each, to the stop at ‘Spagna’. This stop brings you to the Spanish steps, which is quite central.
There are many exits you can take from the underground – ensure you follow the exit that mentions ‘Piazza di Spagna’. Or else you will end up at the side of a road, a good walk for the Spanish steps.
Walking in Rome
Apart from entering and leaving Rome, we walked everywhere within the city. I advise walking as much as possible as you stumble upon many interesting things. We didn’t intend on seeing half the things we did, we just came across them as we were walking.
We stumbled upon a car show on the street, a violinist playing and many street artists. Also we came across Vittoriano, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant Angelo, which were not on our plan at the beginning.
Metro, Trams & Public Bus in Rome
Although if you don’t fancy walking far, the metro, tram or bus are a cheap, convenient option. It stops at many tourist attractions – the Spanish steps, the colosseum etc.
You can get a one way trip for €1.50, 1 day ticket for €7, 2 day ticket for €12.50 and 3 day ticket for €18. These tickets are valid on the metro, trams, public bus as well as the commuter trains.
Where to find tickets? There will be ticket machines at most tourist areas and if you are passing through Roma Termini you can get them there too. More information on public transport can be found here.
Getting from Rome to the Airport
Rome has 2 main airports (Fiumicino and Ciampino), so do not end up at the wrong one!
Getting from Rome to Fiumicino Airport
To get to the Fiumicino airport where we flew from, we got a bus to Termini and then got a train direct to the airport (€14 each). Tickets can be booked on omio.
You can also get a bus from Termini to the airport which is much cheaper (€6 each), which can booked here.
Getting from Rome to Ciampino Airport
The second airport is Ciampino. There is an airport shuttle bus for €6 one way to and from Roma Termini. You can read more about the trains and buses to Ciampino here.
Should you get a Roma Pass?
You can also get a Roma Pass for 48 hours (€32) or 72 hours (€52). This includes free use of the public transport network, discounts on attractions and 1 or 2 free museums/experiences (depending on if you got the 48 hour or 72 hour ticket). There are also a few more bonuses, you can read more here.
For me, this pass wasn’t worth it as we walked everywhere and the only 2 tickets we bought cost €39 for one person. In this case the Roma Pass would not have saved us any money. I would recommend planning out what you want to do first, then calculating the cost to see if you will save any money by getting the pass.
What to do in Rome for 3 Days? I believe your question should be answered in this post. By following this guide, you will fit in the best of what Rome has to offer. I hope you are all running off to book a trip to Italy, because I can tell you one thing for nothing, it was well worth the visit. Was this blog helpful? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,
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