3-Day Rome Itinerary – What to see and what to avoid

Who doesn’t dream to visit Rome – city with centuries old history, eternal fame, romantic atmosphere and… scary amount of sites and experiences worth spending time for. Yes, time – that mythical creature we’re always looking for and is never enough.

I don’t think anyone would say that 3 days are completely enough to see Rome. Despite that, most of us usually have only a weekend to spare for a visit to the Eternal City.

And what can we see and feel of Rome for only 3 days?

Many things!

… if we plan our time effectively and know what’s worth visiting and what we should not include in our 3-day Rome itinerary.

3 days in rome itinerary

What’s worth seeing for only 3 days in Rome

We’ve all heard what are the most famous things to see in Rome. The good news is that almost all iconic sites are located relatively close to one another and using public transportation is not necessary. That’s why, with good time management, you can enjoy most of them.

✪ Day 1 in Rome

The Colosseum and Roman Forum, Garibaldi Monument, the Orange garden, Trastevere

The Colosseum and the Roman Forum are must-sees in the list of every visitor of the Italian capital. The combine ticket costs 12 Euro. If bought online, skip the line ticket is only with 2 Euro more expensive. But it can save you precious time for seeing other Italian treasures.

Detailed information about the working hours, free admissions and other information, you can see here: http://www.coopculture.it/colosseo-e-shop.cfm.

3 days in rome itinerary - colosseum

3 days in rome itinerary - colosseum

Go for the view:

You can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of Rome from the Giuseppe Garibaldi monument located on the Garibaldi square in the west part of the city. If you go for the sunset with a glass of wine, you can enjoy even more memorable experience.

The Orange garden in Rome is another place worth visiting that opens up a scenic view of the city’s skyline. The bohemian neighbourhood Trastevere, on the other hand, will enchant you with authentic Italian spirit.

 

3 days in rome itinerary - piazza navona

Piazza Navona in Rome

3 days in rome itinerary - piazza navona

✪ Day 2 in Rome

Capitoline Hill, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Santa Maria del Popolo church

During the second day in Rome, you can combine the Capitoline Hill, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. Keep in mind that the walk between those 4 iconic sites is filled with countless other random places and sites worth being photographed. That’s why don’t rush to your end point but enjoy the walk.

3 days in rome itinerary - capitol

A view from the Capitoline hill in Rome

I highly recommend a visit to the Parish Basilica Santa Maria del Popolo. You can see impeccable works of art by Raphael, Bernini, Caravaggio and other beloved Italian artists, for free rather than paying for a museum.

Another place to go during your 3-day trip to Rome is the small Via dei Serpenti – a street full of bars and restaurants where you can hang out among locals. On Via Nazionale, on the other hand, you can enjoy a quick shopping experience.

 

3 days in rome itinerary - trevi fountain

Crowd on Trevi Fountain in Rome

✪ Day 3 in Rome

The Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, The Pope

Sparing one of your days in Rome for visiting The Vatican is the best decision you can make. The Vatican Museums are one of the most impressive and unforgettable memories from Rome you can take back home. The Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s rooms, the Gallery of maps are only part of the halls that will leave you speechless.

3 days in rome itinerary - vatican

St. Peter square in Vatican

Vatican Museums are actually 11 with 5 galleries and 1400 halls. That’s why you should spare at least several hours in order to enjoy this work of art in more details. Online ticket for the museums is 4 euro more expensive but will guarantee you more time to spend inside the Vatican instead of waiting in long queues outside the walls that may take you up to 4 hours.

3 days in rome itinerary - vatican museums

How to see the Pope in Rome?

…go on Sunday at 12 o’clock on St. Peters square. That’s when the Pope gives a short speech followed by blessing, that takes around 20 minutes. Keep in mind that the square is guarded during that time and people are let inside the fences only after control check so long queues are normal. Go earlier to avoid them.

Besides on Sunday, the Pope gives blessing every Wednesday, if he’s in Rome. But you’ll need to buy a ticket for that.

To check when, where and how you can see Pope Francisk in Rome, follow his schedule in Vatican’s website (yep, apparently the Pope has a public schedule and the Vatican – updated website).

3 days in rome itinerary - the pope

 

3 days in rome itinerary - the pope

Which places you can skip while in Rome

Capitol museums, three of them, may be an interesting stop for this type of tourism enthusiasts. They are located on a square, designed by Michelangelo on the Capitoline Hill in Rome. If you don’t insist on spending a few hours there, I recommend you to skip that part and leave it for the next time.

Instead, take a look at the works of art surrounding you all over Rome and especially in the Santa Maria del Popollo church and the Vatican Museums.

3 days in rome itinerary - isola tiberina

Isola Tiberina – the island of Tiber river, is not an attraction as I imagined. There is almost nothing on this island except a hospital building and a restaurant. If you plan your itinerary for Rome and wonder weather to include Isola Tiberina or not, better skip it.

The Spanish Steps were the biggest surprise that Rome prepared for us. Because of the tourist crowds and sellers we couldn’t see the iconic view of the steps from afar. Besides, the square is a crossroad between 3 huge shopping streets. That is another reason the place to be so crowded. If you’re around, you can pay a short visit of the Spanish Steps but I personally wasn’t impressed.

3 days in rome itinerary - spanish steps

Top tips for visiting Rome for 3 days

  • Search for accommodation in the central part of the city.
    That would save you wasting time to travel to the center and being tired from the early wake up. I stayed in the Retrome Hostel just 2 minutes walk from the Colosseum in central Rome which was definitely a good choice.

 

  • Leave at least 1/3 of every day for rest and unplanned activities.
    I know you want to see as much as possible of Rome’s treasures, but leaving a few hours for resting is essential. That way you’ll be relaxed and will fully enjoy your trip without being stressed out.

 

  • Save money by choosing accommodation with a kitchen. We know Rome is not cheap, so cooking your own meals can be a good decision.

 

  • Avoid visiting the most popular tourist sites during free admission days because you’ll most likely spend hours just waiting on lines. If you have only 3 days in Rome, you want to use all the time to get the most out of the city. That won’t happen by standing on queues.

 

  • If you decide to save money by using free admission days, make sure to go hours in advance to avoid the lines.
    The Colosseum has free entrance every first Sunday of the month.
    – Vatican Museums and St. Peter Basillica – every last Sunday of the month.

And here it is – hopefully, now you’re ready to get the most out of Rome for only 3 days. Make sure to charge your camera batteries and prepare your good mood for a weekend full of great experiences.

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Travel blogger and tourism graduate from Bulgaria, working in the field of Digital Marketing and PR for travel brands.

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