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How to See Rome in a Day

When planning a trip to Italy, one stop on everyone’s list is Rome. It is filled with ancient architecture, historic monuments, religious sites, and many museums. While one day in Rome doesn’t seem like near enough time, let me tell you that you can see a lot of Rome in a day if you plan carefully!

How to See Rome in a Day

Private Driver in Rome

Use a Private Driver in Rome

While you can see many of the famous Roman sites using public transportation, it may be in your best interest to hire a driver for a private tour of Rome.

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Private drivers know the city better than anyone and can navigate streets to get you where you want to go much faster than you could on your own.

While stopping in Rome for the day during our Mediterranean Cruise, we hired a private driver to take our family to all of the famous sites.

It cost a bit more than doing it on our own, but we wanted to make the most of our time and not miss out on things because we couldn’t navigate our way through Rome effectively.

Our driver made us feel safe in an unfamiliar city and because of his experience in Rome, he knew places to drop us off near the famous sites in Rome we wanted to see and could talk to us about the sights before we arrived.

How to See Rome in a Day

One Day Rome Itinerary


  1. Arch of Constantine
  2. Colosseum
  3. Palatine Hill
  4. Roman Forum


  1. Piazza Navona
  2. Pantheon
  3. Trevi Fountain
  4. Spanish Steps

While this list may seem daunting, understand that many of the sites are centrally located and can be broken down into morning & afternoon.

Sites to See during your Day Trip to Rome

When you are trying to see Rome in a day, you will need to plan your time carefully.

If you follow our itinerary, you can see the following Roman sites:

Arch of Constantine

Arch of Constantine

This arch was commissioned by the Roman Senate to commemorate Flavius Constantine the Great’s victory over Maxentius (Battle of Milvian Bridge) in 312. 

The inscription reads:

To the emperor Flavius Constantine the Great pious and fortunate, the Senate and People of Rome
because by divine inspiration and his own greatness of spirit with his army on both the tyrant and all his faction at once in rightful battle he avenged the State dedicated this arch as a mark of triumph.

It sits between the Colosseum and Palatine Hill which would have been the route taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph.

Colosseum at Rome


There is nothing quite like the view of the Colosseum for the first time.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is quintessential Roman architecture and tops our list of places you must visit when in Rome.

Interior of Roman Colosseum

The first time we were in Rome, we didn’t take the time to go inside, but we did take the time to tour the inside of the Colosseum on our second visit.

In my opinion, it wasn’t worth

Roman Colosseum is on the Rome City Pass, but if you don’t get it, you can get a combo ticket that gets you into Colosseum & Palatine Hill.

Roman Forum

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and the fact that it still remains semi-intact is quite amazing.

Roman Forum

Walking through the Forum is like walking back in time during the reign of Julius Caesar. You will find impressive structures, such as the Temple of Vesta, the Curia Julia, and the Rostra.

To understand everything that you see, I suggest you download Rick Steves’ audio tour of the Roman Forum. He does a great job explaining it all!

Palatine Hill in Rome

Palatine Hill

Sitting next to both the Roman Forum and above the Colosseum is Palatine Hill.

This is the most famous of Rome’s seven hills and according to legend, this is the spot where Romulus founded Rome.

Palatine Hill was once home to Roman Emperors and the site of palaces in ancient times. Now, it is an archaeological site.

Piazza Navona in Rome Italy

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is a large public square located in the heart of Rome.

It was originally built in the 1st century AD as an ancient Roman stadium and later became a marketplace during the 15th century.

Piazza Navona

The shape of the square has been preserved to this day, with two famous Roman fountains at either end – the Fountain of the Four Rivers and the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi or “Fountain of the Four Rivers”.

Pantheon in Rome


The Pantheon is a former Roman temple in Piazza Navona and now serves as a church. Because of this, entry is free!

Pantheon in Rome

The interior Rotunda features seven alcoves that span across the entire perimeter.

During ancient times, these would have been areas to place sculptures of Roman deities, but today they serve as chapels and tombs.

The Oculus of the Pantheon

The Pantheon’s dome is 43 meters high and features an oculus that opens to the sky.

When originally built, it is believed that the interior would have been dark blue so that at night when the moonlight would hit the bronze features, it would shine like stars.

Trevi Fountain in Rome

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is one of Rome’s most iconic landmarks and is a must-see for any visitor to Rome.

Just around the corner from the Pantheon, the Baroque fountain was constructed in 1762.

It features a central statue of Neptune, God of the Sea, surrounded by other Roman gods, goddesses, and allegorical figures.

Water pours from several levels and directions creating a truly breathtaking scene that draws crowds year-round.

Legend has it that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you will one day return to Rome.

Spanish Steps in Rome

Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps, built between 1723 and 1725, are a popular site because they were featured in Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn.

The steps can be accessed at the top (Piazza di Spagna) or from the bottom.

Because it is such a popular place to take photos, you will find locals trying to sell you flowers.

Be careful, because it may seem as though they are giving it to you for free, but as we all know, nothing is ever free.

Dining in Rome

Where to Eat in Rome

With only one day in Rome, you won’t have the time to explore all the best places to eat.

If you can only choose one restaurant, we would suggest you do it right and choose one that is nearby the attraction you are visiting during lunchtime.

While a single day in Rome is certainly enough to tantalize and delight, you won’t be able to experience all it has to offer.

We hope that we’ve given you some ideas on how to best spend your time.

Planning to be in Rome for more than One Day?

Check out these itineraries:

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Aarti Kamath

Saturday 29th of April 2017

Well explained! Yes, you can do Rome in a day but it just gets too exhaustive!... But this is a great post for those having a very short time. Thanks for the post, it brought back my days in Rome :)..


Saturday 29th of April 2017

Oh, my beloved Rome! Thank you for getting me back there... Can't wait to visit it again some day :-)


Saturday 29th of April 2017

I am just in love with Rome and it is true that many of the most important things to see in the city are more or less walking distance apart. I still think though that a city so beautiful and holding so much history deserves much more that a day, but it can be done as you point out :)

Thanks for sharing! Ingrid


Saturday 29th of April 2017

Hahaha ever since watching the Lizzie Mcguire Movie when I was a kid, I've always wanted to visit the Trevi Fountain and Rome in general! Great post!


Saturday 29th of April 2017

You are right, it is all doable in a day, I have done that with my Italian friend as a guide! Coming back to Rome in summer, my husband hasn't been there yet, so I want him to see it to, yet not to stay too long, as there are other places in Italy I would like to visit, so this post is very useful as a short list of what are the must-dos! It was nice to remember all these places from back in 2008 :)

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