Rome wasn’t built in a day and you cannot expect to visit all the attractions the Italian capital has to offer in three days. However, in this 3 days itinerary for Rome you can admire many of the best-known sights of the Eternal City.
Check out this guide for what to do in Rome in 3 days and the perfect Rome itinerary to help you plan your trip.
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According to the legend, the city was founded by Romulus on the Palatine Hill, on the 21st April 753 B.C. While he was building the walls of the new city along with his twin brother Remus, Romulus killed his brother guilty of climbing the new walls. Romulus became the first king of Rome.
While the legend is a mythological story about how Rome was born, it is true that the oldest area of the city is on the Palatine Hill. That is why I suggest you start your 3 days itinerary in Rome by visiting the archeological park of Palatine.
The Palatine is the more central of the seven hills that constitute the core of Rome. Strolling around it, you will step back into the history of the city.
Among the sites worth a visit there is the well-preserved House of Livia with frescos and mosaics still in situ. Moreover, you can admire colorful frescos in the two-level house of Augustus and enjoy a visit to the stunning Domus (palace) Flavia.
On the Palatine Hill is also one of the oldest European botanical gardens, the Farnese Gardens realized in the 16th-century over the ruins of the Tiberius Palace.
You can discover more about the history of this area by visiting the Palatine Museum.
After the Palatine you’ll head to the next stop on this Rome itinerary, visit the symbol of the Eternal city and one of the best photo spots in Rome, the Colosseum.
Inside this amphitheater gladiators used to fight against fierce animals. Nothing remains of the dramatic combats but entering inside is a mesmerizing experience.
You can end the first morning of your 3 days in Rome by visiting the Roman Forum. Once the main marketplace of the city, it hosts the main building of the political and social Roman era life.
Try this skip the line and combination ticket for the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine with an audio guide during your trip to save time!
Next on our Rome itinerary in the vicinity to the Roman Forum is the Capitol Hill, home of Rome municipality. On Capitol Hill, you can enjoy one of the best views over the Roman Forum and admire many art masterpieces showcased in the Capitoline museums.
Under this name is a single museum composed of two buildings. The smaller edifice, Palazzo Nuovo exhibits an impressive selection of Greek and Roman sculptures.
On the opposite side is Palazzo dei Conservatori with artworks from the best Italian artists like Bernini, Tintoretto, Caravaggio.
On the Capitol Hill, you can admire the She Wolf sculpture with the twin babies Romulus and Remus. According to the legend of Rome’s foundation, the She Wolf breastfed the twins when they were born.
Next, to the Capitol, you can visit the stunning church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli. Famous for its over 100 steps, the church is cherished by Romans for the wooden sculpture of the saint baby.
According to the tradition, this portrait of baby Jesus has miracle powers. You can proceed your day visiting the Aventino with one of the best off the beaten track attractions in Rome the keyhole on St. Peter’s Basilica.
Otherwise, you can stroll under until Teatro Marcello visiting the Jewish area of Rome.
End your first of 3 days itinerary for Rome in the evening by visiting the Tiberina Island and the picturesque area of Trastevere for dinner before resting up for the rest of your 3 days in Rome.
Tiber Island or Tiberina is the only island in Rome. Shaped like a boat, this small island is connected by bridges and was the seat to the temple of Asclepius which later served as a hospital. The island is a symbol of medicine and healing to this day.
Also, located on the island and another great idea for what to do in Rome in your 3 days is visit the Basilica of St. Bartholomew dating back to the 10th-century.
End your first day of your Rome itinerary exploring Trastevere, one of the most favorite neighborhoods to explore in the city. Located on the west of the Tiber River, this former working-class district is now home to some of the best nightlife and restaurants.
Before starting of on your next day and what to do in Rome in 3 days, you need to be fully rested and fresh before starting your second day visiting the mesmerizing Vatican Museums.
People flock here to admire the Sistine Chapel with the astonishing The Last Judgment realized by Italian Renaissance master, Michelangelo.
However, the Vatican Museums is a chest full of art treasures. An entire day of your 3 days in Rome couldn’t be enough to explore the collections and the stunning rooms of the Apostolic Palace.
In choosing the highlights you want to explore once inside, make sure to include the impressive Raphael’s Rooms. Under this name are four rooms that formed part of the apartment situated on the second floor of the Pontifical Palace and covered by pictorial decoration by Raphael and his school between at the beginning of the 16th century.
More great paintings are displayed in the art collection galleries with works of Italian masters like Giotto Melozzo da Forlì, Leonardo, Titian, and Caravaggio.
Leaving the Vatican Museum, your next stop on your Rome itinerary is visiting Saint Peter’s Basilica. Among the masterpieces to admire inside, there is the moving Michelangelo’s Pietà but also the Baldachin by Bernini.
St. Peter’s is the vastest church in the world and if you need to dress appropriately to enter inside the church and the Museums. Wearing short skirts, sleeveless t-shirts, short pants, and hats is prohibited – be sure to check in advance to make sure you’re dressed accordingly.
Try this skip the line ticket and tour for the Vatican & Sistine Chapel guided tour to save valuable time and get the history including exclusive access to areas regular visitors can’t go to.
In the afternoon of your 2nd of 3 days in Rome, you can head to Castel Sant’Angelo. Built as a funerary mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and his family, this monument has been continuously reused through the centuries.
Now a museum, Castel Sant’Angelo is living a new life also thanks to the popularity of “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown.
Cross the scenic bridge and on the opposite side of the Tiber River, stroll around via de’ Coronari, a charming cobblestone street full of antiquities shops and end your tour in Piazza Navona.
On this square face some fascinating churches, like Sant’Agnese in Agone and Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza.
Nearby are more stunning churches worth a visit, like Sant’Andrea della Valle and San Luigi de’ Francesi with masterworks by Caravaggio.
Finish off your day 2 of 3 days in Rome itinerary by having a meal in the picturesque Piazza delle Coppelle or in Piazza Campo de’ Fiori. Here you can find plenty of great Italian eateries before heading back to your hotel for the evening to rest up for your final 3 days in Rome itinerary.
Dedicate your last of your 3 days in Rome exploring the city center and some iconic sights. Start your morning visiting the Pantheon.
This former Roman-era temple then converted in a church, hosts tomb of eminent Italian figures, like the Renaissance master Raffaello Sanzio, or simply known as Raphael.
What will catch your sight will be the stunning ceiling with a hole at his center that constitutes the only source of natural light. Try a one hour guided tour to learn more about the Pantheon on your visit.
A few steps away is the lesser-known Piazza di Pietra, with the imposing columned of the Hadrian Temple.
Behind here is the even lesser-known Piazza Sant’Ignazio, a charming example of residential architecture during the Baroque era.
During the morning of 3 days in Rome discover the Eternal City strolling around downtown. Leaving piazza Sant’Ignazio cross via del Corso and visit the Trevi Fountain.
This is one of the most popular attractions in the city and something that shouldn’t be missed as it’s what to do in Rome in 3 days if you wish to come back to the city again! The legend goes if you throw a coin over your back with your right hand over your left shoulder that you’ll be back to visit Rome again. The beauty of this fountain will leave you speechless.
The next pick for what to do in Rome in 3 days on your final morning is reach the Spanish Steps. This is another one of the most iconic points of interest in the city. The steps are overlooked by the Trinità dei Monti church.
Tip: No shorts allowed in the Pantheon
After a restorative break on the last day of your 3 days in Rome enjoying a typical Roman meal in a trattoria (a simple fare restaurant serving local cuisine) proceed your stroll around downtown Rome until you reach Piazza del Popolo with its three churches.
From here conclude your day exploring the gardens of Villa Borghese. Inside this park in the heart of Rome, there is a stunning museum, Galleria Borghese. On display are some exquisite sculptures made by Gian Lorenzo Bernini along with an important collection of archeological works.
To admire these artworks is essential to book in advance. While in Villa Borghese you can also take a romantic break boating in his pond.
Check out this guided tour of Villa Borghese and the Borghese Gardens with an expert guide during your trip that guarantees to skip the lines and save time on your Rome itinerary.
At the end of your three days in Rome and Rome itinerary, you’re ending up in the northern part of the city. For your last supper check out Metamofosi or All’Oro for an unforgettable Michelin star meal to send you off.
Both restaurants are located in Northern Rome and recommend making reservations to secure a seat.
Do you have more than 3 days in Rome or extra time on your Rome itinerary? We recommend to check out these ideas for what to do in 3 days in Rome or more to add to your Rome itinerary.
- Visit the Domus Area and experience the luxurious home built by emperor Nero after the fire of Rome through virtual reality and multimedia exhibitions, get your tickets here.
- Discover Palazzo Altemps, an enchanting building a few steps away from Piazza Navona home of a prestigious collection of antique sculptures once belonged to the most affluent aristocratic Roman families
- Experience Rome through its river through a cruise on the river Tiber or a 2.5-hour dinner cruise learning the history from the water
- Explore an Italian Renaissance garden in the heart of Rome by visiting Villa Medici on the Pincio Hills
- Stroll around Quartiere Coppedè, the most bizarre neighborhood in Rome named after the architect, Gino Coppedè who designed it between 1915 and 1927
- Discover the richness of Rome underground by visiting and touring the catacombs of Saint Callixtus
- On a Sunday morning visit Porta Portese, the largest second-hand flea market in Rome and a weekly tradition for many locals
Want to get the most out of your 3 days in Rome? Try out this Rome City Card, you can get either 2 days or 3 days in Rome City Cards that get you access to some of the most popular attractions in the city while skipping the ticket line!
$ Hotel Genio
This is the perfect place to stay during your 3 days in Rome itinerary if you’re on a budget. This is one of the best budget and affordable hotels in Rome with a great location that’s still a 4-star hotel. Located just a 5-minute walk to the Pantheon and less than a 15-minute walk to the Trevi Fountain. Located in a neo-Renaissance building with classic rooms. Don’t miss the view from the rooftop terrace either.
$$ Relais Orso
Another great option for where to stay during your 3 days in Rome and explore all the amazing activities on your Rome itinerary is this great priced 4-star accommodation. This hotel is upscale with chic rooms that feels like a luxury 5-star hotel. Soak in the hot tub or enjoy a drink on the rooftop terrace with a view. The location is also superb with just a 5-minute walk to the Pantheon and a 10-minute walk to the Trevi Fountain.
$$$ The Westin Excelsior
Live like royalty during your 3 days in Rome at this supreme 5-star hotel offering sophisticated luxury rooms. This hotel feels more like a museum covered with gorgeous frescos and ceiling paintings. The rooms are suites with ornate and luxe decor. Don’t miss their world-class spa, elegant restaurant, and piano bar on-site either.
$$$$ Hotel Hassler Roma
If you’re looking for the most unforgettable luxury experience during your 3 days in Rome and your Rome itinerary then look no further. This gorgeous 5-star hotel is located right next to the Spanish Steps so you’re located near all the amazing ideas for what to do in Rome in 3 days straight out of bed. This property not only has a prime location but the most amazing amenities including 3 upscale restaurants with stunning views of Rome city center, a day spa, and rooms that have incredible views all the way to the Vatican. If you’re looking to splurge and live like an A lister this is where to do it.
Federica Provolenti is an Italian journalist who leads by chance a nomadic life. Born and raised in the Eternal City, she studied Archeology and History of Ancient Greek and Roman art before starting her career as a reporter. Now based in London, Federica has lived in Chicago, the US where she graduated in Digital Media and Storytelling. On her blog A stroll around the world, she shares her vast knowledge of the cultural destinations and luxury lifestyle.
You can follow her along her journey on her website A Stroll Around the World.
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