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Rome In a Day

Here you will find a layout of my day in Rome in the most favorable way to navigate distance in limited time without backtracking. Make sure to check out my other post "Backing Europe in 10 Days" for more travel information.


Ciao, fellow travelers! If you're anything like me, you sometimes find yourself in a new place, with limited time, but a burning desire to soak in the essence of a city. Well, don't worry, I'll give you some recommendations to make the most of 24 hours in Rome, Italy, without feeling rushed. Let's embark on a whirlwind tour of the Eternal City!

The Victor Emmanuel II National Monument also known as the Vittoriano or Altare della Patria ("Altar of the Fatherland"), National Monument, Rome

Rome, out of all the cities on my European journey, turned out to be my favorite. The versatility I experienced throughout the day stole my heart. Walking around Rome was like strolling through a living museum. The streets whispered history, and at every corner, I discovered something new about this remarkable city.


Below, I will walk you through how I organized my day to maximize time while fitting in each attraction ultimately allowing Rome to be seen in 1 day.



Morning: The Vatican City

We kicked off our day by arriving at the Vatican City Museum by 8 AM. We'd heard from other travelers that arriving early was crucial to beat the lines, so we decided to give it a shot. Even then, we waited for a good two hours. If you want to explore without the lines, I strongly recommend getting there as early as humanly possible.


While we were in line, friendly tour guides approached us, eager to have us join their groups. However, we opted to savor the anticipation, played some games, and indulged in croissants from the charming bar across the way, turning our wait into a delightful experience. Of course, if you would like a tour that skips the lines for St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museum, and Sistine Chapel you could always book one here.


The entrance fee was $17, and once inside, it was packed with tourists. Nevertheless, we immersed ourselves in the art, culture, and the world-famous Sistine Chapel. Afterward, we headed to the Basilica to catch a glimpse of where the Pope resides, and the architectural grandeur left us in awe.

If you plan to visit here, be sure to start your day bright and early with a visit to the Vatican City. Arriving early will help you beat the crowds, and the cool morning air is perfect for exploring. St. Peter's Basilica is a must-see, with its stunning architecture and Michelangelo's masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel. Don't forget to snap a photo in St. Peter's Square and admire the impressive obelisk.


Lunch: Homemade Pasta or Fettuccine Alfredo?

Following our Vatican adventure, we were ready for lunch. It was a tough choice between savoring homemade pasta at Osteria da Furtunata or visiting the birthplace of Fettuccine Alfredo at Alfredo Alla Scrofa.


Ultimately, we decided on the homemade pasta, and it was a culinary delight. The place quickly seated us and served our meal promptly, allowing us to maximize our limited time. If you're fortunate, you might even snag a table next to where they roll out the pasta, adding a fascinating element to your dining experience.

Rome is renowned for its pasta, and you can't leave without savoring a plate of authentic Italian pasta. Head to a local trattoria for a delicious meal. Trust me; you won't be disappointed!


Afternoon: Gelato and the Trevi Fountain

After relishing our meal, we couldn't resist indulging in some gelato, and we heard great things about La Romana, conveniently located just 500 feet from our pasta haven. The gelato shop offered a variety of unique and delectable flavors. You can't explore Italy without indulging in gelato. Treat yourself to the best gelato in town. Savor the rich, creamy flavors as you wander the charming streets of Rome.

As the sun began to set, we made our way to the magnificent Trevi Fountain. This Baroque masterpiece is not only a sight to behold but also a place to make a wish. Toss a coin over your left shoulder into the fountain, and legend has it you'll ensure a return to Rome.


I'd seen countless photos of it, but witnessing it up close was nothing short of breathtaking. It exceeded my expectations in size and grandeur. Of course, we took the obligatory moment to toss a coin in and make a wish.

Late Afternoon: Colosseum and the Roman Forum

After that spiritual experience, our adventure continued as we explored the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

It was incredible to study the architecture of the Colosseum and imagine how long it has been here. My favorite part was reading the history and imagine how gladiators once battled here. Pro tip: consider a guided tour to get the full historical context here.


These two historical marvels turned out to be my favorites, as we delved into the history that unfolded on these very streets. Seeing the remnants of the Roman Empire up close was a truly remarkable experience. This was surprising to me as I am not naturally a history buff, but this sight captured my attention like I would have never expected.



Evening: Gardens of the Villa Borghese

To wrap up our day, we sought serenity in the Gardens of the Villa Borghese. The park's beauty was astounding, and what made it even more special was the sight of dogs frolicking off-leash, playing with their owners and fellow canines. It was a serene and blissful way to conclude our unforgettable day in Rome.

Fountain overlooking park at the Garden of Villa Borghese

If you visit, make sure to stroll through beautifully landscaped gardens, rent a rowboat on the lake, or visit the Galleria Borghese for an art fix. It's a serene way to cap off your day.


Remember, you won't be able to see everything in Rome in a day, but this whirlwind tour will give you a taste of the city's magic. Enjoy the beauty, culture, and history, and take time to count your blessings while you explore the stunning streets of Rome.

Buon viaggio!

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