Jan 17, 2017
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How to spend 3 days in Rome

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Italy’s capital city has way too many unmissable sights to see. We managed to tick off almost everything in the space of three days by following three simple steps.

Divide exploration into manageable chunks

We chose the 3 areas of the city below to divide our days exploring the landmark attractions and we saw a lot more than we expected.

By allowing a day for each area, it allows you to weave in and out of the streets with a fine tooth-comb as well as saving your legs travelling across the city.

Area 1 – The Colosseum
Here you will find the most iconic building in Rome and one of the seven world wonders, the Roman Colosseum. The Colosseum is also very close to Palantine Hill, or the Palatino, (one of the Seven hills of Rome) and the Roman Forum.

Inside the Roman Colosseum platforms, Rome, Italy

See a wonder of the world

All three can be seen in one day with one special trio ticket offered by the tourist board of Rome. The ticket costs €12 and can be purchased at any of the ticket offices at the sites above. Expect dense queues and allow enough time to explore all three in one day.

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy, Europe

The Roman Forum

For time perspective, we spent around an hour in the Roman Forum and two hours in the Colosseum.

The Altar of the Fatherland and the Imperial Fora are also in this area, both sites are free to see and offer a remarkable display of the history of the city.

Altar of the Fatherland view, Rome, Italy

Free to enter

The Imperial Fora dates back to the era of Julius Caesar and Trajan where they built public buildings for the Roman Empire.

Difference between the Imperial Fora and Forum of Caesar and the Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

The Forum of Caesar close to the Roman Forum

Other sites of interest here is the Arch of Constantine, St. Clement Basilica, Circus Maximus and the Mouth of Truth.

The Arch of Constantine, Rome, Italy

The Arch of Constantine

Area 2 – Pantheon and Trevi fountain
Both the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain are free to visit and they are both located in a dense area of historical buildings. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the churches in this area, such as the Church of St. Louis of the French and the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, all are free to enter and offer a newer perspective of the city’s religious history and are usually less crowded than the main attractions.

Pantheon, Rome, Italy

Image credit: www.ancient.eu

The Trevi Fountain can be incredibly busy, be sure to enjoy the surrounding eateries and ice cream vendors and venture deeper into the fabulous district of Trevi.

Area 3 – The Vatican
Cross the Ponte Principe Amadeo Savoia Aosta bridge over River Tiber and spend a full day enjoying one of the most famous landmarks of the world.

The Tiber River, Rome, Italy

The beautiful River Tiber

St. Peter’s Square is home of the Vatican. The buildings in the Square can offer you a valuable insight into the religious and artistic history of Rome with some of the most famous attractions on earth. The Sistine Chapel, in the heart of the Square, is home to Michelangelo’s famous painted ceiling. St. Peter’s Basilica is free to enter as well as the Vatican Museums.

The Vatican, Rome, Italy

St. Peter’s Basilica

This is probably the busiest part of Rome in terms of gathering tourists. Crowds stretch right across the square as tour buses and groups arrive hoping to see everything there is to offer.
Even with an advanced pass for sites that charge an entrance fee, you should expect to queue alongside like-minded visitors from all over the world.
The Castel St'Angelo, Rome, Italy

This area will also offer other scenic sights by the river such as the Castel Sant’Angelo, the Janiculum and the Supreme Court of Cassation.

Buy passes in advance
We missed out on seeing the Sistine Chapel due to bad planning. We turned up on the day at 3pm not realizing it closes to the public at 4pm and the queue was this big:

Queue for the Sistine Chapel, Rome, Italy

Que for attractions stretch across the square

Shop online for the best deals and consider paying more for fast track entry if you really want to see something.

Enjoy the hidden delights

Look out for the many hidden monuments, columns, obelisks and inscriptions across the city.

Piazza del Quirinale Obelisk with horses and cross on the top, Rome, Italy

Piazza del Quirinale Obelisk

There aren’t many places in the world where you will find so many fine pieces of history around every corner.

Taking a free walking tour will also point you in the direction of sites that you may not have considered on your itinerary. We always take a walking tour on our first day in any city as the guides are not only full of useful knowledge on the history of the buildings, they also give away tips on good food and saving money. Our guide pointed out hidden gardens and other blissful places to relax tired feet.

Hidden gardens, Rome, Italy

Beautiful hidden gardens

We also learned that Italian gardens are generally characterised by elegant formal lines and a mass of fruit trees. The Italian government have kept the appearance of fruit trees across the city and once you know about them, you will notice them even more.

Lemon tree, Rome, Italy

Lemon trees can be found in the streets

With a historical Arabic influence and the onset of the Roman Empire, new varieties of fruit trees appeared across Italy from all over the world. Citrus fruits trees can be found in lots of areas of Rome, you just have to look out for them!

Orange tree, Rome, Italy

Citrus tree traditions

Every major city in Europe has a free walking tour, we recommend Rome Free Walking Tour for Rome.

Don’t forget, when in Rome, do all things Italian. Indulge on ice cream, pizza, pasta and maybe even lavish Italian clothing.

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3 days in Rome an itinerary, Italy

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Europe · Italy

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