How to spend 3 days in Rome

Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 01.08.2023

Discover the enchanting beauty of Rome in just 3 days. Explore ancient wonders such as the Colosseum and Roman Forum, savour the splendour of the Vatican's treasures and the charming streets of Trastevere. This 3-day Rome itinerary promises an unforgettable Roman adventure. Here's how to spend 3 days in Rome.

The best 3 days in Rome itinerary

Experience an unforgettable 3-day Roman adventure, unveiling the city's treasures and essence. This crafted journey merges ancient wonders, artistry, and local charm.

Over three days, relive gladiators' steps at the Colosseum, behold St. Peter's Basilica's grandeur, and soak in Piazza Navona's vibrancy. Explore Trastevere's streets, indulge in Roman cuisine, and immerse in the city's culture.

Discover a harmonious blend of iconic sites and hidden gems, promising an unforgettable journey into Rome's heart. Whether a history enthusiast, art lover, or curious traveller seeking authenticity, our 3-day itinerary beckons to create cherished memories and embrace the city's soul. Get ready to be enamoured by Rome's irresistible allure.

Planning a trip to Rome? Perhaps our Italy itineraries can help.


Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy @ Shutterstock

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Rome itinerary - Day 1

The first day of this Rome 3 day itinerary takes you to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Capitoline Hill & Capitoline Museums.

Colosseum: 2-3 hours

Begin your 3 days in Rome adventure by immersing yourself in the historical wonders that make up the heart of ancient Rome. Start early in the morning and head straight to the Colosseum, the city's iconic symbol and a testament to the grandeur of the Roman Empire. Admire its architecture and imagine the gladiatorial fights that once took place within these ancient walls.

Roman Forum: 1.5-2 hours

After exploring the Colosseum, head to the Roman Forum, just a short walk away. Stroll through this vast archaeological site where political, social and religious activity flourished centuries ago. Wander amongst the ruins of temples, basilicas and arches to immerse yourself in the history of the past.

Palatine Hill: 1-1.5 hours

Then climb the Palatine Hill, one of Rome's seven hills and the legendary birthplace of the city. Here you'll find a tranquil oasis of gardens and ancient palaces, with breathtaking views of the Forum and Circus Maximus.

Capitoline Hill & Capitoline Museums: 2 hours

End the first day on Capitoline Hill, the smallest of the seven hills but of great historical significance. Visit the Capitoline Museums, home to a magnificent collection of ancient art and artefacts. Don't forget to admire the impressive Piazza del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo, and admire the panoramas of the city from it.

Rough Guides tip: Read our comprehensive guide to the weather and climate in Italy and choose the best time to travel to Rome.

Forum Romanum, Rome © Rudy Blasko/Shutterstock

Forum Romanum, Rome © Rudy Blasko/Shutterstock

Rome itinerary - Day 2

The second day of this Rome 3 day itinerary takes you to the St. Peter's Basilica & St. Peter's Square, Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel, Castel Sant'Angelo and Ponte Sant'Angelo.

St. Peter's Basilica & St. Peter's Square: 1.5-2 hours

The second day of your 3 days in Rome is dedicated to exploring the spiritual and artistic treasures of the Vatican, the world's smallest independent state. To avoid the crowds, start early and head straight to St Peter's Square. Marvel at the grandeur of St Peter's Basilica, the largest Christian church in the world, and don't miss the opportunity to climb to the dome for panoramic views of Rome.

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel: 3-4 hours

Then head to the Vatican Museums, home to an extraordinary collection of artworks amassed by various popes over the centuries. Spend time admiring masterpieces by Renaissance giants such as Michelangelo and Raphael, and marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Lunch in Prati: 1 hour

After visiting the museums, take a break for lunch in the nearby Prati neighbourhood, known for its delicious trattorias and local cuisine.

Castel Sant'Angelo: 1-1.5 hours

In the afternoon, visit Castel Sant'Angelo, a stunning cylindrical fortress originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian. Explore its impressive architecture, rich history and enjoy panoramic views of the Tiber River and Rome's skyline from above.

Ponte Sant'Angelo (Bridge of Angels): 15-30 minutes

At the end of the day, head to the legendary Bridge of Angels (Ponte Sant'Angelo) and enjoy a truly enchanting moment of sunset. This ancient bridge, originally known as the Aelian Bridge, connects the city centre to Castel Sant'Angelo, creating a breathtaking crossing over the Tiber River.

Last Judgment fresco in Sistine Chapel, Vatican City ©

Last Judgment fresco in Sistine Chapel, Vatican City ©

Rome itinerary - Day 3

The third day of this Rome 3 day itinerary takes you to the Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Trastevere, Spanish Steps and Tiber River Walk.

Piazza Navona: 1-1.5 hours

On your last day of your 3 days in Rome, experience the city's enchanting charm and immerse yourself in its vibrant culture. Start in Piazza Navona, a beautiful Baroque square decorated with stunning fountains, street performers and artists. Enjoy the lively atmosphere and soak up the energy of the city.

Trevi Fountain: 30 minutes - 1 hour

From there, head to the Trevi Fountain, one of Rome's most iconic landmarks. Legend has it that throwing a coin into the fountain guarantees your return to Rome.

Pantheon: 30 minutes - 1 hour

Then visit the Pantheon, an architectural marvel of ancient Rome. Admire the massive dome and the oculus at its centre, through which sunlight streams in, creating a mesmerising atmosphere.

Lunch in Trastevere: 1-1.5 hours

For a delicious lunch, head to the Trastevere neighbourhood, known for its charming cobbled streets and authentic Roman trattorias. Indulge in classic Italian dishes and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of this bohemian neighbourhood.

Spanish Steps: 30 minutes - 1 hour

After a delightful lunch in the Trastevere neighbourhood, head to the Spanish Steps, a famous landmark loved by locals and tourists alike. As you ascend the grand staircase, admire the elegance of the Barcaccia Fountain at its base, a masterpiece by Bernini's father, Pietro. Once at the top, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the rooftops of the city and the bustling streets below.

Tiber River Walk: 1-1.5 hours

During a 1-1.5 hour stroll along the banks of the Tiber, you can savour the enchanting cityscape against the backdrop of the sun setting over Rome. Soft golden hues cast a warm glow on the historic landmarks and picturesque bridges along the riverbank.

Spanish Steps Piazza di Spagna, Rome © Shutterstock

Spanish Steps Piazza di Spagna, Rome © Shutterstock

What to see in Rome in 3 days

Immerse yourself in Rome's enchantment in just 3 days, traversing time and art. Uncover the Colosseum's grandeur and the Roman Forum's echoes of the past. Ascend Palatine Hill for serene gardens and sweeping views.

Explore Capitoline Hill's Museums, delving into Rome's history. Visit the Vatican's divine sites, from St. Peter's Basilica to the Vatican Museums' artistic treasures, crowned by the Sistine Chapel's frescoes.

Dine on authentic Roman cuisine in Prati Quarter and admire Castel Sant'Angelo's resilience. Cross the Bridge of Angels at sunset for a magical experience. Piazza Navona's liveliness and Trevi Fountain's wish-making allure await.

Lunch in Trastevere's bohemian charm, climb the Spanish Steps for panoramas, and let the Tiber River's tranquility complement the city's vibrancy.

In just 3 days in Rome, you let history, art, and life into your heart. As you bid adieu, Rome's enduring allure will echo, forever captivating hearts that tread its ancient streets..

Colosseum, Rome © Farbregas Hareluya/Shutterstock

Colosseum, Rome © Farbregas Hareluya/Shutterstock

How to get around Rome

When researching what to see in Rome in 3 days, it's easy to navigate the city thanks to the different modes of transport. To make the most of your time, consider the following ways to get around Rome:

  • On foot: Wander the pedestrian-friendly city, especially the historic center, for close proximity to major attractions and hidden gems.
  • Metro: Utilize the efficient three-line metro system (A, B, C) to cover longer distances swiftly and avoid traffic.
  • Buses: Explore Rome's extensive bus network for areas not directly accessible by metro, offering scenic routes and nighttime options.
  • Trams: Conveniently navigate main streets and neighborhoods with trams on specific routes.
  • Taxis: Choose official taxis with working meters from designated stands or street hail to ensure fair pricing.
  • Ride-hailing apps: Opt for cashless payments and fare estimates with popular apps like Uber and Bolt.
  • Bicycles: Enjoy two-wheeled exploration with neighborhood bike rentals, especially in parks and along the Tiber River.
  • Electric scooters: Embrace the trend of electric scooters from companies like Lime and Bird for short distances and convenience.

When planning to get around Rome, combine different options depending on the places you want to visit and the distance between them. For example, walking around the historic centre is ideal, while using the metro or buses for longer journeys will save time. Whichever mode of transport you choose, the timeless beauty and captivating charm of Rome are sure to make your visit unforgettable.

View of Rome

View of Rome © Shutterstock

Average costs per day in Rome

Average spending per day in Rome can vary depending on factors such as accommodation choices, food preferences, activities and personal habits.

  • Accommodation: On average, budget travellers can expect to pay 50-100 euros per night for a room in a basic hotel or hostel. Mid-range hotels can cost between €100 and €200 per night, while luxury hotels can cost between €200 and €500 or more per night.
  • Food: The cost of food can vary greatly depending on where and what you eat. A budget breakfast in a café or bakery can cost between €5 and €10. For lunch and dinner at a pizzeria or trattoria, you'll have to pay between €10 and €20. A three-course lunch at a mid-range restaurant can cost between €25 and €40. Fine dining restaurants can be considerably more expensive.
  • Transport: A single ticket for public transport (bus, tram or metro) costs around €1.50 and is valid for 100 minutes. A day pass for unlimited rides around the city centre costs around €7. Bicycle and scooter hire varies, but day hire can cost between €15 and €30.
  • Sightseeing: Entrance tickets to popular attractions such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Vatican Museums cost between €10 and €30 per person. Combination tickets or guided tours can cost more but offer additional benefits.
  • Miscellaneous: Additional costs may include souvenir shopping, gelato treats and coffee breaks, which can add up to €10 to €20 or more per day.

Given these estimates, a budget traveller can spend between €70 and €150 per day, while mid-level travellers can spend between €150 and €300 per day. Luxury travellers should expect to spend €300 or more per day.

Keep in mind that prices can change over time, so you should check for up-to-date information closer to your travel date. In addition, the above calculations are only a general idea and may vary depending on individual preferences and choices.

Rome, Italy - People eating at outside tables in Piazza Campo de Fiori on  a sunny Sunday.

Rome, Italy, Piazza Campo de Fiori © Shutterstock

Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 01.08.2023

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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