How to Spend 2 Days in Rome | Italy Travel Itinerary 2024

Do you only have 2 days in Rome? Here’s all you need to see and explore at the Eternal City, Rome.

A bustling city that’s vastly rich in culture and history, it can be a challenge to see everything and check it off your Italy bucket list. Rome is the central hub for foodies and history lovers, so there’s much to do and see. That’s where I come in to show you all the essential places you can visit in under 48 hours.

And in two days you can still do a lot of activities!

Exploring Rome in 2 Days | Italy Travel Itinerary 2023

Initially, I was going to stay 3 days in Rome, however, due to flight delays we missed a couple of exploring hours on our first day. It’s a blessing in disguise because this means I have another excuse to revisit Rome and discover other sights that are still on my Rome bucket list.

Tip: If you’re spending 2 days in Rome or visiting Rome for the first time, guided tours will be your best friend. It’s the quickest and easy way to enrich yourself with history and fun facts about Rome.

How to Get to Rome:

How to Get to Rome | 2 Days in Rome

Two airports can get you to Rome: Fiumicino and Ciampino.

Fiumicino is the main airport where all international flights arrive and it’s 45 minutes away from Roma Termini. Ciampino is a smaller airport where you’ll most likely arrive if you’re flying in Ryanair. Ciampino Airport is 36 minutes away from the city center.

To get to Roma Termini, you must take the Leonardo Express Train and it’s the fastest way to get into the city center. Not only takes you 32 minutes to get to Roma Termini but it’s a great value for your money without the hassle of a bus shuttle.

If you’re traveling to different parts of Italy, I suggest staying near the Roma Termini station area.

How to move around the city:

  • Metropolitan Train: walking around in Rome can become a workout on its own. The best way to move around the city to see all the important places is to take the metro and hop off at the nearest location of your destination. You can get to the Colosseum, Fontana di Trevi, and Spanish Steps in less than 20 minutes through the Metro.
  • Bus: just like the metro station, to get to certain monuments and museums it is essential to use the bus. Finding the right bus may be a tad confusing but if you type your destination on Google Maps, the app will tell you which bus to take and at what time it’ll arrive.

What to see in 2 days in Rome:

1. cOLOSSEUM, Roman Forum & palatine hill

The Colosseum was built in 70 AD and is the largest of its era. Drawing almost 7 million visitors around the world per year, this Roman amphitheater is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. So why does it attract so many tourists? Because this landmark is still standing even 1,953 years later. It’s visually impressive considering the period when it was built! Knowing that it’s incredibly packed all year round, you’d be waiting hours in line. However, with this tour, you won’t have to!

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Start your first morning in the Roman city by taking a tour that shows you the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill in one trip. Usually these kinds of guided tours last about 3 hours so it saves you a lot of time to have the afternoon to explore different parts of the city.

  • Photo Tip: The best angle for pictures of the Colosseum, walk up a hill in Via Nicola Salvi. If you want to have this spot for yourself, arrive here at sunrise.

Roman Forum: The foundation of the Eternal City. The Forum originally was covered by a swap and in the 7th Century (BCE) it was reclaimed and started to take shape that would become the public center for Rome. Here, you’ll find the layout and remnants of ancient Rome. Roman citizens gathered here publicly to discuss politics, pass laws, sell goods, and hold religious ceremonies.

Palatine Hill: According to the legend of Remus and Romulus, Palatine Hill was the place where Rome was first founded. It’s one of the most famous hills out of the Seven Hills of Rome, home to many aristocrats and emperors of the time.

2. Vatican City: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

Ready to visit another country? This one you won’t need a passport with you, however, make sure you follow the dress code guidelines so you can enter the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. You’ll want to schedule advance skip-the-line tour tickets to learn in detail about the history of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel.

The Vatican Museums were built in the sixteenth century and founded by Pope Julius II. Once elected Pope he brought his private art collection to the Vatican and it consists of statues, frescos, and Christian and Renaissance art that will truly take away your breath.

I booked a group tour that gave us amazing art history about the Sistine Chapel & how Michaelangelo was only 33 years old when he started painting it. The tour guide gave us exclusive details about symbols Michaelangelo hid in the corners of the fresco painting. Just remember: it is not allowed to take pictures of the chapel. Take this time to take in the views of the fresco painting. The more you stare at it, the more details you’ll discover.

Visiting Hours: Monday through Saturday 8:30 am-6:30 pm (18:30)

Group Guided Tours: Skip-The-Line (Affordable + Audio Guide Included)

3. St. Peter’s Basilica

Finish your tour of the Vatican Museums by going to St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the largest Catholic churches in the world. Painting the Eternal City’s skyline, this basilica can fit over 20,000 people! Once you enter the church you’ll see the gold ceilings, Michaelangelo’s sculptures (Pietà), and different artworks by the most famous Renaissance architects and artists. Both the square and the Basilica are free to enter but waiting lines can be extensive. If you want to save some waiting time, check out these guided tours of the Basilica and reach the top of the dome.

Visiting Hours: Monday through Saturday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm (18:00)

Book a Tour: St. Peter’s Basilica with Dome Climb

Ponte Umberto overlooking the landmarks of the Vatican City | How to Spend 2 Days in Rome
  • Photo Tip: If you want to take the most beautiful shot of St. Peter’s Basilica, walk to Ponte Umberto at golden hour. You’ll see photographers with tripods waiting for the perfect shot. Easily one of my postcard-worthy favorite images of Rome.

4. Fontana di trevi

No trip to Rome is complete without seeing La Fontana di Trevi. It’s one of the few places where it’s just as breathtaking in person and pictures. It is definitely worth the hype. The fountain dates back to Ancient Roman times and it’s one of the oldest water sources in Rome. It was built at the endpoint of an aqueduct, at the junction of three roads. That’s why it’s called Trevi because these three streets (tre vie) give the Trevi Fountain its name.

If you have the chance to see the Trevi Fountain at night, it’s one of the most romantic places you’ll ever see and there are lesser crowds. If you want the fountain all by yourself for photos, arrive at sunrise so you can have the place all by yourself. After your photo session head to L’Antico Forno to grab a pastry, especially anything that has pistachio in it.

5. Chiesa di San’Ignazio di Loyola

@alanis.colina I could watch this ceiling for hours, if you’d let me. It’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever laid my eyes on 🤍 📍LOCATION: Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola, a flew blocks away from the Pantheon. #travelbucketlist #darkacademia #whattodoinrome #renaissancepainting #academiatiktok ♬ Cornfield Chase (Slowed + Reverb) – Dorian Marko

The church of Saint Ignacio from Loyola is one of the most breathtaking churches in Rome. Minutes away from the Pantheon, this Church was built between 1626 and 1685. Its famous masterpieces like the fake Dome, vault, and presbytery were created by the famous Jesuit artist Andrea Pozzo. When you enter the church, there’s a big mirror displayed in the middle of the nave and people on benches looking up. When you’re standing in front of the mirror you’ll see the incredible fresco painting that’s on the roof of the vault. It’s amazing what artists created centuries ago and is still intact to this day!

6. altare della patria

Altare della Patria, or Altar of the Fatherland, is a colossal monument to celebrate Vittorio Emanuele II. He was the first King who reunited Italy with what it is today. Located in Piazza Venezia this is a monument you shouldn’t miss if you’re close to the Colosseum. Consisting of 196 steps (Romans have legs made of steel) and 135 meters wide, this historical monument is all carved in white marble. To get to the top of the monument, there’s access to elevators for 12 Euros and you can enjoy a panoramic view of Rome, including seeing the Colosseum and Roman Forum from afar. The entrance without the elevators is free to the public.

7. Spanish steps

Ten minutes away from the Trevi Fountain, you’ll find yourself in another of Rome’s beautiful squares: the Spanish Steps. In Italian they’re called, La Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti. It is a steep 135-step climb to get to the top with three terraces that resemble the Holy Trinity (the Trinità). These steps were built to connect the church and the Spanish embassy at the base of the stairs. Once you get to the top you’ll see another panoramic view of Rome!

Why are the Spanish Steps so popular? It was made popular by making it the perfect location to shoot movies, and photos, and even artists take inspiration from these beautiful steps. They’ve made appearances in many of our favorite films like Eat Pray Love (2010), and one of Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic movies Roman Holiday (1953). To protect this historical landmark, the police have prohibited visitors from sitting on the Spanish Steps.

Photo Tip: Just like any other popular landmark in Rome, this can get unbelievably crowded during the day. If you want to enjoy the square and stairs all by yourself, arrive here before 8:30 am.

8. Walk Around As Much As You Can

It may not seem ideal to get lost in the city when you only have 2 days in Rome but trust me; it’s one of the best things anyone can do to explore hidden gems around the city. I found the Church of Saint Ignatius of Loyola by simply walking around with no destination set. And it turned out to be one of my favorite impromptu places that I visited. You don’t necessarily have to fill your schedule with different activities. Sometimes walking around is exactly what you need to get to know Rome. Walk around in different corners, grab a pistachio cornetto from a bakery, and people-watch.

Bonus: what to eat in Rome

1. Osteria da Fortunata (Best Carbonara + Best Tiramisu)

There are three dishes you have to try in Rome: Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, and Tiramisu. These can be ordered in the famous Osteria da Fortunata in Rome. This Osteria is famous because you can see the people making the pasta from scratch, guaranteeing freshness in every bite. Their carbonara was out of this world! Their Tiramisu was one of the fluffiest I’ve ever experienced. I felt like I was in my Eat Pray Love moment. To this day, I still keep thinking about this dinner.

2. Gelateria La Romana

Gelateria La Romana | Spending 2 Days in Rome

You can’t leave Rome or any other Italian city without eating gelato. We asked locals around, and most of the time, they recommended this place, Gelateria La Romana. I ordered Crumbles Fondente All’amarena, which means dark chocolate gelato enriched with crumbly cocoa biscuits and black cherries. My knees already go weak from ice cream and this gelato took me to heaven.

How to spot an authentic gelato shop? You might be tempted to buy overly-priced gelato near the Trevi Fountain but I suggest walking a bit further from the fountain to find the true authentic gelato goodness. A good way to identify an authentic shop is to look for gelato in stainless steel tubs with lids. If they have muted colors (for example, the banana-flavored gelato is not bright yellow by nature) then you’re in the right place!

Now you’re ready to spend 2 days in Rome with ease! Don’t worry if you didn’t see a few of the sights I’ve mentioned above, there’s always the perfect excuse to plan your next Italy trip. And you know what they say, “All roads lead to Rome”.

If your next stop in Italy is Florence, check out 15 Best Things to Do in Florence.

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