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Things to do in Rome

Itineraries for Your Trip to Rome

Rome locals share their perfect days.
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1 Day in Rome for First Timers

Curated by Zoë SmithZoë Smith is a British travel writer, editor, and digital content creator who has lived, worked, and traveled over six continents, and is currently based near Nantes, France. She has written for Rough Guides, CNN, and Culture Trip, and is digital editor at FrenchEntrée.

Everyone knows that Rome wasn’t built in a day but with some forward planning, it is possible to take in the highlights in one. Maximize time with skip-the-line tickets for top attractions, travel between the sights on a hop-on hop-off bus tour, and choose tours that combine multiple sights. Here’s how to see Rome in one day.


Kick off your sightseeing in Rome with an early-access tour of the Vatican Museums. Making an early start not only saves time but also means you’ll get to enjoy the UNESCO-listed treasures before the crowds arrive. First, marvel at masterpieces by artists like Raphael, da Vinci, and Botticelli in the enormous museums, then step inside Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Finally, head into the grand St. Peter’s Basilica, where you can climb the dome for a stunning view of the city.


The Colosseum is on top of most must-see lists, so it’s best to prebook skip-the-line tickets to avoid wasting hours waiting outside. Follow in the footsteps of fearless gladiators and Roman emperors as you explore the mighty amphitheater, then continue to the nearby Roman Forum, home to some of the city’s most impressive ancient ruins. Make a pit stop for some Italian gelato as you stroll into downtown Rome, where you won’t want to miss a photo by the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.


Rome’s scenic riverfront is most magical by night, and an evening cruise along the Tiber river affords stunning views. Opt for a dinner cruise and tuck into traditional Italian dishes such as lasagna or gnocchi as you sail past St. Angelo’s Castle and spot the distant spires of St. Peter’s Basilica. Or, continue sightseeing in the evening hours with a moonlit tour of the Colosseum or a night walking tour of Rome’s most atmospheric neighborhoods.

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