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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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2 Days 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.

Two days in Rome is the ideal length for an action-packed city break or romantic weekend getaway, but you’ll want to plan your trip wisely to make the most of it. Take advantage of combo tours, sightseeing passes, and skip-the-line tickets to save both time and money, or invest in a 48-hour hop-on hop-off bus pass. Here are a few ideas for two days in Rome.

Day 1: Morning

Maximize your time with an early-access tour of the Vatican Museums and enjoy a guided tour before the crowds arrive. Combine it with a view from the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, a stroll around St. Peter’s Square, and a visit to the unforgettable Sistine Chapel, home to Michelangelo’s masterpiece, The Last Judgement.

Day 1: Afternoon

Add a fun twist to a Rome sightseeing tour and explore the city by Segway or electric bike. Zip up Capitoline Hill for a magnificent view over Rome; enjoy photo stops at the Pantheon, Piazza Venezia, and the Spanish Steps; and pause to enjoy Italian gelato. Don’t forget to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain—it’s said to ensure that you will return to Rome one day.

Day 1: Night

Continue sightseeing into the evening and experience Rome’s illuminations on a romantic cruise along the Tiber river. As you sail past landmarks such as St. Angelo’s Castle, tuck into a 3-course dinner of Italian cuisine like pasta or gnocchi served on board.

Day 2: Morning

Make an early start and head straight for the Colosseum to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Roman gladiators and emperors. Be sure to book a skip-the-line ticket as queues can take more than two hours at peak times, or, for the best value, combine your visit with a ticket for the nearby Roman Forum.

Day 2: Afternoon

Now’s the time to fit in any sights that you’ve missed, so tailor your afternoon to suit your preferences. Art lovers might want to head to the Borghese Gallery, filled with prized works by Bernini, Caravaggio, Rubens, and Raphael, while history buffs can explore the Catacombs of Rome or the ruins of Palatine Hill. Or, perhaps head to Via del Corso to do some last-minute shopping.

Day 2: Night

Rome is one of Europe’s great food cities, so spend your final night on a food tasting tour and explore the many restaurants, shops, and street food stalls around Campo de Fiori and the Trastevere district. In addition to sampling myriad pizza and pasta dishes, you’ll tuck into street food favorites like suppli (deep-fried rice and mozzarella balls), zucchini flowers, and sweet Maritozzi pastries.

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