The Perfect 2-Day Rome Itinerary for 2024

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Rome, the Italian capital city is incredible, and we have many good travel tips and memories to help you plan your 2-day Rome Itinerary.

Rome is a city where the past and present meet with stunning elegance – you just can’t skip the capital city when traveling to Italy. And If I were you, you’d want to plan the best Rome itinerary to make the most of your time.

Photo of sunset over the river and Vatican City in Rome, Italy.
Here is our guide to 2 days in Rome: what to see, do and eat.

While 2 days in Rome is just good enough to scratch the surface, you’ll get to check the most popular attractions, from the Colosseum to the Vatican to mention only a couple.

We visited Rome a few times and spent from 2 to more days here, so we know how to plan the perfect 2-day itinerary in Rome, and we can’t wait to tell you about it in this ultimate guide!

Make sure to read until the end before going, and read all our recommendations for food and places to stay. But if you are in a hurry, here a 4 things you need to know to plan your 2-day Rome itinerary:

2-Day Rome Itinerary Overview

Before discussing the best 2-day itinerary for Rome, there are essential details you should know, such as how to get around and what to plan. Let’s cover those before going through the itinerary itself.

How to plan the best 2-day itinerary for Rome?

Make the most of your two days in Rome by starting early and having your plan mapped out. There are many things to do in Rome in 2 days, so you better not waste time.

To ensure you don’t miss out, book the skip-the-line tickets for the Colosseum and Roman Forum, skip-the-line tickets for the Vatican, and other must-sees ahead of time, as they often reach capacity and tickets do sell out quickly.

You can also purchase the Roma Pass, several companies offer tourist passes including free or discounted visits to major attractions and free public transport. 

It can be a money-saving option, but you must read all the pass’s details, and check what is included or not. Plus, the downside of the 48-hour Roma Pass is that you need to collect them in a tourist center, which takes time and you can’t book the visits in advance without it in hand.

We prefer to book tickets individually so we can visit the popular tourist attractions on our own time and stress-free.  

Also, whenever possible, we recommend booking a table at the restaurant where you plan to eat, so you won’t spend time queuing for a table at peak times, especially if you plan this trip as a weekend itinerary.

Keep in mind Rome is always busy, but it gets busier during the spring and summer months which are considered peak tourist season.

Lastly, Rome gets very hot during the summer and pretty cold in the winter, so dress accordingly to enjoy the trip fully!

How to get to Rome?

Arriving in Rome is straightforward: fly directly into Rome Fiumicino International Airport, the main gateway for international travelers, or if you’re exploring Italy by rail, make your way to the central hub at Roma Termini station.

Both serve as excellent starting points for your Roman trip. From Fiumicino Airport, you can take a bus to Termini Station or other spots in town. On the other hand, from Termini Station, you can call a taxi or an Uber to your hotel.

You can find the best flight deals to Rome on Skyscanner.

For trains, we recommend checking on Trenitalia and Italo, or check out Bookaway which will give you a comparison of tickets by rail, bus, and even flights.

How to get around Rome?

Getting around Rome can be part of the fun, and walking is the best way to enjoy the city. While you might walk a lot, it’s the best way to see hidden gems, from ancient ruins to quaint cafes.

For longer distances or when you’re short on time, a hop-on hop-off bus is a great option, as it’s flexible and you’ll get to stop at the most popular spots in town, which makes your itinerary more efficient. You can buy your hop-on hop-off bus ticket here, choose the 48-hour option so you are covered during your two days in Rome.

You can also use public transportation, which works great to get around the city. Avoid buses during rush hour to not get stuck in traffic. The same works for Uber and taxis. 

Is Rome worth visiting on a 2-day trip?

Absolutely, Rome stands out as a must-visit destination in Italy, even with its popularity among tourists. There’s nowhere else on earth where you can walk through history, from the incredible ruins to masterpieces of the Renaissance.

2 Days in Rome, Italy

Photo of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, surrounded by cypress trees in a beautiful morning light.
Are you ready to start planning your Rome 2 days itinerary?

Day 1 in Rome Itinerary

Day 1 in Rome is all about the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and other tourist attractions that you just can’t miss in Rome.

Morning: Colosseum and Roman Forum

Kick off your day at the Colosseum, Rome’s most famous tourist attraction. This is the world’s largest amphitheater, which once welcomed 50,000 to 80,000 spectators coming to see gladiator fights.

Built between A.D. 70-80, primarily from travertine limestone, volcanic rock, and concrete, it has withstood earthquakes and stone robbery over centuries.

Today, it’s a crucial link to understanding Roman culture and architecture.

Before visiting, make sure to book your tickets in advance online to skip the long lines (you can book it here!) and avoid wasting time on your Rome itinerary. Early morning is less crowded, so you can really soak up the atmosphere without a sea of people around you.

Also, wear comfortable shoes and we recommend taking a guided tour, as your guide will discuss historical facts about Ancient Rome that you wouldn’t know otherwise. Also, some Colosseum tours include a stop at the underground area, which isn’t included in the regular tickets, and that is a must-do in Rome!

Needless to say, we should book a guided tour and your entry tickets as soon as possible as they always sell out, so keep that in mind.

Just a short walk from the Colosseum, you’ll find the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, a square surrounded by several important ancient government buildings’ ruins. It was the center of public life: the site of triumphal processions, public speeches, criminal trials, and commercial trades. Everyone could walk around, from slaves to important people, and this is one beautiful part of this area in Rome.

Visiting early in the morning after the Colosseum is smart to avoid crowds and the midday heat. The Forum requires a bit of imagination as most landmarks are damaged.

When we visited, we bought a book with before and after images of the Colosseum, and that gave us a great idea of what it looked like back in the day.

The entrance ticket is included in the Colosseum one, and you should visit both on the same morning.

Photo of the Colosseum facade, one of the most famous attractions in Rome, Italy.
The impressive Roman Colosseum.
Roman Forum and Palatine Hill is an ancient ruins complex in Rome, Italy.
The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill must be on your itinerary for Rome in 2 days.

Afternoon: Campo de’ Fiori, Pantheon, Piazza Navona

After having lunch around the Roman Forum (we recommend La Nuova Piazzetta, it’s affordable and really delicious!), head to Campo de’ Fiori for the afternoon.

Campo de’ Fiori is a bustling market by day and a lively social spot by night, and it’s been around since the 1400s (officially opened in 1456 by Pope Callixtus III). Get some local food and enjoy the atmosphere. Also, if you plan to buy some souvenirs or some food to take back home, this is the place.

Then, make your way to the Pantheon, located only about 10 minutes from the market. Its construction started in 27 BC, it’s one of the best-preserved ancient Roman buildings in the city.

Originally built as a temple to all the gods, the Pantheon has been in continuous use throughout history and now serves as a church. When you visit, you’ll immediately feel how cool it is, even on a hot day, thanks to the oculus at the dome’s center.

The light streaming through the oculus creates a unique atmosphere, highlighting different parts of the interior throughout the day. Admission used to be free, but they now charge 5 euros per person, and we recommend pre-booking the ticket online to avoid the queues, which can be fairly long.

But if you are in Rome on the first Sunday of the month, then access will be free.

The Pantheon also houses the tombs of famous artists and kings, including Raphael. The best time to visit is in the afternoon when the light through the oculus is just magical.

In the late afternoon, you can visit Piazza Navona, which is only a short walk away.

Piazza Navona is one of Rome’s liveliest squares, bustling with artists, cafes, and street performers. It’s the perfect place to grab a gelato (check out Cremì, it’s great!) and people-watch.

The square is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, a hint at its historical past. Today, it’s surrounded by stunning Baroque architecture, including the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone. Central to the piazza are three magnificent fountains, with Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (the Baroque Fountain of the Four Rivers) taking center stage.

In the afternoon, the square is alive with energy, making it the perfect time to visit. Grab a seat at a café, enjoy a coffee or aperitif, and soak up the atmosphere before going for dinner.

Pantheon in Rome, photo of its ancient facade dating back to 27 BC.
Rome’s Pantheon is impressive from the outside and inside.
Photo of a chapel inside the Pantheon one of Rome's top attractions.
Pantheon has incredible details.
Details of the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona. A must see attraction in this Rome 2 day itinerary.
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi sculpted by Bernini.
Photo of Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. It shows the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi and baroque building in the background.
More of Piazza Navona.

Evening: Trastevere District and Roman Food

As the evening rolls in, make your way to the Trastevere District. This area feels like stepping into a different era with its cobbled streets. It’s the perfect place to experience Rome at night, filled with locals and a real sense of community.

Trastevere is famous for its great nightlife, souvenir boutiques, and, most importantly, succulent food. You’ll find some of the best traditional Roman cuisine here, from trattorias serving homemade pasta to pizzerias with wood-fired pizzas.

Don’t miss out on trying classic dishes like carbonara, amatriciana, or cacio e pepe. The best restaurant in the area is by far Osteria Nannarella, but it gets pretty busy. So in case they don’t have a table available, check out Otello, with great food and ambiance.

While you’re in Trastevere, take the time to just wander. The area’s charm is best discovered without a strict plan, stumbling upon hidden piazzas and intimate cafes.

If you are not sure what and where to eat, joining a food tour in Trastevere can be a yummy idea. Here is a well-rated Guided Food Tour in Trastevere you can check out, and don’t forget to book in advance.

Photo of Piazza San Pietro in Vatican City, with the Basilica in the background and the fountain in front.
A visit to Piazza San Pietro must be on your 2-day trip to Rome.

Day 2 in Rome itinerary

After visiting the iconic Colosseum and Pantheon on day 1, we recommend visiting the Vatican and Villa Borghese on day 2. Want to know more? Read on for all the details!

Morning: Vatican City and Museums

Day 2 in Rome offers something truly special with a visit to Vatican City. Start early to catch the Vatican Museums opening; they’re a treasure trove of art and history unlike anywhere else. 

From ancient Roman and Greek sculptures to Renaissance masterpieces, the museums are home to works by artists like Michelangelo and Raphael.

The highlight for many is the Sistine Chapel, with Michelangelo’s incredible ceiling and The Last Judgment.

Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world, is also where you’ll find St. Peter’s Basilica. Entry to the basilica is free, but there might be a queue for security checks. Inside, you’ll see Michelangelo’s Pietà and the imposing dome which you can climb for a stunning view of Rome.

Remember, the museums and the basilica have a strict dress code, so keep your shoulders and knees covered.

Also, this is one of the busiest places in town, busier than the Colosseum, and it’s not uncommon for people to wait 2-3 hours to get in, and the best option you have is to get your skip-the-line tickets here. That said, they always sell out, so book as soon as possible.

Most people spend about 4 hours inside, which is enough to see the most popular art pieces. If you really want to save time and have a unique experience then book the Vatican early entry to Museums, Sistine Chapel & St Peter’s Tour that starts at 8 am.

Before continuing your 2 days in Rome itinerary, we recommend stopping by La Locanda di Pietro to have lunch and then take a taxi or walk to the Spanish Steps (about 45 minutes’ walk).

Photo of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Rome, Italy.
St. Peter’s Basilica is free to visit, but you might face some queues for security checks.
Photo of Fontane di Piazza San Pietro in front of St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican.
Fontane di Piazza San Pietro.

Afternoon: Spanish Steps, Villa Borghese, Trevi Fountain

After a morning filled with the rich history and art of Vatican City, the afternoon is all about some of Rome’s most picturesque landmarks.

Start with the Spanish Steps, a perfect example of the Roman Baroque style. Climbing the steps offers a pleasant workout, but the real treat is the panoramic view from the top, overlooking Piazza di Spagna and Rome.

The steps are a great place to sit and enjoy a gelato and take a break after a busy morning. Also, there are dozens of luxury stores around, including La Rinascente, and you’ll find your happiness if that’s your cup of tea.

Next, make your way to Villa Borghese, Rome’s third-largest public park, just a few minutes away. This vast green space is home to gardens, museums, and even a lake where you can rent boats. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic or a nice afternoon stroll.

The Galleria Borghese, located within the park, houses a significant art collection, including works by Caravaggio, Bernini, and Titian.

You can easily spend 2-3 hours inside the Borghese Gallery, but if you decide to stick to the garden, then make sure to rent a rickshaw or a bike!

After that, cap off your afternoon with a visit to the magical Trevi Fountain. Tradition says that throwing a coin into the fountain ensures a return to Rome, so don’t forget to toss one over your shoulder.

It’s worth noting that this is yet another very busy spot in town, and you can’t really avoid the crowds, but it’s still a nice place to visit while spending 2 days in Rome!

Photo of the Spanish Steps in Rome with a crowd of tourists visiting it. It's a must-see place when you plan to visit Rome in 2 days.
The Spanish Steps are a great example of Baroque architecture in Rome.
Villa Borghese Garden and Gallery is one of those places you must add to your Rome in 2 days itinerary.
A small sample of the Villa Borghese beauty.
Tourists visiting the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. Trevi Fountain is among the most iconic fountains in the world and one of Italy's top attractions.
The wonderful and busy Fontana di Trevi.

Evening: Dinner at Osteria in Monti District

Wrapping up your second day in Rome with dinner at an osteria in the Monti District is the perfect way to immerse yourself in Roman culinary traditions and local vibes.

Monti, known for its bohemian atmosphere, is a charming neighborhood with narrow cobblestone streets, vintage shops, and an eclectic mix of locals and visitors.

It’s a bit quieter than the more tourist-packed areas of Rome, allowing for a more relaxed evening.

Osterias in Monti offer a cozy and intimate meal, serving up traditional Roman dishes with a focus on quality and simplicity. Expect to see menu items like pasta carbonara, saltimbocca alla Romana, and artichokes Roman style.

We recommend Taverna Romana, where you can find local Roman dishes as well as Italian classics, and we’re confident you’ll have a great meal!

Dining in Monti not only offers a chance to enjoy delicious Roman cuisine but also gives you a glimpse into the daily life of Romans, away from the more crowded tourist spots.

Photo of a plate of homemade pasta. It's tagliatelle served with ragu sauce.
Your 2 days itinerary Rome must be filled with delicious pasta!

Where to Stay in Rome for 2 Days?

To make the most of this Rome itinerary, we recommend staying all 2 days in Monti or around Trevi. Both have many attractions within walking distance, good nightlife, and accommodation options for all budgets, from luxury hotels to low-cost ones.

Here are three options of hotels in Rome we recommend:

(click on the hotel’s name to see the photos and rates)

Travel Advice:

Don’t forget your Travel Insurance! You don’t want anything to ruin your trip, right? So don’t take the risk! Reliable travel insurance can help you in case of travel issues, from accidents to health problems, travel delays, and lost luggage.

There are many insurances in the market, our picks are HeyMondo and SafetyWing. We used both and always had a good experience. Click on the insurance names to get a quote.

Rome travel itinerary final thoughts

That was a lot to take in, but we’re confident this 2-day Rome itinerary was enough for you to make great memories and eat delicious food.

While it’s impossible to see all the spots in such a short time, this 2 day or weekend trip to Rome itinerary is good for getting a glimpse of local life and discovering the must-do places in the city, from charming neighborhoods to ancient ruins.

Rome is not just a destination; it’s an experience, a feeling, an eternal invitation to explore and fall in love with Italy.

Are you planning to visit other places after/before Rome? Then you must read our guides:

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Here is everything you need to plan the perfect Rome 2-day itinerary with what to see, do and eat. Plus how to get around, where to stay in Rome for 2 days, and attractions you must book in advance and how to skip the queues.While 2 days in Rome is just good enough to scratch the surface, you’ll get to check the most popular attractions, from the Colosseum to the Vatican to mention only a couple. Follow our Rome travel tips and have fun.

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