What to Do in Rome in Two Days?
Rome is like no other city in the world – full of (sad) history and culture, beautiful people, stunning architecture, and great food.
Of course, there are many more great reasons to visit Rome, and you will learn about a few of them in this post. After talking about the top 10 things to do in Rome (in 2 days), you´ll find some important travel information so that you are perfectly prepared for your Rome trip.
While I admit that two days in Rome is not enough to see all the best places, it is still enough time to get a good overview of the city.
Better to have two days in Rome than none, right? Before starting with the best places to see in Rome, you´ll find a quick guide with the most important travel information for Rome.
Travel Tips for Rome
- 1 Travel Tips for Rome
- 2 The 10 Top Things to Do in Rome in Two Days
- 2.1 1) Learn About Rome´s History at the Colosseum
- 2.2 2) Stroll the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- 2.3 3) Monumento Nazionale a Vittoria Emanuele II
- 2.4 4) Relax at Piazza di Spagna – the Spanish Steps
- 2.5 5) Make a Wish at Trevi Fountain
- 2.6 6) Explore Vatican City
- 2.7 7) Enjoy Castello del Angelo
- 2.8 8) Enjoy an Espresso at a Rooftop Bar
- 2.9 9) Stroll the Tiber
- 2.10 10) End the Day in Travestere
Rome, the eternal city, has a lot to offer to its visitors. It‘s charming and interesting. I cannot say it has become my favorite city, but I (and my two cousins) really enjoyed our trip.
Visiting Rome means being transplanted back to ancient times. There is so much history, and as the Roman Empire used to be the most powerful in its time, so much fascination.
Here are some facts and tips for your trip
The currency is Euros (€). Shops often advertise that EC/Credit Card payment is possible, but the reality is that once we wanted to buy something (including tickets for the hop-on and hop-off buses), it did not work because of a broken “card machine.“ This happened regularly and it was a bit frustrating and disappointing.
I don’t want to assume too much, but we figured that credit card payments were not allowed to avoid paying taxes to the government. I might be wrong, but definitely withdraw money and have cash on you to avoid problems or book tickets in advance.
How to Get Around
Rome can be wonderfully explored on foot. The main attractions are quite close to each other and if you are used to walking, you can enjoy these places as a pedestrian.
We got tickets for hop-on and hop-off sightseeing buses (we stayed in Rome for more than two days, and walked each day at least 15-20 km), and used the buses when we were tired or to save time. I admit that I love those sightseeing buses and regularly use them to get a good overview of the city.
The public transportation in Rome is apparently really good, and you can use buses to get around easily and cheaply.
In my experience, there is no real need to use taxis.
Where to Stay in Rome
Rome is one of the busiest cities in Rome – full of tourists at any time of the year. Accommodation can be pricey though you will not find many of the typical 5-star hotel chains you see everywhere else where you have crowds of visitors.
Click here to check the best rates for accommodation (tip: stay close to the main attractions)
If you prefer staying at an Airbnb, first-time users can save money with using my link.
So, now it´s time to talk about the main tourist attractions and points of interests in Rome.
The 10 Top Things to Do in Rome in Two Days
Start your day with a trip to the Colosseum…
1) Learn About Rome´s History at the Colosseum
Of course, the Colosseum is one of the main tourist attractions in Rome.
Considering that it‘s almost 2,000 years old, it has probably been a fascination since the beginning. However, there is a cruel and tragic history behind it, as the Colosseum used to be a venue for gladiator fights. But despite its bloody history, it is a very impressive place to see in Rome.
The architecture is one of the most distinctive in any European capital. While looking at it from a distance is nice, you should get a ticket and explore the inside – keep in mind that it is one of the main Rome attractions, so there will be tons of other tourists visiting as well.
So, buying an online ticket in advance is a good option to avoid the line (as this one includes “skip the lines” already).. We got extra audioguides (and my cousin was able to answer all my additional questions) and learned about its history in a nutshell.
If you don’t have such an awesome cousin, you could book guided tours in advance.
Just a stone‘s throw away is the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, which you should add to your Rome itinerary.
2) Stroll the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
If you have a ticket for the Colosseum, it normally includes the entry fees for this Rome sight as well.
The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill used to be the center of public life during the Roman Empire and include a lot of Ancient Rome´s most important structures.
The remains paint a picture of how important this place used to be, and if you have a good imagination, you can picture what life was like in Ancient Rome.
You´ll also have great views of the Colosseum and it is not as crowded as other Rome attractions, or maybe because of its size it felt less busy, but I felt a bit lost without a guide.
Again, with the Colosseum ticket you also have access to this Rome activity and there is no extra ticket needed.
From there, you could take public transportation, a taxi, or just walk to the next highlight of Rome‘s famous landmarks.
3) Monumento Nazionale a Vittoria Emanuele II
This building has become one of my favorite sights. Its symmetry is astonishing. Though I haven’t seen it in many top 10 lists for Rome, it has made it on my list. We did not visit the museum inside, but instead, climbed some of the stairs and enjoyed the great views from there. You can take a lift and get to the very top (which we didn‘t due to a lack of time).
Apparently, the building was considered to be very ugly by the Romans and is often compared to a wedding cake because of its structure (that is what I was told by the audioguide of my hop-on and hop-bus tour), and though I don’t like wedding cakes much, I loved this building.
It was created as a monument for the first king of the united Italy (completed in 1925) and is probably one of the most modern-looking buildings in Rome (yes, I seriously did not see many new buildings, so I have perceived this 100-year-old building as modern!).
From there, you could visit the Pantheon, which is quite close. (But honestly, I was not too impressed. Maybe, I was in a bad mood when I entered because, just a few seconds before, my ice cream fell and I was sad over the waste of my valuable, delicious Italian gelato).
However, you could add it to your list, but it did not make it on my top 10.
4) Relax at Piazza di Spagna – the Spanish Steps
The Spanish Steps are another tourist magnet. Though we visited in January (when we assumed Rome wouldn’t be crowded with tourists), it was so busy and crowded that we couldn’t even find a spot to sit. We even had issues finding our way to climb down!
It was a bit of a disappointment, to be honest, and you might be wondering why it has still made it on my list of the best places to visit in Rome.
The truth is that I believe as a first-time visitor, it is a must-see sight. And if you don’t visit on a Sunday (as we did), it might be less busy.
The shops were open, so we wandered around that area instead and checked the Spanish Steps off our list!
Okay, one great way to end the day is to head to the nearby Trevi Fountain.
5) Make a Wish at Trevi Fountain
I mentioned that I didn‘t like the Spanish Steps that much because it was crowded, but I have probably never seen any other place that was as crowded as the Trevi Fountain.
That place was jammed with people from all over the world – it gets even busier in the evenings. However, this place is magical. Fontana di Trevi is a real tourist magnet, possibly because it is a free thing to see in Rome, or maybe because it has a long history and is one of the most famous fountains in the world. It might even be just because it is ridiculously beautiful and the area around it is special.
Regardless of why other people visit, you should definitely visit! It is a great place to end your day. There are many cafes and restaurants close by, too, so you´ll find something to your fancy.
Have your drink on a bench in front of the fountains instead of in a cafe, and don’t forget to throw in a coin if you want to visit Rome again. The myth says that throwing a coin with your right hand over the left hand should ensure that you´ll visit Rome again.
This will probably be a busy day, but sticking to a tight schedule will allow you to see many of Rome´s sights within two days.
Tip: If you somehow can manage, I recommend to visit twice. Early in the morning it tends to be less busy and you can manage to take a picture without other people in it.
Depending on whether you are an early bird or not, you could start your day with a tour of Vatican City.
6) Explore Vatican City
Vatican City isn’t really a place in Rome, but somehow it still is. This tiny country (the finest in the world, to be more precise) lies within Rome, and crossing countries is made easy.
The home of the Pope is probably one of the most extreme places I have visited so far – so much “bling-bling“ and pomposity that it felt unreal.
You can visit the Sistine Chapel for free, but I strongly recommend getting tickets for the museum as well and planning in at least half a day for this place.
Have I mentioned that it gets extremely busy and crowded? Well, like all of Rome, this is the case (though, Vatican City isn’t part of Rome), so make sure you book your tickets in advance (even in January, there were long lines – which you can skip with “Skip the line“ tickets).
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After that, head to the next attraction nearby.
7) Enjoy Castello del Angelo
Our accommodation was close by, somewhere between Vatican City and this popular landmark and tourist destination in Rome.
Castello del Angelo is located close to the Tiber River and a popular place where you can find musicians and small stalls selling souvenirs. You can also visit the museum inside and enjoy great views of the city.
8) Enjoy an Espresso at a Rooftop Bar
There are some great rooftop bars here. For amazing views of St. Peter‘s Basilica in Vatican City, any of them would do (we went for an espresso at Atlanta Star – a four-star hotel with a lovely view of Vatican City and Rome).
I guess, there aren’t many rooftop bars that can claim offering views of two countries.
9) Stroll the Tiber
The day is probably almost at an end, but if you have some energy left, invest the time in exploring an UNCROWDED place in Rome.
When you stroll the Tiber River, you will have the place almost to yourself – a rarity. I am into strolling rivers. It may sound weird, but I have fallen in love with places where I basically just strolled along the rivers (here is my favorite river walk, ever ever).
The river is not as dominant as in other cities, but you could ride a bike (wherever you get those from), stroll, have a drink, picnic, or whatever here.
10) End the Day in Travestere
For the second night, I definitely recommend dining in the Trastevere neighborhood.
If you want to enjoy a hip, easy-going vibe, plan in some time to stroll through Travestere and pick one of the numerous restaurants to dine in (it is actually also quite affordable).
This area is probably one of my favorite areas in Rome. The cobblestone streets with their many shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes are really charming. If you spend your last evening here, you will probably have a great last memory of Rome!
Enjoy the Food
As a vegetarian, who doesn’t like raw cheese or olives, life can be tough – even in Italy (okay, Northern Italy is a bit tougher for me). But despite that, Italian food is one of the best, and one of my favorites.
If you have found something that takes your fancy, there is no bad food – not for vegetarians, vegans, or meat-eaters.
If you are on a diet, forget about it when in Rome. Eat that amazing gelato and pizza. Eat the pasta. And drink espresso! It seems like everything tastes better in Rome!
It doesn’t surprise that Rome has made it into this amazing list: 25 amazing places to visit in Rome
Hopefully, this guide has helped you getting some ideas so that you have a wonderful weekend in Rome (or whenever). We visited these places at the end of January and they are all available throughout the year (unless there are unforeseen events, or, they can be closed bank holidays).