48 hours in Rome Travel Itinerary
Rome is the city of love and romance, a bustling metropolis filled with ancient ruins, stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and an atmosphere that will take your breath away. Whether you’ve been to Rome before or are planning a trip for the first time, knowing what to do in such a short amount of time can be challenging.
But fear not!
With 48 hours in this beautiful Italian city, you can have an unforgettable experience.
In this article, we’ll cover all the best things to do when visiting Rome over a weekend so that you make the most out of your time there. From exploring iconic landmarks such as St. Peter’s Basilica or taking part in some delicious food tours around Trastevere, we’ve got everything covered so that you get an authentic taste of Roman culture during your stay.
So grab your walking shoes, and let’s explore Rome together!
A Quick 2-Day Rome Itinerary
Start your morning early with a typical Italian breakfast of coffee and biscuits at a café near your accommodation. Then head out to explore the city’s most famous attractions, such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, St Peter’s Basilica, and the Trevi Fountain. Make sure to wander around the narrow streets and soak up the atmosphere.
For lunch, try traditional Roman cuisines like Pasta Carbonara or Pizza alla Romana. After lunch, visit some of Rome’s lesser-known sites, such as the Catacombs of San Callisto or Villa Borghese Park. Enjoy dinner at one of Rome’s many restaurants in the evening before heading out for an evening stroll along the Tiber River.
On day two, start by visiting some of Rome’s museums, such as Galleria Borghese or Capitoline Museums. Afterward, take a break from sightseeing and shop for souvenirs at Mercato Centrale or Campo de’ Fiori market. For dinner, indulge in some delicious gelato before ending your night with a bottle of wine at the Trevi Fountain – an iconic way to end your weekend in Rome!
A weekend in Rome is sure to be an unforgettable experience filled with romance and adventure! Whether you’re looking for historical sites or modern attractions, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful city. So don’t wait any longer – plan your perfect weekend getaway today!
Top 10 Things to Experience Rome in 48 Hours (pick and choose)
1. Explore the Colosseum
Visiting the Colosseum in Rome is an awe-inspiring experience. As one of Italy’s most iconic landmarks, it stands as a testament to the grandness and opulence of the Roman Empire. Built-in 70 AD, it was used as an amphitheater for public events, such as gladiator battles and plays.
You can book your Colosseum tickets in advance on the official CoopCulture site. If you can’t get online tickets to skip the line, don’t worry. Many kiosks around the Colosseum and metro station sell them.
2. Take an Open Air Bus Tour of Rome
An Open Air Bus Tour of Rome is a great way to get an overview of the Eternal City and check out its main attractions in Rome. This tour allows you to hop on and off at different stops, allowing you to explore at your own pace and choose which sights and monuments to visit in more depth. The tour takes you near some of Rome’s most famous landmarks, such as St Peter’s Basilica, the Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon, as well as lesser-known areas, such as the Jewish Ghetto.
The bus tour also takes you past centuries-old churches, Renaissance palaces, cobbled piazzas, and vibrant squares full of street-side cafes and bars. Along with detailed commentaries from knowledgeable guides throughout your tour, you’ll discover some hidden gems that tourists usually overlook.
On an Open Air Bus Tour of Rome, you’ll also learn about the city’s rich culture and history. Your guides will tell tales of Roman emperors like Julius Caesar or Nero and their impact on this ancient city. You’ll hear stories about famous Romans like Michelangelo or Raphael, who left their mark on Rome with their artworks. You’ll even get a glimpse into modern-day life in Rome – from its bustling nightlife scene to its vibrant fashion industry – while traversing through some of Europe’s most picturesque views!
Finally, take advantage of the many photo opportunities available during your bus ride around Rome. Capture stunning shots of iconic landmarks like the Colosseum or Castel Sant’Angelo from a unique perspective – from atop an open-air bus! Whether it’s a panoramic view across one of Rome’s terraces or up close snaps at Piazza Navona or Campo de Fiori, these photos will be treasures that remind you of your time spent in this historic city for years to come!
3. Visit St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most iconic structures found in Vatican City in Rome and is a major pilgrimage destination for Catholics worldwide. This awe-inspiring cathedral was built between 1506 and 1626 and is considered the world’s largest church. The basilica is home to many works of art by some of the most renowned Italian Renaissance artists, such as Michelangelo and Bernini.
The interior of St. Peter’s Basilica features intricate mosaics, frescoes, sculptures, and stained glass windows decorated with inspiring Biblical stories. The main attraction inside the basilica is Michelangelo’s Pietà, a stunning marble sculpture depicting Jesus Christ cradled in his mother Mary’s arms after his crucifixion. Other artistic masterpieces include Gianlorenzo Bernini’s monumental bronze baldachin above the papal altar and his impressive colonnades – twin spiraling rows of Doric columns stretching out from the entrance portico – that draw visitors directly into St Peter’s Square.
4. Discover Piazza Navona and its Bernini Fountains
Piazza Navona is one of the most iconic squares in Rome and home to some of Gianlorenzo Bernini’s most breathtaking creations. This picturesque piazza was built on the site of Rome’s Stadium of Domitian, a 1st-century arena where athletes used to compete in ancient Roman games. Today, the square is filled with Renaissance-style palazzos, outdoor cafes, and lively street performers.
At the center of Piazza Navona stands Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, one of his most acclaimed works. This stunning fountain comprises four colossal figures representing different rivers from each corner of the known world. Look closely, and you’ll see that each river god holds objects that symbolize its particular region – a palm tree for Africa, an anchor for Europe, a papal tiara representing Rome, and a lily pad for the New World.
Just south of Piazza Navona stands Bernini’s Fountain of the Moor, a classic example of Baroque art. This stunning fountain is made up of a giant central figure holding an oar and surrounded by four dolphins – each with its unique expression. In the background stands a massive mountain-like structure with cascading streams falling down through its nooks and crannies.
Don’t forget to capture beautiful photos of these stunning monuments and fountains in Piazza Navona – they are sure to make your album of memories from Rome genuinely unique.
5. Climb the Spanish Steps to Get a View of The Eternal City
The Spanish Steps in Rome are a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, comprised of 135 steps that lead up to the iconic Trinità dei Monti church. Located at the top of Piazza di Spagna, these steps have been an iconic landmark in the city for centuries and offer visitors incredible views of The Eternal City.
The Spanish Steps are a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike, lined with outdoor cafes and gelato shops. The area around the steps is also home to some of Rome’s most exclusive boutiques, making it the perfect spot to do some luxury shopping during your weekend getaway.
At the top of the Spanish Steps lies Trinità dei Monti, a Franciscan church built in the 16th century. The church’s two bell towers are distinctively baroque and offer breathtaking views of Rome from their terraces. Visitors can marvel at the church’s beautiful frescoes and sculptures by renowned Italian artists such as Carlo Maderno and Domenichino.
Climbing the Spanish Steps is a highlight of your weekend in Rome – get there early so you don’t miss out on the incredible views and perfect photo opportunities!
6. Walk Across the Ancient Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
The Ancient Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are a must-do for any visitors to Rome. The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are two of the city’s oldest and most significant areas, known as Rome’s birthplace. The Forum was once an open-air market and political center of ancient Rome where all aspects of society gathered – from religious ceremonies to public meetings and government activities. Adjacent to the Forum lies Palatine Hill, an imperial palace where Roman emperors once lived and ruled over their empire.
Today, the Forum and Palatine Hill together form one of Rome’s most visited archaeological sites – a vast complex of ruins filled with artifacts from centuries past. As you explore this area, keep an eye out for its many remarkable monuments, including Trajan’s Column, the Temple of Vesta, Julius Caesar’s Curia Iulia (Senate House), and the famed Arch of Titus.
If you get the “complete experience” of the Colosseum in Rome, visiting the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill will be included in the price. You will have 24 hours from your scheduled time for the Colosseum to visit these two archaeological sites.
7. Enjoy a Foodie Tour Around Trastevere
Trastevere is one of Rome’s oldest neighborhoods and the perfect place to go for a foodie tour. It’s a vibrant area known for its lively atmosphere, colorful houses and streets, and delicious restaurants. From traditional Roman cuisine to modern Italian dishes, Trastevere has something for all tastes.
A foodie tour of Trastevere is the perfect way to experience Rome and the city’s culinary traditions. Wander through its cobbled streets and sample local delicacies, like porchetta (slow-roasted pork), cacio e pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper), and supplì (fried rice balls). Of course, you’ll also have plenty of chances to try some of Italy’s famous wines and enjoy a delicious Italian dessert.
A foodie tour in Trastevere is the perfect way to end your weekend getaway in Rome. Immerse yourself in its unique flavors, aromas, and local culture – you’re sure to come away with an unforgettable experience! Be sure to make a reservation ahead of time, as Trastevere is busy with tourists.
8. Marvel at Trevi Fountain During Sunset Hours
Trevi Fountain is one of the most iconic monuments in Rome and a popular destination for tourists looking to experience the city’s beauty. The Trevi Fountain, also known as Fontana di Trevi, features a majestic baroque design and breathtaking sculptures created by renowned Italian artist Nicola Salvi. It stands at the heart of Rome, surrounded by stunning structures and charming cafes.
Watching the sunset at Trevi Fountain is an unforgettable experience. Just before dark, the lighting changes to a soft pink color as the sun fades away – making for some truly magical views of the fountain. After watching the sunset and taking plenty of photos, make a wish in Trevi Fountain, as legend says it will come true.
9. Relax at Villa Borghese Park & Gardens
Villa Borghese Park & Gardens is one of Rome’s most beautiful and serene locations. Located on Pincio Hill, it offers spectacular views of the city and a tranquil atmosphere for relaxation. It was created in the 17th century by Cardinal Scipione Caffarelli Borghese, who wanted to create a private garden paradise for himself.
Today, Villa Borghese is open to the public and offers plenty of activities for visitors. Take a leisurely stroll through the park’s lush gardens and admire its marble sculptures, fountains, and lakes. Or rent a bike or boat and explore the area on wheels or water.
10. Absorb Some Culture with a Museum Visit
Visiting a museum during your weekend getaway to Rome is the perfect way to absorb some culture and learn more about the city’s history. With so many incredible museums to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Whether you’re interested in Ancient Roman artifacts, Renaissance artworks, or modern sculptures, there’s something for everyone.
The Capitoline Museums and the Galleria Borghese are two of Rome’s most popular museums. The Capitoline Museum is home to a vast collection of Ancient Roman sculptures. At the same time, the Galleria Borghese features impressive works from Renaissance and Baroque masters such as Caravaggio, Bernini, and Rubens. If you’re interested in exploring the city’s culture and history, then visiting one of these fantastic museums is a must.
By taking some time to explore Rome’s many attractions during your weekend getaway, you’ll experience all the best this historic city offers. With beautiful architecture, delicious food, and plenty of cultural activities, you can come away with lovely memories.
Whether you’re looking for an adventurous weekend or want to relax and enjoy fine Italian cuisine, this ancient city has something for everyone. So why not take the time to explore all that Rome has to offer? You won’t be disappointed!
5 Frequently Asked Questions About A Weekend in Rome
What are the best things to do in Rome in 48 hours?
Visiting the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and St. Peter's Basilica are some of the most popular attractions to experience during a weekend in Rome.
What is the best way to get around Rome?
The public transportation system is efficient and easy to use. Taking buses and trams is a great way to explore the city quickly and cheaply.
Where should I stay for a weekend in Rome?
There are many hotels and hostels located throughout the city that offer comfortable accommodations for all budgets. I personally stayed at Hotel Varse near the train station.
What kind of food should I try while visiting Rome?
Traditional Roman cuisine includes dishes such as carbonara, amatriciana, cacio e pepe, and supplì al telefono. Remember to enjoy some gelato too!
Is it possible to see all of Rome's attractions in 48 hours?
While it may not be possible to see everything that Rome has to offer in two days, you can still make the most of your time by planning ahead and prioritizing what you want to see most. The Pantheon is also in the old town of Rome and is a free site to visit in case you are looking for budget-friendly things to do in Rome. Alter of the Fatherland monument near the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill is another great free site to visit in Rome.