Rome In A Day: Ultimate Guide & Itinerary 2024

Only have 24 hours and need to see Rome in a day?

You’ve come to the right place as I’ve written a complete guide to seeing Rome in one day.

If you don’t have much time in the city, you might panic and wonder how much you can actually see. Well, don’t worry!

Are you able to see all of Rome in a day? Yes!

After spending some time in Rome and taking a “Rome in a day” tour, I feel confident to provide an answer and guide to see this beautiful city in less than 24 hours.

Is It Possible To See Rome In A Day?

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Of course, it is impossible to see ALL of Rome and everything the city has to offer, but you are definitely able to see the main attractions. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it is possible to explore in a day.

During my 4 days in Rome, I took a “Rome in a Day” walking tour- so I know what it is like to experience the city in one full day. It’s a long day, but definitely worth it.

Rome is incredible and there’s no doubt that squeezing as much into one day as possible is a good idea.

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I also didn’t find it to be too rushed. Obviously, you can’t spend unlimited time at each attraction, but you are able to spend a reasonable amount of time at each of the main sights.

You also have time to take some tours too! Although 3 days is the ideal number of days in Rome, you can still have a great time in one!

Rome In A Day Itinerary

Here is an itinerary I recommend you follow to create the most efficient route for exploring Rome in a day. The city’s main attractions are relatively close together, so if you follow this route then you will simply go from sight to sight.

Stop 1: Colosseum

The first stop on any trip to Rome should always be the Colosseum. It is the most popular tourist attraction and it’s clear to see why. The Colosseum is so impressive and I still can’t believe I have seen it with my own eyes. It was a dream of a moment!

You can allow time to take a tour of the Colosseum, the tours typically last approximately 1 hour. I would recommend taking a tour- it would be a sin to visit Rome for the first time and not step inside the Colosseum. The tours are excellent, very informative and allow you to explore the inside of one of the world’s seven wonders.

If you can afford to take a private tour of the Colosseum, I would definitely recommend it. Getting a guide all to yourself is amazing!

Exterior view of the Colosseum in Rome, showing the partially illuminated ancient arches and the cobblestone pavement, with construction barriers indicating ongoing restoration
Interior of the Colosseum under clear skies, highlighting the extensive ruins and the complex underground structure where gladiators once prepared for combat.

One of the bonuses of getting tickets to go inside the Colosseum is that access to visit the Roman Forum is included. The Roman Forum is right beside the Colosseum, so once you are finished up, that’s where you should head next. Don’t forget to take a look at Constantin’s Arch though!

Stop 2: Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is a great insight into Ancient Rome, the ruins are amazing to look at and walk through. It’s the old “city centre” of Ancient Rome and has lots of beautiful temples, arches, houses and other ruins. The Roman Forum is a must-visit. As it’s included in the Colosseum tickets, it’s also great if you are visiting Rome on a budget.

Ruins of the Roman Forum bathed in sunlight, with remnants of ancient buildings and columns scattered across the green grass, and a backdrop of more intact historical structures

Walking through the Forum, it’s mind-blowing how the Romans were so ahead of their time. How they built such beautiful buildings 2000 years ago is beyond me. The whole of Rome is architecturally beautiful, but walking through the Roman Forum really made me reflect on how advanced Ancient Rome was, and how lucky we are to be able to step back in time and explore.

You will probably spend around 30-40 minutes in the Roman Forum, as it is quite short, but you can walk slowly and take in your surroundings. Of course, you can choose to spend more/less time and adjust another attraction accordingly.

Stop 3: Trevi Fountain

From the Roman Forum, it is approximately an 11-minute walk to the Trevi Fountain. The Trevi Fountain is unreal, it’s indescribable. Before seeing the Trevi Fountain for the first time, I had been “warned” about how big it was. I had high expectations.

The Trevi Fountain still blew me away and was soo much bigger than I had expected, even after being told!

It’s big and it’s beautiful and once you see it for yourself, you can understand why it is famous around the world. While spending time at the Trevi Fountain, make sure to make a wish.

Face away from the fountain and throw a coin over your left shoulder with your right hand. Rome locals will tell you that this is the only fountain in Rome where making a wish actually counts.

Hand holding a cone of pink gelato with the Trevi Fountain in the background, where people are gathered around the baroque masterpiece on a sunny day
Smiling person seated in front of the Trevi Fountain, the water's azure hue complementing the detailed sculptures and architecture of the fountain's facade

You can afford to spend about 45 minutes at the Trevi Fountain. During this time, I would suggest getting a delicious gelato from one of the main gelato shops around the fountain.

Stop 4: Spanish Steps

From the Trevi Fountain, you can walk for about 8 minutes and reach the Spanish Steps. The Spanish Steps are world-famous, but to be honest, I’m not sure why.

If you run out of time and need to skip any of the main attractions in Rome, I would recommend skipping the Spanish Steps.

The Steps are a very popular spot though, with most people choosing to eat while sitting on the famous steps, looking down at the cute fountain at the bottom, or up at the tall church at the top.

Whichever way you look, it will be filled with tourists taking in the tall white steps.

The bustling Spanish Steps in Rome with people ascending and descending, the historic staircase leading to the Trinità dei Monti church under a clear blue sky.

It’s up to you how much time you spend here. I personally only stayed for about 10 minutes as I did not understand the hype. But of course, everyone has different opinions and I don’t want to judge the Steps on your behalf.

So even if you too only stay for 10 minutes, as an 8-minute walk from the Trevi Fountain, you may as well check out the Spanish Steps and see what you think for yourself.

Stop 5: Pantheon

Next, take a 13-minute walk from the Spanish Steps to the Pantheon. The Pantheon is an incredible place to check out while you are in Rome for a day. It’s hard to put into words how impressive the ceiling is alone.

Not to mention the beautiful outside and the artefacts which are housed inside the Pantheon.

Front view of the Pantheon in Rome, showcasing its ancient Roman architecture with Corinthian columns and a pediment inscribed with Latin text, with visitors milling around the entrance.

One of my favourite things about the Pantheon is the circular hole at the top of the roof. I wish it rained while I was in Rome so I could see the water flood into the drains scattered throughout the Pantheon’s floor. Make sure to look out for the small drains during your visit here!

You should aim to spend around 30 minutes in the Pantheon, it’s got a lot to see considering it’s very small compared to other “museums”.

It does cost €5 to go inside now (it used to be free) but it’s still very affordable- a great example of how Rome isn’t too pricey.

Stop 6: Piazza Navona

Head to the Piazza Navona next which is only a 4-minute walk from the Pantheon. The Piazza Navona is home to one of my favourite fountains in Rome, the Fountain of the Four Rivers. I love to travel so seeing the world (at the time) reflected in one fountain is pretty cool!

There are also lots of great restaurants around Piazza Navona, as well as Christmas markets if you are visiting Rome in December. Piazza Navona is one of the most popular piazzas in Rome, there are so many things in the area including the Brazilian embassy for some reason!

To allow some time for a quick pizza or pasta, as well as time to look around the Piazza Navona, I would suggest spending about 1 hour to an hour and a half here, depending on how long your meal takes. As I said, you are spoilt for choice with great restaurants.

The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona, Rome, featuring sculpted figures and an Egyptian obelisk, with water playfully splashing around under a bright sun.
A traditional Italian pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil on a white plate, accompanied by a glass of water and a bottle, in a restaurant setting

Stop 7: Castel Sant’Angelo

As a penultimate stop in Rome, take a 10-minute walk from Piazza Navona to the Castel Sant’Angelo. It does cost money (€14 each) to go inside the castle, which is totally up to you. But I found walking around the gardens and the perimeter of the castle was enough for me. Of course, like any attraction, I imagine the inside has a lot more to offer.

The Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, viewed from a bridge adorned with angel statues, with a crowd of tourists enjoying the historic scenery under a partly cloudy sky.

If you choose to go inside the castle, you will probably spend about 1 hour at Castel Sant’Angelo. My friends who have visited have said that it gives a good sense of the progression of Rome from Ancient Rome to modern society. There are lots of things to see inside too!

Stop 8: Vatican City

The last stop during your Rome in a day trip will be Vatican City- a whole new country entirely! It’s about 11 minutes away by walking from Castel Sant’Angelo.

You do need to pay to enter the Vatican Museums but it is more than worth it. There are so many extraordinary things to see, a personal favourite of mine was the tapestries. That being said, even the textile floors are impressive to look at. I felt bad walking on them!

You can probably spend 2 hours touring the Vatican Museums. Including spending time at the Sistine Chapel, which you can admire for as long as your heart is content (but not too long- you only have one day!)

Intricate ancient mosaic floor featuring images of animals and geometric patterns, viewed from above, with the curved wooden base of a structure and onlookers' feet in the frame.
Aerial view of Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City at dusk, showcasing the symmetrical colonnades, central obelisk, and radiating streets against the backdrop of Rome's cityscape.

Once you have finished with the Vatican Museums, the best way to end any day in Rome is by climbing the 500+ steps to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica Dome.

The view is unbelievable, and by this time, it’s most likely around sunset, which makes the view somehow even better! Take a look at the picture above. Wow. Rome is worth visiting for this view alone.

And with that, you have finished seeing the main attractions in Rome. Of course, the city has so many more things to offer which you can visit if you have more time, or you can choose to spend more time at any of the attractions above.

Nonetheless, it is possible to see Rome in a day if you follow the itinerary I have created.

Nighttime portrait of a smiling person with the Colosseum in the background, its arches glowing with warm light against the dark sky

If you have spare time in the evening or at night, there are lots of things to do in Rome at night but a personal favourite and my recommendation would be to head back to the Colosseum. If you thought it was good during the day, it is absolutely stunning at night!

Getting Around Rome In A Day

The best way to get around Rome in a day, and the best way to get around Rome in general, is by walking. The main attractions in Rome are all relatively close together, and walking is sometimes even the fastest way!

For example, walking from the Roman Forum to the Trevi Fountain is an 11-minute walk, but a 21-minute drive. By walking, you are saving both time and money compared to getting a taxi.

A quaint, cobblestone street in Rome adorned with festive yellow lights and greenery, lined with traditional buildings and pedestrians, creating a cozy ambiance

But make sure you bring comfortable shoes! On my longest day in Rome, I walked over 40,000 steps, it was the equivalent of walking 32 kilometres (20 miles)! Oh- and don’t worry, Rome is safe, and you can walk around without having safety concerns.

Where To Stay To See Rome In A Day

When staying in Rome, I always recommend the area around the Roma Termini, particularly if you are only in the city for one day. Roma Termini is right in the centre of Rome, it’s about a 20-minute walk from any of the main attractions (excluding the Vatican). And of course, you are right next to the Roma Termini, which is probably how you will leave Rome.

Top Tip: The best way to get to or from Rome Fiumicino to Rome City Centre is by bus!

Within this area, I recommend staying in any of these 3 options. Seven is one of the best hotels in the area, and I would suggest it to anyone. However, if your budget is slightly less then Raeli Hotel Regio is another great option. It’s one of the best value-for-money hotels! Alternatively, if you are a solo traveller or backpacker, you may wish to stay in the Freedom Traveller Hostel. I couldn’t recommend this hostel highly enough, I had a wonderful stay.

➡️ Best hotel in Rome: Seven
➡️ Best budget-friendly hotel in Rome: Raeli Hotel Regio
➡️ Best hostel in Rome: Freedom Traveller Hostel

Rome In A Day: FAQ

Below are some related questions to visiting Rome in a day along with my answers.

Can Rome be done in a day?

Yes! It is possible to see all the main attractions in Rome in the space of one day. You can see the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant’Angelo and Vatican City all in one day.

What to do in Rome in one day?

If you only have one day in Rome, it’s best spent walking between the main attractions and seeing as many as possible. In one day, it is possible to fit in seeing the You can see the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant’Angelo and Vatican City!

Can you walk around Rome in a day?

Yes, most certainly! In fact, the best way to see Rome in a day is by walking. Most of the time, a 15-minute drive can be walked in less than 10 minutes!

How to see Rome in 24 hours?

To see Rome in less than 24 hours, you need to plan a clever itinerary. By walking between the main sights you can see You can see the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant’Angelo and Vatican City all in less than 24 hours.

Rome In A Day: Conclusion

And there you have it, a complete guide to spending 24 hours in Rome.

To conclude, it is possible to see Rome in a day. My itinerary is the most time-effective way to see all of the main attractions in Rome.

Of course, in one day it is impossible to see everything, but you can definitely see the most popular tourist spots, which my itinerary covers.

Enjoy your one day in Rome, and if you do find a way to stay longer, use your extra days to take on new experiences like one of Rome’s food tours. It’s very immersive.