Rome in a Day: Itinerary

The famous saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” That may be true, but you can see some of its sights in only 24 hours.

Our voyage around the Adriatic started in the Eternal City. It’s a smart idea to get to your cruise embarkation point ahead of time, particularly if you have to fly — you never know what could happen, and missing the start of the cruise is a complication that should really just be avoided. So we arrived a day early, which also gave us the opportunity to explore.

Two red-eye flights brought us from Seattle to Rome. Exhausted from lack of sleep, we found our B&B, freshened up, and set out. It was noon on a Friday. Only 24 hours! We were determined to see everything we could.

How to Get Around Rome

roma termini

“All roads lead to Rome!”

From the airport, take a train to Roma Termini, a truly impressive station from which you can explore not only Rome but also the rest of Italy, as well as neighboring European countries. In fact, if you’re coming to Rome by train, this is probably where you will go. However, once you’re inside the city, how do you get to the sights?

I strongly recommend staying near a Metro stop. Google Maps easily identifies them with a red “M” for your reference. There are only three Metro lines, though only lines A and B are likely to be relevant for tourists to the city. The lines intersect at Roma Termini.

Besides the Metro, there are also trams and buses. Tripadvisor has excellent information on how to get around. If you’re only there for a day, I suggest not buying any sort of pass, since a single ride is inexpensive at 1.50 EUR, and tickets can be purchased at the Metro stops. Keep some cash or small change handy for this!

Here’s the nice thing about Rome: a bunch of major attractions are so close to each other. If you’ve got a good pair of walking shoes, you can cover a lot of ground.

What to See in Rome in a Day

  1. St. Peter’s Basilica
  2. Vatican Museums (Sistine Chapel)
  3. Spanish Steps
  4. Trevi Fountain
  5. Pantheon
  6. Piazza Navona
  7. Campo de Fiori
  8. Altar of the Fatherland
  9. Colosseum

Since you don’t have a lot of time, you won’t be able to explore everything. We did the equivalent of a fly-by to most of these places, spending only an hour or two enjoying each. The one exception was the Vatican Museums, because I wanted to see the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums are so huge that you could spend a couple days exploring them, but we did it in about four hours.

You’ll have to decide what’s most important, and leave the rest for a longer, more leisurely exploration. In later posts, I’ll give you more information on each site, so stay tuned!


3 thoughts on “Rome in a Day: Itinerary

  1. Rome as a fly-by is hard, I think mostly bc two of its biggest attractions – the Vatican and the Colosseum – are on the opposite ends of the sightseeing map. And while I am meh on the antiquities, I am adamant that a proper, 3.5 hr tour of the Vatican museum and cathedrals is a must – which eats up the first half of your day, boom. I spent 3 full days in Rome, but 2 would have been enough to split the map down the middle. I actually wish that I had allocated that third day to Florence, which I visited right before Rome and where 2 days were not enough.


  2. Pingback: Things to See in Rome in a Day (or Two) | World and Time Enough

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