Rome in 72 Hours
Updated: Jul 18, 2021
You will truly never see all of Rome in one trip, but you will get to see a lot if you plan it right. However, I must say that this will be one of the most difficult travel guides for me to write because I spent a large portion of my childhood here. There's simply too much to write about, so I'll do my best to consolidate this Roman travel guide.
Let's get right to it. This is the section you likely care most about. When in doubt, go with the Pizza Margherita or the Caico e Pepe Pasta.
Trattoria al Morro - One of my grandmother's all-time favorites, this trattoria is a high-end, hole-in-the-wall about two minutes from the Trevi Fountain. They've been around since the 20s and they have an extensive wine list and an amazing seafood collection. This is a 10/10 dinner recommendation, but you may want to make a reservation.
Osteria di Sostegno - Very close to the Pantheon, this Osteria is another tiny restaurant with wonderfully authentic Roman food. I loved the amatricianna, but you can't go wrong with any pasta dish here. Again, you may want to may a reservation as they fill up quickly.
Giolitti - Also near the Pantheon, Giolitti is one of the most popular gelato shops around. Do not be tempted by the "150+ flavors" gelato stop around the corner, Giolitti's is much better. To make the wait go quicker, go straight to the register any pay for you gelato and bring the receipt to the counter.
Many Italians frown upon cappuccinos after 11a.m., so once the clock strikes, order an espresso or an espresso macchiato.
La Casa della Tazza d'Oro - Though I always use a cappuccino to judge a cafe's coffee, La Casa della Tazza d'Oro has an amazing marocchino, which is a sort of cappuccino made with cacao powder.
Sant'Eustachio il Cafe - Another famous/popular spot near the Pantheon, Sant'Eustachio il Cafe is a beloved shop by tourists and locals alike. You can't go wrong with a simple cappuccino and croissant.
The Vatican - The museums, the Basicila di San Pietro, Saint Peter's Square and the Sistine Chapel—you have to see it all. I recommend giving yourself about a half a day to spend here, and if you're interesting in hearing the Pope speak, come on Wednesday and then another day to explore the rest of the Vatican.
Colosseum & the Roman Forum - These are both must-see's for Rome. A ticket to the famous Colosseum costs €12 and will also grant admission to the nearby Roman Forum.
The Alter of the Fatherland - Built in 1885 in honor of the first king to rule over unified Italy, this national monument is huge, and it's under about a 15-minute walk to the colosseum.
Pantheon - A rather unusually shaped Catholic church, the Pantheon is free to explore. There's an oculus at the center of the dome, which allows for light to dance throughout the church beautifully.
Piazza Novana, Piazza di Spagna & Piazza del Popolo - Three of the most beautiful and popular piazzas in Rome, you can miss these. With several restaurants lining the outside of Piazza Novana, don't forget to stop for appertivo. The other two are lined with more shops than restaurants. Plus, the Piazza di Spagna is home to the famous Spanish Steps.
Trevi Fountain - A Roman staple, the Trevi Fountain is so much larger and beautiful in person than in the pictures. One of my favorite parts has always been stumbling upon in after walking through the narrow, seemingly boring streets leading up to it.
Castel San'Angelo - Though formally a fortress and castle, this cylindrical building is now a museum not too far from the Vatican city.
Borghese Park, Borghese Gallery & Villa Borghese - One of my absolute favorites, and severely underrated, places in Rome, is Borghese Park. I have fond memories of my parents taking me to the playgrounds and zoo here, but for a more exhilarating experience, you can rent the multi-person bikes by the hour to tour the park. There's also beautiful gardens and an art museum.
How do I get there?
The easiest way to get to Rome is by flying into Rome-Fiumicino Airport (FCO), but often times, you can find a cheaper ticket by flying into Madrid or London first. Once you get to the airport, you'll have to take a bus, taxi or ride-share into the city. If you're coming from another Italian city, most are accessible to Rome Termini (the train station).
Does Rome use rideshare apps?
What will I need to plan in advance?
Most train tickets and museum tickets you'll be able to purchase upon arrival, but the one that is much easier done in advance is a Vatican tour. It's much too big to do without some sort of tour, plus, most tours will include an express-entry.
Where do I stay?
Bernini Bristol - For a nicer stay, the Bernini Bristol is conveniently located in the Piazza Barberini near many major attractions and has an amazing rooftop view of the city. One of the closest attraction is the Trevi Fountain.
Relais Dei Papi - For a less expensive but still nice hotel stay, the Relais Dei Papi is very close to the Vatican City.
AirBnb - Though there are many AirBnb options in Rome, my most recent stay was at an apartment near the Pantheon. It was cute, inexpensive and easily accommodated 4-6 people.
God created such a beautiful world, it would be a shame not to explore, preserve + appreciate it.
Explore: the Borghese gardens. Rome is known for it's history and structure, but there's also a balance between Rome's quick journey to success and it's appreciation for the little things.
Preserve: the streets. As much as I adore Rome, it is, unfortunately, not one of the most clean cities I've experienced. With that said, it's important to do your part to reduce & recycle. I also recommend bringing your own water bottle to Italy and filling it up throughout your journey in one of the various public fountains that are both clean and safe vs. buying several plastic water bottles a day.
Appreciate: the history. This is one of the oldest cities in the world, and it deserves to be appreciated as such.