Rome – The PERFECT 3 Day Itinerary (2022)

Roman history, Italian flair, amazing food – Rome has a lot to offer. We have created a 3 day itinerary packed with the most interesting sights, the best food places and the nicest hangout spots so that you can make the most out of your holiday.

Rome panoramic view

When to go: We went at the end of September when the crowds were a bit less and the temperatures centered around pleasant 20ºC. Avoid the summer months (June to August) to avoid the summer heat and massive amount of tourists.

Where to stay: We stayed at Colazione Al Guest house. If you are looking for an affordable accommodation that is in walking distance to the Vatican and other major sights of Rome, we would recommend this accommodation. However, be aware that since this is a guest house with shared bathrooms, it can get quite noisy at times compared to a standard hotel room.

How to arrive: Rome has two airports but the main one is Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Fiumicino (FCO). From there you can take the shuttle bus (SIT bus) to the city centre. You will find the shuttle bus when you leave terminal 1 by exiting to the right, walking straight to platform 12. There were helpful guides around when we were there, so you can always ask them for help as well. One ticket costs €8. You will reach the centre (Termini) within 45 min. You can also get off at Vatican City, which is what we did.

Public Transport: Rome has a very good metro system that is generally preferred over buses due to major traffic congestion during the day. You have to buy the ticket beforehand at the ticket machine at the metro station. Don’t throw the ticket away, it is rechargeable. One ticket costs around €2 and gets you up to 100 min. of travel time. You can use buses and metro’s interchangeably. If you plan on buying more than 2 metro tickets per day, get the 24, 48 or 72 hour ticket.

Day 1
Try Sfogliatetella
Sfogliatella from Parenti

Italians like to skip breakfast and only take a coffee. However, on the weekend they will indulge in pastries like the famaous Sfogliatella, which is similar to a croissant filled with custard. They were originally created by nuns in 1700 on the Amalfi coast and even though nuns did not have contact to the outside world, a Neapolitanian chef got his hands on the recipe and started making sfogliatella himself and selling them all over Naples. This is how Sfogliatelli got famous around Italy. You can try the best sfogliatelli at Pasticceria Parenti.


The Pantheon is one of the best preserves monuments from ancient Rome. It was constructed around 126 AD. The Pantheon represents the largest unsupported dome in the world. Today it is being used as a Catholic Church. You will find a queue at the Pantheon but it moves quickly. If you want to go inside (entrance is free since the Pantheon serves as a functioning church), just make sure to cover your shoulders and legs, otherwise you will not be permitted entrance. You can plan to spend around 1 hour here. Opening times: 9:00-19:00

Try Piadina and Chinotto
Piadina and Chinotti

Try Piadine at La Piadineria. Piadina is a thin Italian flatbread typically prepared in the Roman region. It is usually made with white flour, olive oil, salt, water and lard. Traditionally it was cooked on a terracotta dish but now is prepared on electric griddles. It has different filling but the classic one contains for example parmaham and rucola. Chinotto is a type of lemonade that is made out of orange tree leaves and has a bitter aftertaste. It is very delicious and popular all over Italy and also sold as “Crodino”

Gelato at the Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain and Gelato

The Trevi Fountain is the largest and most beautiful fountain. Don’t forget to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to make sure you’re going to return to the Eternal city. It is another thing to see the Trevi Fountain at daytime versus in the evening when it is beautifully lit up, so plan in to come back here on your evening stroll back from sightseeing. When you are facing the Trevi fountain the gelateria on the left is where you should get your gelato and this is based on a a recommendation from a local. We can especially recommend the pistachio flavour!

Shopping in Rome
Max Mara in Rome

Close to the Spanish steps you will find Rome’s shopping district. The boulevards of Via Del Corso and Via Condotti is where you will find luxury brands such as Gucci and Versace. If you are looking for vintage and boutique shops go to Via del Governo Vecchio. Via Cola di Rienzo houses a lot of Italian fashion designers, so come here if you are on the hunt for some authentic Italian fashion. Castel Romano is a must for those seeking designer brands and a good bargain. You can find Moschino, Valentino and Jimmy Choo at discounts of up to 70%.

Walking Tour
Castel Sant' Angelo in Rome

In order to get a guided introduction to the city of Rome, we have decided to partake in Sandeman’s New Rome City Centre tours. The English-speaking tour started at 5pm on the Piazza di Spagna, at the bottom of the Spanish steps and lasted 2.5 hours. The tour covered the boulevards of Via Del Corso and Via Condotti, the center of Rome’s fashion district, the Palazzo Malta, the St. Ignatius Church, the Temple of Hadrian and the Trevi Fountain among others. The best part of the tour was to receive recommendations from a local on where to find the best tiramisu, pizza and gelato!

Grab dinner on the go at All Antico Vinaio
All Antico Vinaio in Rome

If you are looking for really good Italian sandwiches made out of crispy bread and high-quality ingredients, then you have to come to All Antico Vinaio. It sells the best sandwiches in Rome at really affordable prices. We can recommend the Paradiso, a sandwich made with mortadella, pistachio pesto and stracciatella, which is mostly known as a gelato flavor but can also refer to an Italian cream cheese. We ordered it after seeing lots of locals (the sandwich shop is most popular with locals!) order it too. Sandwiches are around 9€ and to be had on the go or on the Piazza opposite. Definitely one of the best places we found in Rome!

Day 2
Breakfast at Bono Bottega Nostrana
Sandwiches at Bono Bottega Nostrana

Bono Bottega Nostrana offers one of the best panini’s in Rome. You can enjoy a leisurely breakfast here with some good quality cappuccino’s before starting another busy day of sightseeing. Panini are thought to have originated in the Lombary as a quick lunch for workers. The panino can be served both warm and cold with Italian ham, cheese or sliced veggies depending on your preference. Italians have cappuccino only in the morning until 11 am and after that indulge in espresso or birra.

St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peters Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is the spiritual center of Vatican City. Bramante, Raphael and Michelangelo are among its creators. You can expect very long cues of up to 3 hours if you want to get inside the basilica. If you want to avoid the long waiting times, you can book a guided tour or show up very early. Until 9am the cues are manageable. Since it is a functional church, the entrance is free. On Wednesdays the Pope holds his audience there, so expect cues to be even longer then.

Vatican City
Vatican Museum

Vatican is a city-state surrounded by Rome and the headquarters of the Roman Catholic church. It is an absolute monarchy under governance of the Pope. The vatican houses iconic Roman art and architecture such as Micheangelos ceiling “Last Judgement” in the Sistine chapel. Despite the fact that it is the smallest state by size and population (800 people), it has its own post office from which you can send a postcard to your friends! Plan to spend around 3 hours visiting the museums and the sistine chapel. If tickets on the official website are not available, check out and 

Pasta at Pastasciutta
Pasta at Pastasciutta

Vatican City might be a small state but it has the largest complex of museums worldwide. Naturally, you will get hungry after some time. At the end of the Vatican museum you can buy a small snack at the bakery if you are very hungry. Otherwise, savor your hunger and walk 10 min. over to Pastasciutta. There, you get a big bucket of delicious pasta for only €6. With limited seating indoors, most people eat sitting on the boardwalk, which has its own charm to it. Since Pasta Cacio e Pepe is a Roman dish and absolutely delicious here, we recommend you try that!

Explore Trastevere

Trastevere is the bohemian area of Rome. You will find Italian coffeeshops, small markets, Roman trattorias, craft beer pubs and artisan workshops between cobblestone streets. It is the perfect place for what the Italians call a passeggiata, a pre-dinner promenade in order to observe local life. Despite the popularity of this area, it is still not as loud and crowded as the centre of Rome and offers a nice respite from all the hustle and bustle of the big city. Coming from the Vatican you only have to walk south to reach Trastevere so it’s perfect to combine the two in one day.

Aperol Spritz and Italian Platter at Taverna 51
Charcuterie and cheese platter at Taverna 51 in Rome

Rome and especially Trastevere is alluminated with fluorescent orange coming from the Aperol drinks that the whole city seems to be enjoying after 5pm. Aperol is an Italian bitter apéritif made of gentian, rhubarb and cinchona. Its name is derived from apero, an Italian slang word for apéritif. You can enjoy your Aperol Spritz alongside other delicious cocktails and a platter of Italian charcuterie, cheeses and delicacies at Taverna 51. Sit outside to soak up on Roman local life and to end a beautiful day in the city.

Day 3

The Colosseum, or otherwise called the Flavian amphitheatre, is the largest amphitheatre in the world. The Emperor Vespasian commissioned its construction in 72 AD. At its peak it was able to cater to 80.000 visitors that were coming to watch games and gladiator fights. More then 500.000 people and twice as many animals have died in the Colosseum. Get the skip the line ticket for €14 for from the official website or third party websites for the Colosseum, which will also include entrance to the Romain Forum and Palantine Hill. An extra ticket is required for the underground and gladiator arena.

Pizza at Pizza della Madonna dei Monti
Pizza and Suppli at Pizza della Madonna dei Monti

Pizza della Madonna dei Monti can be found at 10 min. of walking distance from the Colosseum. It only offers outside seating and pizza sold by weight. You just tell the person at the counter what pizza you would like to try and he will cut small squares for you and weigh them all up. Don’t forget to also try Suppli, a Roman dish similar to the Portuguese Arancina. It is a Risotto filled ball that is soaked in egg, coated with bread crumps and then fried. It used to be filled with chicken giblets or minced meat but now is more commonly filled with mozzarella.

Palantine Hill
Palantine Hill

After you got some energy back from your delicious lunch, head back to Palantine Hill, the birthplace of the Eternal City. Legend says that Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, lived here in a cave. Wealthy Romans used to live in Palatine Hill during the reign of Augustus. That is why you will find the remains of the imperial palace of Augustus and his wife Livia here. You can still find the ruins of the Arch of Septimum Severus, the Temple of Saturn, the House of Vestals, the royal residence and many other important monuments here. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as the grounds can be unstable.

Roman Forum
Roman Forum

Roman Forum was the center of ancient Rome, where political and cultural entities were located. It’s quite a big complex, so you could spend 4 hours roaming the ancient grounds. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of shade so make sure to bring a water bottle in summer. You can fill it up in one of the fountains. Unfortunately, Palantine Hill and Roman Forum are itself not really well structured. You will look in vain for some directional signs or numbering of sights, so make sure to take a guided tour to really understand what you’re seeing. Otherwise, you can also download Rick Steve’s Europe Guide.

Have a final Italian dinner

We went to Antica Osteria for our final Italian dinner. Unfortunately, the food was only average and the location not as enchanting as Taverna 51. We ordered Polpetti con sugo, meatball with tomato sauce, tomatoes with buffata, an Italian cow milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream (the outside is solid cheese and the inside contains stracciatella and cream) and suppli. For dessert we ordered tiramisu and pistachio panna cotta. Despite the mains being mediocre, the desserts were really very good and provided a perfect end to our Roman holiday.

Please, check out our guide to Como for another amazing Italian holiday as well as our separate guides to Milan and Bergamo.

Other things you can do:

  • visit the art gallery in Villa Borghese
  • explore the historic castle Castel Sant’Angelo
  • wander around in the park Parco Borghese
  • learn about the Medici’s at Medici Villa
  • participate in a pasta making workshop
  • visit the beautiful Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore