what to do in rome in one day

Oh, to be in Italy drinking a glass of wine and eating pizza under the warm afternoon sun, then drunkenly having a gelato while walking through the romantic little streets, stopping to dance to the sound of street music players…

To say that I miss Italy is not saying much – Italy is my favorite country in Europe to travel to. I’ve been there several times already, always drawn to go back everytime I visit this wonderful country.

trastevere bike

My flight landed in Rome when I went there to visit the Amalfi Coast (check out my Amalfi Coast Travel Guide), but I just had one full day to explore the city. Thankfully, I had already visited Rome in the past, so I took this opportunity to revisit my favorite places and make the most out of my time.

Still, this meant I had to make really tough choices on how I was going to spend my time there – but, in the end, I was really happy with the way we managed our time and I would like to share this with you. Just in case you end up going to Rome for 24 hours, and need to know what to do in Rome in one day!

 

Morning 

 

Rise and shine! We woke up at 6h to make the most out of the day and to enjoy Fontana di Trevi with no tourists.

trevi fountain rome

The last time I had been to Rome, I was barely able to see the famous Fountain, due to the quantity of tourists admiring that work of art. I was not intending to repeat that mistake, so we had our morning coffee and walked to the Fountain.

When we got there around 7am, there were probably only 20 other people onsite. Seeing Fontana di Trevi without thousands of people was just wonderful! We took all the photos we wanted, threw coins to the fountain and made our wishes. It was really worth it to wake up at 6!

Right after, we walked to Piazza di Spagna, with its beautiful staircase, that’s usually bustling with people. However, at 8 am, it was still pretty empty and so beautiful. The morning sun was shining on the stairs and the view from the top was remarkable.

We then walked to Villa Borghese, a lavish garden with incredible views. You can see the St. Peter Basilica, the Saint Angelo Castle and have an incredible view of the city.

However, having been there twice, I would say that the views are even more impressive at sunset. So, if you have the opportunity, visit Villa Borghese at sunset and bring a few drinks while you enjoy the spectacular view.

Finally, we walked to Saint Angello Castle and passed through the famous bridge that provides access to the castle. That bridge is just stunning, with its beautiful, impressive statues. From one side, you can actually see the Vatican.

If you have enough time, now would be a good time to visit the Vatican, since it’s close by. You really do have to see the work of Michael Angelo with your own eyes, in the Sistine Chapel. My dad even cried when he saw it – that’s how beautiful it is.

Unfortunately, we decided to not visit the Vatican, since we were short on time and had already visited it two years before. However, I can’t wait to visit it again and see those historical frescos with my own eyes, just above me.

streets in rome

By that time we were starving, and the cafés had begun to open up – so, we had breakfast at Giner Sapori e Salute. I had a mushroom omelette which was delicious! The day was also starting to get warmer, so this was the perfect break.

After our meal, we finally had more energy, so we visited the Pantheon and the other beautiful and famous piazzas, like Piazza Navona and Campo dei Fiori.

On weekdays, you can find a really cute and authentic market in Campo dei Fiori, where you can get food, flowers and other products. It is also a really great place to have dinner in the evening!

 

Afternoon

 

One of the greatest things about Italy is the food. And, for people who enjoy cooking, like me, Italy really is paradise! We found an incredible gourmet supermarket, great for Italian food shopping.

Since it’s not every day that you get the opportunity of buying authentic Italian products, I got a 2 year old Parmesan cheese, several types of pasta and risotto, pesto sauce and some biscuits.

Everything was amazing and believe me, I’m still dreaming about that pesto sauce – it was so good. It is really a cook’s dream.

streets of rome

After this food shopping spree, we were carrying so many bags that we had to head back to our Airbnb to leave them there. We also took a shower and changed clothes, as we were dripping in sweat – it was about 35 degrees celsius by that time.

Rome in the Summer can be really hot, so make sure you wear loose, light-coloured clothes and always carry a bottle of water with you.

One little trick is that churches are always a cool enough place to rest and lower your body temperature a bit – and they’re absolutely stunning inside! You’ll find plenty of them – Rome alone has more than 900 churches.

colosseo rome

After refreshing ourselves, we walked all the way to the Roman Forum and then to the Colosseo. The scenery was beautiful, with the warm sunset light over the Colosseo, the couples laying on the grass and groups of friends having pizza on the wall, the street music artists… That moment brings me so much joy!

 

Evening

 

After admiring the Colosseo, we then walked to Venice Square, where we took a tram to Trastevere. Trastevere is the best place to have dinner, as it is a typical Italian neighborhood with lovely corners everywhere!

trastevere rome

I’m talking about cute, tiny streets painted in yellowish and orange tones, restaurants on every corner, the smell of pizza and fresh pasta everywhere… Well, it’s just a dream. Trastevere is my all time favorite place to have dinner in Rome – so romantic and lively!

We had dinner at Ivo a Trastevere’ a very typical Italian restaurant – bad service, best food ever and really inexpensive! I also went there on my first time in Rome and I swear to you, it was the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life.

pizza trastevere

We had the house white wine and just enjoyed being sat on the terrace, in lovely Trastevere, having dinner at twilight.

After we were done with our meal, we decided to go for a walk. We were full and slightly (well, very) dizzy from drinking wine, and especially after such a long day. However, after having walked for more than 20km that day, and having woken up at 6 am, soon we decided to go to bed.

If you have time and energy, I highly advise you to go and see the Vatican, the Colosso and Fontana di Trevi at night – they’re really beautiful with the lights on!

The thing about Rome is that it’s a city that needs to be completely seen during the day and during the night. Visiting Fontana di Trevi at night will make you feel like you’re in a Fellini movie, so you really have to try it – the latest you go, the better!

sitting near the colosseo

Rome has so much to offer and it’s such an incredible city, that it’s hard to take on everything in just one day. Still, I hope this small itinerary was helpful – I’m sure that after you’ve been to Rome, you’ll want to go there again.

 

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