Travel: Rome in a Day

It wasn’t built in a day, but can Rome be experienced in one? Because Rome was one of the stops on our cruise we had just 7 hours to spend on our first time in this amazing city, so here are my tips if you only have a short time to see it…


Tips for seeing Rome in a day

  • Don’t try to see everything. There is just too much to see for one day, so if you have a checklist of every single tourist sight then you’ll spend your time racing around instead of enjoying the things you do see. My advice is to have a short list of things you want to see and do in Rome, and to savour them!
  • Walk. Wandering through Rome at your own pace is a great way to experience the city. There are Hop On Hop Off buses around Rome, but unless you have mobility issues I don’t think this is the best way to see everything. For one thing the traffic in Rome is hectic, and you may just end up sitting in it. For another, there are so many things to see on your way to the main attractions – it’s not just the end destination “sights” that are worth seeing.
  • Get tickets in advance. Tickets for the Colosseum also include entry to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, and if you buy them online here you can avoid the massive hours-long queues! Those 3 attractions are all next to each other too, so you can see all of them together. You can also buy your tickets in advance for the Vatican museum to save time.
  • Get a decent map, in advance. Ours was great as it had the key attractions highlighted and also street names on it (very handy), and once we knew where our drop-off point was going to be we spent our shuttle bus journey to Rome planning our day. This meant that we weren’t wasting our time in Rome working out routes or wondering what sights to see next – we could just soak up the atmosphere.

So, here is how our day went:

Our coach dropped us off in Vatican City, so we were able to see St Peter’s Square and the exterior of St Peter’s Basilica first. This was a bonus because they weren’t even on our priority list!

St Peter's Square
St Peters from river

We headed to the ancient sites next, but took a relaxing route all the way along the riverbank. This was lovely as the route was shaded by trees, we couldn’t get lost (always good news) and we also managed to avoid having to cross too many roads, which is no easy task in Rome. Thanks to our queue-hop combined ticket we got to see the amazing Colosseum and Roman Forum, and plenty of other interesting things on the way!

Colosseum inside
Roman forum
Roman Forum 2

Our next priority was ice cream, which was incredible – ice cream in Rome is a must-do! Then we spent some time meandering through some lovely shaded streets filled with small boutiques and restaurants. These are the parts of a city that I love to experience and would hate to miss! Taking this relaxed route we ended up at the Trevi fountain, which is spectacular but unfortunately was still under renovation and switched off.

Ice cream
Trevi fountain

At this point we had a choice to make due to time constraints, and rather than rushing about trying to see both, we chose to visit the Pantheon over the Spanish Steps. This building was really impressive and definitely worth seeing!

Pantheon outside

Then we took a stroll through the streets of Rome heading back along the river to our pick-up point. Crossing over to the north/west side of the river we discovered a cute riverside market and also Castel Sant’Angelo, which was quite impressive! We enjoyed sitting in its quiet leafygrounds listening to a violinist playing “Beauty and the Beast” (how romantic) before finally heading back to meet our coach near St Peter’s Square.

Column 2
Gates of wedding cake
Wedding cake side
Market in Rome
Castel Sant'Angelo

So, although we didn’t see everything in Rome, we definitely made the most of our time there and enjoyed the whole day as we didn’t try and rush ourselves.

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