Rome is absolutely packed with historic sites all throughout the city. You could be here for days and not hit them all. Although I would not recommend to just visit for one day, I put this Rome one day itinerary for those who only have a short amount of time there. It takes you through the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps and more.
1) Introduction to the City of Rome
The capital city of Rome is one of the most attraction filled cities in the world. At every corner you turn you will find incredible architecture, winding picturesque streets, and plenty of history all around.
It is a must do for anyone who is visiting Italy and you can keep yourself busy for a week or more. However, if you just have one single day to explore the city, I wanted to put a guide together that can take you all around Rome and give you a glimpse to what it has to offer.
Although it will be a long and action packed day, it will be one that you will not soon forget. Hope you enjoy it!
2) Location of Attractions
Below is a map that shows the layout of the city and main landmarks that you will find within it. Rome is a very walkable city and you should have no trouble getting from one spot to the next.
I have started the itinerary at the Colosseum before making its way all throughout the city ending at the Spanish Steps (the most northern pin on the map below). Here are the 5 places you will stop by along the way:
1) The Colosseum
2) Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
4) Trevi Fountain
5) Spanish Steps
3) Rome One Day Itinerary
As mentioned this one day itinerary will take you to five main sites around the city. I recommend starting at the Colosseum / Roman Forum & Palatine Hill as that will get the most crowded, and is also the only place that requires admission for the day.
It is also the place that you will be spending the most time at (at least a few hours), and you would not want to be rushed by keeping it at the end of the day.
After finishing up around the Colosseum feel free to grab some food at one of the hundreds of top notch restaurants around the area before continuing on.
With that said, here is a bit more detail on each of the five places on the itinerary…
A) The Colosseum
The Colosseum is known to be one of the largest amphitheaters in the world and was used for everything from gladiator fights to animal battles. It was a way to bring the people of Rome together and give them different types of entertainment.
The Colosseum is one of the seven wonders of the world and for good reason. You can spend hours here admiring the architecture and learning about the history of the site.
Tickets, Tours & Hours
Due to its significance, The Colosseum is known to have very long lines to buy tickets especially during the high summer season. You can however avoid all the waiting and head directly into the site if you buy tickets ahead of time.
Ticket price for the 2 day pass to visit the Colosseum and Roman Forum/Palatine Hill (one visit each) is 14 Euro. This price includes the skip the line online booking option, which I highly recommend (12 Euro base + 2 Euro for skip the line). You can also add an audio guide for 6 Euro.
To book tickets in advance visit the official Colosseum booking website. On the page you can either book a general ticket or have the option to book one of the guided tour options, which you will need to pick a specific time/date for.
One of the guided tour options is to see the underground portion of the Colosseum, so if you are interested in getting the view in from below you must book the tour as soon as the tickets go on sale (usually within a month of the date) as the tickets do go fast.
Once you are done with the tour you can spend time walking the rest of the Colosseum. Tickets for the underground tour are an additional 11 Euro on top of the separate general admission ticket you will have to purchase.
If you would like to check out some highly rated third party guide companies feel free to do so as well.
Hours for the Colosseum vary by time of year and can be found on the official booking website linked above. It opens at 8:30AM but depending on when you are visiting it can close anytime between 4:30PM and 7:15PM.
Note that on the first Sunday of the month entrance is free so it will probably be a bit more crowded than usual.
B) Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
Opening Hours: 8:30AM – ~7:00PM (complete schedule)
Tickets: Part of two day pass with Colosseum
Once you have had enough time browsing around inside the Colosseum you can make your way outside to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (both included in the price of your ticket).
The Roman forum area is pretty impressive with numerous historical ruins sprawled throughout the surrounding area of the Colosseum.
Just some but not all of the sites include The Arch of Titus, Temple of Saturn, and Temple of Vesta. There are plenty of others that you will pass by along the way.
You can then also make your way to Palatine Hill, which houses some additional ruins. There is also a great view of the Forum from the Hill that makes for a great picture opportunity.
Opening Hours: 9:00AM – 7:15PM (Sunday until 5:45PM)
After wandering around the Colosseum area, grab some lunch around the area, and then make the walk to the Pantheon, a former Roman temple. Entry is free to go inside so no need to buy a ticket in advance.
The building itself is basically a huge sphere with an opening for natural light on the very top of the building. You can walk around and spend some time inside before heading out for the Trevi Fountain.
D) Trevi Fountain
Next up on the Rome one day itinerary is the Trevi Fountain – one of the most well known fountains in the world! Not only is it a fountain but also a piece of art with many different statues on or around it.
Don’t forget to throw some loose change in there before you leave.
E) Spanish Steps
The final historical attraction of the day will be the Spanish Steps. From the bottom of the steps at Fontana della Barcaccia to the top, where you will find the Trinita dei Monti church, you will walk up 138 steps.
You will see it is quite the gathering place for many to just hang out and enjoy their time in Rome.
Once complete with the steps feel free to walk around and make your way to any other attractions you might be interested. You are sure to pass plenty of churches, and historical buildings as you make your way around the city.
You can also check out a couple of the main squares in Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona – some really lively places to wander around.
4) Where to Stay in Rome
You will have a lot of different options when it comes to accommodations in Rome. Taking into account price and proximity to these attractions, here are a few highly rated and valued options that you can find around the city. For more options check out Booking.com.
That about wraps up a Rome one day itinerary. Take a look at our other Italy itineraries and guides to help out with any other trip planning. If you have any questions about the trip please feel free to comment below!