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How to Conquer Rome in Two Days

Rome is an amazing city. It is also an exhausting city. It is crowded with tourists, scorching in the summer, and packed with must-see monuments, churches, museums, and piazzas. While I recommend devoting at least four days to Rome, it can, if need be, be conquered in just two. But only if you are prepared and organized for an exhausting, but exhilarating, two days!

Step 1 - Divide and Conquer
Rome may not have been built in a day, but if you divide the city in half -- anchoring each day with one of the two major sites, the Forum/Colosseum and the Vatican -- it can be conquered in two! I like to draw a line down the center of the city, grouping the Forum, Colosseum, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and the Capuchin Bone Church into a one-day itinerary, and the Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica, Castle St. Angelo, Trastevere, Jewish Ghetto, and Campo di Fiori into another one-day itinerary.

Step 2 – Plan, Plan, Plan
If you are short on days in Rome, it is essential that you don’t waste any of that precious time waiting in Rome’s long (and hot) lines. The biggest offenders are the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel and the Roman Forum and Colosseum. I like to make these the first visit for each day. So day one would start with the Forum and Colosseum (don’t forget to start at the Forum rather than the Colosseum, you can read more of my Italy travel tips here), and day two would start with the Vatican Museums. You can reserve the Vatican here and the Forum/Colosseum here.

Step 3 – Start Early
Because there is so much to see in Rome, you have to get an early start. It will also help you avoid some crowds and the hottest part of the day (obviously, this is more important in the summer time). The Piazza Navona and St. Peter’s Basilica are both especially magical in the early morning hours.

Step 4 – Hydrate, Wear Sunscreen, and Dress Appropriately
Long days of sightseeing are taxing on the body, so make sure you have slept, are hydrated (the fresh spring water throughout the city is the best), slathered in sunscreen, and wearing comfortable shoes and church-appropriate clothing. And don’t forget to pack a snack!

Step 5 – Hit the Ground Running
Once you have planned and prepared yourself mentally and physically, it is time to tackle Rome! Here is the itinerary I would recommend:

Day One:
8:15 am Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
9:30 am Colosseum
11:00 am Piazza Navona (don’t miss Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers and gelato at Tre Scalini)
12:00 pm Lunch Break (here are some tips for selecting restaurants in Italy)
1:00 pm Pantheon
2:00 pm Trevi Fountain
3:00 pm Spanish Steps (don’t forget to window shop down via Condotti)
4:30 pm Capuchin Bone Church (creepy, but a must-see)
5:30 pm Take a break (you earned it) before dinner. Or, if you are feeling adventurous head to San Pietro in Vincoli to Michelangelo’s amazing Moses sculpture

Day Two:
7:30 am (For the really adventurous) See St. Peters Basilica in the early morning, sans crowds and with gorgeous light
9:00 am Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel
11:00 am St. Peter’s Basilica, if you don’t see it in the morning (make sure to use my shortcut)
12:00 pm Castle St. Angelo
1:00 pm Explore Trastevere (make sure to eat in this area)
4:00 pm Cross over the Isola di Tiber and into the Jewish Ghetto
5:00 pm Campo di Fiori
6:00 pm Take a break before dinner, or if you want more, visit the Domus Romane

If you have more time in Rome, I highly recommend adding the following sights:
Borghese Gallery (and park)
Markets of Trajan (the world's first mall!)
Basilica of San Clemente
Capitoline Hill and Museums

I hope this helps you conquer Rome, and as always feel free to email me if you need any travel advice!
Ashley B
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  1. Great post- I love that you made schedules with times and everything!! I'm gonna do Rome ONE DAY lol. :)

  2. Great tips! 5 weeks til we go to Rome. I'm making note of all of your suggestions!

  3. Definitely an excellent itinerary! I must say that I've done this exact one before :) Talk about a whirlwind!


  4. Wonderful tips! I am hoping to head to Rome again soon :)

    Sweet Spontaneity

  5. I'm planning on visiting Rome this fall and can't wait to use these tips for our short visit! I love the itinerary you made!


  6. My sister and I just booked our tickets to Rome in a few weeks! So glad to have your tips and tricks as a guide!

  7. You can save some time by booking hotel, tickets and taxi in advance. There are a lot of websites with similar service, i recommend you for taxi.

  8. really helpful :D thank you a lot

  9. This was a great itinerary. I followed it to the tee and had an amazing time!

    1. Yay! This makes me so happy to hear!

  10. Thank you so much for this information! I cant wait to explore Italy in a few weeks. Love reading your blog, thanks again!

    Clare, Melbourne, Australia.

  11. So glad I came across your blog! (via Pinterest) We'll be in Rome for two days in October. May I ask what you used for transportation?

    1. I mostly walk! You can also use the metro, but it runs the perimeter of the historic center, so you have to use it strategically.

  12. Can you please tell me some shopping places(not the expensive ones) in Rome and Florence. I don't have anything particular in my mind to shop. So specialities of those places if you would mention it will be helpful.

    1. I will be honest, I don't love the shopping in Rome or Florence. Florence is slightly better and leather is their famous/tradition item to buy. I have a post on it here -

  13. Hey! Do you know how much the Capuchin Church costs to get in? Also, is a taxi the best way to go from site to site or can you walk?

    1. Last time I was there it was 6 euros (that might be for students though). I typically walk, but at a pretty brisk pace. Taxis can be tricky with traffic, but are a good idea for getting from one side of town to the other.

    2. Did you have to prebook the bone church?

    3. Nope, only groups need to pre-book. It can get busy and they limit the number of people inside, but the wait is never too long.

  14. This is a very cool itinerary! We're going in Rome next week and have been scrambling to build out an IT until I found this! such a gem! One question though, did you pre-book your entrance tickets to the museums? if yes, do you have any recommendation where can we buy it? Did you use the RomaPass?

    1. Yes! I always recommend pre-booking when on a tight schedule. I also recommend booking directly through the Vatican Museums website and the official Colosseum site ( The Rome Pass is also a great idea, especially if you want more flexibility.

  15. Very nice post. You made it as simple as possible. Travelling to Italy this month soon. And have to cover Rome,Florence and Venice in 7days than will head to Paris for two days. Any suggestions? We are confused about the locations to visit quickly in Florence,venice and paris. We don't want to miss the best. Thank you so much 😍 waiting for your kind reply.

    1. I have a couple post that should help!

      1 day in Florence -

      Paris map guide -

      In Venice you can just stroll and enjoy the city. I would recommend seeing the cathedral (St. Marks), the Doge's Palace, and Fish market and Rialto.

      Have a great trip!

  16. Are all these places within walking distance to each other on each day??

    1. Yes! But it will rack up quite a few miles. I love to walk so I always tackle Rome on foot.

  17. I will be doing Vatican & Colosseum in one day. What else can I do after this tour and what places I can do the second day? Only two days in Rome.

  18. Your blogpost is amazing. You have got a new fan! Keep sharing your love with us. Thankyou
    places to visit in Italy

  19. Hi! My mom and I are going to Rome and a few other cities in a few months. We have one problem that we didn't think about and I was hoping you had a solution.
    We are staying in Rome for one night and leaving for Florence the next day, however our checkout is at 10 a.m. and we won't be leaving for Florence until the evening. Where can we store our suitcases during the dayso we don't have to lug them around the city? Is there a place we can pay to store them for a few hours?
    Thank you! <3

    1. Hi there, this is a pretty common scenario when traveling in Europe. You have two options. The main train station in Rome (Termini) has luggage storage. You pay per hour and it is lock away. Or, most hotels will happily hold your luggage after you check out and until you are ready to depart. They usually have a locked storage room. You just have to ask. Hope this helps and buon viaggio!

  20. This is super helpful as I plan our anniversary trip!! Do you have a recommendation on areas to stay to maximize time for this itinerary?

  21. Hi Ashley,
    This is very useful. My friend and I are travelling to Rome in this April. Could you please suggest some hotels for budget stay?

  22. Thank you so much for this information! rome is a wonderful place to go.

    21 day itinerary france

  23. This is exactly what I have been looking for a week now... But thank God I found it the day before my 2 days trip to Rome... Gonna follow this.. Thanks a lot!!! :)

  24. Hi! Thanks for the helpful post! So valuable! Quick question: we happen to plan to visit Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel on 9/24 (the free entry day of the month). I know it will be extremely crowded. Any tips in terms of getting in smoothly besides go line up early? Thank you!


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