All the things you should see, do, and eat if you’re heading to Rome this summer! My 3-Day Rome Travel Itinerary covers all the things you must see (and all the food you have got to eat!)

hero image of fountain with text for pinning on pinterest

I know, I know, it took me just shy of a year to get this out to you! I spent the better part of two months researching for our 14 day trip to Italy last year and wanted to be sure that I provided a solid guide if you’re planning on visiting too.

Since most people travel to Rome in the summertime, I decided to wait and post this later when it was around vacation time again. But also because how weird would dit be if it was the dead of winter when you’re seeing me in all my summer jumpsuits/high waisted pants.

I hope you find this travel itinerary super useful if you’re planning a trip to Italy. This is the first of a many that I’ll be sharing with you here in the next couple of months.

the colosseum on a sunny day

3-Day Rome Travel Itinerary | Before You Go

  • There are two major airports when it comes to Rome. The first and the more popular: Fiumicino. This is most likely where you’ll be flying in if you’re coming from overseas. The second is Ciampino. Fiumicino is located roughly 40 minutes outside of the main city, so you might want to look into hiring a car, taxi, or study train maps that can get you to where you need to go. 
    • TIP: If you plan on staying in an Airbnb or HomeAway, ask your host if they have a driver that they usually refer guests to. We stayed with two different hosts on our trip and our host for the second half of the journey arranged a ride both to and from the airport at a very reasonable cost in a very nice car! So always ask.
    • TIP: If you get into the city super early before your host or your hotel lets you check in, consider leaving your bags at a Left Luggage location so you can wander the city without having to drag your bags! Rates usually vary by hour and cap off at around 7 Euros a day.
  • Hotels and Airbnb’s have a mandatory city tax (usually in the ballpark of 3.5-7 euros depending on the city.) This is due in cash at the time of check-in (the cash thing might just be for Airbnb, though, I’m not sure about hotels.)
  • For summer travel, I suggest booking train rides to other cities in Italy or beyond at least a month in advance. We routed our entire trip and even purchased train tickets before leaving the U.S. has an English site, and it makes it super easy to get tickets before you even leave.
  • Take empty water bottles with you every morning. There are free water fountains located throughout the city that you can refill your water bottle with. Look out for the one across from the Colosseum, where your tour guide will most likely ask you to meet. That one even offers sparkling water, and it was so refreshing!
  • Locals generally don’t tip. Gratuities are sometimes expected from tourists though. Try to avoid excess tipping, and you certainly do not have to calculate a percentage the way we do here in America. I suggest tipping ~1-4 Euros if you’re at a sit-down restaurant if you liked the service. Most sit down restaurants already have a built-in “dine-in” fee, so check your receipt. If they brought bread to your table, chances are they charged you for that too!
    • TIP: Taxi fares can be round up to the full Euro if you’d like to tip.
    • Italians don’t really do coffee (or other beverages on the go) so expect a few looks if you ask for a latte or cappuccino in a takeaway cup… that’s if they actually have them! Most coffee shops don’t. 
  • Also, upwards of 10,000 steps a day should be expected! Unless you’re taking a taxi everywhere, which would probably end up being more time consuming and super expensive.
  • If you don’t plan on having data or a wifi hot spot with you on the trip, consider downloading a map for the cities you’re going to on your Google Maps app that you can access even when you’re offline. Even though we took our hot spot with us, Anees downloaded the maps which came in handy when our hotspot was running out of juice or when we were out of  range (hello, Positano!)

3-day Rome Travel Itinerary - #rome |

3-Day Rome Travel Itinerary | Words to know

  • CiaoHello
  • BuongiornoGood morning
  • Prego You are welcome (sometimes they greet you this way.. as in go ahead)
  • Lei Parla IngleseDo you speak English?
  • Grazie Thank you
  • Grazie MilleThank you so much
  • Mi scusi Excuse me
  • Quanto costaHow much is this?
  • Questo ha carne Does this have meat? (super important if you’re vegetarian/pescatarian because a lot of stuff does)

TIP: If you have wifi or a hotspot (affiliate link), be sure to download Google Translate on your phone! It’s helpful when two people are trying to communicate in different languages!

3-Day Rome Travel Itinerary | Where to Eat

As a tourist, we’re conditioned to think that when we’re in a foreign country, every restaurant has something delicious to offer; however, this isn’t always the case. As a rule of thumb, most restaurants on the same street as the main attraction, offer average/subpar food with big price tags. Often, a restaurant that’s more economical and has way more authentic (and delicious!) food is just around the corner or a couple of blocks over. For this reason, I suggest doing some preliminary research and having a rough plan for every meal of the day. I have MAJOR FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to food, so I didn’t want to waste even a single meal on average food!

  • HEADS UP: If you’re used to having a classic American breakfast, brace yourself, there aren’t many places that serve it! My husband was in for the shock of a lifetime. He’s not one for sweet pastries first thing in the morning so let’s just say, Italy’s breakfast scene wasn’t his favorite. One thing we ended up doing is seeking out local bakeries that open early and offer salmon with cream cheese on a croissant or even freshly made focaccia with toppings!

Frigidarium gelato, chocolate pistachio and mango sorbetto - #rome |

3-Day Rome Travel Itinerary | Day 1

  • Campo de ‘Fiori: Now home to a vibrant flower and vegetable market. There are vendors set up with souvenirs, restaurants serving meals, and it’s really something you just have to experience for yourself! Cobblestone pathways and so much charm. 
    • Fact: The square was previously used for public executions in the 1600s.
    • Restaurants close by:
      • Forno Campo De Fiori ($) (breakfast, quick lunch): This is a bakery that you can visit pretty much any time of the day, but I do recommend it for breakfast for those that prefer savory items.
        • HEADS UP: They are closed between the hours of 3-5 pm
        • ADDRESS: Piazza Campo de Fiori 22 00186 Rome Italy
        • WHAT TO ORDER: They have a variety of focaccia bread and pizzas that one could easily consume for breakfast! The Margherita pizza here is a popular option!
      • Roscioli Café ($) (breakfast, lunch, coffee break): This was our go-to coffee shop when we were saying near Campo de Fiori. The caffe latte was always warm and delicious. This is also one of the only coffee shops that we found that had to go cups!
        • ADDRESS: Piazza Benedetto Cairoli, 16, 00186 Roma RM, Italy (about a 3-minute walk from Campo de Fiori)
        • WHAT TO ORDER: The latte here was amazing! Both the cappuccino and the caffe latte were delicious. They also have croissants stuffed with smoked salmon and the pistachio cake is divine.
  • Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel/St. Peter’s Basilica:
    • ADDRESS: Viale, Viale Vaticano, 100, Roma RM, Italy
    • TIP: Make sure to bring a scarf, shawl, or a lightweight cardigan if you plan on touring the Sistine Chapel or St. Peter’s Basilica. They require women to cover up both shoulders and knees!
    • TIP: I suggest booking a tour online before you leave if you’re serious about touring.
    • TIP: The meeting point for most tours is in front of Caffe Vaticano. Across from the Vatican Museum Entrance.
  • Trastevere: Basically, every street looks like something out of a postcard! Vine covered alleyways with cobblestone walkways and freshly laundered clothes hanging on a line. Take your time here. We chose to use the evening to stroll the streets, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy a lazy gelato in the town square.
    • Restaurants close by:
      • Dar Poeta ($$) (lunch or dinner): I don’t think there was a time when I walked passed this place, and there wasn’t a line! Personally, I feel the pizza was good, but I wouldn’t say it was the best I had, that would most certainly be the one in Napoli (Naples.) But definitely worth checking out. I hear they don’t use yeast in their dough and that it’s more of a slow fermentation process that gives the pizza crust it’s an authentic flavor. However, I’m not 100% sure on that. None the less, the dough was chewy and crispy, just like I like it.
          • ADDRESS: Vicolo del Bologna, 45, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
          • TIP: If you plan on going here, I suggest going for lunch instead of dinner. We were able to get seated within 15 minutes for an early lunch (and outside!) That will most likely never be the case at dinner time!
          • WHAT TO ORDER: Margherita Pizza, Fungi Pizza, and Suppli (basically rice balls with tomato and mozzarella.. heavenly) and though we didn’t try it, everyone raves about the pizza Bianca here and the marinara Picante here!
      • Tonnarello ($$) (dinner): This is a cute little restaurant (with over 10,000 reviews) in Trastevere. Plan on having an early dinner on the patio. It was seriously one of my most favorite moments from the whole trip!
          • ADDRESS: Via della Paglia 1 00153 Rome Italy
          • WHAT TO ORDER: The Cacio e Pepe. Best I had on this trip!
      • La Botticella ($$) (dinner): We stopped for dinner here one night before heading back to our Airbnb. Like most restaurants in Rome, this one opens at 5 pm, but around 6 is when we were actually able to get seated. They do get booked in advance, so a reservation might come in handy if you aren’t dining early (6 is considered super early in Italy for dinner.) We were seated next to a guy from Switzerland that was using the summer to just travel the country by himself (how cool is that?) Anees had a pretty great conversation with the guy, and it was nice to speak to someone fluently in English for a bit there. Anees ordered something completely different than what he ended up getting; I’m not complaining though, his pesto cream pasta was delicious! And I went with more Cacio e Pepe, are you noticing a trend yet? 
          • ADDRESS: Vicolo del Leopardo, 39/a, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
          • WHAT TO GET: Cacio e Pepe (served in a crispy parmesan bowl), chicory salad, mascarpone (I think) stuffed fried zucchini flowers, artichokes al Giuda, chicory salad, and pasta in pesto cream sauce.
    • Gelato Break: 
      • Fiordiluna: This was our first gelato in Italy. It was a quick 3-minute walk from Tonnarello (our first pasta experience), and it was perfect. We had dinner, strolled down the vine-covered cobblestone streets, grabbed cones of gelato, and took them to the piazza in the center. It was the perfect end to our first night in Rome
        • ADDRESS: Via della Lungaretta, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
      • Fatamorgana: We were really bummed after trying this gelato shop! Even though it is one of the most popular shops, both of us agreed that it didn’t even come close to being our favorite, quite the opposite, really. I won’t even bother telling you what I ordered as it just wasn’t good. They don’t offer samples (only a few places actually do that), and so this one just didn’t cut it for us! We visited the Fatamorgana in Monti, but there is a second location in Trastevere. Don’t take my word for it; try it for yourself and see how you like it.
        • ADDRESS: Via Roma Libera, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy

Campo de Fiori - #rome |

purple flower plant at Campo de Fiori

fungi pizza from Forno Campo de Fiori in Rome

Cappuccino in Campo de Fiori Rome

picture of hubby and me outside our airbnb in Rome

view from the Vatican in Rome

the ceiling of the Vatican in Rome

More ceiling views of the Vatican in Rome

views of the artwork on the ceiling in the Vatican in Rome

outside shot of the Vatican from the square

shot of looking up at the Vatican architecture from outside

vines growing on the side of a building in Trastevere

outside the iconic Dar Poeta pizza shop in Trastevere

margherita pizza and fungi pizza from Dar Poeta

Dar Poeta

tomato and rice coquette from Dar Poeta

Dar Poeta

tomato and mozzarella salad from Tonnarello


cacio e Pepe from Tonarello in Trastevere

kalamata olive, mozzarella cheese, tomato pasta from Tonnarello

gelato cones with chocolate and pistachio gelato in Trastevere

fried zucchini blossoms loaded with anchovy from La Botticella

La Botticella

large wide pasta noodles in pesto cream sauce on checkered tablecloth

cacio e pepe in a parmesan bowl on a white plate

3-Day Rome Travel Itinerary | Day 2

  • Colosseum: An ancient amphitheater built with travertine and chunks of metal that was later removed (giving it that famously known swiss cheese texture.) It’s estimated that the Colosseum could hold around 65,000 spectators. It is one of the seven wonders of the world. And what I found was the coolest part was that they had a manual elevator underground that they used to move animals and gladiators to the arena.
    • TIP: If you visit Italy in the warmer months, I suggest scheduling your tour of the Colosseum as early in the day as possible. We took the 9 am tour, and by noon we were melting like a cone of gelato on a warm summer day! Apply plenty of sunscreen before and during your time there and fill up your water bottle from across the street (free public water fountain) before you head in. Once inside, there’s virtually no shade at all so the sun will most definitely be beating down on you.
      • You can book your tour of the Colosseum online (we did so before we left for vacation.) Check out The Roman Guy. They have amazing reviews on TripAdvisor!
    • Restaurants close by:
      • Antico Forno Serpenti ($) (breakfast): Another great little bakery. We discovered this place on the last day in town, and I’m so sad that we didn’t find it sooner! They have delicious puff pastry bites with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, the focaccia is to die for here, and of course, all your usual breakfast croissants and pastries as well. The coffee isn’t great (push-button machine), so I suggest grabbing food and finding a coffee on the way somewhere!
        • ADDRESS: Via dei Serpenti, 122-123, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
      • Ristorante Colosseo “Luzzi” ($) (lunch):
        • ADDRESS: Via di S. Giovanni in Laterano, 88, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
        • WHAT TO GET: The pizzas are hot, the seafood is fresh, and the patio is covered – which is music to my ears after burning to a crisp inside the Colosseum! Also, the food is very reasonably priced ($) compared to restaurants in the area (like right across from the Colosseum.)
  • Piazza della Madonna Dei Monti (Monti): Cobblestone streets, jasmine cascading down walls, beautiful antique doors, pastel-colored apartments. On warm summer nights, the neighborhood square becomes a BYOB affair, and you can hear laughter and merriment in your apartment if you leave the windows open!
    • Basilica Di Santa Maria Maggiore: Free entry but there is a security check at the gate. Beautiful ceiling. Looks better on the inside than it does on the outside
      • ADDRESS: Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore 42, 00185 Rome, Italy
      • TIP: Make sure to bring a scarf, shawl, or a lightweight cardigan if you plan on touring. They require women to cover up both shoulders and knees.
    • Restaurants close by:
      • Bar Monti $ (breakfast, lunch, coffee break)
        • ADDRESS: Via Urbana, 93, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
      • Pasta Chef Monti $ (lunch or dinner): A quick bite to eat. We were staying right around the corner from this place, and they do take out! So it was perfect to grab and go back to the Airbnb with.
        • ADDRESS: Via Baccina, 42, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
        • WHAT TO GET: I got the fettuccine with mushrooms, garlic, and parsley and loved it! Anees got the pasta with shrimp, tomato sauce, and garlic and didn’t end up loving his (the shrimp were head on, and they sorta freaked him out)
    • GELATO BREAK: Fatamorgana: We were really bummed after trying this gelato shop! Even though it is one of the most popular shops, both of us agreed that it didn’t even come close to being our favorite, quite the opposite, really. I won’t even bother telling you what I ordered as it just wasn’t good. They don’t offer samples (only a few places do), and so this one just didn’t cut it for us! We visited the Fatamorgana in Monti but there is a second location in Trastevere. Don’t take my word for it; try it for yourself and see how you like it.
      • ADDRESS: Piazza degli Zingari, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
  • Rest up at the hotel because if you visit in the summertime, the sun will definitely have you beat! We headed back to Trastevere for an early evening stroll and dinner (check the list of restaurants from Day 1.)

a shot from below the Roman Colosseum

me sitting on the wall with the Colosseum behind me

early morning shot of hubby and me in front of the colosseum

beautiful archiecture gate near the colosseum

architectural building near the colosseum

walking area near the Colosseum

hubby and I inside the Colosseum on a tour

wide shot showing the inside of the Colosseum

apple on puff pastry with apricot glaze from Antico Forno Serpenti

Antico Forno Serpenti (apple on puff pastry with apricot glaze)

walking the streets of Trastevere just before sunset

outside at Grazia & Graziella in Trastevere

3-Day Rome Travel Itinerary | Day 3

  • Trevi Fountain: Keep in mind that this place will probably be swarming with tourists if you go anytime between 9am-9pm. I found the best time to visit was just after sunrise when the tourists are tucked away. Not only do you practically get the whole place to yourself, but it also happens to be the best time of the day for pictures there! It’s been a dream of mine to go ever since I saw the Lizzie McGuire movie, and I’m so glad I was able to check it off my travel bucket list. 
    • Restaurants close by:
      • Antico Forno Serpenti ($) (breakfast): Great little bakery. We discovered this place on the last day in town, and I’m so sad that we didn’t find it sooner! They have delicious puff pastry bites with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, the focaccia is to die for here, and of course, all your usual breakfast croissants and pastries as well. The coffee isn’t great (push button machine), so I suggest grabbing food and finding a coffee on the way somewhere!
        • ADDRESS: Via dei Serpenti, 122-123, 00184 Roma RM, Italy
      • Gelato Break: Giolitti: I know, it might be a little too early for some to get gelato in the morning. We ended up doubling back a little bit and loved this place. I ordered two types of sorbetto in a cone – lemon and strawberry. Anees? He was on a mission to single-handedly taste all the chocolate gelato in Italy, so there he went with his fifty shades of chocolate.
        • ADDRESS: Via degli Uffici del Vicario, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
  • Spanish Steps: The Spanish steps are right around the corner from the shopping district. Climb the steep between Piazza Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinita dei Monti at the top. Again, like the Trevi Fountain, go early in the morning if you want the steps to yourself. But the even does provide a beautiful view of the sunset!
  • Piazza de Spagnia: If you’re standing at the bottom of the Spanish Steps with your back to them, you can see Sephora on the left side, and a street that runs straight down which begins the few main streets of ‘designer alley’ as I like to call it. You will find YSL, Gucci, Bvlgari, Prada and all the other designers you can think of! Expect large crowds.
      • TIP: If you decide to make a large purchase from here, ask the store attendant for a VIP pass to the tax refund office (Global Blue.) It is very close to the Spanish steps, and you can get it all taken care of while you’re still in the area. You just need to hand them the pass along with your tax-free form, passport, receipt and credit card information (if you purchased it on a card) It’s also nice and cool inside, they offer you complimentary beverages and pretty much do everything for you while you wait a few minutes! That way, the process at the airport is much simpler and won’t take you hours! You’ll just hand in your paperwork there are you’re done!
  • Pantheon: An architectural building dedicated to the seven planetary divinities and featuring an interior coated with marble. The Pantheon is one of the impressive monuments in Rome.
    • What to know:
      • free to visit before April, charges start May 1st
      • you can download the Rick Steves app (available on all app stores) and listen to the history of the place while you walk around if you’re a history buff
      • you don’t need a whole lot of time here; it’s pretty quick.
  • Piazza Navona: Just another beautiful Piazza to enjoy! You can take a night stroll with gelato in hand or just grab a seat and watch the street vendors/performers. In the summer months, people often meet in the Piazza and enjoy drinks with friends.
    • Restaurants close by:
      • Sora Margherita ($$): This place was probably our most authentically raw experience of dining in a foreign country with a language barrier. It’s a tiny, hole-in-the-wall restaurant. So tiny that we talked around it a few times before realizing that this wasn’t the back of a restaurant where employees smoke, but actually the front entrance. The restaurant fits about 30 people (and that’s me being generous), and just two people are serving. We were lucky enough to have been seated next to another American couple from Chicago (the odds!) that prompted us to ask all your questions at once because the staff didn’t come by very often. The menu, if I remember correctly, was entirely in Italian, our wifi hotspot was spotty at best, and we basically decided to eat whatever they served us, but oh was it delicious!
        • ADDRESS: Piazza delle Cinque Scole, 30, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
        • WHAT TO GET: Jewish-style artichokes, fettuccine Cacio e Pepe, fettuccine Pomodoro e Basilico (all of these were amazing, and there was also some sort of fried fish the couple next to us recommended – so good)
    • Gelato Break: Frigidarium: This place had the longest line! Unlike other gelato shops, they don’t offer samples, and they pretty much expect you to know what you’d like to get before you approach the front. Gelato Nazi or not, this place really had the best gelato in Rome (we both agreed.) I ordered the cremino al pistachio (which was some sort of chocolate and pistachio combination – totally yummy) and the mango sorbetto! Have mercy! I still dream about that mano sorbetto.
      • ADDRESS: Via del Governo Vecchio, Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy

me standing and looking at the trevi fountain

me throwing a penny into the Trevi Fountain

strawberry and lemon gelato for me with espresso and chocolate gelato for hubby from Giolitti

cobblestone streets of Rome

picture of the Pantheon from a distance

fountain at Piazza Navona

mango gelato on a cone from frigidarium

me purchasing dishes from a little home goods shop

and then on the last day I found an amazing prop shop and got lost in it for what Anees clams are

We were in Rome for just over 4 days and could’ve easily fit it all into a 3-day Itinerary. There are tons and tons of other things to do in Rome; these are just the things we narrowed down and enjoyed doing at somewhat of a leisurely pace. Our goal was to see the main things in every city this time around, and that’s what I’ve covered here.

If you have any other questions or suggestions on what to do or where to eat, feel free to leave them below so others can benefit from this too! I hope this post was helpful if you’re planning a trip to Rome at some point!

I Highly suggest comfy shoes for all the walking, here are ones I used:

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