Italy’s Eternal City, is home to an overwhelming number of sights, sounds and tastes. But that doesn’t mean that your 24 hours in Rome should be stressful.
In this itinerary for one day in Rome, I’ve tried to collate a harmonious balance of sight-seeing, culture and food. So read on, and if you’ve got any questions just let me know in the comments.
Looking for a hostel in Rome? Check out these two…
The Beehive Rome is a cozy, eco hostel with heart owned by an American couple, Linda & Steve, who came to Rome to follow a dream. The Beehive isn’t a party hostel, or a place to go wild just because you are on a gap year away from your parents. It’s a place to have thoughtful conversations, understand different cultures, learn about people who lead different lives and ultimately, enjoy your time in Rome from the comforts of a home away from home.
The Yellow offers more than just bunkbeds. You’ll find yourself staying in the central hub of The Yellow Square which is home to live music, dance parties, DJ nights and more. I’ve even had my hair cut there in their very own salon! Before dancing until 3am in their nightclub across the road… The Yellow is a party hostel through and through, but if you can handle culture on a hangover they also run great walking tours and cooking classes!
24 Hours in Rome:
How to Spend a Delightful Day in Rome
Okay, I know it’s bloody early. But there’s a reason for this. So get yourself up and showered and head straight to Bar Fondi. The bar opens at 7.00am so you’ll be able to grab a tasty espresso macchiato and croissant before heading off to your first destination.
Arrive at the Trevi Fountain. At this time of the morning it will be relatively free from the huge crowds. Which is exactly why I suggest getting up so early if you only have 24 hours in Rome. Snap a few photos of the strangely empty Piazza di Trevi, and then head off in the direction of Piazza Navona.
Skip the Pantheon for now, as it doesn’t open until 9.00am, and spend a few moments admiring the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in the centre of Piazza Navona. Designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the four rivers represented are the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges, and the Río de la Plata.
If you’re anything like me, your stomach is probably rumbling from your far-too-early breakfast ,so now it’s time to head to Campo de Fiori. On the way, stop in to San Lorenzo in Damaso. Often overlooked by visitors to Rome, this minor basilica has a sparse but equally stunning interior that is worth seeing.
Now it’s time to grab a late breakfast or early lunch from the Campo de Fiori. Every morning the Piazza hosts market stalls overflowing with fresh vegetables, flowers, and pastas. So to get a true taste of local Roman life, grab a chair outside Obica Mozzarella Bar or Magnolia and settle in for a spot of people watching.
After your early lunch break, head towards Ponte Garibaldi. This bridge on the Tiber River gives a beautiful view of Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island), once home to the ancient temple of Asclepius, the Ancient Greek god of medicine. Cross the river, heading to the Southern side of Rome and a neighbourhood known as Trastevere.
Even if you’ve just eaten, head straight for I Suppli. This snack bar serves up some of Rome’s best suppli. Which is a deep fried rice ball with various fillings (classically mozzarella, tomato and basil) and my favourite Roman snack of all time! Then pop in to say hello to the smiling Stefania who runs Biscottificio Innocenti, a traditional family biscuit bakery. If you’re full, grab a few sweet treats in a bag to nibble on later.
You’re halfway through your 24 hours in Rome so now its time to walk off the snacks and see some more sights. Head back across the river in the direction of the centre of Rome: Piazza Venezia. From here you’ll be able to climb to the top of the Altare della Patria, or the ‘Wedding Cake’ as some of the Romans call it, for an incredible view of the rooftops of Rome.
Once you get back down you’ll have your pick of Roman ruins to explore, including the Foro di Cesare (Caesar’s Forum) and Foro Traiano (Trajan’s Forum). Take some time to appreciate Trajan’s Column. Completed in 113 AD, the 30 metre high column tells the story of Trajan’s victory in the Dacian wars and the intricate detail carved into the marble like a comic-book spiral is mind-blowing.
Before you head South-East along Via dei Fori Imperiali, take the short hike up the hill of Campidoglio to Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara coeli. This 12th Century Romanesque Church has a dazzling golden interior. But it’s frowned upon to take pictures inside so instead take a slow walk around the nave and admire the gilded ceiling and the cosmatesque floor.
Now it’s time to see the gem of Ancient Rome: the Colosseum. Otherwise known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre to have ever been built. It’s also one of Rome’s busiest attractions. So while you can buy tickets from the official website for just €12 (or €7.50 if you are under 25), this Skip The Line ticket for £22.41 has great reviews and may save you some time!
Before you finish with Ancient Rome, you absolutely have to see the Pantheon. It’s just a twenty minute walk from the Colosseum, or if you’re exhausted then jump on bus 87 outside the Colosseo metro station. Bus tickets cost just €1.50 and you have to buy them before getting on the bus but there should be a machine inside the metro station.
The Pantheon is by far my favourite building in Rome. A former Roman temple, it was completed in 128 AD to specifications that would be almost impossible to recreate today! The Pantheon is also home to the first two kings of Italy, and the famous Renaissance painter, Raphael.
After all your sightseeing, it’s time for some pre-dinner drinks! Known as aperitivo in Rome, the traditional pre-dinner cocktail is the Aperol Spritz, accompanied with nibbles to whet your appetite before dinner. My top pick for aperitivo is Freni e Frizioni. They have a huge cocktail menu and the best selection of food to accompany it.
After you’ve had a spritz (or two), head to Amedeo Ristorante for dinner. It’s not the most budget of places to eat. But if you’re only spending 24 hours in Rome then you should definitely treat yourself to this stunning Italian menu. Oh and there’s wine everywhere. So bonus points for that.
24 Hours in Rome: The Map
Below I’ve embedded a map of Rome on which I have pinned all the places mentioned in this guide. Hopefully it helps you get around the city!
24 Hours in Rome: Getting Around on a Budget
Rome is incredible to explore on foot. There’s history around almost every corner and always a cute café tucked away somewhere where you can people watch and grab a coffee! But the sights of Rome can be quite spread out, which is why I suggest picking up a few bus/metro tickets incase you need them.
Cost of bus/metro tickets and where to buy them in Rome
The same ticket type can be used on the buses and the metro across Rome, and are easy enough to pick up either at a machine in the metro station or in a tobacconist. I prefer to pick them up in a tobacconist as they machines can be quite confusing!
Standard ticket: €1.50
24 Hour ticket: €7.00
48 Hour Ticket: €12.50
Travel passes in Rome
24 Hours in Rome: Final Travel Tips
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Rome is by far one of my favourite cities in Europe. To read more articles about Rome, just click here. And if you find this guide useful, please let me know in the comments!