2 days in Rome

If you plan to visit Rome in two days, here's a list of the essentials to make the most of every minute. Just wear comfortable shoes!

Alex Grande

Alex Grande

6 min read

2 days in Rome

The Colosseum in Rome | ©Unsplash

Are you going on a weekend getaway to Rome? Then you'll want to read this: in two days in Rome you'll have just enough time to see the Sistine Chapel, marvel at the views from the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, explore the Colosseum and stroll through the majestic squares of the city centre.

How to skip the queues, how to get to each site quickly, where to eat and how much time to spend on each visit, all this and more in this perfect itinerary to see Rome in 2 days.

Day 1: The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Historic Centre

The plan is simple: see enough of Rome to make you fall in love with the city and want to come back, but with the feeling that you've seen the main attractions.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum| ©Joshua Earle
The Colosseum| ©Joshua Earle

If you've never been to Rome, visiting the Colosseum is one of the top attractions on your list of priorities during your trip. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and one of the most representative monuments of the Eternal City.

It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, so on a two-day trip it is essential to book your Colosseum tickets in advance to skip the queue.

Book a skip the line ticket to the Colosseum

The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Via dei Fori Imperiali| ©Unsplash
Via dei Fori Imperiali| ©Unsplash

The Roman Forum is the historical centre of the city, the heart of Ancient Rome.

It is a collection of ruins of ancient markets, temples and official buildings more than two millennia old, with views of St. Peter's Basilica in the distance and the Colosseum in the background.

If you have your ticket to the Roman Forum, head to the Palatine Hill, one of Rome's seven hills. The best access is usually from Via di San Gregorio, where there is less of a queue to get in. You'll have to do a bit of a detour coming from the Colosseum, but it will be worth the time savings.

Book a tour of the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine Hill

Lunch stop: recommendations

Taverna dei Fori Imperiali| ©Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
Taverna dei Fori Imperiali| ©Taverna dei Fori Imperiali
  • In the historic centre area, I recommend Ristorante Fiammetta in Piazza Fiammetta, 10. It is a traditional Italian trattoria where you can eat both on the premises and on the terrace, with very tasty dishes for between 20 and 25 € per person.
  • Closer to the Colosseum I recommend the Taverna dei Fori Imperiali, a place where they serve quality homemade food for around €20 per person. It is located in Via della Madonna Dei Monti, 9.
  • If you want to explore other dining recommendations, I have written an article that will help you decide where to book a table during your trip to Rome: 10 places to eat in Rome.

Stroll through the historic centre

Piazza Spagna| ©Jorgen Hendriksen
Piazza Spagna| ©Jorgen Hendriksen

After lunch and after a break where you will probably not be able to resist tasting the famous Italian 'espresso', the day continues with a walk through the centre of Rome, where you will see the most beautiful places of the city:

It is also a good time to take the tour of the fountains and squares of Rome, where you will see the most important and curious ones and you will have the opportunity to know why they were so important.

Book the fountains and squares tour

On to the landmarks

The Pantheon is the next stop on the itinerary, the best preserved building in Ancient Rome. It was built as a temple dedicated to the ensemble of Roman gods, and in the 7th century it became the Basilica of Saint Mary and the Martyrs.

Inside, an oculus at the top of the dome lets in light and creates a magical atmosphere of light and shadow on the mosaics and sculptures on the walls. And if you have time, I recommend taking a guided tour of the Pantheon to get to know it better. After this visit, continue to:

  • Piazza Navona, the centre of city life. It is a colourful square full of bars, restaurants, cafes and three beautiful fountains to relax by.
  • Campo de' Fiori, a square with a large market with all kinds of goods and flower stalls. The atmosphere is somewhat different from centuries ago, as public executions used to take place in this square.
  • Have a drink in Trastevere.
  • I wouldn't think twice aboutgrabbing a pizza at Pizzeria Ai Marmi on Viale di Trastevere, 53-59.

Book a visit to the Pantheon in Rome

Day 2: Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica & Castel Sant'Angelo

The second day of your trip will be more focused on getting into **Rome'**s must-see buildings, the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica, and then a walk to Castel Sant'Angelo from where you can return to the city centre.

Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel| ©Wikimedia
Sistine Chapel| ©Wikimedia

The second day starts with a visit to the Sistine Chapel. For this, you will need to buy tickets for the Sistine Chapel in advance.

I recommend going at the first opening, at 9am, to enjoy it properly without the masses of tourists that crowd the Sistine Chapel during the rest of the day.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays, except for the last Sunday of every month. In case you are going to be in Rome on Saturday and Sunday, you will have to visit the Sistine Chapel on Saturday or do an alternative activity. This article may give you some ideas: 10 secret spots in Rome.

Book tickets to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica| ©Unsplash
St. Peter's Basilica| ©Unsplash

After a stroll through the grandiose St. Peter's Square, continue to the next stop: St. Peter's Basilica.

Admission is free, but if you want to skip the line you must book a tour of St. Peter's Basilica with an official Vatican guide. I tell you how to book your tickets here: St. Peter's Basilica Tickets in Rome: how to buy, prices and schedules.

Once inside, I recommend you stop to admire Michelangelo's Pieta, located in the first chapel on the right as soon as you enter, the Baldacchino in the centre of the basilica, under which the main altar of the church is located, and the tomb of Pope Alexander VII.

Book a visit to St. Peter's Basilica and the Dome

Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Michele Bitetto
Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Michele Bitetto

The third visit of the day is Castel Sant'Angelo, which was built as a mausoleum and has had several uses throughout its history, including serving as a fortress for the Pope in case of war.

In my opinion, it is not worth buying tickets to visit the inside of Castel Sant'Angelo on a 2 day trip to Rome, but you can take a walk around and enjoy the views of the Tiber river from the Ponte Sant'Angelo.

Buy tickets for the Castel Sant'Angelo

Stop for lunch

Tasting a good pizza| ©Blake Wisz
Tasting a good pizza| ©Blake Wisz

By now, your stomach will be rumbling and you'll be looking for a place to eat. Il Sorpasso is a good choice near the Vatican, where you'll be served traditional Roman food with a modern twist and a neat presentation.

Highlights include charcuterie, first courses of pasta and meat. Via Properzio, 31/33.

Say goodbye to Rome in Trastevere

Strolling through Trastevere| ©Shutterstock
Strolling through Trastevere| ©Shutterstock

If your flight leaves in the afternoon, you will have reached the end of your trip. If not, you will still have the whole afternoon to enjoy and rest from all the sightseeing.

You can take another stroll through the centre of Rome and return to the place you liked best for a photo tour, as a farewell to the Eternal City. Another option is to book a guided tour of Trastevere, in case you didn't have time the day before.

Rome is a very curious city, in the sense that no matter how many days you go, there will always be something left to see. In 2 days you will miss quite a few things, but as you can see, you will see the most beautiful and important parts of the city on this trip. If everything went well, you'll want to come back as soon as possible!

Book a guided tour of Trastevere