Last updated on February 12, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Rome

Rome in 2 days itinerary [3 plans with free walks]

Suggesting a Rome in 2 days itinerary can be overwhelming. There is almost an unlimited list of places to visit and experience in the city.

However, you will be pleasantly surprised by how much you can see and do if you plan your breakaway in advance, with maps and walks.

I lived for 5 years in Rome, experiencing all I could. Below I have organised three types of travel plans that work so well for couples, families, or art&culture lovers.

It’s all customised with activities based on the type of your trip.

But let’s dig into it

You can read also

2 days in Rome itinerary
2 days in Rome itinerary

Rome in 2 days itinerary – In a nutshell

In the map below, I highlighted the 9 areas where I usually suggest staying in Rome.

With just 2 days in the eternal city, I recommend booking your accommodation in the Historic Centre to be closed to most of the destinations.

The Central Station is also well connected by public transportation, besides being also a more budget option

I love Trastevere, however it’s not so well connected and I would probably suggest it for a longer stay, at least with 3 days in Rome.

Best areas to stay in Rome
Best areas to stay in Rome
  • 2 days in Rome itinerary for couples: Spend Day 1 visiting Trastevere and have a walk from Piazza Venezia to Trevi Fountain. On Day 2, explore more of the Historic Centre and join a fun Food Class. Read below a detailed daily plan for 2 days in Rome for couples
  • 2 days in Rome itinerary for families: On Day 1 visit the Colosseum and join the unique Gladiator School. Day 2 is for the Historic Centre walk, from the Trevi Fountain to the Pantheon’s Hole. In the afternoon, there are different options for little ones or grown-ups. Read more below for the best family itinerary with maps and all the attractions for kids.
  • 2 days in Rome for art & culture: Spend Day 1 visiting the Historic Centre, from the Colosseum to Piazza Navona. Day 2 is dedicated to the Vatican City and the Caracalla Baths, the hidden gem of Rome. Read more below for the 2 days plan. It’s going to be a busy one, visiting some of the most beautiful sites in the world.
  • ESSENTIAL TIP! Buy the skip-the-line tickets in advance. Rome is a very popular destination and queues of 3-4 hours to access attractions are not as uncommon, especially for the Vatican Museums or the Colosseum. Where applicable, I have added below links to these skip-the-line tickets. You can always cancel your bookings free of any charge up to 24 hours prior to the start.
  • Best areas to stay in Rome for 2 days: The Historic Centre is the best area to look for accommodations for 2 days in Rome. Although slightly more expensive, it will save you a ton of time otherwise spent on public transportation. If you are in Rome for 3 days or more, you can think of other areas too.
  • Best hotels for 2 days in Rome: Palazzo Pamphilj (Lux), G-Rough (boutique), Palazzo De Cupis (mid range), Navona Theatre Hotel (on a budget), Pantheon Escape (1BR up to 4 people). There are more options below for each section (couples, family, art&boutique)
  • Best self-guided walks: I have organised 7 walks of Rome with maps that you can follow yourself, without the need of a guide. I have used a few of them into the itineraries below, based on the type of trip you have in mind (romantic, cultural, historic, etc)

I have also created, and shared, a map with all the things to do and places to visit in Rome in 2 days or more.

Things to do and places to visit in Rome
Things to do and places to visit in Rome – Check the Google map I have shared on my GDrive

2 days in Rome itinerary for couples

Day 1 – Trastevere & Piazza Venezia to Trevi Fountain

Start the day on a high from one of the best viewpoints in Rome, at Gianicolo.

To get there, catch the bus #115 from Piazza Della Rovere (15 minutes).

You can even think of taking a coffee/cappuccino at the Terrazza del Gianicolo, surely not the cheapest in Rome, but what a view!

Make your way into Trastevere with this lovely walk that goes through some of the most iconic sites as well as a few hidden gems, known only by a bunch of locals.

Trastevere Walking Tour Self-Guided

Trastevere walking tour self-guided
Trastevere walking tour self-guided

You will finish the Trastevere tour at the Tiber Island. The walk will take from 3 to 5 hours, based on how long you will spend on the sites.

Plan to have your lunch in Trastevere. I have highlighted a few boutique restaurants on my walk.

In the afternoon, head to Piazza Venezia, just 10 minutes from the Tiber Island.

You can think of visiting the Capitoline Museums (read more here) or just have a walk at the Campidoglio Square, explore the quiet garden of Palazzo Venezia and check out the Altar of the Fatherland (Altare della Patria)

From there, make your way to the Trevi Fountain visiting the Trajan’s Market, the hidden Elevated Garden, on top of a Villa in the centre of Rome, and the Quirinal Palace, the presidential home.

This itinerary is part of a walk I described from the Colosseum to Trevi Fountain.

The Trevi Fountain at night
The Trevi Fountain at night

Day 2 – Historic Centre & Food Class

Start the morning from where you left it, at the Trevi Fountain.

Explore the underground of the fountain with this unique guided tour, a hidden gem of Rome.

Then, make your way to Piazza Navona, through the Historic Centre with stops at the Spanish Steps, the Adriano Temple, the Pantheon and other hidden gems and iconic sites.

I have written this self-guided walk from the Trevi Fountain to Piazza Navona with 10 stops, a great reference to use during your exploration.

Trevi Fountain to Piazza Navona

Trevi Fountain to Piazza Navona
Trevi Fountain to Piazza Navona

In the afternoon, take a food class, one of the funniest way to enjoy the local food with a local chef.

You have a couple of options.

Go for the Professional Pasta Lab Experience if you want to know all about the making process, from the dough to the sauce, from a professional chef in a professional environment.

Alternatively, check out the Pasta & Tiramisu Workshop, organised in a restaurant with all you need to know about the Tiramisu.

The best of both is that you are going to eat all you make on a dinner with all the participants at the workshops, a fun night and a great way to meet other people.

Professional Pasta    Pasta & Tiramisu

Accommodations and experiences for couples:

The Spanish Steps in the middle of the night - the only time you can see it empty
The Spanish Steps in the middle of the night – the only time you can see it empty

Check more photos below of a 2 days in Rome Itinerary.

2 days in Rome itinerary for families

Day 1 – Colosseum & Gladiator School

Start your family breakaway, as the antique Romans did.

It’s a day fully dedicated to the gladiators and the biggest stadium in the world for the most popular sport of that time.

In the morning, plan a visit to the Colosseum (read more on it here).

There are different tickets available, with the possibility of visiting the nearby Palatine Hill and the Fori Imperiali as well.

In saying that, I would suggest to limit the time spent in the area, especially if travelling with small kids.

You can go for the amazing 4-hour trip of the entire area but it can be quite tiring with the little ones

Pre-book instead the family-friendly tour (with skip-the-line tickets), a total winner for both parents and kids, such a great way to explore this ancient structure with fun facts.

For lunch, head to Pizzeria Boccaccia, just a few hundreds metres from the Colosseum, a take-away place at a very affordable price (there are also a few tables outside).

Have an energetic meal because you will need it for the afternoon activity, one of the best rated for kids ….and adults too.

You will join the Gladiator School for 2 hours of pure fun, besides getting to understand more about the life back in the Roman days.

Family-friendly Colosseum Tour    Gladiator School

The Colosseum
The Colosseum

Day 2 – Explora, Trevi Fountain & Pantheon’s Hole

Start your morning with a visit to the Trevi Fountain (read more on it here) and bring with you a few little coins to throw in the fountain, of course.

Once there, you can even decide to take the underground guided tour, a unique and unknown experience to have in Rome.

Have a little walk in the Historic Centre to reach the second destination of the morning, the Pantheon.

This is a unique building with a unique story (read more here) with the unusual and intriguing hole on top of the dome.

You will be able to either see the sky, or get the rain in, but only in case of heavy rain and it will disappear in no time on the floor thanks to little holes on the floor.

The interesting fact is that the Pantheon was designed 2,000 years ago with an ascensional airflow that pushes out the rain from the hole.

That is why you won’t have any water in on an average rainy day.

Here below are a couple of suggestions for the afternoon, based on the age of your kids.

If you are travelling with little ones, then you should make it to Explora, a children museum close to the central Piazza del Popolo.

It is a boutique museum with many interactive exhibitions that will keep your kids busy and happy for the entire visit.

Alternatively, if travelling with grown-ups, head instead to the Spanish Square and the Spanish Steps, one of the most beautiful parts of Rome.

From there, make your way through Via Condotti and the nearby lanes, famous for its shopping and designer boutiques.

Take Via del Corso and reach the central Piazza Venezia where you can also find 2 of the most hidden gardens in Rome, including an elevated one, for a quiet rest in an otherwise hectic city.

For dinner, I highly suggest going to Campo dei Fiori, a square used as a local market during the day, but full of tables and drinking areas during the evening/night.

Trevi Fountain Tour    Explora

Accommodations and experiences for families:

Pantheon Square
Pantheon Square

Check more photos below of a 2 days in Rome Itinerary.

Two days in Rome for art & culture

Day 1 – Colosseum to Piazza Navona – the Historic Centre

Start the first morning of the 2 days in Rome itinerary with the most iconic site of Rome, the Colosseum (read more here).

The area is actually full of ancient Roman sites like the Fori Imperial, as well as interesting places likes the St John and Paul Basilica or the Capitoline Museums.

There is an amazing tour that lasts 3 hours to discover the Colosseum, the Fori Imperiali and the Palatine Hill with introductory video and a skip-the-line ticket.

I already highlighted the importance of the skip-the-line tickets, really essential unless you prefer to spend 2 hours or more in a queue.

Keep going, with stops at Piazza Venezia, the hidden Elevated Gardens, the Presidential Palace and the Trevi Fountain.

One of my favourite lunch places in Rome is actually around the Trevi Fountain.

It’s called Pane e Salame, a real little gem, with beautiful food mostly sourced from the local area of Lazio.

You can see the morning itinerary on a map with a description of every single stop on my Colosseum to Trevi Fountain Walk guide.

Colosseum, Fori & Palatine skip-the-line    Colosseum to Trevi Fountain Walk

Colosseum to Trevi Fountain walk
Colosseum to Trevi Fountain walk

In the afternoon, from the Trevi Fountain, make your way to Piazza Navona through the maze of small lanes and hidden squares of the Historic Centre.

Make a point to stop at these amazing sites:

  • Basilica di Sant’Andrea delle Fratte
  • Spanish Square & Spanish Steps
  • Via Condotti and the designer boutiques
  • Basilica of Saint Lawrence in Lucina
  • Montecitorio & Chigi Palace
  • Adriano Temple
  • Pantheon
  • Madama Palace

Check out my guide to the Trevi Fountain to Piazza Navona walk, including a description of the sites and a suggestion on how to spend the evening/night in one of the most fantastic meeting point of the locals.

Trevi Fountain to Navona Square

The Spanish Steps in the middle of the night - the only time you can see it empty
The Spanish Steps in the middle of the night – the only time you can see it empty

Day 2 – Vatican City, Caracalla Baths & Circus Maximus

This is another intense day with an early morning start at the Vatican City, exploring probably the most popular museum in the world, the Vatican Museums (read more here).

Popular means in Rome a long queue at the gate. 

For this reason, I highly suggest buying a Skip-The-Line ticket (including a guided tour as well).

Even better, why not having even breakfast inside with an early bird entrance ticket.

This is a pretty unique experience because you are going to have breakfast inside the Papal walls and you will get to enjoy the museums with just a bunch of visitors, instead of the usual crowd.

Once you are finished with the museums, have a walk in the iconic St Peter’s Square and Basilica, besides visiting a few hidden gems I have described in my self-guided Vatican City walking tour with 7 stops.

Skip-the-line + Guided Tour    Breakfast + Early Tour    Vatican City walk

Vatican City walking tour itinerary
Vatican City walking tour itinerary

In the afternoon, book a visit to the Caracalla Baths & Circus Maximus, a hidden gem of Rome that most visitors of the Eternal City miss out on.

The Caracalla Baths are one of the biggest and better preserved Roman baths in the world, located just 300 metres from the Circus Maximus but still tucked away enough to be unnoticed by the most.

They were in operation for over 300 years, starting from the 3rd century and they were listed in the seven wonders of the antique Rome.

In the last 1,700 years, the baths have been used in different ways, far from the original scope.

However, after 1980, the restoration work started and the Caracalla Baths were re-opened again to the visitors in 2001

An interesting fact is that the Caracalla Baths have been used also as an inspiration for the design of modern buildings as the NYC Pennsylvania Station or the Chicago Union Station.

Caracalla Baths & Circus Maximus Tour

Accommodations and experiences:

The Caracalla Baths
The Caracalla Baths

More photos of the 2 days in Rome Itinerary

The imposing Via della Conciliazione heading to St Peter's Square
The imposing Via della Conciliazione heading to St Peter’s Square
Statues of the apostles at the Saint Peter's basilica
Statues of the apostles at the Saint Peter’s basilica
St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica
Sant'Angelo Bridge
Sant’Angelo Bridge
Walking through the Roman Forum
Walking through the Roman Forum
The Colosseum at night
The Colosseum at night
The Cordonata Steps taking to the Campidoglio Square
The Cordonata Steps taking to the Campidoglio Square
Hidden alley of Trastevere
Hidden alley of Trastevere
Maginal streetlights of Trastevere at night
Magical streetlights of Trastevere at night
Santa Maria in Trastevere empty in the early morning
View at the Santa Maria in Trastevere church in Rome, Italy
Aerial view of Tiberina island in Rome
Aerial view of Tiberina island in Rome
Small lanes of Trastevere
Small lanes of Trastevere
Walking in the Historic Centre in the early morning
Walking in the Historic Centre in the early morning
Moro Fountain in Piazza Navona
Moro Fountain in Piazza Navona
Walking in Rome at night - Adrian temple and the bike
Walking in Rome at night – Adrian temple and the bike
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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