A day trip to Rome is definitely a challenge! What top attractions should you visit in just one day? How do you choose? I’m sure many people have asked these questions already. People on a cruise often stop by for just one day, or people that are staying at a B&B in the neighbourhood.
First of all you just have to accept that you won’t be able to see and do everything Roma has to offer. There are so many attractions, good restaurants, beautiful squares and fountains, gelateria, parks and monuments that doing everything in one day is just impossible! So my advice is skip the museums and go for a walk that takes you to as many attractions as possible. See it as a day of exploration to discover what you like and to get an idea what this city is about, so you know what to do when you come back for a longer stay (which you absolutely must do!).
Here’s my idea of a nice walk packed with top attractions and some smaller gems to discover the true spirit of Rome in one day! But remember; there’s way more to see! (Read here)
One day in Rome: the walk
Campo de’ Fiori
This walk starts at the Campo de’ Fiori, a charming square with a picturesque market where locals and tourists buy food every day. Try one of the delicious fruit cups and turn Southwest to the Piazza Farnese via the Via dei Baullari. Here you will find the Palazzo Farnese and two identical fountains. Then turn back via the Vicolo del Gallo to the Campo de’ Fiori and take the Via dei Baullari in Northeast direction. You’ll pass some nice shops like Lala Italia. Cross the Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and turn into the Via della Cuccagna to arrive at Piazza Navona.
This is the most beautiful square of Rome. It contains three gorgeous fountains; the Fountain of the Four Rivers, the Neptune Fountain and the Moor Fountain and the beautiful Baroque church of Sant’Agnese in Agone. After exploring this fantastic place, take the Via di Sant’Agnese in Agone and continue to the Piazza del Fico, Vicolo delle Vacche, Via della Vetrina and turn left at the Via dei Coronari. Here you’ll find a lot of small shops and restaurants. Continue until you reach the Piazza dei Coronari where you turn right at the Via di Panico. At the end you’ll reach Castel Sant’Angelo.
Castel Sant’Angelo / Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II
You can cross the Ponte Sant’Angelo to continue, but it’s better to stay at this side of the river and take your pictures of the bridge and the Castel Sant’Angelo and then go further left direction Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II, the most beautiful bridge of Rome. At the heads the bridge is decorated with winged statues of the Goddess Victoria. The sculpture groups on the bridge itself symbolize “Loyalty to the State”, “Freedom”, “The Unification of Italy” and “Oppression Conquered”. Cross the bridge and take the Borgo Santo Spirito to the left and continue until you reach the Piazza San Pietro.
Basilica di San Pietro
Visit the Basilica di San Pietro, enjoy the views on the Piazza and then go back via the Via della Conciliazione. Pass the Castel Sant’Angelo on your left and continue until the Piazza dei Tribunali. Here the Palace of Justice is located, a very impressive building to admire. Then cross the Ponte Umberto and continue your walk via the Via Giuseppe Zanardelli, turn left at the Piazza delle Cinque Lune and turn right at Corso di Rinascimento (or at the Via Agonale to return to the Piazza Navona). Then take the Via del Salvatore, turn right at the Via della Dogana Vecchia and turn left at the Salita dei Crescenzi. Continue until you reach the Piazza della Rotonda.
Another famous historical site of Rome. The Pantheon is free to enter and the hole in the dome where the sunlight enters the massive marble room, gives it a surreal and divine character. Take your time to look around and after your visit you can enjoy the lovely piazza and its fountain and if you’re hungry look for a nice place to lunch in one of the surrounding streets (it’s cheaper to eat there than at the Piazza della Rotonda itself). After lunch take the Via dei Pastini to the Piazza di Pietra and turn right at the Via de’ Burro. Continue this streeet until you reach the Piazza di Sant’Ignazio.
Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola
Visit the Church of Sant’Ignazio di Loyola. Take a look up inside and admire the fantastic Tromp l’oeil painted dome, which looks as if it’s a real dome (but it’s actually just a flat ceiling). Return to the Piazza di Pietra and take the Via di Pietra, cross the Via del Corso (the main shopping street of Rome) and continue via the Via delle Muratte where you will pass a small market with souvenir stands. Keep going until you hear the bustling sound of the water of the most famous fountain in the world; the Fontana di Trevi!
Fontana di Trevi
This is my absolute favorite place in Rome, any time of the day. It’s always crowded (except late at night) and the perfect place to sit down for a while with a gelato and watch people. After worshipping this stunning fountain take the Via Poli (at the left side of the Trevi fountain), cross the Via del Tritone and continue passing the Via del Bufalo, Via di Sant’Andrea delle Fratte and the Via di Propaganda. Until you reach the Piazza di Spagna. If you didn’t have lunch yet you could eat at the Piazza Mignanelli at Mignanelli 24.
Piazza di Spagna
This square (again) has a gorgeous fountain where you can fill your empty plastic bottle with water. You can sit on the Spanish Steps for a while or, if you want to spend serious money, spend some time at the expensive shops of the Via dei Condotti where you’ll find Gucci, Louis Vuitton etc. Then go up the stairs, enjoy the view of the Roman rooftops and take the Via Sistina at the right side of the Trinita dei Monti church. Keep going until you reach Piazza Barberini.
Here you’ll find the Fontana del Tritone (yep, another pretty fountain), but make sure you don’t get hit by a car trying to reach the fountain. Traffic is crazy here! Then continue your walk via the Via delle Quattro Fontane. At the four corner fountains turn right. Follow the Via del Quirinale, passing the residence of Italy’s president. Take a look at the Piazza del Quirinale which offers a wonderful view. Then take the Via della Consulta and continue via the Via dei Serpenti and the Via degli Annibaldi to reach the Colosseum.
Colosseo / Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II
Take a walk around the Colosseum and then proceed via the Via dei Fori Imperiali passing the remarkable remains of the Foro Romano. If you want you can take the Via di San Pietro in Carcere up to the Campidoglio and from there continue via the terraces of the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II to the Piazza Venezia. If you’re too tired you can continue passing the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II from the ground floor. But you’ll miss the fantastic views on the Foro Romano and the Colosseo. You can also take an elevator to the roof of the monument to enjoy some more views of Rome.
When you arrive at the Piazza Venezia continue to the other side of the monument and cross the street at the Piazza Aracoeli to turn back to a more quieter neighbourhood; the Jewish quarter.
Take the Via Margana, the Via Delfini and the Via dei Funari until you arrive at the Piazza Mattei where you’ll discover the Fontana delle Tartarughe (the Turtle Fountain). If it’s already dinner time or aperitivo time when you are there, I’ll advice you to take the Via della Reginella to the Via del Portico D’Ottavia. Here you’ll find a lot of bars and restaurants.
If you’re lucky to be able to spend the evening in Rome I advise to cross the Tiber (river) and have dinner at Trastevere!
Don’t hesitate to share this walk with friends who plan to visit Rome.
If you have any questions about Rome, please leave a comment in the comment box down below!