Many of my friends and family members have either begun the vacation planning process or are soon leaving on a trip, and because I have a degree in Tourism and Event Planning I am more than happy to give them travel tips and suggestions. I am by no mean, an authority or a certified tour guide, so take this advice with a grain of salt.
This is my itinerary for a one to two day walking tour of Rome. It would not be my first choice to try and see all that Rome has to offer in one day. In fact, if I could I would require every tourist to spend a minimum amount of time in Rome to give the city the true respect it deserves. Though, sadly, not everyone has the time to spare. So I am posting this not only to give a starting point for my friends, but for anyone in general that is visiting Rome on a strict time limit. This is just a bare bones basic guide, because I know that not everyone has the same interests and preferences. It also depends on your preferred mode of transportation, although I suggest walking.
I know this little itinerary can be done in one day, because if you're really determined to see the major sights of Rome on a time limit, then it only takes a few minutes at some of these places for pictures before moving on to the next one. I wouldn't necessarily be one of those people, but there it is.
Stop #1: The Roman Forum
Begin at the Roman Forum, because the entrance ticket can be used to gain entrance into the Colosseum as well. It is decent in size and walking through it may take some time, especially when visiting during high season.
Stop #2: The Colosseum
Obviously, the Colosseum is a must see. The exit of the Roman Forum pretty much leads directly to the entrance of the Colosseum. Also, stop and get a picture of the Arch of Constantine.
Stop #3: The Vittorio Emanuele II (Wedding Cake) Monument
It is a short walk down the street from the Colosseum, and a great photo opportunity. Once you get there, this stop can literally be done in less than ten minutes.
Stop #4: The Capitoline Museum
This museum in right behind the Wedding Cake and it is one of my favorite museums in Rome. The basement walkway offers a great view of the Roman Forum and the museum has some very interesting pieces.
Stop #5: Piazza Navona
I LOVE Piazza Navona. It can be a bit difficult to find, but once you're headed in the right direction, there are plenty of signs to direct you. When leaving the museum (or the Wedding Cake if you opt out of the museum), go back to the Wedding Cake and facing away from it turn left onto Via dei Fiori Imperiali, then turn left onto Via del Plebiscito/ Corso Vittorio Emanuele II (road names). Then follow the signs to the piazza. I love Navona because it is the home of the beautiful Bernini Fountain (my favorite sculpter) and I love looking through the paintings that are always for sale there. It's a great place to people watch.
TIP: Never accept the first price given for a painting. Haggling is your best friend.
Stop #6: The Pantheon
The Pantheon is a short walk from Piazza Navona, just take one of the side streets out of the piazza (I cannot remember which one). There will be signs to direct you. I find it to be one of the more interesting structures in Rome and it's always a great photo opportunity.
Tip: Please remember that this is also a place of worship, so be respectful to those that are.
Stop #7: The Trevi Fountain
From the Pantheon, head East to get to eventually turn left onto Via del Corso. This is the major road that goes through most of the city center. Turn right onto Via delle Muratte and you will run right into the Trevi Fountain. This is my other favorite spot in Rome. When I studied abroad, I lived less than 20 minutes walking distance away from the fountain, so I was there quite often. It is twice as pretty at night, so if you have time and want to, skip this step during the day and come back to it at night.
Stop #8: The Spanish Steps
Leave the Trevi Fountain by taking Via della Stamperia heading north and head right down Via del Tritone (a street I got to know very well). Turn left on Via dei Due Macelli, which will merge into Piazza di Spagna. The Spanish Steps are beautiful and very colorful during the day. It is a great place to stop and catch your breath.
Stop #9: Piazza del Popolo
Keep going down the same street, in the same direction, that the Spanish Steps are on and you will run into Piazza del Popolo. It is a great open space and has a wonderful centerpiece fountain. Great photo opportunity, but if crunched for time, this is probably the easiest stop to cut out.
Stop #10: The Vatican and Castel Sant'Angelo
If you can, have at least a second day at your disposal for this part if you would like to actually go inside St. Peter's Basilica and see the Sistene Chapel. If you just want pictures of the outside, however, you can probably squeeze it into your day. Leave Piazza del Popolo via Ponte Regina Margherita, which turns into Via Cola di Rienzo. This will lead almost right up to the walls of the Vatican.
Extra Time: Borghese Gardens and Villa Borghese Museum
Villa Borghese is my absolute favorite museum! The Bernini sculptures are to die for! It is just northeast of the Spanish Steps. The museum requires an appointment, so if you want to see it, plan for it in advance. The gardens are free to walk through and are a beautiful and relaxing site.
Obviously, this trip can be split up into multiple days, but I highly recommend that The Roman Forum and the Colosseum are visited together, as you can buy one ticket for both. You might notice that I have not included any restaurants or gelato stops on this itinerary. That is because I am quite weary of the food near these places. Although, I have had dinner at a restaurant near Via del Corso and the Spanish Steps. For the most part though, the places I would recommend are no where near any of these touristy places. I suggest wandering down a side street, less walked by tourists, for a good place to eat throughout the day.
If anyone has any other suggestions or helpful hints, please comment below! And feel free to correct me if I made any mistakes (as I stated earlier, I am certainly not an authority on Rome).
What I'm Listening To:
~ On An Evening in Roma - Dean Martin
~ In Italia - Fabri Fibra
~ Volare - Vitamin C (or Dean Martin version)
~ Mi Va - ZAZ