3 Days Rome Itinerary – Quick Self Guided Tour of The Eternal City

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3 Days Rome Itinerary - your best guide for Eternal City!

3 Days In Rome Itinerary

Three days in Rome is about the right time to spend in Eternal City if you wish to take a quick look at it. While one day may seem enough to see most attractions, you won’t have a chance to peek inside its famous monuments. We recommend staying a bit longer though, as even with 3 Days Rome Itinerary you would probably miss out on many interesting things here.

3 Days Rome Itinerary

Day One: Walking tour – Fountains, Churches, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant’Angelo

Day Two: Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum

Day Three: Vatican Museum and Trastevere district

Best hotels for a quick 3 day stay in Rome – centrally located Scott House 3*, Hotel Sonya 3*, The Hive Hotel 4*

3 Days too short?
Interested in a longer itinerary? Consider this fantastic 2 Weeks Italy France trip by rail!

3 Days Rome Itinerary

Day One: Fountains, Churches, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant’Angelo

Start off your day with a cup of fresh espresso and a tasty baguette. It’s time to explore magnificent Rome on foot. I assume you are staying somewhere around main train station (Termini) – the best area if you want to explore Rome and have easy access to metro! Hop on the metro or take a long walk towards historical center of Rome.

I’m not going to propose a strict walking itinerary – the best way to explore the historical center is by zig-zagging it’s streets at one’s own pace. I’d rather list the must-see attractions that should be visited during the day (in no particular order). Considering your 3 Days Rome Itinerary, this is the minimum list of the most popular sightseeing. For more detailed descriptions, have a look at this list of main Rome attractions to visit in a short period of time.

3 Days Rome Itinerary - Pantheon

Main Rome attractions for you to consider

Trevi Fountain – the most beautiful and festive fountain in all Rome (and the World).

Piazza Navona – three fountains there, the most famous one – Fountain of the Four Rivers (1651) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Spanish Steps – famous from the movie “Roman Holidays”

Pantheon – former Roman temple

Il Tempio di Adriano – Roman temple from 145 AD

Castel Sant’Angelo – 2nd-century castle that used to be a prison – visit the museum if you have time

Villa Medici – 16th-century cardinal’s villa

Baths of Caracalla – Ruins of a vast d Roman thermal bath complex used from around 216 A.D. to 537 A.D.

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3 Days Rome Itinerary

Use your strength wisely – Rome may get really hot during the day and you may get easily exhausted and dehydrated. I would recommend going out early in the morning, before the heat strikes. Then, take a rest and lie down for a couple of hours to avoid the worst heat and save energy. It is much nicer to move around in the afternoon and evenings – it’s still very warm and pleasant.

3 Days Rome Itinerary - Colosseum

Day Two: Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum

Set your alarm clock as early as possible – you need to be at that ticket line before everybody else wakes up. Unless you want to queue for eternity or buy one of the guided tours, of course. Here is a tip – the ticket booth at colosseum usually has the longest queue. However, there is a way how you can easily skip the line.

Keep walking until you reach Palatine Hill entrance gates and buy your 3 attraction pass there! Not so many people know about this trick so you have a good chance to save at least couple of hours! The gates are located here:

3 Days Rome Itinerary

Once you have your day ticket, make a plan how you’d like to visit the place. One day is certainly enough, but the area is quite large. You will get a free map, but it is not very informative. I recommend at least renting an audio guide.


Colosseum is very impressive from the outside, but not so much on the inside. Surely, it must have been a really important and meaningful structure back in the Roman days, but today it’s just a huge empty arena. You will need lots of imagination to try and feel it. Perhaps watching Gladiator (movie) before your visit will help to travel back in time. Sadly, underground section is only available with a tour.

3 Days Rome Itinerary - Roman Forum

Roman Forum and palatine Hill

Roman Forum, on the other hand, is much more enjoyable to look around. As long as you figure out what each structure used to be and its purpose, you can easily forget about the time you live in. It’s really well preserved! Another great thing about Roman Forum and Palatine Hill is the fact that you can actually find yourself alone at some points – the area is just so large in size.

Visiting the three attractions on your 3 Days Rome Itinerary is all I would do on that day. I’m quite sure you will be exhausted and overwhelmed with emotions by the end of the day. So why push yourself – relax at an outdoor restaurant, order yourself nice dinner and enjoy the moment. Rome is going to be here tomorrow, too!

3 Days Rome Itinerary - Vatican

Day Three: Vatican Museum and Trastevere district

I hope your feet are not hurting from the day before – today you’ll need them again! The plan is to head over to the Vatican City and explore its hidden treasures! Take the metro to Ottaviano station early in the morning, before the crowds wake up. Just a short walk away lies the famous Vatican Museum.

You will know that you are approaching museum based on the amount of “tour guides” approaching you and trying to sell you tours. Just ignore them if you don’t want one. Paying 50-60€ per person for a quick museum visit is too much, especially if you know that the museum entrance price is just 17€! I had to learn it the hard way, so don’t repeat my mistakes. Here is the full story where to buy Vatican Museum tickets and not get scammed.

3 Days Rome Itinerary - Vatican Museum

Vatican Museum and St. Peters Basilica

Vatican museum is indeed very easy to visit on your own. Once you enter the premises and buy your ticket, rent the audio guide too. It’s very handy and helpful. Despite the talks of tour guides, the museum is not all that big. We liked all the halls, especially Egyptian, Pio Clementino, Raphael’s Rooms and of course the Sistine Chapel. As soon as we were through the main exposition, we got direct access to Saint Peter’s Basilica without having to leave the building (and without having to go through security check again).

The Basilica is breath-taking – you can ascend the roof for bird-eye views of all Rome. Also, don’t forget to peek in the basement and check out Papal Tombs. Some of them are really old!


After lunch, take a walk along the Tiber to Trastevere – cute little village within the big city with narrow cobbled streets, picturesque, postcard looking houses and artistic vibes. The area is particularly lively at nights when the bars fill up with tourists and locals.

What are your favorite things to do in Rome?

See Also:

Pompeii day trip from Rome Italy

Where to buy Vatican Museum Tickets and not get scammed

2 Weeks Italy France itinerary

3 days in rome italy

  1. Heather Markel

    Wonderful post! My biggest memory of Rome was trying to cross streets without being hit by crazy drivers. 😱 Beautiful photos and what a great walk-through!

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