Rome is one of the most famous and visited cities in the world. Known for its rich history, art, and delicious cuisine, Rome is a must-see destination for anyone traveling to Italy. With so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan a trip, especially if you have limited time. If you’re ready to live your Lizzie McGuire dream, but only have 48 hours to spend in Rome, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in!
Rise and shine, it’s exploration time! Start your day off like a Roman and pop into a cafe for a classic cappuccino and croissant. Keep in mind, if you stand at the bar to drink your coffee instead of sitting down, the cost for your breakfast will be cheaper. After fueling up for your day, get ready to hit the ground running in the Eternal City.
Start your day at the Colosseum, one of Rome's most iconic landmarks. The Colosseum is an ancient amphitheater that dates back to 70-80 AD and was once used for gladiator contests and public spectacles. You can take a guided tour or explore the site on your own. If you’re exploring without a guide, I highly recommend downloading Rick Steve’s Audio Europe app for a full audio tour of the famous site. Be sure to arrive early to beat the crowds and pre-book your ticket to avoid long lines.
After visiting the Colosseum, head over to the Roman Forum, which was the center of ancient Rome's political and social life. This sprawling archaeological site includes the remains of temples, government buildings, and public spaces. You can also see the Arch of Titus, which commemorates the Roman victory over Jerusalem in 70 AD.
After your morning exploration, you’ll be in need for some fuel. Grab lunch at one of Rome's many trattorias, which are casual restaurants that serve traditional Roman cuisine. La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali is just a few steps away from the Roman Forum and offers delicious Italian cuisine. The atmosphere is cozy and rustic, and the staff is friendly and welcoming.
After lunch, head to the Pantheon, which is one of the best-preserved ancient Roman buildings. This temple was built in 125 AD and is known for its massive dome and intricate marble interior. You can also see the tombs of several famous Italians, including the artist Raphael.
Visit the Trevi Fountain, which is one of Rome's most famous landmarks. This baroque-style fountain was designed in the 18th century and features a sculpture of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. Legend has it that if you toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, you'll return to Rome someday, or if you’re lucky a hot Italian pop star will confuse you for his performing partner and you’ll get swept up in a whirlwind romance. (Yes I’ve watched the Lizzie McGuire Movie way too much!)
After making a wish at the Trevi Fountain, walk just a few minutes to the famous Spanish Steps. While the steps are likely to be crowded with people sitting and people watching, they are quite an impressive site to behold.
For dinner, head to Trastevere, a bohemian neighborhood that's known for its nightlife and restaurants. You'll find plenty of options for pizza, pasta, and other Italian dishes. After a long day of exploring, you’ll have earned a refreshing Aperol Spritz. Da Enzo al 29 is a popular trattoria in Trastevere, serving up classic Roman dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. The atmosphere is cozy and casual, and the staff is friendly and welcoming. After dinner, stroll through the neighborhood's narrow streets and soak up the atmosphere. Forget a nightcap, and end your day with gelato from Fatamorgana which makes high-end gelato and even offers vegan and gluten-free options!
✈️ Pro Tip: Not a city slicker? Then it’s time to Hey Mambo Mambo To Positano.
After a good night's sleep, lace up you sneakers and get ready to wander through the historical roads of Rome.
Start your second day with a visit to Vatican City. Pre-book your ticket to avoid long lines before marveling at the famous Sistine Chapel and impressive museum collection. You can see works by Michelangelo, Raphael, and other Renaissance artists, as well as ancient Roman and Greek artifacts.
Grab some lunch at La Pergola. This is a three-Michelin-starred restaurant located on the top floor of the Rome Cavalieri hotel, just a short distance from the Vatican. The menu features innovative Italian cuisine, and the restaurant boasts stunning views of the city.
After lunch, head to St. Peter's Basilica, which is the largest church in the world and the center of Catholicism. This impressive Renaissance church was designed by famous architects such as Michelangelo and Bernini, and features beautiful sculptures and artwork. You can also climb to the top of the dome for a panoramic view of the city.
Take a walk along the Tiber River and cross the Ponte Sant'Angelo, a beautiful bridge that leads to the Castel Sant'Angelo. This former fortress was built by Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD and was later used as a papal residence. You can visit the castle's museum and enjoy the views from the terrace.
Visit the Piazza Navona, a lively square that's surrounded by beautiful baroque buildings and fountains. The centerpiece of the square is the Fountain of the Four Rivers, which features sculptures representing the Nile, the Ganges, the Danube, and the Rio de la Plata. You can also find street performers and artists selling their wares.
For dinner, head to Testaccio, a neighborhood that's known for its culinary scene. Head to Checchino dal 1887, a historic restaurant in Testaccio, known for its excellent wine cellar and traditional Roman dishes. The restaurant has been in the same family for six generations and has a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
✈️ Pro Tip: Are you a wine lover? Use this guide on Traveling Tuscany: Amazing Wineries To Visit.
Rome is a city that's full of history, culture, and delicious food. With just 48 hours, you can experience some of the city's most famous landmarks and neighborhoods, from the Colosseum and the Vatican to Trastevere and Testaccio. Whether you're a history buff, an art lover, or just looking to soak up the atmosphere of this beautiful city, Rome has something for everyone. With a little planning and a lot of curiosity, you can make the most of your 48 hours in Rome and create memories that will last a lifetime.