I must admit that Rome holds a special place in my heart.  Rome was our first trip to Europe and where Marty and I chose as the start of our European honeymoon.  Historic, romantic, and exciting, Rome has something for everyone.  Although we were able to spend several weeks in Rome, we realize that does not work for everyone, hence the reason we created our 2 day Rome itinerary.

Seeing the highlights of Rome in 2 days is completely possible with a little planning and that’s what we are here to help you accomplish!  The funny thing about Rome is even if you have seen the major attractions, there is still so much to see, do, and eat, so you really will never run out of things to do in Rome.  Our itinerary moves at a leisurely pace because we believe in taking time to see things without burning yourself out.

In addition to our Rome itinerary for 2 days, we will throw in some of our suggestions on when to visit Rome, where to stay in Rome, how to get around Rome, and suggest some tours in Rome.  So sit back and relax because we have you covered for your Roman holiday!  This is basically a one-stop shop!  LOL!  If you’re using Rome as a jumping off point to other cities, consider reviewing our 10 day Italy itinerary.

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Rome Itinerary-2 Days

When to Visit Rome

I mean, is there ever a bad time to visit Rome?  I mean, it’s Rome!

There are a few things you should know in order to make the best decision for your trip.  Marty and I visited in the summer, and it was very hot and crowded.  We still had a great time, but it would have been much nicer without the summer sun beating down on us.

If you have flexibility then I would suggest visiting during shoulder season which is between April and June and then again September through October.  The weather is cooling off but you still have plenty of daylight hours to enjoy the sights.  Traditionally this time of year is also much less crowded.

If you aren’t trying to travel with only a backpack as we do, then you might be interested in visiting during the winter months.  The winters in Rome are normally mild in comparison to other parts of Europe, so with a few layers and a warm coat, you should be fine.

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How to Get Around Rome

Overall Rome is a fairly easy city to get around in.  For this itinerary, the easiest way to get around Rome is going to be by foot since most of the attractions are easily walkable, especially if you are staying in the center of Rome.  Walking around the center of Rome will allow you to stumble upon beautiful piazzas, see historic architecture, and find hidden alleys and cafes that you might otherwise miss.

If you find yourself staying outside of the city center, then note that Rome has an extensive public transportation system.  The metro system is easy to navigate and is pretty dependable.

if you would rather, you might consider investing in a Roma Pass you can have access to hop-on, hop-off buses as well as skip-the-line entry to several of the major attractions listed in this article.

Day 1 in Rome

The Roman Colosseum

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You’re here!  You’ve finally made it to Rome, so of course, you definitely want to start with one of the most iconic spots in Rome.

Hop on the metro and head for the “Colosseum” stop.  Once you exit the metro station, there she is, one of the most iconic structures in the world, the Roman Colosseum.  I mean, you really can’t miss it!

Now get ready because this is a tourist hot-spot.  Since you are short on time, then I definitely recommend purchasing a tour in order to skip-the-lines at the Colosseum.  Shop for inexpensive skip-the-line Colosseum tickets here.  Marty and I personally loved taking the Colosseum Restricted Areas Tour.  This tour allows you access to the tunnels of the Colosseum where the gladiators once roamed.  Without a tour, this area is strictly off limits!

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Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum

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Most of your guided tours of the Colosseum will also include a visit to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum and since they are right next door to the Colosseum, it only makes sense to make this your next stop.

I could imagine what the Roman Forum used to look like in its prime when the Roman Empire was the supreme ruler of the land.  I can just see Julius Caesar walking the streets.  For centuries, the Roman Forum was the center of the Roman Empire.  This area contained everything from houses of worship to houses of politics.  Palantine Hill overlooked the Forum and was definitely home to the rich and famous of the Roman Empire.

We wrote an extensive post for you if you want to visit Ancient Rome on your own, but given the time constraints, I would definitely recommend taking a tour.

Trevi Fountain

Now we are going to stroll toward the Trevi Fountain.  The walk to the Trevi from the Roman Forum is about 25 minutes, but don’t worry the walk in itself is sightseeing.  Take time to stop at a little cafe that catches your attention to grab some lunch.  Enjoy the views of the Roman architecture and the life of the bustling piazzas.

I have to admit that I was really looking forward to seeing the Trevi.  Probably just as much as the other iconic Roman attractions.  I had dreamed of standing hand and hand with my love as we throw our coin into the Trevi, guaranteeing that we will return to Rome one day.  I mean, you have to do this!  So imagine my disappointment when we arrived to find them working on the Trevi.  This is one of the many things to know before visiting Rome.

Despite the construction, we squeezed our way through the crowds and managed to get our coin in the little water pool they had reserved.  LOL!

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A short walk from the Trevi is an architectural wonder, the Pantheon.  Designed and built almost two thousand years ago, the Pantheon still remains as an incredible example of Roman engineering that literally brought Marty to tears.

Originally designed as a temple and later used as a church, the beauty of the Pantheon is still drawing visitors to bask in its glory.  Still noted today as the largest unreinforced concrete dome, the Pantheon is definitely a must see while in Rome.  Combine all of this history with the fact that the Pantheon is free to enter, and you have a guaranteed win!

The beautiful exterior columns of the Pantheon in Rome

Day 2 in Rome

Vatican City

Today you’re going to wake up and head straight to Vatican City.  This will require some pre-planning in order to see the Vatican in the short amount of time you’re in Rome.  The lines for this fabulous attraction is very long, so you definitely want to purchase your tickets in advance in order to save your valuable vacation time.

You could easily spend a whole day here in Vatican City, but we would advise to keeping it to half of a day so that you have time to fit in more of Rome before you leave.  Enjoying half a day at the Vatican will give you time to see the major attractions including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.

There are many Vatican tours to choose from, but we recommend choosing an early morning Vatican tour since you are short on time.  If you don’t want to schedule a guided tour, you can also book your ticket directly from the Vatican website.  This will also help you to skip the line.

Castel Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo was originally built as a tomb for the Emporer Hadrian but ended up serving several purposes throughout history.  Castel Snat’Angelo has sat on the banks of the Tiber River for almost 2,000 years and has served as a prison, a castle, a refuge, and currently is a museum.  There’s a fee for entry, but it’s worth if, especially for the view from the top of the building.

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Spanish Steps

On your way to the iconic Spanish Steps, stop for some food at one of the many cafes that you’ll pass as you head across the river.  The Spanish Steps are the place to see and be seen while in Rome.

The steps straddle two beautiful Roman piazzas with a gorgeous fountain at the bottom and a church at the top.  Grab a selfie on the famous steps and people watch while the sun settles over an amazing day in Rome.

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Where to Stay in Rome

For your 2 days in Rome, we definitely suggest getting a hotel or Airbnb in the city center close to all of the attractions listed in our itinerary.  If you’ve never stayed in an Airbnb, use our link and get $40 off of your first booking.

For hotels, consider:

When booking hotels, we always head to TripAdvisor to check for reviews from fellow travelers.  Then when we’re ready to book, Marty and I use either Hotels.com or Booking.com.  We love Hotels.com for the free nights we earn, but we love Booking.com as well because they often have other types of accommodations such as apartments and bed and breakfasts.  Find what works best for you!

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Are you planning a trip to Rome but only have a couple of days? Then this Rome Itinerary for 2 Days is perfect for you! We will show you exactly how to see Rome in 2 days!

Are you planning a trip to Rome but only have a couple of days? Then this Rome Itinerary for 2 Days is perfect for you! We will show you exactly how to see Rome in 2 days!

Are you planning a trip to Rome but only have a couple of days? Then this Rome Itinerary for 2 Days is perfect for you! We will show you exactly how to see Rome in 2 days!

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  1. Thank you Michelle & Marty for sharing! I could have done with this guide when I visited earlier in the year but I know I will be back. When we were there the Trevi was even harder to get to – they blocked it off behind the steps so it was quite an effort to throw your coin in! Pleased to see you included the Parthenon – my favourite place in Rome!
    Thanks again

    • Thank you so much for reading, Sue! I hate that the Trevi was blocked off while you were there also. Maybe this is a common occurrence. LOL! I’m glad you had a nice time in Rome. My husband loves the Parthenon also. It literally brings tears to his eyes every time he even thinks about it. I tease him that he probably helped build it in a past life. 🙂

  2. Rome is absolutely magnificent. I agree with you that visiting Rome highlights in 2 days is possible, although 2 months in Rome wouldn’t be enough for me. 🙂

    I would suggest adding Trastevere to your Rome itinerary. Trastevere is a lovely neighborhood in Rome with charming cafes, trattorias, shops …

    • We totally agree! We actually spent almost 3 weeks in Rome and still couldn’t get enough. During that time, we saw Trastevere and loved it. For this post, I just wanted to hone in on those must-see places for people short on time. 🙂 Thanks for the read and the feedback!

  3. This is a great itinerary for hitting up some of the major highlights of Rome. I much prefer strolling through the pretty Piazzas and looking at the beautiful churches. You also haven’t added any stopping for gelato to your itinerary!!

    • Haha, that is so true, Brianna. I need to go back and edit and add those in. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Another great post from you two! Your photos are stunning and are really fueling my desire to make it to Italy. Someday… Thanks for the advice!

    • Thanks so much, Dani. You have to make it to Italy. It is my absolute favorite country!

  5. Thanks for the recommendations! Rome is still on my bucket list and I will definitely be using your airbnb link to get that discount!

    • Awesome, Brittany! Thanks for the read! I hope you get to visit soon!!

  6. I visited Rome in September and although there were still crowds it was not unbearable or too hot. I love the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain and on my last trip ended up taking photos of at least 3 couples who found a selfie didn’t do the fountain scene justice. I use booking.com mostly too for the same reason as you do, so many different options to choose from.

    • It sounds like you had an awesome trip, Razena. We love booking.com and hotels.com and Airbnb. Really, we just love a good deal that suits what we want out of that particular trip. LOL!

  7. This is pretty well what we did when we stayed in Rome in January! Our accommodation was right next to the Spanish Steps so it was easy to cross that one off!

    • Oh wow, that sounds awesome, Catherine! I’m glad you had a good time. Thanks for reading!

  8. Oh my gosh! That photo of the crowds on the Spanish steps is CRAZY! You must have the patience of a saint. I am dying to visit Rome but I really want to go in the extreme off-season… though I’m not sure if that season will ever come!

    • It really wasn’t all that bad, Carly. We just kinda go with the flow. LOL!

  9. Yes! Totally agree taking your time and slowly getting to see a place is the best way to travel. But this post is very helpful for time strapped visitors to Rome. I was there many many years ago and you brought me back when reading your descriptions! Have to plan a return trip now thanks a million for sending me briefly to Rome!

    • Thank you so much for reading and for the kind words, Orla!

  10. The Trevi Fountain was under construction when I was there too! Lol maybe better luck next time. Rome is such a beautiful city. Thanks for bringing back memories.

    • Hi, Viola! Yes, the Trevi being under construction is pretty common I think. Maybe next time.