Here’s How Many Days in Rome You Need (Plus Itinerary Download)

In this post, I discuss how many days in Rome I think are enough and provide a comprehensive itinerary for how to spend them!

How many days in Rome do you need to really experience the city and make the most of your visit?

I’d say at least three.

Four, if possible. And go for five if you want to see as much as you can without rushing.

You could easily spend a week or more in Rome. It’s just packed with countless attractions that all beg for your time.

I had three nights (two full days) there, and it didn’t quite feel long enough. They were still a highlight of my Italy trip, but I would have loved a day or two more…

In this post, I’ll outline why three days in Rome makes sense and provide a full itinerary of what to do during that time!

Let’s dive in.

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Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome
Excited to find out how many days you need in Rome? Let’s dive in! Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

How Many Days in Rome Do You Need?

Aim to spend at least three days in Rome. That should be sufficient to see its main attractions and experience what the Eternal City is all about without rushing too much.

Now, you can go to Rome for two days (or even one) and have a blast.

Yet anything less than three limits what you can do. Remember, Rome is big and busy. Getting around takes time. The queues can be long. And ultimately, feeling pushed for time while exploring some of the world’s most famous places is never fun.

Similarly, for those spending a week or two in Italy, limiting yourself to three days in the capital also leaves room on your itinerary to visit other beautiful destinations around the country, like the villages of Cinque Terre.

St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City
Still undecided on how long to stay in Rome? These considerations will help you make an informed decision! Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Caveats When Considering How Long to Stay in Rome

There’s nuance here, though! We’re all different, so what’s best for me may not be right for you.

I wanted longer in Rome because I love history – especially the ancient kind. I love seeing ruins and relics from age-old civilisations. And, let’s face it, there are few places on the planet with as much history on display as the city of Rome.

But what if you’re more interested in fashion and food? Well, one day or two full days there might be plenty!

You could then move on to other amazing places in Italy, like Milan or Florence – cities famous for things you appreciate more than exploring historical sites.

My advice? Think about the trip you want.

After all, there’s no point spending days in Rome if you’d rather be on a beach on the Amalfi Coast, exploring the ruins at Pompeii, or if you only really want to see the Sistine Chapel.

How many days in Rome you decide upon is your call. There’s no right or wrong answer. But if you want to see as much as possible without going overboard? Then I’d say three days is about right.

Tour in Rome
Joining a tour is a fantastic way to explore Rome when you have limited time. Here are some of the best available. Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

The Best Tours of Rome Available Today

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No matter how many days in Rome you choose, tours offer a fantastic way to explore.

Whether you join a free walking tour, ride a hop-on hop-off bus, pay for a guided tour of the Colosseum, or all of the above, you’ll be chaperoned to the “best bits” in a time-efficient manner.

This helps you make the most of every precious minute and ensures you don’t miss anything. Better still, having a guide means you learn much more about each place than you would travelling alone.

Each of the Rome tours above comes highly recommended, so be sure to check them out or click here to see more guides in Rome.

The Pantheon in Rome
How many days in Rome is enough? Three. Here’s how to spend them… Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Your 3-Day Rome Itinerary: How to Spend Three Days in Rome

Rome has all the amenities and allure of a modern city, with the trappings of a destination famous for its food and wine, plus iconic tourist attractions like Vatican City and the Colosseum.

With so much on offer, here’s how I’d split my time over three full days to experience as much as possible.

Day 1 – Explore Ancient Rome

Morning – The Colosseum

On your first morning in the Eternal City, I recommend seeing its most famous attraction: the Colosseum. An iconic symbol of ancient Rome, it will take your breath away.

I recommend paying for a guided tour. A guide will show you around, tell you about the amphitheatre’s history, and help you appreciate how truly special it is.

The Colosseum is open seven days a week, except for Christmas, New Year’s Day, and May 1st. Opening hours are 0830 to an hour before sunset. Get there early to avoid the queues, skip the heat, and explore with fewer people cramping your style.

When you’re finished, take a break. Grab some food/lunch from a nearby café/restaurant (there are loads to choose from) and rest your feet before heading to the next attraction…

Afternoon – Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

The Roman Forum is next to the Colosseum, and – good news – entry is included in your Colosseum ticket. Inside, you’ll explore what was once the epicentre of daily life in Rome.

Importantly, you can’t exit and re-enter (unless you buy another ticket), so it’s worth eating and resting beforehand.

The Forum is mind-boggling, but there’s lots to see, so it gets tiring fast. Take your time, stroll, and revel in the history. After seeing the Forum, head on up Palatine Hill.

Located within the same archaeological site as the Roman Forum, legend has it that the hill is where Romulus and Remus founded Rome. Whether that’s true or not, it’s undoubtedly steeped in history.

You’ll explore the remnants of immense temples and palaces, all boasting incredible views of the city.

I encourage you to take your time. Stroll. Stop and read the signs. Relax in the gardens. It’ll help the wonder of the site hit home.

Evening – Dinner and the Pantheon

You may want to call it a day at this point. But if you have the energy for more sightseeing, you could take a short bus ride to Piazza Navona – a lively square with fountains, bars, and restaurants.

Grab a drink and enjoy the atmosphere. Or, depending on the time of day, walk to the Pantheon that’s right next door.

This impeccably preserved Roman temple (now a catholic church) has one of the most famous domed roofs on the planet. It’s free to visit, but note that the last entry is at 18:30. Go inside and gaze up in awe at what people constructed millennia ago.

From there? Dinner and bed!

The following tours would be perfect, no matter how many days in Rome you book:

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Fountain di Trevi
Wrap up your second day in Rome by experiencing the iconic Trevi Fountain…Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Day 2 – Vatican City


On your second day in Rome, visit the smallest country on earth: Vatican City.

As the seat of the Holy See, it has enormous religious significance. But you don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate it. St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Vatican Museums are so impressive that anyone in Rome should go. 

The Vatican is open to the public every Monday to Saturday from 0900. Get there as early as possible (if possible, aim for 0730 to 0800 in peak season) to avoid the crowds. Then, spend your morning exploring the museums (which include the inimitable Sistine Chapel).

Despite being the Vatican Museums, plural, everything is under the same roof – a fact that makes sense when you get inside.

So many art collections and items are on display (20,000 in total) that calling it one museum would be a misnomer.

You can spend hours here and only scratch the surface, but don’t leave before seeing the Sistine Chapel. This sacred space with frescoes painted by Michelangelo in the early 16th Century is one-of-a-kind.

When you’re done, it’s time for lunch. Don’t want to bring your own? There’s a food hall at the Vatican where you can buy something.


Next on the agenda is the biggest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica. Getting here from the Vatican Museums involves a 20-minute walk, although a corridor links it to the Sistine Chapel.

I don’t remember this shortcut being available when I was there, and I believe it’s reserved for certain tour groups.

If you get the chance to take it, you’d enjoy a much shorter walk to St. Peter’s Basilica and skip the two-hour queue to get in.

Either way, it’s free to enter and almost overwhelming inside.

Expect a huge, gilded, ornate space filled with beautiful statues, tombs, and carvings. For a small fee, you can also climb the steps or take an elevator up to St. Peter’s Dome. The views over St. Peter’s Square and Rome are spectacular.


Whenever you’re ready to leave Vatican City, head back into the heart of Rome’s Centro Storico (the historic centre).

Public transport and buses are available. But if you’re not too tired from being on your feet all day, you could also walk. It’ll take about 35 minutes to cover the 2.5km into town, but you’ll see more of Rome and encounter numerous main attractions on the way.

For example, you’ll enjoy fantastic views of Castel Sant’Angelo as you cross the River Tiber. Keep going, and you’ll pass the northern end of Piazza Navona, where you were the previous evening. The Pantheon will be one street over. And then there’s your final destination of the day:

The Trevi Fountain.

This iconic 18th-century fountain depicts the Roman god of the sea, Neptune, riding a chariot pulled by two horses. People visit the Trevi Fountain in droves to a) take photos and b) throw coins into the water.

The story goes that throwing one coin in means you’ll return to Rome. Throw two coins in, and you’ll come back and fall in love. And three coins? You’re coming back, falling in love, and getting married.

Here are some popular tours of the Vatican that would be ideal for day 2:

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How Many Days in Rome You Need
Wrap up your Rome adventure by visiting the iconic Spanish Steps and other Centro Storica attractions. Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Day 3 – Art and Leisure

The plan for your final day in Rome is to explore beautiful gardens, relax in lively Italian squares, go shopping, and tick off another attraction in Centro Storico, the Spanish Steps.

Morning and Afternoon

I recommend starting there. Built in the early 18th Century, The Spanish Steps connect Piazza di Spagna with the Trinità dei Monti (a French monastery church) on the hill above. Climb the 135 steps to the church, stopping on each terrace to take in the scene below.

From the top, you’re only a short walk from stop number two, the Villa Borghese Gardens. This centuries-old park once belonged to the Borghese family, but nowadays, it’s open to the public.

See it as a beautiful refuge from the hustle and bustle of Rome!

Whenever you’re ready, head to Via del Corso via Piazza del Popolo. This long, straight street runs through the heart of Rome and is a perfect place to indulge in retail therapy, grab a gelato, or eat out.

Late Afternoon and Evening

After you’ve wandered far enough down Via del Corso, set course for the day’s final stop: Campo de’ Fiori.

Another popular Square in Rome, this one is famous for its food market during the daytime and its vibrant nightlife after sundown. Find somewhere for dinner, enjoy the atmosphere, and see where the night takes you!

Tip: If you’re too tired on day one to visit the Pantheon and too tired on your second day to see the Trevi Fountain, consider saving them for day three. Both attractions are in the vicinity of the steps, meaning you could easily go from one to the next.

These tours would be a great to join on day three:

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Enjoy Your Time in Rome!

No matter how many days in Rome you decide to book, you’re guaranteed a memorable trip – it’s just that sort of place.

Three full days is a great starting point for exploring its best bits and whetting your appetite to come back in the future. With any luck, though, the insights above will help you identify how much time is right for you.

And if three days feel about right? Don’t forget to download this itinerary to take with you.

Author: Danny Newman

Title: Writer and Content Creator

Expertise: Travel, Digital Nomadry, Outdoors, Blogging

Danny Newman is a writer, content creator, and digital nomad from the UK. He founded the travel and lifestyle blog What’s Danny Doing, a popular resource for people seeking more adventure, self-discovery, and purpose. A nationally syndicated writer, Danny’s work features in dozens of online publications, including and news sites across the US.