Whether spending a few days en route or planning a short getaway, Rome is a city filled with some of the most iconic sites in the world – and you’ll definitely want to go back.
With limited time in mind, we’ve compiled some of Rome’s top attractions for a two-day stay.
Choose the destinations that appeal to your interests, plot out on a city map, and go for it!
The Borghese Art Gallery
One of the top collections of art in the world, you can only enter the gallery with a reservation. Here, you’ll see incredible art by the renowned Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian and Bernini – just to name a few. Be sure to take a stroll through the beautiful gardens around the museum.
As master builders, the Romans accomplished this amazing feat of engineering around 120 A.D. It has survived wars, earthquakes and nearly 2,000 years of weather. If the stunning dome isn’t enough, a number of famous historical figures are buried here. Check out pantheonroma.com for hours, history and optional tours. Entry is free.
A short walk from the Pantheon, some call this fountain the most famous in the world – a beautiful sight both day and night. A huge Baroque structure from the 18th century, it’s considered good luck to throw a coin into the fountain so you will be guaranteed a return to Rome. Don’t worry, no one is getting rich off the 3,000+ euros/day that are thrown in every day – all funds are used to help feed the hungry.
Piazza Navona & Camp de Fiori
Filled with cafes, fountains, shops, wine and coffee, these colorful locations are nice spots to take a break. For more recommendations, check out Culture Trip’s 10 Best Pizza and Pasta Restaurants in Rome.
Spend a few hours exploring the site where gladiators fought. Opening in 80 A.D., 50,000 spectators would be entertained in the engineering marvel. Purchase a combo ticket ahead of time at the Roman Forum to gain admission to both sites and bypass the main lines (Palatine Hill is also included). Note if you want to see the top three floors however, they are only accessible with a guided tour. Keep this in mind when purchasing tickets.
Located about a 10-minute walk from the Colosseum, the Roman Forum is a complex of government buildings, temples and marketplaces from 2,000 years ago. Here, you’ll imagine the former glory of Rome’s political, religious and social life. Many visitors suggest renting or streaming an audio guide here, as there’s so much to see. Either way, be sure to grab a map. There’s not a lot of shade in the Roman Forum, so be sure to apply sunscreen and carry water.
Vatican City – Sistine chapel – St. Peter’s Basilica
If you plan to visit where the pope calls home (and the world’s smallest state), shoot for the afternoon when crowds tend to be less. Be aware there is a dress code at the Vatican: no shorts, no bare shoulders and no skirts shorter than knee length. On Wednesdays when the Pope is in Rome, he holds a general audience in St. Peter’s Square. St. Peter’s Basilica is considered the largest church in the world with the most amazing Renaissance architecture. Note there is an extra fee to climb to the top of the Dome – and the view is worth it. Book tickets in advance. Check out Viator’s skip-the-line tours that start at the Vatican, hit the Sistine Chapel, and end at St. Peter’s Basilica.
Piazza del Popolo & The Spanish Steps
A short walk along the Tiber River, the Piazza is a great place to get a bite to eat before heading to the famous Spanish Steps. With a fountain at the base and a church at the top, it’s a popular stop for visitors – especially when resting on the steps with some gelato in hand! Speaking of gelato, plan to visit the top gelato spots in Rome.
Plot Out Your Itinerary in Advance
Whatever attractions you choose to visit, plot out your two days on a Google map that you can access while you’re there. This way you can decide if you want to explore on foot or public transportation, as well as the best itinerary order to suit your tastes. There are several good pre-made interactive Google maps you can use including a Rome Walking Route.
However you choose to spend your two days in Rome, you’ll have the time of your life. Mix and match these top Rome attractions, plot your course and make it happen. You’ll be glad you did.
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