The most efficient 2-day Rome itinerary to ensure that you don't miss a thing

by - 05:44

I cannot believe how long it took me to get my butt over to Italy - the first time I visited Rome was when I was 21, just last year. Despite watching The Lizzie McGuire Movie and Mary-Kate and Ashley's When in Rome thousands of times, I had never been but this was definitely where the fascination of Rome began, plus, it is home to my favourite food; the pizza.

Two full days probably isn't enough time to see everything that the city has to offer, but it will certainly cover the main attractions and a few other exciting little bits. Plus, not only will you be visiting one country, but you'll be visiting two, as the Vatican City actually counts as the smallest country in the world which I have recently found out - so there are two countries to tick off your list rather than one!

I wanted to share with you my Rome experience last year, learning from my mistakes with the help of Google Maps what the best routes are to see pretty much all of Italy's capital. Of course, the double-deck tour busses are always an easy option, but if the weather is good and you want to burn off the large amounts of pizza, ravioli and ice-cream that you are going to consume, walking is always a fabulous option.

Day One

Let's say that you arrived late last night and you now have the entire day to wake up early, have breakfast, get changed and explore.

Head down to the Vatican City, that whole other country I just talked about, on the other side of the river. Home to the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, not to mention the Pope, the Vatican Museum should be the first port of call in the early AM (doors open at 9). It gets quite crowded as the day progresses, so the early arrival will let you enjoy it without all of the crowds.

Anything from an hour to three could be spent here, there are 7km of exhibits. I didn't actually go into the museum, as the queue was huge and we arrived a little later than expected, but I have heard that the Map Room and double helix exit stairwell are super impressive.

Head back outside to St Peter's Basilica, the world's largest church and one of the holiest Catholic shrines. Other than the spectacular, artistic building itself, the top of the dome (if you have any energy) really boasts the best view across the city, as well as the chance to see the Basilica from above!

Walking back to the other side of the river, you'll pass Castel Sant'Angelo - although last admission time is 1pm during winter, so you better be quick! Although, the exterior is just as nice as the interior, although once again, you can climb right to the top for more panoramic views of the city. The castle has been sitting on the banks of the river for nearly 2000 years so it is definitely worth appreciating. When we visited, there was a lovely little market on the side of the river too, selling all sorts of books, jewellery and souvenirs.

Keep walking along the river banks until you reach the Piazza del Popolo, the location of the northern gate of Rome, where majority of all transports would enter Rome for countless years.

I stole this photo from as I didn't manage to take a good one myself!

Whether you have hundreds thousands of pounds to spend in high-end shops near the Spanish Steps or not, the Spanish Steps are such an iconic part of Rome (Lizzie comes out and does a cartwheel above the steps once she has had her dress fittings for her big show with Paolo FYI). This was definitely my favourite spot to people watch - a lot of rich Italian men heading into Gucci and Chanel - plus dog watch, lots of tiny Italian Pomeranians who looked just as well groomed as their owners. Grab some Gelato and take a sit down on any of the 135 Spanish Steps - popular in the Audrey Hepburn movie; Roman Holiday.
Spanish Steps: where eating Gelato and people watching is a top idea
No matter what time you visit the Trevi Fountain, it will always be filled with tourists throwing in their pennies making wishes or couples gathering on the edge for their pictures. This is the spot where Lizzie met Paolo after she first pretended to be sick - their first date perhaps. I once heard that over 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day and that each night, these are collected by a charity who help buy food for the less fortunate. 
Iconic couple Trevi Fountain picture
It probably already seems that you have covered pretty much all but the obvious Coliseum within a day, but this really isn't the case. The next stop, The Pantheon, a little walk away from the fountain. It has been standing for nearly 2000 years and is the best preserved Ancient Roman monument in Rome. Another record; The Pantheon holds the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. It was originally built as a temple for the Roman Gods but was transformed into a Christian church in 609 AD.
Finish the adventure off with a visit to Piazza Navona where there is some lovely architecture, very impressive from the 15th century. The Bernini's Fountain stands in the centre, the Fountain of Four Rivers which dates from 1651.

Day Two

Start the day with some nice breakfast - I recently found out from Gilmore Girls that Italians see Cappuccinos as a breakfast dish, and it is weird to serve them after 11am - kind of like us being asked if we want cornflakes for lunch I guess.

Anyway, my favourite part of Rome, as I am sure is a lot of people's - the Coliseum. Built in Roman times as a space of holding public spectacles (and also Paolo and Lizzie Isabella's concert), most famously being home of the gladiators with an audience of up to 80,000 people.

Again, it has been around for roughly 2000 years and still very impressive. It is always great to turn up to anywhere as early as possible to avoid the queues, although we turned up around 11am and kind of just walked straight in. Remember to take your passport with you or you won't get in - and a student card if possible to get it a little cheaper.

We bought the audio tour - there is nothing more that I love than a good audio tour so that the whole experience is about learning the history of where you are. It talked us around the Coliseum telling us what went on and where.

Just next to the Coliseum is the Roman Forum and Palentine Hill, both of which are included with your Coliseum ticket as long as you visit within the same day. The Forum was a seat of power during the reign of the Roman Empire as well as a marketplace and central district. No visit to the city is complete without following in the footsteps of the Romans!

I previously made reference to Audrey Hepburn's Roman Holiday, and apparently you can actually visit the Mouth of Truth which is said to bite the hands off liars when they put their hands into the mouth. Sounds a bit strange, but if you have seen the film, I am sure you'll know what I mean. This is located outside the entrance of Santa Mario in Cosmedin.

Although Rome is nowhere near Egypt, it has a 2000 year old Egyptian style pyramid, the Pyramid of Cestius that was built in 12BC. This was built when the Romans had an obsession with everything in Egypt to serve as a tomb for a wealthy Roman.

Whoops, stole this from - credit
The Baths of Caracalla are built on a big scale, accommodating up to 1600 bathers at one time. It covers 62 acres so if you can't find them, I'd be pretty shocked. Not only were the baths a place to get clean, but also a social gathering place where everyone would turn up to socialise. It also housed a public library at the time and now, bathing is not permitted but you are welcome to watch an opera or concert onsite. There are also some Italian sculptures to take in here, including The Farnese Bull and the Farnese Hercules.  

I honestly had the best time in Rome and I would love to go back! We did everything that I wanted to do; everything that I felt were the main points to Rome which was great. Rome was the first city in Italy that I had been to, so perhaps now it is time to venture out slightly more - Pisa, Venice, Puglia or even Tuscany, each place looks so beautiful and hopefully in 2018 I will visit more Italian cities.

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  1. I adore Rome! It is such a beautiful city! There is so much to do and see! 2 days are quite intense but I get why you wanted to do as much as possible! xx corinne

  2. I love Rome! We had gone for an extended weekend last year and it was exhausting to cover Rome in two days but so much fun too! I missed seeing Pyramid of Cestius. Great post!

  3. Wow, that is amazing - exploring so much in such little time too! That's pretty impressive. I love the little quotes you've made to the Lizzie McGuire movie, I loved that film when it was out haha. I remember watching it so much! Hahah. I've never been to Italy before and would love to go after reading this. You took great pictures too!


  4. Wow, looks like you did all the important things and it sounds like you had a great time. Defenitely coming back to this one if i go to Rome myself. Lea, xx

  5. I went to Rome when I was 18 and would love to go back . I was studying art history at the time so we visited all of the main tourist hotspots. Sounds like you had a jam packed but enjoyable time and some great photos too. Thanks for sharing

    Melanie |

  6. Loved this. It's been so long since I visited Rome, I can't wait to go back!

    Niamh | x

  7. The Lizzie McGuire Movie & Mary-Kate and Ashley movies were some of my favourites when I was young! I've always wanted to visit Rome, it's definitely on my bucket list, it looks absolutely beautiful, your pictures are stunning and it looks like you had a fab time!

    Jess xx

  8. I've wanted to go to Rome for so long! It's one of the places on my travel bucket list, and probably the first one I'll visit when I've saved up! Will be definitely taking some suggestions of where to visit from this post! Your photos are stunning btw!

    Ashley |


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