There are a lot of adjectives that can be used to describe Rome; beautiful, awesome, confusing, amazing, the list goes on. One adjective I hear on a consistent basis from people who visit the city is, overwhelming. I could not agree more, Rome is overflowing with ancient ruins and history at every turn and without a little preparation you’re going to be as lost as a nun on a honeymoon!
The question most people ask is, “where do I even start?” Thats where we come in! With so many attractions jam packed into one city, you need to go in with a game plan. I spent 3 days in Rome in 2016 so I know how to fit a large amount of sites into a small window of time. One thing I would heavily advise, visit during the beginning of October when the weather is still pretty nice (atleast by Minnesota standards) and the attractions are less crowded. Below is the perfect budget friendly Roman itinerary to see Rome’s major attractions in one day.
The Perfect Roman Itinerary Does Exist
Roman Forum: 8:00 AM-10:30 AM
The Roman Forum is one of two cant miss attractions you will see as you approach the Ancient City in Rome. The Magnum Forum, or Forum, as the locals once referred to it, houses several old government buildings. The forum attracts over 4.5 million visitors a year so this won’t exactly be a private tour. The gates open at 9 AM but it doesn’t hurt to get there a bit earlier in case there is a line, I’d suggest 8:30 AM. FYI the ticket from the Forum gets you into the Colosseum so make sure you keep your ticket so you won’t have to wait in line for a Colosseum ticket.
The exit of the Forum is a couple hundred yards to your next attraction so you won’t have to wander too far.
Address: Via della Salara Vecchia, 5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy | Hours: Mon-Sun 9AM-7PM | Phone: +39 06 0608 | Web: www.coopculture.it | Price: €8-€16
COLOSSEUM: 10:45 AM-1:30 PM
Realistically its going to take longer to wait in the Colosseum line than the amount of time you actually spend in it. With that being said, it is absolutely worth the wait. Walking in to the open aired Colosseum was one of the most amazing experiences I had been a part of, if only Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin” was playing in the background. It would have mad it thee MOST amazing experience. For real though, walking into one of the most amazing structures ever built for it times was breathtaking! For over 1,900 years the Colosseum has stood the test of mother nature and time. It was believed to hold 50,000-80,000 people, all of which fueled the murderous sports popularity. Make sure to take your time and take it all in when visiting the Colosseum!
Vatican/Vatican Museum: 2:30 PM – 4:45 PM
This was a pretty sweet “little” place. I am not a religious man but I felt something here! It could have been the 5 beers downed on the way but who knows… Anyhow, I’m not going to sugarcoat it, its going to take a while to wait in line and get in. Plan on it taking 45 minutes to 1.25 hours. If I were you, I’d pull up Pokemon Go while waiting to kill time, gotta catch em all! Once you finally get through Heavens gates, through the building, and out into the courtyard, you’re going to see this bad boy: Fontana della Pigna. The thing is massive at 11 feet tall.
Next up on the Tour de Vatican is the actual museum that takes you into the Vatican and to St. Peter’s Basilica.
The whole place is amazing. There are paintings and statues all over, from wall to wall and even all over the ceiling. This next hallway is my favorite and slowly turned me into a man of faith:
Now I need to be honest, I didn’t actually go into the St. Peter’s Basilica because by this time my hangover was kicking in hard! I needed to get some fresh air. However, there is the option to continue to see St Peter’s Basilica, which is where the Pope gets to show his billion followers what he’s made of. Below is a photo from atop St. Peter’s Basilica. I am kind of kicking my hungover self for not mustering up the courage to see this view in person but you know what they say, “you can’t go through life with regrets,” or something lie that.
Anyhow, here is where we came out on the ground level. You can’t really explain how massive this place it, you need to experience it yourself.
Not to mention we got a view of some dude apparently protecting the pope? I think they refer to them as the Swiss guard. Still unsure how people take these guys seriously, dude looks like a jester.
That concludes the Vatican tour, next up….
Pantheon: 5:00 PM-6:00 PM
Pantheon is an adjective meaning “honor all Gods,” which makes sense because it was a former Roman temple. Playing on the “honor all Gods” approach, the Romans converted the temple into a church, which is exactly what it is used for to this day. The Pantheon is the best preserved ancient Roman monument and even possesses the largest unsupported dome in the world! This is a pretty cool structure; however, you will find it hard to spend more than an hour in it. Nonetheless, this is a must see in Rome, especially since it is free.
Dinner: 6:15 PM – 8:00 PM
Go get some dinner, you deserve it!
Suggestion: Armando al Pantheon
I know what you’re thinking, a place this close to the Pantheon is going to be a tourist trap. You know what, you’re right! However, this place is worth the tourist trap, heres why:
- Great prices that aren’t going to gauge tourists
- Classic Roman dishes made with quality ingredients
- Made with love, the chef can be seen walking around greeting guests form time to time
- Its really really good!
Altare della Patria: 8:30 PM – 9:15 PM
Meaning Altar of the Fatherland, Altare della Patria was constructed form 1885-1925 to honor Victor Emmanuel II, who was the first king of the then unified Italy. No picture will do this building justice, it is massive! The detailed intricacies of the building are what make this the coolest building I have ever seen. This one is a must see! You can go earlier in the day to take tours; however, they aren’t that great so I wouldn’t waste your time. However, the view from the top looking all over Rome is something to see so if you’re into views, Id make a pit stop during the day.
Trevi Fountain: 9:30PM-10:00PM
The last stop of the perfect roman itinerary tour is the luminous Trevi Fountain. In my very humble and unsolicited opinion, the fountain is best viewed at night. The Trevi fountain was completed in 1762… think about that for a second. This fountain is super fricken old! In keeping up with tradition, you are supposed to throw a coin into the fountain over your left shoulder with your right hand. This means you will one day return to Rome! It also means that the Trevi fountain becomes richer than I’ll ever be in exactly one day, raking in up to €3.000 Euros a day and €1.2 Milion Euros a year. And to think, I went to college to make money and here this damn thing sits in one place, doing nothing, making more money than Ill ever make!