This is your ultimate 3 days in Rome travel guide with a list of of things to do. This amazing city should be on everybody’s bucket list t visit. Rich in history, you’ll find the whole city fascinating as soon as you het off the plane.
We’d only been on the coach from Rome Ciampino airport for a few minutes before we were already seeing stunning architectural ruins in fields on the way to the city centre. This travel guide will give you must-do activities and ideas of things to do during your stay here.
Getting there from the airport
Rome has two airports, these are Rome Ciampino (which seems to be the one Ryanair fly to) and Rome Fiumicino which is the country’s main airport. We arrived at Ciampino and left at Fiumuncino and found the whole thing straight forward. Arriving from Ciampino there is a regular shuttle bus which runs to the centre and a nearby train.
Getting the train is the cheapest option, you will need to get a bus to to Ciampino Railway Station which is €1 and then a €1.50 train to the centre. This will take roughly an hour. We prefer less hassle of getting different journeys and wanted a direct route from the airport so chose the shuttle bus. There are 3 companies which run from the airport: Terravision, SitBus and Rome Airport Bus. The ride takes 45 minutes and costs around €7.50 per person. For more information click here.
If you’re arriving from Fiumicino airport you’ll find the easiest and quickest method of getting to Rome by getting the train. Leonardo Express is the quickest train and costs €14 euro per person and the slower train is the FL1 which costs €8. The train station is located outside terminal 3 and if you are wanting to go back to this airport by train then head to Roma Termini. More information is available here.
Getting about in Rome
Once there, getting about Rome is very straight forward as long as you have a contactless credit/debit card. We are used to this from using transport in England and you just scan your card to enter the stations and scan it to go back out. The maps once in the station are very straight forward to follow as long as you know your destination. We used google maps to help us figure out where we needed to go. It guided us to the specific stations we needed to visit certain things.
Is 3 days in Rome enough and when is the best time to visit?
This is a travel guide for 3 days in Rome, however you can use it for a single day or even longer. How long, is the hardest question because once you’re thinking of going to this magnificent city, you don’t want to miss out on anything whilst you’re here. We would happily have stayed longer and will definitely return some day. Allowing yourself to have 3 days will allow you to see the main attractions of Rome and get a taste of what you would like to do when visiting next time.
We chose the October half term to visit Rome and we couldn’t have wished for a better time to visit. It allowed us to have a 3 day itinerary. Having travelled around Italy in the summer, we knew how hot it could be and trekking around in 35+ degree heat is not very pleasant. If this was our only chance to go though, we’d have made do but you really want to be aiming to avoid the peak months of June, July and August when visiting here. We were here near the end of October and the weather was glorious.
The grim, English winter was setting in and we were suddenly cast in 25 degrees weather with our shorts on. I don’t know how usual this is for Rome at the end of October but one of our tour guides seemed to think it was slightly unusual as she was wearing a thick, heavy weather. Don’t be put off going during Italy’s winter either as it will also be a suitable time to visit. If you only have a chance of visiting Rome in a day then still do it, however you’ll definitely be left wanting more.
Where to stay
During your 3 day itinerary you want a cheap, nice, central base. Remember that you will spend most of your time out of your accomodation. We are always looking out for cheapest deals and the accommodation we had chosen cancelled on us from Expedia with a month before our visit. Because of this, we were unable to find as many deals (we still got a good one). When staying in major cities, with lots of landmarks to see, we always find the most important thing when staying is location, location, location! We try to stay reasonable central or near easily accessible transport. Thankfully, we were still able to do this.
Our accommodation was through booking.com and it was literally opposite the Vatican City walls. It was amazing to be next to something so historic, it was very atmospheric. We found TuttoTonda an excellent choice. Just 5 minutes away, was a metro station which was important to be able to easily access the many landmarks of Rome.
Things to do for free
We all love a freebie, especially when it comes to trips and there are plenty for your 3 day itinerary in Rome. So many trips are overpriced usually but Roma has many free sights which attracts the crowds. Be aware that there will likely be large crowds, so arrive early if you want less people photobombing your photos. We’ve composed a list of some of these special places:
The Trevi Fountain
One of the most famous fountains in the world and one of the better known landmarks in Rome. These beautiful fountains are right in the centre and literally next to the Spanish Steps and close to the Pantheon. Perfect to visit for a day in Rome. It’s one of the oldest water sources in Rome and is made from the same material as the Colosseum. Get here early to avoid the crowds.
The Spanish Steps
Next door to the Trevi Fountain are the Spanish steps. It is a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. The unique design and elegance made it a popular place for artists, painters and poets who were attracted to the place which inspired them.
This place had an aura about it. Being able to visit and enter a building which is so historic and in pristine condition must be rare. It was built in 114 A.D. It is used as a church.
Other lesser known freebies
Villa Borghese Gardens
We planned to visit these wonderful gardens, but came across them accidentally. It’s a huge public park close to the Spanish Steps.
If you haven’t noticed from our other blog post, we love a castle visit. This one is closer to the Vatican City and can be seen from a distance. We’ve put this in the free list but if you want to enter then its €14. We just admired the view from afar though.
Arch of Constantine
Finally, the Arch of Constantine. Located just outside the Colosseum, you’ll find this beautiful triumph arch. It was commissioned by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine’s victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in AD 312 and still stands in great condition.
Spectacular things to do
Now these things are the things you came to Rome for and should be fit in any travel guide. The moments where you just stand in awe as you admire the historic past of this spectacular city. Being history enthusiasts it made us feel like little kids as we learnt more about things we’d been taught in school and are now teaching ourselves. During your 3 day itinerary in Rome, then you have to fit these sights in!
Before we move on to our list, it’s worth noting that you can visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill as a group package. This saves time on queuing, you get a tour guide and can prove cheaper than paying for each individually. We highly recommend doing this in the morning so you don’t get too hot. Make sure you take water, we wouldn’t of enjoyed these activities in sweltering heat. You can book your event through this link, if you wish to do the same as us. During your 3 day itinerary, you’ll have plenty of time to visit these other landmarks. Here’s our list of places to visit:
The famous landmarks
We genuinely felt like children visiting here. With Gladiator being one of our favourite films, it felt incredible to be here ourselves. Learning more about it was absolutely fascinating.
Lesser known, is the Roman Forum. This is where here the Ancient Romans enjoyed downtown city life. These ruins offer spectacular views and show several ancient government buildings which once helped rule Rome. It was only discovered after marshland was drained, so a lot of what you see was under water for many years.
Part of seeing the Roman Forum is seeing the Palatine Hill, which is one of the most ancient areas of Rome. It was considered the most desirable neighbourhood to live in.
Vatican and Sistine Chapel
To Visit the Sistine Chapel, you must first go through the many museum at the Vatican. If visiting, then don’t plan to do the other activities as you will be exhausted. This will take up a huge chunk of your day. The main things to see when visiting the Vatican are Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums. Michelangelo’s pietà is inside Saint Peter’s basilica, and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is inside the Vatican Museums. Saint Peter’s Basilica is a Renaissance-era church and one of the world’s largest.
Where to eat
During your 3 day itinerary in Rome, you’ll probably find yourself in various areas during times to eat. As with any Italian city, Pizza is always going to be amazing. We don’t need to recommend a place for that as part of our travel guide. Here are just a short selections of places we enjoyed eating. These were near the Vatican City purely for convenience. If you find yourself in this area, then we highly recommend.
Fancy great, affordable Italian food close to the Vatican? Then try out Osteria delle Commari.
Needing something sweeter? Try what has been described by some as the best gelato in Rome, Old Bridge Gelateria. They have a huge range of different tasty delicacy. There is always a queue for gelato here, but it soon goes down. If you’re near the Vatican and have a day in Rome, try it!