With its unparalleled history, the city of Rome is such a giant museum where you can find the most stunning masterpieces of all time. The Colosseum, Vatican City and Trevi Fountain are some of the must-see tourist attractions of Rome. However, the Eternal City has more things to offer than just touristy places. So what to do in 3 days in Rome? This blog post will be my recommendation for Best things to do in Rome in 3 days.
1. Visit Rome’s most iconic landmark – Colosseum
It has been more than 1500 years since the fall of the Roman Empire and almost all traces of the most glorious empire of all time have disappeared or fully damaged. However, there is one structure that remains standing no matter what happened to the world – the Colosseum.
Previously the greatest Roman amphitheatre which was used for gladiatorial fights and public spectacles, Colosseum has become one of Rome’s top tourist attractions. No trip to Rome would complete without seeing this most iconic landmark.
As a result, the Colosseum is always packed with tourists and you will need more than 1 hour to queue. Two ways to avoid the crowd is waking up early and getting a Roma Pass. There will be less people in the morning, while Roma Pass includes a Skip-the-line ticket to Colosseum and Roman Forum.
One structure that remains standing no matter what happened to the world – the Colosseum
2. Take a trip back to ancient Rome in Roman Forum
Right next to the Colosseum was the Roman Forum where offers a glimpse into daily life of the ancient Rome. Under the Roman’s empire, this site was where most important religious, political and social activities of ancient Rome took place.
The whole area was surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings, namely the Temple of Romulus, the Arch of Titus, the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Temple of the Deified Caesar, Via Sacra, the Curia….
My trip back to ancient Rome was unable to last long due to the roasting heat of summer (I travelled to Rome in August) and no shades found along the way.
Roman Forum was previously where most important religious, political and social activities of ancient Rome took place.
3. Visit the smallest city state in the world – Vatican City
Vatican city is the world’s smallest sovereign state which is enclaved in the city of Rome. Although small in size, the Vatican is the home of the pope and the Roman Curia, and the spiritual center for some 1.2 billion followers of the Catholic Church.
However, the Vatican is more than a religious and cultural site which offers some of the most architectural styles and impressive artworks of the world.
As a result, the Vatican is, along with the Colosseum, Rome’s greatest tourist attraction. So keep in mind that there will be a very very long queue awaited.
4. Throw a coin at Fontana di Trevi
Visiting the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Vatican City ,so what’s next? Throwing a coin at Fontana di Trevi is definitely the next best thing to do in Rome. This fountain comes with a myth which originating from the movie “Three Coins in the Fountain”:
- If you throw one coin: you will return to Rome.
- If you throw two coins: you will fall in love with an attractive Italian.
- If you throw three coins: you will marry the person that you met.
You should throw the coin with your right hand over your left shoulder in order to achieve the desired effect. At first I didn’t believe the myth, just reluctantly followed what my friends did.
However, it turned out to be true. One month later from that day, I had a chance to go back to Rome on a connecting flight from Athens to London (transit in Rome). So don’t forget to throw a coin into the fountain to make your wish come true.
5. Enjoy Rome’s hidden gem at Trastevere
Rome offers visitors more than just historic landmarks and tourist attractions, but some sort of authentic Roman life. And a walk through the streets of Trastevere is the best way to discover an area which is nothing short of authentic Roman life.
Trastevere is a charming medieval neighborhood located on the other side of Tiber river which is away from the crowds. Lying inside tiny alleys of Trastevere were antique boutiques, artisan workshops and Roman trattorias just waiting to be explored.
Trastevere is also the best area for dining in Rome and you can find some of the best restaurants in town. Don’t forget to pay a visit to Gianicolo Hill to enjoy Rome in “panorama mode”.
… nothing short of authentic Roman life.
6. Enjoy Rome in a “panorama mode” at Gianicolo Hill
After a short hike from Trastevere, you can reach Gianicolo Hill – the eight hill of Rome. So are there any differences between Gianicolo and the other seven hills of Rome? Definitely the view.
Gianicolo Hill offers panoramic and unobstructed views of Rome in which some of Rome’s iconic landmarks including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Altare della Patria can be spotted. And the landscape of Rome during sunset hours is what dreams are made of.
… panoramic and unobstructed views of Rome
7. Get yourself a gelato at Gioliti
There is nothing better to eliminate the sweltering heat of Rome than getting yourself a gelato. Gelato is definitely what people crave for, other than pizza or pasta and that is the reason why gelateria (ice cream shop in Italian) can be found in every corner of Rome.
Among all gelaterias in Rome, Giolitti is the oldest one which has been in business since 1900. Moreover, this ice cream parlour offers nothing but the finest gelato in town with a rich selection of flavours ranging from classic one like chocolate, hazelnut, vanilla and tiramisu. to signature one like champagne, marsala custard, and ricotta.
Giolitti features an elegant outdoor setting with marble counters and classical decoration. It would be a great experience to sit down and have a glass of ice cream. However, most tourists preferred taking away.
8. Sunset at Spanish Steps
Film lovers are no stranger to Spanish Steps since there are many movies whose scenes are filmed in this place. Spanish Steps are more than a set of steps, but a place of love where you can feel the romantic vibes in the air. And there is no better time to immerse yourself in those romantic vibes than the golden hour.
People make it all the way to Spanish Steps one hour before the golden hour (If you come later, there are no places to sit). Besides amazing views of the Eternal City and shining light, there are also street performances like opera, dressing up as historical figures, and instrument playing.
For these reasons, Spanish Steps experience “excessive overtorism” (I had to add excessive so you may imagine how overtourism it was) and a ban which prohibits people from sitting on those famous steps has been put into effect to protect its cultural relics.
9. Have a plate of salami at Prosciutteria Cantina Dei Papi
Pizza and pasta tops the list for must-eat foods when traveling to Italy and also Rome. And you can find the duo in any restaurant across the Eternal City. However, too much of a good thing is not always good. So what happens if you are fed up with pasta or pizza, give Prosciutteria Cantina Dei Papi a try.
Prosciutteria Cantina Dei Papi is a local-loved restaurant serving cutting boards, sandwiches, hams and cheeses of high quality, carefully selected by artisan producers. There are a total of four shops located in main tourist areas such as Trastevere, Trevi, Piazza Navona and Viterbo. So it is convenient and you don’t need to travel all the way to eat.
I bumped into this quirky place when strolling around Trastevere. Cured meat hanging on the ceiling, quirky decoration and rustic vibes are my first impressions of Prosciutteria Cantina Dei Papi (there is also a hidden basement so don’t forget to explore).
So what’s about the food? I would call it a “savior” as it saves me from the pizza and pasta phobia.(I ordered a mixed cold cut platter including a wide selection of salami, hams, cheeses and fruits served on a wooden board).
10. Bump into any historical buildings or archaeological sites
The city of Rome is full of surprises which you can randomly bump into any historical buildings or archaeological sites when strolling around. It was such an exciting experience to realize something special in front of your eyes without preparation.
I bumped into Servian Wall and Fontana dell’Acqua Paola during my trip to Rome (Servian Wall is an ancient Roman defensive barrier constructed since 4th century BC, while Fontana dell’Acqua Paola is a monumental fountain which marks the end of the Acqua Paola aqueduct).
As I was a bit curious when seeing these two beautiful architecture, I took some photos of both and later searched for information. That makes my trip memorable because I can remember more things about Rome than just typical tourist attractions such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain or Vatican.
I bumped into Fontana dell’Acqua Paola
Summary: Best things to do in Rome
Rome travel tips
– Keep an eye on your belongings as Rome tops the city with a high pickpocket rate (according to TripAdvisor).
– Buy Roma Pass to unlimitedly access public transportation and skip-the-line tickets to tourist attractions.
– Public Tap Water is available throughout the entire city of Rome, you will find valves with not only safe to drink but also delicious water. This will be the best way to recharge your energy.
– Stay in the Termini area to better get around the city as Termini is the main transport hub of the city.
Summary: Best things to do in Rome
Here is my list of the best things to do in Rome. If you need any information relating to traveling to Rome, kindly see other posts:
Keyword: Best things to do in Rome: What to do in Rome in 3 days