If you are wondering what to do in Rome for 3 days you are in the perfect place. I’m going to show you 3 possible itineraries you can try in the Historic Center of Rome, ideal for a 3 days holiday in the Italian capital.
Rome is the most beautiful city in the world!
I’m not saying so because I grew up in Rome.
No, I’m just being fair!
Rome is the most incredible, charming and breathtaking city you can find on this planet.
I’m going to explain what to do in Rome and why with these 3 itineraries perfect for a three days holiday in Rome (not taking in consideration your arrival and leaving days).
Museums are not on the agenda, unfortunately.
But trust me, this guide is so filled with wonders that you won’t miss any museum.
What to do in Rome – visit Rome in 3 days: tips for a perfect holiday
There are a few tips about Rome I would like to give you in order to make your travel experience easier.
First thing first: make sure to find an accommodation in the Historical Center or Rome.
It is not difficult, by the way.
The Historic Center (I mean all the area declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980) covers a surface of 19,91 Km2.
It’s quite easy to find accommodation in such an enormous district.
Easy but not cheap!
In my opinion the best places to look for accommodation are Monti, Trastevere, Ostiense and Campo Marzio.
These are all very central quartiers so I guess the price will follow market rules.
If you want to save some money you should try around the Ostiense quartier.
This quartier is an interesting option: well connected with the Historic Center, full of restaurants and places to eat and also filled with nice vibes.
Ostiense is indeed a popular area with various street art, famous shops and boutiques such as Eataly and popular landmarks such as the Piramide (yes we have a pyramid in Roma), the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls or the Acattolic Cemetery.
But we will speak about these places, so don’t worry.
My last tip about accommodation in Rome is to avoid Termini as much as possible.
This area, although centrally located, is particularly unsafe due to the presence of Termini train station, the biggest train station in Italy.
My second advice is about public transport.
The best way to waste time in Rome is with public transport.
If you stay in the city center try to avoid the buses and metro.
The easiest way to explore Rome’s city center is by foot, especially if you are going to follow these itineraries.
So wear comfortable shoes, you are going to walk for kms.
Buses are alway in late, crowded and extremely hot in summer.
Metro is a better choice but there are high chances of being robbed by pickpockets, especially during rush hours.
I’m not saying that Rome is an unsafe city, but take in mind that pickpockets can recognize tourists on the spot.
If you want to move out of the city center, towards the periphery (for example if you want to visit the archeological area of Ostia Antica) in this case metro and buses are the best options.
Otherwise think twice before wasting your time on crowded buses.
And now let’s talk about these famous itineraries of which I’ve been speaking since the beginning of this article.
What to do in Rome for 3 days
DAY 1: discovering the “Trident”, the thriving heart of Rome
First day of our trip in Rome will be dedicated to the “Trident” area.
This part of the Historic Center, that includes Piazza del Popolo, is so called because of its trident shape.
Taking Piazza del Popolo as a reference point you can see three different roads branching out the geographical center or Rome (the political one lies at the Campidoglio).
These roads are respectively (from west to east) Via di Ripetta, Via del Corso and Via del Babuino.
Each of these roads have been made for a purpose: leading pilgrims to the most important cathedrals in Rome.
Via di Ripetta was the “shortcut” to St Peter Cathedral, Via del Corso to St John Laterano and Via del Babuino to St Maria Maggiore.
Pilgrims were welcomed in Piazza del Popolo by the great gates of Rome and then, from here, they chose which paths follow.
Enough with historical anecdotes and let’s talk about the itinerary, following the map below.
You ought to see:
THE PINCIO TERRACE – C
One of the most scenographic and romantic places in Rome.
From this terrace you can have a breathtaking view of the entire Historic Center of Rome.
BASILICA SANTA MARIA DEL POPOLO – D
This church is located close to the old gate of Rome, just in front of Piazza del Popolo.
Humble looking from the outside, its insides are totally different.
Majestic sculptures by Rapahel and Bernini, and stunning paintings by Caravaggio are enshrined inside.
VIA MARGUTTA – E
This narrow alley is also known as “Artist street”.
Here you can find craft shops, art galleries and fine art stores.
On this alley Federico Fellini lived and died.
You can see his home at numero 110.
VIA CONDOTTI – H
The luxury shopping street of Rome.
The incredible fram of Piazza di Spagna makes this street charming and enchanting, the perfect place where to spend hundreds of Euros.
Here you can find one of the oldest bars in Italy, Antico Caffe Greco.
Piazza Navona, The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum and Piazza Venezia are others locations.
DAY 2: exploring Vatican City and Trastevere
The second day of your trip in Rome is not going to be entirely in Rome.
Let me explain.
Rome is the only city in the world with another city within its border.
I’m speaking about Vatican City, a sovereign state inside Rome.
Vatican City is the smallest country in the world but one of the richest in terms of art masterpieces (and not only).
The first part of this second day in Rome is about exploring this district of the city and then moving to another area that is very interesting: Trastevere, the “movida quartier”.
The name comes from latin “Trans Tiber” that means “beyond the Tiber”.
This quarter is so filled with clubs, bars and breweries that is the favorite among adolescents and nightlife lovers.
Actually Trastevere is much more than beers, clubs and hangovers.
Trastevere is one of the most authentic neighborhoods in Rome, with narrow alleys, old craft shops and unique views.
But let’s take it slowly.
You oughtnto see:
PASSETTO DI BORGO – C
This was the pope’s ancien escape route that connected Vatican City with Castel Sant’Angelo, the pope’s fortress just a few hundreds meters from the most famous cathedral in the Christian world.
This passage was used by the pope when enemies were besieging Rome.
VIA DEI BANCHI VECCHI – G
This is one of the most charming streets in Rome.
Take your time to enjoy its cosy atmosphere, the authentic roman mood, the hidden churches and the little piazze scattered here and there.
If you are hungry this is the perfect place.
There are countless “pizzerie al taglio” where you can try the roman pizza, crispier and thinner than the napolitan one.
GHETTO OF ROME – B
The old Jewish Quarter in Rome.
It’s one of the most authentic quarters of the city and one with the most troubled history.
Here you can taste one of the most famous traditional roman dish: carciofi alla giudia.
GIANNICOLO – F
A breathtaking terrace in Rome, the second of these itineraries.
The landscape is totally different from the Pincio: here you can admire in the distance the Colli Albani, a volcanic mountain range just 30 km from Rome.
The best moment to be here is at sunset, when the city lights go on.
DAY 3: AVENTINO, PALATINO AND CAMPIDOGLIO, DISCOVERING THE HILLS OF ROME
Our last day in Rome is for the Aventino, Palatino and Campidoglio, three of the seven hills in Rome.
Yes, there are hills in the center of Rome.
Seven, to be exact!
My favourites are Aventino, Palatino and Campidoglio.
The first is a lush and green hill, covered by gardens, a residential area, a panoramic terrace (one of the most romantic spots in Rome) and a rose garden.
The second was the place where the Emperor’s palace lay (the word “palace” takes its name after this hill) and today is one of the most interesting archeological areas in the world.
The third is the political heart of Rome.
Here you can have an incredible view on the Forum.
Highlights of this itinerary are the Colosseum, of course, Circo Massimo, between the two hills, the Forum, the Mouth of Truth and San Pietro in Vincoli, basilica best known for being home of Michelangelo’s statue of Moses.
You ought to see:
RIONE MONTI – A
Rioni are old districts in the heart of the city.
Monti is one of the most fascinating and charming rioni in the entire city.
Exploring its narrow and silent alleys is a sensorial experience.
Here you will find craft shops, vintage markets and lots of places where to eat street food such as piadine, pizza al taglio and regional fried (supplì, crocchette and much more).
GIARDINO DEGLI ARANCI – I
On the top of Aventino hills there is one of the most beautiful places in Rome, a panoramic garden with an astonishing view over Rome.
This is the best place to admire the sunset and finest spot to spend unforgettable moments with your beloved.
PIAZZA CAVALIERI DI MALTA
This small square hides a secret. On the right side, if you are coming from the Giardino degli Aranci, you can find a door.
If you try to look in its keyhole you will see an incredible optical effect: St Peter’s Dome in the distance surrounded by hedges.
One of the most surprising experiences to do in Rome.
TESTACCIO AND MONTE DEI COCCI
Testaccio is another quarter of Rome, one of the most authentic and picturesque in the city.
Recently this area gained popularity thanks to street art, a market that opened its door a few years ago and the MACRO, the museum of contemporary art in Rome.
This quarter is also famous for the hill that lies a few meters from the new market.
The hill, called “Monte dei Cocci”, is not really a geological formation but an ancien dump.
This was the place where Romans disposed of the old amphorae, used to carry oil or other liquids.
Cocci means pieces, shards and here there are more than 53 million pieces of old amphorae.
And that’s all about what to do in Rome.
Following these itineraries you will discover the hidden soul of Rome, its most intimate part, far from the crowd and noisy touristic tracks.
Of course there are locations you cannot miss in Rome, such as the Colosseum, the Forum, Trevi Fountain and so on, but I tried to do my best, using my personal knowledge og my city in order to provide you the most authentic and original itineraries possible.