One Day in Rome: What to do?

24 hours in the Eternal City

If you’ve only got one day in Rome, it can be hard to know where to start. You could easily spend an entire year exploring the city, discovering the secrets of its countless ruins, galleries and churches. However, with a bit of planning, you can make the most of your time in the city, ticking off top attractions such as the Colosseum and the Vatican on a Rome private tour, as well as enjoying a relaxed wander through the backstreets of the city centre. You can’t see it all, but you’ll be surprised by just how much you can fit in. From art to aperitivo, here’s how to do it.

A visit to the Vatican

Start your morning with a typical Italian breakfast – a cappuccino and a cornetto oozing with cream or honey – and then head straight to the Vatican. Your one day in Rome should definitely involve at least a few hours exploring the treasures of the Vatican Museums, visiting the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica.

The best time to see the Vatican is on an early morning Vatican tour, entering before 8am, as this way you’ll get to avoid the crowds and enjoy the galleries in peace and quiet. At the very least, make sure you book your tickets in advance, choosing the “skip the line” option. Otherwise, you risk wasting precious hours standing in line, when you should be enjoying masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, or the spectacular Raphael Rooms.

Refuel on the most delicious Roman dishes

If you’re trying to do Rome in a day, you’ll certainly need to stop for a leisurely lunch to refuel. While you might be tempted to wolf down a panino on the go, it’s worth stopping to enjoy your meal, sampling some typical Roman dishes. Avoid tourist traps proudly displaying the menu in 6 languages, or anywhere that’s right in front of a famous monument.

For a thin and crispy pizza in the historic centre, try Montecarlo (Vicolo Savelli 13) or for Roman cuisine in a smarter setting, book a table at Armando al Pantheon (Salita dei Crescenzi 31). The Monti neighbourhood also has lots of good dining options, and there’s a healthier tourist to local ratio in the restaurants. Indulge in a hearty plate of pasta at La Carbonara (Via Panisperna 214) on your way to the Colosseum, finishing the meal with an espresso to keep you going through the afternoon.

Discovering Ancient Rome: a Colosseum tour

If there’s one sight in Rome that’s truly unmissable, it’s the Colosseum. Skip the lines and make the most of your day in Rome by booking one of our Rome archaeological tours where you’ll get to explore the amphitheatre in-depth, learning all about its fascinating history from your Roads to Rome tour guide – an archaeologist specializing in Ancient Rome. Admiring the panorama from the top tier of the Colosseum while hearing all about the violent fights and spectacles that took place here is an unforgettable experience, bringing the past to life.

After your Colosseum tour, make sure you explore the magnificent ruins of the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, which was once home to Roman aristocracy and emperors, as well as being the legendary birthplace of Romulus and Remus.

Savouring the last moments of your one day in Rome

As the sun sets over the Eternal City, enjoy a stroll through the historic centre. Piazza Navona and the Pantheon are transformed after dark, and it’s the perfect time to experience the magical atmosphere of Rome’s most enchanting streets and squares. You’ll just about have time to fit in an aperitivo at a bar, such as the breathtaking rooftop terrace of the Hotel Eitch Borromini in Piazza Navona, before enjoying a well-earned dinner. You may have only had one day in Rome, but you’ll have made every minute count.