How to See Rome in a Day
As the old adage goes, Rome most certainly was not built in a day, but you can see a lot of its most important sights and attractions in one day. This is because much of Rome’s most significant buildings are all packed in close together and are easily within walking distance of each other. Show Me Italy has put a lot of time into creating and curating the best possible tours of Rome’s most important attractions and if you are only visiting Rome for a short period and want to fit everything into one day, we suggest our Ancient Rome tour and our Best of Rome tour. This blog will look at both of these tours and introduce all of the important Roman attractions you can fit into one day. This is the ideal blog for anyone making a fleeting visit to Rome that wants to make the absolute most of their time.
Ancient Rome Tour: the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill
The Colosseum needs no introduction, as it’s one of the most famous ancient structures in the world. It was a functioning stadium for gladiatorial games and navel battles (they actually flooded it and filled it with ships!) for 390 years. The Colosseum was the beating heart of Rome and a source of entertainment for the citizens for almost four centuries. While it most certainly is no longer in its prime, it is still an impressive structure, both in terms of size and complexity. A visit to the Colosseum is an absolute must. You can find more about the Colosseum here, and if you’re only really interested in visiting the Colosseum, you may like to take our Guided Tour of the Colosseum Arena, which comes with exclusive access to the arena floor.
The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum (pictured at the top of the blog) is right next to the Colosseum and it was the hub of much of Ancient Rome’s commercial and governmental affairs. It was, essentially, where the important Roman’s congregated and managed the most successful empire in the ancient world. The Forum is a long, rectangular meeting place with lots of important Roman government buildings surrounding it. While it is fascinating to visit in its own right, you really need a guide to uncover the history and significance of this place!
The Palatine Hill
The Palatine Hill is one of the ‘Seven Hills of Rome’ and it’s found right in the centre of the city. It is just beside the Roman Forum, which is why you can visit the Colosseum, the Forum, and the Palatine Hill all in one tour. The Palatine Hill was where the great imperial palaces of the Caesars were built, from Augustus onwards. You will enjoy great views of this ancient part of Rome from the hill and your tour guide will help paint a picture of how it would have looked in its heyday.
The Best of Rome: the Piazza Venezia, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Piazza Navona
The Best of Rome Tour moves away from the Colosseum and its surrounding ancient structures, focusing on some more incredible attractions closer to the modern centre of Rome. However, all of these sites are still only a short walk away from the Colosseum.
The Piazza Venezia
The Piazza Venezia is utterly unmissable. It is the centre of the entire city and many of Rome’s biggest roads and thoroughfares all lead to it. Here, you’ll find Altare della Patria, an incredible monument built in honour of Victor Emmanuel II (the first king of unified Italy) and it also contains Italy’s tomb of the unknown soldier. This entire piazza is grand and worth visiting in its own right, but it helps to have a tour guide tell you exactly what you’re looking at. From here, it’s a very short walk to Trajan’s Column.
The Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain can be found in Rome’s Trevi district. This beautiful fountain is one of the most popular spots in Rome and it was designed by the renowned Italian architect, Nicola Salvi. The Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world. It is tradition to throw coins into the fountain; you are supposed to use your right hand and to throw the coin over your left shoulder.
The Pantheon is an incredibly well-preserved Ancient Roman building. It was originally commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during Augustus’s reign (between 27 BC and 14 AD) but the original building burned down. The building built in its place took a long time to complete. It was finally completed by Hadrian in 125 AD and this second building has remained in great condition to this day. What makes the Pantheon’s condition so remarkable is that it has been in constant use since it was built; most of its lifespan it has been used as a church dedicated to St. Mary. The huge dome on the Pantheon’s ceiling was centuries ahead of its time and many architects after the fall of Rome struggled (and failed) to replicate the engineering technology required to make such a stable domed structure.
The Piazza Navona
The Piazza Navona was built in the 1st century AD and it was designed to be an open stadium to host agones (games). This space was changed in the 17th century by Innocent X who transformed the ancient Roman space into a place to highlight Baroque Roman architecture. Here, you’ll find Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers), the obelisk of Domitian, the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, and Pamphili Palace. There is just far too much to see and do in the Piazza Navona that you might miss without a tour guide!
There you have it: how to see Rome in a day. You could try to see everything we’ve covered in this blog on your own. It’s completely possible in one day. However, given how much history and places of significance you would miss this way, we highly recommend taking at least one of the two tours mentioned in this blog. Please get in touch if you have any questions about our Rome ToursYou can see Rome in a day, but there’s so much to see and do in Rome that we recommend taking at least a few days!