The Best Way to Spend a Day in Rome

If you only have a day in Rome and are determined to see the best of what it has to offer, lace up your walking shoes and get ready to be amazed! To make this work, you’ll have to be sure to start as early as possible because you have a lot of ground to cover.

The itinerary is pretty intense and likely won’t be enjoyable if you’re with children. But if you make some adjustments you can make it work for your family. If that’s not possible, I strongly suggest that you take another day to enjoy the city more fully. You’ll then be able to cover all of the items in this itinerary and add a few more as well. But if you only have a day, this is how you do it.

Colosseum/Palatine Hill

What better way to start your day in Rome than at the Colosseum. To make sure that you get in when you want to, book your Colosseum tickets in advance online. You’ll be given the choice of several time slots. It would be best to pick the earliest slot available so that you can get an early start to your day. Getting started early is also great for beating the heat. There is very little shade once you’re inside the Colosseum and no shade at all on Palatine Hill.

To get to the next destination, you’ll have to take the metro. It’s pretty easy to get around if you use Google Maps. It provides all of the information that you need to reach your destinations in real-time.

Vatican/St. Peter’s Square

For this itinerary, you’ll just be enjoying the square itself with its massive open space which features St. Peters’ Basilica. It’s nice to walk along the colonnade as its beautifully situated columns arc out on either side of the square. If you think that you have a bit of extra time, St. Peter’s is free and the lines, though long at times can move fairly quickly.

Pass Castel Sant’Angelo and cross Ponte Sant’Angelo

From St. Peter’s square, you can take a direct path through the main entrance to Vatican City and cross Piazza Pia. This will take you to Castel Sant’ Angelo. Once you make your way to the entrance of the castle, you’ll notice a conspicuous and elaborately decorated bridge with angel sculptures adorning either side. That would be Ponte Sant’ Angelo. After you cross the bridge, you’ll be presented with an excellent view across the bridge and back towards Castel Sant’Angelo.

Piazza Navona

Take the streets and side streets towards one of the most popular of Rome’s many piazzas. The walk is such an enjoyable part of visiting Rome. Strolling through its narrow streets on the way to your destination is very relaxing, fun and often reveals a surprise or two.

The Piazza Navona is on nearly every must-see list for a reason. It’s a masterfully laid out piazza with three large distinct fountains as the focus. The main fountain in the center is stunning. Along with the fountains and the large open space is the Sant’ Agnese in Agone church that is situated on the western side of the piazza in the center.

It may cost you quite a few Euros, but there are several restaurants situated inside the piazza. This provides just an amazing opportunity to enjoy a meal while you also enjoy the piazza.


Just a few steps and a short walk from the piazza is the Pantheon. Spend some time to linger in the Piazza della Rotonda either before or after you enter the Pantheon. The piazza has a tremendous fountain at its center and is a remarkable space.

The Pantheon is a great place to visit with its occulus as the focal point. The massive doors that you pass through are eye-catching and set the mood for what you’re about to witness. Also, note the massive domed roof which is an engineering masterpiece of ancient design.

Trevi Fountain

You’ll again follow Rome’s back streets on your way to the Trevi Fountain. This iconic fountain, though one of many in Rome, is probably the most well known. It’ll always attract a crowd, but it’s worth seeing. There are spots to sit around the fountain and many will sit on the steps themselves. This massive piece of art is a breathtaking display of ingenuity and creativity.

Spanish Steps

Even though you’re no longer allowed to sit on the Spanish Steps, you can still enjoy the scene that the Steps and the Piazza di Spagna provide. You can enjoy the view from below and look up the steps or you can make the climb to the top and enjoy the view down the steps and into Piazza di Spagna which includes the Barcaccia Fountain. Or you can try both and enjoy the best of both worlds!

Rome in a Day

You won’t see everything but you’ll see enough of Rome that you’ll likely fall in love with this breath taking city. Between its architecture, history and wonderful food, it’s a city that you’ll want to come to back to again and again.

Do you have any other must see spots in Rome? Feel free to share them in the comments!


  • Jeremiah Pittmon

    Jeremiah Pittmon is a published travel writer and photographer from Cleveland, Ohio. Passionate about exploring the world with his family, he finds inspiration in all types of travel. Through his blog,, and social media channels, he shares captivating experiences and valuable tips for families who love to travel.

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The Best Way to Spend a Day in Rome
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