All roads lead to Rome! It’s not hard to see why Rome is my favourite city in Europe. Also known as the ‘Eternal City’, it’s immense history, culture and ancient ruins around every corner makes Rome a city you’ll easily fall in love with. Oh and don’t forget the fantastic food, from pizza to pasta to aperitivo! Although this post is only a guide to spending a weekend in Rome, I highly recommend if you have time, to spend at least 4/5 days exploring the city. After all Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it certainly cannot be explored in that time either!
This guide to the perfect weekend in Rome, will give you a taster of the essential places and top sights that you must see. Following the itinerary, I’ll also be giving you top tips and advice for visiting Rome that will help you get the most out of your stay, as well my favourite tours which I highly recommend as well as the best accommodation options.
Getting From The Airport To The City
There are two main airports in Rome. Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) International Airport, which is the major hub for most airlines flying in and out of the city and Rome Ciampino International Airport, the secondary international airport of Rome. From both these airports, there are numerous ways to get into the city, here are a few ways I recommend:
- Ciampino or Fiumicino private airport transfer to Rome city centre.
- Ciampino airport to Rome termini shuttle bus service.
- Fiumicino airport to Rome city centre shuttle bus service.
- Leonardo Express Airport train to the city centre.
How To Get Around
If you’re only in Rome for a short weekend it may be more convenient to book a Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Ticket for the duration of your stay. Although, Rome isn’t too spread out for a capital city, it still takes up valuable time getting from one main sight to another.
However, if you’re wanting a more traditional and non-touristy way of seeing Rome I highly recommend purchasing the Omnia Vatican & Rome City Pass with free transportation included. This pass lets you enjoy fast-track entry to Rome’s historic sites, such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Colosseum, with a 3-day combined city pass. With the 3 day pass you get discounted entry to more than 30 sights.
Alternatively, you can just walk around the whole city (which is what I did). However, this is quite tiring and time consuming especially if you’re only there for 2/3 days in total. When I return I’ll most definitely be purchasing the Vatican & Rome City Pass.
Where To Stay In Rome
Rome has something for everyone, whether you’re wanting an ultra luxurious stay in some of the most prestigious hotels in Europe, you’re a backpacker wanting to have fun and meet like minded travellers or you’re a group of friends wanting to rent out a whole apartment for your weekend in Rome.
Navona Charme My Extra Home: 2 bedroom apartment close to local restaurants, Vatican City, and St Peters Square (this is where I stayed and thought the location was incredible).
Infinity Hotel: located in Rome’s historic centre, 550 yards from the Spanish Steps and the Villa Borghese Gardens are a 10-minute walk.
Hotel Splendide Royal: probably the most luxurious hotel in Rome and part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. If you’re wanting a weekend to remember close to all the main sites and world class service this may be the hotel to splash your cash on.
Rome Glam Hotel: a 4* modern hotel ranking 9.4 on Booking.com, this hotel is one of the highest rated in Rome and with an excellent location, close to the Trevi Fountain it’s a great option.
If you’re a solo-traveler or backpacker on a somewhat low budget inRome, there are plenty great hostels in the city.
Here are my two personal favourites:
The RomeHello Hostel: with an artistic layout, friendly staff and super funky activities, The RomeHello offers an experience and not just a bed to crash in. With a central location and only a 10 minute walk to sights like the Trevi Fountain, you’re getting a premium experience for a great price!
The Yellow Hostel: THE party hostel in Rome and the place for meeting and socialising with other travellers. The Yellow is set near Termini station, it’s in a great position to get all around the city by walking.
Last but certainly not least, is the option of using AirBnB. If you’re interested in using Airbnb, and you register for a new account you can save up to £43 off your first night stay! Which can go along way and is a great option.
When To Visit Rome
Rome has a Mediterranean climate with cool, wet winters and hot, humid summers. Peak Season in Rome is June, July, and August. If you can afford these months do, as it’s stinking hot and the number of tourists are unbearable not to mention the spike in prices during this time.
If your only option is these months, then I highly recommend picking up the Omnia Vatican & Rome City Pass so you’re not queuing for hours in the heat at the main tourist sights like the Vatican City and the Colosseum.
If you do have a choice of when to visit I recommend either between March to the start of June or September to October. During these months it’s still t-shirt weather but you won’t get the heaps of tourists flocking in. In addition, prices will be cheaper as it’s not peak season.
The Perfect Weekend In Rome Itinerary
Day 1: Castel Sant’Angelo, The Vatican City, Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere and Campo de’ Fiori.
Built by the Emperor Hadrian, originally constructed to use as a mausoleum for himself and his family, it’s an impressive sight as you walk over the St Angelo Bridge. Even from just seeing it from the exterior it’s an impressive sights, but if you have the time I recommend paying the small fee to walk around the interior of Castel Sant’Angelo. The views from the top, are impressive where you can take amazing pictures of the city from above.
Note: on Monday, it is closed to the public. So if you want to go inside, take note of this.
The Vatican City
Just a short walk down the Via Della Conciliazione, you’ll soon see the impressive St Petes Square the gateway to the Vatican City at the end of the long stretch of road.
The Vatican City is a country, and is home to the world-famous sites including the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. As The Vatican is so hugely popular, I highly recommend purchasing your tickets online before you go (preferably a week to a few days before you go) to guarantee yourself tickets. Trust me, you don’t want to be waiting for hours outside in the heat and wasting valuable time it will ruin your trip to Rome.
Thus, if you haven’t purchased your Omnia Vatican & Rome City Pass, buy skip the line self-guided tickets instead for The Vatican Museum. If you are really wanting to get the most of out your stay, I suggest booking the skip-the-line Vatican, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s tour.
Doors to the Vatican Museum open at 9am, so I recommend you arrange your entry for as close to then as you can. The Vatican Museum gets really crowded as the day progresses, so getting here early will let you enjoy it for a while before it gets too busy.
Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere
From the Vatican City, walk south along the River Tiber towards the Trastevere district. This area has some of the best local Italian restaurants in all of Rome, so if you can grab some lunch here and stop by the impressive Basilica of Our Lady.
This grand Catholic church is known for its 12th-century mosaics and lavish interior with 22 Roman columns inside the church itself, it’s also one of the oldest churches in all of Rome.
Campo de’ Fiori
Day 2: The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palentine Hill, and Piazza Venezia and Piazza Navoura.
Start your second day with probably THE most famous tourist attraction in Rome – The Colosseum. Located just east of the Roman Forum, the massive stone amphitheater was commissioned around A.D. 70-72 by Emperor Vespasian as a gift to the Roman people. However, most people know it as the home of the infamous Gladiator fights, who would battle it out in front of crowds of up to 50,000 people.
Like the Vatican City, if you don’t book prior you will be queuing for several hours in the heat to get tickets to go inside the Colosseum. If you have the Omnia Vatican & Rome City Pass skip the line tickets are included. As there is so much history involved in this attraction, I highly recommend booking a skip the line Colosseum and Ancient Rome Walking Tour (This ticket includes a guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill).
If you’re short on time, and would rather walk around The Colosseum, Rome Forum and Palatine Hill at your own pace than by a self guided skip the line ticket.
Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
Your Colosseum ticket is also good for entry to the Roman Forum & Palatine Hill (as long as you visit on the same day), which is conveniently located right next door.
Note: If you didn’t get the chance to buy a ticket in advance for the Colosseum or it was already sold out, then I recommend visiting the Roman Forum first to get your tickets. This is because the queues for tickets are much shorter, and since they include the Colosseum anyway you’ll get in faster there once you’re finished at the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
The Roman Forum has many spectacular sights and is home to ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the centre of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, or the Forum Magnum. Put simply, Roman life for centuries revolved around this area of Rome, and no visit to the city is complete without walking these ancient ruins.
Located 40 meters above the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill is the most central of the seven hills of Rome and forms one of the oldest parts of the city. The Palatine Hill is a very pleasant place for a quiet walk around some historical sights within the Roman Forum.
After ending your walking tour around the Roman Forum, you’ll most likely end up near to the Piazza Venezia. It is the central hub of Rome, in which several roads intersect, including the Via dei Fori Imperiali and the Via del Corso. The Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, is the most impressive sight in this Piazza and it’s impossible to miss.
If you have time, go inside this impressive building and buy tickets to the top. The view from above it incredible, and you will get a whole different perspective of Rome, especially The Colosseum and Roman Forum.
Day 3: The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Villa Borghese, and Piazza Navona.
Start your day with the best preserved ancient monument in Rome – The Pantheon. This building, which has been standing for almost 2,000 years, when you see this impressive building, you’ll see just how magnificent it is. To this day, it still holds the record as the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
Originally built as a temple to the Roman gods, the Pantheon was converted for use as a Christian church in 609 AD, which is one of the main reasons it is displayed in such excellent condition today. This building is free to enter, but as respect please be silent when walking inside this wonderful ancient monument.
Ahhh the Trevi Fountain! Some think it’s seriously over-rated with the colossal amounts of crowds it attracts, however it is one of my favourite sights in all of Rome. The key to getting a picture with no one else around is waking up for sunrise and getting there early!
This is the world’s largest Baroque fountain, and is always a popular location – whatever time of day (or night!) you visit. Built in the early 18th century, it is said that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you are guaranteed to return to Rome. Another great thing about the coin throwing is, at the end of each night the coins are collected from the fountain and used by a charity that helps those in need to purchase food.
The Spanish Steps
From the Trevi Fountain head towards the Spanish Steps. With its irregular butterfly design, the beautiful “Scalina Spagna”, or Spanish Steps are just one of these must see places when in Rome and a great example of Roman Baroque Style.
It’s a great place to sit down and enjoy the atmosphere and views. It consists of 138 steps placed in a mix of curves, straight flights, vistas and terraces. They connect the lower Piazza di Spagna with the upper piazza Trinita dei Monti, with its beautiful twin tower church dominating the skyline.
They were made particularly popular in the 1953 movie Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn.
Is my favourite garden/park in Rome, and is a wonderful place to stroll through at your own pace. It is the third largest park in Rome and has a number of beautiful buildings, museums and attractions within it. Make sure to visit the view from the terrace overlooking the Piazza del Popolo. It’s particularly good at sunset, so do your best to time your visit here to enjoy that and reflect on three wonderful days spent exploring The Eternal City!
One of my favourite tours I did in Rome was a Segway Tour of Villa Borghese. This is a great tour, to see all these sights a little quicker rather than walking and it’s also very informative regarding the history and culture behind all these incredible attractions.
Your weekend in Rome has nearly come to an end. We recommend finishing your adventure off with a visit to the Piazza Navona. This has been a designated public space since the 15th century, and is full of gorgeous Baroque architecture.
It’s most famous feature is undoubtedly Bernini’s fountain, which stands at the centre of the plaza – the Fountain of the Four Rivers, which dates from 1651.
The Piazza is a lively place to be full of beautiful restaurants (however I recommend going done some of the alleys off Piazza Navona for cheaper prices and better local food), street performers and markets.
My Favourite Tours For A Weekend In Rome
So there you have it! My ultimate guide to spending a perfect weekend in Rome! I hope this covers everything you were looking for, and I wish you an incredible and memorable trip to Rome!
Don’t forget to sort out your travel insurance! I always travel with World Nomads Insurance, my favourite travel insurance provider as they are specifically suited for long term travellers and backpackers. I wouldn’t travel with anyone else.
Do you have Pinterest? Save it for later!