Rome Travel Guide: 3-Day Detailed Itinerary for First-Timers

The Perfect Rome Itinerary with Map, Tips, and Costs


Welcome to our ultimate travel guide for Rome! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share everything you need to know to plan your first visit to the Eternal City. Explore the city’s rich history, architectural wonders, and culinary delights with our detailed Rome three-day itinerary. Additionally, we’ll provide suggestions for one and two-day itineraries, along with practical tips, budget-friendly recommendations, and our honest opinions about the places we visited.

We’ll also share a directions map for each day so that you can have a better overview of the places you’ll visit.

I must admit, Rome was never on my bucket list, but now I regret not having visited earlier. It’s definitely worth the hype, and I think it’s impossible to not love it. Get ready for an unforgettable trip to Rome!

Visiting Rome: Practical Information

  • Best time to visit: Rome is always crowded, for a better experience avoid peak season (July, and August) and school holidays.
  • Currency: EUR
  • Language: Italian, but English is widely spoken in Rome
  • How to get there: closest airports are Fiumicino (FCO) and Ciampino (CIA) airports
  • How to get around: the cheapest and best way to explore is by walking
  • How to pay for stuff: mostly card, even though cash is also accepted
  • Plugs: EU standard plug type C
  • Safety: considered a safe city for tourists. But as in any other crowded city, exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. I always felt safe and didn’t experience any uncomfortable situations despite the huge crowds almost everywhere.

Rome 3-Day Itinerary Suggestion

Check out the table below for our proposed plan for spending 3 days in Rome. This is the itinerary that we put together for our first time in Rome. If you want more information about the locations, costs, and recommendations, please keep reading this article.

Day 1 in Rome:

  • Via dei Fori Imperiali
  • Altare della Patria
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Pantheon
  • Piazza Navona
  • Two Sizes pastry shop
  • Colosseum (at night)

Day 2 in Rome:

  • Colosseum guided tour
  • Roman Forum and Palatine Hill guided tour
  • Spanish Steps
  • Vila Borghese
  • Piazza del Popolo
  • Sunset at Piazza di San Petro and Castle St’ Angelo

Day 3 in Rome:

  • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
  • Piazza di San Pietro
  • St Peter’s Basilica
  • Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Castle Sant’Angelo
  • Mr. 100 Tiramisu

Rome 3-Day Itinerary and Tips (Table of Contents)

How Many Days Should You Stay in Rome?

Rome has so much to do and see that it will depend on your interests. Most people spend between two to five days. We spent three days and it was the perfect amount of time for us. Even if you have just one day (due to a layover), you can still have a great time. If you want to spend one week, there is no shortage of places to visit, tours, and activities.

How to Get to Rome?

We arrived at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) on a flight from Eindhoven operated by Wizz Air. Currently, Wizz Air is one of the low-cost airlines with the best prices. There are many cheap flights to several airports in Rome from most European cities.

There are two main airports serving Rome:

  • Fiumicino Airport (FCO), also known as Leonardo da Vinci, it’s Rome’s main airport.
  • Ciampino Airport (CIA), the smallest of the two airports, serves mainly low-cost airlines.

How to Get to Rome from Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino (FCO) Aiport?

Shuttle Bus

You can get a shuttle bus from Fiumicino airport to Rome city center (Rome Termini station). This is the cheapest option, with companies such as Terravision, RomeAirportBus, and others. The journey takes around 45 minutes to one hour depending on the traffic.

You can buy the tickets online or at the counters. We bought ours at the site when we arrived. Simply follow the Bus signs, you just have to turn right when you get out of the airport. We bought from the RomeAirportBus and a return trip cost 9.90€ per person. We were lucky that there weren’t any queues when we arrived. If you’re traveling in high season, consider buying your tickets in advance.

The journey took 50 minutes. After arriving at Rome Termini station, you can get another transportation to your accommodation, or you can simply walk. We walked around 20 minutes to our place next to the Colosseum.


There are a few options to reach Rome city center by train from Fiumicino Airport.

Leonado Express: this is the fastest way to get there. It’s a direct train between FCO airport and Rome Termini station. The journey takes around 30 minutes, and it operates every 15 minutes. You can buy tickets at the airport’s train station or online. A one-way ticket starts at 14€ per person at the time of writing this article. Don’t forget to always validate your ticket before boarding and carry it with you the whole journey.

Regional FL1 Train: Another option is to take the regional FL1 train, which also connects Fiumicino Airport to Rome’s city center. This train makes several stops along the way, and the journey takes around 45 minutes. You can buy the tickets at the airport’s train station or online. A one-way ticket costs 8€ per person. Don’t forget to always validate your ticket before boarding and carry it with you the whole journey.

Always check Trenitalia website for up-to-date information and to check the schedule.


This is the most expensive option, but it will drop you off right at your accommodation. There is a fixed rate for taxi services from Fiumicino Airport to the city center. Currently, a trip from the FCO airport to Rome city center (within the Aurelian walls) costs 50€ and takes 45 minutes depending on the traffic.

How to Get to Rome from Ciampino Airport (CIA) Aiport?

The Ciampino Airport is the smallest of the two airports serving mainly low-cost airlines. There are several options to arrive at the city center.

Shuttle Bus

There are several shuttle bus companies that will take you to the city center of Rome (Termini Station), like Terravision and SIT bus. A one-way ticket will cost 6€ (usually you’ll have a discount for a round trip) and the journey will take around 40 minutes.


Unfortunately, there isn’t a train station right at the airport. You need to get on a Cotral/Schiaffini bus to the station in Ciampino. From the station, it will be a 15-minute ride to Rome Termini. Don’t forget to always validate your ticket before boarding and carry it with you the whole journey.

Always check Trenitalia website for up-to-date information and to check the schedule.


Taxis have a fixed price and it will cost 30€ to take you to your accommodation in the city center.

Day 1 — Rome Itinerary

We arrived at the FCO airport around 12:00. We took the bus transfer to Rome Termini station and then walked to our accommodation. We got everything settled up and we began exploring Rome around 3 PM. There was still a lot of time for a great day of exploration.

Day 1 in Rome: Visited Places and Activities

  • Via dei Fori Imperiali
  • Altare della Patria
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Pantheon
  • Piazza Navona
  • Two Sizes pastry shop
  • Colosseum (at night)

Eat Roman-style Pizza – Pizza al Taglio

By the time you arrive at your accommodation, you’ll probably be starving. The first thing we did when we arrived in Rome was to eat pizza.

The most popular pizza in Roma is Pizza al Taglio, it’s made with a light and fluffy focaccia-like dough and it’s so delicious. There are several shops serving this type of pizza. Usually, they have more than 10 different combinations of toppings. The slices are sold by weight, so you can ask for multiple small slices and try a wide range of flavors.

The first pizzeria we went to was called “La Prezzemolina” and I can’t recommend it enough. It was the best of all that we tried during our trip to Rome. It was so good that we returned on our last day.

We were not happy with just one round of pizza, so we went to another pizzeria called “Pizzeria Della Madonna Dei Monti”. They also served delicious pizza, but I liked “La Prezzemolina” more.

Via dei Fori Imperiali

With our stomachs full, we were ready for a great day of exploration. We started in Via dei Fori Imperiali. It stretches between the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia with views of ancient ruins along the way. There’s always a great flow of tourists on this street and it’s a great place to seat on a bench or wall and watch some of the street musicians and performers.

Piazza Venezzia, Rome
Piazza Venezia, Rome

We didn’t visit the Colosseum on this day. A visit to the Colosseum takes a bit of time, and it can be exhausting, so we recommend visiting on another day first thing in the morning (not the day of arrival when you are tired).

Altare della Patria

If you continue walking along Via dei Fori Imperiali, you’ll arrive at Piazza Venezia. That’s where the Altare della Patria, or “Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II” is located. It’s a huge white marble monument that was built as a tribute to Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of the unified Italy.

Since 1921, the monument has housed the tomb of the unknown soldier, a space where an eternal flame burns, perpetually guarded by two soldiers.

Altare della Patria, Rome
Altare della Patria, Rome

What to do in Altare della Patria

  • Panoramic views
  • The Museum of the Risorgimento

The building is huge and you can climb the steps for magnificent panoramic views of Rome.

Colosseum View from Altare della Patria terrace
Colosseum View from Altare della Patria Terrace

The first part of the terrace is free, but if you want to go to the Panoramic Terrace at the same height as the imponent horse charriots, you need to pay for a ticket. The only way to get there is through a panoramic elevator.

At the time of writing this article, the ticket costs 7€. With so many things to do in Rome, we decided to skip the paid terrace. The free terrace was good enough for us.

Inside Altare della Patria, there’s a museum dedicated to the unification of Italy with weapons, flags and other objects. This museum is free to enter, but I didn’t find it much interesting, at least for a foreign visitor.

Trevi Fountain

We continued our journey to the Trevi Fountain. This place is an absolute must-visit on your trip to Rome. It was around 5 PM when we arrived there, and it was very crowded. It was one of the most crowded places in Rome.

Trevi Fountain Rome
Trevi Fountain

Nonetheless, the place is beautiful and in my opinion, much more impressive in real life than in pictures. We returned to the Trevi Fountain on our last day first thing in the morning, around 7:30 AM and there were already a significant number of people there, but nothing compared to the afternoon. We have a video showing the differences between Trevi Fountain at 7:30 and 17:30.

There is a tradition of throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain. Throw a coin over the left shoulder using the right hand to guarantee a return trip, two coins for a new romance, and three coins for marriage or divorce. The coins in the fountain are regularly collected and donated to charity. When we visited in the morning, around 8 AM, the municipality staff came to collect the coins from the fountain.


After seeing Fontana di Trevi, we went to the Pantheon—it’s just a seven-minute walk. The Pantheon is a former Roman temple and is currently a church and the burial ground for several important people including Queen Margherita of Savoy.

Pantheon Rome
Pantheon, Rome

The entrance to the Pantheon used to be free, but now you need a ticket to go inside. The ticket also includes an audio guide. At the time of writing this article, the regular ticket costs 15€. If you want to visit inside, remember to use appropriate clothing (shoulders and back covered and no shorts).

Even though the inside architecture is beautiful with a very unique dome, I think 15€ is quite expensive for what you get. If this is your first time in Rome, maybe there are better attractions.

Piazza Navona

From the Pantheon to Piazza Navona is just a 5-minute walk. Piazza Navona is a very lively square but doesn’t feel as crowded as other places, with painters and street performers. It’s also home to three magnificent fountains.

The fountains are not as impressive as Fontana di Trevi, but I found the details of the representations very impressive.

There are many restaurants, ice cream shops, and pastry shops nearby. Go grab something and seat on a bench admiring the fountains.

Eat Tiramisu at the “Two Sizes” pastry shop

We went to the nearby “Two Sizes” pastry shop to try their Tiramisu. They have two sizes of the original Tiramisu. It was delicious—we absolutely recommend it. We also tried a cannolo for the first time. The Tiramisu was 3.50€ and the cannolo was 1.50€.

Colosseum at night

Our accommodation was right next to the Colosseum, approximately a 3-minute walk away. So, we took the opportunity to admire its impressiveness and Foro Romano at night. Aditionally, the place is not crowded at all after 9 PM. If your accommodation is close by, I think it’s worth taking a look at the Colosseum at night.

This is an absolute must-visit on your trip to Rome. On this day, we just admired the Colosseum from the outside and went on a guided tour of the Colosseum the next day.

Cost of day 1 in Rome

Food: Pizza, drinks, tiramisu, and others (2pp): 36.50€

Transportation: Rome Airport Bus return ticket per person: 9.90€

TOTAL: 56.30€ (2pp) → 28.15€ per person

Map for Day 1 in Rome

Here’s a map and itinerary with the places to visit on your first day in Rome. Click on the image to open the map in Google My Maps.

Day 2 – Rome Itinerary

It was on this day that we went to see our first of the Seven Wonders of the World: the imponent Colosseum, also called Anfiteatro Flavio.

Day 2 in Rome: Visited Places and Activities

  • Colosseum guided tour
  • Roman Forum and Palatine Hill guided tour
  • Spanish Steps
  • Vila Borghese
  • Piazza del Popolo
  • Sunset at Piazza di San Petro and Castle St’ Angelo
  • Mr. 100 Tiramisu

Colosseum Guided Tour

Visiting the Colosseum, one of the seven wonders of the modern world, it’s an absolute must-visit on your trip to Rome. If you are on a budget and just want to pay for one activity, this is the one you cannot miss.

Colosseum Guided Tour

There are many different tickets to the Colosseum with different options and upsells. Many tickets also include a guided tour of the Roman Foro and Palatine Hill. We bought a ticket for a guided tour of the Colosseum (regular tour, no arena or underground), Roman Foro, and Palatine Hill. We bought our tickets on GetYourGuide. You must reserve a specific day and time.

Here’s just a summary of the different tickets available to visit the Colosseum:

  • Express visit to the Colosseum: guided visit to the Colosseum (doesn’t include the arena or underground);
  • Standard Colosseum Ticket: includes a guided visit to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill (doesn’t include a visit to the arena or the underground of the Colosseum);
  • Standard Ticket with access to the arena floor;
  • Standard Ticket with access to the arena and underground;
  • Any other combination of the previous options.

Tickets to the Colosseum get sold months in advance depending on the season. So, to be able to get the best offer make sure you get your tickets to the Colosseum in advance. We reserved ours three weeks in advance and there was very little option.

We really enjoyed the tour and our guide was great. Visiting the Colosseum with a guide is definitely the best option. The Colosseum is crowded all the time, and if you don’t have a guide to point out your way inside and explain all about its history, you won’t be able to enjoy it as much or notice some of the details. The tour to the Colosseum took approximately one hour.

Palatine Hill and Roman Forum Guided Tour

After the Colosseum, we continued the tour, with the same guide, to the Palatine Hill. This is the birthplace of Rome and showcases the ruins of several opulent palaces, with great views of Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum.

Roman Forum
Roman Forum

Finally, the tour ended in the Roman Forum. It served as the political, social, and commercial hub of the city, housing numerous important structures such as temples, basilicas, and government buildings. This was one of the most impressive archaeological sites that we’ve been to. I can’t even imagine the opulence of the buildings back in those days.

In the Roman Forum, there’s also a very interesting archaeological museum about the place. It’s in this place that you’ll find one of the best views of the Colosseum and with very few people.

Colosseum Rome (view from Roman Foro Museum)

The combined guided tour took approximately three hours and despite our knowledgeable guide, it entailed a substantial amount of information to absorb, particularly if one is unfamiliar with the names of emperors. Even though I liked the tour, and I would do it again, I have to confess that it was a bit exhausting.

Eat Some Pasta for Lunch

After the tour, we were starving. Most pasta restaurants that we wanted to go to were completely full. So, we went to get some pasta to eat on the go. We asked for a pasta carbonara at the “Ce Stamo a Pensa” restaurant and it was delicious.

Asking to take away the food instead of eating in the restaurant is a great way to save some money. Of course, it doesn’t have the same level of comfort.

After lunch, go grab some ice cream. There are many ice cream shops to choose from. I didn’t do much research about the gelaterias, I simply searched on google maps and avoided the ones with very bad reviews. All places we went to served delicious ice cream.

Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps

After lunch, you can go to the Piazza di Spagna and climb the famous Spanish Steps. It was around 5 PM when we arrived at the Piazza di Spagna and it was very crowded. Almost at the same level as the Fontana di Trevi. Please note that you can’t seat on the steps.

In the Piazza di Spagna, there is a very beautiful fountain, but I barely noticed it taking into account the amount of people there. You can also climb the steps to the Trinità dei Monti Church and then proceed to Vila Borghese.

Vila Borghese

Vila Borghese is a big park with green spaces, gardens, and picturesque pathways, where you can go for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or simply relax under the shade of the trees.

In the park, there are busts of important personalities like Dante, Marco Polo, G. Rosetti, and others. There’s also an art museum with a collection of sculptures and paintings by famous artists such as Bernini and Caravaggio.

You can also rent a bike to better explore the park or a boat to explore the scenic lake. The park is quite big and we only explored a small fraction of the park. Renting a bike would be a nice way to cover more ground in less time.

Terrazza del Pincio

Right next to Vila Borghese, there’s a nice terrace, Terrazza del Pincio, with great panoramic views of the city and Piazza del Popolo. This is a very popular place to watch the sunset. It was a bit early for sunset when we went there, so we decided to continue our exploration and watch the sunset in another place.

Piazza Del Popolo

Proceed to Piazza del Popolo, a big square with an Egyptian obelisk in the center, flanked by two big fountains. One prominent feature near Piazza del Popolo is the ancient Roman walls. These walls are remnants of the original Aurelian Walls, built in the 3rd century AD to fortify the city of Rome.

When we visited, this square was considerably less crowded than the other places in Rome.

More Pasta for Dinner

After a lot of walking, we went to eat some more pasta for dinner. We went to a Bistro called “Pasta Imperiale” with great pasta. I tried some Cacio e Pepe pasta, which is a classic pasta dish originated in Rome, and it was delicious. I absolutely recommend this place, the food was good with very reasonable prices.

Ponte Vittorio Emanuelle II

After dinner, if there is still time go for a stroll along the Tiber River and admire Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II with amazing sunset colors.

Ponte Vittorio Emanuelle II
Ponte Vittorio Emanuelle II

Sunset at Piazza di San Pietro

We crossed Ponte Vittorio Emanuelle II and admired Piazza di San Pietro with unique sunset colors and very few people. If you don’t have time to see this square don’t worry, you’ll come back here tomorrow. However, visiting at this time (around 8 PM) is a completely different feeling than visiting it in the morning with the crowds.

Sunset at Piazza di San Pietro
Sunset at Piazza di San Pietro

Tiramisu at Mr.100 Tiramisu

Before getting back to our accommodation, we were craving something sweet. We went to the famous Mr.100 Tiramisu. This place literally has 100 different flavors of tiramisu. We asked for a classic Tiramisu, and it was great. However, I liked the “Two Sizes” pastry shop more.

Cost of day 2 in Rome

Food: Pasta for lunch and dinner, tiramisu, and drinks (2pp): 35.50€


  • Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Foro tour (per person): 43.40€

Others: 10€

TOTAL: 132.30€ (2pp) → 66.15€ per person

Map for Day 2 in Rome

Click on the image to open the map in Google My Maps.

Rome Day 2 Itinerary Map

Day 3 – Rome Itinerary

On this third day, we visited the Vatican, considered the smallest country in the world both in terms of area and population.

Day 3 in Rome: Visited Places and Activities

  • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
  • Piazza di San Pietro
  • St Peter’s Basilica
  • Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II
  • Castle Sant’Angelo

Fontana di Trevi Early in the Morning

If you want to see Fontana di Trevi with fewer crowds, get up early in the morning. We went around 7:30 PM and there were very few people when compared with the crowds in the afternoon. Still, there were more people than I expected. Nonetheless, it’s a better time to admire this impressive work of art.

Piazza di San Pietro

If you didn’t have the time to visit Piazza di San Pietro the day before, you can do it on this day before visiting the Vatican Museums, but it will be much more crowded than at night or sunset time.


St Peter’s Basilica

On Piazza di San Pietro, there’s the famous and imponent St Peter’s Basilica. The size and beauty of the basilica, along with the impressive artworks like Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and the intriguing sculpture of a skeleton holding an hourglass, is truly remarkable.

Unfortunately, our ticket to the Vatican Museums didn’t include a guided tour of the basilica. I now realize that a guided tour could have provided more insights into the historical and symbolic meaning behind the artworks.

Some websites and apps sell tickets that also include a guided tour of St Peter’s Basilica. In my opinion, that’s a better option than visiting on your own.

A visit to St.Peter’s Basilica is not complete without climbing the Dome (I regret that we didn’t). Even though the entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica is free, you need a ticket to climb to the dome. There are several options: you can walk all the way up or get on an elevator.

We visited St. Peter’s Basilica after going to the Vatican Museums around 3 PM. It wasn’t crowded, and we didn’t have to wait in line to get in. I read many reviews and blog posts mentioning going early in the morning before going to the museums because the queues add up quickly during the day. However, that was not the case for us.

If it were today, I would have skipped the Vatican Museums and would have opted for a guided tour of the Basilica and climbing the Dome.

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

To visit the Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel, make sure you reserve your tickets in advance. Don’t try to buy the tickets at the entrance, the lines are huge. I would say that in high season, the queues can be longer than 500 meters and you’re not guaranteed a ticket.

There are different ticket options and many different places where you can buy the tickets. GetYourGuide offers several tours with varied prices and different things included.

We bought our tickets at the official Vatican Museums website. We bought the ticket with a guide. The Vatican museums are huge, and the buildings are truly impressive. However, this was the most crowded place we visited in Rome. It’s impossible to wander on your own.

The place is so overwhelming that even with a tour guide, you can’t assimilate half of the information. The tour ended with a visit to the Sistine Chapel. The ceiling is absolutely breathtaking. It’s amazing the amount of detail that was put into painting that ceiling. It’s hard to imagine how Michaelangelo painted the ceiling throughout all those years. Note that you can’t take pictures of the Sistine Chapel.

I was a bit disappointed that our tour didn’t include a guide on the St Peter’s Basilica—I should have made better research.

Were the Vatican Museums worth it? Don’t get me wrong, the museums have some of the most amazing pieces of art that I’ve seen, but it was so crowded and they are so big, that I felt I didn’t enjoy them properly. Additionally, the tickets are not cheap. If it was today, I would have skipped the museums and spent the money on a guided tour to St. Peter’s Basilica and climbing the dome.

Castle Sant’Angelo

After your visit to the Vatican, go to St Angelo Bridge and admire the peculiar Castle of St. Angelo.

Castel Sant’Angelo has a very interesting history. It was built in 135 AD as a mausoleum and evolved into a fortress, papal residence, and prison. Its cylindrical structure, made of concrete and travertine marble, stands 21 meters high and is crowned with a statue of the Archangel Michael.

You can explore its historical levels, including prisons, papal apartments, and enjoy panoramic views of Rome from the Terrace of the Angel. We didn’t visit Castle Sant’Angelo, but it’s definitely on our list when we visit Rome again.

Have Some More Pasta

With so much going on this day, we didn’t even have time to have lunch, so we went for an early dinner at the “La Nuova Piazzetta” restaurant. We arrived before 6 PM and around 6:30 PM the restaurant was completely full.

We both had a pasta carbonara and it was the best I’ve eaten. I truly recommend that place and taking into account the occupancy and queues I believe it’s a really popular place. So, make sure you reserve a spot or arrive early.

Cost of day 3 in Rome

Food: Pasta Carbonara for two, drinks and ice creams (2pp): 58€


  • Uber: 12€
  • Train tickets (2pp) : 8.40€
  • Hotel transfer to airport (2pp): 12€


  • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel tickets: 35€ per person

TOTAL: 160.40€ (2pp) → 80.20€ per person

Map for Day 3 in Rome

Click on the image to open the map in Google My Maps.

Rome Day 3 Itinerary Map

Itinerary Suggestions for 1 and 2 days in Rome

If you only have one or two days in Rome, you can still enjoy your time and see most of the popular attractions.

One Day in Rome Itinerary:

If you only have one day in Rome, for example, you’re on a layover for another destination, I think you can still have a great time and see some of the most important highlights. Here’s our suggestion if you only have one day—this will require a lot of walking but you’ll see the most popular attractions of Rome in just one day.

  • Colosseum (skip the guided tour or go on an express tour—around one hour)
  • Trevi Fountain;
  • Pantheon
  • Piazza Navona
  • Piazza di Spagna and Spanish Steps
  • Castel St’Angelo
  • Ponte Vittorio Emanualle
  • Piazza di San Pietro
  • St Peter’s Basillica

Don’t forget to eat gelato, pizza al taglio and some pasta.

We also have a video for a 24-hour itinerary in Rome.

Two Days in Rome Itinerary:

If you only have two days in Rome, I would consider skipping the Vatican museums. We still recommend going on a guided tour to the Colosseum, Foro Romano and Palatine Hill. Skip Vila Borghese and Piazza del Popolo and visit the Vatican instead (without the museums). So, your itinerary would look like this:

Day 1 in Rome:

  • Via dei Fori Imperiali
  • Altare della Patria
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Pantheon
  • Piazza Navona
  • Two Sizes pastry shop
  • Colosseum (at night)

Day 2 in Rome:

  • Colosseum guided tour
  • Roman Forum and Palatine Hill guided tour
  • Spanish Steps
  • Castle St’ Angelo
  • Ponte Vittorio Emanuelle II
  • Piazza di San Petro
  • St Peter’s Basilica

Visiting Rome on a Low Budget

If you’re on a low budget you can still enjoy a lot of what Rome has to offer. You can still follow our itinerary suggestion and skip the paid tours.

Here are some tips if you’re visiting Rome on a budget:

  • If you want to see the Colosseum, get a ticket that only includes the Colosseum and not the Palatine Hill and Foro Romano. Additionally, make sure you get your tickets in advance to be able to catch the best deals.
  • To visit the Vatican, skip the museums. The entrance to St Peter’s Basilica and Piazza di San Petro is free.
  • Consider going to bistros instead of “real” restaurants to avoid paying the coperto (cover charge). Get some pizza al taglio and take-away pasta for more budget-friendly meals.
  • If you need to buy water, consider buying it in souvenir shops instead of restaurants and cafes, and refill your water bottle on the many drinkable water fountains in Rome.
  • To save on accommodation consider staying in less popular areas like near Termini Station. The only disadvantage is that you will need to walk a little bit more to reach some of the attractions. We were lucky to get a pretty good deal in a room next to the Colosseum with a view. Book your accommodation in advance to have more options.
  • The cheapest way to arrive at the city center from FCO airport is using the transfer bus. There are different companies with similar prices. If you buy a return ticket, it will be cheaper.

Where to Eat in Rome?

This was our first time in Rome, so we don’t have many places to compare. But we can recommend the ones that we’ve been to that we liked.

“La Prezzemolina” For Pizza Al Taglio: The best pizza al taglio that we ate in Rome. We tried several pizza places, but this one was our favorite. Choose from different varieties of pizza and pay by weight.

“Ce Stamo a Pensa” for pasta on the go: We had carbonara pasta to take away in this restaurant, and we paid 10€. It was pretty good. A great option if you want to eat some very good pasta but don’t want to spend a lot of money in a restaurant. This place also has dine-in option, but it was pretty crowded when we went there.

Pasta Imperiale” for a simple but great place: you can combine and choose from several varieties of pasta and sauce. The prices were very affordable and the food was delicious. This was a bistro, so you don’t need to pay coperto (cover charge).

La Nuova Piazzeta” for a great pasta carbonara: this is a “regular” restaurant and you need to pay coperto. This was the only time we went to a “real” restaurant on our trip to Rome and we didn’t regret it. We had the most delicious carbonara pasta of our lives. This restaurant gets packed pretty quickly, so make sure you go early or make a reservation.

Two Sizes” pastry shop for Tiramisu. We tried tiramisu in different places on our trip to Rome and this place was the one that we liked more. They have two sizes of tiramisu and also sell cannoli.

We also created a video about what we ate on our trip to Rome.

3 Days in Rome – Total Cost Breakdown

How much did we spend in three days in Rome? In total, we spent approximately 1000€ for two people, which means 500€ per person. Of course, the cost will greatly vary depending on where you’re flying from, the type of accommodation you’re staying in, and the places you’re eating at. To be honest, apart from the prices of the attractions, it was cheaper than what I was expecting.

Cost of Flights to and from Rome

You can find cheap flights from most European cities to Rome (FCO or CIA airports) using low-cost airlines like WizzAir, EasyJet, and Ryanair. Depending on the season, you can find flights as low as 15€ to Rome (without a cabin bag).

We paid 23€ per person with seat selection to fly to Rome from Eindhoven with WizzAir (no cabin bag included). To return to Porto in Portugal (our country), we flew with WizzAir once again and paid 51€ per person with seat selection (no cabin bag included).

WizzAir has some of the cheapest fares we’ve found. If you can be flexible with your dates you’ll find pretty good deals. We found that most times WizzAir is much cheaper than Ryanair.

Cost of Accommodation in Rome

Accommodation in Rome will probably be your biggest expense. We paid 130€ per night for a “cheap” room. It was not very good but it was right next to the Colosseum.

Accommodation will be cheaper next to Rome Termini, but you’ll also have to walk more to go to the center. Search for your accommodation in advance so that you can get the best deals.

Cost of Main Tourist Attractions in Rome

Guided tours to Rome’s main attractions are not cheap. We only paid for a guided tour to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Foro Romano, and then for the Vatican museums.

We absolutely recommend a guided tour to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum, but I would skip the Vatican museums.

The other attractions we suggested on our itineraries are free and if this is your first time in Rome, there’s plenty to do and see without spending a lot of money.

Cost of Food in Rome (Budget)

Food in Rome is much more affordable than I expected. If you don’t go to fancy restaurants, you can eat pizza al taglio and take-away past for very reasonable prices.

Cost of Airport Transfers in Rome

We visited Rome on a layover for our trip to Jordan. We went to Rome two days before going to Jordan and explored a third day after our trip to Jordan before heading home. Our flight arrived late and departed early, so we spent a bit more than would be necessary for transfers, taxi, and transportation to the city center. Basically, we wouldn’t have these expenses if we were to visit Rome for three consecutive days.

Cost of 3 days in Rome

Flights one way to Rome from Eindhoven Airport (WizzAir) (only personal item)

23€ per person

Flights out of Rome to Porto (WizzAir) (only personal item)

51€ per person

Accommodation (2 nights near Colosseum)

Accommodation (2 nights near FCO airport)

274€ (2pp)

148€ (2pp)


182€ (2pp)

Airport transfers round trip (bus)

Train to city center round trip

Taxi to hotel near FCO airport


Airport transfer from FCO hotel

9.90€ per person

4.20€ per person



6€ per person


78.50€ per person

Other expenses



Approximately 505€ per person

Watch our Videos About Rome

We created a playlist on Youtube with all our videos about Rome. Check them out below.

Tips for your Trip to Rome

Finally, here are just a few things to take into account when going to Rome:

  • If you want to take great pictures of most famous landmarks, you need to arrive super early (like before 7 AM).
  • If you want to visit the Colosseum, the Vatican museums, and other popular places, buy your tickets in advance (more than one month).
  • Don’t forget to also explore Rome at night. It’s super beautiful with the lights on, especially the Colosseum, and there are no crowds.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. The best way to explore Rome is by walking and you’ll walk a lot.
  • Get familiar with common scams. The most popular is a guy that approaches you and puts a bracelet on your wrist. First, it’s for free but then he wants you to pay for the bracelet.
  • If you’re visiting churches, make sure you wear appropriate clothing and cover your knees and shoulders. Carry a shawl or scarf.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle. There are many (nasoni) fountains with great drinking water.

Wrapping Up

In this Rome travel guide, we’ve described our suggestion of a three-day itinerary for first-timers. Also, don’t forget to add some time to wander on your own and discover nice places away from the major tourist attractions.

We also gave our honest opinions about the places we visited and how much we spent on our trip to Rome. We absolutely loved our time in Rome, much more than we expected. Additionally, the food was truly delicious, even in the low-budget places that we ate.

Overall, our experiences in Rome were truly unforgettable, and we highly recommend this timeless destination for anyone seeking a perfect blend of history, culture, and culinary delights. We’ll definitely come back.

Finally, you can use our links to book your accommodation, activities and find cheap flights. You won’t pay more for it and you’ll be supporting our work.

We hope you found this travel guide useful.

Thanks for reading.

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