I traveled to Rome with my family and we covered all the major sites one would want to see in just 3 days! This was our first trip to Italy and we only had 1 week to explore 4 cities. Being efficient with our time was crucial, luckily, this is where my planning came in handy to help us stay on schedule. I was literally the family tour guide (ha!).
In addition to Rome, we visited Pisa, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast, bellisimo! This was by far our best family vacation ever, hands down! While you could spend more time in Rome, 3 days was just right for us. After visiting Florence and Amalfi and seeing how beautiful these cities were, I would prefer to allocate more time to see other parts of Italy, like Venice. I say that only because Rome, like all big cities, is super touristy, busy, and a bit overwhelming. However, it’s still a definite must see if you’re a history buff.
While we stayed a little outside of Rome’s city center, at the Sheraton Roma Hotel, it wasn’t a problem at all given we could take the train everywhere. Rome has a great metro transit option to get you to all the main sites, so if you like riding the train and exploring the city on foot, you’ll love seeing the sites this way.
Alternatively, if you’re coming into the city by train, Rome’s Termini Station is the main hub for the cities metro rail and is also the largest hotel district in Rome. So, finding a hotel near the Termini Station may also prove to be a good idea.
Day 1: Pantheon | Trevi Fountain | Spanish Steps | Piazza Navona
We started off by just getting familiar with Roma! Knowing that the sites on our itinerary for the day were all relatively close to one another, we began exploring with the Pantheon and just walked around until we came across the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, and more! The best part, all of these attractions are free and easy to get too! You could probably add in another attraction on this day as each site won’t take a whole lot of time.
Day 2: Vatican City | Vatican Museums | Sistine Chapel | St. Peter’s Basilica
Vatican City, an independent state and country landlocked by Rome, is a tourist must see! While its the world’s smallest country, measuring at just 0.2 square miles (0.44 sq km), it houses one of the largest churches in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica! Home of the Pope, Vatican City is the spiritual hub for Roman Catholics worldwide and also houses the world’s most iconic sculptures and art pieces within the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel. Look up to see Michelangelo’s famous ceiling in the Sistine Chapel!
This is a full day adventure so be prepared to spend all day exploring and long wait lines! The museums are about 4.4 miles long and you probably won’t get to everything but I highly suggest a guided tour to make the most of your time. A bit pricey but well worth it, we booked the Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel guided tour from the official Vatican Museum office upon arrival. There’s plenty of companies selling tours and tickets as you walk closer to the entrance so it’s okay if you don’t purchase in advance. If you prefer to roam around on your own, entrance to the Vatican Museums (including the Sistine Chapel) is € 16.00 but entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica is free! For more information on planning your visit to the Vatican, check out the official site.
Tip: There’s a strict dress code to enter the church. No bare shoulders or short skirts for women and shorts may be an issue for men, so be prepared.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Getting there by train: The closest train station to Vatican City is Ottaviano/S. Pietro (red line). About a 5 minute walk down Via Otaviano will take you straight to St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro).
Day 3: Colosseum | Roman Forum | Palatine Hill | Capitoline Hill
Finally, on day three we toured the great amphitheater, the Colosseum! We booked our 3 in 1 “skip the line” package from musement.com which included access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill for 2 days!! Capitoline Hill is nearby but requires a separate ticket. No trip to Rome is complete without visiting these ancient and historical sites.
Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
And there you have it, Roma in 3 days! After this itinerary, I gave the family a day of rest since they did such a great job keeping up. You’ll need it too if you cover everything on this travel guide in 3 days.
How would you spend 3 days in Rome?