3 Days in Rome: The Perfect Itinerary (First Time Visit)


How to spend 3 Days in Rome: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You’re planning to spend 3 days in Rome?

Great idea!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you the perfect itinerary to visit Rome in 3 days.

I will start this guide with my best tips to avoid the long waiting lines (often more than 2 hours!) in front of the Colosseum and Rome’s other must-see attractions.

Then, I will give you my optimized and detailed 3-day itinerary to make the most of your stay in the Italian capital.

In addition to the best places to visit and activities for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

So, what are the best things to do in Rome in 3 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

My best Tips to save time at Rome’s must-see attractions

As you surely know, Rome is one of the most visited cities in the world: tourists are flocking to visit its emblematic monuments such as the Colosseum or the Pantheon!

And this fame comes with a price: you can expect to wait several hours to to get your entrance ticket to the city’s top tourist attractions.

Hopefully, there are a few ways to avoid this 😉.

You actually have 3 different options that will allow you to save a ton of time (and money!) during your 3-day visit to Rome.

You will see, it’s very simple: you just have to follow my advice.

1. Rome Tourist Card

The first solution to save a lot of time and money during your 3-day stay in Rome is to get the “Rome Tourist Card”, also called “Rome City Pass”

It’s really super convenient: you’ll bypass the queues and have priority entrances to the most famous tourist attractions of the city.

Another advantage: the Rome Tourist Card is 100% digital. You don’t have to go anywhere to pick up your tickets, you’ll receive them immediately by email.

This pass includes the following:

  • Colosseum entrance ticket with audio guide + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill (1st day of my itinerary)
  • St. Peter’s Basilica: entrance + audio guide (2nd day)
  • Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel (optional – Day 2 of this itinerary)
  • 10% discount for museums and tourist attractions such as the Castel Sant’Angelo or the Galleria Borghese. You also get this discount on all guided tours and other activities you can book on Tiqets!

To purchase your Rome Tourist Card, it’s very simple – you just have to click on the green button below:

2. Omnia Card

Another way to visit Rome in 3 days and get fast track access to the best places to visit in the city is to buy the Omnia Card, also called the “Rome and Vatican Pass”.

The way it works is similar to the Rome Tourist Card I’ve mentioned above, but it’s even more complete! The Omnia card is valid for 3 consecutive days once activated, so that’s perfect for your 3 days in Rome.

You need to book your Omnia Card online and then exchange the confirmation voucher (received by email) for the Omnia Card once you will arrive in Rome.

The Omnia Card includes the following:

  • Priority admission to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel (scheduled for the second day of your trip)
  • Skip-the-line ticket to St. Peter’s Basilica + audio guide (2nd day too)
  • Visit to St. Peter’s Prison + audio guide
  • Lateran Basilica and Cloisters: entrance + audioguide
  • Free tickets for 2 tourist attractions from the list below:
    • Colosseum (1st day of this itinerary)
    • Palatine and Roman Forum (1st day too)
    • Castel Sant’Angelo (2nd day)
    • Borghese Gallery
    • Capitoline Museums
  • Free access to public transportation during your 3 days in Rome – Perfect to get around quickly if you don’t want to do everything on foot!
  • Discounts for museums and activities
  • Hop-On Hop-Off bus ticket (tourist bus)
  • A map of Rome

You hesitate between the Omnia Card and the Rome Tourist Card?

Your decision depends on whether you want to use public transport and what you want to visit:

  • If you don’t want to visit the whole Vatican and don’t want to use public transportation, you should opt for the Rome Tourist Card, as it offers the best value for money in your case.
  • If you want to visit as many places as possible in Rome and the Vatican during your 3 days, the Omnia Card is undoubtedly the best choice.

It’s simply the most complete Card to visit Rome in 72 hours!

To buy your Omnia Card, you just need to click on the button below:

3. Skip-the-line tickets for Rome’s main tourist attractions

The 3rd and last solution to save time is to buy skip-the-line tickets online for each attraction, depending on what you will want to visit during your 3-day itinerary in Rome.

Skip the line tickets are available for all historical monuments. In addition to entrance tickets, you can also book all guided visits and activities in advance. It’s super convenient!

To view the prices and to book, just click on the links below (you’ll also find them throughout the article):

3 Days in Rome: Must-See Attractions:

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you want to book other activities in Rome, you should always use these 2 reliable and safe websites:

One Last Tip for a Perfect 3-Day Stay in Rome

If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you will have them!), you should really book your accommodation.

As Rome is one of the most touristic cities in the world, the hotels offering the best value for money are often fully booked months in advance.

As a seasoned traveler, I can assure you that it’s always by planning as far in advance as possible that I’ve found the best hotels or apartments deals.

You agree that it would be a shame to somewhat ruin your stay in Rome by ending up in a not-so-great hotel that costed you a fortune, right? 😅

So your best bet is to take 5 minutes now to have a look at traveler’s favorite hotels in Rome.

And if you like one of the hotels you find, book it!

It’s fast, it’s easy and most accommodation offer free cancellation. That’s the best way to protect yourself from the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the best hotels deals in Rome, simply click on the green button below:

After securing your dream stay, it’s time to continue reading this guide!

3 Days in Rome: The Best Itinerary

Let’s now start to plan your 3-day itinerary in Rome!

For each day, I will give you all the details you need to plan your visits + a map that will allow you to visualize the itinerary a bit better.

I’m assuming you will be staying in Rome for 3 full days and that you will be using a City Pass (Rome Tourist Card / Omnia Card) or have purchased Skip-the-Line tickets. It’s the best way to save time and money during your stay!

If you still have questions after reading this 3 day itinerary in Rome (or need help organizing your holiday), don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section located at the very end of this article.

I will be glad to help you plan your trip 😄.

Day 1 – Ancient Rome

itinéraire Rome jour 1
Rome in 3 days: day 1

Day 1 visits:

A. Colosseum
B. Roman Forum
C. Palatine Hill
D. Piazza del Campidoglio / Capitoline Museums
E. Piazza Venezia / Victor Emmanuel II Monument

A. Colosseum

Let’s start your 3-day stay in Rome with a visit to the Colosseum, for sure the most emblematic monument of the city.

With a capacity of more than 50,000 spectators, it was the largest amphitheater in the Roman world. The Colosseum is where the biggest gladiatorial combats, animals fights and Roman games were held.

You may not know it, but in addition to the bloody shows mentioned above, theatrical performances as well as reenactments of battles were also organized in the Colosseum.

The place was really meant to entertain people, whether in an artistic or much more violent way!

Today you can visit some parts of the Colosseum, including the first and second floors, the arena and even the underground level, where wild animals were kept.

As I told you a bit earlier, you will really need to get a skip-the-line ticket to visit the Colosseum if you don’t want to wait in line for 2 or 3 hours!

The good news is that if you bought the Rome Tourist Card or the Omnia Card, the visit to the Colosseum is included.

And if you just want a ticket to the Colosseum, that’s also possible.

You will have to choose your ticket depending on what you want to visit (1st and 2nd floor, the arena etc..) + If you want a guided tour or prefer to visit on your own.

Important: All Colosseum tickets also include access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

To help you choose the Colosseum ticket that suits you the best, I have written a detailed article where everything is explained: All Skip-the-Line Tickets for the Colosseum (click here).

A brief summary:

In my opinion, the standard ticket + Arena offers an excellent value for money – You can book it here: Colosseum + Arena + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill Skip-the-Line Ticket.

If you prefer a guided tour, this ticket is a great choice: Guided Tour: Colosseum + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill.

And if you have the budget, the VIP guided tour is the best option, as it will allow you to access exclusive areas not available with regular tickets such as the underground and the Arena: VIP Guided tour: Colosseum (+Underground + Arena) + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill.

To purchase these 3 tickets, you can click on the buttons below:

As all tickets for the Colosseum are not always available (for a given date, there is a limited number of tickets of each type, and they are sold out very quickly!), the orange links take you directly to the page with all Colosseum tickets.

Simply choose the one that suits you best on that page.

Of course, if you already know your travel dates, book quickly to ensure you can visit the monument.

Colosseum + Arena + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill

Guided Tour: Colosseum + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill

VIP Guided tour: Colosseum (+Underground + Arena) + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill

colosseum rome
The Colosseum, in Rome

B. Palatine Hill

After your visit to the Colosseum, you will head to Palatine Hill, located nearby.

According to legend, the city of Rome was founded on this hill by the twin brothers Remus and Romulus, two abandoned children raised by a she-wolf in a cave located on Palatine Hill.

From the top of the hill, you can enjoy a magnificent view over the city of Rome and its most famous monuments. There, you can also discover the residence of Augustus, the first Roman emperor.

During your 3 days in Rome, you should really visit the Palatine Hill, since the visit is included in the Colosseum entrance ticket!

Palatine Hill
Palatine Hill

C. Roman Forum

The 3rd place you shouldn’t miss during your first day in Rome is the Roman Forum, located next to the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum

This visit is also included in all City Passes as well as in the Colosseum ticket.

In ancient times, the Roman Forum was the center of the city. You can stroll across the ruins of the former market and other administrative and religious buildings.

If you want to learn more about history, you should really opt for a guided tour (click here), as there are no explanatory panels on site.

Roman Forum
The Roman Forum

D. Piazza del Campidoglio / Capitoline Museums

After visiting the 3 must-see attractions mentioned above (a great start for your 3-day stay in Rome, right? 😄) let’s know head to Piazza del Campidoglio.

From the Roman Forum, you can reach the square in 15 minutes on foot.

The Piazza del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo, features several famous monuments such as the Palazzo dei Senatori, the Palazzo dei Conservatori and the Palazzo Nuovo.

These 3 palaces are also known as the Capitoline Museums: there, you can admire paintings by great artists such as Caravaggio or Tintoretto, as well as numerous sculptures and statues.

Piazza del Campidoglio
Piazza del Campidoglio

E. Piazza Venezia / Victor Emmanuel II Monument

When you are done visiting the Capitoline Museums, head to Piazza Venezia (5 minute walk).

Here, you will find Victor Emmanuel II Monument, a beautiful building made of white marble.

The famous Trajan’s Column, featuring engravings of the emperor’s military victories is also located nearby.

Piazza Venezia is the most central square in Rome. The streets starting from the square will allow you to reach the main tourist attractions of the city.

Monument to Victor-Emmanuel II, Piazza Venezia
Monument to Victor-Emmanuel II, Piazza Venezia

Day 2 – The Vatican

itinéraire Rome jour 2
Rome in 3 days: Day 2

Day 2 visits:

A. Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
B. St. Peter’s Basilica
C. Castel Sant’ Angelo
D. Trastevere district

A. Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

On the second day of your three-day trip to Rome, you should spend a good part of the day exploring the Vatican, the smallest state in the world.

First, you should go to Vatican Museums for a morning of culture! This group of 13 museums are located in a huge 7km long architectural complex.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to visit them all!

Different itineraries of visits are suggested on site, for a duration between 1h30 and 5 hours.

No matter how much time you want to spend at the museums, you definitely need to buy your tickets for the museums in advance if you don’t want to start your day with 2 hours of queuing at the ticket office.

Access to Vatican Museums is included in both the Rome Tourist Card and the Omnia Card. And if you haven’t bought those City Passes, you should book your tickets right now by clicking here.

Every itinerary of visit for the museums will end with the discovery of the Sistine Chapel.

Built in the 15th century, it’s famous for its magnificent frescoes painted by the greatest Italian artists : Michelangelo, Botticelli, Luca or Perugino. They depict numerous scenes from the Bible, including the Creation of Adam and the Last Judgment.


B. St. Peter’s Basilica

After your cultural morning at the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, let’s now head towards St. Peter’s Square.

You will for sure be impressed by this large square, surrounded by about 280 columns topped by 3 meters tall statues of saints.

You also can’t miss the Egyptian obelisk standing in the middle of the square as well as the 2 fountains located on each side.

Here again, the waiting line to visit the famous St. Peter’s Basilica (free entrance) are endless. The basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most visited monuments in the world.

If you followed my advice and bought your skip-the-line tickets in advance, you will be able to visit the Basilica without any problems. Otherwise, be prepared to wait for 2 to 4 hours!

Inside the Basilica, you will for sure love the extraordinary richness of the Baroque decoration. In addition to the tombs of the popes and the famous statue of St. Peter, you will also be able to admire the huge dome designed by Michelangelo.

You can even climb up there to admire a magnificent view of Rome (access for an extra fee).

Ticket for St. Peter’s Basilica + audio guide

Guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica (Skip the line) + dome + crypt (most complete!)

St. Peter's Basilica
The St. Peter’s Basilica

C. Castel Sant’Angelo

When you leave the Basilica, take Via della Conciliazione to get to Castel Sant’Angelo. It takes about ten minutes on foot.

Built by Emperor Hadrian, the castle was originally intended to house his mausoleum, but ended up being mainly used as a refuge for the popes during hostile invasions of Rome.

The popes built a direct access to the castle from the Vatican, allowing them to safely go to Sant’Angelo within a few minutes.

You can visit the inside of the castle to see the tombs and the former papal apartments. During your visit, don’t forget to take a walk outside on the ramparts to enjoy the view.

The castle is located on the bank of the Tiber River and is connected to the other side by the St. Angelo Bridge. The view over the Castle and the bridge from the opposite shore is very scenic!

The entrance Ticket to Castle Sant’Angelo should be booked in advance by clicking on the button below:

The bridge and Castel Sant'Angelo
The bridge and Castel Sant’Angelo

D. Trastevere district

If you still have time and you’re not too tired, you can finish this second day of your 3-day stay in Rome by exploring Trastevere district.

To get there from Castel Sant’Angelo, you can simply walk along the right bank of the Tiber River for about 30 minutes. And if you don’t feel like walking, you can indeed take the bus.

Trastevere district, with its typical flower-filled alleys, is still one of the most authentic neighborhoods in Rome. Here you can stroll through the streets and enjoy the charming italian atmosphere, while waiting for the aperitif and/or dinner time.

There, you will also find numerous nice small shops and super good trattorias (typical Italian restaurants): everything you need for a perfect evening!

Trastevere district, in Rome
Trastevere district

Day 3 – The historical center

itinéraire Rome jour 3
Rome in 3 days: Day 3

Day 3 visits:

A. Piazza Navona
B. Pantheon
C. Trevi Fountain
D. Via del Corso / Via Condotti
E. Piazza di Spagna
F. Villa Borghese

A. Piazza Navona

On the third and last day of your 3-day trip to Rome, you should focus on the historical center of the city.

You should start by going to Piazza Navona, one of the most beautiful and famous squares in Rome, featuring 3 imposing fountains as well as numerous cafes.

It’s a great place to enjoy a good breakfast on one of the many terraces! But be warned, as this place is very touristy, it’s quite expensive.

B. Pantheon

The Pantheon is located close to Piazza Navona. It is the best preserved ancient building in Rome.

Originally dedicated to mythological deities, it became a church in the 7th century. There, you can see the tombs of Victor Emmanuel II and the famous Italian artist Raphael.

The place is also famous for its huge dome and its oculus (opening in the dome), granting the building his unique mood.

Since July 2023, access to the Pantheon has been subject to a charge and requires an admission ticket (cost: €5). To visit, you should book your ticket on the official website.

And if you want to get more historical information, it’s better to get the fast track ticket + audioguide by clicking here:

And for more detailed explanations, you can also choose a guided tour of the Pantheon by clicking here!

C. Trevi Fountain

Let’s continue your visit of the Italian capital with the Trevi Fountain.

Located only 10 minutes walk from the Pantheon, it’s for sure the most famous fountain in Europe: a must see during your 3-day trip to Rome!

The tradition here is to throw 2 coins in the fountain: the first one to make a wish and the second one if you want to be sure to return to Rome. And for lovers, Trevi Fountain is the perfect place for a marriage proposal!

The Trevi Fountain represents the god Neptune on his chariot. The large baroque building behind the fountain, also adds to the charm of the square.

Trevi Fountain Rome
The famous Trevi Fountain, in Rome

D. Via Condotti

If you’re visiting Rome in 3 days, you’ll also have some time to do a bit of shopping.

And after visiting the Trevi fountain, you will be in the perfect location for this!

First of all, you can go to Via del Corso. Here you will find all the big international brands like Zara or H&M.

Next, head to Via Condotti, a perpendicular street dedicated to luxury shopping: here you will find famous designer boutiques like Gucci or Prada. If you don’t want to (or can’t) shop here, you can at least admire the beautiful shop windows.

After this shopping break, let’s get back to sightseeing!

E. Piazza di Spagna

Next stop of your 3-day stay in Rome: The Piazza di Spagna.

Simply following Via Condotti will take you directly to Piazza di Spagna (that shouldn’t be confused with Piazza di Spagna in Seville, Andalucia!).

The Piazza di Spagna is located at the foot of the monumental staircase that leads to the Church of the Trinità dei Monti. It’s undoubtedly one of the most popular and charming squares in the city.

Do as the many Italians do and rest a few moments on the steps to enjoy the Italian dolce vita, and why not, a good ice cream!

Piazza di Spagna Rome
The Piazza di Spagna, in Rome

F. Villa Borghese

From the Piazza di Spagna, keep heading north to reach the entrance of Villa Borghese gardens.

These gardens featuring a small lake, many fountains and statues are among the most beautiful public parks in Rome. After the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the perfect place to relax at the end your 3-day trip to Rome.

While you’re there, you can also visit the very beautiful botanical garden.

Finally, if you still have time and are not too tired, you should also visit one of the 3 museums located in the gardens.

You have the choice between:

And if you’re traveling with your kids, you should take them to the Bio-Park, which is home to over 1000 animals. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

It will now be time to spend your last night in Rome.

You can find my list of the best accommodations in the city just below.

Where to stay in Rome

Now that you know how to visit Rome in 3 days, you will need to find an hotel.

In order to help you out, here are my 5 favorite hotels of the city, each in a different price category.

And as always, if you already know your travel dates, book your hotel right now! In Rome, the best hotels are fully booked very quickly.

  • Biancaluna: B&B located near Termini Station, 1.5 km from the Colosseum. Modern, comfortable and very clean room from 70€. Strong points: the warm welcome and the advice to visit Rome, the location. An excellent choice for a cheap stay in Rome!
  • Hotel Balilla: Located 1.6 km from the Colosseum and close to a metro station. Well-equipped and quiet double room, impeccably clean, from 99€, breakfast at 5€. Strong points: the friendly staff, the comfort of the beds, the location at 10 min walk from the Colosseum. This is our favorite for its excellent value for money!
  • Alice Vatican House: Located 450 meters from St. Peter’s Square. Contemporary room with neat decoration from 95 € per night, breakfast included. Strong points: ideal location, terrace overlooking the Vatican, warm welcome. This is the best choice for your stay in Rome under 120 euros!
  • MZ Hotel: Located near the Campo di Fiori and not far from the Pantheon. Modern double room from 150€, breakfast at 12€. Strong points: the location near the historical center, the warm welcome, good bedding, new hotel.
  • Roma Luxus Hôtel: High end hotel located at only 400 meters from Piazza Venezia. Beautiful double room starting at 200€ per night, breakfast at 20€. Strong points: The room design, the 5 stars service, the superb breakfast, the spa, the amazing staff. It’s the best hotel for a high end stay in Rome!
  • NH Collection Roma Fori Imperiali: This 5* hotel located right next to the Roman Forum offers sublime rooms from 580€, breakfast included. Strong points: the exceptional location, the attentive staff, the view, the comfort. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Rome!

if you want to save a bit of money, you can find an accommodation around Rome. I recommend you he bungalows of Camping Village Rome, located at only 15 minutes by car from the Vatican city.

The price starts at only 30€ per night! It’s the best “budget” solution if you don’t mind not being in the city center. It’s also a great choice for families, with the swimming pool!

piazza Navona
The Piazza Navona

How to visit Rome in 3 days with kids

You’re planning to visit Rome in 3 days with your kids?

Great idea!

Well, even with kids, you can easily follow my 3-day itinerary.

As it’s optimized to avoid walking too much, the places you will visit each day are concentrated and it shouldn’t be too tiring, even with young children.

You should however, add a really an original activity that your kids will definitely enjoy and take them to the gladiator school!

They will dress up in traditional clothes and learn to fight like gladiators.

At the end of the course, they will even receive a gladiator diploma.

That’s definitely something they will remember forever!

You need to book this family activity by clicking here.

Even more places to visit and activities for your 3-day stay in Rome

You’ve followed my 3-day itinerary in Rome and still have some time left?

So, you should read my guide of the 25 best things to do in Rome!

There, you’ll find even more ideas of places to visit and activities to enjoy in the Italian capital.

And who knows, maybe after reading my other guide, you’ll even want to extend your stay in Rome and spend 4 or 5 days there instead of 3!

Map of your 3-day itinerary in Rome

To help you visualize your daily itineraries during your 3 days in Rome, I have created this map with all the places to visit day by day. You can view the legend of the map by clicking on the top left button, the one with a little arrow.

Flight prices to Rome

As always, you should book your plane tickets as early as possible to get the best prices.

To check the rates and schedules for flights to Rome, you can use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner:

Now you know the best way to visit Rome in 3 days!

If you need help organizing your 3-day stay in Rome, don’t hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments section below.

Book your trip now and save money!

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Best places to visit in Rome in 3 days
Best places to visit in Rome in 3 days



Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

Discussion6 Comments

  1. Nick

    Hi, your Itinerary and general tips are amazing. Your insight has really helped me plan my trip. I’m interested in visiting Rome and some other cities in Italy. Do you know by chance what attractions are sold out? I was looking at the general entrance ticket to the Colosseum but there are no openings for mid-July. Also, I’m stuck if I should choose the Turbopass or Rome Tourist Card or just close everything individually and pay for the transportation separately. Thank you!

    • Vincent

      Hello Nick,

      Thank! I’m glad my 3-day itinerary in Rome is helping you plan your visits.

      For the Colosseum, this is normal, tickets are only available for sale about a month in advance.
      You will thus be able to book for mid July in 7-10 days.

      If you want to visit the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums, I really recommend you to take the Rome Tourist Card rather than buying the tickets one by one.
      If you like to walk a bit (and in Rome this is the best way to see everything), you will hardly need to use public transport.

      Enjoy your stay in Rome!

  2. Jason

    Hi Vincent, great tips!

    Just curious about booking time slot for the colosseum. Correct me if I’m wrong – After purchasing the Omnia card, we’ll get a confirmation email with a link to book time slot. Which kinda doesn’t make much sense. Since we were hoping we can see the time slots available before buying the omnia card.

    Looking forward to your advice!

    • Vincent

      Hello Jason,

      Thank you!

      You’re absolutely right, this is how the Omnia Card works: you have to buy it first and then you can see the time slots and book your visits.

      However, if you take the Rome Tourist Card, it’s more convenient for this: you can see beforehand all the remaining slots for the Colosseum and the Vatican museums (and book them) before paying.

      Have a nice trip to Rome!

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