Rome in one day

This 2014 trip was bookended by only two days in Rome - which boiled down to essentially 24 hours as I was arriving and departing on the other day. What can you do in Rome in just one day and one night? If you're organised and plan ahead you can do plenty. Some ideas are on my other blog posts (see Colosseum Underground and Bella Roma) but here is a list for you to ponder:
- Colosseum and the Underground tour
- Roman Forum and Palatine
- St. Peter's Basilica and Vatican Museums
- The Pantheon
- Trevi Fountain
- Spanish Steps
- Piazza Navona

Now before you head off and plan your day with that list....It's simply the most popular sights in Rome and highly frequented by visitors. There is no way you could do all of those sights unless you have the stamina and energy of a mountaineer and marathon runner combined. It's simply too exhausting. Pick one heavy hitter (e.g. the Vatican Museums) and then take a walk around the other sites - Pantheon, Trevi, Spanish Steps and Piazza Navona are all free and mostly viewed from the outside. Stop somewhere along your path for a drink, something to eat, gelato or just to rest your feet.

On the other hand, if the well-worn path is not your thing, try these options:

- Borghese Gardens - bike riding through 'Rome's lungs' and while you're there - check out the view from Pincio over Rome's rooftops toward St. Peter's
- Largo di Torre Argentina - which has nothing to do with Argentina the country but is four temples dating back to the Roman Republic and only discovered in the 1920s. The Curia of the Theatre of Pompey is here - which is where Julius Caesar was assassinated on 15 March 44BC.
- Capitoline Museums - The oldest museum in the world, planned by Michelangelo and packed with ancient treasures and works of art. See the courtyard with the remains of a colossal statue of Constantine, the interior atrium which contains the original equestrian bronze of Marcus Aurelius and Caravaggio's 'Gypsy Fortune Teller' to name a few.
- Bernini's Elephant Obelisk - carved to Bernini's design and carrying a miniature 6th century BC Egyptian obelisk. It stands in front of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva - Rome's only Gothic church and the resting place of the body of St. Catherine of Siena.

Rome wasn't built in a day - nor was it seen in a day. Rome is meant to be savoured. Don't despair if a day is all you have - make the most of it and ensure you pull up a chair and watch the world go by.

A side view of the Pantheon facing Piazza della Rotunda
Above and below - Bernini's elephant obelisk

Piazza Navona and the Fountain of the Four Rivers

Above and below - Largo Argentina

 Arch of Constantine - in front of the Colosseum
 The Colosseum
Piazza del Popolo from Pincio
If your travel plans DO include the well-worn path - and there is nothing at all wrong with that - take a look at these - some of Rome's Top Ten.

Castel Sant Angelo from Ponte Sant Angelo. This bridge is lined with Bernini's angels (see below) and the castle was originally the mausoleum which housed the ashes of Emperor Hadrian. The views from the rooftop terrace are unmissable especially at sunset.

St Peter's Basilica

 St. Peter's Square (taken very early in the morning)
The Pantheon

 Trevi Fountain in October 2014 (minus the water). It is under restoration and expected to take a year to complete. The walkway brings you closer to the sculptures of Neptune taming the ocean - as represented by the horses - one calm (calm seas) and one raging (rough seas)
Above and below - the Spanish Steps -  Bernini's Baraccia fountain has been restored as at October 2014 but the Trinita dei Monti (the church at the top of the steps) is still undergoing restoration. There is Sam on the bottom right of the fountain (in the Batman shirt)
Close your eyes - is this how you imagine Rome's streets to look?
Open your eyes and take a walk to Via Margutta just down from the Spanish Steps. It really IS like this. No wonder Fellini moved in.

After you've done all of this - you deserve one of these.
Rome is about people watching and savouring the atmosphere.
Relax, enjoy, fall in love
(This photo taken on Via dell Orso - a tiny street a few minutes walk from Piazza Navona)


  1. Loooove the pictures! It looks much less crowded than when we were there in July. When did you go (or were all these pictures taken early in the morning)?

  2. Katrina - I'm an early riser - especially in Rome. I usually leave my hotel when it's just daylight and I like to photograph the well-worn tourist path - when all the tourists are still tucked up in bed or contemplating the breakfast buffet. All the photos on this post - and my others on Rome (Bella Roma and Rome the Eternal City and its Eternal Beauty) showcase Rome at this hour of the day - usually 6am as I travel in September when the weather is still warm but most of the tourists have headed home.

  3. Oops - just an edit - I must say MOST of the photos I take are early risers - those of St. Peter's, Piazza Navona, Castel Sant Angelo and Ponte Sant Angelo on this post are taken at sunrise. Others - as you can see - have people around but its not overly busy. Thanks for your kind comments, Katrina!


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