rome-in-2-days:-how-to-make-the-best-of-a-weekend-in-rome

Rome in 2 Days: How to Make the Best of a Weekend in Rome

While it’s a fact that deciding to visit Rome in 2 days is pretty challenging, it’s also true that with our well-crafted yet simple itinerary we make things much easier.

Probably our Rome two-day itinerary is pretty packed with things to see and do. If you feel you don’t have enough time or prefer to stay longer in a place, you can just skip some landmarks.

On the other hand, if you can afford more time and feel like including more sights to visit, you can check our guides to a full 3-day Rome itinerary or even how to spend 4 perfect days in Rome.

This 2-day Rome itinerary is designed with first-time visitors in mind rather than those who have already visited the city and its most famous landmarks. If you have already seen major sights like the Colosseum or the Vatican Museums and wish to go deeper into your knowledge of the city, you can start digging into some fascinating hidden gems in Rome.

For each step of our Rome itinerary, we are going to give you some easy tips to have a smooth trip such as using public transport, how to optimize your time, and where to eat wherever you are.

If you are still in the planning process, you might want to check our Rome trip planning tips and our full Rome travel guide.

What to do in 2 days in Rome?

If it’s your first trip, in 2 days in Rome I recommend exploring the art-packed Centro Storico, the quaint Trastevere neighborhood, and the Vatican marvels, without missing the important ancient vestiges from imperial times.

The first day of your 2-day Rome trip will mainly focus on the Vatican, while on the second day we will explore the city center and Ancient Rome. I’ve included some tips on how to save time and see as much as you can in your two days.

Are 2 days enough in Rome?

Two days are definitely not enough to see Rome, but if you follow our tips and detailed itinerary you will explore and discover plenty of wonderful landmarks, important historical sites, world-famous attractions, and Instagram-friendly corners.

Rome in 2 days – Day 1

Map of day 1 of your 2-day Rome itinerary

Vatican Museums

How to get there → Metro line A (Cipro and Ottaviano).

While I suggest heading to the Vatican Museums as early as you can in the morning (they open at 9 am but the queue starts earlier), you will save time and make things much quicker by booking online either a skip-the-line ticket or a private tour.

Spending only 1 day in Rome might not be enough to include a full visit to the Vatican Museums, if you plan your trip and itinerary properly, in 2 days in Rome you can (and should!) definitely enter this magnificent gallery. The masterpieces of some of the most famous world artists are kept here such as the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms, and the Gallery of Maps.

IMPORTANT! It is not mandatory to book your visit but especially in the high summer season it’s a good idea because it’s very crowded and who booked has priority entry. You should also plan in advance because entrances get sold out pretty quickly for a couple of days ahead.

Booking a hotel near the Vatican will make it easier to reach your first sight early and without having to use public transport.

  • How long does it take to visit the Vatican Museums? → Two to three hours inside the museums for the basic sights.
  • How much does it cost? → The single ticket starts from 17€. Different packages including different areas have different prices. Book a private tour or check the official website of the Vatican Museums for more info.
vatican museums

St. Peter’s Square and Basilica

How to get there → On foot some 10-15 minutes from the Vatican Museums.

After the museums, head to St. Peter’s Square to admire Bernini’s colonnade, the beautiful fountains and statues, and obviously to enter the stunning St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the best things to do in Rome in 2 days and one of Rome’s most famous churches.

Entrance to the church is free and there is only one way to skip the long queue, booking a Vatican private tour. If you only book a tour of the basilica, you can’t skip the line, but if you book a full Vatican tour, you will because you will access the basilica from another entrance.

Apart from the Basilica itself, here you can visit also the necropolis in its undergrounds where the tomb of Saint Peter is kept and also climb to the dome to enjoy one of the most famous masterpieces by Michelangelo in Rome and a beautiful view of St. Peter’s Square and the city.

For the necropolis, you need to book directly with the Ufficio Scavi (check our guide to the Vatican necropolis for all the info). To climb the dome, you can join the queue at the entrance of the basilica or book a private tour.

  • How long does it take to visit the Basilica of Saint Peter? → Around an hour for the interior and at least half an hour for St. Peter’s Square.
  • How much does it cost? → Visiting the Basilica is free of charge, climbing the dome costs 10€ if you take the elevator for half of the climb or 8€ if you only use the stairs. The ticket for the Vatican necropolis is 12€.

Tip: If you want to climb the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica, between standing in the line and visiting, you should consider adding another extra hour or two. Since it might take too much time out of your itinerary, booking a guided tour inclusive of Vatican Museums, Basilica, and Dome climb such as this one is your best bet. It starts early morning and takes some 5 hours. So, consider half a day.

st. peter's basilica rome in 2 days

Castel Sant’Angelo (Hadrian Mausoleum)

How to get there → 10 minutes walk from St. Peter’s Basilica via Via della Conciliazione

Built as the mausoleum of the Roman emperor Hadrian, Castel Sant’Angelo has served several purposes throughout history. From a funerary complex to a prison to a residence, set along the river it’s one of the most photogenic landmarks of Rome’s city center.

Depending on how much time you have or how soon you want to get to your next destination, you can decide to enter the Hadrian Mausoleum or not. To visit some of the areas such as the prison, you need to book the official guided tour at the ticket booth.

By yourself, you can walk around the complex, visit the museum inside and enjoy a fantastic view of St. Peter’s Basilica and the dome from the terrace.

IMPORTANT! While a prior reservation is not mandatory, in the high season is highly recommended because the line is very long and priority is given to those who have booked online.

  • How long does it take to visit the Hadrian Mausoleum? → Around an hour inside the complex.
  • How much does it cost? → The ticket to visit the whole complex is 15€.
castel sant'angelo rome

Have lunch

Since you spent all morning sightseeing in the Vatican, you can decide to have lunch nearby or in Trastevere, which is the next stop on the first day of your 2-day Rome itinerary.

Chances are that after a whole morning packed with history and artwork, you will be starving. If you are, don’t worry, near Castel Sant’Angelo, you can find some nice restaurants if you move towards Piazza Cavour and Prati neighborhood. I suggest you don’t stop around Via della Conciliazione or Borgo Pio because you will find too many tourist menus.

If you are hungry after visiting the Vatican Museums or St. Peter’s Basilica, some good restaurants nearby are Osteria Birra del Borgo (Via Silla 26, closed on Monday), Flower Burger vegan fast food (Via dei Gracchi 87), or for some of the best pizza by the slice Pizzarium (Via della Meloria 43), La Pratolina (Via Rialto 16) and Pinsa ‘mpo (Via dei Gracchi 7).

Some places where to eat in Prati are a short walk from the Hadrian Mausoleum and include Il Sorpasso (Via Properzio 31) and Ted Lobster & Burger (Via Terenzio 12).

I would definitely suggest Borgo Pio for some fantastic artisan gelato at Hedera (Borgo Pio 179).

If you are not too hungry yet and make it to Trastevere for lunch, you can have a delicious hearty meal at Da Enzo Al 29 (Via dei Vascellari 29) or Aromaticus (Via Natale del Grande 6/7).

If you prefer a quick bite on the go, stop at Trapizzino for a street food-style meal.

Stroll around Trastevere

How to get there → On foot some 20-25 minutes from Castel Sant’Angelo or around 15 minutes by bus 23 or 280.

Trastevere is a historical and picturesque neighborhood with plenty to see. Since you are staying two days in Rome, you can afford to spend here a couple of hours.

The best way to discover Trastevere is by getting lost in its cobbled alleys and also visiting the local historic places such as the beautiful Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica and Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Basilica. If you are interested in Rome’s modern history, visit Museo di Roma in Trastevere for a hint of how was life in the 19th century.

And if you want a sweet treat after lunch, make sure you pay a visit to some of the best gelaterias in Rome such as Otaleg, Fiordiluna and Fata Morgana.

  • How long does it take? → Around an hour inside both the basilicas, a couple of hours to enjoy the neighborhood.
  • How much does it cost? → The ticket to visit the undergrounds of the Basilica of Santa Cecilia costs €2.50.

Make sure you read our post on the best things to see and do in Trastevere.

trastevere two days in rome

Tiber Island and Jewish Quarter

How to get there → Around 10 minutes of walking

From Trastevere, you reach Tiber Island via the Ponte Cestio bridge. On the Tiber Island, is San Bartolomeo church built on the site of the ancient temple of Asclepius, the god of medicine. Historically, the island has always been linked to healing the poor and sick people, and today there are two hospitals, Fatebenefratelli and the Israeli hospital.

Take the ancient Pons Fabricius bridge to get to the Jewish Quarter. This is the only bridge that was kept in its original construction.

Here, you will find several things to see and do such as the archaeological site of the Portico d’Ottavia, the Turtle Fountain (Fontana delle Tartarughe) in Piazza Mattei, the Synagogue and the Jewish Museum.

  • How long does it take? → A couple of hours to stroll around both neighborhoods.
  • How much does it cost? → Portico D’Ottavia is free to visit, the ticket to the Jewish Museum is 11€.
jewish quarter rome

Have dinner

Dinner time, at last! We have tried to pack as much as we could on the first day of our Rome itinerary, so if you have followed our plan, chances are you are pretty tired.

For dinner, lay back and relax to prepare for your second day of sightseeing in Rome. Some places we suggest for your dinner are between Trastevere, Tiber Island, and the Jewish Ghetto.

We have already mentioned some restaurants in Trastevere, which are opened also for dinner.

On Tiber Island, there is a very famous traditional restaurant, Sora Lella, founded by the actress Elena Fabrizi, sister of Italian actor Aldo Fabrizi. Today managed by her nephews, here you can find all the Roman classics.

The Jewish Quarter is famous for the many restaurants serving Roman traditional dishes in Kosher style. Some good options are Nonna Betta (Via del Portico d’Ottavia 16) and Ba’ Ghetto (Via del Portico d’Ottavia 57).

Rome in 2 days – Day 2

Map of day 2 of your 2-day Rome itinerary

Start early at the Colosseum

How to get there → By metro line B (Colosseo station)

A bit like for the Vatican Museums, also for the Colosseum you need some extra planning. You are spending two days in Rome, so you can totally devote a couple of hours to visiting the amphitheater inside.

However, even if you can afford to navigate Rome in 2 days, you still need to save time, so purchasing a skip-the-line ticket or a Colosseum private tour is highly recommended. To avoid spending an hour just for the line, that is.

IMPORTANT: To visit the Colosseum you MUST book your spot so that you have an allocated date and time, otherwise you can’t enter. You can do so in two ways:

  • How long does it take to visit the Colosseum? → One to two hours inside the Colosseum.
  • How much does it cost? → The single ticket to the Colosseum costs 16€, it lasts 24 hours and includes the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.

Read our complete guide to visiting the Colosseum for all the information on different tickets and tours.

coliseum rome in 2 days itinerary

Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

How to get there → A few minutes’ walk from the Colosseum.

The natural continuation of a visit to the Colosseum is a stroll around the Roman Forum, one of the places to visit in Rome in 2 days. This was the pulsing heart of ancient Rome and the place where trading, politics and social life happened.

The Roman Forum was the place for temples and basilicas. Unlike what the name might suggest, in ancient Rome, a basilica didn’t host religious functions. Instead, it was the place for court trials or commercial purposes. Here, you can also find the altar where Julius Caesar was cremated.

The ticket you have purchased for the Colosseum will be valid for the Roman Forum too, so you will have your time slot scheduled for this part of the archaeological park.

Usually, if you booked a private Colosseum tour, this archaeological site will be included in the package.

  • How long does it take to visit the Roman Forum? → One to two hours inside the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
roman forum

Explore Piazza Venezia

How to get there → Some 10-15 minutes’ walk from Piazza del Colosseo

Piazza Venezia is a busy traffic and bus hub in central Rome and from the Colosseum, you can get there by walking the beautiful and partially pedestrian Via dei Fori Imperiali, one of the most famous streets in Rome. As soon as you arrive, the first thing you will see is the Altar of the Fatherland (Altare della Patria) and the Vittoriano Complex.

You can access the Vittoriano complex to visit both the Altare della Patria with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the museum of the Italian Risorgimento. This was the series of battles that ended with the Italian unification in 1861. Rome was incorporated in 1870 with the end of the Papal States. On March 27th, 1871, Rome was officially declared the capital of Italy.

Piazza Venezia is usually one of those busy hubs mainly taken as passageways to get to the Trevi Fountain or the Centro Storico. But right in the Piazza is a fantastic sight not many know and visit. If you have some time to spare, duck into Palazzo Venezia, a sumptuous 15th-century palace that has been the residence of popes, ambassadors, and cardinals throughout the centuries.

  • How long does it take? → At least one hour in Palazzo Venezia and one in the Risorgimento Museum.
  • How much will it cost? → The ticket for Palazzo Venezia is 12€, to access Altare della Patria is free, for Museo del Risorgimento is 12€.
Image: Altar of the Fatherland in Piazza Venezia in Rome in 2 days

Visit the Capitoline Museums

How to get there → 5 minutes from Piazza Venezia

From Piazza Venezia, you can reach the Capitoline Museums from the tall staircase to the Campidoglio, the seat of Rome’s Mayor. The Capitoline Museums are an important stop if you want to learn more about Rome’s origins and history.

You will be amazed at the huge collection of ancient sculptures and tools from Etruscan times and the foundation of the city. The gallery will take at least two hours, so make sure you have the rest of your 2-day Rome itinerary well planned.

  • How long does it take? → At least 2 hours inside the Capitoline Museums.
  • How much will it cost? → The ticket for the Capitoline Museums is 13€.
capitoline museums things to do in rome in 2 days

Have lunch

After visiting the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, I suggest you make your way directly to Piazza Venezia, whether you are already feeling hungry or not.

If you are not hungry yet, you can start touring the piazza and see some of its landmarks. If it’s not too late to include the Capitoline Museums in your morning sightseeing, then do it before lunch, otherwise leave it for after your meal.

Whatever way you choose, I suggest you have lunch around Piazza Venezia because there is a good choice of options.

Some of the best places to have lunch on your second day are mainly around Piazza Venezia and Fontana di Trevi. These are our suggestions:

  • Aromi Bistrot (Via Quattro Novembre 137/M)
  • Sphaeristerium Ristorante e Bar (Via dei Lucchesi 21)
  • Terre e Domus – Enoteca della Provincia di Roma (Foro Traiano 82)
  • Mercato Plebiscito (Via del Plebiscito 104)
  • Piccolo Buco (Via del Lavatore 91, prior booking necessary)
  • Baccano (Via delle Muratte 23)

Snap your best pictures at the Trevi Fountain

How to get there → 10 minutes’ walk from Piazza Venezia, 15 minutes from Piazza del Campidoglio.

The stunning Baroque Trevi Fountain is a must-see if it’s your first time, even if you have only one or two days in Rome. The Assembly of Rome’s Council ruled to put a barrier in front of the fountain to preserve one of Rome’s most important landmarks from the vandals. This will allow you to take much clearer pictures of this majestic building without the usual crowds.

It’s been recently cleaned so you can see it in all its original white splendor.

A fascinating and more complete experience linked to the Trevi Fountain is to visit some of the ruins of the aqueduct that supplies its water, Aqua Virgo. A few steps away is the fantastic archaeological site of Vicus Caprarius (Vicolo del Puttarello 25) where you will see the cistern as well as parts of an ancient Roman neighborhood.

Not far is also another site that shows the ruins of Aqua Virgo in Via del Nazareno 9a, but this requires booking your visit over the phone.

You don’t need to book, however, if you make a short detour towards Piazza Barberini, still very close, and enter La Rinascente department store of Via del Tritone. Get to the underground floor and you will see parts of the famous aqueduct explained by multimedia installations.

  • How long does it take to visit the Trevi Fountain? → From 10 minutes to as much as you like to stare at the marvelous fountain!
Image: trevi fountain to visit in 2 days in Rome

Explore Piazza del Popolo

How to get there → 15 minutes walk from Fontana di Trevi or La Rinascente in Via del Tritone

This might seem a bit of a stretch, but I think in 2 days in Rome you just cannot skip the gorgeous Piazza del Popolo. A true glamorous entrance to Rome’s Tridente and Centro Storico, there are so many landmarks that you can’t just miss it without regretting it later.

Enter the artwork-packed Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo and see the two Caravaggio paintings in the Cerasi chapel on the left side of the main altar. From Raphael to Bernini to Bramante, many of the most famous artists of their time have contributed in making the church a jewel of the city center.

If you are curious, you can also visit the great museum devoted to the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci right beside the Basilica.

Carry on visiting the beautiful Fountain of the Lions and the large Egyptian obelisk placed in the middle before heading towards Via del Corso. But not before admiring the twin churches of Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli.

If you are really running late on schedule and from the Trevi Fountain prefer to head straight to the Spanish Steps, make it a point to visit Piazza del Popolo at least after dinner for a night tour.

  • How long does it take to visit Piazza del Popolo? → Anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour.
  • How much does it cost? → All the churches are free to visit. To lit up the Caravaggios in Santa Maria del Popolo Basilica you need a 2€ coin. The ticket for the Da Vinci museum is 12€.

Make sure you read our guide to the spectacular Piazza del Popolo.

Climb the Spanish Steps

How to get there → Some 10 minutes’ walk from Piazza del Popolo

The Spanish Steps are one of the most popular historic landmarks that you will want to visit even on short trips of 2 days in Rome. Built to connect the church of Trinità dei Monti to the Bourbon Spanish embassy.

Apart from the famous staircase, Piazza di Spagna features also the beautiful Barcaccia fountain by the father of famous artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Actually, here, there are several things to do. You can visit the house of John Keats, the British poet buried in the Protestant Cemetery, have a coffee at the historic Caffé Greco or a tea at Babington’s Tea Rooms.

  • How long does it take? → Same here, from 10 minutes to how long you need whether you want to climb the staircase or not or visit some of the local landmarks or not.
  • How much does it cost? → Admission to the house of John Keats costs 6€, the ticket to the cloister of Trinità dei Monti is 12€.
Image: Spanish Steps to visit in Rome in 2 days

Enter the Pantheon

How to get there → Less than 15 minutes’ walk from Piazza di Spagna

Built as the temple to all gods, the Pantheon is now a Catholic church. Famous for its hole in the dome, it’s the burial place of some members of the Savoys, the former Italian royal family, and painter Raffaello Sanzio.

One of the best-kept Roman temples and one of the largest concrete domes in the world, the Pantheon is a must-see in your 2-day Rome itinerary.

If you are feeling like a sweet treat, right behind the Pantheon, in Piazza Sant’Eustachio 47, is one of the best gelatos in Rome, Gunther Gelato Italiano.

  • How long does it take? → From half an hour to an hour.
  • How much does it cost? → Entering the Pantheon is free of charge.
Image: pantheon to see in Rome in 2 days

Stroll around Piazza Navona

How to get there → 5 minutes’ walk from the Pantheon

This is one of Rome’s most famous and beautiful piazzas. The first thing you will notice is that it’s not round but stretched oval-shaped. Piazza Navona, in fact, was built on top of the Domitian Stadium. This is an ancient Roman stadium the emperor Domitian wanted to devote to Greek games and you can visit the archaeological ruins from the entrance on Via di Tor Sanguigna.

Piazza Navona is famous for its gorgeous fountains, especially the Four Rivers Fountain in the center, one of the masterpieces by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in Rome. On the northern edge, don’t forget to snap a picture of the Fountain of Neptune, while on the southern end is the beautiful Fontana del Moro (Fountain of the Moor).

Another sight not to miss in Piazza Navona is the gorgeous Baroque church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, the work of the great 17th-century Italian architect Francesco Borromini.

  • How long does it take? → From half an hour to an hour to take pictures of the fountains and quickly visit Sant’Agnese in Agone church.
  • How much does it cost? Visiting Sant’Agnese in Agone church is free, the single ticket to the Domitian Stadium costs 9€ for the standard visit or 14€ for the exclusive tour.
Image: piazza navona what to do in 2 days in rome

Campo de’ Fiori

How to get there → 5 minutes’ walk from Piazza Navona crossing Corso Vittorio Emanuele.

For full disclosure, it’s fair to say that in Campo de’ Fiori every morning it takes place one of Rome’s famous markets. But it closes around lunchtime, so if you really want to see it, after the Roman Forum, you can skip the Capitoline Museums and head directly here.

From Campo de’ Fiori, you can then carry on with this same itinerary from the end to the top. Obviously, if you are staying three days in Rome, you can leave the market on the day after and start here your itinerary.

All around Campo de’ Fiori are nice shops and in the evening, it becomes a favorite hangout among locals and tourists who love to enjoy their dinner or after-dinner drink al fresco.

Image: campo de' fiori in rome in 2 days

Have dinner

So it’s your last night of an exciting and exhausting 2 days in Rome. You need to make it count and have a fabulous dinner.

All around Campo de’ Fiori and the Centro Storico are some of Rome’s top restaurants. While I suggest booking if you want to visit the best ones, especially if it’s weekend or high season, I’m aware that when you are on a tight schedule this is not easy.

What you can do to try to secure your spot is to call the restaurant you want to visit when you are well ahead in your sightseeing itinerary and have a clearer idea about when you will be done.

Some great restaurants for dinner in the area of Campo de’ Fiori and the historic center towards Piazza Navona include:

  • Per Me – Giulio Terrinoni (Vicolo del Malpasso 9, pricey fine-dining)
  • Pipero (Corso Vittorio Emanuele 250, pricey fine-dining, closed Sunday)
  • Il Pagliaccio (Via de Banchi Vecchi 129a, pricey fine-dining, closed Sunday and Monday)
  • Il Convivio Troiani (Vicolo dei Soldati 31)
  • Il San Lorenzo (Via dei Chiavari 4/5, pricey, seafood fine dining)
  • Roscioli Salumeria Con Cucina (Via dei Giubbonari 21)
  • Emma Pizzeria Con Cucina (Via del Monte della Farina 28)
  • Cantina e Cucina (Via del Governo Vecchio 87)

How do I plan 2 days in Rome?

With so much to see and do, if you are only staying two days in Rome, you will need some solid planning to avoid wasting your already limited time. We have found a few ways for you to optimize your time as much as you can and make the most of your city break in Rome.

Book a tour

Booking a tour can be a great way to save time, especially for landmarks with a larger crowd and line such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum. For the most time-consuming attractions, joining a tour is very convenient for a few reasons.

First of all, your tour leader can sum up the most important sights and historical facts in two hours or less. Secondly, by joining a tour, you are going to skip the line and speed up your entrance quite a lot.

Book your tickets online

If you don’t want to book a guided tour, an easy way to save time is to book your skip-the-line tickets online. Especially when it comes to busy sights like the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums, this helps hugely.

By booking your fast-track entrance online, you can get to the landmarks with the peace of mind that you won’t have to spend hours in line.

Plan in advance

While it’s impossible to plan everything in advance, whether it’s a landmark or a specific restaurant, having a well-organized itinerary is of great help to see as much as possible in 2 days in Rome.

For as much as you plan to visit a certain restaurant for lunch or dinner, you never know where exactly you will be when the time of eating comes. This is why in our 2-day Rome itinerary we listed a few of the best restaurants in the areas you are going to hit each day.

The same goes for the attractions. Especially if you are visiting them independently, it’s hard to predict how long the line will be and how much time you will need there.

But even so, with some good organization and backup planning, 2 days in Rome are enough to get a good grasp of the main sights of the city center and enjoy pretty diverse sightseeing that will involve palaces, churches, paintings, fountains, beautiful piazzas, and other marvels.

Is hop on hop off worth it in Rome?

If you are planning a very short stay like a 2-day city break in Rome, booking a hop on hop off bus tour can be very convenient, time-saving, and can show you a great deal of the city.

I’m not the biggest fan of hop on hop off experiences, but if you have very limited time and are interested in viewing as many landmarks as you can, this is a great option to consider. You can book one here.

How to get around in 2 days in Rome

All the landmarks in this Rome two-day itinerary are close to each other. Some of them really close, like a maximum of 5 minutes on foot, so walking would be your only option.

If some are too far or you feel like you don’t have enough time and want to skip some landmarks, then I suggest you rely on local public transport. There is also the taxi option, but in the city center buses and trams connect pretty well all the attractions. So a taxi would probably be excessive.

Around the city center, buses are pretty frequent so if you don’t feel like walking everywhere or you want to skip a sight and move on to the next one, just jump on a bus for a few stops.

If you are sticking to the city center and around pretty much for the whole trip, you will be fine with buses, metro, and, when you find them, trams. For those who are curious and up to explore further landmarks, I suggest relying on the metro and the trains rather than the buses.

This way, you are going to save a lot of time because they are more frequent than buses and they don’t get stuck in traffic.

Make sure you read our guide to using the Rome metro.

Can you just walk around Rome?

If you are on a short Rome trip and are mainly visiting the city center and imperial Rome, I totally recommend walking. Do include some gelato and coffee breaks to recharge and make your trip more pleasant and less of a marathon, but take your time to walk everywhere.

Rome is packed with art and history around every corner, so by walking from a major landmark to the other, you will be able to include more masterpieces to your list, be it a Renaissance fountain, a medieval church, or a stunning piazza.

How to reach Rome from the airport

From Fiumicino

From Fiumicino international airport there are several ways to reach Rome city center or other areas. The easier and quicker is by train, albeit not always the cheaper.

Trenitalia’s Leonardo Express train will take you to Termini station in 30 minutes and 14€. From Termini, you can reach most areas in the city because there is a large bus hub and two metro lines, A (red) and B (blue).

From Fiumicino there is also another train that for only 8€ will take you to Rome stopping in several minor stations such as Villa Bonelli and Magliana and other larger ones such as Trastevere, Ostiense, Tuscolana and Tiburtina.

Since it stops in many stations, by taking this train called “Regionale”, you can make changes and get to other train stations that are not directly connected to the airport such as Stazione San Pietro, Valle Aurelia, Balduina, Gemelli and Monte Mario. Everything with the same 8€ ticket, even if you change train.

Another way to travel from Fiumicino to Rome is by coach with companies such as Cotral, Schiaffini, Tam, Sit Bus Shuttle, and Terravision. While Terravision goes directly to Termini, the others stop in other areas such as Cornelia, Aurelia, and the Vatican. For around 6 to 7€, by coach is the cheapest option. You can book your shuttle bus from Fiumicino airport online.

You can also opt for a taxi that you take just outside the exit of the airport. Fees are fixed: 50€ to anywhere inside the Aurelian Walls, 47€ to Ostiense station, 52€ to Ciampino airport, and 125€ to Civitavecchia port.

If you are brave and feel like driving, you can either rent a car or use the car sharing service by signing up with companies like Share Now, Enjoy, and LeasysGo.

Make sure you read our complete guide to driving in Rome.

From Ciampino

From Ciampino airport, you can reach Rome’s Termini station by coach with SIT, Terravision, and Schiaffini. You can book your shuttle bus to and from Ciampino airport online.

Atral bus company connects Ciampino airport to Anagnina metro stop (line A), while Atac transport company connects Ciampino airports to metro station Laurentina (line B) with bus 720 and metro stations Cinecittà and Subaugusta (line A) with bus 520. Atac’s option is the cheapest because bus + metro are included in a standard single ticket of €1,50.

Since 2019, Trenitalia launched a connection between Ciampino and Termini station with bus + train. You you will find the bus in front of the exit of the airport and it will take you to Ciampino train station and from there you can take the train to Termini. This is one of the cheapest option because it costs only €2,70.

From Ciampino airport, too, you can rent a car or use a car sharing service, either Enjoy or Share Now.

Best time for a 2-day Rome city break

If you are to stay in Rome for only two days, I would probably suggest coming when it’s not too busy. During high season everything is slower because you are likely to find long lines in all the famous landmarks, whereas, in lower months, the lines are much easier to handle.

Rome is an easy weekend gateway from Europe because connected with direct flights to all European capitals and many major cities. The airlines landing in Rome airports are both ordinary ones and low cost, so a 2-day Rome city break can definitely be a budget trip.

Weather-wise, Rome in summer is very hot, while spring and fall are very pleasant to walk around. Winter is mild and even though it does rain, walking outside is still pleasant. It barely snows, and if it does, don’t worry, it will quickly melt. Don’t worry about the cold weather either because wearing a standard winter jacket will get you a long way.

>> If you are coming for the winter festivities, don’t miss our guide to the best things to do in Rome at Christmas.

>> If you are coming in the summer, don’t miss our handy guide to Rome in August.

IMPORTANT: If you are planning a weekend in Rome, don’t forget to check the opening hours of museums, landmarks and restaurants to make sure they are open. While some museums are closed on Monday, some restaurants are decide to close on Sunday and some don’t do both lunch and dinner. At the time of writing, the schedules were correct.

Make sure you read our article on the best things to do in Rome when it rains.

Where to stay in Rome for 2 days

Since you are staying only two days in Rome, I suggest you either book your hotel close to the city center or where it’s well-connected with public transport.

Some of the most convenient areas to stay in Rome if you are on a short trip can be Trastevere, the Vatican, Monti, or even a hotel near Termini station.

If you are traveling on a budget, you will probably find cheaper rates if you stay far from the city center. That’s OK even if you are staying only a couple of days in Rome as long as you book your room close to a metro or train station to avoid traffic.

Here are some good hotel options to consider for your 2-day Rome stay.

  • High-end:
    • Eitch Borromini – A luxurious 5-star hotel set in a 17th-century palace designed by Francesco Borromini, nonetheless. Right on Piazza Navona, you are bound to wake up to some pretty gorgeous views.
    • Hotel Hassler – Another sumptuous luxury resort in the city center, this time overlooking the monumental Spanish Steps. Pamper yourself at the on-site wellness center and at their Michelin-starred Imàgo restaurant.
    • The St. Regis Rome – The St. Regis is as opulent as it gets. Expensive and sumptuous, it’s the perfect addition to a dream holiday. Near Termini station.
    • Bio Hotel Raphaël – Relais & Châteaux – Classy and finely furnished, this château is equipped with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay. Courtesy set by Bulgari among its perks.
    • Sofitel Villa Borghese – A sleek and modern design will welcome you in one of most exclusive residential neighborhoods in Rome, just off Via Veneto. Fantastic its Settimo rooftop restaurant.

Make sure you check out our guide to the best 5-star hotels in Rome.

  • Mid-range:
    • Escape Luxury Suite – A mid-range accommodation near Piazza Barberini with well-furnished rooms and all the necessary facilities.
    • Relais Giulia – A mix of traditional and elegant décor welcomes the guests of this cozy hotel near Piazza Navona set in an ancient cloister.
    • Villa Laetitia – A 20th-century Liberty villa redesigned by Anna Fendi Venturini finely decorated and surrounded by a private garden right in the Prati neighborhood near the river Tiber.

Don’t miss our guide to the best budget hotels in Rome.

  • Budget-friendly:
    • Arts & Rooms – A simple, no-frill guesthouse well furnished and equipped in Prati near the Vatican.
    • B&B Alexander – Affordable bed & breakfast equipped with all the basic modern facilities near Termini station.
    • Ronda St. Angelo Suites – Lovely guesthouse near the Hadrian Mausoleum featuring a private bathroom in each room.

Check out our suggestions for the best cheap hotels in Rome.

Costs breakdown for your 2 days in Rome

Here we do a very rough breakdown of the costs you will have to consider on a weekend in Rome.

In my list, I included the expenses that you can’t really avoid such as food and accommodation, and also those that can be optional such as the landmarks. In this breakdown, I mentioned the main sights.

Transport from and to the airport

The cost of transport to and from Fiumicino airport depends on the means of transportation you opt for. If you use the Leonardo Express train from Stazione Termini, the price will be 14€ for a single ticket. This is the most expensive and fastest way to travel to Rome from Fiumicino airport and vice versa.

If you are taking the regional train to Orte that stops at many stations along the way, a single ticket is 8€. Not the fastest way, but very convenient if you need to change trains or stop in areas like Trastevere and Ostiense because it stops there, too.

Shuttle buses are also convenient because you can go to and from Fiumicino for as little as 6 or 7€. These might find traffic so they are not the fastest way but they do make you save some money and they also stop in different areas of Rome including Cornelia and the Vatican. Check routes and schedules before booking your ticket.

To and from Ciampino airport it’s even cheaper because you can get there with a combination of local trains, buses and metro. This way, you can pay as little as €2,70 (bus+train) or €1,50 (bus+metro).

The metro stations connecting to Ciampino are at the end of line A, so Anagnina, Subaugusta or Cinecittà. Consider that if you are taking the metro from the other end of the line, so Battistini, Cornelia or Valle Aurelia, to get to the last stop, it can take up to one hour or more.

A shuttle bus from Termini station can cost up to 8€. It goes directly to Ciampino so you don’t have to change. It’s quite handy, but consider that it can find traffic so try to book well ahead of your flight and try to avoid rush hour.

If you take a taxi, consider between 60 and 50€.

Local transport

The local transport is quite affordable. If you are staying only 2 days in Rome, you can either use some single tickets of €1,50 valid for 1 metro ride, 1 train ride and unlimited bus rides within 100 minutes from first validation or buy two daily tickets.

A daily ticket costs 7€ and is valid for unlimited bus, train, and metro rides within 24 hours from the first validation.

Your choice of what and how much public local transport you will use depends on where you are staying and what you want to visit.

Accommodation

This is a very personal choice and depends on your travel style. A night on a 5-star hotel can range between 600 and 1500€.

A night in mid-range hotels costs between 120 and 350€ with higher rates on the busiest days of the high seasons.

Cheaper hotels can cost from 100€ up if they are central and in high season.

Food

If you hit high-end restaurants, get ready to spend 20 to 30€ for a starter, 30€ for a first course and even 40 to 50€ for a main.

In standard restaurants, you can expect to pay between 15€ for the first course and 20-25€ for the main. Starters usually cost between 5 to 10€ while side dishes cost between 5 and 7€.

If you eat street food such as supplì, pizza by the slice, and sandwiches, you will hardly go over 10€ per person.

Artisan gelato can cost from 3 up to 5-6€, depending on how many scoops and what type of cone you pick. When I’m hungry and don’t feel like counting calories, I go for a nut-coated cone, possibly with some liquid chocolate inside before adding my 3 scoops. This is a once-in-a-blue-moon sin, pricey but worth it.

Sights

Prices for landmarks in Rome range between 12 and 17€.

Costs wrap-up

  • Airport transport:
    • Between 50/60€ (taxi)
    • 14€ Leonardo Express to and from Fiumicino
    • 6 to 8€ shuttle bus
    • €2,70 to 1,50 local transport to Ciampino
  • Local transport:
    • €1,50 a single 100-minute ticket
    • 7€ a daily ticket
  • Accommodation:
    • Between 600 and 1500€ per night in 5-star accommodation
    • 120 to 350 per night in mid-range hotels
    • from 100€ up in cheaper accommodation in the city center and high season
  • Food:
    • Between 50 and 100€ per person in high-end restaurants including drink/wine
    • Between 20 and 50€ per person in standard restaurants including drinks/wine
    • Up to 10€ per person if you eat street food
    • Between 3 to 6€ for artisan gelato
  • Sights:
    • 16€ single ticket to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill valid for 24 hours
    • 17€ single ticket for the Vatican Museums
    • 15€ single ticket for Castel Sant’Angelo (Hadrian Mausoleum)
    • 11€ single ticket for the Jewish Museum
    • 12€ single ticket for Palazzo Venezia
    • 13€ single ticket for the Capitoline Museums
    • 12€ single ticket to visit the cloister of Trinità dei Monti
    • 6€ single ticket for the house memorial of John Keats
    • 9 to 14€ single ticket for the Domitian Stadium

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