A couple of days in one place seems to be a common travel option for many, and so I’ve put together a two day itinerary for Rome. I hope this helps those first timers that are slightly confused or unsure of what to do during their two-day trip.
If you only have two days in Rome, and you’ve never visited this city before, I would probably blitz through all the major sites and spend the evening relaxing in one of the beautiful piazzas with a glass of wine. Or two.
As everyone says, when in Rome… the Vatican and the Colosseum are a must.
I would split the Colosseum/Roman Forums and the Vatican between the two days and cover the main sites according to what is closest to each attraction.
Therefore, I would do the Vatican, Castel Sant’Angelo, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Piazza Novona, Piazza Popolo, Trajan’s Column, Il Vittoriano monument and the Trevi Fountain if it is open, all in one day and then save the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Circus Maximus, and Baths of Caracalla for the second day.
Both days involve some heavy walking and early starts so be prepared for that.
I would start with the Vatican super early on day one – get to the Vatican for no later than 10am – and either queue or book with a guided tour, depending on the crowd. If money is no object, I would opt for the tour guide which will be from about €35 all the way up to €50 per person. The main benefit of this is that it will take you max 2.5 hours to do everything – the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St Peter’s Basilica.
I would take a packed lunch – or buy something to go in the morning on the way to the Vatican as it is super expensive around that area. Then you can sit down and eat somewhere, and then move on to either Castel Sant’Angelo, walking along the river or you can cross the river and go to Piazza Novona, the Pantheon and the Spanish steps. Then if you have time, you can add Il Vittoriano to your day as a quick pitstop before dinner. If not you can cover this on day two. The monument is good enough to view from the outside.
Depending on where your accommodation is based, I would start with the monument if you haven’t seen it already and then move on to Circus Maximus/Circo Massimo, which has its own Metro stop. It is an enormous chariot-racing stadium, which is now used as a public park. It is incredible to visit and imagine the Romans hosting chariot races the length of the stadium, with all its citizens sitting on what are now the slopes of the park. I would then walk over to the Roman Forum, where you can buy a €12 combined ticket for both the Roman Forum and the Colosseum.
The Roman Forum is a huge archaeological site, which contains incredible ancient ruins. It also has spectacular views of Rome and the Colosseum. Palatine hill is on the left of the entrance of the Forum, and the Forum site is on the right. This will have to be a rushed job as there is just SO MUCH to see. Pick and choose and then move on to the Colosseum. The good thing about the combined ticket is that you don’t need to queue for AGES and AGES! You may queue but about 5-10 minutes and then you can do your own thing and go up the different levels. Eh voila! Cultural part of Rome done!
Again, for day two, I would either take a packed lunch or walk to a restaurant outside the Colosseum area. Packed lunch would save you the most time and mean you don’t have to walk away from the area and then have to come all the way back.
For drinking and night-time excursions, the areas around the Spanish steps and Piazza Novona are meant to be lively places.