Experience Rome in Just One Day

Note: The blog was originally published on my old blog.

Are you planning a trip to Rome but only have one day to explore the city? Don’t worry, it’s still possible to have an unforgettable experience! With an appropriate itinerary and some insider tips, you can make the most of your limited time and discover Rome’s most iconic landmarks, hidden gems, and mouth-watering food. From the Colosseum to the Vatican, from gelato to pizza, get ready to experience Rome in just one day!

While enjoying my dinner, I started planning my itinerary and decided to visit Vatican City that night and explore other famous landmarks the following day. Since Tiber Island was not far from Vatican City, I decided to walk along the river. As I strolled, I couldn’t help but notice the vibrant atmosphere along the riverbank. Plenty of bars, restaurants, and shops were selling clothing and jewellery. I even saw some locals playing table foosball tables on the left bank.

I later learned that this festival along the Tiber River is called Lungo il Tevere di Roma, and it opens every year in June. The festival offers a great opportunity to discover local artists, musicians, and performers. The atmosphere was lively and it was fascinating to see the locals and tourists mingling along the riverbank.

Vatican City

One of my favourite places in Vatican City is St. Peter’s Square and Basilica. I could enjoy the view of these beautiful landmarks at any time of the day, but I especially loved visiting at night when it was less crowded. My favourite spot was next to the Obelisk, where I could view the Basilica in all its grandeur.

Vatical City

During my visit, I also had the opportunity to explore the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica. I was blown away by the beauty and richness of the art there. One of the most beautiful things I discovered was Michelangelo’s Pieta, a true masterpiece. It was commissioned by French cardinal Jean de Billheres as a memorial for his tomb and is carved from a single slab of Carrara marble. It’s also the only work that Michelangelo signed. The signature is on Mary’s chest.

Michelangelo's Pieta
Michelangelo’s Pieta

The Sistine Chapel was another hidden treasure that I discovered during my visit. I found myself staring at the ceiling for long periods and even caught myself forgetting to breathe for a few seconds! The ceiling frescoes painted by Michelangelo and other famous artists were breathtaking.

In addition to these famous landmarks, Vatican City is home to numerous other hidden gems. From the stunning Bernini sculptures to the breathtaking views from the top of St. Peter’s Basilica, there’s so much to explore and discover.

Overall, my experience of discovering the hidden treasures of Vatican City was unforgettable. It’s a place where you can lose yourself in history and art’s beauty and grandeur.


On my way to the hotel from Vatical City, I went to see Pantheon. Unfortunately, it was already closed when I arrived at around 10 pm. Nonetheless, I still managed to admire the exterior of the building, which is known for its impressive dome and stunning ceiling. There is a nice square in front of the Pantheon where you can sit on the stairs and enjoy the view.


However, be prepared to encounter vendors trying to sell you things like cold water or selfie sticks. If you decline one vendor, others may appear hoping to sell you their goods.


I headed to the Colosseum the following morning, stopping at the Temple of Portunus, the Temple of Ercole Vincitore, and Circus Maximus. While I expected more from Circus Maximus, the Colosseum was a highlight of my trip. I had visited the Colosseum two years prior, but the experience was just as awe-inspiring the second time. The building was massive and made me wonder how they could have built something so impressive over 2000 years ago.


If you plan to visit the Colosseum, I strongly recommend booking your tickets online to avoid long queues outside. All the information panels in the Colosseum had descriptions in both Italian and English. However, if you prefer a more in-depth experience, plenty of guides are waiting outside the building and offering their services in different languages.

As I walked around this ancient and colossal building, I couldn’t help but imagine how it must have been 1900 years ago. It was fascinating to see the different levels of the Colosseum and learn about its history as a venue for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles.

Forums (Roman, Trajan, Augustus)

The Forums of Rome are a collection of ancient public spaces that served as the centre of Roman political, social, and economic life. The three Forums, Roman, Trajan, and Augustus, are free and easily accessible from Via dei Fori Imperiali. The Roman Forum, also known as the Forum Magnum, was the centre of political and social activity in ancient Rome. At the same time, the Trajan’s Forum was an enormous palace of justice built between 112 and 113 AD. I was amazed by the grandeur of Trajan’s Forum. The Forum of Augustus, on the other hand, was built by Augustus and inaugurated in 2 BC. Each of these forums has its own unique history and architectural style, and together they offer a fascinating glimpse into ancient Rome’s daily life and culture.

Forum of Augustus
Forum of Augustus

Wikipedia has more information here: the Roman Forum, the Trajan’s Forum and the Forum of August.

The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum

Equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II

As I continued my walk, I stumbled upon the Equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II. While I didn’t have time to explore the museum, the building’s statues and architecture were impressive. It was built between 1885 and 1911 to honour Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a united Italy. The statue depicted the king mounted on his horse and was designed by the Italian sculptor Enrico Chiaradia.


It was easy to get lost in the history and charm of Rome. Throughout my journey, I passed numerous churches, but I didn’t stop at every one of them. Instead, I took in the surroundings and appreciated the city’s beauty.

The Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world and is a must-see attraction in Rome. It was designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed in 1762. The fountain features the god of the sea, Neptune, riding on a chariot pulled by two horses, one wild and one calm, representing the contrasting moods of the sea. The fountain is also adorned with other mythical creatures, including tritons and sea nymphs. According to legend, if you throw a coin into the fountain with your right hand over your left shoulder, you will ensure a return to Rome in the future.

As expected, there were many tourists around the fountain. I closely watched my belongings as this place had many pickpocketers. Sitting on the fountain’s edge was forbidden, and the police officers were paying close attention.

The Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain

Spanish Steps

Next up was the Spanish Steps, which, I have to admit, were not my favourite place in Rome. The Spanish Steps, also known as Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, are another famous landmark in Rome. They were built between 1723 and 1725 and were designed by Francesco de Sanctis. The name “Spanish Steps” comes from the Spanish Embassy located nearby. The 135 steps lead up to the Trinità dei Monti church and offer a stunning city view. Over the years, the Spanish Steps have become a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Today, they are a symbol of the beauty and grandeur of Rome.

the Spanish Steps
the Spanish Steps

Pincio Promenade and Villa Medici

Nonetheless, the view from the Pincio Promenade, which is only a few minutes away from the Spanish Steps, is amazing. The Villa Medici, an architectural complex with beautiful gardens, is also nearby, but it was under renovation during my visit.

View from Pincio Promenade
View from Pincio Promenade

The Villa Medici is an impressive architectural complex located in Rome, Italy. Initially built in the 16th century, the villa served as a summer residence for Florence’s powerful and influential Medici family. Over the years, it has been renovated and expanded. Today it is home to the French Academy in Rome, which promotes cultural exchange between France and Italy. The villa’s gardens are the highlight of the complex, featuring beautiful fountains, sculptures, and manicured lawns. The estate also houses a museum, which displays various art and artefacts from different periods of Italian history.

Piazza del Popolo and the Capitoline Wolf

My last stop was the Piazza del Popolo, where I saw Rome’s oldest Obelisk in the middle of the square. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to see the famous statue of the Capitoline Wolf, but I made a mental note to visit it on my next trip to Rome.

Rome in one day

I returned to my hotel and realised I had seen so much of Rome in less than 24 hours. It was a whirlwind tour of the city, but I felt like I had truly experienced the charm and history of Rome. If you’re short on time I recommend following in my footsteps and discovering its landmarks in less than 24 hours.

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