3 zile in Roma, Cetatea Eterna – ghid de calatorie, ce sa faci in Roma

The eternal city, the place where every street corner hides a story, a cultural and gastronomic center and one of the most visited European cities - this is Rome, the capital and the largest city of Italy.

With a grand historical past, from imposing ancient ruins to Renaissance masterpieces, with a relaxed atmosphere and delicious food, Rome deserves its status as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Every year, millions of tourists choose Rome as their holiday destination, rightfully so, and if you are one of them, then you have arrived in the right place! In this article I will present you an idea of a 3-day itinerary in Rome, so that you can make the most of the time spent here and enjoy the most beautiful places in the Italian city.

About Rome

Rome, "Eternal Citadel" or "The City of 7 Hills", is the capital and the largest city of Italy, with a population of approximately 2.7 million inhabitants.

Located in the central-western part of the Italian Peninsula, along the Tiber river, Rome has a Mediterranean climate. With a mild winter and average temperatures of 12-14 degrees in December-February, Rome is a suitable destination for a city break at any time of the year.

Rome in February
Rome in February

Rome is a magnet for visitors from all over the world, both due to the important tourist attractions, such as the Colosseum and the Vatican, the local gastronomy, but also the laid-back italian atmosphere. A consequence of this large number of tourists in Rome is crowding and long queues at the main tourist attractions, things that I will show you how to avoid in this article, either by purchasing entrance tickets online, in advance, or by visiting Rome outside the peak season.

Rome is also home to the smallest state in the world - Vatican. The Vatican State is an enclave of Rome, a sovereign territory located in a neighborhood of the city.

Vatican
Vatican - St. Peter's Basilica

History of Rome

According to legend, Rome was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus in the 8th century BC, twins recognized on the famous statue of the she-wolf Capitolina.

The first archaeological attestations support the appearance of the city on the Palatine Hill and in the area of the future Roman Forum, in the 8th century BC.

The city became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, and later, of the Roman Empire, formed in 27 BC. The development of the empire, and implicitly of the city, was due to numerous successes and military conquests, which made the Roman Empire a true force of the ancient world.

Roma Antica
Ancient Rome - Colosseum and the Roman Forum

In timpul domniei lui Constantin I, Roma a devenit un important punct de importanta religioasa, cel din urma ajungand Papa si stabilind la Roma centrul Bisericii Catolice.

After the fall of the Roman Empire (476 AD), Rome experienced a major decline for several centuries, but it still remained the capital of the Papal States.

The city began to flourish again after the 16th century, during the Renaissance and Baroque, artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael or Bernini transforming Rome into a great cultural and artistic center.

In 1871, Rome was declared the capital of rectified Italy, under the leadership of King Emmanuel II.

Rome

How to get to Rome

The easiest way to reach Rome is by plane.

Rome has two airports: Fiumicino, being the city's main airport, and Ciampino, the airport used by low-cost airlines.

How to get from Fiumicino airport to Rome

Fiumicino Airport is located 30 kilometers west of Rome. You can get from the airport to the city with the following means of transport:

  • Train: "Leonardo Express" line connects the airport with the central train station Termini in Rome. The price of a ticket is 14 euros, and the journey lasts 30 minutes. Trains run at a frequency of 15-30 minutes.
  • Shuttle Bus: Private buses, such as those from Terravision, often run from the airport. They stop at Termini station in Rome, and a ticket costs 6 euros.
  • Taxi: a taxi trip from the airport to the city starts from 40 euros.

How to get from Ciampino airport to Rome

Ciampino Airport is located 27 kilometers from Rome, in the southeast of the city. To get from the airport to the city, you have the following options:

  • Shuttle Bus: At the exit from the airport there are several private Shuttle Bus companies, with which you can reach Termini station in the center of Rome. A return ticket costs 12 euros, and the journey takes 30-40 minutes, depending on how crowded the city is. One such company is Terravision.
  • Train: With a local bus you can get from the airport to the train station in Ciampino, and from there by train to Rome. This is the cheapest option, the train ticket being 2.7 euros, and the bus ticket 1.5 euros.
  • Taxi: the prices for a taxi trip from Ciampino airport to Rome start from 30 euros.
Ponte Sant'Angelo
Ponte Sant'Angelo

How to get around in Rome

Most of the tourist attractions in Rome are located in the central area, thus it is possible to visit most points of interest within walking distance.

But even so, it's good to know that Rome has a well-developed transport system.

  • There are 3 metro lines (line A, B, C), the metro being the fastest and cheapest way to get from one point to another in the city.
  • A metro trip costs 1.5 euros, and the good part is that you can pay directly with the card, without having to buy physical tickets or cards.
  • In Rome you can also buy travel cards, valid for any means of transport
    • MetroBus 24 hours: € 7
    • MetroBus 48 hours: € 12.50
    • MetroBus 72 hours: € 18
    • Weekly pass: € 24
Sant'Angelo Castle

Tourist card in Rome

There are several tourist cards that can be bought in Rome, such as Roma Pass, Omnia Card or Turbo Pass.

The most popular is Roma Pass, being also the cheapest. 

With this card, you have free entry to the first two tourist attractions that you choose from the list of available attractions, and you will get a discount for the others on the list. Public transport is also included within this card.

The price for Roma Pass is 33 euros for 48 hours, respectively 53 euros for 72 hours. Mathematically, the savings are not very consistent with this card, considering the ticket prices and how often you could use the public transport. And, unfortunately, even with this card, you still need to reserve your entrance to the Colosseum, on the official site of the historical monument.

Rome
In Rome, it is full of seagulls everywhere

What to do 3 days in Rome

Whether you visit Rome for one, two, three or more days, in the list below I will present you the tourist attractions that you should not miss here. These are also present in the itinerary proposed by us:

  • Colosseum
  • The Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill
  • Saint Peter's Basilica
  • The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel
  • Fontana di Trevi
  • Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna)
  • Pantheon
  • Piazza del Popolo
  • Piazza Navona
  • Villa Borghese
  • Via dei Fori Imperiale and Trajan's Column
  • Altare della Patria
  • Sant'Angelo Castle
  • Trastevere

All these landmarks are located in the center of Rome, they are close to each other, so you will not have to travel long distances to get from one point to another.

In a simple walk, you can reach each of these places in a single day (without visiting them inside).

But if you have more time, then I recommend you to go in and visit some sights, such as the Colosseum and the Vatican. Just keep in mind that here you need tickets bought in advance, because the queues at the entrance are long. For this, you will need a program by days, to know exactly the day you will arrive at each of these.

Below I propose such a program, a 3-day itinerary to check off all the tourist attractions listed above, and to have enough time to visit the Colosseum and the Vatican.

Day 1 – The historical center

We start the journey in Rome with a walk through the historic center, at the main points of interest in the central area.

Give yourself time to discover Rome, to enjoy the atmosphere here, to admire the architecture and the beauty of this place. Get lost on the streets, eat a pizza, drink a cappuccino, enjoy a gelato. The Italians have an expression for this "pleasure of doing nothing" - dolce far niente. Live in the moment, appreciate this peace and feel the joy of the present, that of being in such a wonderful city as Rome.

All the places mentioned below are located a short distance from each other, so you will not need any public transport to move between locations.

Fontana di Trevi

Fontana di Trevi is a symbol of Rome and one of the most famous places in the capital of Italy.

Fontana di Trevi illustrates the sea god Neptune and is an emblem of baroque art, being the work of architect Nicola Salvi from the 18th century.

The fountain is located at the intersection of three streets, from where it gets its name - Trevi means three in Italian.

A very popular custom here is throwing a coin over the shoulder. They say that if you toss a coin backwards, you will return to Rome again.

Piazza di Spagna

Another famous place in Rome is Piazza di Spagna, with its Spanish Steps. The name of the square comes from the Spanish Embassy which is located nearby.

If a well-known image of Rome was that of dozens of tourists resting on the Spanish Steps, it is good to know that, for several years, there has been a law which forbids to sit on these steps! By the way, now there are always policemen here who whistle at anyone they see sitting down.

Via del Corso

Near Piazza di Spagna is the central shopping area of Rome, Via del Corso, where you can find a lot of brand stores: from those like Louis Vutton, to more accessible stores, like H&M. If you need a shopping session, this is the place to go.

Via del Corso
Via del Corso

Piazza del Popolo

At the end of Via del Corso is a beautiful square, Piazza del Popolo. Piazza del Popolo is one of the largest and most beautiful squares in Rome, located in the north of the tourist center, and serves as the gateway to the former historical city.

In the center of the square there is an ancient Egyptian obelisk, brought to Rome in the 16th century.

From Piazza del Popolo, I suggest you go up the stairs in the east of the square, to reach Terrazza del Pincio and enjoy the view you have here.

Terrazza del Pincio
Terrazza del Pincio

Villa Borghese

Following the viewpoint from Terrazza del Pincio, you will reach a wonderful park, a real green oasis in the center of Rome.

You will arrive at Villa Borghese Gardens, and here I recommend not to miss the Tempio di Esculapio and Orologio ad Acqua del Pincio (a hydropower clock). Entrance to the park and gardens is free.

Tempio di Esculapio (Villa Borghese)
Tempio di Esculapio (Villa Borghese)

If you are interested in art and history, you should not miss a visit to the Borghese Galleries, where paintings by artists such as Raffaello or Caravaggio are exhibited. You need to reserve the entrance ticket in advance, on the official site or from here.

Pantheon

Pantheon is one of the most remarkable historical monuments in Rome. The current building was built in the 2nd century AD, originally built as a temple dedicated to all the gods from Greek mythology - "Pantheon" means temple of all the gods. Later, in the Middle Ages, the Pantheon was transformed into a Christian church.

A special feature of this monument is its dome with a diameter of 43 meters, the largest in the world built of unreinforced concrete. And impressive is the technology of those ancient times by which this architectural jewel was created, so that it remained intact for almost two millennia.

The Pantheon can be visited, and an entrance ticket costs 5 euros, which you can buy directly on the spot. If you are in the area, I say it is worth going in and admiring the interior of this interesting building.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is another famous square in Rome, full of cafes, restaurants and monuments that stand out.

Among the attractions of the squares are the Fountain of Neptune and the Fountain of the Four Rivers. The last one is the creation of the baroque artist Bernini from the 17th century, and represents the four great rivers of that period, one river for each continent known at that time: Nile (Africa), Ganges (Asia), Danube (Europe) and Rio de la Plata (America).

Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona

The square is built on the site of Domitian's former stadium, an ancient stadium used for various sports competitions specific to those times. Moreover, the square has an oval shape, keeping the shape of the old stadium.

Day 2 – Colosseum

For the second day, I suggest visiting the most important tourist attraction in Rome, namely the Colosseum. You will explore Ancient Rome and discover all the important historical monuments in this part of the city, such as the Roman Forum and Trajan's Column. Today you will not need any public transport, because all these landmarks are located in a rather small area in the center of Rome.

Colosseum
Colosseum

Colosseum

Colosseumul is a symbol of Ancient Imperial Rome, it is considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World and has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980.

The Colosseum was one of the largest constructions of its time, completed in 80 AD. It was used for gladiatorial contests and public shows, and it is estimated that it would have had between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. Later, in the medieval era, the Colosseum had another use: houses, workshops or a Christian altar.

Colosseum

Although it was partially ruined over time, due to natural phenomena or thieves, the Colosseum is today an emblem of both Rome and Italy, and is one of the most famous historical tourist attractions in Europe.

But its popularity also comes with some consequences, such as the very large number of tourists who visit it daily. For this reason, it is recommended to buy tickets for this monument well in advance, because tickets sell out quickly, especially in peak season.

Colosseum
  • You can find online tickets on the official site. A ticket costs 18 euros, and includes access to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
  • If you want to visit the lower level, Arena Floor, then you need another type of ticket, Full Experience Ticketwhich cost 24 euros.
  • If you can no longer find tickets online for the period you want, then an alternative would be to participate in a guided tour: Rome: Priority Access Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Tour. It is more expensive, but at least you will be able to visit the Colosseum, and you will also have a guide's explanations.
  • If you have the travel card Roma Pass, you need a prior reservation, against an amount of 2 euros. Without this reservation made on the official website, you will not be able to enter the Colosseum, even if you have the entrance included in the card. You can find information here: https://www.coopculture.it/en/poi/colosseum/.
Colosseum
  • On the first Sunday of the month, the entrance to the Colosseum is free. You will not be able to book tickets online for this day. If you choose to visit the Colosseum on such a day, expect crowds and long queues.

Roman Forum & Palatino

Near the Colosseum is the Roman Forum, the main public square and the center of Ancient Rome. The forum is located between the Palatino and Capitoline hills, and once housed important buildings, monuments and public edifices, being the center of political and commercial activities of the Roman civilization.

Roman Forum
Roman Forum

Today, the Roman Forum is one of the most important archaeological sites in Italy. Visiting this place is included in the entrance ticket to the Colosseum, which can be purchased on the official site, for 18 euros, or as part of a guided tour: Rome: Priority Access Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Tour.

Also here, I recommend you to climb the Palatine Hill. The view is absolutely wonderful: you can see the Colosseum, Via de Fori Imperiali that leads to Trajan's Column and Altare della Patria, and in the distance, you can also see the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, from the Vatican.

Via dei Fori Imperiali

From the Roman Forum, go on Via dei Fori Imperiali, a very wide boulevard, to enjoy the entire landscape of Ancient Rome.

You will reach Piazza Venezia, where the huge Altare della Patria building is located, but on the way you will admire former ancient ruins, Trajan's Forum and Trajan's Column.

An interesting aspect related to Via dei Fori Imperiali is that it was built quite recently, during the fascist regime, with the purpose of a huge boulevard suitable for grandiose public events and parades. The construction process of this boulevard was quite controversial, due to the demolition and destruction of the historical heritage.

Trajan's Column

Another important historical monument in Rome is Trajan's Column, a tall column located in Trajan's Forum, about 30 meters high.

Trajan's Column

The column was built in honor of the Roman emperor Traian and his victory in the wars with Dacia, from the 1st century AD (years 101-102 and 105-106). The well-known battles through which Dacia was conquered by the Romanians took place on the current territory of Romania.

Trajan's Column shows scenes from the two conquest campaigns that had Trajan and Decebal (the King of Dacia) as the main characters, offering a chronological story of the events of the two wars.

At the top of the column there was initially a statue of Trajan, which was later replaced by the statue of Saint Peter.

Trajan's Forum
Trajan's Forum

Altare della Patria

Altare della Patria, the Altar of the Fatherland or the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument, is a memorial monument in Piazza Venezia, dedicated to Victor Emmanuel II, the former king of the united Italy in the 19th century.

Altare della Patria

You can climb the stairs to reach the terrace of the building, free of charge, from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city. For an even more spectacular view, you can take the elevator to the top of the building. The ticket costs 17 euros, including access to the museum in the building.

We didn't go up, because the ticket seemed a bit expensive for what it offered - there was no big difference in level from the top to where we could reach for free, and we didn't hear much about the museums included in the ticket.

Capitolina & Piazza del Campidoglio

Behind the Altare della Patria monument, on the Capitoline Hill, is Piazza del Campidoglio, a small, beautiful square designed by Michelangelo in the 14th century. Here is a replica of Lupei Capitolina, the famous statue of the she-wolf nursing the two brothers. The original statue of Marcus Aurelius is housed in the Capitoline Museum, which is also located in Piazza del Campidoglio.

Day 3 – Vatican

The Vatican, the smallest sovereign state in the world and the residence of the Pope, the leader of the Catholic Church, is the place where I recommend you spend at least half a day. The best way to avoid the enormous queues at the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica is to get here very early, in the morning, or towards the end of the day. Otherwise, in peak season, you can wait up to two hours to visit the interior of the Vatican Church.

Just keep in mind that on Wednesdays, St. Peter's Basilica is only opened after noon, being the day when the Pope is in town and holds an audience.

Vatican
Vatican - Piazza San Pietro

In the Vatican, next to St. Peter's Basilica and Piazza San Pietro, do not miss the Vatican Museum, with the famous work of Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel.

St. Peter's Basilica

Vatican is the spiritual center of the Catholic world, and hosts the largest church in the world, Basilica San Pietro. The first church was built here in 326 AD, during the time of Emperor Constantine the Great, over the tomb of Saint Peter. Over time, the church gained great importance, becoming the main church of the popes, Peter's successors in the leadership of the Church.

Vatican

Entrance to St. Peter's Basilica is free, but the waiting time to enter the church can be quite long, over an hour, during busy times of the day or in full season.

But the wait is worth it, because the interior of the church is gorgeous, and it is a landmark that every traveler, whether he is Christian or not, must visit if he comes to Rome.

Vatican
Vatican
Vatican - list of Popes

You can also choose to climb the church dome. There are 550 steps to the top of the dome, and the view from above the Vatican is wonderful! The ticket costs 8 euros, or 10 euros, if you want to go up with the elevator.

If you want to avoid the queues at the entrance of St. Peter's Basilica, then an option can be to participate in a guided tour, combined with the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, by which you can avoid the long wait at the entrance to the church: Rome: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and Basilica Tour.

Vatican

Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel

Another unmissable attraction in the Vatican, implicitly in Rome, is the Vatican Museum, with the famous Sistine Chapel of Michelangelo.

The museum is very famous among history and art lovers and hosts impressive collections, such as masterpieces by famous artists: Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Raphael or Boticelli.

Vatican Museum

Just like the Colosseum, the Vatican museum is the place where I advise you to buy tickets in advance, preferably from the official site. A ticket costs 25 euros.

A good idea can be to visit the Museum with a guide. One such tour is this: Rome: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and Basilica Tour, where the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica is included, without having to wait in huge waiting lines.

Vatican Museum
Vatican Museum

Sant'Angelo Castle

From St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, straight ahead on the beautiful Via della Conciliazione, you will reach the Sant'Angelo Castle, another interesting place in Rome.

Sant'Angelo Castle

The castle is a former ancient mausoleum dedicated to the emperor Hadrian, transformed in the medieval period into a fortress, well preserved and easy to spot on the banks of the Tiber river.

The castle can be visited, and an entrance ticket costs 14 euros. Impressive here is the view from the top of the castle, one of the most beautiful views in the Italian capital.

Trastevere

I suggest you spend the evening in Trastevere, one of the liveliest and most beautiful neighborhoods in Rome. Trastevere is known for its lively atmosphere, here you will find a labyrinth of narrow streets with numerous cafes, terraces and restaurants, being the perfect place to end the evening with a tasty dinner.

You can get here either on foot or by taxi / Uber / Bolt. Unfortunately, the neighborhood is not connected to a metro station.

Among the best restaurants you can find here are Tonnarello or Osteria Nannarella.

Where to stay in Rome

In Rome you can find accommodation for all needs and preferences. Depending on the period, prices for a good accommodation can start from 90-100 euros. And as a location, I recommend the central area, or if not, near a metro station.

Some well-rated accommodations in the center of Rome, close to the metro and with good reviews (over 9 on Booking.com), would be:

Our accommodation was at Domus Ferrucio, a chic room located in a building near the metro station, 10 minutes' walk from Termini, the city's central train station. In February 2024, we paid 80 euros for one night's accommodation.

Where to eat in Rome

Welcome to one of the best culinary destinations in the world! Italy, and Rome for that matter, is a true source of delicious, tasty, and world-famous dishes. Savory pizza, perfect pasta, sensational deserts, excellent ice cream and refined wines, this is what welcomes you in the local Italian cuisine, one of the best and most famous in the world.

Rome

Some places to try, if you get to Rome, would be:

Restaurants

Gelato

Bakery / Cafe

How much did the trip to Rome cost us

  • Flight Cluj-Napoca – Rome Ciampino, 70 euro/person
  • Accommodation: 4 nights at Domus Ferrucio for 320 euros (160 euros/person)
  • Transport local:
    • Airport - Termini Station - 12 euros/person
    • Metro tickets – 1.5 metro ticket, approximately 10 euros/person
  • Entry tickets:
    • Colosseum – 18 euros/person
    • Vatican Museum – 25 euros/person
    • Sant'Angelo Castle - 13 euros/person
    • Pantheon – 5 euros/person

3 days in Rome cost us, without meals or other purchases, approximately 310 euros / person, prices valid for February 2024. A meal in the city for 2 people costs somewhere between 20-30 euros, a cappuccino 2 euros and a gelato 4 euros.

Rome

Tips & Tricks

  • Join a Free Walking Tour - we also joined a walking tour in Rome, and it was very useful. Besides the beautiful places you visit in Rome, it is useful to find out the story behind it, details that you can hear directly from a local. The cost of participating in such a tour consists of the tip you leave the guide at the end, depending on how satisfied you were with him. An amount of 10 euros is the average that tourists pay for such an activity.
Rome
  • In Rome, on the first Sunday of the month, entry to almost all museums is free. It is a good opportunity to visit the important tourist attractions in the capital of Italy, and on the other hand, to save some money. But be prepared for long queues on this day. Some of the museums where you can enter for free are: Colosseum, Pantheon, Galleria Borghese, etc. For this day, you will not be able to buy tickets online at museums where entry is free, but for some, you will have to make a reservation in advance.
Rome
  • If you will travel by metro, it is good to know that you can pay directly with the card, without having to buy physical tickets or travel cards. A ticket costs 1.5 euros.
Rome