What to do in Rome in a day!

You know how the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day?  People also say you can’t see the whole city in a day. I challenged that statement on my recent visit to Rome in September for my honeymoon. My husband and I were flying into Rome to visit other parts of Italy (more posts to come), and wanted to stay a night to see what we could in the city. While we didn’t see ALL of Rome, we definitely got a lot of sightseeing done while allowing time for ourselves to relax and enjoy the city at night.

Hotels in Rome: Hotel Navona

Where to stay in Rome? When we were looking for a place to stay in Rome, knowing we only had a short time for a visit, I wanted to be somewhere within a 15-20 minute walk to some of the main attractions.  We ended up staying at Hotel Navona, which was the perfect location for this, and only one minute from what I think was my favorite part of Rome, Piazza Navona. It was right near the Pantheon and only about 10 minutes from the Trevi Fountain as well. The additional benefits of the hotel included an option for a paid transfer service from the airport (which we took advantage of), proximity to delicious restaurants away from heavy tourism, and a 24-hour front desk, which is extremely helpful if you know you are going to be in a city at odd hours.  The hotel staff were friendly and accommodating, with suggested tips for getting around, restaurants, and they even helped our friends with a surprise for us in our room as a congratulations on getting married. I would definitely stay here again.

What to do in Rome: Sights

We got to choose one of two routes with our limited time in Rome. Go North towards the Basilica, or go South, towards the Colosseum. If you start in the morning and have energy to walk all day, you can do it all if you skip the actual guided tours. We started right after lunch, so we picked going towards the Colosseum as gladiators are oh so intriguing to me. Here’s what we were able to check out:

  • Colosseum: The Colosseum is beautiful on the outside and I would have loved to go in and check out where the gladiators fought and learn more about its history. They do have skip the line tickets I would suggest buying in advance if you want the full tour, however you can easily get close to this artifact and check out the architecture.
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
  • Arch of Constantine: This Roman arch is literally a few yards away from the Colosseum, so you get the benefit of seeing both in just a few minute visit.
Arch of Constantine, Rome, Italy
  • Trevi Fountain: This place was flooded with tourists and tourist traps (street vendors, restaurants) so it was hard to take a good photo and enjoy it. However, it is beautiful, so spend a few minutes here if you get a chance and make sure to throw a coin into the fountain for an opportunity to return to Rome!
Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy
  • Piazza Venezia: It’s hard not to pass the hub of Rome, the embassy, which sits at the intersection of many major city roadways and is on the way to some top sights, including a few minutes from the colosseum.
Piazza Venezia, Rome, Italy
  • Pantheon: If you haven’t been to Greece, it’s worth swinging by the old Roman temple which is now a church.
Pantheon, Rome, Italy
  • Piazza Navona: My favorite stop on my short visit, this square has beautiful fountains, music, restaurants, bars, and makes for fantastic people watching! I ate some fantastic gelato here and just relaxed listening to conversations and the water from the fountains.
Gelato in Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy
Fountains in Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy

If I were to have more time in Rome, I’d want to make sure to see:

Where to eat in Rome: Pasta and Pizza

We only really got to have one real meal in Rome, and thank goodness it was a great one! Our hotel recommended Taverna del Seminario and it was perfect! This cute little restaurant was relaxing and served delicious house wine. Tip: Always go for the house wine at restaurants in Italy, as it is usually delicious and a fantastic deal compared to some of the others they have to offer. It was only 8 Euro for a bottle! We also ordered Cacio E Pepe, as I met a man from Italy on an airplane that it is an Italian staple and a must-have. He was right. Who would have thought something so simple could be so seductive? Cacio E Pepe is a simple cheese and pepper pasta! We also ordered the margherita pizza and raviolis and those were deliziosa as well!

Pizza from Taverna Del Seminario, Rome
Cacio e Pepe, Rome, Italy

I didn’t do a lot of research before my Rome trip on restaurants knowing I’d only be there for one night, but I did look for some fun pizza places which I wanted to leave you with.  Trapizzino Rome Testaccio apparently serves a variety of budget-friendly hot pockets and apparently is very popular. A sit down restaurant that I would want to try is Emma Pizzeria Con Cucina, which had great reviews as a top pizza spot.

Would I go back to Rome?

Certainly! While I still have some sights to visit, most importantly, I would want to go back and just experience the day-to-day, culture, and food more.




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