5 Things Not to Miss in Rome (If Your Trip is Short and You Don’t Have Much Time)

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Rome is often referred to as the Eternal City. It is a place with a rich history and vibrant culture and one that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. But what if you only have a short amount of time to explore this magnificent city? Well don’t worry, because below we will guide you through some of the top things you absolutely cannot miss during your short trip to Rome. Whether you have 24 hours or 48 hours, we’ll suggest things to ensure that you make the most of your time in this enchanting city.

Planning your quick trip to Rome

Before we dive into the must-see attractions, it’s important to plan your short trip to Rome effectively. With limited time, it’s crucial to prioritize the sights and experiences that interest you the most. Start by creating an itinerary that includes the top attractions you want to visit. Consider the proximity of these attractions to optimize your time in the city. Also consider accommodation that is centrally located or close to a transport connection.

Why Rome is great for a short trip

Rome is the perfect city for a short trip because many of its iconic landmarks are concentrated in a relatively small area. You can easily explore the main attractions on foot or by using the efficient public transportation system. As well as this, Rome’s rich history and cultural heritage are so abundant that even a short visit of 24 or 48 hours will leave you feeling immersed in the city’s unique ambience. From ancient ruins to stunning artworks, Rome offers a taste of everything you could desire in a short trip.

Top things not to miss in Rome

1. The Colosseum and Roman Forum

No visit to Rome is complete without experiencing the grandeur of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. These ancient ruins are a testament to the city’s rich history and are must-see attractions. Stand in awe as you explore the Colosseum, once the largest amphitheatre in the world, and imagine the gladiatorial battles that took place within its walls.

Afterwards, wander through the ruins of the Roman Forum, the political and social center of ancient Rome. The combination of these two sites will transport you back in time and leave you with a profound appreciation for the city’s past.

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Roman Forum - Ruins
Photo 50918835 © Scaliger |
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2. The Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica

Another unmissable destination in Rome is the Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world. Marvel at the architectural wonders of St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world. You can also visit the dome to enjoy amazing views over the city.

A visit to the Vatican Museums is also a top activity if you have time and this houses an extensive collection of art and historical artifacts. Be sure to admire the stunning frescoes and sculptures that line the halls, including the renowned statue of Laocoön and His Sons. Also gaze upon Michelangelo’s breathtaking masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel before you leave.

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Vatican Exterior at sunset - enhanced
Image by team/ @mikecleggphoto

3. The Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps

When in Rome be sure to visit the stunning Trevi Fountain. This is one of the most famous fountains in the world. Adorned with magnificent sculptures, this Baroque masterpiece is a sight to behold. Legend has it that throwing a coin into the fountain means that you will return to Rome.

From there, head to the Spanish Steps, a popular gathering place for both locals and tourists. Here you can climb the steps up to the Trinità dei Monti church where you can enjoy views of Rome.

These two landmarks are not only visually stunning but also offer a glimpse into the daily life of the city.

Trevi Fountain at night
Photo © Emicristea |

4. The Pantheon and Piazza Navona

Step into the ancient world at the Pantheon, a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods. The perfectly preserved dome and ornate interior will leave you in awe of the architectural genius of ancient Rome.

After visiting the Pantheon, wander over to Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s most beautiful squares (and our favourite). Admire the grand fountains and the impressive Baroque architecture that surrounds the square. Take a break at one of the outdoor cafes and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling square.

Piazza Navona at night
Image by team/ @mikecleggphoto

5. Artwork in the beautiful museums

Rome is a treasure trove of art and culture, and its museums are a testament to the city’s artistic heritage. Explore the Galleria Borghese, home to an impressive collection of Renaissance and Baroque art, including masterpieces by Caravaggio, Bernini, and Raphael.

The Capitoline Museums, located on Capitoline Hill, offer a fascinating collection of ancient Roman sculptures and artefacts. Don’t miss the chance to see the iconic statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback.

For contemporary art enthusiasts, a visit to the MAXXI – National Museum of 21st Century Arts is a good choice. With its innovative architecture and thought-provoking exhibitions, this museum showcases the best of modern art.

Other top things to see and do if you have more time

If you find yourself with more time in Rome, there are a few additional attractions worth exploring. Visit the picturesque neighbourhood of Trastevere, known for its narrow cobbled streets and charming atmosphere. Take a leisurely stroll along the Tiber River and enjoy the vibrant street art that adorns its walls.

For a taste of the local cuisine, indulge in a food tour and sample traditional Roman dishes like carbonara and supplì. Finally, if you like your history, a visit to the Catacombs of Rome is a fascinating experience. Descend into the underground tunnels and discover the ancient burial sites that date back to the early Christian era.

Finding accommodation 0ptions for your short trip to Rome

When choosing accommodation for your short trip to Rome, it’s important to consider convenience and comfort. Look for hotels or guesthouses that are centrally located, allowing easy access to the main attractions. This will make your 24 or 48 hours in Rome a lot easier.

The neighbourhoods of Monti, Pantheon, and Trastevere are popular choices for their proximity to the city’s iconic landmarks. Wherever you choose, make sure to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. You can use the map below to help you to find centrally located accommodation.

Tips for making the most of your quick trip to Rome

To make the most of your short trip to Rome, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Get an early start: Start your day early to avoid crowds and make the most of your time. Many attractions open early in the morning, allowing you to explore before the city gets busy.
  • Use public transportation: Rome has an efficient public transportation system, including buses and the metro. Utilize these options to get around the city quickly and easily.
  • Dress appropriately: Rome is a city with a rich history and cultural heritage. When visiting religious sites or museums, it’s important to dress modestly out of respect.
  • Try local cuisine: Rome is known for its delicious food, so be sure to indulge in traditional Roman dishes like pasta, pizza, and gelato. Explore local markets and trattorias to experience the authentic flavours of the city.
  • Take breaks: Rome can be overwhelming with its abundance of sights and activities. Take breaks throughout the day to relax and recharge. Sit at a cafe, people-watch, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of the city.


Even with limited time such as 24 or 48 hours, Rome offers plenty of wonderful experiences that will leave you in awe. From the ancient ruins of the Colosseum and Roman Forum to the artistic masterpieces in the museums, this city is a treasure trove for you to explore.

Don’t forget to make a wish at the Trevi Fountain, climb the Spanish Steps, and immerse yourself in the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica. With careful planning and a sense of adventure, you can make the most of your short trip to Rome and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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Written by

Mike Clegg

Mike is a traveller, photographer, WordPress developer and the creator of He started this website so as to share his experiences and tips with travellers. He is from the UK and has travelled to many places around the world. He loves to shares his pictures and stories through Instagram and this website... [Read full bio]

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