Within the layered city of Rome, there are so many iconic and beloved monuments to explore. From the enormous Colosseum, piazzas, churches, and ancient architectural remains, and next to the Vatican City. Endless gelato, pasta and pizza. There’s so much to cover on our one day in Rome.
Rome has been on my list for a very long time! Our current travel plans did not initially include Rome but we decided last minute we wanted to visit. We were currently exploring Berlin initially planning to fly back to the UK but changed our minds last minute, literally decided the night before! We booked the flights, and accommodation then the next morning hopped on a plane and arrived in Rome. Sounds a bit insane, but so glad we visited Rome, even if it was only for a day.
It’s hard to cover everything in one day in Rome but we managed to see a lot. Follow us on our day in Rome filled with magnificent architecture and amazing food.
After settling into our hotel it was already quite late, so we walked nearby to find someplace to eat. We were looking for a nice traditional Italian restaurant but ended up at one of the more touristy restaurants. The food was so filling and full of flavour.
Explore the Colosseum – bright and early (grand amphitheater)
The next morning we started bright and early and headed to the Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre. It’s one of the most recognizable structures in the city and one of the Seven Wonders of the World! You can’t come all the way to Rome and miss this! Best to start here or at the Trevi fountain if you want to avoid the crowds.
As we walked over from our hotel we could spot the Colosseum from a distance. It was such a lovely morning walk through the city, as we got closer to the enormous Colosseum. It measures 188 meters in length, 156 meters wide, and 57 meters high. The epic structure was amazing to see in person. We spent some time taking a few photos before heading inside. From the outer walls, we could see the decorative columns and arches. As we walked around the corner we realised how long the line was! It’s probably best to buy your tickets in advance to skip the line and gain entrance faster.
We joined a guided tour and learned so much about history. Did you know the Colosseum was built of travertine limestone, tuff, and brick-faced concrete. It commenced build in 72 AD and was completed in 80 AD, which held a crowd of 50,000 to 80,000 people. During that time it was the largest amphitheatre built, mainly used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles for over 500 years – quite a bloody history.
As we walked through the huge Colosseum it was like taking a step back in time. Overtime two thirds of the ancient structure have been ruined by fires and earthquakes. The remains of the ancient structure give us a glimpse into the past. As the day starts to warm up we spend some time walking around the main arena before heading to the Romain Forum.
Location: Piazza del Colosseo, 00184 Roma.
Open: Open 9AM daily (last entrance varies each season)
Entry fee: Combined ticket to visit the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine:
Adults: 16€ | USD $17 | $25 AUD (estimate)
Book in advance to avoid the crowds and skip the line
Try book here to get your tickets
*All hours and prices are correct at the time of post. Please check before going.
Ancient ruins at the Romain Forum
Located next to the Colosseum, we went to the Roman Forum, where we saw the remains of temples, basilicas, markets and public spaces from the Roman Empire. We didn’t spend too much time here due to the heat.
Some tickets include the Roman Forum and Palantine Hill.
On our way to the Trevi fountain, we passed the Spanish steps. It’s a giant staircase of 135 steps that fans out from Piazza di Spagna up to the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.
Note that as of August 2019, it’s no longer permitted to sit on the Spanish Steps as they have been classified as a monument, and there is the potential of being fined if you do so. So stick to standing on them instead!
Toss a coin in Trevi fountain
After the Colosseum, we headed to Trevi Fountain. We strolled along the cobblestone streets, and passed the Spanish steps and eateries on our way towards the fountain.
By the time we got there was a bit of a crowd. The Trevi fountain was high on my list and it did not disappoint! The magnificent architecture carved in white stone surrounds the reflective bright blue water. It’s one of my favourite and biggest fountains I’ve visited, it’s over 26.3 metres high and 50 metres wide! This is the largest Baroque fountain in the city, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi.
As we gazed at the sparkling blue waters, we spotted coins that sat at the bottom of the fountain from people tossing coins. It’s believed to toss a coin in the fountain for luck so that it’ll be guaranteed you will see Rome again. So of course we couldn’t leave before tossing a coin into the fountain. We read that you’ll need to toss the coin from your right hand over your left shoulder to ensure you return to Rome!
To avoid the crowds try rearranging your day and come here bright and early.
Gaze at the Pantheon
Nearby, we walked into the mysterious Pantheon; a Roman temple turned church. The name refers to a temple for all gods and was the burial place for Rome’s kings and other prominent figures. As we walked inside and looked up we could see the sky through the oculus of the dome. It’s one of the most preserved ancient monuments of Imperial Rome.
Free to enter
The Vatican – St Peter’s Basilica
Next, we headed to the Vatican City filled with beautiful architecture, art, paintings and Sistine Chapel. It was even better than the photos, a surreal experience being surrounded by amazing architecture at every corner. It’s the smallest Country in the world. You definitely don’t miss this if you’re in Rome.
Surrounding the courtyard up on the colonnades stand 140 statues of saints, since 1670. Each status is 3.1 metres tall.
Within the Vatican we walked past the St Peter’s Basilica which it’s beautifully constructed Renaissance architecture. It’s the largest church in the world and is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines.
Did you know? none of the paintings inside the basilica are actually paintings. It appears to be ‘paintings’ on the wall but it’s actually a mosaic with so much detail!
Entry to the Basilica is free, with some sections requiring tickets if you’d like to go up to the top of Michelangelo’s dome or seeing the Vatican Necropolis. Be sure to plan ahead to avoid the long queuing for hours. The Basilica cannot be bought online, as they are free or alternatively book a tour. Also note your must be dressed appropriately to enter, both shoulders and knees must be covered which applies to both men and women.
Where: St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
April – September
St Peter’s Basilica: 7:00am-7:00pm — Free
The Cupola (Dome): 8:00am-6:00pm — €8 for the elevators, €6 for the stairs
The Vatican Grottoes 7:00am-6:00pm — Free
There is free entry but long queues
Days of operation: not Wednesdays or Sundays.
The Vatican and it’s museums
If you have enough time visit the Vatican Museums filled with magnificent sculptures, endless paintings and the Sistine Chapel. Explore the 1,200 rooms of the Vatican museums. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit the museums but wish we had time to! I’d definitely come back and visit the museums next time! Be sure to buy tickets in advance if you plan to visit.
Make the most of your time in Rome 🙂
→ more Japan travel: Kinosaki Onsen: A glimpse into an Onsen town