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How to Spend 24 Hours in Rome

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

The Italian capital, nicknamed the “Eternal City” is a city of layers, contemporary establishments built on thousands of years of history. The sense of history here is extraordinary, so profound and immediate. The city of Rome is a museum in itself, and only 24 hours to spare can hardly do its timeless grandeur and beauty any justice at all, but it is ample time to intrigue your senses and pave your path for return.

1 day in rome

The city is best experienced by foot or bike, as transportation is not the most reliable and many of the main tourist destinations are walking distance apart. I prefer walking around the city, as it also provides a full-fledged sensory experience. Catch a whiff of the warm aroma of local pizzerias. Feast your eyes on the iconic Colosseum ruins. Sample the Italian goodness of gelato from roadside vendors. Listen to the sweet melody of church bells.

You may have to start your day a tad earlier than should be allowed on vacation, but to fit in all of the major highlights of the city, starting at the break of dawn is recommended. You’ll thank yourself later.

1) Start off your busy day with a scrumptious Italian breakfast buffet at Hotel Canada, nestled in the heart of the city.

2) Reconnect with the Rome of yesterday as you enter the ancient ruins of the Colosseum – the largest amphitheatre built during the Roman Empire. It used to be the site of gladiatorial battles, animal shows, and other public spectacles. It is known as one of the finest examples of Roman architecture and dates back to the 1st century AD.

3) Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain and make a wish! Just don’t take a dip a la La Dolce Vita; it’s prohibited!

4) Admire the beautiful dome of the Pantheon – a monumental temple dedicated to the ancient gods of Rome. Today, it is used as a church (Santa Maria Rotonda). It also serves as the burial site of illustrious Italians such as the famed artist, Raphael and a popular venue for weddings.

5) A trip to Rome is incomplete without a cappuccino. In the vicinity of the Pantheon is arguably one of Rome’s best coffeehouses – Tazza d’Oro. Italians generally consider cappuccino a morning drink, but at Tazza d’Oro, it is served around the clock.

6) Take a break on the Spanish Steps with a serving, or two of delicious Italian gelato. In the summer months particularly, you will find gelato vendors and gelaterias dotted in every corner of the city – grazie!

7) Erected over the Tiber River is the bridge, Ponte Sisto Stroll. Catch stunning views of the city as you cross the bridge and find sweet pleasures in the form of quaint cafes and enchanting boutiques along the way.

8 ) Catch lunch on-the-go at one of the many pizzerie al taglio (sliced pizza – Rome’s version of fast food) in endless varieties, including the standard choices – pizza margherita and pizza al funghi.

9) Make your way over to the Vatican, a landlocked city-state within Rome. One of the main attractions is the majestic St. Peter’s Basilica – an example of Renaissance and Baroque excellence dating back to the 5th century. Avoid going on Sundays when a huge crowd assembles to hear the Pope deliver his sermon. Men and women: be sure to cover your shoulders and legs, otherwise you may not be allowed inside! For some of the best panoramic views of the city, climb the 320 steps to the Cupola (top of the dome) of St. Peter’s or zoom to the top with an elevator.

10) Marvel at Michelangelo’s hand-painted biblical masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It took him almost 5 years to complete it!

11) Peruse an exclusive display of magnificent Renaissance and Baroque art housed in a sprawling 17th century villa, Galleria Borghese. You can enjoy artwork by Titian, Rubens, Raphael, and Caravaggio and beautiful sculptures by Bernini. Reservations are required and definitely a good idea. This is part of the Vatican museum series. It’s hard to avoid art while in Rome, and there is no shortage of museums or art galleries, so prioritize your visits based on your personal interests and tastes.

12) Wind down after a long day of sightseeing with a cocktail and live music at the relaxed Bebo do Samba, or head to Via di Monte Testaccio, Rome’s nightlife hub to find some of the hottest and hippest clubs and bars. For the culture vultures, an evening at the opera might be a good option. Check the La Republicca newspaper for listings of shows and events.

Don’t forget to map out the agenda for your next visit!

Have fun roaming the bellisima city of Rome and feel the energy buried in every corner and crevice! Ciao!

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer poonam chopra

Poonam is a freelance writer from Orange County, California. She is passionate about traveling to the different corners of the globe, exploring the art of photography, and penning her experiences and observations. She has traveled all over Europe, Asia, and the U.S., and has lived in Orange County, San Diego, Paris, New Delhi, Berlin, and London. She has been largely inspired by the wise words of Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do rather than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

13 responses to “How to Spend 24 Hours in Rome”

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  1. Shasa says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 18:23

    Sorry, I’m Italian and I live in Rome. I want to clarify that in every bar or coffee in Italia the cappuccino is served around the clock and that the best italian ice cream is sold in “gelateria artigianale” (homemade ice cream) and not from the roadside vendors. However the review is perfect, although only one day in Rome is so little time!
    Ciao a tutti!!

  2. Vera Powers says via Facebook:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 18:57

    Don’t forget the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain…they can be squeezed into 24 hours. Just returned from spending 5 days in Rome. Toured the Vatican, Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, Piazza Navona for 2 days. The rest of the time we walked, explored and ate. Truffles are in season…yum!

  3. Ainhoa Miner says via Facebook:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 19:06

    And Campo Dei Fiori???.There are a many good restaurants in Trastevere, one of ther best part of Rome!!.

  4. Joëlle Masina says via Facebook:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 19:16

    Lo fatto lo scorso weekend, non posso che amare ancora di piu questa città così bella ed intensa( se volete ben mangiare posso solo raccomandare la carbonara via panisperna, una delizia!!)

  5. Doug M says:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 19:56

    For someone with an “extra” day, my neighborhood of Trastevere is a lot of fun too. By the way, Poonam – you’re hot!

  6. Rick Darling says via Facebook:
    November 2nd, 2010 at 21:53

    Please don’t leave out my favorite piazza, Piazza Navona.

  7. Jan O'Connor says via Facebook:
    November 3rd, 2010 at 00:36

    Only 24 hours??? no way you can see this city in that amount of time, need a life time.

  8. Denise Henderson says via Facebook:
    November 3rd, 2010 at 01:19

    Rome is my favorite! Love visiting with my best bud too. And, venere gave me the best spot to stay. My 24 hours, hmmm: wake up from B&B near the pantheon, on way to market at campo de fiore visit to bakery near hotel esmeralda. Watch the big men get out of the tiny delivery trucks, watch haggling, visit the salumeria, smell and buy some spices, look at fresh items, head out for gelato (1 of at least 3 for the 24 hours and always lime or lemon). Then down this side street near kitty combs and pantheon and english bulldog pub for pasta and lots of other good eats. Get hair cut on other side street near pantheon. More people watching from sidewalk cafe anywhere. Head to a monument for bread and wine and salami from earlier. Dinner in trastevere… With amazing people I met there years ago.. And …. More and more. Only 24 hours?

  9. Iris Yang says via Facebook:
    November 3rd, 2010 at 11:20

    I wonna be there……

  10. Shama Kashikar says via Facebook:
    November 3rd, 2010 at 15:11

    You need at least a week to see the city.

  11. Jospers Italia says via Facebook:
    November 4th, 2010 at 11:37

    Rome-bound over the next two months? The newly renovated Vatican Library will be open for the first time to special tour groups, organised by Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi. The tours run from Nov. 11 to Jan. 31, 2011. For more details:!/pages/Rome-Italy/Jospers-World/164410666918901

  12. Jospers says:
    November 4th, 2010 at 11:48

    Great review, Poonam! We just wanted to mention one more exciting event for any Rome-bound travelers visiting the city over the next three months. Starting Nov. 11, the newly renovated Vatican Library will be open for a special exhibition, running through Jan. 31, 2011. (Previously, the Vatican Library was open only to accredited scholars.) It is organized by Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi and Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. For details, visit our new Facebook page:!/pages/Rome-Italy/Jospers-World/164410666918901

  13. Patrizia D'Amelio says via Facebook:
    November 25th, 2010 at 10:20

    ciao, ho prenotato un b&b a roma con voi per capodanno..sicuramente mi troverò bene perchè mi è stato consigliato:) volevo chiedervi qualche suggerimento per visitare qualche luogo particolare in quei giorni, aldilà dei posti noti..grazie! :)

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