Dome of St. Peter's Basilica over the Rome skyline
Robert Heaney

2 Days in Rome

One of Europe’s most popular city break destinations, the eternal city of Rome houses some of the continent’s most sought-after sights and attractions. As such, it can often seem overwhelming to try to fit everything in if you find yourself with only a short amount of time to explore it all.

Fret not, though, as we’ve put together this brief guide to some of the city’s most lauded attractions to help you decide how best to spend your time. With this guide, we’ve gathered a selection of popular attractions that you should easily be able to cover with 2 days in Rome, alongside average visit times to help you draw up your ideal itinerary.

Top Attractions

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Renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Colosseum is easily one of the most globally-recognized icons. Once the site of many battles, re-enactments and theater performances in ancient Rome, this impressive venue serves as the world’s largest standing amphitheater.

Average Visit: 1 hour


Another iconic UNESCO site, the Pantheon stands remarkably intact as both a former Roman temple and later Catholic church. Although famous for its pillared entrance and domed interior, the site’s main draw is the open oculus in the ceiling, permitting all natural light and weather into the vast space below. Visit on a rainy day for a true spectacle!

Average Visit: 20 minutes

Trevi Fountain

If you come across any front-page photos of Rome, chances are many of them include this iconic fountain. Built upon one of Rome’s oldest water sources, at the end of the Aqua Virgo Aqueduct, the elegant sculpture work of this fountain has undergone various transformations and reconstructions over the years to become the popular tourist hotspot we know today. As the local legend says, throw in a coin if you hope to return to Rome, or two if you hope to find love.

Average Visit: 10 minutes

Spanish Steps

Alongside the Trevi fountain, this famous stairway joining Piazza di Spagna to Piazza Trinità dei Monti is most popularly photographed with the emblematic Trinita dei Monti Church looming at the top and the quirky Fontana della Barcaccia at the foot. Built between 1723 and 1726, the site now stands as one of the most popular photo ops in Rome, making it a particularly busy destination the later into the day you choose to visit.

Average Visit: 10 minutes

Roman Ruins

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Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

Atop the most central of Rome’s seven hills sit the oldest ruins in the city. Considered the cradle of all Roman civilization, Palatine Hill is replete with ancient history, with an added flair of mystique given its fabled reputation as the site of the Lupercal cave of ancient Roman myth.

Once the center of many important social, political and religious activities in Rome, the Roman Forum was originally the site of a number of impressive and important administrative buildings. Located at the foot of Palatine Hill, visitors can stroll among the remaining ruins and columns, now mere whispers of their former glory in an era long since passed.

Average Visit: 2 – 4 hours

Pyramid of Cestius

Though somewhat of a lesser known monument, the Pyramid of Cestius is nevertheless very much worth a visit if you can fit it into your route. Resting place to the once priest and magistrate Gaius Cestius and his family from the 1st century BC, the understated site is a prime example of Egyptian influence in ancient Rome ahead of the Empire’s conquest of Egypt.

Average Visit: 30 minutes

Rome Catacombs

Certainly not quite so mainstream as many of Rome’s most popular attractions, the Rome Catacombs are worth a visit for those with a penchant for the macabre. Over sixty subterranean passages stretch out for miles beneath the busy city streets, lined with the many skeletal remains of those who once walked them long ago. Though somewhat unsettling, these tunnels offer a unique insight into a more hidden side to the eternal city’s ancient history.

Average Visit: 1 hour

Vatican City

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St. Peter’s Square

Think of the Vatican as a whole, and it’s likely that the first image in your mind is the impressive vista of its vast courtyard. Named after the apostle St. Peter, believed by Catholics to have been the very first Pope, the square stands as a stunning example of Italian Baroque architecture and serves as the site of several annual religious events.

Average Visit: 20 minutes

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

Founded during the early Sixteenth Century by Pope Julius II, the Vatican Museums are home to one of the world’s greatest collections of art and historical artifacts. Comprising roughly four miles of exhibits housing everything from Egyptian mummies to Old Masters paintings, the museum’s impressively lavish halls intersect with the Apostolic Palace, the official residence to the Pope himself.

Tucked away within the halls of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel houses perhaps the world’s best-known Catholic works of art. Though impressive enough in its vaulted, Renaissance-style architecture, the true jewels of the chapel’s crown are the renowned frescoes adorning the chapel’s ceiling, painted over the course of five years by the legendary Italian artist, Michelangelo.

Average Visit: 2 – 3 hours

St. Peter’s Basilica

Among the many outstanding churches and religious sites spread throughout Rome, none quite match up to the glory of St. Peter’s Basilica. Consecrated in 1626 after 120 years of construction, the basilica’s cavernous interior houses three of Italy’s most lauded masterpieces – Michelangelo’s Pietà sculpture, his imposing dome, and Bernini’s baldachin standing over the high altar, itself placed atop St. Peter’s grave.

Average Visit: 2 – 3 hours

Getting Around

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To make the most of your two days in Rome, you’ll want to be able to fit as much as possible into your itinerary. Although most of the city’s top sights and venues are easily accessible on foot and within relative walking distance of one another, you may find yourself looking for quicker and more convenient means of getting around.

Fortunately, Rome has a fairly extensive transport system covering much of the city. The fastest options are naturally the metro and tram services, but with only a small few serviced lines running through the city center, they aren’t always of much use to most tourists. Buses, on the other hand, operate a much more convenient alternative, with over 350 lines servicing over 8,000 stops throughout the city center and wider suburbs.

However, most public transport in Rome tends to get rather busy at the best of times, let alone over the weekend. For somewhat of a more convenient, comfortable and entertaining means of getting around, a Big Bus Rome tour runs a main route passing by most of the capital’s top attractions, along with a hop-on, hop-off policy and optional audio commentary in several major languages

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