Best of Rome Highlights Colosseum Day 1

Welcome to Rome!

Want to see the best of Rome in a day? Here’s a simplified itinerary of the highlights of Rome that you must visit in your one-day itinerary.

This guide is a walking itinerary that allows you to see each highlight by walking through the city, and it’s planned for a full day of exploration. Feel free to adjust it based on your interests and the time you have available. And if you’re short on time, be prepared to skip a few things.

If you wish to get the tickets to visit the Colosseum and the Vatican, we suggest booking them on separate days, as they require quite enough time to be visited. Make sure to secure your tickets well in advance, as they tend to sell out quickly. And don’t forget, both sites are filled with fascinating museums and attractions, so plan accordingly to explore everything they have to offer!

Check out Best of Rome Highlights Vatican Day 2.

To make the most of your time, we recommend starting your visit early in the morning, so you can manage to see all the attractions we have listed below.

As a low-budget alternative, you can also skip the visits to the main attractions and just explore them from outside! (You will not be disappointed and it is the best way to avoid crowds and long waiting lines to enter!)

*Remember to wear comfortable shoes, stay hydrated, and be prepared for the crowds.

Welcome to Rome! the capital of Italy and also the eternal city, famous for its millennia of history, vibrant culture, and fascinating Roman ruins. In this guide, I will take you on a captivating one-day journey through the historic center of Rome, where you can discover its hidden treasures, admire iconic monuments, and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of this historically rich city.

Let’s start our journey and make the most of your day in the Eternal City!

The walking itinerary starts at the Colosseum and ends at Villa Borghese by sunset.


“First thing in the morning is a good Italian breakfast at the local BAR, you will get good energy for the day starting with a good Cornetto and Cappuccino!!”

You can find our recommendations for the best BAR here.

Walking Itinerary in Rome Colosseum
The timeless magic of the Colosseum!

Our first stop is the majestic Colosseum, a true marvel of the ancient world, which stands tall as one of the Seven Wonders of the past.

It is an incredible ancient building in Rome that has stood the test of time. Despite its age, it remains recognizable as a massive sports arena and is a must-visit attraction for anyone in Rome.

If you wish to enter the Colosseum, we recommend scheduling an early visit as the Colosseum opens at 8:30 in the morning. You’ll need to plan and book your tickets far in advance, as availability can be limited, especially during summertime. 

Check the official website for up-to-date information on opening hours, ticket availability, and other important information.

If you are looking for a low-budget plan, each first Sunday of every month, access to the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum is free. You will need to pick up your free tickets on the day from the ticket offices next to the Colosseum. (But be prepared for crowds and extended waiting lines!).

The impressive arena
The underground chambers
The surrounding ancient architecture
The breathtaking panoramic views of Rome from the top floor of the Colosseum.

At this point head to the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, which are included with your Colosseum ticket.

Walking Itinerary in Rome Palatine Hill
Palatine Hill view from Circo Massimo

The Palatine Hill is known as the birthplace of Rome and you can enjoy a stroll through its scenic gardens and admire panoramic views of the city. 

Walking Itinerary in Rome Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is the heart of ancient Rome, rich with historic ruins.

The Roman Forum was the bustling heart of ancient Roman life. This historical site served as the social, political, and commercial hub of the city. It was a vibrant space where Romans gathered for various activities, such as public speeches, elections, business transactions, and religious ceremonies.

Take a walk through the ruins of the Roman Forum immerse yourself in the atmosphere of ancient Rome and witness the remnants of its once-thriving civilization.

For the most up-to-date information, check the official opening hours on their official website.

Don’t miss the House of Augustus,
Domus Flavia
Farnese Gardens
And the beautiful views of Rome.

As you exit the Roman Forum, walk towards Piazza Venezia where you will see the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (Altare della Patria). It’s hard to miss due to its imposing size and grand architecture.

Walking Itinerary in Rome Altare della Patria (Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II) - Piazza Venezia
The Altare della Patria is a majestic monument and a significant patriotic symbol in Rome.

The Altare della Patria, also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, was built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to honor Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of unified Italy. It was constructed as a symbol of Italian unification and independence, and completed in 1935. The monument features grandiose neoclassical architecture and houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, commemorating Italy’s fallen soldiers from World War I and other conflicts. 

The entrance to the Vittoriano, also known as the Altare della Patria or the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, and its Great Garden is free of charge. Visitors can explore the exterior of the monument and enjoy the surrounding area without any fees.

However, if you wish to visit specific attractions within the Vittoriano complex, such as the Central Museum of the Risorgimento and the National Museum of the Palazzo di Venezia, or if you want to access the Panoramic Terrace for a breathtaking view of Rome, there may be an associated fee. The fees and ticketing information can be obtained from their official website.

Marvel at the grandiose neoclassical architecture, with the Corinthian columns, statues.
Commemorate the Great Fire of Rome and admire the colossal Victor Emmanuel II equestrial Statue, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Enjoy the panoramic view from the Altar of the Fatherland Terrace.

Once you have finished visiting the Altare della Patria, from Piazza Venezia follow the main road Via del Corso and walk for about 10 minutes until you reach the Pantheon.

“Lunch: treat yourself to a classic Roman lunch. Find a local trattoria or café and indulge in traditional dishes like pasta carbonara, cacio e pepe, or a delicious pizza. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a refreshing Italian beverage”
Walking Itinerary in Rome Pantheon
Beautiful timeless Roman temple with a breathtaking dome.

This ancient temple-turned-church was built in 27 B.C. and is considered a masterpiece of engineering and architectural design. Spend some time admiring the impressive rotunda and its stunning dome, which is the largest unsupported dome in the world.

Access to the Pantheon will require tickets that can be reserved on their official website

Admire the impressive concrete dome with the circular opening, known as the “oculus,” which allows natural light to filter into the building.
Explore the rotunda interior, with stunning marble floors, Corinthian columns, and various altars and don’t miss the famous tombs of Raphael and King Umberto I.

From the Pantheon, we walk back to Via del Corso for another 10 minutes until you come across the famous beautiful Trevi Fountain.

Walking Itinerary in Rome Trevi Fountain
A magnificent Baroque masterpiece in the heart of Rome.

This stunning Baroque masterpiece was designed by the Italian architect Nicola Salvi which has been immortalized in many movies and is one of the most iconic landmarks in Rome. Take a moment to admire the intricate sculptures and capture the fountain’s beauty.

Admire the beautiful statues of Neptune, Tritons, and Oceanus.
Toss a coin over your left shoulder with your right hand into the fountain and make a wish!
“You can also take a break and savor a coffee or gelato at one of the numerous cafes in the vicinity. If you explore a bit, you’ll discover some of the finest gelato in town!”

Next up is the Spanish Steps, located just a 5-minute walk away from the Trevi Fountain.

Walking Itinerary in Rome Spanish Steps
A vibrant Roman staircase and lively gathering spot!

These steps were built in the 18th century and led up to the beautiful Trinita dei Monti church. From the top of the steps, you’ll have a great view of the city and the Piazza di Spagna.

Drink fresh water the boat-shaped fountain created by Pietro Bernini and his son, Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Climb the famous staircase to see the ancient Egyptian obelisk and Trinità dei Monti Church at the top of the Spanish Steps and also enjoy the panoramic views of the square.
Explore the museum of Romantic poets John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Walk along the Via Condotti, one of Rome’s premier shopping streets

From the steps, take Via del Babuino for about 5 minutes until you reach the Piazza del Popolo.

Walking Itinerary in Rome Piazza del Popolo
Iconic Roman square

This impressive open square in the heart of Rome features an ancient Egyptian obelisk and Renaissance two identical churches, surrounded by elegant architecture and a central gathering point for locals and tourists alike.

The ancient Egyptian obelisk, known as the Obelisco Flaminio, which stands tall in the center of the square.
Visit the twin churches, Santa Maria in Montesanto and Santa Maria dei Miracoli.
Chigi Chapel inside Santa Maria del Popolo church, housing masterpieces by artists such as Caravaggio and Raphael.
Admire the Porta del Popolo, the ancient northern entrance of Rome.

From here, take the pedestrian path up to the Pincio, a hill that provides a panoramic view of the city.


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As you come to the end of your walk, relax on the Pincio and take in the stunning views of Rome as you reflect on all the incredible sights you have seen.

Take a leisurely walk through the beautiful Villa Borghese gardens, enjoy a picnic, visit the Borghese Gallery, or rent a boat on the tranquil lake.

Walking Itinerary in Rome Villa Borghese
Home to stunning art collections, lush gardens, and picturesque lakes.

Galleria Borghese with sculptures by Bernini and masterpieces by Caravaggio and Raphael

Visit the city’s zoo, Bioparco di Roma.

Stroll through the landscaped gardens with fountains, statues, and scenic viewpoints.

Enjoy a peaceful boat ride on the Borghese Lake (Lago di Villa Borghese).

Our first day of exploration in Rome ends here, but get ready for Day 2 at Vatican City, home to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums. 

Tips for your visit:

Remember that preservation of all historical sites is very important and it’s essential to respect and follow the regulations set by the respective authorities at each location to ensure their preservation for future generations to enjoy.

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