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2 Days in Rome: Itinerary for First Time Visitors

Updated: May 15, 2022

This Rome itinerary (2 days) is perfect for first-time visitors because it allows you to see all the major sites while still exploring some of the hidden gems that Rome has to offer.

When thinking about a Rome itinerary, 2 days can be enough to see the main sites. On the trip I’m telling you about below, it was my boyfriend’s first time in the city so we needed to spend some time seeing all the major sights before heading to Amalfi Coast. I combined the last two times I’d visited Rome into a perfect first timers guide.

We visited Rome in October which was honestly the perfect time of year. We found the perfect Rome itinerary for 2 days. I don’t think Rome will ever get old. This October I visited for the third time and it was just as perfect as ever. I seriously think Italy is so wonderful – how could I not want to visit over and over?!

A special thanks to Walks for the tour in Rome and the wonderful time during our two days in Rome.

Where to stay

There are two main areas I’d recommend staying:

First, near the Vatican. There’s plenty of public transit here and you’re a short train ride away from the sites of Ancient Rome. It’s right between where we needed to be for the tourist sites and soccer game. We stayed at this lovely little Airbnb with an incredible view of St. Peter’s Basilica. It was super cute and had its own terrace overlooking the city.

To be within walking distance of the historic sites, I recommend this Airbnb. I stayed here before leaving Rome on my own for one night and the host was just amazing. It was walking distance from all of Ancient Rome’s sights too.

Rome Itinerary Day 1 – See Rome in a Day

Okay… it’s impossible to see Rome in a day or even during two days in Rome! But, if you’re like us, you want to see the major sites in a city but also don’t want to spend an entire two days in Rome just looking at the ruins. You could honestly spend weeks doing that here! Instead, a full-day tour of Rome can help you see the major sites in a day so that you’ll have time your second day to explore a little off the beaten path.

Walks offers an amazing full-day tour of Rome. You’ll get the chance to see everything with skip the line access. It’s honestly the best way to see the major sites in Rome in a day. Below is the tour we took seeing Rome in a day.


We started off the morning near the Colosseum and got right into history. Our guide was so prepared and gave us interesting facts throughout our visit. There was little waiting thanks to the VIP access we had as we walked through the fascinating history.

Roman Forum

From the Colosseum, we walked along the Roman Forum, hearing the history of the epicenter of Roman business and life during that time. We had the chance to learn about the old and new Rome along the way as well. I thought it was so interesting to learn that Rome was built on top of ruins. The streets used to be several meters lower before Ancient Rome collapsed and was built on top of the city.

Trevi Fountain, Gelato, Pantheon, and more

The tour continued past some of the main sites including Capitoline Museum, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon. Add in an included gelato stop and I was a happy girl!

From the Pantheon, you’ll enjoy a private transfer to the second part of the tour – the Vatican. Once out of the coach, there’s an hour break for lunch to relax and unwind for a bit before heading inside this incredible place.

We chose a little pizza shop around the corner called Pinsa ‘Mpo. They had personal pizzas ready to go and when you ordered, they put them right in the oven. Really affordable and delicious! We also enjoyed an Aperol Spritz after lunch in the main square where the tour group meets up. If you’re worried about crossing the right spot to eat, your tour guide will be really helpful.

The Vatican is a huge tour and takes a lot of time to get through. Even after hours here, there’s more to explore. Our tour guide took us through the museum and into St. Peter’s Square. There, the tour ends around 4 pm but you still have time to see more of the museums and inside St. Peter’s Basilica once the tour is over.

We chose to continue to walk around St. Peter’s Square and go inside the Basilica. It’s the largest one in the world and spectacular to see. While you’re here, you can send a postcard from the Vatican (it’s technically it’s own country/province!). Stop at the post office before leaving!

I would seriously recommend this tour if you want an awesome overview during your two days in Rome. You’ll see all the major sites and get to enjoy them without lines. No better way if you ask me! There’s honestly no way you could see all of this in a day if it weren’t for the skip the line access and incredible guides. It’d be overload, but Walks does such a great job helping you see a lot in a day.

Dinner at Sistorante

After our tour, we walked back to our Airbnb close by. This Airbnb has a great location with tons of different dining options within a 5-minute walk. Our host had recommended a lovely neighborhood restaurant that we wanted to try called Sistorante.

It’s locally owned and has vegan options available. Inside we found a menu that changes frequently, written by hand and amazing food for a reasonable price. If you decide to go here, plan on making a reservation to experience this spot as they were full every night.

Rome Itinerary Day 2 – Get to Know the City

When in Rome, you have to experience it beyond history. Italy has deep roots in so many ways besides Ancient Rome. That’s why on the second day, you want to connect with the incredible, traditional food to eat in Italy with a cooking class. It may seem silly to spend just one of two days in Rome doing a half-day cooking class, but it’s honestly the best decision. Italy has a strong tradition of making simple, delicious food and you’ll want to spend time experiencing it.

Farmers Market Cooking Class

Italy has incredible pasta, pizza, sauces, desserts, and more. You have to not only taste the food, but experience it as well.

We chose to take a class with Walks Inside Rome Cooking Classes. The class started in a local organic farmer’s market where decisions will be made about the dishes you make in class. It all depends upon the organic produce available in the market. I absolutely loved this because it meant you were getting the best possible ingredients.

From the market, you’re taken to the cooking school located near the Pantheon. Here, you’ll enjoy creating and eating a four-course meal with wine, coffee, and drinks included.

In the class, you’ll learn to make pasta, a vegetable dish, meat dish, and dessert. During class, we learned how to make lasagna, eggplant Parmesan, Saltimboca, and tiramisu. I was in actual heaven by the end of the class!

Our two cooking instructors were so friendly and fun to learn from. It was obvious how knowledgeable they were and the love they put into their cooking.

Everyone had a great time cooking together and the class was the right balance of work and play. There were plenty of breaks to eat, drink, and be merry throughout the class as well. We finished around 2 pm with our class.

Explore Monti

After your cooking class, it’s time to get off the beaten path a little bit to discover a neighborhood of Rome that is just beautiful. This is an area that I didn’t know much about but, thanks to a local photographer, was able to discover. Trastevere comes highly recommended by everyone, but with just two days in Rome, it can be difficult to get there in a short amount of time (trains don’t go to this neighborhood and it’s a far bus ride).

Instead, walk through Monti. Monti is a beautiful neighborhood where you’ll find cute cafes, vintage shops, book stores, and little plazas. Walking this area is a great way to work off all the food you just ate and see some of the quaint streets people talk about in Rome!

Futbol Game/Soccer Game

In the evening, head to an experience you won’t forget – a European soccer game. AS Roma’s team plays in the north part of the city and the games are so fun. Imagine the loudest part of any sports game in the US, that’s what it sounds like the entire game. We had a ton of fun and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. After all my trips to Europe, this was my first game. It’s worth going!

Really, you can see a game on either day that works with your schedule but I’d recommend it on the day where you didn’t walk all over Rome (literally) because you might get extremely tired!

You can find tickets by going to the AS Roma website. Make sure you bring your passport with you and only carry a small bag. Security is high at the stadium and you will be asked to show ID at least two times if not more to check that your name and ticket match. Because of this, I’d recommend being careful if you try to use StubHub or something similar – ticket exchanges can be tricky and you don’t want to buy tickets for the club only section.

I will say, at first when I wrote my Rome itinerary, 2 days didn’t seem to be enough, but it ended up being just the right amount of time on this trip to enjoy all the best things about Rome. Even though it was my third trip, it was still as special as my first!

After the game, it’s time to get some rest because this Rome itinerary, 2 days packs in a lot! No matter how you spend your time, a trip to Rome is always worth it. Don’t have time for a full two days? Try 36 hours in Rome.


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