Find out what are the must-see and must-do during a city break in Rome for 3 days! Also, learn what are the best accommodation options for different budgets. Plus, get a few tips to make the best of your trip to one of Italy’s most beautiful cities!
Rome is referred to as the Eternal City, and rightfully so. With its timeless architecture that inspires the world to date, countless churches, ancient roads and ruins, intricately designed fountains, and fabulous piazzas, Rome is a special place to visit whether you have a weekend, a week, or a month.
There is so much you can do in Rome for the weekend with the entire Holy City being an open-air museum. As you will see, there is history and significance in all of Rome’s facets for you to discover!
With so much to offer, it can be challenging to make a Rome itinerary when you only have a few days. But worry you not as we have prepared for you a complete list of the top 10 things to do in Rome when you only have a weekend to spend!
Best places to stay during your city break in Rome
$ – Re di Luna B&B: situated 500 m from San Giovanni Metro Station in Rome this B&B has an 8,9 score on Booking. They have options of double and quadruple private rooms and offer Wifi and air-con. A great option for staying in a comfy accommodation in Rome without having to spend too much.
$$ – Beyond Colosseum: located in the centre of Rome this hotel is close to several well-known attractions (1 km from Cavour Metro Station, a 17-minute walk from Palatine Hill and 600 m from Domus Aurea). Desk, flat-screen TV and air conditioning equips the bedrooms. They have an 8,9 score on Booking.
$$$ – Best Western Hotel President Colosseo: also in Rome city centre, this Best Western is a classic and is at only a 13-minute walk from the Colisseum. They have an 8,3 score on booking.
What to do in Rome in 3 days – top 10 things!
The Vatican and Sistine Chapel
The Vatican is the headquarters of the Catholic Church. It is also the home to the Pope and the center of Christianity. Moreover, you find in the Vatican City the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo’s magnificent Sistine Chapel. Plus, the city is secure with its own Swiss guard!
With countless masterpieces, a trip to Rome would only be complete with a visit to the smallest country in the world. The Vatican museum closes to visitors on Sundays. Except the last Sunday of each month, when it is also free. However, it is open to the public daily to walk around. With 1400 rooms inside the Vatican, mapping out your points of interest and collections is vital to make the most of your day.
The Sistine Chapel, complete with Renaissance art painted by the most famous painters the world has ever seen, is breathtaking. It makes it as one of the proudest features of Vatican City. The frescoes on the ceiling depict the world’s creation and humanity by God, along with man’s fall from grace until the birth of Jesus Christ. The Chapel is still used today for religious and papal activities. For example, it is where the papal conclave takes place and the process of a new pope is selected. If you are in the holy city on a Wednesday or Sunday, you have the chance to see the Pope in person at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
To miss these one-of-a-kind frescos and masterpieces during your 3 days in Rome would be tragic.
St. Peter’s Basilica & Dome
Also located in Vatican City and inside St. Peter’s square is St. Peter’s Basilica and its infamous Dome. St. Peter’s Basilica is known as the largest Church with the most enormous Dome in the world.
The Church is still in use, and visitors can attend the Church and Holy Mass for free. You can climb up via stairs or lift to the Dome from a platform built by Michelangelo and Bramante. Up there offers some of the best views of St Peter’s square and the Vatican City. It is also said the Dome was greatly inspired by the Pantheon located in Rome’s City Center.
The St. Peter’s Basilica is another must-visit during your 3 day itinerary in Rome!
Known as the most well-preserved monument of ancient Rome is the Pantheon. Over 2,000 years old, it has been in use since the seventh century. Complete with a one-of-a-kind dome with an oculus in the center, it has inspired the world. However, the Dome is still a mystery to the world. It is an architectural wonder created with an unsupported structure and unknown as to what initially took place there.
Inside the Pantheon, you will find beautiful art, tombs, frescoes, paintings, and sculptures. Even the floor is magnificent. An audio guide for this treasure is highly recommended when visiting it during your weekend in Rome. Like all Churches, modesty is required. No bare shoulders or hats, and silence is recommended, especially when others are praying or mass is taking place.
Need of little introduction, is one of the most recognisable monuments in all of Rome. And a must-visit whether you have three days in Rome or only one. The Colisseum is the tallest standing amphitheatre, once used for gladiator contests, animal fights, and other public events. It remained used for 500 years, with the last recorded games taking place in the 6th century.
It is visible and still a marvellous sight from the street. Take a tour inside is beyond memorable, hearing stories of ancient Rome and taking a look firsthand at history. In addition, you can find guided tours that visit highlights the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. A tour with a local guide maximizes your time and you hear the inside secrets of the city. This is highly recommended, as all three monuments make my list of the Top 10 things to do in Rome.
Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
Just across from the Colosseum and between the Palatine and Capitoline hills is the Roman Forum, or in Latin, “Forum Romanum,” the old center of the ancient city. It was the central gathering place for public meetings, courts of law, and gladiator combats.
Complete with many open-air shopping stalls and markets, it was considered the world’s first shopping mall. It was the place to be in ancient times and the scene of many historical events in the history of the Roman Empire.
The Forum is also where Julius Cesar was assassinated. Historians believe people first began to meet there in 500 BC when the Republic of Rome was established. It is still an active archaeological site, with new discoveries being made to date. The most recent was in 2020, food scraps and ceramic materials were found. The remaining structures and temples are awe-inspiring and absolutely worth taking the time to visit.
Palatine Hill is one of the most ancient parts of the city and a must for your Rome in three days itinerary. It is included with the ticket to the Forum. Still, it is technically separate, although when inside, there is little to differentiate the two if you’re not on a guided tour. However, Palatine Hill, perched on top of the mountain and overlooking the Colosseum, is said to be the birthplace of the Roman Empire and believed to have been inhabited since the year 1000 B.C
With more than any fountains in the world, Rome is home to over 2,000 fountains, each special in their own way. Some were designed by the most incredible sculptors in the world.
The fountains range from spectacular monuments to ancient drinking fountains. Perhaps the most famous and largest fountain in Rome is the Trevi Fountain, aka Fontana di Trevi, where countless visitors throw a coin into the fountain, hoping to return to the Eternal City. However, there are many different versions of where luck can be found after tossing your coin, over your right shoulder, of course. With 1 coin, you will return to the Eternal City. With 2 coins, you will find love. 3 coins and you will marry.
The Baroque masterpiece is built into the back of a building standing over 85 feet tall and 65 feet wide, and tells a story with every detail. Consider visiting early in the morning when the crowds are not yet bustling for a quieter experience.
The Borghese Gallery & Borghese Gardens
Home to countless masterpieces by artists Bernini, Titian, Raphael, Botticelli, Caravaggio, and Peter Paul Rubens, to name a few. The Borghese Gallery is swarming with illustrious artwork and its admirers. You can admire the gorgeous wall frescoes, incredible sculptures, and mosaics in every corner.
The Borghese Gallery is one of the most prominent galleries in the world and a top destination when visiting Rome. Villa Borghese, which houses the Gallery, is adorned with architectural masterstrokes and is also considered a work of art. The Gardens that share and surround the grounds are the city’s most beautiful and extensive public parks. The gardens will have impressive views of the ever-busy Piazza del Popolo, the Tiber River, and The Eternal City.
Don’t miss it during your Rome weekend break as there is plenty to see here, such as sculptures, statues, and monuments.
Piazza di Spagna & the Spanish Steps
One of the most famous squares in Rome is Piazza di Spagna, or Square of Spain, named due to the seat of the Spanish Embassy for the Vatican, located here since the seventeenth century. Today several impressive seventeenth and eighteenth-century villas are still occupied in the neighborhood. In the center of the square, you will find the tallest Obelisk in Rome, the Flaminio Obelisk.
The Spanish Steps were built in the 18th century and comprised 135 steps. People love to hang on the steps overlooking the Piazza below with yummy gelato in hand. It is the perfect place to chill and enjoy life. The Spanish Steps connect the Piazza and the Church of Trinità dei Monti. It is one of the most famous places in Rome, and the atmosphere will leave you knowing why.
Piazza del Popolo
Another famous Piazza worth seeing when visiting Rome for 3 days is Piazza del Popolo, or The People’s Square, where several churches, an impressive obelisk, three fountains, and the ancient city gate into Rome.
As in most of Rome, this Piazza is incredibly aesthetically pleasing and a work of art. Three of the churches in the Piazza hold great works of art by Bernini and Caravaggio. Visitors are first greeted by the unmissable “twin churches,” but don’t let this deceive you; every Church in Rome is unique and magnificent in its own way. Many are like intimate museums. On the opposite side of the Piazza is Porta del Popolo, the ancient gates to the city. One of the most iconic landmarks in the Piazza is the ancient Egyptian Obelisk that was built to celebrate the conquest of Egypt in 10 BC.
No matter what you decide to do, you will undoubtedly fall in love with Rome and the layers upon layers of ancient history. The cobblestone streets, the sense of family, and the traditions make this destination like no other. However, along with all the magnificent monuments and sights, some find the best part of Rome to be the delicious food! Enjoy countless gelatos while making your way around the city, stop for a crisp glass of wine and soak up the Italian lifestyle. Be sure to throw a coin in the Trevi before you leave to return to the Eternal City one day!
This Baroque-style Piazza was defined during the 15th century and is one of the most popular and charming Piazzas in all of Rome. The square is built on the site where the Stadium of Domitian was in 86 AD and was able to hold 2,000 spectators that came for different games and athletic competitions. It is arguably the most beautiful square, made up of three beautiful fountains. The Fountain of the Four Rivers, Fontana del Moro, and Fontana del Nettuno.
The Fountain of the Four Rivers, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, is one of the more famous of the three fountains. Designed by Bernini in 1651, the fountain represents the most important rivers where Christianity had spread, The Nile, the Danube, the Ganges, and Rio de la Plata. Today you will find countless trattorias and terraces all around the Piazza for you to enjoy traditional Italian apertivos and delicious food to enjoy the liveliness that takes place in the square today. Consider visiting at night when the fountains are lit up for an even more magical experience.
Tips for making the most of your city break in Rome
Buy all tickets online in advance whenever possible (we recommend using the GetYourGuide site for this). Lines and ticket queues are notorious for being less than desirable, but don’t let that keep you away from any of the magic you will find in Rome.
The best way to get around Rome is by going old school on foot. The cobblestone streets, thousand-year-old churches, buildings and hidden cafes with quaint terraces to stumble on is a highlight all on its own. Look into a Roma pass when you decide that it is your destination. It can be worthwhile by skipping the lines and combining the prices of tickets for some of the best monuments in the city.