If it’s your first time in Rome, I definitely recommend a longer visit than 48 hours. Ideally, 4 days to a week is enough time to get your bearings, understand the city, and generally fall in love with it. That said, if you are an avid traveler and have been a few times, spending 48 hours in Rome is amazing! Especially if you are stopping off before moving onto another “Middle Earth” destination!
Action Packed Itinerary for 48 Hours in Rome, Italy
What do 48 hours in a destination mean? In my mind, it means getting to Rome in the morning on a Friday and heading to your next destination on Sunday. Again, this is only a recommended itinerary for people who have done Rome in the past and are using it as a “jump off” destination before heading to Tuscany, Puglia, the Amalfi Coast, or ideally all of the above.
Ill use Friday through Sunday as an example just so you can understand the timeline.
Friday – Arrival Day
9:00 am – Arrive FCO, CIA, or by Train (Termini)
If you are heading to Rome on a budget you are welcome to take the train from FCO to Termini which will run about 15€ per person. You can arrange a car, normally through your hotel, for about 60€ cash or 75€ from a service like ours if you want to pay by card.
Taxi is pretty easy as well and will run you about 50€ if you are able to convince the driver not to rip you off which is easy so long as they have a little price list placard in their car with the seal of Rome on it.
10:30 am – Arrive at Hotel, Drop Bag, and Go
I love me a good shower after a long flight, especially international, but you can rarely get in the door before 2 pm. For this reason, I pack my shower kit in my carry-on so I can brush my teeth and top off the deodorant prior to getting moving.
10:45am – Cafe e Cornette @ Regoli or Panella
I love a good cafe e cornetto which is why I revel in this moment as possibly the best part of the 48 hours in Rome. Yes, all downhill from there!
There are two great spots in the center near Piazza Vittorio which is not an area I really recommend for its aesthetics but there are tons of great restaurants and places to eat. Regoli and Panella are right near each other which means you could check out both if you wanted.
If you’ve been to Rome, you’ll know cafe e cornetto costs far less standing up which is because espresso is drank quickly.
11:30 am Colosseum
If you have done Rome before, you have likely been inside already. That said, there are tons of new and cooler ways to visit the Colosseum such as buying special access to the Underground, Arena Floor, or Top Levels. Check out our Colosseum tours to see what is new!
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2:00 pm Lunch in the Jewish Ghetto
Yes, we will get into the super local and off-the-beaten-path restaurants that only locals know about, but the classics are classics for a reason. There are very “undiscovered” restaurants in the Jewish Ghetto, but a lot of famous great ones.
Personally, I really crave a Jewish-style artichoke when I get back to Rome and I will likely get it at Sora Margherita. A few rinky-dink tables outside and delicious food on the cheap. Check out our top foods to try in Rome so you know what to order and try to live outside your comfort zone!
3:30 pm Passeggiata in Trastevere
In Italy, taking a passeggiata after a meal is compulsory since it is so ingrained into the culture. If you are unfamiliar, the passeggiata is a walk that normally includes many pauses to reflect, talk, and soak in the sites but most importantly of all an espresso.
If I am at lunch in the Jewish Ghetto I would take a simple route through the center to hit the main sites which will take about 90 minutes.
- Cross Tiber Island
- Pass through Trastevere and stop at Bar del Cinque for espresso
- Head over Ponte Sisto
- Walkthrough Campo
- Pass through Piazza Navona
- Pass by the Pantheon
- Trevi Fountain
7:00 pm Drinks @ Optivm Hotel Rooftop Bar
Zuma is a super-popular Japanese restaurant in Rome that has an AMAZING rooftop. No, I am not recommending you eat Sushi when in Rome for 48 hours, although it is delicious there. I recommend you go to their rooftop for a drink or glass of bubbly before dinner.
A pre-dinner drink is a ritual almost anywhere, but in Rome, it is almost compulsory and it is not always a glass of wine. Oftentimes locals will have a cocktail before moving onto wine at dinner. Try Zuma, but make an RSVP as it is a pretty busy place amongst locals.
9:00 pm Dinner @ Luciano Cucina Italiana
In Rome, the staple dish is La Carbonara and Luciano Monosilio is referred to as the “King of Carbonara” around Rome. The dish is considered peasants food which is often the best kind of food, but Luciano was able to elevate the dish to earn a Michelin Star, hence the title!
Definitely order around the menu a bit and try their seasonal dishes. His restaurant is casual but features eclectic dishes with complex flavors. I highly recommend it.
Saturday – Full Day
As always, I am a cafe & cornetto type guy and will get this after I leave my accommodation. Your first coffee in Italy normally happens at home when you get up. Number two happens on the road and is normally when you’ll grab a pastry (cornetto).
This costs about 2€ in total which is why people are happy to get it all on the road.
8:00 am Vatican
I love the Sistine Chapel and don’t like to visit Rome without seeing it. I recommend a visit to the Vatican on every trip, but there are other amazing museums you can visit in place of the Vatican. Check out our Vatican Tours.
For example, the Borghese Gallery is my personal favorite due to the high concentration of sculpture inside.
1:00 pm Lunch @ Testaccio Market
5:00 pm Food Tour for Dinner
Our food tour goes to a cured meat shop running for 5 generations. From there we get Bacala, suppli, and lots of other traditional dishes. Check out our Trastevere “Locals” Food Tour for more!
10:00 pm Night cap at Il Gocccetto near Campo.
Campo de’ Fiori is not my “go-to” destination if I am looking for a calm place to have a drink. It is definitely a lot of fun, but I prefer a glass of wine somewhere a little more intimate which is why I love Il Goccetto. I happened upon it a few years back during a long weekend with my wife and would recommend it to a traveler who wants a nice setting over a bustling bar square.
Sunday – Departure Day
You’ll likely have a flight out a little early, but consider sneaking a breakfast at Barnum Cafe by campo. Also a great spot for a glass of wine in the evening.