48 hours in Rome - a travel guide to the Eternal City

48 Hours In Rome - A Travel Guide To The Eternal City 48 Hours In Rome - A Travel Guide To The Eternal City
The dome of Saint Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City dominates the skyline
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The capital and the largest city in Italy, Rome offers the perfect combination of history, culture, art and incredible food.

What are the top three attractions that can’t be missed?

The Colosseum

The largest amphitheatre in the world and an icon of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum was built between 72 A.D and 80 A.D and it could hold up to 80,000 spectators who would come to watch the vicious gladiator fights.

Trevi Fountain

The Fontana di Trevi is more than a water fountain, it’s a spectacular piece of art representing a tribute to water and it contains beautifully carved statues of Oceanus, Abundance and Health. Originally designed by Nicola Salvi, the construction took 30 years; he died before he could see his creation completed in 1762.

Make a wish at the 18th-century Trevi Fountain, and marvel at the baroque splendour dreamed up by architect Nicola Salvi.

The Vatican

The official residence of the Pope, Vatican City is actually an independent country within Rome. Here you can visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, explore the Vatican Museums which contain many pieces of Renaissance art and visit the Sistine Chapel to admire Michelangelo’s masterpiece.

Best way to get around and explore?


Rome is a walkable city and most of its top attractions are close together in car free zones. One of the best ways to explore Rome is on an orientation city tour, as part of a guided holiday, with an expert local guide. They will take you to the top highlights, tell you the fascinating history of Rome, provide more insight, show you some hidden gems and give the best tips and recommendations based on your interests, so you can spend your free time more effectively.

Are there any must do activities?

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

After admiring the incredible baroque fountain, you should throw a coin from your right hand over your left shoulder, as this will ensure a visit back to Rome. If you throw two coins you will fall in love with a good looking Italian and if you throw three coins, you will marry them! It’s estimated that €3,000 is thrown in every day, which is collected and donated to charity.

Trastevere is a great area to wander cobbled streets and enjoy the buzzy bar and restaurant scene.

Explore Trastevere

This old working class district with its cobbled lanes and medieval houses comes to life at night time and has a wonderful Bohemian atmosphere with a fantastic range of craft shops, wine bars and restaurants.

Eat like a local


Food is a major part of Roman culture and you’ll be in for a real gastronomic treat. It’s the birthplace of spaghetti alla carbonara and pizza al taglio. This style of pizza, which means ‘by the cut’ comes in all sorts of flavours and is baked in rectangular trays and sold in square slices by weight. Italians are also very fond of gelato or ice-cream and usually the ice-cream parlours with the longest queues in Rome are often the best.

What is the best place to have a coffee and people watch?

A trip to the Italian capital wouldn’t be complete without spending time in one of its beautiful piazzas. Relax over an excellent coffee and spend some time people watching. You’ll pay a little more for your refreshments in Piazza Navona than you would in a quiet back street, but you’ll be rewarded by the views, and the dolce vita atmosphere. We also recommend going to Trastevere and Piazza Del Popolo.

If it is raining, what would you recommend doing?

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

You could easily spend hours looking at the extensive collections of art accumulated over hundreds of years by various Popes, such as Raphael’s The Transfiguration and The Entombment of Christ by Caravaggio.

Perhaps the most famous artwork in the Vatican is the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo. Painted in fresco, it took him four years to paint various scenes from the Bible, like The Creation of Adam in such incredible detail.


The impressive view from the Cupola of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City.

St Peter’s Basilica

The largest church in Christianity and the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. Marvel at masterpieces of art and sculpture, from the monumental colonnade by Bernini to Michelangelo’s Dome and his remarkable Pietà. Also one of the best views of Rome can be seen from the Cupola. Although there are many stairs to get to the top, it is worth the effort.

Are there any indoor or outdoor markets to visit?

Every Sunday, there is a huge flea market at Porta Portese selling all sorts like clothes, souvenirs and antiques. Open between Monday and Saturday from 6am to 2pm, Campo De’Fiori is one of the oldest food markets in Rome selling fresh produce.

Is there a local story or fact that you would like to share?

The Bocca Della Verita or Mouth of Truth is a marble mask located outside the church of Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin. The mediaeval legend goes that if you put your hand in its mouth and you’re a liar, it will bite it off! It was famously featured in the film Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

Relive a comic scene from Roman Holiday at the Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verita).

Favourite place to have a drink?

We suggest enjoying Roman favourites like Frascati, a crisp, refreshing white wine, in the following areas:

  • Monti district
  • Pantheon area
  • Trastevere

Dinner recommendations on a budget or special occasion?

There are lovely restaurants in Trastevere or Testaccio areas that can suit a range of budgets such as Le Mani in Pasta, Casa Manco, Da Felice, Taverna Volpetti and Trattoria Perilli.

Where is the best place to watch the sunset?

Giardino degli Aranci, Villa Borghese Park or Gianicolo Zoodiaco.

You can book a city break to Rome today with Travel Department and see more of the Eternal City. Flights, accommodation, transfers and a half day city tour with a local expert guide are all included. Looking to go beyond Italy’s capital? Travel Department also offers guided holidays to Italy, check out the range of customer favourite destinations on offer.

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