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A perfect day in Rome | Insight Guides Blog

A perfect day in Rome

The Italian capital city makes for an enlightening, fascinating and culturally-rich city break with something to suit all types of travellers. Whether you like lunching for hours on end or touring centuries of history in a long morning, here's how to spend 24 hours in the city. When in Rome and all that...
The famous Spanish Steps in Rome. Photo: Shutterstock
The famous Spanish Steps in Rome. Photo: Shutterstock

The famous Spanish Steps in Rome: an unmissable activity on your city break. Photo: Shutterstock


Insight Guides can help with the planning, organising and booking of your trip. Simply contact our local expert with details of the length of your trip, budget and places you would like to visit and they will plan your personalised itinerary. For inspiration browse Insight Guides ready-made Italy trips, which are fully customisable. 


9.00am: Feast on a typical Italian breakfast

Start your day in Trastevere at Caffè delle Arance (Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, 2), where along with espresso and cornettos, the house special is freshly-squeezed orange juice (served with cubes of ice on the side). You'll find the tables outside are perfect for people-watching right across the piazza. Book a tailor-made trip to Rome now with Insight Guides. 


10.00am: Climb Janiculum Hill

Take Via Garibaldi to Piazzale Garibaldi at the top of Janiculum Hill for splendid views of the city and the dome of St Peter’s. A large equestrian monument to the freedom fighter stands on the square, with another for his wife, Anita, found a little further north.

On your way up the hill, veer off towards San Pietro in Montorio church for a peek at Bramante’s Tempietto (one of the gems of the Renaissance), and works by Vasari del Piombo and Bernini.


View over Rome from the Janiculum Hill. Photo: Shutterstock


11.30am: Tour boutique shops and artsy galleries

Head down through Trastevere’s winding streets towards Piazza Trilussa and the Tiber, checking out the chic boutiques and galleries along the way. This area has been Rome's traditional working class district since ancient times, and its inhabitants pride themselves on being true Romans.


12.30pm: Cross the Tiber

Cross pedestrian Ponte Sisto and go straight up Via Pettinari. Turn left on Via dei Giubbonari for great shopping and stop for lunch or snacks right on Campo de Fiori where the city’s most picturesque market is still held. Once the site of public executions in the 17th century, today's atmosphere is more welcoming. Although, a brooding statue of philosopher Giordano Bruno acts as a reminder of the square's bloody past; he was burned alive during the Counter-Reformation in 1600.


1.30pm: People watch on the Piazza Navona

Cross busy Corso Vittorio Emanuele and take Corso Rinascimento. To the left is the sprawling Piazza Navona. Check out Bernini’s fountain in the centre and grab a classy, if pricey espresso. Better still, try the dark chocolate ice cream tartufo at bar Tre Scalini, which incorporates 13 indulgent types of Swiss chocolate. Delicious!


Tourists at Pantheon. Photo: Shutterstock


2.15pm: Marvel at the iconic Pantheon

To the right of Corso Rinascimento on parallel road Via Di S. Giovanna D’Arco, you’ll find the San Luigi dei Francesi church at No. 5. Inside are three of Caravaggio’s most famous paintings, including The Calling of Saint Matthew. Take Via del Seminario and you’ll hit the Pantheon. This is ancient Rome's best-preserved monument and a must-see on your trip. This 'Temple of All the Gods', and its elegant hemispherical dome was saved for posterity when it was converted into a church in the 7th century. 

The Pantheon's true greatness is only fully appreciated when you step inside and look up into the magnificent coffered dome. Held up without any sustaining columns or flying buttresses, it is an unparalleled feat of engineering. On fine days a shaft of sunlight illuminates the windowless vault through the circular hole in the dome. Be warned, it also lets the rain in. Explore Ancient Rome in all its glory with Insight Guides


3.00pm: Stroll up the Spanish Steps 

Walk east along the narrow Via dei Pastini and follow the shopping streets Via del Corso and Via Condotti to Piazza di Spagna. Give your credit cards a break at the Keats-Shelley House at the base of the Spanish Steps, and then head down Via del Babuino to the sculptor Canova’s old studio at No.150, which has been transformed into a caffè with marble masterpieces at every corner.


5.00pm: Appreciate art in the park

Enjoy the late afternoon on a walk through the large and leafy Villa Borghese Park, once the estate of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V. Leave enough time to check out the creative range of artworks on display at the Carlo Bilotti Modern Art Collection.


Ensure you indulge in traditional Italian food in Rome. Photo: Shutterstock


7.30pm: Taste incredible Italian cuisine

Catch bus 490 or 495 and get off at the last stop inside the park. Cross under the arch and into Via Veneto. Have dinner at chef Claudio Mengoni's Assaje restaurant inside the Aldrovandi Hotel for unforgettable Italian cuisine; book a seat on the patio in good weather. Sample it for yourself with Insight Guides' Eternal Rome for the Weekend trip


10.30pm: Enjoy the end of the day in one of Rome's trendy bars

Finishing your day in Rome by walking up the street
 for fancy drinks at Doney, which is as posh and popular with today’s trendy set, as it was 
at the time of la dolce vita.


This blog was originally published on December 16, 2016


Planning a trip to Rome?

Insight Guides can help with the planning, organising and booking of your trip. Simply contact our local expert with details of the length of your trip, budget and places you would like to visit and they will plan your personalised itinerary. For inspiration browse Insight Guides ready-made Italy trips, which are fully customisable. 


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