When in Rome: 3 Day Guide for First Timers


Roma is truly a magical beautiful city with lots to see. I was able to take a quick trip from Geneva and here is what I recommend for 3 days (although you could totally stay for much longer)! 

Where to stay

Casa Tua Vaticano was the perfect hotel stay in Rome for me. Located slightly South West of the Vatican City (10 min walk or 5 min bus ride) across the river in a local-ish neighborhood is far away enough from the super touristic part of town, but just close enough to walk. The food around the hotel is much cheaper than central Rome. Tomaso and Rosie at the front desk are amazing and make you feel so at home. It has the feeling of a homestay with the perks of a 3-star hotel. No-frills beautiful and clean, with probably the most comfortable pillows I have ever slept on!

Cost: 2 beds including breakfast 50€


Fly into Fiumicino (aka Leonardo di Vinci Airport) to take the train express right into the city. You can fly into to Ciampino as well but it is serviced by bus. 

Cost: The Leonard Express 11€, REG train 8€ 

Once you get into Roma, walk, walk WALK! It is a beautiful city with lots to discover by foot. You can also take public transportation which is super easy, safe and fast. 

 Cost: Bus, Tram and Metro one way around town 1.50€  (you can buy a ticket at any newspaper stand).

Don’t miss


Calcio e Pepe, Carbonara, and Amatriciana Pasta

Pizza (Duh)

The Trastevere neighborhood

Useful apps:

Ulmon Rome offline maps

Google Translate (download Italian for offline use) 

Day 1: Vatican City (this can take a full day)

Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel (famous Michael Angelo ceiling painting)

Even if you are not into Museums so much this one is SUPER impressive. It has so much history and famous work. It can take up to 5 hours to see the whole thing slowly. There are tour guides everywhere asking you if you would like them to guide you around the Museums and churches, for a fee of course. We skipped this route and used audio guides instead (much cheaper). This way we were at our own pace and could control our intake of info.

Cost: 18€, 7€+ for audio guide.

Lunch: Pick up a sandwich near hotel (cheaper) to bring into the Vatican City. Find a sunny bench or steps to eat your lunch on and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Cost: 5€

St. Peter’s Church: the largest church in the world

Cost: Free

Castle of the Holy Angel (Castel Sant'Angelo) and the angel bridge into Rome “proper”

Cost: Free to walk around the Castle, 15€ to go inside. 

Dinner: there are good places around The Vatican City. 

Del Frate

Il Sorpasso (amazing wine meat and cheese)

La Zanzara

Cost: 10–30€

Tip: wine should be around 3-6for a carafe (which is about 2-3 glasses) and house wine is amazing, save yourself from overpaying for something you don’t even know what it is.

Don’t forget to get some rest!!

Day 2: Explore "classic" Rome 

Breakfast: near Casa Tua Vaticano at Caffe Grecco, loved this place! Cheap coffee and good pastries.

Piazza Navona: beautiful square you will pass through it if you walk to the Colosseum (20-25min walk)

Colosseum, Palatine Hill & Roman Forum: can take 2-3 hours, be ready to walk! 

Cost: 12€

Optional: Capitoline Museum

Cost 15€

Il Vittoriano/Altare della Patria and the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II: A beautiful white masterpiece of a building you can’t miss it! Walk around, take photos and enjoy the view from the top. 

Cost: Free with option of glass lift to the very very top 7€

Lunch: Splurge at a restaurant just outside the Altare della Patria for a great balcony view.

Cost: 20€ (pasta and wine)

The Pantheon

Cost: Free

Piazza di Spagna: Enjoy some gelato while catching the beautiful sunset from the top of the Spanish steps.

Trevi Fountain: beautiful to see at night and during the day.

Dinner: Find a restaurant in Trastevere, more local really good food and fairly cheap.

Night life: There are tons of bars in Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere.


Day 3: Check out other neighborhoods

Wander the Campo de Fiori street market

Explore more of the Trastevere neighborhood there are tons of restaurants, bars, shops etc. to see and try here.

Lunch: Hostaria del Moro, try the Pesto Fettuccini! A-maz-ing!

Meccanismo coffee bar turned lounge at night.

Walk up Aventine Hill and look through the Knights of Malta keyhole

Shopping:  Via del Corso, Via Cola di Rienzo, Pizza Spagna (window shopping) 


Pro Tips:

  1. Learn basic Italian words: Ciao, Buongiorno, Prego, Arrivederci, grazie etc.

  2. No matter what season it is (we went in winter with rain!) there are always lines.
  3. Buy your ticket online and pay the extra 3-4€, trust me it’s worth it, you are able to skip the massive long lines.
  4. Don’t go to sites super early (7-11am), instead go early to mid afternoon to avoid the huge tour and school groups.
  5. Visit the Vatican Museum before the Sistine Chapel, there is a short cut inside to the Sistine Chapel (another line you are able to avoid). 
  6. Bread and water are not always free! Ask the cost before accepting, most of the time the bread is equivalent to the service charge.
  7. Tip small coins under 2. 
  8. Avoid Uber if you can, public transportation is cheap and easy. Load the directions prior via google maps on Wifi and don’t be afraid to ask people for directions, people will gladly help you out.
  9. Check the hours before you go, some of the sights close earlier in the winter.
  10. Maximize your student ID if you can. You will receive discounts everywhere if you are a student or under 25/26 (sucked for me). 

Of course there is plenty more to do but these were some of my favorites. Honestly Rome cannot be captured in pictures, this is a city you just have to see for your self! Check out some of the resources below for more info:


cheap eats

quick tips

Grazie for reading and as always comment below with questions! Spread the word and Pin the image below if you found this article helpful! 

Arrivederci xo - Jakiya The Traveling Fro 

3 days in Rome as a first timer