48 hours in Rome is just enough time to get a feel for the city. Looking to cram some of Europe’s finest art, history and culture into a two-day break? The Eternal City of Rome is where you need to be…
Think: soaking up epic Roman landmarks and sublime Renaissance masterpieces during the day, and getting your chat on in bustling cafes and family-run trattorias at night.
How to Spend 48 Hours In Rome
Pap to the Max(imus) at the Colosseum
After dropping your bags off at the very conveniently located Nerva Boutique Hotel, trot on over to the city’s most iconic sight – the fabled Colosseum. As one of the world’s most recognisable buildings, this jaw-dropping monument built in 80AD is of course Grade 1 Instagram material.
Be very careful when you’re papping the outside though; the road that encircles the Colosseum can get really busy! By all means head inside if you have the time: learning how the building functioned as a gladiatorial arena is genuinely fascinating.
Make Like a Centurion and March
Rome is an eminently walkable city and as such you can see many of its key sights on foot. Heading toward the centre of the city from the Colosseum you’ll pass the legendary Roman Forum and eventually reach the Piazza Venezia. It’s here that you’ll see the huge hunk of white marble that is the Victor Emmanuel II National Monument.
After taking in the views from its rooftop, stroll into the centre’s narrow streets and absorb the city’s timeless grandeur, ticking off the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain as you go.
Kick Back in Rome’s Oldest Cafe
You’ll need a good rest after all that strolling and where better to reward yourself than Rome’s oldest cafe. Just metres from the famed Spanish Steps, Caffè Greco is an expensive and often very busy place but there’s nothing quite like kicking back in a bar (the Roman word for a coffee shop) that’s welcomed the likes of Keats, Byron, Wagner and even Casanova over the past 250+ years.
Hit one of the more laid-back watering holes just around the corner if your budget is limited.
Get up Early and Go See the Pope
St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is understandably a pretty popular place. Get there early in the morning though (i.e. well before 7am). You’ll not only secure a place at the head of the queue to enter the actual 2,000-year-old church, but also get the chance to wander unhindered around the vast expanse that is St Peter’s Square.
Chances are you won’t have time to see the ethereal Sistine Chapel on this trip. But, you may get to see the Pope give mass if you’re here around noon on a Sunday…
Live Out Your Dolce Vita Fantasies
If you’ve ever seen the classic Italian movie La Dolce Vita then chances are you’ve always fancied zipping around around Rome in a sports car like Marcello Mastroianni and his party-loving pals. Needless to say, this is the kind of treat that doesn’t come cheap! However, if you’re travelling with pals and you can talk a good deal, you’ll find plenty of hire companies online willing to help make your dreams come true.
Spend an Evening in the Real Rome
Rome is still a very lived-in city. So there’s no doubt the centre can feel a bit like a giant outdoor museum at times, especially in the summer. Want to escape the crowds and get a taste of everyday Roman life? Head over to Trastevere, an authentically working-class and somewhat bohemian district just across the Tiber.
Explore its narrow winding streets and admiring bellissimo views of the city from nearby Gianicolo Hill. Then, make for one of the handsome piazzas and treat yourself to a relaxed evening meal at a family-run trattoria.