What do you do when you only have 24 hours in Rome? How can you possibly take in all the sites, taste the best local dishes, and get some of the history in one short day? Well this post is here to help. Whether you’re stopping in on a long layover (like I was), you’re in for a cruise stop, or passing through on a little tour around the country for a short stay; this Rome travel guide will give you some highlights and direction.
So your big question is most likely, how do I choose what to see and what to skip? I’m hoping this little agenda will give you the opportunity to see almost everything. I’ve tried to closely replicate my exact trip last month. I’ve been to Rome before but, we were with someone who had not visited. The challenge was to squeeze in as much as possible. And we accomplished just that. So it sparked the idea to share this “How-to” and the highlights with all of you!
Before I share the hour by hour guide here are some tips for tasting some of what Rome does best. Here are some of the local dishes you should be ordering:
- Tagliolini Cacio e Pepe (Parmesan and Pepper. I tried for the first time this trip, and I’m in L.O.V.E.)
- Spaghetti alla’ Carbonara
- Spaghetti or Bucantini all’ Amatriciana ( A favorite of mine- here’s my replication recipe)
- Veal Saltimbocca
Stop at a café for an Italian style breakfast: A pastry and espresso. You’ll find one of these shops on just about every corner. You don’t want anything too heavy because I’m setting you up with some big Roman meals for lunch and dinner
Three Hour Historical Segway Tour around Rome. If you think this sounds cheesy, hear me out. Not only are the segways a lot of fun to ride on, they will allow you to cover a ton of ground. Rome is a BIG city with lots of attractions. We managed to see almost ALL of them (over 20 sites) in just 3 hours. Our tour guide gave us historical tidbits, we took photo ops, and we sailed through the city on an exhilarating little ride. I used Viator tours and I have used their services for tours in many cities and always have great success.
Use this code for a discount on your segway tour. Save up to 40% off tours and activities in Rome
Search for Segway Tours and choose the one that best suits you. We did a small group one so that it became private for our 6 family members!
It’s Lunch Time! Head to Campo Di Fiore’s Piazza to find Osteria Da Fortunata. Also, everyday there is a marketplace set up in this square with local merchants. You can find souvenirs, fresh food and flowers if you’re interesting in wandering around before or after you eat.
The restaurant was recommended by our local Airbnb host (Discount code for your first stay here). I also did a little research and found that this eatery had some klout. You’ll get to watch women in the window hand rolling pasta. Be prepared to wait a little but, it’s worth it. Start with a Fritto Misto with all sorts of arancini, zucchini flowers and other popular fried bites to share. Then settle on homemade pasta from their handwritten menu of fresh dishes.
Head to the Vatican to take in the splendor of Saint Peter’s and the surrounding Vatican City. The line will most likely be hours deep. However; I have one small tip that may just help. With about one hour left in the day (5/5:30) they open additional security to get the majority of the line in to view the basilica. If you see a sudden big shift in line movement, hop in. We got lucky enough to spend some time walking around the church to take in its unbelievable detail and beauty.
Chances are you’re still somewhat full from that big carb filled lunch. Take a cab (Uber/Lyft is outlawed in Rome) to Trastevere. This part of Rome has a ton of wine bars, cafes, fashion shops and more. It’s also known to be a more of a local’s hangout. So take in the native Romans’ culture for a few hours and walk off that remaining lunch. You need to make room for the next big meal.
Ask a cab to take you to La Vittoria Ristorante . I’ve had the luxury of having a handful of meals at this eatery. My Mother-in-Law comes to Rome on almost a yearly basis and has become friends with the family who runs the restaurant. A lot of the Vatican clergy have also come to frequent La Vittoria. But, you want to know about the food so I digress.
I recommend eating family style and ordering some appetizers and pastas for a first course to share. Their homemade Taglioni Cacio e Pepe and Spaghetti alla’ Carbonara are spectacular. Next pick a few of their meat dishes to have for a main course. The veal saltimbocca is a favorite but, all of the veal dishes are a good pick. Finish off the meal with a scoop of gelato or a cannoli. Oh and most importantly, sip on some limoncello or grappa at your table to end the night. They bottle their own in house.
taglioni cacio e pepe
Spaghetti all’ Amarticiana
Walk down past the Vatican all lit up to the Ponte Sant’ Angelo bridge next to Castel Sant’ Angelo as a little after dinner stroll. It will help you digest and you can take in a few last moments of this beautiful city.
It will be a LONG day but, oh so worth it. You’ll be able to tell everyone that you truly saw the whole city and experienced some real Italian food while you were at it.
…all for the love of the dish