A full-day tour around Rome
January 1, 1970
by Laura Tinagli
Rome is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Italy’s capital is endlessly rich with history: every single road has something to admire, and every time you raise your eyes you find something to stay looking at.
If you are only staying in Rome for a couple of days, I have made the perfect route for you for one entire day. I love walking around this city, so I would do this route by foot. However, the distances between some stops are quite long, so you could easily take public transports in between some of them. If you choose to walk, make sure you wear some really comfortable shoes! The roads, especially in the historical center, have the same pavement from ancient Rome, which is beautiful, but not easy to walk around in heels or fancy shoes!
1. Villa Borghese
You start your morning in a beautiful park located west of the city, Villa Borghese. The park is a perfect mix of nature and monuments, impressive buildings, sculptures and fountains by famous artists. Inside the park is The Galeria Borghese, a must-see museum. It has a permanent exposition of artists such as Caravaggio, Tiziano, and Rafael. Make sure to order your tickets online with anticipation, because there will be none left when you get there in person.
2. Pincio and Piazza del Popolo
Cross Villa Borghese to arrive at the famous sightseeing of the Pincio terrace. Then go down the stairs to Piazza del Popolo, which is located at the beginning of Via Flaminia, and was the entrance to the city in times of the Empire. At the square, there is an Egyptian obelisk, as well as Santa Maria del Popolo Church (which has two Caravaggio’s paintings), and two twin Churches (Santa María dei Miracoli and Santa María in Montesanto).
3. Piazza di Spagna and Via dei Condotti
Then proceed to walk towards Piazza di Spagna, one of the most emblematic squares of the city. Walk down the 135 steps of its white stairs, and get to the Fontana della Barcaccia of Bernini. Piazza di Spagna is located in one of the best areas of Rome, it is surrounded by Via dei Condotti (famous for its multitude of shops), Via Frattina and Via del Babuino (which have several mansions from the XVII and XVIII century). If you are planning on shopping, that is the place to do it.
4. Via del Corso, Piazza Colona, and Pantheon of Agripa
If you keep walking straight you will arrive in Via del Corso, and at the end is Piazza Colona with its Column of Marco Aurelio, and several remarkable buildings.
Walking 5 minutes from there is the Pantheon of Agripa, in Piazza della Rotonda. The Pantheon is one of the better conserved monuments of Ancient Rome, and has an impressive dome.
5. Piazza Navona
After the Pantheon, walk to Piazza Navona to see its three beautiful fountains: the Fontana dei Quattri Fiumi by Bernini, the Fontana del Moro, and Fontana del Nettuno, both by Giacomo della Porta. On the side is the impressive Pallazzo Pamphili. The square is full of life, with many nice restaurants, cafes, and street artists painting and performing for the tourists.
6. San Luiggi dei Francesi
You can then walk to Piazza San Luiggi dei Francesi and go inside the church to admire three paintings by Caravaggio. Check the opening and closing hours of the church, because they vary.
7. Fontana di Trevi
The famous Fontana di Trevi is only a short walk from there. It is probably the most beautiful fountain you will ever see. Some believe it will grant you a wish: throw one coin and you will come back to Rome, throw two and you will fall in love with an Italian, throw three and you will marry that Italian.
8. Piazza Venezia and Altare della Patria
Now go to Piazza Venezia, where you will see the grand Altare della Patria. After you walk inside and around its balconies, you can visit the art expositions that it hosts periodically. There is an elevator that will bring you to a terrace at the top of the building, from where there is a breath-taking view of Rome.
The Piazza Campidoglio, is right behind, and it is definitely worth a see. In the middle of the square is a copy of a statue of emperor Marco Aurelio. And on the corner between Palazzo Senatoria and Palazzo Nuovo lies the sculpture of the mystical Lupa Capitolina, the wolf of the legend of Romulus and Remus. The Capitoline Museum is right there, and it is one of the most important museums of the city.
10. Fori Imperiali and Roman Colisseum
If you still have time out of the day and you are not exhausted, you can walk around the Fori Imperiali, which begin very close by. However, if you have more days in Rome, I would recommend sparing yourself a couple of hours for this visit and getting a guided tour inside of the Fori.
The Roman Colisseum is also close by, so you can walk there and look at its impressive façade from outside. If you want to visit the inside, which I also recommend, you would need to leave it for the next day!
That would be the end of the route! It is a very quick way of visiting many of the must-sees of this city. It is perfect for tourists without much time who still want to visit as many things as possible! If you are lucky enough to have several days at your disposal, you could do this route in more than one day, and spend all the time you want admiring every one of the stops.
There are obviously many things left to see (The Roman Coliseum, the Caracalla Therme, Via Apia, Campo de Fiori, St. Peter’s Basilica…) but that would make for another post of a full day of walking around Rome, so stay tuned for part two!
I hope you will enjoy Rome as much as I do!