Taylor-Rome12

A woman throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain in Italy - a bucket list
Photo By Emil Garabey

Rome, Italy is a fascinating city that is filled with bucket list, must see places! Founded in 753 BC by Romulus and Remus, which are the twin sons of Mars, the god of war. The beautiful ancient city of Rome is the capital of Italy (located in Lazio) and it is also the most visited within the country. Rome is known for its ancient wonders, incredible cuisine, over 2000 fountains and amazing culture.

In September 2021, I did an unforgettable Southern Italy trip. I started my Italy travels in Rome with my family where we spent 2 nights in the capital city. From there, we made our way to Naples before spending 5 nights in Sorrento and along the Amalfi Coast as well as Capri. Towards the end of our family trip, we drove back up to Rome where we explored Vatican City and spent 1 more night before departing ways.

A woman at the Colosseum in Rome - a bucket list
Photo By Emil Garabey

While my family headed back home to New Jersey, I met up with Ashley of World to Wander and we spent 3 nights and 4 days in Puglia.

In this bucket list travel blog, read all about my family trip and discover what not to miss in Rome, Italy during your first time.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


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Rome, Italy Bucket List for Your First Time

Traveling to and Around Rome:

The Temple of Hadrian in Rome

Getting to and around Rome, Italy is easy! For my Italy trip, I took a flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to Rome Fiumicino – Leonardo da Vinci Airport with a layover in Lisbon. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner!

During my time in this ancient city with my family, our Airbnb was in a proper walking distance between Rome’s attractions. We mainly got around by walking during our 3 days in Rome, but you can also take a city taxi or Uber.

Rome during sunset

Rome also has a metro with three lines that cross the city diagonally. Each line has stops near every famous place in Rome! The city also has a bus that operates around Rome and its outskirts.

In addition, Rome has urban trains that complement the three metro lines. It is run by the same company and tickets/prices are the same. Lastly, there are six tram lines that go throughout the city.

Click here to learn more about Rome’s public transportation networks. The best way to travel outside of Rome is to take the train or rent a car.

Where to Stay in Rome:

A woman enjoying a bucket list trip to Rome

While you’re in Rome, I recommend staying in the city’s popular neighborhoods and near the famous attractions. Below is a list of awesome areas for you to book your accommodation in:

  • Piazza Navona (Where we stayed our first two nights.)
  • Pantheon
  • Campo de’ Fiori
  • Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps – where we stayed our last night in Rome.)
  • Trastevere
  • Colosseum/Monti
  • Vatican City/Prati
  • Roma Termini
  • Testaccio
A beautiful building in Rome, Italy

When it comes to hotels, Rome boasts a plethora of wonderful options for you to choose from based on your budget. You can also choose from a variety of Airbnb and Vrbo options.

Overall, we spent 3 nights in Rome (2 nights at the beginning of our Italy trip and 1 night at the end). During our Italy itinerary, we first started by staying in a beautiful Airbnb near the popular Piazza Navona and the River Tiber, which boasts the picturesque Ponte Sant’Angelo and Castel Sant’Angelo. Our apartment was also surrounded by a lot of great restaurants. Click here to book this Airbnb.

Charming neighborhoods in Rome, Italy

During our third and final night in Rome (after spending 5 days on the Amalfi Coast), my family and I stayed in an Airbnb that was close to the Spanish Steps as well as some awesome shops and great restaurants! Click here to book this apartment.

If you are traveling with your family or a group of friends (we were a group of 5), it is most convenient and cost efficient to stay at an Airbnb or Vrbo during your time in Rome.

Beautiful buildings of Rome, Italy

Below is a list of great hotels in Rome, based on budget:

Luxury Accommodation: St. Regis Rome (Termini)

Boutique Accommodation: Hotel Indigo Rome – St. George (Navona)

Mid-Budget Accommodation: G-Rough Rome (Campo de’ Fiori)

Budget Accommodation: Hostel Trastevere (Trastevere)

Rome Bucket List – The Best Things to do in Rome, Italy

A woman enjoying a Rome bucket list for the first time
Photo By Emil Garabey

Rome is a beautiful and romantic city filled with timeless architecture to admire, incredible cuisine to savor, fascinating historical sites to learn from and great parks and museums to stroll through.

Discover what you must see and do in Rome, Italy during your 3 days there:

Enjoy Eating the Best Dishes in Italy:

Cacio e pepe from Rome - a bucket list

When it comes to food in Rome, you can find everything from delicious pasta dishes to heartwarming pizza pies along with mouthwatering pastries to great meat and seafood plates. Some of the most popular dishes of Rome to add to your bucket list are cacio e pepe, which is spaghetti in a parmesan type of sauce with black pepper; carbonara, which is spaghetti in a creamy egg and cheese sauce; Roman pizza; gelato and more!

Outdoor restaurants in Rome, Italy

During our family vacation in Italy, we ate at some of the best restaurants in Rome, thanks to all my Instagram friends and family members who recommended awesome local spots. Below are the best places to eat in Rome, Italy:

Hostaria L’Orso ’80:

Spaghetti with clams from L'Orso '80 in Rome, Italy

The best restaurant we ate at during our 3 days in Rome was L’Orso ’80, which was located right by our Airbnb in the Navona area.

If there was one restaurant that I can recommend you not skip during your time in Rome, it is this one because everything from the food to the service exceeded expectations!

Bread with rosemary and olive oil from L'Orso '80 in Rome

My family and I ate at L’Orso ’80 for lunch when we first arrived in the city. We started off with some Aperol Spritz and Chianti red wine. From there, we were given bread with olive oil and rosemary, which was delicious!

For our main courses, my dad and I enjoyed the spaghetti with clams in a white wine sauce; my mom and brother had the famous cacio e pepe, Roman pasta dish and my other brother savored spaghetti pomodoro. Everything was incredible!

Cookies and biscotti from Italy

After lunch, the waiter gave us limoncello and for dessert, we enjoyed biscotti and homemade cookies to have with espresso.

Il Corallo Ristorante & Pizzeria:

Proscuitto with melon from Il Corallo in Rome

One of our cousins, who travels to Italy a lot, recommended a great restaurant located in Navona called Il Corallo.

Dessert from Rome

Because we had a lot to eat for lunch, we weren’t too hungry for dinner on our first evening. My dad, brother and I split a Margherita pizza with prosciutto and melon on the side; my other brother had a local beef dish and my mom had a fresh salad. We obviously had Chianti red wine again, which is the best in my opinion! For dessert, we all shared the tiramisu and chocolate mousse.

Osteria da Fortunata:

Eating at Osteria da Fortunata - a Rome bucket list

An Instagram friend, who is from Italy, recommended a local’s favorite – Osteria da Fortunata. Located near Campo de’ Fiori, this restaurant boasts organic Roman recipes and handmade pasta dishes. Because it is popular among locals, we had to wait on a long line to get seated, but it went fast.

During our lunch at Osteria da Fortunata, my brother and I savored the spaghetti pomodoro; my other brother enjoyed the cacio e pepe and both of my parents got gnocchi pomodoro. Everything was delicious and went perfect with wine!


Nannarella Osteria dal Roma Trastevere:

Eating at the popular Nannarella restaurant - a Rome bucket list

Located in the charming neighborhood of Trastevere, Nannarella is another restaurant that is a favorite among Roman locals. The same Italian friend on Instagram recommended this amazing restaurant to me and I couldn’t wait to visit with my family.

A tiramisu dessert from Nannarella in Trastevere in Rome

Since Nannarella is a popular restaurant, we also had to wait a bit to get seated, but it was worth it! My dad and brothers enjoyed the homemade meat balls, my mom had a local pork dish and I got the cotoletta panama, which is turkey Milanese. My meal came with roasted potatoes and salad on the side. We also had a local Tuscan white wine with our dinner and for dessert, we savored tiramisu again!

Vinsanto Vino & Cucina:

A charcuterie board from Vinsanto in Rome

On our last day in Rome, we visited Vatican City. After our tour, we savored lunch right outside of the Vatican at a charming restaurant called Vinsanto Vino & Cucina.

Our lunch began with a delicious charcuterie board with fresh cheeses and cure meats with a local white wine. (The platter also came with Caprese salad and fresh bread.) For our main meals, my mom and I had the spaghetti pomodoro; my dad had the Margherita pizza; my one brother had tagliatelle pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce and my other brother had spaghetti Bolognese. 

Ciampini Bistrot:

Pesto rigatoni from Ciampini Bistrot in Rome

For dinner on our last evening in Rome, we ate at Ciampini Bistrot, which is near the Spanish Steps. For dinner, my mom, dad and brother had the lasagna al ragu (lasagna with meat sauce); my other brother had gnocchi alla sorrentina, which is gnocchi with tomato, mozzarella, basil and red pepper and I savored the rigatoni al pesto (rigatoni pasta with pesto sauce).

Everything was delicious! We enjoyed a plate of Italian pastries for dessert and also had Chianti red wine with our dinner.

Tour Rome’s Must Visit Places:

A woman exploring the ancient sites in Rome, Italy

Below is a list of places to visit in Rome that will amaze you and also bring you back in time! Click here to book a guided city walking tour in Rome.

Make a Wish at the Trevi Fountain:
The Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

One of the top must see places in Rome is the Trevi Fountain. Known as the most beautiful and largest fountain in Rome, the Trevi Fountain goes back to the year of 19 BC.

There is a myth that goes along with the Trevi Fountain; if you have your back towards the fountain and throw one coin behind your left shoulder, you will return to Rome. If you throw two coins into the fountain, you will fall in love with an attractive Italian. If you throw in three coins, you will marry the person that you met in Italy. This may or may not happen to you if you throw a coin (or three) into the fountain, but it is a fun thing to add to your Rome bucket list.

A woman at the Trevi Fountain in Rome - a bucket list
Photo By Emil Garabey

Around 1 million euros worth of coins are thrown into the fountain each year and the money is donated to charitable causes in Italy.

What is cool about the Trevi Fountain is that it has an underground section that you can explore. The secret archaeological site includes an aqueduct that feeds water into the Trevi Fountain. Click here to book a tour under the Trevi Fountain.

Visit the Roman Colosseum:
A woman at the Colosseum in Rome

A first-time trip to Rome is not complete without seeing the Colosseum. It is the most iconic landmark of Rome and it dates back 2,000 years. This famous spot in Rome is also one of the 7 Wonders of the World that you must add to your bucket list. (After Machu Picchu and Chichen Itza, the Roman Colosseum was my third visited Wonder of the World.)

The Colosseum was established in the year of 80 AD and it was an active amphitheater for over 500 years. It hosted gladiatorial fights, executions and exhibits of exotic animals.

Over the years, the Colosseum went through some earthquakes, World War II bombings and looting. The Colosseum is one of the most incredible landmarks to see in person and it will provide you with that “wow” factor!

A woman at the Colosseum at night - a Rome bucket list
Photo By Emil Garabey

I recommend seeing the Colosseum both during the day and at night because it is lit up so beautifully! I also suggest you get tickets ahead of time and see the inside of the Colosseum.

Just like the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum also has an underground section to explore! Underneath the Roman Colosseum, you can walk through tunnels where gladiators once prepared for battles. Click here to book a tour.

Go back in Time at The Temple of Hadrian:
A woman in front of the Temple of Hadrian in Rome

Another great historical landmark that you need to add to your Rome bucket list is the Temple of Hadrian. It was built in 138 AD and was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian, who visited the city from Athens. He was one of the Five of Good Emperors.

Stroll into the Pantheon:
A woman in front of the Pantheon - a Rome bucket list

Another popular ancient landmark in Rome, that you must add to your bucket list, is the Pantheon. Construction of the Pantheon started in 27 BC, but it opened in 125 AD and was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus.

To this day, no one truly knows what the Pantheon’s original purpose was and why it was built. It is one of the most intact ancient structures in Rome, Italy. After a large fire and being struck by lightning, Emperor Hadrian rebuilt the Pantheon and added a beautiful round dome inside.

Walk Up the Spanish Steps:
A woman at the Spanish Steps in Rome
Photo By Emil Garabey

A famous place in Rome that cannot be missed during your first trip is the Spanish Steps. These famous steps were completed in 1725 and have had the reputation of being the prime “people watching” spot throughout the years.

The Spanish Steps have always attracted a “good-looking” crowd due to the number of artists and photographers who congregated around the steps. (Audrey Hepburn also visited the Spanish Steps during her lifetime.)

People used to be able to sit on the steps and enjoy socializing with friends, eating paninis and, of course, people watching, but you can no longer do that. If you are found sitting on the Spanish Steps now, you will be fined. The city is doing everything they can to preserve these historical steps.

The Piazza di Spagna in Rome

Now, these popular steps have nothing to do with the Spanish or the country of Spain. The steps were financed by a French diplomat named Étienne Gueffier and were named referring to the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See (the Vatican). The embassy was supposed to be located on the Piazza di Spagna that is at the base of the steps.

At the top of the Spanish Steps is the Trinità dei Monti Church, which holds a beautiful piece of art by Daniele da Volterra, who had links to Michelangelo.

Admire the Altare della Patria Roma:
A woman enjoying a trip to Rome, Italy

One of the most incredible landmarks to admire in Rome is the Altare della Patria. This beautiful monument is a tribute to Victor Emmanuel II who was the first king of Italy after the country’s unification.

Altare della Patria in Rome, Italy

If you visit this building, you can check out the Institute for the History of Italian Risorgimento and the Central Museum of the Risorgimento. The Altare della Patria is in Piazza Venezia and it is hard to miss.

See the Roman Forum:
Exploring the Roman Forum - a Rome bucket list item

What you must also include in your Rome bucket list is the Roman Forum, which was once a district of temples, basilicas and exciting public spaces that held gatherings, trials, elections, gladiator events and more.

Learn History at Vatican City:

A woman touring the Vatican during a Rome trip

A first time Rome bucket list is not complete without including the Vatican as a place to visit. Vatican City is a city state independent of Rome, so it is its own country (and it has its own flag too)!

Views of the Vatican

Vatican City is the seat of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and is also home to the Pope. The only people who live in Vatican City are clergy. Overall, 2,400 people work in the country, but most of them commute from Rome or other towns in Italy.

Visiting the Vatican City during a Rome trip - a bucket list

Overall, there are six entrances to Vatican City, but only three are open to the public. If you want to tour the Vatican itself along with St. Peter’s Basilica, you must book your tickets and tour ahead of time! You can still walk into the city state from Rome and admire all the medieval and Renaissance architecture, but if you want to tour the museums and landmarks, you have to arrange a time to visit in advance.

A beautiful sculpture exhibit in the Vatican

The Vatican consists of 26 museums that showcase all its history. When you book your tickets, I recommend trying to get an earlier time slot because it will take quite a few hours to walk through these museums. They are incredible and you’re going to want to see as much as possible!

The Gallery of Maps at the Vatican

Some of the popular masterpieces to see inside the Vatican are the Last Judgement by Michelangelo; the gilded bronze statue of Hercules, which was founded in the courtyard of the Palazzo Pio Righetti; The Entombment of Christ by Caravaggio; the Gallery of Maps and more. You can also find numerous works of art from Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Francis Bacon and other historical artists.

A sculpture in a Vatican museum

After making your way through the Vatican museums, you will finally reach the Sistine Chapel. Please note that you cannot use your cameras or cell phones for photos and videos in the Sistine Chapel!

Michelangelo's painting in the Sistine Chapel
Please note that this photo is from a stock image site called Unsplash. I did not take this photo in the Sistine Chapel.

The Sistine Chapel was built from 1473 – 1481 and it was designed by Giovanni dei Dolci for the Pope. The reason why this chapel is so famous is because it was where Michelangelo did his Renaissance fresco paintings. Overall, Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel took four years to complete. The most iconic scenes painted on the ceiling of the chapel is The Creation of Adam.

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City - a Rome bucket list goal

Another one of the most grandeur places to visit during your time in Vatican City is St. Peter’s Basilica. It is a breathtaking Renaissance-styled church that features a dome you can climb up and capture views of Rome. (It is one of the best views in the Rome area!)

The best views of Rome from Vatican City - a bucket list

Outside of St. Peter’s Basilica is the Piazza San Pietro, which is surrounded by beautiful colonnades and features wonderful views from all around. During your time in Vatican City, I also recommend strolling through the beautiful Giardini Vaticani (the Vatican City’s gardens).

A ceiling in the Vatican

The cost for a Vatican tour varies depending on the company you choose to go through. It is completely free to visit St. Peter’s Basilica along with every other church in Rome.

Stroll around Trastevere:

Strolling through Trastevere in Rome - a bucket list

One of the most charming areas to get lost in Rome is Trastevere. This beautiful Bohemian neighborhood is known for its lovely alleyways filled with ivy, flowers, vintage cars, traditional trattorias, beer pubs, artist galleries and more!

Trastevere in Rome at night

During the day, Trastevere is quiet and peaceful, but at night, it is a popular spot for young people to go out and have fun! In fact, one of the top things you must add to your Rome bucket list is enjoying a memorable night out with friends in Trastevere.

Relax at Piazza Navona:

Piazza Navona in Rome

One of the best spots to grab a gelato and relax with some friends is at Piazza Navona. This beautiful piazza was located near our Airbnb and it is famous for its three stunning fountains – Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro and Fontana del Nettuno.

Eating gelato in Rome - a bucket list

The Piazza Navona is surrounded by restaurants, cafés, bars and gelato shops.

Watch the Sunset over Ponte Sant’Angelo:

Sunset from the Ponte Sant'Angelo

Another one of the best views in Rome, and a great spot to watch the sunset, is along the Tiber River. Right by Ponte Umberto I, you can walk down some stairs to a walkway that is closer to the water. Right then and there, you can watch the sun go down over the iconic Ponte Sant’Angelo, which is known as one of the most beautiful bridges in Rome.

A woman watching a sunset along the Tiber River in Rome - a bucket list

Watching the sunset over Ponte Sant’Angelo with views of St. Peter’s Basilica behind it is a MUST see during your time in Rome.

Also known as the “Bridge of Angels”, Ponte Sant’Angelo was built in 134 AD by Emperor Hadrian to connect the center of Antique Rome with his newly built mausoleum, which is now the Castel Sant’ Angelo. For years, the Ponte Sant’Angelo was used as a passageway for Christian pilgrims on their way to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome

Overall, the sunset views over Ponte Sant’Angelo will have you amazed and wanting to go back every evening during your time in Rome. (You should also walk through the Castel Sant’Angelo too and admire all its beauty! It costs 14 euros for adults to enter the castle, 7 euros for EU-citizens aged 18 to 25 and it is free for children and teens under 18.)

Walk around the Villa Borghese:

Villa Borghese in Rome

Known as the best gardens in Rome, Villa Borghese is known as the most popular park in the city and it is a wonderful spot to escape and enjoy beautiful nature.

The gardens are free of charge and a great way to explore them is by renting a scooter for the day. You can find scooters all around Rome!

Villa Borghese Gardens are situated on the Pincian Hill, which is close to the Spanish Steps. They were developed in the early 17th Century by Cardinal Scipione Borghese. He wanted to turn his former vineyard into the most extensive gardens in Rome.

Admire the Great Works of Leonardo da Vinci:

Artwork in Rome

A great art museum to add to your Rome bucket list is the Leonardo da Vinci Museo. Overall, Leonardo da Vinci was a Renaissance painter, engineer, scientist, sculptor and architect and everything he created was something to be admired.

The Leonardo da Vinci Museum is the only museum that includes over 50 certified inventions. There is also a room dedicated to his most famous paintings. It is fascinating!

It costs 12 euros to enter the museum as an adult, 10 euros for children ages 6-15 and 10 euros for students 26 and under.

Join One of the Best Rome Food Tours:

Mussels from Italy

Rome, Italy has some of the best food tours for you to participate in during your unforgettable first trip!

During a food tour, you can visit different neighborhoods, restaurants and markets in the city and taste local dishes, enjoy award-winning Italian wines and learn how locals find the best ingredients for their kitchen.

Eating in Italy is the best and you don’t want to miss out on an incredible opportunity like this. Discover the best food tours and cooking classes in Rome!

Go on a Day Trip from Rome:

Tuscany, a great day trip from Rome

Rome is in a great location, so it is easy to do a day trip to other cities and areas in Italy. During your Rome trip, I recommend adding the below spots to your bucket list:

  • Tivoli (A town in Lazio that boasts Hadrian’s villa.)
  • Ostia Antica (An ancient Roman archaeological site, just outside of the city.)
  • Montepulciano (An iconic Southern Tuscan town that is known for its dreamy rolling hills and renowned red wine.)
  • Saturnia (A beautiful spa town in Tuscany.)
  • Orvieto (A hidden gem in Umbria that is known for its duomo and ceramics.)
  • Naples (A thriving city known for its pizza, duomo, royal palace and castle.)
  • Pompeii (An archaeological site and former town, near Naples, that was buried under ash during the tragic eruption of Mount Vesuvius volcano in 79 AD.)
  • Assisi (A stunning medieval town in Italy’s Umbria region.)
  • Perugia (Another beautiful Umbrian city that is known for its 13th Century art.)
  • Siena (A historical Tuscan city where you’ll find locals speaking the most beautiful Italian throughout all of Italy.)

A woman at the Spanish Steps in Rome - a bucket list
Photo By Emil Garabey

I hope you all enjoyed discovering what to add to your Rome bucket list for your first time in the city. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of Italy:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Rome, Time Zone: Central European Standard Time

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on November 17, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    Loved reliving our trip to beautiful Rome ~ amazing architecture, so much history, delicious food and drink and the beautiful Vatican City ~ the Colosseum, Soanish stairs and so much more ~ we made awesome family memories there! Absolutely beautiful city! Thank you for bringing us back to gorgeous Roma ~ love you, mom xoxo 👩

  2. Bri on November 18, 2021 at 6:55 am

    We were just talking about how we need to go back to Rome! We did a veryyyy quick Euro-backpacking trip in 2014 but were on such a budget we didn’t get to do much, lol. Love all your photos ✨x

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Taylor-Rome12

A woman throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain in Italy - a bucket list
Photo By Emil Garabey

Rome, Italy is a fascinating city that is filled with bucket list, must see places! Founded in 753 BC by Romulus and Remus, which are the twin sons of Mars, the god of war. The beautiful ancient city of Rome is the capital of Italy (located in Lazio) and it is also the most visited within the country. Rome is known for its ancient wonders, incredible cuisine, over 2000 fountains and amazing culture.

In September 2021, I did an unforgettable Southern Italy trip. I started my Italy travels in Rome with my family where we spent 2 nights in the capital city. From there, we made our way to Naples before spending 5 nights in Sorrento and along the Amalfi Coast as well as Capri. Towards the end of our family trip, we drove back up to Rome where we explored Vatican City and spent 1 more night before departing ways.

A woman at the Colosseum in Rome - a bucket list
Photo By Emil Garabey

While my family headed back home to New Jersey, I met up with Ashley of World to Wander and we spent 3 nights and 4 days in Puglia.

In this bucket list travel blog, read all about my family trip and discover what not to miss in Rome, Italy during your first time.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin the Below Image to Keep Handy

Rome, Italy Bucket List for Your First Time

Traveling to and Around Rome:

The Temple of Hadrian in Rome

Getting to and around Rome, Italy is easy! For my Italy trip, I took a flight from Newark Liberty International Airport to Rome Fiumicino – Leonardo da Vinci Airport with a layover in Lisbon. You can find affordable flights through Skyscanner!

During my time in this ancient city with my family, our Airbnb was in a proper walking distance between Rome’s attractions. We mainly got around by walking during our 3 days in Rome, but you can also take a city taxi or Uber.

Rome during sunset

Rome also has a metro with three lines that cross the city diagonally. Each line has stops near every famous place in Rome! The city also has a bus that operates around Rome and its outskirts.

In addition, Rome has urban trains that complement the three metro lines. It is run by the same company and tickets/prices are the same. Lastly, there are six tram lines that go throughout the city.

Click here to learn more about Rome’s public transportation networks. The best way to travel outside of Rome is to take the train or rent a car.

Where to Stay in Rome:

A woman enjoying a bucket list trip to Rome

While you’re in Rome, I recommend staying in the city’s popular neighborhoods and near the famous attractions. Below is a list of awesome areas for you to book your accommodation in:

  • Piazza Navona (Where we stayed our first two nights.)
  • Pantheon
  • Campo de’ Fiori
  • Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps – where we stayed our last night in Rome.)
  • Trastevere
  • Colosseum/Monti
  • Vatican City/Prati
  • Roma Termini
  • Testaccio
A beautiful building in Rome, Italy

When it comes to hotels, Rome boasts a plethora of wonderful options for you to choose from based on your budget. You can also choose from a variety of Airbnb and Vrbo options.

Overall, we spent 3 nights in Rome (2 nights at the beginning of our Italy trip and 1 night at the end). During our Italy itinerary, we first started by staying in a beautiful Airbnb near the popular Piazza Navona and the River Tiber, which boasts the picturesque Ponte Sant’Angelo and Castel Sant’Angelo. Our apartment was also surrounded by a lot of great restaurants. Click here to book this Airbnb.

Charming neighborhoods in Rome, Italy

During our third and final night in Rome (after spending 5 days on the Amalfi Coast), my family and I stayed in an Airbnb that was close to the Spanish Steps as well as some awesome shops and great restaurants! Click here to book this apartment.

If you are traveling with your family or a group of friends (we were a group of 5), it is most convenient and cost efficient to stay at an Airbnb or Vrbo during your time in Rome.

Beautiful buildings of Rome, Italy

Below is a list of great hotels in Rome, based on budget:

Luxury Accommodation: St. Regis Rome (Termini)

Boutique Accommodation: Hotel Indigo Rome – St. George (Navona)

Mid-Budget Accommodation: G-Rough Rome (Campo de’ Fiori)

Budget Accommodation: Hostel Trastevere (Trastevere)

Rome Bucket List – The Best Things to do in Rome, Italy

A woman enjoying a Rome bucket list for the first time
Photo By Emil Garabey

Rome is a beautiful and romantic city filled with timeless architecture to admire, incredible cuisine to savor, fascinating historical sites to learn from and great parks and museums to stroll through.

Discover what you must see and do in Rome, Italy during your 3 days there:

Enjoy Eating the Best Dishes in Italy:

Cacio e pepe from Rome - a bucket list

When it comes to food in Rome, you can find everything from delicious pasta dishes to heartwarming pizza pies along with mouthwatering pastries to great meat and seafood plates. Some of the most popular dishes of Rome to add to your bucket list are cacio e pepe, which is spaghetti in a parmesan type of sauce with black pepper; carbonara, which is spaghetti in a creamy egg and cheese sauce; Roman pizza; gelato and more!

Outdoor restaurants in Rome, Italy

During our family vacation in Italy, we ate at some of the best restaurants in Rome, thanks to all my Instagram friends and family members who recommended awesome local spots. Below are the best places to eat in Rome, Italy:

Hostaria L’Orso ’80:

Spaghetti with clams from L'Orso '80 in Rome, Italy

The best restaurant we ate at during our 3 days in Rome was L’Orso ’80, which was located right by our Airbnb in the Navona area.

If there was one restaurant that I can recommend you not skip during your time in Rome, it is this one because everything from the food to the service exceeded expectations!

Bread with rosemary and olive oil from L'Orso '80 in Rome

My family and I ate at L’Orso ’80 for lunch when we first arrived in the city. We started off with some Aperol Spritz and Chianti red wine. From there, we were given bread with olive oil and rosemary, which was delicious!

For our main courses, my dad and I enjoyed the spaghetti with clams in a white wine sauce; my mom and brother had the famous cacio e pepe, Roman pasta dish and my other brother savored spaghetti pomodoro. Everything was incredible!

Cookies and biscotti from Italy

After lunch, the waiter gave us limoncello and for dessert, we enjoyed biscotti and homemade cookies to have with espresso.

Il Corallo Ristorante & Pizzeria:

Proscuitto with melon from Il Corallo in Rome

One of our cousins, who travels to Italy a lot, recommended a great restaurant located in Navona called Il Corallo.

Dessert from Rome

Because we had a lot to eat for lunch, we weren’t too hungry for dinner on our first evening. My dad, brother and I split a Margherita pizza with prosciutto and melon on the side; my other brother had a local beef dish and my mom had a fresh salad. We obviously had Chianti red wine again, which is the best in my opinion! For dessert, we all shared the tiramisu and chocolate mousse.

Osteria da Fortunata:

Eating at Osteria da Fortunata - a Rome bucket list

An Instagram friend, who is from Italy, recommended a local’s favorite – Osteria da Fortunata. Located near Campo de’ Fiori, this restaurant boasts organic Roman recipes and handmade pasta dishes. Because it is popular among locals, we had to wait on a long line to get seated, but it went fast.

During our lunch at Osteria da Fortunata, my brother and I savored the spaghetti pomodoro; my other brother enjoyed the cacio e pepe and both of my parents got gnocchi pomodoro. Everything was delicious and went perfect with wine!


Nannarella Osteria dal Roma Trastevere:

Eating at the popular Nannarella restaurant - a Rome bucket list

Located in the charming neighborhood of Trastevere, Nannarella is another restaurant that is a favorite among Roman locals. The same Italian friend on Instagram recommended this amazing restaurant to me and I couldn’t wait to visit with my family.

A tiramisu dessert from Nannarella in Trastevere in Rome

Since Nannarella is a popular restaurant, we also had to wait a bit to get seated, but it was worth it! My dad and brothers enjoyed the homemade meat balls, my mom had a local pork dish and I got the cotoletta panama, which is turkey Milanese. My meal came with roasted potatoes and salad on the side. We also had a local Tuscan white wine with our dinner and for dessert, we savored tiramisu again!

Vinsanto Vino & Cucina:

A charcuterie board from Vinsanto in Rome

On our last day in Rome, we visited Vatican City. After our tour, we savored lunch right outside of the Vatican at a charming restaurant called Vinsanto Vino & Cucina.

Our lunch began with a delicious charcuterie board with fresh cheeses and cure meats with a local white wine. (The platter also came with Caprese salad and fresh bread.) For our main meals, my mom and I had the spaghetti pomodoro; my dad had the Margherita pizza; my one brother had tagliatelle pasta with a creamy mushroom sauce and my other brother had spaghetti Bolognese. 

Ciampini Bistrot:

Pesto rigatoni from Ciampini Bistrot in Rome

For dinner on our last evening in Rome, we ate at Ciampini Bistrot, which is near the Spanish Steps. For dinner, my mom, dad and brother had the lasagna al ragu (lasagna with meat sauce); my other brother had gnocchi alla sorrentina, which is gnocchi with tomato, mozzarella, basil and red pepper and I savored the rigatoni al pesto (rigatoni pasta with pesto sauce).

Everything was delicious! We enjoyed a plate of Italian pastries for dessert and also had Chianti red wine with our dinner.

Tour Rome’s Must Visit Places:

A woman exploring the ancient sites in Rome, Italy

Below is a list of places to visit in Rome that will amaze you and also bring you back in time! Click here to book a guided city walking tour in Rome.

Make a Wish at the Trevi Fountain:
The Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

One of the top must see places in Rome is the Trevi Fountain. Known as the most beautiful and largest fountain in Rome, the Trevi Fountain goes back to the year of 19 BC.

There is a myth that goes along with the Trevi Fountain; if you have your back towards the fountain and throw one coin behind your left shoulder, you will return to Rome. If you throw two coins into the fountain, you will fall in love with an attractive Italian. If you throw in three coins, you will marry the person that you met in Italy. This may or may not happen to you if you throw a coin (or three) into the fountain, but it is a fun thing to add to your Rome bucket list.

A woman at the Trevi Fountain in Rome - a bucket list
Photo By Emil Garabey

Around 1 million euros worth of coins are thrown into the fountain each year and the money is donated to charitable causes in Italy.

What is cool about the Trevi Fountain is that it has an underground section that you can explore. The secret archaeological site includes an aqueduct that feeds water into the Trevi Fountain. Click here to book a tour under the Trevi Fountain.

Visit the Roman Colosseum:
A woman at the Colosseum in Rome

A first-time trip to Rome is not complete without seeing the Colosseum. It is the most iconic landmark of Rome and it dates back 2,000 years. This famous spot in Rome is also one of the 7 Wonders of the World that you must add to your bucket list. (After Machu Picchu and Chichen Itza, the Roman Colosseum was my third visited Wonder of the World.)

The Colosseum was established in the year of 80 AD and it was an active amphitheater for over 500 years. It hosted gladiatorial fights, executions and exhibits of exotic animals.

Over the years, the Colosseum went through some earthquakes, World War II bombings and looting. The Colosseum is one of the most incredible landmarks to see in person and it will provide you with that “wow” factor!

A woman at the Colosseum at night - a Rome bucket list
Photo By Emil Garabey

I recommend seeing the Colosseum both during the day and at night because it is lit up so beautifully! I also suggest you get tickets ahead of time and see the inside of the Colosseum.

Just like the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum also has an underground section to explore! Underneath the Roman Colosseum, you can walk through tunnels where gladiators once prepared for battles. Click here to book a tour.

Go back in Time at The Temple of Hadrian:
A woman in front of the Temple of Hadrian in Rome

Another great historical landmark that you need to add to your Rome bucket list is the Temple of Hadrian. It was built in 138 AD and was dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian, who visited the city from Athens. He was one of the Five of Good Emperors.

Stroll into the Pantheon:
A woman in front of the Pantheon - a Rome bucket list

Another popular ancient landmark in Rome, that you must add to your bucket list, is the Pantheon. Construction of the Pantheon started in 27 BC, but it opened in 125 AD and was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus.

To this day, no one truly knows what the Pantheon’s original purpose was and why it was built. It is one of the most intact ancient structures in Rome, Italy. After a large fire and being struck by lightning, Emperor Hadrian rebuilt the Pantheon and added a beautiful round dome inside.

Walk Up the Spanish Steps:
A woman at the Spanish Steps in Rome
Photo By Emil Garabey

A famous place in Rome that cannot be missed during your first trip is the Spanish Steps. These famous steps were completed in 1725 and have had the reputation of being the prime “people watching” spot throughout the years.

The Spanish Steps have always attracted a “good-looking” crowd due to the number of artists and photographers who congregated around the steps. (Audrey Hepburn also visited the Spanish Steps during her lifetime.)

People used to be able to sit on the steps and enjoy socializing with friends, eating paninis and, of course, people watching, but you can no longer do that. If you are found sitting on the Spanish Steps now, you will be fined. The city is doing everything they can to preserve these historical steps.

The Piazza di Spagna in Rome

Now, these popular steps have nothing to do with the Spanish or the country of Spain. The steps were financed by a French diplomat named Étienne Gueffier and were named referring to the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See (the Vatican). The embassy was supposed to be located on the Piazza di Spagna that is at the base of the steps.

At the top of the Spanish Steps is the Trinità dei Monti Church, which holds a beautiful piece of art by Daniele da Volterra, who had links to Michelangelo.

Admire the Altare della Patria Roma:
A woman enjoying a trip to Rome, Italy

One of the most incredible landmarks to admire in Rome is the Altare della Patria. This beautiful monument is a tribute to Victor Emmanuel II who was the first king of Italy after the country’s unification.

Altare della Patria in Rome, Italy

If you visit this building, you can check out the Institute for the History of Italian Risorgimento and the Central Museum of the Risorgimento. The Altare della Patria is in Piazza Venezia and it is hard to miss.

See the Roman Forum:
Exploring the Roman Forum - a Rome bucket list item

What you must also include in your Rome bucket list is the Roman Forum, which was once a district of temples, basilicas and exciting public spaces that held gatherings, trials, elections, gladiator events and more.

Learn History at Vatican City:

A woman touring the Vatican during a Rome trip

A first time Rome bucket list is not complete without including the Vatican as a place to visit. Vatican City is a city state independent of Rome, so it is its own country (and it has its own flag too)!

Views of the Vatican

Vatican City is the seat of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and is also home to the Pope. The only people who live in Vatican City are clergy. Overall, 2,400 people work in the country, but most of them commute from Rome or other towns in Italy.

Visiting the Vatican City during a Rome trip - a bucket list

Overall, there are six entrances to Vatican City, but only three are open to the public. If you want to tour the Vatican itself along with St. Peter’s Basilica, you must book your tickets and tour ahead of time! You can still walk into the city state from Rome and admire all the medieval and Renaissance architecture, but if you want to tour the museums and landmarks, you have to arrange a time to visit in advance.

A beautiful sculpture exhibit in the Vatican

The Vatican consists of 26 museums that showcase all its history. When you book your tickets, I recommend trying to get an earlier time slot because it will take quite a few hours to walk through these museums. They are incredible and you’re going to want to see as much as possible!

The Gallery of Maps at the Vatican

Some of the popular masterpieces to see inside the Vatican are the Last Judgement by Michelangelo; the gilded bronze statue of Hercules, which was founded in the courtyard of the Palazzo Pio Righetti; The Entombment of Christ by Caravaggio; the Gallery of Maps and more. You can also find numerous works of art from Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Francis Bacon and other historical artists.

A sculpture in a Vatican museum

After making your way through the Vatican museums, you will finally reach the Sistine Chapel. Please note that you cannot use your cameras or cell phones for photos and videos in the Sistine Chapel!

Michelangelo's painting in the Sistine Chapel
Please note that this photo is from a stock image site called Unsplash. I did not take this photo in the Sistine Chapel.

The Sistine Chapel was built from 1473 – 1481 and it was designed by Giovanni dei Dolci for the Pope. The reason why this chapel is so famous is because it was where Michelangelo did his Renaissance fresco paintings. Overall, Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel took four years to complete. The most iconic scenes painted on the ceiling of the chapel is The Creation of Adam.

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City - a Rome bucket list goal

Another one of the most grandeur places to visit during your time in Vatican City is St. Peter’s Basilica. It is a breathtaking Renaissance-styled church that features a dome you can climb up and capture views of Rome. (It is one of the best views in the Rome area!)

The best views of Rome from Vatican City - a bucket list

Outside of St. Peter’s Basilica is the Piazza San Pietro, which is surrounded by beautiful colonnades and features wonderful views from all around. During your time in Vatican City, I also recommend strolling through the beautiful Giardini Vaticani (the Vatican City’s gardens).

A ceiling in the Vatican

The cost for a Vatican tour varies depending on the company you choose to go through. It is completely free to visit St. Peter’s Basilica along with every other church in Rome.

Stroll around Trastevere:

Strolling through Trastevere in Rome - a bucket list

One of the most charming areas to get lost in Rome is Trastevere. This beautiful Bohemian neighborhood is known for its lovely alleyways filled with ivy, flowers, vintage cars, traditional trattorias, beer pubs, artist galleries and more!

Trastevere in Rome at night

During the day, Trastevere is quiet and peaceful, but at night, it is a popular spot for young people to go out and have fun! In fact, one of the top things you must add to your Rome bucket list is enjoying a memorable night out with friends in Trastevere.

Relax at Piazza Navona:

Piazza Navona in Rome

One of the best spots to grab a gelato and relax with some friends is at Piazza Navona. This beautiful piazza was located near our Airbnb and it is famous for its three stunning fountains – Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro and Fontana del Nettuno.

Eating gelato in Rome - a bucket list

The Piazza Navona is surrounded by restaurants, cafés, bars and gelato shops.

Watch the Sunset over Ponte Sant’Angelo:

Sunset from the Ponte Sant'Angelo

Another one of the best views in Rome, and a great spot to watch the sunset, is along the Tiber River. Right by Ponte Umberto I, you can walk down some stairs to a walkway that is closer to the water. Right then and there, you can watch the sun go down over the iconic Ponte Sant’Angelo, which is known as one of the most beautiful bridges in Rome.

A woman watching a sunset along the Tiber River in Rome - a bucket list

Watching the sunset over Ponte Sant’Angelo with views of St. Peter’s Basilica behind it is a MUST see during your time in Rome.

Also known as the “Bridge of Angels”, Ponte Sant’Angelo was built in 134 AD by Emperor Hadrian to connect the center of Antique Rome with his newly built mausoleum, which is now the Castel Sant’ Angelo. For years, the Ponte Sant’Angelo was used as a passageway for Christian pilgrims on their way to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome

Overall, the sunset views over Ponte Sant’Angelo will have you amazed and wanting to go back every evening during your time in Rome. (You should also walk through the Castel Sant’Angelo too and admire all its beauty! It costs 14 euros for adults to enter the castle, 7 euros for EU-citizens aged 18 to 25 and it is free for children and teens under 18.)

Walk around the Villa Borghese:

Villa Borghese in Rome

Known as the best gardens in Rome, Villa Borghese is known as the most popular park in the city and it is a wonderful spot to escape and enjoy beautiful nature.

The gardens are free of charge and a great way to explore them is by renting a scooter for the day. You can find scooters all around Rome!

Villa Borghese Gardens are situated on the Pincian Hill, which is close to the Spanish Steps. They were developed in the early 17th Century by Cardinal Scipione Borghese. He wanted to turn his former vineyard into the most extensive gardens in Rome.

Admire the Great Works of Leonardo da Vinci:

Artwork in Rome

A great art museum to add to your Rome bucket list is the Leonardo da Vinci Museo. Overall, Leonardo da Vinci was a Renaissance painter, engineer, scientist, sculptor and architect and everything he created was something to be admired.

The Leonardo da Vinci Museum is the only museum that includes over 50 certified inventions. There is also a room dedicated to his most famous paintings. It is fascinating!

It costs 12 euros to enter the museum as an adult, 10 euros for children ages 6-15 and 10 euros for students 26 and under.

Join One of the Best Rome Food Tours:

Mussels from Italy

Rome, Italy has some of the best food tours for you to participate in during your unforgettable first trip!

During a food tour, you can visit different neighborhoods, restaurants and markets in the city and taste local dishes, enjoy award-winning Italian wines and learn how locals find the best ingredients for their kitchen.

Eating in Italy is the best and you don’t want to miss out on an incredible opportunity like this. Discover the best food tours and cooking classes in Rome!

Go on a Day Trip from Rome:

Tuscany, a great day trip from Rome

Rome is in a great location, so it is easy to do a day trip to other cities and areas in Italy. During your Rome trip, I recommend adding the below spots to your bucket list:

  • Tivoli (A town in Lazio that boasts Hadrian’s villa.)
  • Ostia Antica (An ancient Roman archaeological site, just outside of the city.)
  • Montepulciano (An iconic Southern Tuscan town that is known for its dreamy rolling hills and renowned red wine.)
  • Saturnia (A beautiful spa town in Tuscany.)
  • Orvieto (A hidden gem in Umbria that is known for its duomo and ceramics.)
  • Naples (A thriving city known for its pizza, duomo, royal palace and castle.)
  • Pompeii (An archaeological site and former town, near Naples, that was buried under ash during the tragic eruption of Mount Vesuvius volcano in 79 AD.)
  • Assisi (A stunning medieval town in Italy’s Umbria region.)
  • Perugia (Another beautiful Umbrian city that is known for its 13th Century art.)
  • Siena (A historical Tuscan city where you’ll find locals speaking the most beautiful Italian throughout all of Italy.)

A woman at the Spanish Steps in Rome - a bucket list
Photo By Emil Garabey

I hope you all enjoyed discovering what to add to your Rome bucket list for your first time in the city. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of Italy:

Currency: Euro, Capital: Rome, Time Zone: Central European Standard Time

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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2 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on November 17, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    Loved reliving our trip to beautiful Rome ~ amazing architecture, so much history, delicious food and drink and the beautiful Vatican City ~ the Colosseum, Soanish stairs and so much more ~ we made awesome family memories there! Absolutely beautiful city! Thank you for bringing us back to gorgeous Roma ~ love you, mom xoxo 👩

  2. Bri on November 18, 2021 at 6:55 am

    We were just talking about how we need to go back to Rome! We did a veryyyy quick Euro-backpacking trip in 2014 but were on such a budget we didn’t get to do much, lol. Love all your photos ✨x

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