Thought Rome in a day was something you only see in the movies? Think again. Believe it or not, as much as “The Eternal City” has to offer, and while you should definitely stay longer if you can to get the most out of your time there, you can definitely visit the best of Rome’s attractions in a day if you’re in a bit of a time crunch. So, without further ado, here is an insider’s guide compiled from my recent vacation in Italy of the top ten attractions you should add to your itinerary when in Rome, which can all be done in a single day if you plan accordingly.

  1. Visit the Colosseum: This is probably the number one thing on people’s to-visit lists when they come to Italy and a popular spot on people’s overall bucket lists as well. Nearly 4 million people visit this famed attraction annually, and it’s not hard to figure out why. This Roman landmark has a bloody history dating back to 80 AD when Roman gladiators fought to the death within the amphitheater’s walls as a spectator sport. Thousands of years later, it has remained mostly intact.
  1. Visit the Pantheon: If the Colosseum is the number one tourist attraction in the city of Rome, then surely the Pantheon is number two. Meaning “a temple for the Gods” in ancient Greek, the Pantheon is the final resting place of famous Roman kings and other prominent figures, such as the Renaissance painter Raphael. Built between 118 and 128 AD, the Pantheon features the largest dome known to man until the modern era and is considered the only architecturally perfect building in existence. It is also the best-preserved monument of Imperial Rome.
  1. Toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain: Ever seen the movie When in Rome starring Kristen Bell where her character, Beth, steals some coins from the Trevi Fountain and as a result is pursued by a bunch of suitors? Not saying this Baroque masterpiece will bring you instant love, but legend has it that those who throw a coin into the fountain will one day return to Rome- not a bad deal, right?
  1. Eat a slice of pizza or some gelato on the go: A trip to Rome would not be complete without a slice of pizza from one of their legendary pizzerias or some authentic Italian gelato. A great option for pizza is Da Michele where you can grab a slice to go and walk over to the nearby Trevi Fountain. As for gelato, there are options aplenty, but Giolotti is arguably the best and is conveniently located between the Pantheon and the Italian Parliament. If you’d rather sit and savor your gelato, a spot at one of their street-side tables is great for people watching!
  1. Explore the Vatican: The home of the Pope is a must-see on most people’s lists, whether they’re Catholic or not. While the Pope, who delivers the Angelus prayer from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square when he’s in town on Sunday’s at noon, is obviously a big draw for Catholic tourists, the Vatican City offers much more. From Saint Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel housing the works of the great Michelangelo, to Bernini’s Piazza di San Pietro, you could definitely spend all day at the Vatican…although if you’re tight on time, you don’t need to!
  1. Climb the Spanish Steps at Piazza di Spagna: Another Roman tradition any tourist should partake in is climbing the famous Spanish Steps at Piazza di Spagna. In addition to offering some great shopping (if you have the money for expensive boutiques) the Piazza di Spagna is home to a famous set of stairs leading up to Trinita dei Monti church and offering a great view of the piazza from above.
  1. Go Shopping at the Galleria Alberto Sordi: If you’re looking for a more affordable shopping option, the Galleria Alberto Sordi is basically a giant shopping mall that includes stores like La Rinascente (the Italian version of Macy’s), Zara, and Italian bookstore chain La Feltrinelli.
  1. Climb the Gianicolo hill for the best views of the city: Rome is known as the city of seven hills and while this technically isn’t one of them since it’s outside the city limits, if you’re willing to make the trek up this hill, you’ll be rewarded with the best panoramic views of the city!
  1. Take in the art at the Galleria Borghese: This is another place where you could spend all day if you wanted to, but luckily the Renaissance and Baroque art housed within this seventeenth century villa are condensed to just 20 rooms, making it easy for you to stroll through all the museum’s collections. You won’t regret your visit, as nowhere else in the world will you find a more complete collection of Baroque art.
  1. End your day by settling down with a glass of wine or an espresso at Antico Caffe Della Pace: After all that walking, you will no doubt be exhausted, so what better way to end your day than by settling down with a nice glass of wine or a steamy cup of espresso at this highly-regarded cafe situated down a side street of the Piazza Navona? Grab a seat at one of their outdoor tables for some front row people watching!