Unforgettable Rome: 3 Days of Art, History and Amazing Eats

Advisor - Sierra Swanson
Curated By

Sierra Swanson

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  • Italy

  • Rome

  • Arts & Culture

  • Boutique Travel

  • City Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Honeymoons

  • International Travel

  • Sightseeing

  • Local Culture

  • Historical

people standing in front of large stone building during daytime
Curator’s statement

There’s nothing in the world quite like La Dolce Vita. In the epicenter of Rome, everything is definitely sweeter (and that’s not just the gelato talking). If you’re a first-timer in Italy, the options can be overwhelming—millennia of history will do that to you. If you’re planning to city-hop and need to squeeze every last sweet drop out of your Italian holiday—this guide is for you. You could also easily turn this into a 4or 5-day itinerary if you’re looking for a slower pace with more breaks for Roman cappuccino, carbonara and carciofi.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay

The Tribune Hotel, part of JdV by Hyatt

Chic, design-forward hotel with stylish rooms and a trendy bar in the heart of Rome.

Fora Perks
  • Hotel / resort credit

  • Welcome amenity.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out, whenever possible.

Hotel de Ricci

Rome’s destination for oenophiles, with eight individually-designed suites, in-house sommeliers and an impressive wine cellar.

Fora Perks
  • $50 hotel / resort credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hotel Indigo Rome - St. George, an IHG Hotel

Sleek luxury boutique hotel boasting a rooftop terrace and a full-service spa located on a quaint cobblestone street in Rome.

Fora Perks
  • $50 hotel / resort credit.

  • Welcome amenity.

  • Upgrade & late check-out whenever possible.

Advisor - Sierra Swanson

Unlock perks by contacting Sierra to book your trip.

Day 1: Travel Back in Time to Ancient Rome

people standing outside of large stone building during daytime

Start the morning off easy with a stroll to the Pantheon. One of the best-preserved monuments in Rome, this temple to the gods has withstood the tests of time since approximately 126 A.D. If you’re an early riser, you’ll benefit from fewer crowds. If you stop for a cornetto (Italian for croissant) and espresso first, the sun starts streaming through the dome’s Oculus around 11 am.

Next, take a guided tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum. The history and scale of this area make a tour guide pretty essential. Soak up stories of gladiators and emperors as you get your fair share of steps in for the day. You’ll certainly work up an appetite.

Where to Eat: La Prezzemolina

Tucked back in an alley adjacent to the Colosseum, you’ll find La Prezzemolina, an unsuspecting shop with some of the best pizza al taglio in the city. Invented in Rome, the rectangular pizza al taglio isn’t sold by the slice, but by weight. My advice: go light on each slice so you can try as many flavors as your heart desires (and your stomach can manage). Everything from the traditional margherita to the funghi (mushroom) and salame will have you drooling and ready to step back in line for more. No judgment if you do.

Bonus Activity: No-Cost Entry to One of Michelangelo's Greatest Works

Housed up on a hill in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli, you’ll find Michelangelo’s Moses, a mighty follow-up to his incomparable David. The church is open to the public and rarely crowded, giving you plenty of time to marvel at the truly energetic figure and all of its detail. And no, those are not horns, they are from an Old Testament claim that Moses had beams of light coming from his head.

Day 2: Indulge in Art & Save Your Appetite

people standing in front of large building during daytime

The Vatican galleries are an incredible collection of centuries worth of priceless art. Take a guided tour to experience masters like Raphael, Michelangelo and more. The Sistine Chapel alone is worth the visit. Booking with a third-party tour guide will also get you fast-pass access to St. Peter's Basilica, saving you precious time waiting in lines that can span much of Vatican City itself.

Afterward, wander across the river past Castel Sant'Angelo (pause for photo ops here and across the statue-lined bridges) to Piazza Navona, one of the most picturesque open squares in the city. Grab a snack at Campo de Fiori—specifically the Forno on its edges—for a mortadella sandwich, focaccia or select pastries.

In the evening, it’s time to explore Trastevere. While this is no longer the best-kept secret, the charming alleyways and lively atmosphere

Where to Aperitivo: Bar San Calisto

Aperitivo is an artform in Italy. There’s nowhere better to celebrate the happiest of hours than Bar San Calisto. Getting seats will be a challenge, but the cheap drinks are often complemented with street band entertainment–so standing with a Peroni or a Spritz is hardly a hassle.

Where to Eat: Roma Sparita

This quaint restaurant of Anthony Bourdain fame lives up to its reputation. If I could only eat one meal at one restaurant it would be the cacio é pepe from Roma Sparita. It’s unbelievably simple and equally delicious. Served in a parmesan cheese bowl, this beats the pants off any other cacio you will find in Rome. Feel free to order other items, but don’t plan to split the cacio—trust me, you’ll regret not having your own. For dessert, get the tiramisu.

Reservations can be made 15 days in advance via email (and you’ll need them).

Day 3: Enjoy Intimate and Iconic Sites

large stone building near body of water during daytime

Villa Borghese was once the playground of one of the most powerful families in Rome. Now, its gardens and Galleria are a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Enjoy strolling the shaded pathways before heading to a guided tour of the Galleria Borghese. Overlooked by many tourists, this collection focuses on the sculptures of Bernini (the leading talent of his age) and gives you an up-close look at the marvels of marble in the hands of a master.

Then, you’re off on a self-guided walking tour of some of the most iconic spaces in Rome. Starting at Piazza del Popolo, you’ll continue on to the Spanish Steps (which are good for a photo and a quick workout) and finally, to the Trevi Fountain. The Trevi is almost always busy, but you can make your way through the crowds to toss a coin into the fountain—ensuring this won’t be your last visit to the Eternal City.

Where to Eat: Hostaria Romana

Hostaria Romana is a gem just north of the Trevi Fountain. Its close quarters and graffiti-covered walls make for a vibey backdrop to an incredible meal. Try the other famous Roman pastas like Carbonara or Amatriciana, or seasonal favorites like Carciofi alla Romana (served across the city in the Spring).

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Rebecca Hanson's 3-Day Beginner's Guide to Rome.

Advisor - Sierra Swanson

Travel Advisor

Sierra Swanson

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Rome, part of our larger series on travel to Italy.