Top Sights for a Three Day Trip to Rome, Italy

Rome is a beautiful city with a fascinating history, interesting culture, and wonderful food. During our two week visit to Italy, we spent three full days in Rome, which was just enough time to see some of the most important sites within the city. We stayed at a boutique hotel that was right on the Piazza Navona, which gave us a central location to explore the city. Since we only had three days in Rome, we made sure to see as much as we could, but we also kept it at a casual pace with plenty of time to relax and people watch on the many restaurant patios. These were the top highlights for our visit to Rome in no particular order.

View of the Colosseum from the Roman Forum
  1. The Colosseum – This is obviously one of the most recognizable locations in Rome and certainly not something to be missed. We visited during the off-season, in February, and even then the crowds can be quite large and lines can be long. There will be many tour guides outside of the Colosseum offering to take you on a tour and allowing you to jump into a shorter line.

    Walking the Museum Halls
  2. Vatican Museums – The Vatican Museums house thousands of works of art that have been collected throughout the centuries. There is too much to see in a single visit and we had to choose between focusing on sculptures or paintings during our tour of the museums. The final stop of any tour of the galleries is to see the interior of the Sistine Chapel. Often you don’t get a lot of time in the chapel because of the large crowds and long lines, but we were fortunate to get to spend as long as we wanted.

    Marble Floors and the Interior of the Pantheon
  3. The Pantheon – Surrounded by the streets of Rome, the Pantheon is a fascinating piece of history in the heart of the city. The exterior of the Pantheon reveals its true age and classical architecture, but the interior looks like it could have been built recently. The interior of the dome is quite stunning and all of the marble floors, various statues, and beautiful artwork are worth making your way through the crowds to see.

    Fountain of the Four Rivers and the Palace in Piazza Navona
  4. Piazza Navona – We were fortunate to have our hotel located right on the Piazza Navona with amazing views from our room. The fountains are quite beautiful and during the day there will be artists and vendors selling items to the tourists as well as musicians playing a variety of music. Seeing the fountains at night when they are lit up is one of our favorite memories. Another reason to visit the Piazza Navona are all of the restaurants and cafes that are located in and around the piazza.

    View of the Roman Forum from Above
  5. The Roman Forum – Walking the paths of the Roman Forum might be our favorite memory of visiting Rome. We would recommend buying a bundled ticket that includes both the Colosseum as well as the Roman Forum. It would be a shame to visit Rome and not take the time to see the Roman Forum with the thousands of years of history and culture that it represents.

    Inside of Saint Peter’s Basilica
  6. Vatican City and Saint Peter’s Basilica – Obviously the Vatican Museums are wonderful to visit, especially with the inclusion of the Sistine Chapel, but just visiting Vatican City is worth it. There is something truly special about walking through Saint Peter’s Basilica and seeing the incredible artwork and architectural details. Stepping outside of the basilica and heading into Saint Peter’s Square is equally impressive with all of its historical significance.

    The Columns and Statues of the Monument
  7. Altare Della Patria – Located about halfway between the Colosseum and the Pantheon, visiting Altare Della Patria is worth visiting for several reasons. There is an observation deck on the roof that provides stunning views of the city as well as the Piazza Venezia, which is across the busy street from the building. There are the statues of the chariots and horses that can be seen from throughout the city. It is also the location of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. As with much of Rome, there are also many choices of restaurants in the area.

    Trevi Fountain in Rome
  8. Trevi Fountain – This might be the second most photographed location in Rome with its beautiful statues, flowing waters, and iconic scenes from the movies. Legend has it that if you toss a coin over your left shoulder that your dreams will come true. Money is collected from the fountain and used to provide food for the less fortunate, so even if your dreams don’t come true, you’ve done a good deed. It is a wonderful place to sit and take in the beautiful scenery and enjoy a sunny afternoon.

    City Views of Rome

Regardless of how many days that you have or the time of year that you visit, all of these locations should be on your itinerary. It is difficult seeing a city with a history and culture as diverse as Rome’s in such a short amount of time, but if you relax and walk the streets to visit each of these locations, you will certainly go home with incredible memories. We certainly treasure the time that we spent in Rome and in Italy in general.

Exploring the Roman Forum in Rome, Italy

Located adjacent to the Colosseum in Rome, Italy are the ruins of the Roman Forum. As with many other ancient ruins, when walking the grounds of the Roman Forum, one can’t help but imagine all of the individuals who influenced the history of the world walking those same steps. There are so many historic ruins that come from a variety of centuries that purchasing a guide book to fully understand the history of the site is highly recommended. Although they are all located next to each other, these ruins span thousands of years of history.

View of the Roman Forum from Above
Walking the Grounds
Centuries of History
So Many Ruins
Ancient Columns

The Roman Forum grew organically over time, so it’s layout can seem a little haphazard compared to other historical sites. It is well worth looking at the grounds of the forum from both eye-level as well as from above. Seeing the ruins from above provides the opportunity to understand the complexity of the historic site. It can be overwhelming to view it as a whole, but focusing on each individual location will help you gain an appreciation of how each generation added to the entire Roman Forum.

Looking Up at the Temple
Some Buildings are still Standing
So Much to See
Another View from Above

We found the ruins of the Roman Forum to be some of the most interesting archeological sites that we have had the pleasure to visit. Too many people only visit the Colosseum and don’t take the time to walk through the Roman Forum. It is truly a fascinating site and is not only well worth visiting, but should be a highlight of anyone’s visit to Rome. You should expect to spend at least a couple of hours visiting the Roman Forum and there are guides available if you would like to learn even more about its history.

In the Middle of the Forum
Dominating the Skyline
Such a Fascinating Sight to See
Line of Statues
The Roman Forum


Altare della Patria in Rome, Italy

Located about halfway between the Pantheon and the Colosseum, the Atare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland), which is also known as the Monument of Victor Emmanuel II, can be seen from throughout the neighboring streets. It is a huge, marble building that also has the tomb of the unknown soldier, the army museum, and a panoramic viewing platform. There is also the busy Piazza Venezia located across from the building as well as the Santa Maria di Loreto church. What certainly stands out are the different statues, including the two of the goddess Victoria riding on a chariot being pulled by four horses known as a quadrigas.

Altera della Patria
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Below the Goddess Roma
Statue of Victor Emmanuel II on Horseback
View of the Roman Forum and Colosseum from the Rooftop
Piazza Venezia

After the death of Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy, in 1878, the government approved construction of the monument. It was built on the northern side of Rome’s Capital Hill and construction began in 1885. It stands out due to its grand size, bright white marble, and tall columns on its façade. As you walk up the stairs to where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located, which is below a statue of the goddess Roma, the views of the city start to become impressive. In addition to the tomb with its uniformed guards, there is also the eternal flame located there as well. The statue of Victor Emmanuel II on horseback is certainly a dominating feature.

Eternal Flame
Goddess Roma
Looking Out Over Piazza Venezia
The Columns and Statues of the Monument
Starting Up the Stairs

To enjoy even more amazing views of Rome’s skyline, take the lift to the rooftop that was added in 2007. From the rooftop, the unique buildings and architecture of this historic city spread out all around you. You can also see the Colosseum and the Roman Forum from the rooftop viewing platform, which is almost more impressive than seeing it from the ground below. The views of the city are probably the highlight of the monument, but the army museum is interesting as well. From the stairs or the rooftop, the beautiful Piazza Venezia with its busy roundabout stretches out before you and there are many restaurants in the area. We enjoyed lunch at a restaurant that had seats on an outdoor balcony that was directly across from the monument building.

City Views
Mix of Architecture
Goddess Victoria on Her Chariot
Looking Down at the Square and the Church
Standing on the Rooftop

From what we’ve read, there are some mixed feelings for locals regarding the Altare dell Patria, some of national pride and others feeling that it is a little too ostentatious. Either way, since it is centrally located and has the rooftop viewing platform, it is certainly a location that should be part of your walking tour of Rome. We visited on our second day and found it an easy walk from the Pantheon through Rome’s winding streets.

View of the Roman Forum
Sitting on the Restaurant’s Balcony
Display in the Museum
Rooftops of the City
The Back of the Statue as Seen from the Roman Forum