First Timer’s Guide to Rome

Justin and I travelled to Italy for our first time in March. We stayed in Salerno, Venice, and Rome. Even though we only spent two days in the country’s capital city, Rome was definitely the highlight of our trip.

Rome is a gorgeous city that balances history with modern times. It is pretty walkable, as most of the main attractions are 10-20 minutes from each other. Below, I discuss the itinerary of our visit and must-see sites for first timers!

If you’re planning an adventure to Italy, you should also check out my post regarding what I wish I knew before our trip here.

Don’t forget your comfortable shoes!

Our Itinerary

Colosseum and Roman Forum

We started off our morning by the Colosseum and Roman Forum. To our surprise, the city was offering free entrance to some of its museums and attractions for Culture Week; therefore, there were long wait times to enter both sites. We didn’t want to waste our morning in line and decided to return later on in the afternoon. We did explore the area and take a few photos, though.

Trevi Fountain

After walking by the Colosseum, we decided to continue over to the Trevi Fountain. This iconic fountain was different from what I had envisioned in my head–especially after seeing The Lizzie McGuire Movie. It seemed tucked away and slightly smaller than I expected. The statues are incredibly detailed, and the basin is filled with turquoise waters. I didn’t see anyone tossing coins into the fountain; so, I’m not sure if that’s still allowed. We enjoyed some gelato here before heading out to our next stop. The gelato in Italy lives up to the hype.

Spanish Steps and Shopping

Next, we then ventured over to the Spanish Steps. We discovered that there are a ton of shops to browse around this area. We definitely did a little damage to our wallets while we were here!


While exploring through some of the shops, we decided to head toward the direction of the Pantheon. This historical church was an unexpected gem for me. It has gorgeous alters and an open rotunda (in which visitors are able to see the sunlight above). The architecture and art within the building are impeccable. Overall, I think this is my favorite site in Rome!

Piazza Navona

After visiting the Pantheon, we then walked over to the Piazza Navona. This area is a nice place relax. There are various benches to sit on by the fountains and plenty of restaurant options. In addition, street performers frequently linger here. We took a break and ate at one of the cafés.

Colosseum and Roman Forum: Part II

Once we finished our lunch, we wanted to try our luck at the Colosseum and Roman Forum again. This choice worked out well for us, because we didn’t have to wait at all for either site. We first explored the ruins of the Roman Forum and ventured over to the Colosseum afterwards. Even though I’m not a history buff, I enjoyed both experiences.

At this point, we were exhausted and ended up heading back to our hotel. Rome is supposed to be gorgeous at night time. I would love to see some of these sites glisten with lights. Maybe next time. 🙂

Vatican and Vatican City

The next morning, we had early reservations for the Vatican. Even though this museum is incredibly confusing, it’s still worth visiting. The paintings in the Sistine Chapel are breathtaking. I would recommend taking a seat while there, because I definitely started to get dizzy looking up at the ceiling. As a Catholic, I also loved seeing some of the church’s history in person. The exhibit of PopeMobiles was probably my favorite part.

(If you’re interested in going to the Vatican, I discussed further details regarding our visit in my post linked above.)

We wandered around Vatican City for a little while, and we ended up stopping for lunch as well as our last cup of gelato. Because this was our final evening of the trip, we went back to our hotel shortly after. We wanted to start preparing for our early flight and long journey home.

Are there any other sites that you recommend in Rome? If so, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts for next time.