Unmissable Things to Do on a Long Weekend in Rome

Rome, also known as the Eternal City, is a captivating destination that seamlessly combines ancient history with modern charm. With its iconic landmarks, rich cultural heritage, and delectable cuisine, Rome offers a plethora of experiences for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, this enchanting city has something to offer for everyone.

Planning a Long Weekend in Rome

Vatican City, Rome, Italy
Vatican City at night

When planning a long weekend in Rome, it’s essential to make the most of your time. Start by creating a list of must-see attractions and activities, ensuring you prioritise the ones that interest you the most.

Consider purchasing a Roma Pass or an Omnia Rome and Vatican Pass, which provide access to multiple attractions and public transport. These passes can help you save money and time, allowing you to make the most of your long weekend in Rome.

To optimise your itinerary, try to stay in centrally located accommodation, such as near the Colosseum or the Vatican City. This will allow you to easily explore the main attractions on foot or by using public transportation. Rome has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, trams, and the metro, which can efficiently take you from one point of interest to another.

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Exploring Rome on a Budget: Free Attractions and Activities

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy
Trevi Fountain

Exploring Rome doesn’t have to break the bank. The city offers a wealth of free attractions and activities that allow you to immerse yourself in its history and culture without spending a penny. Begin your budget-friendly exploration with a visit to the Pantheon, an architectural marvel dating back to ancient Rome. Marvel at its impressive dome and step inside to witness its grandeur.

Another must-see attraction that won’t cost you a penny is the Trevi Fountain. As you toss a coin into the fountain, according to tradition, you ensure your return to Rome in the future. Take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets of Trastevere, soak in the lively atmosphere, and admire the beautiful architecture of the area. Furthermore, the Spanish Steps offer a perfect spot to sit, relax, and people-watch, while enjoying stunning views of the city.

Must-See Attractions in Rome: Unmissable Sights and Landmarks

The Colosseum, Rome, Italy
The Colosseum

Rome is renowned for its iconic landmarks and must-see attractions that have stood the test of time. The Colosseum, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, is a symbol of ancient Rome’s grandeur. Step back in time as you explore this massive amphitheatre, imagining the spectacles that once took place within its walls.

The Roman Forum also offers a glimpse into the heart of ancient Rome, with its ruins and archaeological treasures. Walk in the footsteps of emperors and senators as you explore this historical site. The Palatine Hill, located adjacent to the Roman Forum, offers panoramic views of the city and provides insight into the lavish lifestyle of Rome’s elite.

And of course, no visit to Rome is complete without a visit to the Vatican City. Marvel at the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, and immerse yourself in the artistic wonders of the Vatican Museums. Admire the breathtaking beauty of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel, and be captivated by its intricate details.

Experiencing Rome’s Rich History: Historical Sites and Museums

Baths of Caracalla, Rome, Italy
Baths of Caracalla

Rome is a treasure trove of historical sites and museums that allow visitors to delve deeper into its captivating past. The Capitoline Museums, located on Capitoline Hill, house a vast collection of ancient Roman artifacts and artwork. Admire the famous statue of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome, and explore the museum’s impressive collection of sculptures and paintings.

For a more immersive historical experience, visit the Baths of Caracalla. Once one of the largest public baths in Rome, these ruins offer a glimpse into the daily life of ancient Romans. Explore the well-preserved underground areas and marvel at the scale of this ancient bathing complex.

To further enrich your understanding of Rome’s history, a visit to the National Roman Museum is a must. This museum showcases an extensive collection of ancient Roman artifacts, including statues, mosaics, and jewellery. Highlights include the stunning frescoes from the Villa of Livia and the iconic Discus Thrower sculpture.

Food and Drink Experiences in Rome


Rome is a culinary paradise, offering a myriad of food and drink experiences. Indulge in traditional Roman cuisine by trying iconic dishes such as pasta carbonara, cacio e pepe, and supplì (fried rice balls with mozzarella). Head to a local trattoria or osteria to savour these authentic flavours.

To truly immerse yourself in the Roman food culture, take a food tour through the city’s vibrant markets. Visit Campo de’ Fiori, a bustling square filled with stalls selling fresh produce, meats, and cheeses. Sample local delicacies, such as porchetta (roast pork) and Roman-style pizza, as you soak up the lively atmosphere. You could also book a cooking class, and learn how to make various pastas and desserts like tiramisu for yourself.

You should also take the opportunity to indulge in gelato. Seek out the city’s best gelaterias and treat yourself to a scoop (or two) of this creamy delight. From classic flavours like pistachio and stracciatella to unique creations like rosemary-infused gelato, there’s a flavour to suit every palate.

Shopping and Markets in Rome


Rome offers a diverse shopping scene, with everything from high-end fashion boutiques to quaint artisanal stores. Via dei Condotti, located near the Spanish Steps, is home to luxury brands such as Gucci and Prada. Stroll down this renowned shopping street and admire the elegant window displays.

For a more unique shopping experience, head to the Campo Marzio neighbourhood, known for its independent boutiques and artisanal shops. Browse through handmade leather goods, stylish clothing, and one-of-a-kind accessories, and explore the picturesque streets of Monti, a trendy neighbourhood known for its vintage shops, art galleries, and eclectic boutiques.

If you’re looking for a true taste of Italy, visit one of Rome’s bustling food markets. Mercato di Testaccio is a local favourite, offering a wide array of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and street food. Sample local specialties, purchase ingredients for a homemade meal, or simply soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling market.

Enjoying Rome’s Vibrant Nightlife

Tiber River, Rome, Italy
Tiber River at night

Rome truly comes alive at night, with its vibrant nightlife scene offering something for everyone. Begin your evening with an aperitivo (a pre-dinner drink and snack) at one of the city’s trendy bars; while sipping on a refreshing Aperol Spritz or Negroni, you can enjoy a selection of appetisers.

For a taste of Rome’s jazz scene, head to the Trastevere neighbourhood. This bohemian district is home to numerous jazz clubs and bars, where you can enjoy live music performances while sipping on a cocktail. The Testaccio neighbourhood is another hotspot for nightlife, with its clubs and discos attracting partygoers until the early hours of the morning.

If you prefer a more relaxed evening, take a leisurely stroll along the Tiber River, where you can admire the beautifully illuminated bridges and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the riverfront. End your evening with a gelato or a traditional Italian dessert at one of the charming gelaterias or pastry shops scattered throughout the city.

Discovering Rome’s Hidden Gems: Off-the-Beaten-Path Experiences

Appian Way, Rome, Italy
Appian Way

While Rome is known for its iconic landmarks, the city also hides a myriad of off-the-beaten-path gems waiting to be discovered- one of which being Aventine Hill, a serene escape from the bustling city. Wander through the picturesque orange groves of the Parco Savello and discover the keyhole at the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, which offers a breathtaking view of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Appian Way, one of the oldest and most important Roman roads, is another underrated attraction. This ancient thoroughfare is lined with ancient ruins and catacombs, providing a glimpse into the city’s past. Rent a bicycle and cycle along the cobblestone path, taking in the scenic countryside and historical sites along the way.

For a tranquil retreat, visit the Protestant Cemetery, also known as the Non-Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners. As you wander through the beautifully landscaped grounds you can pay your respects to literary icons such as John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley, who are amongst a number of notable figures to call this serene burial ground their final resting place.

Exploring Rome’s Surroundings: Day Trips and Excursions

Villa d'Este, Tivoli, Italy
Villa d’Este, Tivoli

While Rome itself offers endless attractions, it’s worth venturing beyond the city limits to explore its picturesque surroundings. Take a day trip to the charming town of Tivoli and visit Villa d’Este, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its stunning gardens and elaborate fountains, and explore the ruins of Hadrian’s Villa, a sprawling complex that once served as the emperor’s retreat.

Another popular day trip from Rome is a visit to the ancient city of Ostia Antica, this well-preserved archaeological site offering a fascinating glimpse into daily life in ancient Rome. Wander through the ancient streets, explore the impressive amphitheatre, and marvel at the beautifully preserved mosaics.

If you’re seeking a taste of the Italian countryside, head to the picturesque region of Frascati. Known for its vineyards and wineries, this charming town offers the perfect opportunity to indulge in wine tasting and sample local delicacies. Take a leisurely stroll through the historic centre and soak in the idyllic atmosphere of this quaint town.

Practical Tips for Visiting Rome: Transportation, Safety, and Etiquette

When visiting Rome, it’s important to keep a few practical tips in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. The city’s public transportation system, including buses, trams, and the metro, is an efficient way to get around; consider purchasing a travel pass, such as a Roma Pass, for unlimited travel within a certain timeframe.

To stay safe while exploring Rome, be mindful of your belongings and avoid crowded areas where pickpockets may operate. It’s also advisable to dress modestly when visiting religious sites, such as churches and the Vatican City. Additionally, it’s customary to greet locals with a polite “buongiorno” in the morning or daytime, or “buonasera” in the evening when entering shops, restaurants, or other establishments.

If you require emergency assistance in Rome, dial 112 to contact emergency services.

Conclusion: Making the Most of Your Long Weekend in Rome

A long weekend in Rome is a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history, indulge in its culinary delights, and discover its hidden treasures. From exploring iconic landmarks to venturing off the beaten path, Rome offers a wealth of experiences. Whether you’re on a budget or seeking luxury, this enchanting city has something to offer for every traveller.

CTA: Start planning your unforgettable long weekend in Rome today- head to Kiwi for flight deals, or check out our post Exploring the Top Destinations in Italy for more travel inspiration!

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