History is everywhere in gorgeous Rome, from the mighty 2000-year-old Colosseum to the Baroque glamour of the Spanish Steps. But this cinematic city is also a fantastic shopping and nightlife destination. With all the buzz you’d expect from the vibrant capital of Italy, it’s perfect for a stylish weekend break. Don’t miss any of the highlights with our essential local guide to 48 hours in Rome!
Day one: morning
Once the capital of the greatest empire on earth, Rome’s ancient monuments still dazzle visitors. Spend the morning exploring the evocative ruins of the ancient Forum and take a guided visit of the magnificent Colosseum. The largest amphitheatre ever built, crowds of up to 85,000 people came to watch the gladiator fights, executions and even sea battles. There are lots of fantastic places to eat nearby, whether you simply want to grab a slice of pizza on the run or sit out in the including lots of restaurants with sunny terraces.
Day one: afternoon
Fortified by lunch, stroll up towards the Piazza Venezia. You can’t miss the wedding-cake style Victor Emmanuel II Monument, which you could climb for fabulous views. Continue to the enormous Pantheon, built by the Romans as a temple to all the gods, and a Catholic church since the 7th century. The vast interior is lit by an oculus – a circular opening in the dome. Stroll over to the Piazza Navona, a breathtaking Baroque square with a lavish fountain, elegant palaces, and lots of terrace cafés where you can enjoy a drink and watch the street entertainers.
Day two: morning
Spend the morning in the Vatican City: make sure you pre-book your ticket well in advance for the Vatican Museums to ensure you get an early slot and beat the crowds. St Peter’s Basilica, the most important Catholic church, is full of stunning artworks, including Michelangelo’s moving Pietà, and you can enjoy spectacular views of St Peter’s Square from the dome. The Sistine Chapel is the highlight of a visit to the Vatican Museums, and you can gaze up in awe at Michelangelo’s powerful depictions of biblical scenes.
Day two: afternoon
After an art- and culture-packed morning, take a breather in the afternoon. Stroll over to the Spanish Steps (or hop on a bus if you’re not a fan of walking), a gorgeous Baroque stairway that sweeps up from the glamorous Piazza di Spagna. This is home to some of the city’s landmark historic cafés, where you could indulge in some very satisfying people-watching from the pavement terraces. This is the heart of Rome’s most elegant shopping district, so why not while away an hour or two browsing in the chic boutiques. Take a wander down to the Trevi Fountain to toss a coin in the pool and make a wish, Dolce Vita-style! In the evening, head to enchanting Trastevere, where lots of chic wine bars and bistros line the cobbled streets.