Given the opportunity of 48hrs in the Eternal City it really is a situation of choosing what you can fit it in.  There are so many incredible sites that are absolute ‘musts’ to visit that you really need to spend at least a month here to do the city justice!  And, don’t forget you’ll need plenty of time just soaking up the atmosphere and people watching – either with a coffee or glass of wine in hand!

So, here’s our essential sightseeing list that you could cram into 48hrs:

The Colosseum is the best preserved amphitheatre in the world and without a doubt the most world-wide recognised symbol of the city.  Although it is so massive you can get a good impression of it from the outside, go inside to really appreciate this ancient site finished in AD 80.  Along with the gruesome gladiator fights and chariot races, incredible theatrical shows were held here to entertain the Romans. With tiered seating for 50,000 people, the arena is built over an underground complex where animals were caged and stage sets prepared.

Top Tip: Buy a Roma Pass giving you free transport on all the city centre buses and metros plus free entry into the first museum you visit – worth it to beat the queues at the Colosseum.

The Vatican Museums include 54 magnificent galleries and is one of the most important Museum complexes in the world housing very important masterpieces from the Egyptian Age to late Renaissance. You won’t be able wander around them all in a 2 day visit but do make sure you visit the incredible Sistine Chapel home to two of the world’s most famous works of art – Michelangelo’s ceiling frescoes and his Last Judgment,  but be warned, on a busy day you could find yourself sharing it with up to 2000 people!

Top Tip: As the Vatican is closed on Sundays, try to avoid going on a Saturday or Monday when it is at its busiest – also buy a ‘Skip the line’ ticket in advance, or join a group/ guided tour.

In the heart of the Vatican City is St Peter’s Basilica which is the world’s largest Basilica and truly awe inspiring.  Expect queues, and once inside it is well worth getting a guided tour to appreciate its lavish interior and spectacular works of art.  You can also climb to the top of the Dome for incredible views of St. Peters square and the city of Rome.

Top Tip: There is a strict dress code of no shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts in the Basilica.  It is a 5-10 minute walk around the Vatican walls from the Basilica to the Vatican Museums so plan to do both in the same day.

On your second day head for the Pantheon and then wander around the wonderful ancient streets to find the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona.

The Pantheon is a 2000-year-old temple, now a church, and is the best preserved of Rome’s ancient monuments. Built by Hadrian over an earlier 27 BC temple, it has stood since around AD 125.  Although from the outside it looks in need of restoration, passing through its vast bronze doors and gazing up at the largest unreinforced concrete dome ever built is an incredible experience.

From the shadows of the winding streets of the historic center you suddenly come upon the breathtaking Piazza Navona, one of the finest Baroque Masterpiece in Rome.  With its monumental Buildings and magnificent fountains, the pedestrian piazza has long been a meeting place for the inhabitants of Rome. In past markets, processions and spectacles where held here, now life in the piazza revolves around the al fresco cafés, artists and street performers who entertain visitors until the small hours.

The area of the Spanish Steps has long been a gathering place of poets and artists.  It consists of 138 steps placed in a mix of curves, straight flights, vistas and terraces. They connect the lower Piazza di Spagna with the upper piazza Trinita dei Monti, with its beautiful twin tower church dominating the skyline. It’s a great place to just sit down and enjoy the atmosphere and views of the City.

Close by is the newly restored Trevi fountain, inspired by Roman triumphal arches, is the largest and most famous Baroque fountain in Rome.  The huge fountain dominates the entire piazza and was made famous by its starring role in ‘La Dloce Vita’.  Tradition has it a coin thrown into the water guarantees a visitor’s return to Rome.

Top Tip: The fountain gets very busy during the day, so it’s worth trying to visit later in the evening with it is beautifully floodlit.

See more than just Rome and experience an Italian Multi Centre Adventure…

Why not enjoy the best that Rome has to offer, along with some other stunning Italian destinations. Take a look at a list of our most popular Italian Multi Centre Holidays for inspiration.

Andy Rogerson Personal Travel Consultant

Andy started working for eShores in 2012. His passion for travel started in 2001 after returning from Australia, where he spent 8 months travelling around. After returning from Australia he went in to Business Travel and soon expanded his knowledge into worldwide destinations.