Begin your morning in classic Roman style with a coffee and sweet pastry. Try finding a maritozzo, a huge, scrumptious whipped-cream-filled bun that you will definitely burn off on your day ahead (we promise).
First thing’s first: the Colosseum. Head to this famous amphitheater early in the morning for smaller crowds (unless you grab a skip-the-line ticket, then you can go whenever) and perfect lighting. Not only will you enjoy this historic landmark minus the masses, we pretty much guarantee your pictures will be gorgeous. History buffs will love traveling back in time on this guided tour, where you’ll learn about the Colosseum from an expert and enjoy exclusive access to normally restricted areas. Extra points if you stand in the middle of the arena and do your best Russel Crowe impression.
As you’ll quickly learn, Rome is big and beautiful…but really hilly. You know what that means: an excuse to stop pounding pavement and start zipping around on a Segway tour. Bump along the charming cobblestone roads past the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and other treasures off the beaten path. If you’re feeling a little short on time, opt for the express 2-hour tour where you’ll see the main attractions and learn tales and funny stories of ancient rulers of the Imperial City.
After your morning Tour de Roma, lunch like a true Roman first with a deep-fried, finger-lickin’ good risotto ball before digging into a personal pizza margherita. Wash it all down with some good red vino and save some room for dessert at the next stop.
Post-lunch is pre-dessert. Isn’t that what they say? Head to the Trevi Fountain, toss a coin to make a wish, and treat yourself to some gelato. Your biggest concern right now: one scoop or two? As you make quick work of your sweet treat, make sure to snap a pic of the famous fountain. Decorated with Oceanus, the Greek God of the Sea, and his protectors, these mythological creatures raise a whopping €3,000 a day from coin-tossing visitors! Legend has it that throwing three coins in the fountain will promise your return to Rome, a new romance, and a third marriage with an Italian — you’re all set!
A 10-minute stroll or a quick hop on a bus from the fountain will bring you to the famous Spanish Steps. The 138 stairs were built in the 18th century to help ease the walk up and down the huge slope to the Santissima Trinità dei Monti Church at the top. Even though the climb up might seem daunting, it’s well worth it. When you’ve reached the top, hang back to catch a breathtaking view over the city when at sunset. Rome’s many domes and the terracotta roofs of the square below become washed in warm shades of red and yellow — a picture-perfect way to end your first day in the Eternal City.
For dinner, head to Roma Sparita for a quiet evening. Priding itself on quality, only a handful of dishes are served here. The star of the show is definitely the cacio e pepe pasta served in a big Parmigiano bowl. Take advantage of its outdoor tables in summer and watch Rome pass by with a glass of wine (or two).
Start your day with a cornetto and espresso. After all, you’ll need to fuel up for a day of touring Vatican City. Before you head out, make sure you’re dressed appropriately: wear modest clothing that covers your legs and shoulders.
Though small, the Vatican is classified as an independent country. With so much to see and do, you’ll want to save time where you can. Our tip: breeze past the crowds with a skip-the-line ticket and join your knowledgeable guide for an in-depth tour of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, and more.
From magnificent architecture and world-renowned sculptures (Michelangelo’s “Pietà,” anyone?) to marvelously decorated ceilings, the Vatican is an artistic, opulent testament to the history of the Church.
Can’t decide whether you want pasta or pizza for lunch? Have both with a combo cooking class led by an Italian chef. This 4-hour lesson will not only teach you how to make pizza and 10 different kinds of pasta shapes from scratch, it’ll also come with bruschetta, vino, and tiramisu.
After a full day of exploring the Vatican (and cooking), you’re probably done walking around. Finish off your magical 48 hours in Rome by kicking up your feet and enjoying an open-air concert and aperitif at Terrazza Borromini. Between soaking up the arias (and wine), you’ll probably start thinking about your next trip. And who’d blame you?