“When in Rome …” This iconic expression suggests enjoying yourself and truly experiencing life wherever you are. What better place to take it all in than Rome itself? Here is what experiencing a day in this ancient city could look like for you.

The Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II over the Tiber River in Rome.


Early Morning: Espresso and River Views

Begin your day with an espresso from Bar del Fico, a café and restaurant with shabby-chic décor. Walk along Via di Panico down to the Tiber River, and enjoy the morning quiet standing on the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II, a beautifully designed bridge built around the turn of the century.

castel sant' angelo
The Castel Sant’ Angelo in Rome.

Mid-Morning: Explore Vatican City

Head right onto Piazza Pia toward Castel Sant’Angelo. This ancient building was originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian around 134 A.D. and has since been used as a tomb for other emperors, a military fortress, and now a museum. Just a 15-minute walk along the Via della Conciliazione will lead you to Vatican City. Tour St. Peter’s Basilica, the subterranean tomb of St. Peter, and the Vatican gardens.

Noon: Roman Eats

Just outside Vatican City on Via Candia is a perfect little sandwich shop called AngryPig Birretta e Porchetta. With more than 100 five-star reviews, lunch is sure to please. Try a pork sandwich loaded with sundried tomatoes. Head across the street to the market, Mercato Trionfale, to pick up local produce, cheeses, and meats.

st peters
The St. Peters Basilica in Rome.

Afternoon: See the Masterpieces

Once you’ve had your fill of Roman fare, walk about six minutes to the Metro stop at Ottaviano and ride just across the river to Flaminio. A 12-minute walk from here, along streets lined with greenery, ends at The National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art. From statues by Rodin to the works of Italian Futurist Giacomo Balla, the masterpiece collection is full of pieces on any art lover’s must-see list.

villa borghese gardens
The Villa Borghese Gardens in Rome.

Late Afternoon: Plants and Animals

After taking in still masterpieces, head just across the street to the Bioparco di Roma Zoo to see living masterpieces. Lions, elephants, and more call this highly rated park home. The newly added Sumatran tiger area is dedicated to protecting and nurturing this subspecies on the verge of extinction. Home to a vibrant collection of botanicals, this zoo is a great site for animal and plant lovers alike.

Evening: Wine and Dine

For a nearby restaurant that is sure to offer an authentic Italian fine-dining experience, head to Al Ceppo. The wall of wine, hanging art, tall and fresh floral arrangements, and tourist-friendly service will make you feel pampered after a long day of sightseeing. Begin with a first course of risotto with red and white prawns. Enjoy the crunchy rabbit with tomato sauce, pesto, and capers as a second. Pause with a plate of cheeses, jams, and honey, and finish with cannoli. Once you have decided on your meal, ask your server to help you choose the perfect wine pairings to round out your experience.

Rome is full of culture, history, and breathtaking architecture from another time. When in Rome, eat, drink, explore, learn, and enjoy.