If you’ve only got 48 hours to spend in the Italian capital, here are Culture Trip’s top recommendations to make the most of your stay – from cocktails by the Spanish Steps to queueing-jumping at the Colosseum.
Keen to visit Rome? You can enjoy a guided bike tour of Rome, stopping at the most significant landmarks as part of Culture Trip’s 10-day small-group Northern Italy adventure, led by our Local Insider.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Can you get under the skin of one of the most famous cities in two days? Just about…
First tip for free: queue-skip at the cultural sights to save time. Also, a wide-brimmed hat is your best friend while exploring white marble monuments in the blazing sun. Beyond the main sights, leave time to soak up the city character – pause to watch a marriage procession following a vintage Fiat; knock back a Frangelico in a piazza cafe. For ultimate Rome-ance, row your beloved across Villa Borghese’s laghetto before doing a Lady and the Tramp in a superb spaghetti joint. Here’s our suggested itinerary for a whirlwind 48 hours in Rome.
Arrive at the smart Hotel Art. Housed in an old college full of bronze busts and serigraphs, it’s devoted to design; exhibitions and concerts are regularly hosted here. Drop your bags and head for the nearby Spanish Steps, made famous by the 1953 film Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.
Kickstart your weekend away with a pink negroni on the panoramic terrace at Il Palazzetto, the historic hideaway at the top of the Steps. Afterwards, make your way to Al 34 for dinner. This legendary restaurant first opened in 1968 and prides itself on “360-degree” Italian cuisine, with dishes from across the country. Start with fried squash blossoms, followed by burnt grain orecchiette with broccoli and sausage. Alternatively, try red shrimp tartare with avocado, burrata and pistachios.
Get up bright and early because your whistlestop stay continues with a bicycle tour of the Eternal City. Take in the temple of Mars Ultor – commemorating Emperor Augustus’s victory over Julius Caesar’s assassins – and the surviving structures of Trajan’s Market, illustrative of ancient Roman life, plus the elaborate Trevi Fountain. Make sure you toss a coin in; it means you’ll certainly return to Rome. Pedal the road of painters and buzzing central hub of Piazza Venezia, making a pit-stop to marvel at the enormous Pantheon dome. Pull over in the lively and storied Jewish quarter, home to the Great Synagogue of Rome. It can be traced all the way back to classical times (1555BCE) and is thought to be the oldest such community outside of the Middle East.
Replenish your energy reserves with a slap-up lunch at a 17th-century-convent-turned-restaurant, Isidoro. Cram in cold cuts before crab and potato pie with basil cream, plump for polenta flan with wild boar salami or keep it fresh with fennel and orange salad. From here, it’s a short waddle to the Colosseum.
Spend the next two hours ogling the historic amphitheatre where up to 50,000 people came to watch gladiators battle. Next, explore the Roman Forum where the ruins of ancient government buildings still stand, before heading to open-air Palatine Hill. Centremost of the seven hills of Rome, this is the location of the cave where twin city founders Romulus and Remus were found and kept alive by a she-wolf according to myth. Book the skip-the-queue pass; it’s a must to maximise your time.
Supper is at Ristorante Viva, where there’s also a wine shop and cocktail bar. Try tempura zucchini flowers with herbal ricotta foam, or tagliatelle with white rabbit ragù, crispy artichokes and mint. Not to dictate, but it’s probably time to tick off tiramisu, too.
Sunday morning seems a natural time to make your way to church. Whether you’re religious or not, it’s worth visiting St Peter’s Square inside Vatican City’s papal enclave. You’ll feel rather small among all the architectural grandeur. Admire the glittering interior of St Peter’s Basilica and, of course, the pope’s house. You can’t leave without booking tickets to the Sistine Chapel. Crane your neck for as long as you can to take in the full glory of Michelangelo’s ceiling spectacular, and The Last Judgment.
Exploring the Eternal City and all the wonders therein is hungry work. For lunch, grab a slice from Alice Pizza (it’s served up by weight, in typical Roman style). Eat while strolling through the streets. Drop by Gelateria Ice Cream Sicily on your way to Borghese, and savour Modica chocolate and Piedmont hazelnut gelato on a stick. Wash it down with coffee to pep you up for the final leg of your tour.
Finally, stop by the Borghese Gallery and Museum, home to world-renowned works from Caravaggio to Titian. Particular highlights include Apollo and Daphne by Bernini, commissioned in the 1600s; the influential sculptor was famed for creating the most lifelike marble creations ever seen. Once you’ve had your fill, head to the airport, happy in the knowledge you’ve seen the key highlights of this great historic haunt.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.