How to spend 48 hours in Rome like a local

I once read that Rome is one of the least re-visited places in Europe.

People come, see the Colosseum and the Vatican, get overwhelmed by the chaos, decide Florence is nicer, and never come back again. There are too many other places to see and Rome gives off a lukewarm first impression at best.

I mean, even crossing the street can be a close call.

But Rome takes work. I only fell in love with the city once I invested the time and the energy in discovering the beauty behind the traffic, trash and noise.

To this day, Rome is the most beautiful city I have ever seen.

With a few years of rome-ing under my belt, here is how to spend 48 hours in Rome eating and exploring like a local.

Day One

9 a.m. Start with coffee from Roscioli Caffé and a continue on to watch the day begin in the Campo de’ Fiori Market.

11 a.m. Get in line behind the local nonne/grandmas to pick up fresh pizza bianca from Forno Campo de’ Fiori and then check out the Caravaggio paintings hanging in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesci.

best panino in rome forno campo de fiori

1 p.m.: Stroll past the Trevi Fountain and stop for lunch at old-school Colline Emiliane for a fortifying meal of classic pasta.

Rome's trevi fountain detail

3 p.m.: Grab a cab across the river and up the hill to see the city from above on the Gianicolo.

View from Janiculum hill

5 p.m.: Walk down into the cobblestone alleys of Trastevere and treat yourself to macaroons from Le Levain.

Le levain trastevere macaroons

8 p.m.: Continue on across Ponte Sisto for fried snacks from Supplizio and sit on the steps with a glass of wine from Il Goccetto.


10 p.m.: After a day of free sightseeing, splurge a little and book a late table at Roscioli for a heavenly dinner of carbonara and amatriciana.

12 a.m.: Close the night at Open Baladin with craft beers and cheesy chips.

open baladin beer in rome


Day Two

10 a.m.: Have a lazy cappuccino and a large pastry at Tram Depot and wander up to Rome’s Orange Garden.

rome's orange garden

12 p.m.: Take the metro from Circo Massimo and zip under the Colosseum on your way to bustling Mercato Esquilino.

Rome international foods

2 p.m.: Get a break from pasta with a curry lunch from Krishna 13, for some of the best Indian in Rome.

4 p.m.: Discover new Italian designers by indulging in boutique hopping in neighboring Monti. (I recommend LOL for starters).

lol Monti boutique

6 p.m.: Hop in a cab to continue the retail therapy along the wide avenues of well-heeled Prati, before swooping into Gracchi for some of the best gelato in Rome.

8 p.m.: Join the local crowd at the marble-topped tables of Ai Marmi for a perfect thin crust Roman pizza.

Ai marmi pizza trastevere rome

10 p.m.: Stop in for a cocktail with a side of slam poetry or live jazz at Lettere Caffè.

Catch all that?  Here’s a map of all these places to visit with 48 hours in Rome.  If you are looking for a more traditional itinerary, here is a 72-hour guide to Rome I put together for Expedia UK!

30 thoughts on “How to spend 48 hours in Rome like a local

  1. Rebecca says:

    Yes, yes, yes. This makes me miss living in Rome so much! It took me about six months to really fall in love with the city, but once I did there was no going back. It’s all the simple moments contrasted with the grandiose beauty that make it so wonderful. 🙂

    • Natalie says:

      I think my brain is normally food-centered. What more do you need in life besides a bit of art, so cool views, great wine and delicious food?

  2. Natalie, The Educational Tourist says:

    Ah, Rome….always more to see. I have only been for short trips and wonder how long you could live there before you had time to see it all! The last time we took the kids and used my book on Rome with children. What a wonderful post that has me daydreaming of going back for another taste of Rome.

    • Natalie says:

      Roma non basta una vita… you could live a lifetime and not see it all! 6 years later, I am just scratching the surface 🙂

  3. Mindy says:

    I am heading there (to Italy) in May with my son & we’re spending a couple days in Roma. I can’t wait! Thank you for some good ideas to add to our trip.

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  7. MariCarm says:

    I love love the way you are so “organized” in your itinerary…Rome in 48 hours…I am definitely going to try it!!! And will live to tell…Thanks for this

  8. Miguel Segovia says:

    Thank you for the post. I too have fallen in love with Rome. Last year my wife and I stayed in a home in Axa and used the local bus and metro to get around. After two and a half months there, we have decided to make plans to return .
    I am writing a presentation about Rome and why everyone needs to experience the “Eternal City”. Love your work!

  9. Justin Weller says:

    Omg… My wife and I are visiting Rome tomorrow for our honeymoon. Your blog is fantastic! Not just this post but all the others as well. Thank you so much!

  10. Justin Weller says:

    Thank you! We are! Sadly we leave Rome today and both feel we need to come back.

    But tomorrow is Pompeii 🙂
    Thank you again for this blog. It was helpful.

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