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Greetings Internet Stranger, and welcome to a perfect Rome one day tour! I’ve spent just about one week’s worth of perfect days in Rome, which is definitely enough time to hit all the major sights in the Eternal City. Please check out my other Rome posts if you want to see the most famous attractions like the Coliseum or Bob’s House of Rome.

But for this itinerary, we’re going to get a little more off the beaten track. We’ll find one of Rome’s most hidden gem museums. Then we’ll go exploring to see some of the more obscure and beautiful secrets of this most beautiful city. Finally, we’ll dine like damn hell ass kings in one of the poshest restaurants in Italy. Sound good? Of course it does. I am never wrong, Internet Stranger. So follow me, if you want to live.

rome one day tour

Rome One Day Tour

Where to Stay?

It’s going to be hard to find a hotel in Rome for your best things to do during your Rome one day tour. The poor little city is just starting to get tourists. What to do? But if you’re looking for a hotel that has air conditioning, affordable rooms, an excellent location, and breakfast on the roof, I suggest the Hotel Otivm. Rather stay in a creepy underground lair that will steal all your money and give you no coffee? I can’t help you there, Internet Stranger!

If you’d like to find a great deal on this hotel, just click here. And if you’re rather find over 10,000 other excellent hotels in Rome, click here.

Rome One Day Tour

What to Pack?

You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do today. If it’s summertime, I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.

Rome is hot in the summer, so don’t forget the sunscreen. My favorite is the Neutrogena spray bottle because it’s so easy to apply. And as a solo traveler, I can actually use it myself on my own back. I just put it in my purse and re-apply throughout the day.

Finally, if you’re American or from the UK, you need a universal adapter if you’re going to plug in electronics. European electrical outlets don’t work with American or British plugs. I suggest the NEWVANGA travel adapter. It’s usable with any electrical outlet in the world, so you won’t need to keep buying new adapters. I always carry two with me, just in case something happens to one.

rome one day tour

Rome One Day Tour

Morning: Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme

I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that the Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme is the most underrated museum in Rome. It houses one of the branches of the National Roman Museum, so it’s simply drenched with historical goodies. But it was also designed to look like a 16th century palazzo, so the museum itself is a work of art. If you spend the entire morning here, you’ll walk away with an amazing amount of knowledge about Rome. But I’ll give you just a hint of what to expect with…

Three Fun Facts: Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme

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1) What’s the Most Beautiful Part of the Museum?

That would definitely be the magnificent courtyard located outdoors. On a hot summer day in Rome (Spoiler Alert! This is every summer day in Rome!) the courtyard is the coolest, loveliest place to be.

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Of course, if you’re too cynical to appreciate all this beauty, just enjoy the approximately 9000 sculptures and statues of headless/armless ladies that roam the outskirts of the cloisters. Whatever floats your boat, Internet Stranger!

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I tried to see how many headless ladies I could photograph but eventually I ran out of time.

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You think I’m joking? I’m definitely not.

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I’m definitely not joking. They could just call it the Headless Ladies of Rome Museum. It would probably attract bigger crowds that way.

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2) What’s the Coolest Exhibit in the Museum?

IMO, it’s the insane painting of a trompe l’oeil monk. Trompe l’oeil means trick the eye in French, and by painting an entire scene complete with bearded old gent and cat, they certainly do trick my eye. There’s even a painted side door with everything your modern monk needs: papers, inkwells, a terribly creepy dead person’s head, etc.

My one complaint about this painting is that it is fenced off. I think they need to remove all barriers and see how many people are fooled by the fake door. They could even put up a livestreaming camera so that people could watch and laugh at everyone who tries to say hello to the monk, pet the cat, or steal the skull. Massimo alle Terme, I give this moneymaking idea to you free of charge.

rome one day tour
3) What’s the Most Historic Part of the Museum?

I would recommend Diocletian’s Baths, if you are interested in history. These were the largest thermal baths in the Roman world, built in the late 3rd century to the early 4th century. Man, those Romans were sure technologically advanced for people who didn’t even have the Blackberry Pearl yet. According to the signs around the baths, they used to be surrounded by libraries. Man, rooms full of books plus a soak in a hot tub? These ancient Romans knew how to live!

The baths are located just a five minute walk from the Massimo alle Terme. Your combination admission ticket will get you in to both. It’s hard to know what’s cooler: the giant baths themselves or the ancient bathtubs. But I vote for the bathtubs. One of them even has lions on the side, and it’s hard to find anything cooler than a lion bath.

rome one day tour

Rome One Day Tour

Afternoon: Explore!

Nothing is more fun in Rome, even in the Inferno of summer, than just wandering around and finding all the little treasures of the city, hidden and un. I beg of you to leave some free to wander and not follow a guide, not even this guide, which has been scientifically proved to be the best guide to Rome ever. But I will give you a few helpful hints with.,.

Approximately Top 5: Rome One Day Tour

rome one day tour
1) Lunch at D’Angelo

We have a massive dinner coming up, so let’s grab something quick, light, and pretty near Massimo Alle Terme before beginning our adventure. I recommend the sandwiches at the adorable hidden treasure Bar Gastronomia D’Angelo. (Don’t let the name fool you. It’s a coffee bar. I’m not getting you day drunk, Internet Stranger!) Go with something simple like a tomato and mozz sandwich. Honestly, if it’s Italy in the summertime, you kind of don’t need to ever eat anything else.

rome one day tour
2) Via Margutta

Any film lover is already familiar with this street because it was featured in the gorgeous movie Roman Holiday. (Long story short: Audrey Hepburn is a princess, Gregory Peck is a sexy journalist, and they fall in love in the most beautiful city in the world. If you haven’t seen this movie, STOP READING THIS BLOG AND DO IT! That’s an order!)

But the street isn’t only famous for one of the most romantic movies in the world. Legendary Italian idols of the cinema like Federico Fellini and his wife and star Giulietta Masina lived here. Walking down the Via Margutta is like stepping into a glamorous Italian film. You can practically see the scenery changing to black and white.

one day in rome

Well, black and white with a little splash of yellow.

rome one day tour
3) Canova Tadolini

Do you like coffee? How about classical sculptures? Well, why not combine your two loves by getting an espresso at Canova Tadolini, the only coffee bar I know where you can also admire models of the works of iconic Italian sculptor Antonio Canova. (This bar is located in what used to be the Canova studio.) Why don’t enterprising restaurateurs expand this concept? Pizza with Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Donatello, anyone? I smell big bucks here.

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4) The Spanish Steps

All right, now we’re getting firmly back ON the beaten track at the Spanish Steps, which is one of the most famous spots in Rome. In Italian, the name is Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, which definitely does not translate to Spanish Steps. Why do tourists get things so terrible wrong?

Another thing tourists get wrong is that they try to sit on the Spanish Steps. Do not do this! The fuzz will yell at you and threaten to put you in the slammer. Do you want to spend the rest of your life in Italian jail? Don’t sit on the Spanish Steps!

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But do pick up a lovely tiramisu at Pompi on Via Della Croce and eat it while looking at the Spanish Steps. (Strawberry is the best tiramisu flavor because of the giant round berries. That’s just science.) The cops can’t arrest you for looking at the Spanish Steps!

rome one day tour
5) Trevi Fountain

Once again we stay with the tried and true at the Trevi Fountain. This behemoth was made famous in the lovely romance Three Coins in the Fountain. Although it might have been the lush theme song that really sealed the deal, as the tune was a smash hit in the 1950s. (How did people even listen to music back then? I don’t think they had i Tunes.)

The legend of this fountain, as related in the movie, is that you need to throw a coin in here and make a wish if you want to return to Rome. I assume you do, if you have any sense at all! You might be wondering who sculpted this massive marvel. The answer is A Nobody. The sculptor did nothing else, really, and died unfamous. Hey, they can’t all be Antonio Canova and get their own chain of coffee bars.

You might also be wondering why there were so many people at the Spanish Steps and so few people at the Trevi Fountain. Is it clever editing on my part? Or did I warble Three Coins in the Fountain off key until all the other tourists ran away. I’ll never tell! PS. Do not steal the coins because it’s an even worse crime than sitting on the Spanish Steps. Like, it might actually be a capital offense. Just say no!

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Rome One Day Tour

Evening: Dinner at Imago

Take some time to freshen up in your hotel before heading to dinner because we are doing things up right at Imago, the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Hotel Hassler. I’m a big believer in eating nothing but turkey burgers and yogurt year round except when I travel so I can save all my money for blow out splurges like this. I think you’ll understand why when you feast your eyes on these scrumptious eats. (And also see the amazing view from our table!

rome one day tour

Balance is so important in any tasting menu, so we start our food coma with a light and refreshing citrusy salad. Don’t worry. There’s a boatload of decadence up ahead.

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Decadent like zucchini blossoms stuffed with mozzarella with capers stuffed with raw beef. And this is just our first appetizer! This dish tasted like being fed a teeny tiny Roman summer, perhaps one that had been minimized with a shrink ray.

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The next course was just as summery, but as light as Audrey Hepburn on the back of Gregory Peck’s moped. It’s a vinegary sort of scallop with gorgeous tomatoes and…

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a beautiful little scallop roll on the side. A lot of the dishes at Imago came in two parts like this. Oh, I just love finding new ways to eat food!

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And again the lighter dish is alternated with a richer dish. This time it’s red mullet stuffed with vegetables. I never understand why this fish is called a mullet. I thought fish had no hair at all, so how can they wear mullets? Such a stunning presentation! It’s like a symphony of red on the plate.

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Are you ready for not one but two pasta dishes back to back? Of course you are! What’s the point of splurging on food in Italy if it doesn’t mean eating ALL the pasta things? First it’s a delicate ravioli stuffed with chicken floating gently in a luxurious broth.

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Then there’s the signature pasta topped with a fabulous wig of pecorino cheese. It’s a simple looking dish, but sometimes a flawlessly prepared forkful of pasta is all you want out of life.

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With most tasting menus, after a flurry of activity at the beginning, you get a fish course, a meat course, and then a few desserts. We get the most luxurious seafood possible by diving into this Catalan lobster. Here it was served as simply as possible, so the sweet flavor of the lobster could shine through, but then there was a fun little lobster taco served on the side. I call this having your lobster and eating it too.

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And just our luck! For the meat course we get pigeon, that most fair of fowls.

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They served the leg on the side, but they didn’t tell me how to eat it so I just picked it up with my fingers. When you don’t know what to do at a fancy restaurant, just make a decision and carry it out boldly. People will probably think you are a stylish trendsetter.

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Of all the things I was expecting at this meal, a basil sorbet shaped like a cactus wearing an adorable red hat was not one of them. But Rome is just full of surprises.

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This dessert was a total mystery to me because it’s called “the black sheep”. There’s no meat in this dish, so how can there be sheep? Was it made with sheep’s milk? But I do know it was creamy and chocolately and scrumptious, and sometimes that’s all you need to know.

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That’s a Perfect Rome One Day Tour

What would you do on a Rome one day tour? Can you believe this picture above was the view from my table at Imago? And is there an even worse crime than stealing coins from the Trevi Fountain? Please leave your thoughts below!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY do a Rome one day tour. If you want to add Rome in a day with the Pantheon, try this one. And if you’d like to see a Rome one day tour with the Vatican, go here. Finally if you’re looking for Rome one day tour with the Colosseum, I’ve got you covered here.

Stella Jane
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