How to Spend Your First Day in Rome: A Rome Travel Itinerary

June 28, 2023

Benvenuto a Roma! Ready to follow along on our Italian adventures? This summer, I got to share my love of travel with 15 other wonderful women on a trip through Italy, hitting some iconic spots, including Rome!

Even though I’ve been sharing all the fun on Instagram, I knew I had to put together this Rome itinerary and travel guide for you with all my best recommendations and tips for the Italian capital. Read on to see how we spent our first day in Rome!

Our First Day in Rome


On our first day in Rome, all 16 women arrived to the hotel by noon. It gave everyone the opportunity to shower, nap, and grab a cocktail on the rooftop. For a few of us who spent a few whirlwind days flying through New York and Paris before making our way to Italy, this break was a necessity!

We stayed at The Republic Hotel while in Rome. Located right in the city’s center, The Republic is within walking distance of the metro as well as several iconic Roman sights. Inside the historic building’s exterior is a thoroughly modern hotel. All of our rooms were spacious and well accommodated, with amenities including flat-screen TVs, high-speed internet, and plush bedding.


After checking in and resting up at the hotel, we started our stay in Rome with a sunset walking tour. This allowed us to easily check off some bucket list destinations and get our bearings in a new city!

We met our private tour guide Riccardo at Babington’s Tea Room in Piazza di Spagna, at the bottom of the Spanish Steps. Throughout the tour, we journeyed to many famous stops in the historic center of Rome, including the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and Piazza Navona. We of course stopped at the Trevi Fountain to toss a coin over our shoulder, and ended the tour with gelato, naturally! I got peach gelato, and it tasted just like fresh ripe peaches off the street!

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is a beloved symbol of Rome’s rich history and culture. Designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini in 1762, the fountain is a Baroque masterpiece. The Trevi Fountain, so named because it’s located in the Trevi district of Rome, is made of travertine stone and features a large central figure of Oceanus, the god of the sea, surrounded by tritons and sea horses.

Legend has it that if you throw a coin over your left shoulder into the fountain, you will ensure your return to Rome. If you throw two coins, you will find love in Rome, and if you throw three coins, you will marry your Roman love.

The tradition of throwing coins into the fountain dates back to the 18th century and has become a popular tourist attraction, even featuring in many movies set in Rome.

In fact, before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was estimated that the Trevi Fountain received around 20,000 visitors per day, which is approximately 7.3 million visitors per year. Due to the pandemic, the number of visitors has significantly decreased, and the exact number of visitors in 2021 is not yet known.

Over the years, the Trevi Fountain has undergone several restorations due to damage caused by pollution and weathering. The most recent restoration was completed in 2015, which included cleaning the fountain and repairing damaged sculptures.

Today, the fountain is still gorgeous and well worth the visit. The best time to visit the Trevi Fountain is early in the morning or late at night when the crowds are smaller, especially if you’re aiming for some Instagram-worthy pics! We went at 6 a.m. and it was so quiet, we were able to get gorgeous photos in front of the fountain without as many tourists around.

I definitely recommend waking up really early to see Rome when it’s peaceful!

Here are 10 more fun facts about the Trevi Fountain:

  1. The Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome, standing at 85 feet tall and 65 feet wide.
  2. The fountain was built on the site of an ancient Roman aqueduct that supplied water to the city.
  3. The fountain’s name comes from its location at the intersection of three roads, or tre vie in Italian.
  4. The fountain was originally designed to have a different theme, but Pope Clement XII changed it to the current motif of Oceanus and the sea.
  5. The fountain was funded by a tax on wine, which was as popular a beverage in Rome at the time as it is now, if not more so!
  6. The fountain has been featured in many movies, including La Dolce Vita and Roman Holiday.
  7. The fountain was damaged during World War II but was restored in the 1950s.
  8. The fountain’s water still comes from an ancient Roman aqueduct called the Aqua Virgo.
  9. The fountain is cleaned every day by a team of workers who use special brushes and careful techniques to keep it intact and looking its best.
  10. The coins thrown into the fountain are collected every night and donated to charity. In 2016, over 1.5 million euros were collected and donated to the Caritas charity.

The Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps are an iconic landmark in Rome that should not be missed. Constructed in the 18th century, the steps were designed to connect the Trinità dei Monti church at the top of the hill with the Piazza di Spagna at the bottom. Today, the steps are a popular destination for tourists who come to appreciate the breathtaking views of the city and soak up the lively atmosphere.

One of the primary reasons why the Spanish Steps are a must-visit is their sheer beauty. The steps are crafted from travertine stone, which gives them a warm, golden hue in the sunlight. The surrounding greenery and flowers add to the charm of the place, making it a picturesque spot for visitors to explore. Climbing to the top of the steps offers panoramic views of the city, including the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica and the rooftops of Rome.

Another reason why the Spanish Steps are a must-see is their rich history and culture. For centuries, the steps have been a favorite spot for artists and writers, and have been featured in numerous movies and works of literature. Visitors can learn about the history of the steps and the people who have been inspired by them. Additionally, street performers entertain visitors with music, magic tricks, and other acts, adding to the vibrant atmosphere of the place.

Overall, the Spanish Steps are an unforgettable experience that captures the essence of Rome. They offer a unique blend of history, culture, and beauty that makes them a must-visit for anyone traveling to the Eternal City.

Here are 10 fun facts about the Spanish Steps:

  1. The Spanish Steps were not actually built by the Spanish, but by the French diplomat Etienne Gueffier in the 18th century.
  2. The name “Spanish Steps” originates from the fact that the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See was located nearby.
  3. The Spanish Steps were designed by Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi in the 18th century, and their construction was completed in 1725.
  4. The steps are made of travertine stone, which is a type of limestone so commonly used in Roman architecture that it is now nearly synonymous with the city itself.
  5. The steps are divided into three sections, with 135 steps in total, arranged in a butterfly-shaped pattern, with several terraces and sections along the way. (These are helpful for taking a break between staircases!)
  6. The steps were once a popular spot for artists and writers to commune, including the poet John Keats, who lived in a house at the bottom of the steps.
  7. The steps were also used as a filming location for several movies, including Roman Holiday and The Talented Mr. Ripley.
  8. In 2016, the steps were restored after years of wear and tear, and were reopened to the public in September of that year.
  9. The steps are often crowded with tourists, especially during the popular summer months, but even locals come to enjoy sitting on the steps to chat and soak up the atmosphere.
  10. The steps are also a popular spot for street performers, who entertain visitors with music, magic tricks, and other acts.


We ended our day with a group dinner reservation for 8:45 p.m. at Mercato Hostaria Roma. Before you travel to Italy, you should prepare to eat dinner much later than in America, and spend a fair bit of time at the meal. Italians really embrace the slow-living lifestyle!

Located in the historic center of Rome in the Campo de’ Fiori neighborhood, the restaurant serves straightforward and delicious Italian fare from a lively public square. 

The neighborhood in general is known for its vibrant atmosphere, with plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to explore. It is within walking distance of many of Rome’s most famous landmarks, including the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and the Roman Forum.

The food was absolutely fabulous! Some of our favorite dishes from our group included the lasagna, arugula pizza, truffle ravioli, carbonara, and the spaghettone cacio e pepe. This restaurant also had several gluten-free options, which was lovely in the land of pasta and pizza. I’d definitely go back and eat there again!

During dinner, we also celebrated our best friend and photographer, Katie’s birthday! The staff serenaded her with happy birthday and a sweet surprise!

Our first day in Rome was a wonderful introduction to all the delights this city has in store, from delicious food to beautiful historical landmarks. Next up, our day two Rome itinerary details a jam-packed day in Rome, including the Colosseum, a cooking demonstration, shopping, and drinks in Trastevere!

Want to join us on the next trip? Join my email list to get all the updates on where we’re going and first access to book!

📸 Photo credit: Catherine Ann Photography

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