In the heyday of the Roman Empire, Rome was the political center of all of Europe. And although the Empire is long gone, Rome remains the capital of Italy and one of the world’s most important cities. Not to mention one of its most beautiful. Full of ancient ruins surrounded by vibrant modern culture, Rome has something to offer just about anyone.
If you find yourself in the Eternal City on a Rome layover, there is no point killing time at the airport. Even with a relatively short connection, you can still embrace la dolce vita. Rome’s main airport, Fiumicino, is connected with the city it serves by the Leonardo Express train. This train brings travelers from the airport to Rome in only 30 minutes. The train stops at Termini Station, and from there, some of the best of what Rome has to offer is at your disposal. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage spot in Rome, and get ready to enjoy your time — however brief — in Italy.
6 hour layover in Rome
Six hours in Rome may not seem like a lot of time. You’ll need to clear customs and pick up your bags, and you may have to wait a little while for the train at the airport station. Plus, you’ll also want to drop off your belongings at a Rome luggage storage. A six hour layover may end up only giving you two or three hours in the city itself. Luckily, that can be enough to see some interesting locations.
For instance, just a short walk from Termini Station, you’ll reach the magnificent papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. This splendid church was founded in the fifth century, but much of its current architecture dates back to the Baroque period of the 16th and 17th centuries. The inside is equally magnificent, home to ancient frescoes and mosaics and with a ceiling gilded by the first gold brought back from the New World by Christopher Columbus. On a six-hour stopover, you won’t have time to see the opulence of the Vatican, but this may be the next best thing.
- Santa Maria Maggiore is a short walk from Termini station.
- This ancient church is one of the most important churches in Rome and contains priceless artwork.
8 hour layover in Rome
With eight hours to spend on your Rome airport layover, you can be a little more ambitious. Drop off your bags at a Rome suitcase storage and visit one of the world’s most famous buildings. Rome’s Colosseum is walkable from Santa Maria Maggiore, or you could save time by returning to Termini and taking the subway to the Colosseum, a ride which takes a mere nine minutes.
As one of the world’s top tourist attractions, the Colosseum barely needs an introduction. This ancient amphitheater dates back to 80 AD, and served for centuries as Rome’s main arena for gladiatorial combat. Ruined and restored several times over the centuries, the building now makes an incredibly atmospheric — not to mention photogenic — place to visit. You can see everything the Colosseum has to offer in around an hour, but it’s a good idea if possible to book your tickets in advance, as the line can get quite long during the tourist season.
- Walk or take the Metro to the Coliseum, which is not far from Termini Station.
- An hour is enough to explore this iconic structure.
- If possible, book tickets in advance to avoid a long lineup.
10 hour layover in Rome
If your Rome layover is a little longer, that gives you more time to explore the historical monuments of the city. The ticket that gets you into the Colosseum also gets you into the Roman Forum, the fascinating complex of ruins just outside the amphitheater itself. This area contains some of the oldest buildings in this most ancient of cities, and it can take a while to get to grips with everything there is here. Dedicated archaeology buffs could easily spend half a day, but two hours is more than enough to admire the most impressive ruins and learn a little bit more about the complex story of Rome’s rise and fall.
- Explore the Roman Forum, which is right outside the Coliseum.
- History fans could spend hours here, but a couple of hours is enough to get a sense of the place.
12 hour layover in Rome
As rich as Rome undoubtedly is in ancient monuments, there’s more to the city than its glorious past. With a 12 hour long layover, you can afford to take some time to refresh yourself and take in the atmosphere.
Rome is a sprawling city, but the part that interests visitors the most is extremely walkable. From the Roman Forum, it’s only a seven-minute walk to one of Rome’s most interesting and underrated neighborhoods. The ghetto Ebraico, or Jewish quarter, dates back to the 16th century, but the Jewish presence in the city goes back to the early days of the Roman Empire. This resilient community survived Fascist rule of Italy, and the neighborhood is now one of the best places in Rome to eat. Traditional trattorias serve Roman Jewish cuisine, a unique selection of dishes you can only get in the city. Settle in at a sidewalk table and get ready for a culinary adventure.
- Take a short walk to the Jewish Quarter.
- Enjoy unique Roman dishes you won’t find anywhere else.
- Take in the atmosphere of an underrated part of the city.
24 hour layover in Rome
An overnight layover means you can really enjoy what the city offers. After dinner, head out in search of the best gelato in the city. Everybody has their own opinion on the best place to go for this Italian treat, and if you ask two locals, you’ll get at least three opinions. Places like Giolitti in the medieval heart of Rome get all the attention. But if you had just a little north from the Jewish Quarter, you’ll find Gelateria del Teatro on the Lungotevere, overlooking the river. This small shop has an equally small selection of flavors, but every one of them is done to perfection. Stroll along the tree-lined street overlooking the river with ice cream in hand, and you’ll have a perfect Roman evening.
The next day, it’s time to head into Rome’s medieval center to see a different aspect of the city’s history. The Pantheon is Rome’s most visited attraction, and this ancient Roman temple is now the resting place of some of Italy’s most famous citizens, including Renaissance artist Raphael. Plus, the ancient dome with its central eye makes the building worth visiting for its architecture alone.
You will need more than half an hour or so to marvel at the Pantheon, and from there it’s just a short walk to the magnificent Trevi Fountain. The fountain is another of the city’s top tourist attractions, and a great place to get photos, though it can get crowded. From there, you could take another quick walk to the Campo de Fiori. This impressive square is the location of one of Rome’s best street markets, and is the perfect place to get food-based souvenirs.
- Go hunting for the best gelato in the city.
- Visit the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and Campo de Fiori.
- Pick up some souvenirs to commemorate your time in Rome.