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We will be in Rome for one day only. What are the must see things. Is it worth to get the hop on hop off bus ticket I’ve been told about?

Posted by
11480 posts

HOHO is not a good option in Rome. What is one thing you have always wanted to see there? Does the Colosseum call or perhaps the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s? Exactly how much time will you have in the city? If you are restricted by time allowed for a shore trip from a cruise my advice would differ versus having 24 hours or at least an overnight.

Posted by
16083 posts

tmc0298, no can tell you what should be your "musts" in Rome as everyone has different interests. The best thing you can do is to get a guidebook and spend some time with it; see what would appeal to you and/or to your traveling companions. Understand that if your trip is SOON, bookings for the most-visited attractions might have already filled for the high-season months.

Where your group ( based on a previous post I think you're traveling with an "other party ") is concerned, best choices can depend not just on interests but ages and any mobility challenges. I also think you're trying to do this as a day trip from Massa Lubrense, which is some distance from Rome.

Regarding the hoho buses: They are not considered to be a good form of sightseeing transport in Rome. They have limited routes and can't get close to a number of attractions. They also can get stuck in traffic, can be too full to pick up passengers at designated points, and complaints about them have been frequent for quite a number of years.

Posted by
11294 posts

I agree you need to look at guidebook and see what interests YOU most. Here are Rick's recommended "blitz" itineraries:

Here are the highlights of Rome as Rick sees them (scroll down and click "At A Glance"):

If I were visiting Rome for the first time and only had one day, rather than trying to see the "hot spots" like the Vatican and the Colosseum, which will be crowded and require advance booking, I'd do some of Rick's walks. I'd start with Heart of Rome, then do Trastevere or Jewish Ghetto. You can get these on his Audio Europe app, or can preview and download them on this page:

And I agree that the HOHO does not work well in Rome.

Posted by
996 posts

I can't tell you what you need to see in Rome, but in most cases the HOHO bus isn't a good deal UNLESS you have mobility issues. If walking is a problem for you, and if you are uncomfortable taking public transportation, then the Hop Off, Hop On bus may be your best friend.

Maybe check out a list of things to see in Rome - Trip Advisor often has lists like that - and then you can better gauge what's doable for your day in Rome?

Posted by
145 posts

You have my sympathy. To actually be in Rome and then have to leave after just one day! How sad.

Posted by
1662 posts

Hi tmc,

Rome is a walking city as well as a walking museum. Even if you took a city bus (not a HoHo), you will still have to walk to attractions. Buses in general cannot go down or into certain areas. Of course, you have to start out very early - 8 AM to get a good full day of Rome in.

What I may like or prefer may not interest you. Still, this is what I always like to suggest with the below link. Click on each attraction of Rome's city centre. The cams are strategically set up to give you a good bird's eye view of the most popular Piazzas and the hustle bustle of peeps.

Look at a map of Rome's city centre. A lot of the Piazzas are in close proximity - within 15 minutes (or so) of each other - some a bit closer. The Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica and Castel Sant'Angelo are about 45 minutes from the city centre by bus or metro. You can take an official white Roma taxi to The Vatican.
If you do this, make sure you tell the cabbie "exactly" where you want to be let off.

Piazza Navona Well known for its beautiful four fountains. Around the piazza are eateries and shops - on the high end pricing. Scroll down for an interactive map

Fontana di Trevi The fountain at the junction of three roads. Known for being the back drop of focal point in movies. It's majestic, gorgeous, ornate presence is mesmerizing. The illumination at nightfall is breathtaking. For fun, throw a coin in - use right hand and throw over left shoulder.

Piazza di Spagna is one of the most famous squares in Rome (Italy). It owes its name to the Palazzo di Spagna, seat of the Embassy of Spain among the Holy See. Nearby is the famed Column of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where the Pope gives his Blessing on December 8, The Feast of The Immaculate Mary. - Trinità dei Monti Church is at the top - a beautiful Church.

The "ugly boat" - The fountain at the foot of the steps is called 'Fontana della Barcaccia' or Fountain of the Ugly Boat. A city legend says the fountain was built on papal orders, inspired by a flood which carried a fishing boat all the way to the square.

Campo de Fiori - "Field of Flowers" - By day, it's an outside, fun, spirited market - to browse or pick up that little unique bottle of Limoncello - if more than 3 ounces, it must go in checked bag. By nightfall, it's personality changes into a lively piazza where peeps hang out for a cocktail. Sometimes, you can catch street musicians near Giordano Bruno - < Very interesting history. Shops and eateries hug the piazza. Some may be on the higher end. There are little side streets to find a good, inexpensive restaurant. I can suggest a restaurant off the piazza if interested.

The Pantheon Piazza della Rotonda The Pantheon is a former Roman temple; the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome and still an active church. During Mass, no touring. If you want to attend a service, open to the public.

Try to find eateries "off the beaten path" and away from the popular attractions. Usually prices are higher and food may not be home made (catering to mostly tourists or a fast lunch crowd.)

Also, I often like to suggest watching these Browse the videos for some fun and helpful tips.

Check out The Roman Guy "Rome In A Day" to get ideas for planning your own itinerary.

Have fun! Rome is terrific!!

Posted by
1662 posts


(Ran out of room above)

Other biggies -

The Colosseo is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome. Built of travertine, tuff, and brick-faced concrete, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built.

Tickets can be hard to obtain.

The Borghese Gallery
(Tickets are hard to obtain. Usually a tour company can secure for a more expensive price point, but you're getting an official, licensed guide.) No bags allowed

Please make sure you check each attractions policies - especially about bags or backpacks. The Vatican, St. Peter's allowed bags (after security check) of about 14 inches (to be on the safe side.) Guards have the final say.

The Pantheon allowed bags. The Colosseo allows bags but check to make sure.

I would like to suggest that you watch these also for some ideas. (A bit of a repeat from the one I linked in the other post.)

Check out each "neighborhood" video. Perhaps there might be something that appeals to you more. You don't have to see every single 'must see' attraction or Church or Museum of Rome.

Posted by
53 posts

It's pointless to try to see Rome in one day. I've been to Rome, and in my case, of course it depends on what you are interested in, but I'd say, if you just have one day, go to the Vatican Museum, which includes the Sistine Chapel, and then into St. Peter's Basilica. You could do that in a day, and you could say you saw something really amazing.

Posted by
343 posts

On our very first trip to Europe about 9 years ago, we did a cruise around Italy as part of our travels. We had one day in Rome. We've since been back several times because we love it, but that first day gave us the taste for it.

We visited the Colosseum and the Forum, and then enjoyed a beer in an outdoor cafe nearby. That's about all we had time for, but it was special and we got the quintessential photo of the two of us in the Colosseum.

If you want to see one of the big sites - the Colosseum, the Forum, the Vatican - then plan to purchase a walking tour ahead of time and then show up at the designated time and avoid all the lines. I highly recommend Walks of Italy, who does the Pristine Sistine tour and the Colosseum tour, which were both fabulous.

If you're content to take a picture of the Colosseum from the outside and do something else, I recommend a walk between the fountains mentioned in the post above. It's gorgeous and special at night, but would be lovely any time of day and you will walk between the different neighborhoods enjoying the sites and smells along the way. The area around the Pantheon is my personal favorite, with the stunning temple (now church) as the anchor, and fountains and markets and shops and great coffee all within a few minutes' walk.

I also really enjoyed touring the Jewish Ghetto (also within a 10 minute walk of the Pantheon just for perspective) using Rick's guidebook. Easy to do, informative, and powerful.

Posted by
40 posts

I've been to Rome a couple times and on the second visit, it was just for one day. My son and I were on a cruise and with some others on the cruise, we hired a car and driver to give us a tour. We loved it! He arranged advance tickets for the important sites: the colosseum and forum, Trevi fountain, we had lunch on the Spanish Steps, then the Vatican museum and Sistine Chapel, and as he drove us around he pointed out many, many interesting things in the neighborhoods we passed through. It was a full and exhausting day, but we ended it at a beautiful lookout over the city with wine and cheese. We were back on the ship in plenty of time for dinner. It may not be ideal to see Rome in a day, but you can see quite a lot if you plan. It was 5 or 6 years ago and my son still looks back on it as a treasured memory. If a day is what you have, I say to go for it!

I cannot remember the name of the company we used, but we found it on TripAdvisor. I'm sure you could find something similar. It was not terribly expensive either but we split the bill between four people

Posted by
23 posts

I can certainly sympathize - I was in Rome for approximately 7 hours. I wanted to cry when we had to leave because I could see nothing other than to drive/walk by it as there was no time. We did not know in advance that we would be in Rome so we could not pre-purchase tickets. Having said that I did immensely enjoy my time at the Trevi Fountain and the Piazza Navona . We had a fabulous lunch. I loved it for the short time I had there. Going back next June for 3 days.

Posted by
1211 posts

I did a one-day quick pass through Rome a few months ago with my sister who had never been to Rome; I've been quite a few times but she wanted to just get a quick look, on our way home from Sicily, and didn't want to go to the Vatican Museums, or inside of the Coliseum. What worked for us was a day-long full circuit of the central part of the city. We started out in the morning near Campo de Fiori, and used Rick's "Heart of Rome" walk (on his Rick Steves Audio Europe app. It and the guided walks are free from your App Store). We each had our own ear pods. This walk takes you through/past the Pantheon (used Rick's Pantheon audio tour), Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, and a bunch of other obelisks and piazzas and churches. We stopped for lunch (had reservations) at a restaurant in the Pantheon area. Then, we completed the Walk at the Spanish Steps. Next, we made our way walking through central Rome down to Piazza Venezia, walked around to the right of the Memorial to Vittorio Emmanuele II and up to the left using the Michelangelo steps to the Capitoline Museums. We didn't stop at the museums, but walked around to the right of the museums for the magnificent view of the Forum. We walked through the Jewish neighborhood on our way back towards our hotel (and used Rick's Jewish ghetto walk on the app). Dinner was near Campo de Fiori and we were done. This only works if you have a full 10-12 hours or more. Otherwise, I'd just do the "Heart of Rome" walk.

Posted by
16083 posts

The OP's trip was in June so long over and done with but I'd be interested to know how it went for them via public transit to/from Massa Lubrense, and what they were able to squeeze in during the time that they had. Tmc0298, if you're still out there, care to share?