I recently went to Italy for my parents' vow renewal and stayed in Tuscany, but my husband and I decided to leave the day after the ceremony to see Rome. Our flight was the next day, so we only had one day to see everything.
We left really early in the morning since we only had one day, but my husband used navigation which was dumb. It made us drive in circles and took us toward Chiusi, which was near where we were already, like five times. If we hadn't used navigation and just followed the signs that pointed to Rome, we would have been there like two hours earlier. So my first tip for seeing everything in one day is don't use navigation, it is useless!
When we got to Rome, my first impression was that it is very dirty, crowded and chaotic. I wouldn't want to stay there long so I guess it was a good thing we only had one day. There is graffiti everywhere and it looks like there are no lanes in the street. The cars just push their way in and go wherever they can fit. In all of Italy, they take the lanes and street lights as light suggestions but Rome is so crowded that it's crazier there. If you ever go to Rome, you probably don't want to drive there.
After we dropped our stuff off at the hotel, we walked over to the Vatican. We got some cute mini pizzas on the way over. I got a potato and a zucchini one. Until this point, I was not impressed with the food in Italy but the zucchini one was so good! I don't know what the place was called, but if you're ever in Rome and see mini zucchini pizzas, get one!
The Vatican was annoying because there are people everywhere trying to sell you tour packages. However, if you only have one day to see Rome, it is imperative that you get one. This is especially true if you want to see the Sistine Chapel. The line for that one was hours and hours long. We got a skip-the-line pass for St. Peter's Basilica for 15 euros and a tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel for 29 euros. Keep in mind that to see these places, your shoulders and knees must be covered. A lot of the shops around there sell scarves to wrap around in case you forget to dress properly.
Another tip is not to exchange you money in Rome! We had to get euros to pay for the tours. The exchange place gave us 100 euros for $160! They really like to rip tourists off there.
The first thing we saw was St. Peter's Basilica, which was very impressive. That one is free to get in if you want to be cheap and have the time!
Then we had some time to kill before our tour so we got gelato. I got the crema flavor which was really good and tasted like Trix. My husband got the blue Viagra flavor. I was surprised to see a pharmaceutical flavored gelato. It tasted like nothing and I don't think it worked.
Next, we waited for our tour guide to get in to the Vatican Museums. I don't like tours, but you need to buy it to skip the line. Once you're in, you can go off on your own.
You have to go through the Vatican Museums in order to get to the Sistine Chapel. It was so crowded in there! Everyone's bodies are pressed up against one another and you can barely walk in there. It was so hot and being in such close proximity to everyone with all the body heat made it pretty miserable. However, all the paintings on the walls and on the ceiling were pretty.
Just when it feels like those long hallways will never end, you finally make it to the Sistine Chapel! Photography is not allowed in there so I didn't take any photos but you could probably sneak one in if you want. I was kind of underwhelmed. I liked St. Peter's Basilica better.
Next, we took a taxi to the Roman Forum. Beware of taxi drivers that will rip you off! It's not even that far and the guy charged 28 euros. It should only have been like 8 euros.
After looking at the Forum, we walked over to the Colosseum.
We were greeted by more annoying people trying to sell tours. The line was long to get inside and we didn't have a lot of time because it was about to close, so we got a tour of both the Colosseum and the Forum for 35 euros.
The tour kind of dragged on for longer than expected. The people at the Forum were trying to kick us out. I wanted to leave to go see the Pantheon but my husband had just seen Julius Caesar's cremation site so he was in no rush.
When we were finally on our way, we had less than a half hour to get to the Pantheon before it closed! This building was pretty impressive so I had to stop to take pictures.
Once we made it to the Pantheon, I was dumb and had to take pictures of the outside even though it was about to close.
Then the doors started closing! We ran over to get a glimpse inside and this was all we saw.
We were sad that we missed it. We got souvenirs and ate dinner before taking a taxi back to our hotel. This time, the driver was honest and charged less than 8 euros.
So that is how I saw Rome in one day! Of course there are many things I didn't see, but I think I saw the most famous things at least! If we didn't use navigation, we would have gotten there earlier and I could have probably seen the inside of the Pantheon!