How to see the best of Rome in anywhere from half a day to two days.
Since this itinerary takes into account travel time (walking, taking the Tube, driving, whatever),
- The times in grey circles are the times by which you need to start moving in order to go to the next stop.
- The times in blue circles are the times by which you should arrive at that stop to begin the fun.
You really should spend your time on whatever catches your own interest.
Some people would rather get a root canal than spend several hours in the Vatican Museums, but for others an afternoon of Old Masters and antiquities would rank as the highlight of their trip.
Same goes for shopping, or cramming a dozen churches and museums into a single day: Heaven for some, hell on earth for others.
For some less-famous sights to visit, check out Reid's List: Rome.
Keep in mind that you may have to adjust these itineraries in case one of the days you're in town happens to fall on a Monday (when many museums—and restaurants—are closed) or a Sunday (when many things are closed and those that remain open tend to operate on shorter hours—for example, churches are often only open to tourists in the afternoon).
Keep in mind that these are maximal itineraries, designed to cram as much a reasonably possible into the time allotted.
(Though you will notice I pad about 10–20 minutes between stops to give you time to get from place to place. That's why if, say, it says to arrive at Sight #1 at 9am and spend 45 minutes there, Sight #2 doesn't have you arriving until 10am—that "missing" 15 minutes is walking time.)
Aside from that, there is no down-time built in for relaxation—which you really should have.
You're on vacation, after all.
I suggest using these but maybe dropping a sight which interests you less (or curtailing your time at a couple of sights) in order to carve out from some free time to just sit at a cafe, writing postcards and watching the carnival of Italian life swirl past.