There is a lot to see and do in Rome in a week. Prepare for long, tiring days if you’re hell bent on seeing everything. There is so much to see and do in Rome, it’s important to be prepared. We tried to see some of the most popular, important places to see in Rome in a short period of time. We separated every day into locations in the same vicinity.
Though this guide only has 4 days, all of these activities can be easily spread over an entire week. If you have the time, don’t be like us and rush through.
Day 1: The Colosseum in Rome
The first day consisted of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum. We recommend booking a guided tour. This allows you to skip the lines. We booked the Gladiator’s Gate tour. The day started with the Arch of Constantine. From there we headed to Palatine Hill and then the Roman Forum. Though you do get a lot of good information from the tour guide, you do not get to spend a massive amount of time at either Palatine Hill or the Roman Forum. The tour ended at the Colosseum, where we got access to the arena floor. The tour ends inside the Colosseum so you can spend as long as you’d like taking pictures and exploring the accessible areas.
The Colosseum tour lasts about 3 hours. So with the rest of the day, we recommend exploring nearby at the Altar of the Fatherland. It is a large monument honoring Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy. It is a massive structure with impressive sculptures and is free to access. Also, you can get wonderful panoramic views of the city from from the restaurant at the top. Though, if you’d like to go even higher, you can pay 7 Euros per person to take the elevator to the very top of the building.
While walking around the area, we would recommend going to see Largo di Torre Argentina. The ruins of the theater where Julius Caesar was murdered. It also now houses a cat sanctuary!
Day 2 – Pantheon/Trevi Fountain
Next day, we recommend you wake up early and head over to Trevi Fountain. It’s not too ridiculously crowded early in the morning. We got there around 8:30-9am and while there were lots of people, it was still manageable. Afterwards, head to the Pantheon.
Now, Sean and I did not actually get inside the Pantheon on this day as we didn’t know you needed to make reservations on Saturdays, Sundays, or public holidays (it happened to be a Sunday for us). All other days of the week, it does not require a reservation. If you plan to go on a weekend or holiday, check out the website here. Anyway, while it is free to enter, an audio guide costs about 8.50 Euros.
After the Pantheon, close by is Piazza Navona. A square dating back to the 1st century A.D. with 3 beautifully ornate fountains, cafes, and street artists. It’s a great place to grab a coffee and people watch.
Finally, check out some of the incredible museums. We recommend Capitolini Museum and Doria Pamphili Gallery. Capitolini Museum, Considered one of the oldest museums in the world, opened in 1734. We recommend booking tickets online, here, for Capitolini so you can avoid the ticket line.
The Doria Pamphili Gallery is a large collection of spectacular art. Undeniably one of the most beautiful galleries, it is absolutely worth taking the time to visit. You can buy tickets at the gallery or online here, starting at 14 euros per person.
Day 3 – The Vatican
No matter if you’re religious or not, the Vatican is an amazing site to see. Full of some of the world’s most incredible art and architecture, it’s a must see. To avoid waiting in a 3 hour line to get in, it is best to book a tour. This allows you to skip the line for both the Vatican museum and St. Peter’s Basilica.
One of the most difficult days we had in Rome. Despite the iconic and beautiful art being all around, it was extremely difficult to focus on it. There was just sooooo many people. Worse than San Diego Comic Con! So, be warned: You will be penguin walking through each corridor and if you even stop for a second to take in the incredible art, you will be shoved around.
The trip to the Vatican isn’t complete without the Sistine Chapel. Be aware that you cannot take any pictures or videos while inside the chapel and will get yelled at if caught doing so.
Once done at the Vatican, walk over to Castel Sant’Angelo. Built in the 2nd century as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian and later used by the popes as a fortress and castle. It is currently a museum. Though we did not go in, it is an impressive structure and you get some get views from the river.
Day 4 – Villa Borghese in Rome
Finally, we spent our last day in Rome at Villa Borghese. If you happen to be walking there (like we did) stop at Piazza di Spagna to see the Spanish Steps. An iconic landmark. Go early if you can, take your pictures, and move on to avoid crowds.
Next you’ll arrive at Villa Borghese, which is one of the largest parks in Rome. There is so much to see and explore there, including a zoo. However, the main attraction for us was the Borghese Gallery and Museum. Definitely one of the best art galleries…at least in our opinions. The Borghese Gallery houses masterpieces from several famous artists such as Caravaggio and Raphael. We would recommend taking a tour so you get to skip the line as well as provided information about the works of art in the gallery.
Food in Rome
Now for the section you’ve all been waiting for… FOOD!
This might be somewhat disappointing as we only had a short visit. Yes we ate some truly delicious food but did not scratch anywhere near the surface.
Trieste Pizza. Small, fresh, and amazingly delicious pizzas. Great staff and quality food. They even have very yummy croquettes and rice balls.
Mizio’s Street Food. Hands down one of the best sandwiches we’ve both ever had!
La Licata. Delicious coffee and croissants.
All’Antico Vinaio. Another delicious sandwich shop near the Pantheon.
Bono Bottega Nostrana – Piazza Di Spagna. More incredible sandwiches. We couldn’t get enough of those Italian meats, cheeses, and breads!
Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffè. Good coffee and pastries. It gets crowded as it’s near the Pantheon.
Gelateria S.M.Maggiore. The best gelato we had in Rome. Delicious and lots of variety.
We did not include anywhere we went for pasta because even though they were good, they were just okay for Italian standards and not really worth going out of the way for. As I’ve mentioned before, we were short on time and the places we really wanted to go were either closed or too crowded. Oh well, you win some and lose some.
Let us know if you’ve been to Rome and have any recommendations! For more of our travels, follow us here.