When planning a trip to Italy, you will naturally have Rome on the top of the destinations you must visit. Rome is a beautiful and exciting city for many different reasons. So depending on what is most important to you on your trip will help you decide how many days in Rome are sufficient to make the most out of your Rome itinerary. Due to the many main sights in the city as well as nearby day trips, 4 to 5 days in Rome will give you a suitable amount of time to experience this.
Rome is known as “the Eternal City” for many reasons. From its predictability in beauty to the way that the cobblestone streets transport you back in time. The consistent quality of the food will also always give a strong desire to return no matter how many times or how long you have spent in the city.
The city of Rome has experienced so many periods dating back to 753 when Ancient Rome was first founded and then survived many different rulers and dictators. Lucky for us, it still stands in its dazzling and timeless glory.
Even though the city is packed with tourists no matter the time of year, it is still a city that you cannot miss on your Italy itinerary. Rome is the perfect city to begin your Italian adventure.
You need to taste the trifecta of Roman plates of pasta (cacio e pepe, carbonara, amatriciana), mingle with the locals, and then be on your way to any other place in Italy thanks to the convenience of its location and great transportation hubs.
Continue reading to draw inspiration to create your own Rome itinerary and determine how many days in Rome is perfect for your travel needs.
How Many Days in Rome?
While the historic center (centro storico) of Rome is quite small and walkable within a day, there are various neighborhoods throughout the city with different things to offer that are well worth the visit. They will also offer you a different perspective of the city away from the touristy crowds and a glimpse into the true Roman way of life.
With that being said, 4 to 5 days in Rome is typically what tourists prefer to choose for their time spent in Rome as they prefer to move to other destinations in Italy.
If you are more interested in eating plenty of pasta while only wandering the historical center and seeing the main sights, 4 days in Rome may be enough for you.
With even just 5 days in Rome (or ideally a week), you will be able to savor the rest of the city. This way you can fully immerse yourself in the history of this rich city but also experience the different neighborhoods (rione) without rushing. You may even wish to take a day trip or two to other nearby and unique destinations.
Getting To and Around Rome
Thankfully, Italy has a wonderful rail system and reaching Rome is very convenient from any other part of Italy as well as internationally. There are numerous train stations, with one main central station that connects to the rest of Italy either by high-speed rail or regional including from Florence, Milan, Venice and many more. You can check schedules here.
There are two airports connecting the city of Rome. One is Fiumicino – Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport, and the other is Ciampino which only services flights that are inter-European.
From Fiumicino, you can take the Leonardo Express to Termini Station or a regional train that takes you to various local train stations in the city, depending on your accommodations. My recommendation is the Terravision bus which also takes you to Termini station for about half the price (a great option if trying to lower your Rome trip cost). You can book bus transfers here.
You also have the option of taking a taxi from the airport but be prepared to be set back about 50 euros. You can also book a private transfer here.
From Ciampino airport, your options are either the Terravision bus or a taxi which will set you back about 30 euros.
If you will be traveling to other parts of Italy, your train will likely be departing from Termini station. Termini station is in the center of the city and from there you have plenty of options of city buses connecting to the rest of the city as well as metro transport.
Throughout your stay in Rome, you can’t miss wandering the city on foot. In my opinion it is the best way to see the city, especially once the sun goes down.
The main historical center of the city is very walkable, but if you would like to venture to different neighborhoods outside of the center, the Roman bus and metro systems are terrific and well connected even throughout the night.
4-5 Days in Rome Itinerary
In my opinion, the best way to start your Rome Itinerary is to begin in the historical center and then branch out to different neighborhoods and maybe even take a day trip or two depending on how much time you have. Whether you have 4 days in Rome or more, this itinerary can easily be individualized to cater to your needs.
Day 1 – Historical Center and Trastevere
Beginning in the historical center of Rome is a great way to begin your stay in the capital city. From here it is a good way to familiarize yourself with the city, transportation and the ways that you’d most like to spend your time here.
I recommend starting at Piazza Venezia, taking in the unique architecture of the national monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, and then making your way down Via Del Corso to begin sightseeing through the historical center.
Signs will guide you throughout this area to the various monuments including Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.
It’s very convenient having all of these spots so close in distance and with Rome essentially being an open museum, there is no entrance fee for any of these locations. You can take in works from renowned artists without paying a cent!
If you prefer to learn more about the history of this area, there is the option to take a walking tour.
Depending on how you’re feeling after your tour around the historical center, you can either eat nearby or wrap up your day in the picturesque cobblestoned Roman neighborhood of Trastevere.
From its numerous spots to dine al fresco to the many piazze where you can just sit and watch the world go by, Trastevere is a true gem. Just like any other major city, it’s hard to differentiate between the touristy restaurants and the local haunts. A favorite spot for travelers and locals alike is Ivo a Trastevere and you can also take a food tour here if you prefer to have a guide.
Conveniently, Trastevere can be reached from the historical center either by bus, tram, or by foot if you don’t mind a 30-minute walk.
The Orange Gardens and Aventine Hill
After wandering the streets of Trastevere, I recommend making your way towards Aventine Hill to enjoy the sunset at the Giardini Degli Aranci (Orange Gardens).
Aventine Hill is the southernmost hill of the 7 hills which the city of Rome was built upon. The Orange Gardens became a local familiar name given to the official Parco Savello.
Here you will be treated to an alluring view of the city. If you are visiting at sunset the scenery transforms into something that you could only dream of from a movie. The garden’s name was given by the many orange trees that encapsulate it and offer themselves to you to create lasting memories and photo opportunities.
The best way to reach the Orange Gardens from Trastevere is by the 44 bus. You will get off at the Bocca Della Verita’ bus stop and then continue walking for about another 10 minutes south. Or if you’re feeling up to it, a 25-minute leisurely walk beside the river is well worth it.
Day 2 – The Colosseum and Roman Forum
After a good night’s sleep, the perfect way to begin your second day in Rome is to head to the Colosseum and Foro Romano. These two are located on Palatine Hill and past Piazza Venezia. From the historical center, they are easily reached by foot but also well connected by bus and metro transportation.
Even if you just have 4 days in Rome, this wonder of the world cannot be missed and is truly an experience that will leave you in awe. There is a reason why it is one of the most visited destinations in the world, and the feeling you have once you enter the arena and get transported back to ancient Rome is well worth it.
Next to the Colosseum is the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum was the center of public meetings, and Roman courts, and was also filled with various shops during Ancient Roman times.
Both locations are included in the cost of the same ticket and the ticket is valid for 24 hours if you want to come back the following day and wander around the Roman Forum.
It is also important to note that reservations for tickets must be placed and purchased online in advance or you can book a guided tour of the area. No tickets are available at the office on the same day unless you choose to book a private tour offering their deals outside of the Colosseum.
After spending your day in Ancient Rome, I highly suggest making your way to the hip and eclectic Monti neighborhood which is centrally located near the Colosseum.
Monti offers beautiful views, great people-watching, tasty food options, and plenty of fun choices for different types of bars depending on your interests. Here you can also find stylish boutiques and vintage shops to take a look in.
Day 3 – The Vatican
Capuccino and Cornetto
What better way to start your third day in Rome than true Italian style. Throughout the city and Italy, you will see various “bars”, which are where most Italians have their breakfast if they are out. Here you can order either an espresso or cappuccino and a fresh cornetto (Italian style croissant) in the way that you like it. My personal favorite is pistachio cream!
St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums
St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican are worth visiting and can be experienced in different ways depending on how you would like to spend your 5 days in Rome. You can either visit the Vatican museums and spend the day looking at the plethora of artwork, or simply pass by from the outside and take in the grandeur from a distance.
If you decide to head to the Vatican Museums, keep in mind that they are one of the most extensive and expansive collections of art history with around 70,000 paintings and sculptures! This is going to take up most of your day if this is the route that you choose to take on day 3 of your Rome itinerary.
If you choose to take the other route, a beautiful way to see the city after taking a look at St. Peter’s is to walk along the river from St. Peter’s to the Testaccio neighborhood. On this walk, you will see the many beautiful bridges that make up the city and the beautiful Roman backdrop.
Once reaching Testaccio, you’ll notice that it is definitely a neighborhood away from the tourist center. Testaccio is an edgy, salt-of-the-earth residential Roman neighborhood with a lot to offer. Here you can get away from the crowds, take a break, and eat the most exquisite pasta you have ever eaten in your life.
Especially for any foodie, Testaccio is essential for your Rome itinerary. Also with its unique history, the mountain (monte) Testaccio that dominates the center of the neighborhood was essentially built from fragments of broken ancient Roman pottery from the ancient Roman era.
To eat, I recommend either getting traditional Roman street food from the Mercato Testaccio in the center of the neighborhood or a carbonara from the classic and intimate Flavio Al Velavevodetto beside the Monte Testaccio.
Day 4 – A Day in a Roman Park
Did you know that Rome is one of the greenest cities in Europe? It boasts over 15 large public park areas, public gardens, and historic villas. One of my favorite ways to spend a sunny day in Rome is to bring a picnic to one of these green spots.
Some are more well-known than others, but there are a few secret gems off the beaten path that you too may fall in love with.
Depending on the weather and how many days you have, whether it be 4 days in Rome or 5 days in Rome, I recommend either spending your last or second to last day in one of Rome’s magnificent parks.
One of the most well-known and visited parks in central Rome is Villa Borghese. Villa Borghese is a landscape garden in Rome consisting of several buildings, museums, and attractions. It is the third-largest public park in Rome and its vastness gives you some of the most spectacular views of the city and places to create your picnic.
The beginnings of the park were first built in 1605 by the nephew of Pope Paul V and were kept private until 1903 when the Comune of Rome bought the property. The park stretches from above the Spanish Steps to the Piazza Del Popolo with entrances at both.
Each side gives great views, but none is better than the view from the “Pincio”, which is on the south side of the park. Try and make your way here for sunset and maybe bring a bottle of wine!
Appia Antica/The Appian Way
If you’re looking for an outdoor experience off of the beaten path and away from tourists, the regional park of Appia Antica is perfect. The park consists of different parks and villas as well as the famous and historical Via Appia or the Appian Way. The Appian Way was one of the earliest and most important Roman roads of ancient Rome with it connecting Rome to different parts of Italy.
You can reach the beginning of the park from the Ex Cartiera Latina and from there you will find a visitor’s center. You have the option to take guided tours and also have the option of renting bikes to ride along the Appian Way and take the same path that Ancient Romans took around 2,000 years ago.
It is important to note that The Appian Way is closed to traffic on Sundays and holidays and this makes it a great time to visit to have the whole road to yourself.
Another highlight of Appia Antica is the Parco Degli Acquedotti (Aqueducts Park.) The park is named after the many massive Roman Aqueducts that it consists of and they are a sight of architectural splendor that can’t be missed.
During the Roman Empire, these innovative aqueducts were one of the Roman’s greatest inventions, which built a bridge for water supply between rural and urban Rome.
Parts of the park are still quite untouched which gives you a unique experience. You can either go for a jog, walk, rent bikes, or even set up a picnic and take in the tranquil surroundings that once were one of the most essential parts of Ancient Rome.
Appia Antica is easily reachable by public transportation and about 8 kilometers away from the center of the city.
Day 5 – A Day Trip from Rome
If you decide to spend 5 days in Rome, you have many options to take a day trip out of the city depending on how far you’d like to go and also what kind of scenery you are interested in. You could also skip a day at the park if you only have 4 days in Rome and would like to venture out of the city for a different experience.
This beautiful town overlooking Lake Albano is about 25 kilometers from the center of Rome and is most well known for being the location of the Pope’s summer home and where he goes when he isn’t in residence at the Vatican.
It takes about 25 minutes by train from Termini station for about 3 euros each way, and trains are about every hour so you don’t need to rush to make your way there or back for fear of missing a train.
I also recommend renting a boat to take onto the lake if the weather allows where you can sit back and take in the beautiful scenery!
If you’re interested in going a little further for a day trip and experiencing a different region outside of Lazio, Umbria is perfect. Orvieto is a small town in the Umbrian countryside where you don’t need to go too far away or spend too much money.
This is perfect if you are only visiting Rome or a few cities in Italy and want to venture out to the rolling Italian countryside. Orvieto dates back to 1137 and is now most well known for its particularly beautiful pottery designs and its crisp white wines.
You can reach Orvieto by Rome’s Tiburtina station with trains taking about an hour and departing just about every hour for 9 euros.
Where to Stay in Rome
No matter how many days you plan to spend in the Italian capital, you’re going to need to find a suitable accommodation option. Fortunately, there are countless choices available for all kinds of travelers. If you’re wondering where to stay in Rome, have a look at these suggestions:
Barberini Dream – Located close to the Trevi Fountain, this upmarket hotel is a top option for people looking for a comfortable stay in Rome. They offer a few different types of private rooms that are pet-friendly and have all the modern amenities expected. Click here to check availability
Domus Palatina – A good mid-range choice, located near the main train station, this guest house is suitable for couples. All rooms are air-conditioned and there is breakfast included in the room rate served in your room. Click here to check availability
Trianon Borgo Pio Aparthotel – If you prefer to have access to a kitchen during your stay in Rome, this aparthotel offers a range of different apartments suitable for different size groups. They are located close to the Vatican with breakfast available daily. Click here to check availability
The RomeHello Hostel – One of the top-rated hostels in Rome, this place is a great choice for solo travellers or those looking to meet other people on their trip. They offer a range of dorm and private rooms and have 24-hour reception. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Rome!
Rome is truly one of the most beautiful cities in the world; boasting beauty, culture, and history from every direction. No matter how long you have for your Rome itinerary, there will certainly be many things to give you a trip that you won’t forget.
When travelling in Rome, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a travel insurance policy so you’re covered for any unfortunate events! We like WorldNomads and use them for our trips – click here to get a quote from WorldNomads
Are you wondering how many days to spend in Rome? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!