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Rome Itinerary 4 days: How to spend 4 days in Rome

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What a Rome-antic city, isn’t it? I didn’t expect to fall in love with Rome like Lisbon or Paris. But I did, and in many ways, some of the corners of Roma reminded me of Paris. In this 4 days in Rome itinerary, you will find how to make the most of your visit, explore the city’s prime attractions, and more. 

Now what fascinated me the most about Rome was the number of ruins in every nook and cranny of the city – and if you have been following us for a while you know I love heritage sites! For a second I even considered moving to Rome and studying Roman History for a year – that will be wild! But you never know….

4 days in Rome Itinerary: Planning & Travel Tips

How to visit Rome in 4 days

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Snapshot:

  • Day 1 of Rome Itinerary: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, hop on and hop off tour, Basilica of Saint Mary Major
  • Day 2 of Rome Itinerary: Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps
  • Day 3 of Rome Itinerary: Vatican City (St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Musuems), Castel Sant’Angelo, pick a neighbrouhood Monti or Trastevere
  • Day 4 of Rome Itinerary: Catacomb of Callixtus, Piazza Venezia, Villa Borghese, Piazza del Popolo & Pincio Terrace 

Rome is the capital city of Italy. It is located in the central portion of the Italian peninsula, on the Tiber River. Geographically, it belongs to the Lazio region in Italy. 

Rome is the perfect destination for anyone who loves history, art, and culture. It’s home to some of the most famous landmarks in the world – like the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain – as well as countless other treasures that will take your breath away. 

Girl at the Colosseum in Rome itinerary
At the Colosseum in Rome

You can explore ancient ruins, wander through museums filled with masterpieces or just enjoy a coffee at one of many cafes along cobblestone streets. Rome has something for everyone!

Getting to Rome 

Rome is a great option to kick-start your Italy itinerary. There are 2 airports in Rome. 

Plan to arrive in one of Rome’s airports – Roma Fiumicino Airport, or Ciampino Airport. Roma Fiumicino Airport, also known as Leonardo da Vinci International Airport is the busiest airport in Italy.

In order to get to the city centre from either airport, you can ride a shared shuttle bus, take the train or private transfer. So,

Leonardo Express tickets
Leonardo Express tickets

We flew from Canada to Italy and landed at the Fiumicino Airport. To get to the city center, we used the Leonardo Express (to arrive at the Rome Termini Station, the largest in the country). 

Where to stay in Rome? Best areas in Rome for sightseeing 

For hotels and accommodation in Rome, we recommend staying in a central area like near the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Pantheon, or Roma Termini station. Trastevere and Prati (north of the Vatican) are also great options for all budget levels. 

Now, some of the neighborhoods or lanes in and around the train station might seem a bit rough, so do read hotel reviews prior to booking. We narrowed it down to Via di Santa Prassede and it was perfect for sightseeing, restaurants, and trattorias. 

Prassede Palace Hotel
Prassede Palace Hotel suite

We stayed at the Prassede Palace Hotel. This is a 4-star hotel and is one of the nicest properties where we stayed in. The staff was friendly. The property has a cool restaurant on-site, and the rooms were super clean and beautiful. 

From here we were able to walk to the Colosseum (15 minutes), plus there were tons of trattorias nearby too. Click to book your stay here

Some of the other hotel recommendations include

  • Leonardo Boutique Hotel Rome Termini: This is a 4-star luxury property located near the Termini Station in Rome. It is located about 3 km and 4 km from Trevi fountain and the Colosseum respectively. The rooms are clean, and the property has a hot tub on-site. You can check out photos here
  • Condotti Boutique Hotel: This property is located near the Spanish Steps and it is a great area for walking and sightseeing with access to many attractions, bars, and shopping centres. Condotti Hotel is also good value for money. Book your stay here
  • Atlante Star Hotel: Beautiful 4 star hotel, Atlante offers an amazing scenic restaurant and is located close to the Vatican city (in the Borgo neighbhorhood). The hotel rooms are stylish, and free breakfast is included. There are eateries nearby as well. Book your stay here

Note that Rome city charges a tourist tax, which is levied per person, per day. It is to be paid in cash when you check out. 

Transportation in Rome and the Vatican City:

In this Rome itinerary 4 days, we will also discover the Vatican City. We recommend getting a combined Vatican and Rome pass which gives you free admission to certain sites, free unlimited public transportation along a hop-on and hop-off tour.

Transportation in Rome
Transportation in Rome

This pass is valid for 3 days, and is worth it if you will use trains, and wish to book separate entry tickets for the Vatican City attractions and hop-on and hop-off tour.

We did book a 3 hour Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill tour with a guide as we wanted to learn about its history. 

With the Rome Pass, it is an entry ticket only. Get your Rome Pass here

Here is our suggested 4 day itinerary for La Mia Roma (my Rome),

Day 1 of 4 days in Rome Itinerary: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, hop on and hop off tour, Basilica of Saint Mary Major

There are so many things to do in Rome that it can be hard to decide where to start. We recommend setting aside each day for one particular neighborhood and then clustering attractions to explore together. 

Colosseum at sunrise

On day one of the Rome itinerary, visit the iconic Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, get on a hop-on and off tour to get oriented to the city, and finish the day at Basilica of Saint Mary Major! 

Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum

The Colosseum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy and it’s easy to see why. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was built between 70-80 AD by Flavian emperors. This ancient amphitheater has been around for 2 millennia! 

Inside the Colosseum
Inside the Colosseum

It could hold 50,000 spectators during its heyday as an entertainment venue for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles like animal hunts. What remains today is just a portion of the massive structure that once existed!

We recommend booking a guided tour to appreciate the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and learn about its past. Here is the tour we took, and recommend it. It also includes time at the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. 

Colosseum Grounds

To complete the tour, do set aside at least 3 hours for sightseeing here. You can add an extra hour for free time for yourself to roam around, and take photos.  

Here are some tips for visiting the Colosseum in Rome Italy

  • For best photos, arrive in the morning. We were at the Colosseum grounds just before 7:00 am and caught the beautiful sunrise. There were very few people at the site at that time
  • You must explore the Colosseum inside (highly recommend it). Colosseum gates open at 9:00 am. You can book a guided tour as we did, or opt for an entry ticket only
  • Tickets are only sold online (not on site), so do book it prior to your visit 
  • You can visit the Colosseum for free on first Sunday of the month, however ‘Free Sunday’s’ are suspended for 2021 
  • Note that there is airport level security inside the building, and at one given time it can only accommodate up to 3000 visitors 

Did you know? The Colosseum is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World

We spent 2 hours inside the complex and another hour at the Roman Forum with a local guide. This guided tour was booked via GetYourGuide online – they have a generous cancellation policy should your travel plans change. 

Read: Detailed guide to visiting the Colosseum

The Roman Forum, also known as Foro Romano in Italian, was the most important forum in ancient Rome. It is located on low ground between the Palatine and Capitoline hills. 

The Roman Forum was a meeting place for the people of Rome in republican times and was lined with shops and open-air markets.

Roman Forum
Roman Forum

What was a prominent public outdoor space was turned into a neglected piece of land and where livestock was bred. With the decline in the military, government corruption, and political disputes, the Forum fell into disrepair and many of its monuments were either looted for stone and marble or buried under debris. 

Today, excavations are ongoing, and it is one of the most sought-after sights in Rome. It is a beautiful historical site full of ruins – of temples, monuments, and other structures, waiting for crowds to discover and learn. 

If you didn’t know this already, Rome was built on Seven Hills. The Seven Hills of Rome are located on the east of the River Tiber, and it is said to be the origins of the Roman empire. 

Palatine Hill view from Colosseum
Palatine Hill view from Colosseum

These hills rose there out of the low and marshy ground. Of all the hills, the Palatine is the most famous. In Ancient Rome it was considered one of the most desirable neighborhoods and was home to the nobility, aristocrat families, and emperors. 

The Palatine Hill is included in the cost of the ticket for the Colosseum. It is a large archeological site with many ruin structures. 

View from Terrazza Belvedere del Palatino
View from Terrazza Belvedere del Palatino

One of the prime spots in this Colosseum tour is the Terrazza Belvedere del Palatino, which we personally liked. From here you can get uninterrupted city views of Rome and the UNESCO Heritage site complex. 

After the tour of the Colosseum, sit down for lunch at a trattoria or ristorante near the site. There are so many to choose from, as soon as you exit the complex. 

City tour or walk and explore 

As part of the Rome Pass, you can enjoy a Hop on and off tour and use it to get oriented to the city. You can easily spend 1 to 1.50 hours driving through various neighborhoods and near attractions. This will be handy when you need to walk and visit spots in the subsequent days. 

View of the Castel Sant'Angelo from the city bus tour in Rome
View of the Castel Sant’Angelo from the city bus tour in Rome

If interested, you can also walk to the Santa Maria in Cosmedin Church instead of the tour, to check out the Mouth of Truth aka Bocca Della Verità. This sculpture is dedicated to the God of the Sea, and legend has it that it can catch if someone is laying. 

You can see people lining up by the wall that has the marble sculpture, taking photos. It is located about 15 minute walk from Palatine Hill. 

Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore)

Once the city tour concludes, get down at Basilica of Saint Mary Major (Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore). This is the largest church in the world honoring God through Mary.

It was built in 432 by order of Pope Sixtus III on Esquiline Hill and is one of the seven pilgrim churches in Rome. This Basilica is located on the site where the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream of Pope Liberius. 

Basilica of Saint Mary Major
Piazza of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major

Here a blanket of snow mysteriously appeared on the hill on 5 August and this day is commemorated every year with white flower petals that are dropped from the ceiling.

When you step inside the basilica you can admire the mosaics that were part of the original building, including the large marble columns of the Basilica that are even older. The golden ceiling is one of the stunning works of art, and it was commissioned by Pope Alexander VI (it was built with the first of the gold Columbus that was brought back from America). 

Thereafter, finish the night with dinner and drinks near the Termini or Trastevere neighborhood (accommodation area). As we stayed at the Prassede Palace Hotel, we head back to the area after visiting the Basilica of Saint Mary Major and opted for a nice meal close to the property. 

Day 2 of 4 days in Rome itinerary: Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps

On day 2 of Rome itinerary, explore more of Rome’s attractions such as the Trevi Fountain, Piazza di Spagna, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona. 

All of these attractions are 15 to 20 minute walk from each other and are best explored on foot.

Trevi Fountain

Also, all of these Rome Instagram spots get extremely busy during the day, regardless of the month of visit. So we recommend choosing one – where you wish to capture the best photos. 

For example, you can start for Trevi Fountains before 8:00 am, take photos, throw a coin or two and then head to the Pantheon. There are a lot of places to eat near it, so have their breakfast and then stand in the queue to enter the Pantheon. 

From there, visit the Spanish Steps, and then the Piazza Navona. Hang out there and then dine. Alternately, you can also explore Spanish Steps at the end, and shop and dine at the Square of Spain, after. So yes, tons of options. 

Trevi Fountain: 

The Trevi Fountain is the largest Baroque fountain in Rome, and one of the prettiest. It is completely free to visit, and yes you are allowed to throw a coin (or three) in it. You can visit the fountains at any time of day, but mornings are great for photos! 

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain was built by Nicola Salvi between 1732 and 1762 and it has become an iconic symbol for this amazing city. The fountain is located at the junction of three roads, which are namely, via Delle Muratte, via dei Crociferi, and via delle Tre Fontane. 

The name, literally means three street fountain, leading up to it from different directions!

Girl at the Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain in Rome

In and around the Piazza di Trevi there are lots more shops selling souvenirs like keyrings, postcards, etc so don’t forget your wallet! You can also grab a bit to eat here before making your way to the Pantheon.

Trevi Fountain to Pantheon is an 8 minute walk away. 

Pantheon: 

The Pantheon is one of the most iconic buildings in all of Rome. It’s also one of the best-preserved and oldest structures from ancient Roman times. To visit the Pantheon is completely free. This was a former Roman temple and is a Catholic Church now (Hadrian rebuilt it in 126 AD). 

View of the Pantheon
Pantheon

With its beautiful architecture and incredible history, this is a must-see attraction when visiting Rome. We recommend getting there early before crowds start forming queues because lines tend to get long quickly. 

We also recommend making your trip early in the morning hours, between 9:00 am – 11:00 am. Weekdays are better as weekends are busier. You can spend about 30 minutes to an hour at the Pantheon. 

Piazza Navona

Head to Piazza Navona next. Piazza Navona is an iconic Roman square that’s been around since ancient times. It was built in the first century AD and has been used as a market, a stage for entertainment, and even as a bullfighting arena! 

Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona

Also known as the Navona Square, this piazza flaunts wonderful Baroque architecture such as Bernini sculptures, fountains, a stunning church, colorful street artists, quaint cafes, and lots of open space to wander around, admire, eat and soak in the sun!

You can spend hours admiring the architecture here or just relax on one of the many benches while enjoying some gelato from nearby cafes. This is perfect to break for lunch, and then go on sightseeing. 

There are also plenty of shops selling souvenirs so you can bring back something special from your trip to remember this amazing city by.

Spanish Steps: 

The Spanish Steps are a famous staircase in the Piazza di Spagna (called the Square of Spain), in front of the Trinita dei Monti Church. They lead up to the Trinità dei Monti church and is one of the most beautiful places in all of Rome! 

Spanish Steps is considered the widest and longest staircase of Europe. In Italian, it’s called “Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti”, and the entire staircase is composed of 12 ramps and 135 travertine steps. 

Spanish Steps in Rome
Spanish Steps

Today it is forbidden to sit on the steps, but you can climb up to reach the Trinita Dei Monti Church, and get down to the square. These steps link the Via dei Condotti and the Piazza di Spagna. 

Many visitors choose to take pictures here because it is one of the most beautiful places in all of Rome. You can also find many shops along this street selling souvenirs along with high-end fashion brands. 

Bustling Square of Spain in Rome
Square of Spain in Rome

You will also find some amazing restaurants and bars where you can enjoy yourself after taking photos at this iconic landmark. You can even see all the way down Via Condotti, which is an incredibly popular shopping street with tons of designer stores like Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. 

Day 3 of Rome Itinerary 4 days: Vatican City (St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Musuems), Castel Sant’Angelo, pick a neighbrouhood Monti or Trastevere

On day 3 of your 4 day Rome itinerary, plan to spend the first half of the day at the Vatican City (the world’s smallest micro-state!) and visit St Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums. 

Then make your way to Castel Sant’Angelo in the afternoon. In the evening explore a neighborhood such as Trastevere (“beyond the Tiber”) or Monti.

Vatican City – St. Peter’s Basilica 

The Vatican is the world’s smallest country, also called a microstate. It is a walled enclave within Rome that serves as the headquarters of the Catholic Church and seat of its central administration. So when you are in Rome, you must visit Vatican City.

View of the Vatican

The Vatican was created in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty between Italy and Holy See to ensure their independence from each other, and since then it has been recognized as an independent state with diplomatic relations with more than 100 countries.

You can visit many sites while you are here including St. Peter’s Square, which is one of the largest squares in Christendom.

Located here is the Saint Peter’s Basilica; Sistine Chapel; Raphael Rooms; Pinacoteca Vaticana (Vatican Picture Gallery); Vatican Museum (including Michelangelo’s famous frescoes on ceilings), and much more! 

The Vatican with the view of the St Peter’s Basilica

Saint Peter’s Basilica is the prime structure at the Square. It is the most famous, largest, and important church in the world. Considered as a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture St Peter’s Basilica was designed by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. 

It has been for centuries one of the holiest Catholic shrines because it contains what Catholics believe to be the tomb of Saint Peter. The basilica is also home to some of Catholicism’s most spectacular artworks including Michelangelo’s Pietà and his glorious frescoes on the ceiling as well as Raphael’s tapestries on every wall. 

Michelangelo’s Pietà

There are many things that make St. Peter’s Basilica so special but we think its greatest feature is its size – it can hold 60,000 people at once! That means there’s plenty of room for everyone who wants to visit this incredible building with all its history and beauty inside – plus it is free to enter.

Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Musuems

The Sistine Chapel is a chapel inside the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City. It is famous for its architecture and frescoes painted by renowned Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and others. 

Sistine Chapel
The Last Judgment in Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is housed inside the Vatican Museums. This is one of the largest public museums in the world. 

And it displays work from the immense collection amassed by the Catholic Church and the papacy throughout the centuries, from ancient Roman and Egyptian artifacts, religious objects, beautifully painted rooms, and even modern art. 

In total there are 26 different museums of the Vatican are housed in a complex of multiple Apostolic palaces, but the Sistine Chapel makes it the most popular. In addition to paintings and artwork, there are large tapestries designed by Raphael which are worth seeing. 

Visiting one of the halls of the Vatican Museums in Rome
Visiting one of the halls of the Vatican Museums in Rome itinerary 4 days

Keep in mind the Vatican museums are extremely popular, and tickets can be sold out. We recommend booking tickets ahead of time, and online. By reserving tickets or a guided tour, you can save time and visit the Vatican museums with the Sistine Chapel tour. 

For a guided tour of the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican museums, book this 2 hour tour

After exploring the Vatican, break for lunch there (there are restaurants and cafes located in the vicinity), and then make your way to visit the Castel Sant’Angelo.

Castel Sant’Angelo | Mausoleum of Hadrian | Hadrianeum

Explore Castel Sant’Angelo for an hour, and then make your way to the heart of Rome. 

The Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome is a monument and castle located on the Ponte Sant’Angelo, one of the bridges leading to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. It was initially built as a mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his family but later became a fortress used by Popes until 1870 when it became part of Italy.

Castel Sant'Angelo
Bridge leading to Castel Sant’Angelo

This monument is home to some incredible artworks including sculptures from Bernini, paintings from Raphael, and frescoes from Michelangelo himself!

In addition to being used as an imperial tomb, this building has been used as a fortress during wars between Italy and France. It had also served as an early prison; housing and accommodation for popes; as barracks during World War II.

Today it is a museum.

When you visit you can explore seven floors, all filled with an extensive collection of ancient artifacts and of course frescoes from the Renaissance period. 

Do climb the spiral staircase to reach the Chamber of Ashes where a number of historical figures were incarcerated, and then conclude your visit with a panoramic view of Rome city and the River Tiber from the castle terrace. 

Don’t forget, you can reserve and book tickets here

Then walk the Ponte Sant’Angelo bridge, also known as the Bridge of Angels to continue sightseeing into Rome!

Explore one of Rome’s neighborhoods 

In the evening, wander one of Rome’s popular neighborhoods like Monti or Trastevere. Both are nice to spend a few hours, walking on the narrow cobblestone lanes, checking out colorful buildings, balconies, and quarters that are sprinkled with trattorias. 

Trastevere 

Trastevere is a colorful neighborhood in Rome. It is separated from the historic center by River Tiber. Trastevere is also a great place to stay in Rome, as you can connect to Termini/historic center by train and is home to quaint cafes and amazing restaurants. 

Trastevere
Old fashioned orange motorbike on a street of Trastevere district, Rome

Trastevere is reasonably quiet during the day, and even at night although there are activities (and lights), it is not super crowded. 

With its charming cobblestone streets and picturesque views, you won’t be able to resist photographing the neighborhood. Plus the medieval-era buildings and colorful lanes and passageways will melt your heart!

Old street in Trastevere in Rome

Now, when in Trastevere try out the real Roman (thin crust) pizza, and sit by Piazza Trilussa for a relaxed evening.

You can also book one of the food tours in Rome: 

  • Trastevere food tour (evening): Perfect addition to the day, as this tour kicks off in evening. It is for 3-4 hours and covers numerous trattorias and ristorante on a guided walking tour (with pastas, wines, drinks and more fabulos Italian food). Book it here
  • Street food tour: Here is another food tour that takes place at 5:30 pm, more details here
  • Trastevere food and drinks tour: Trastevere food and drink tour, starting from Campo de’ Fiori. Check it out here

Monti

Another pretty neighborhood in Rome to wander about is Monti. Monti is located at the centre, close to the Colosseum, Via Dei Fori Imperiali, and other popular landmarks. So if you are staying between the Colosseum and Termini station, then you can definitely walk to Rione Monti. 

Lanes of Monti

The Monti district is a pretty large area, and it actually spreads over several of the 7 hills of Rome, and hence the name ‘Monti’, meaning ‘mountains’. We recommend starting for Monti in the late afternoon to check out some of the squares, churches, and photograph the narrow streets and buildings.

There are also steep roads and narrow alleys all leading to, and moving away from Monti, like Salita Dei Borgia / Via Leonina /Via Degli Zinger. 

Trajan’s Market, a ruins complex, located on the opposite end of the Colosseum is another attraction in the neighborhood. 

Quirinal Palace Piazza view
View from the Quirinal Palace Piazza

The Quirinal Palace is another spot to check out. It is one of the three current official residences of the President of the Italian Republic. It is located on Quirinal Hill, the highest of the seven hills of Rome, which makes for a nice sunset view from the piazza. 

Because we stayed at the Prassede Palace Hotel we also visited Santa Prassede, which is an ancient church with beautiful ancient frescoes, and Byzantine-style mosaics. 

Santa Prassede (near the hotel)
Santa Prassede opposite lane
Opposite Santa Prassede

All along you will find numerous trattorias, hip wine bars, and chic cafes where you can dine. Monti also has a plethora of local boutiques, selling fashionable clothing, bags, and other accessories that are tucked away in narrow lanes, and behind piazzas.

Day 4 of 4 day Rome Itinerary: Catacomb of Callixtus, Piazza Venezia, Villa Borghese, Piazza del Popolo & Pincio Terrace 

On day 4 of the Rome 4 day itinerary, plan to venture a little outside of the city to see the Catacomb of Callixtus. Followed by sightseeing at the Piazza Venezia, Villa Borghese, and sunset at the Piazza del Popolo.

The Catacomb of Callixtus

The Catacomb of Callixtus is often known as the ‘little Vatican’ as it is the burial site of Popes and dignitaries of the Roman church, from the 2nd to the 4th centuries. 

This catacomb is located on the Appian Way. It is part of a burial complex that occupies 90 acres with 12 miles of galleries on four underground levels. 

Circus of Maxentius. Appia way, Rome, Italy.
Circus of Maxentius. Appia way, Rome, Italy.

We recommend joining a tour that includes a round trip with access to the cemetery. This tour is for 2 hours, and the earliest that you can venture out is at 10:00 am. So after breakfast, you can check out the catacombs and then return to Rome for the afternoon.

As part of the tour, you can also check out the Crypt of St. Cecilia, and other tombs. 

Piazza Venezia and Palazzo Venezia

Piazza Venezia or Venice Square is a central hub in Rome. It is located at the foot of Capitoline Hill.

The square is named after the Palazzo Venezia, which was built by the Venetian Cardinal, Pietro Barbo alongside the church of Saint Mark, who was the patron saint of Venice.

Pietro Barbo later on, became Pope Paul II. Palazzo Venezia was designed by the architect Francesco del Borgo, and its construction began in the mid 15th century. 

Palazzo Venezia
Piazza Venezia, with Altare della Patria at the backdrop

Palazzo Venezia has served as Embassy of the Republic of Venice and was used by the Austrian ambassador. In the 20th century, especially after the First World War, the Palazza was taken over by the Italian government, and this is where Benito Mussolini had his office. He used its balcony to deliver speeches. 

Today Palazzo Venezia is a museum of Medieval and Renaissance art, Museo di Palazzo.

Piazza Venezia with the palace (on the left), Trajan's Column (on the right)
Piazza Venezia with the palace (on the left), Trajan’s Column (on the right)

Piazza Venezia is found where four major roads in Rome meet, namely the Via del Corso, Via del Plebiscito, Via di Teatre Marcello and Via dei Fori Imperiali. Be careful when you cross or get right in front of the Altare Della Patria for photos! 

Villa Borghese | Galleria Borghese

In the late afternoon visit Villa Borghese. 

Villa Borghese is a beautiful garden in Rome and is the third-largest one in the city. It is home to a large number of historical buildings, museums, and structures.

Villa Borghese
Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy

On a nice warm day, you can picnic and just relax in the gardens. These gardens were developed for the Villa Borghese Pinciana, which houses the Borghese Gallery.

For visiting the Borghese Gallery or Galleria Borghese you must pre-book your tickets. There you can admire beautiful sculptures and paintings by Bernini, Canova, Caravaggio, Titian, and other masters of the art.

You can also see Raphael’s “The Deposition” and “Lady with a Unicorn,” “David with the Head of Goliath,” “Boy with a Basket of Fruit, Bernini’s sculptures “Apollo and Daphne” and “David,” and more.

As well as exploring the museum, you can stroll around the villa’s gardens, enjoy the views over the Piazza del Popolo and other landmarks of Rome. 

Sunset at the Piazza del Popolo and Pincio Terrace

Piazza del Popolo is a short walk from the Borghese Gardens. 

Piazza del Popolo, also known as People’s Square, is the largest square in Rome. It is home to three churches and two fountains, namely the Fountain of Neptune, and Goddess Roma. 

Obelisk at the centre of People’s Square

You will also find a stunning Flaminio obelisk at the center. This Egyptian Obelisk is one of the major attractions at the square. It is also the second oldest obelisk in Rome. 

The 36 meter high Flaminio Obelisk has been standing tall since the 16th century. It was brought to Rome by Emperor Augustus in 10 BC., to honor the Roman Empire’s conquest of Egypt.

Piazza del Popolo was an important site for public executions. 

  • Today you can see two identical Baroque churches next to each other – Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria. 
  • On the other side of the square is the Basilica Santa Maria del Popolo, with 12 side chapels
  • The city gate of the Aurelian Walls, aka the ‘Porta del Popolo’ is hard to miss. This gate was built in 1561 and its interiors were decorated by Bernini
  • You will also find a beautiful fountain at the square, namely, the Fontana del Nettuno depicting Neptune accompanied by tritons. Another one is the Fontana della dea di Roma that showcases the goddess of Rome. 

This square is amazing at any time of day, but particularly in the evening as it comes alive with locals and visitors, hanging out, and enjoying Rome. You will also find a lot of trattorias, and bars nearby. 

View from Pincio Terrace
View from Pincio Terrace

For epic sunset views, you can climb up to the Pincio Terrace using steps to soak the panorama of Rome in all its glory! 

Sightseeing Map: Rome 4 day itinerary Italy

All of the attractions mentioned in this Rome 4 day itinerary are listed on this map. Feel free to save it, for your trip. 

Unique things to do in Rome 

Here are some of the off-beat things to do in Rome. 

  • Doria Pamphilj Gallery: This is a private art gallery housed in a stunning palace, which was built for the Pamphilj family. You can explore the palace, museums and other items on display. There is also a chapel located on-site. The site is not too big, and the entry fee is around 5 euros. It’s nearest metro stop is the Colosseum, so you have to walk down from here. 
  • Pyramid of Cestius: Almost a copy of an Egyptian pyramid, this one in the residential area of Rome is unique. It was built in 12 BC as the tomb of a magistrate named Gaius Cestius. The pyramid stands on the border between Testaccio and Ostiense. You can buy tickets to enter the pyramid. 
  • St Valentine: The Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin is well known for the Mouth of Truth, but while you are there you can check out the flower-adorned skull of St Valentine, housed inside the side altar on the left of the building.  

Is 4 days enough to visit Rome?

Yes. It is. 4 days in Rome will allow you to explore most of the prime historical sites in the capital city of Italy. You can intimately visit the Colosseum, Pantheon, Vatican City gems, and also relax in the Borghese Gardens, wander through any of the historic neighborhoods, eat your heart out, and soak in the pretty views of Roma!

Day trips from Rome and other sightseeing options 

Rome’s location is very convenient for travelers looking to explore more of Italy. Not only there are high-speed trains connecting other major cities in the country, but you can also find a plethora of day tours that combine various scenic destinations in Italy. 

Mt Vesuvius from Pompeii
View of Mt Vesuvius from Pompeii Ruins

We will round up some of the day trips that you can take from,

  • Villa D’Este & Hadrian’s Villa Tivoli: Located just on the outskirts of Rome are the two Renaissance villas, namely Villa D’Este and Hadrian’s Villa. Hadrian’s Villa was built by Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century, and it is considered to be the largest and most luxurious residence in Italy, with palaces, temples, theaters, thermal baths, gardens, and pools. You can also book a day tour which includes entry to both Villas as well lunch. Here is the tour 
  • Ancient Appian Way by an electric bike tour: We have mentioned about the Appain Way (Day 4 for Catacombs), you can also book a 4 hour electric bike tour to explore Appia Antica, which is Ancient Rome’s main road and enjoy the countryside. This tour also stops at the Appian Way Regional Park to check out aqueducts built by the Romans. Check out this day tour here
  • Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius Volcano Full-Day Trip: To visit the archaelogical sites of Pompeii, you can join a tour or drive from Rome. Driving takes 2.50 hours way. We embarked on a tour from Rome, and it was great to check out the place and learn about its history. Pompeii site is huge too, and having a guide was helpful (to save time!) In this tour, there was free time in Naples as well. 
Florence Italy
  • Florence and Pisa Full-Day Small-Group Tour: It is possible to visit Florence and Pisa on a day trip from Rome, thanks to high speed trains. You can also book a minivan/ day tour which includes admission to the Renaisaance art gallery – Accademia Gallery, and visit of the Baptistery and the “Duomo” in Pisa. This is a good value tour, check it out here
  • Day Trip to Venice by High Speed Train from Rome: Venice deserves atleast 2 full days for a proper visit, but if you must explore it on a quick trip (instead of staying overnight), then you can travel from Rome on a high speed train. You will be taken to the Piazza San Marco, and as part of the tour, you will be guided to the Basilica. You will have enough time to ride the gondola (45 minutes), enjoy food by the Grand Canal, or wander the San Polo neighbourhood (and buy some souvenirs). Check out this guided tour here

Train Travel from Rome

Trains are the best way to travel to Rome and make connections onwards to other Italian destinations. Italy’s largest and busiest train station is located in Rome, called the Roma Termini.

When you arrive at the Fiumicino airport, you can take the Leonardo Express airport train to get to the heart of the city, which is Termini. You will also find bus stations at the Termini. 

If you take a local train, you will arrive at the Trastevere station, and then make connections to Termini.

Trains at the Roma Termini
Roma Termini

Termini Station is HUGE, with a large underground shopping centre on two floors including a supermarket. You can find all the travel agents to book train tickets, and even eat out there. There are lots of fast food cafes and other sit-down restaurants. 

You can also drop off bags at the Termini. It is located on the western side of the station by where the airport train arrives. You can pay for storage here.

If you wish to visit other popular cities like Florence, Venice, etc you can do so by high speed trains from Rome, called Frecciarossa trains. They save a lot of time, but fares are expensive than regional trains. 

In all high-speed trains, you are allocated a reserved seat number when you book (online or in-person). They also don’t have to be validated at the station. 

Other than high-speed trains, there are regional trains, which is an affordable way to travel in Italy. These trains are basic, are slower than a Frecciarossa train. 

The Italian railway system has options for all budget ranges – you can choose inter-city or high-speed trains, with a choice of first or second-class tickets. 

Travel Tips for Rome Italy

Rome Italy Travel Visa

Rome is located in central Italy. Italy is a European Union member, with a long Mediterranean coastline. The Republic of Italy belongs to the Schengen zone of countries and follows the Schengen Agreement. So, 

  • If your passport is not visa-exempt, then you will require a Schengen visa to enter and visit Italy (including the Vatican City in Rome), 
  • If you have a United States and Canadian passport, no visa is required for visiting and staying in Italy for up to 90 days

When is the best time to visit Rome?

Rome is amazing at all times of the year. However, we feel that spring and fall are better for beating the crowds and securing decent accommodation in the heart of the city. 

View of the Vatican in late fall

In the spring and fall months, the weather and temperatures are also great for exploring outdoors (lots of Roman ruins and sites are outside), or hanging out at a piazza. 

In terms of months, make note of April to June and late September to October for travel to Rome. November is the wettest month of the year, but daytime temperatures are still nice for exploring the city.

December is great for the festive season. January and February months are off-season, but you can expect a good flight deal during this time. It snows a bit in these months too (but it is not too too cold).

What to pack for Rome? 

Here are some quick tips for packing to Europe

  • Universal adaptor: Rome (Italy) uses the round power pins, unlike the flat ones here in North America. So you will need a universal adapter. Here is what we recommend
  • Anti theft backpack: Because we travel in trains, and use other means of public transportation, we recommend carrying an anti theft backpack (or a daypack). We use the same backpack as a carryon (this is the same backpack I carried in Rome and packed all of my outfits, shoes and camera gear)
  • Wear comfortable shoes: Walking shoes are a must for Rome. You will end up walking/wandering/strolling quite a bit in the historical center and while transiting through public transportation, neighbourhoods, etc. So lace up and wear comfortable walking shoes!
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket: Highly recommend carrying a lightweight waterproof jacket when visiting Rome in November as it is the wettest month of the year. 
  • Travel documents: As always don’t forget your travel documents, credit cards, currency and travel insurance.
Are 4 days in Rome too much? 

We felt that 4 days in Rome was just enough time to explore all the items that we had on our bucket list. Most of the places listed in this travel guide are iconic spots that you shouldn’t miss. 

Keep in mind during peak seasons, wait time at some of the attractions could be long. 

Now, if pressed for time, you can surely skip entering some of the sites, or guided tours listed in this itinerary, and just walk through some of the piazzas instead of relaxing/sitting there for a meal. 

How much money do you need for 4 days in Rome?

Rome isn’t a budget-friendly destination, but it is also not super expensive. By visiting in the off-season, and staying in 3 star properties you can still have a great trip to Rome, and yes quite comfortably. Attractions passes per day will take up most of the budget after flights and hotels for Rome. 

Food isn’t expensive in the Italian capital – you can choose trattorias (especially by the metro) and have a nice meal with coffee for 6 euros or less (per person). Fancy dining places will obviously cost more, but depending on your travel style (and budget) you can dine at a nice ristorante on one of the days. 

For 4 days in Rome, expect to pay $150-$160 per day per person inclusive of accommodation, tours/transport, and food. Flights are additional. In the off-season, you can lower the cost to $110-$120 USD.

How many days in Rome is enough?

4 days in Rome is enough time to explore all the prime highlights of the city, without being rushed. You will have ample time to navigate through the historic city of Rome, enjoying ruins and colorful districts from ancient times. 

4 days will also allow you to visit popular touristy sites properly, allotting 1-3 hours. And also relax at a piazza soaking in the ambiance of the city of Roma!

5 days in Rome itinerary

Here is a 5 day Rome itinerary to extend your trip

Day 1 of Rome Itinerary: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, hop on and hop off tour, Basilica of Saint Mary Major
Day 2 of Rome Itinerary: Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps
Day 3 of Rome Itinerary: Vatican City (St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums), Castel Sant’Angelo, pick a neighborhood Monti or Trastevere
Day 4 of Rome Itinerary: Catacomb of Callixtus, Piazza Venezia, Villa Borghese, Piazza del Popolo & Pincio Terrace 
Day 5 of Rome Itinerary: Go on a day trip to Villa D’Este and Hadrian’s Villa, or Pompeii

What to do in Rome in two days? Perfect for first time in Rome itinerary

If you only have 2 days in Rome, we recommend the following

Day 1 of Rome Itinerary: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, hop on and hop off tour, Basilica of Saint Mary Major
Day 2 of Rome Itinerary: Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps
Or Vatican City (St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums), Castel Sant’Angelo, pick a neighborhood Monti or Trastevere

Is Rome safe for tourists?

Overall, Rome is safe for tourists to visit. It is considered to be one of the safest Italian cities to explore. 

Having said that being a touristy spot, you will find that you need to be extra careful in crowded sites, and transportation stations. Incidences of pick-pocketing are common, but violent crimes are very rare. 

When traveling in busy buses and trains, keep your belongings in sight and in your hand. Close your purse and bags, and keep your camera gear close to you. Definitely don’t leave cellphones in the back pocket.

Although the Roma Termini is convenient, the area right in front of the station is a bit stretchy, so be mindful of your luggage as you exit the station. Policemen are present there at all times, monitoring the area.

Rome is a must-visit destination for every travel enthusiast. The city’s rich history and culture and architecture can be seen in so many famous sites like the Colosseum, Trevi fountain, Vatican City, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and more. 

If you’re looking to explore more of Italy beyond Rome then check out our other posts on Italy below

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