Home / Travel Europe / Travel Italy / How many days in Rome is enough?

How many days in Rome is enough?

Love it? Share it!

Rome, the capital of Italy, is a large city in the center of the country. It is home to many famous historical landmarks from the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, to the Trevi Fountain. Rome is also known for its delicious food. If you are planning a trip and wondering how many days in Rome are enough, then you are at the right spot.

Trevi Fountain

We stayed in Rome for an extensive period of time and utilized the first few days to explore its rich history and culture, enjoy its delicious cuisine, and take in its beautiful sights. 

Rome is an excellent spot to venture out to other parts of Italy as well, from Tuscany to the Amalfi Coast and everything in between!

How many days in Rome is enough – How to plan a trip to Rome Italy?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Rome is a historic and vibrant city that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in ancient history, art, food, or simply want to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, you can easily spend several days enjoying all that Rome has to offer. 

However, if you’re pressed for time, it’s still possible to see the highlights of the city in just 3 to 4 days. 

Girl at the Spanish Steps
At the Spanish Steps Rome

Rome has an efficient metro system, and many of its famous landmarks are accessible within 15 minutes of walking distance of each other, as long as you are in the neighborhood. 

Plus there are lovely trattorias and piazzas where you can hang out and rest your weary feet. 

For us, Rome is that living history museum where everywhere you look you will find the beautiful heritage and picturesque spots – perfect for the historian in me! 

Beautiful lanes of Rome

This travel guide will help you in crafting the perfect Rome itinerary depending on your interests. 

Allow us to share our recommendation and we are certain it will help you – if you are unsure how many days in Rome should you spend as part of your Italy trip

We have covered as many Rome travel-related questions as possible below 

Is one day enough for Rome?

When deciding how many days to spend in Rome, consider your interests and the amount of time you have available. 

Colosseum

If you’re interested in visiting the main sights and attractions then one day in Rome is enough. 

To make the most of your trip, you have to narrow it down to 2-3 MUST see attractions as per your taste and travel style and take a hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus tour to skim through the neighborhoods for your visit.

Another option is to stick to 2 – 3 sites and then embark on a walking tour of a neighborhood in the afternoon/evening. 

Colosseum in Rome

***These sites are the ones where you will pay for an entry ticket and explore. 

So here is how your one day in Rome itinerary would look like, with 2 – 3 different sightseeing suggestions –

Best of City Highlights: This is an ideal itinerary for visiting the city’s iconic landmarks

  • Visit the Colosseum Complex with the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. We recommend a 3-hour guided tour to explore the site. You can book the tickets here
  • From the Colosseum, grounds walk to Piazza Venezia and Altare Della Patria and check it out 
  • Visit the Pantheon (free visit. Allot 1+ hour with line-ups)
  • Make a stop at the Trevi Fountain
  • Explore the Spanish Steps and the Square of Spain 
  • In the evening, head to the Piazza Navona

Best of Rome and the Vatican City: This Rome itinerary is jampacked with activities including a hop-on and hop-off tour to see it all

  • This itinerary starts at the Vatican City. Visit the St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Museums. For the last 2, you will have to book tickets in advance to get in as soon as the doors open. Reserve your spot here
  • Check out the Castel Sant’Angelo as you make your way from the Vatican to Rome
  • Go a hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus tour loop (90 minutes)
  • Once the loop is done, get down at the Colosseum to join the 3-hour guided tour of the complex with the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Book the tour here
  • Once the tour is done, walk to the Pantheon (view from outside), and the Trevi Fountain
  • Spend the evening at the Spanish Steps. Dine and shop in and around the square

If you prefer a guided tour, this one covers the Vatican and the Colosseum complex in 7 hours. After the tour, you will have free time to hang out at the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountains before calling it a day! 

Are 2 days in Rome enough – How many days in Rome for first-time visitors?

With 2 days in Rome, you can explore 3 attractions intimately each day, and also relax – go shopping, hang out at the piazzas, enjoy walking tours to learn about the city, and more. 

The Vatican

To make it easy, you can set aside one day for Rome’s prime attractions, and the second day for the Vatican City. You won’t need a full day at the Vatican, but 3-4 hours is sufficient, and then pick a neighborhood for further sightseeing. 

Rome makes for a great weekend trip destination as you can combine history-culture, good food, shopping, ‘wandering’, Instagram spots, etc on a short 2 day trip. For this itinerary as well, picking your top favorites is key!  

Colosseum Ruins

Day 1 in Rome: Definitely utilize the hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus tour on this itinerary too

  • Start with the iconic Colosseum grounds. Plan to get there early morning for epic Rome photo spots, and then spend 3 hours on the guided tour. Here is the guided tour to book
  • Hop on the sightseeing bus tour from the Colosseum. In 90 minutes or so you will get a good orientation of the city from Rome to the Vatican, and the Tiber River. It crisscrosses through different districts like Trastevere, so definitely make note of that
  • Visit the Pantheon (free visit. Allot 1+ hour with line-ups)
  • Make a stop at the Trevi Fountain
  • In the evening, explore the Spanish Steps and the Square of Spain 

Day 2 in Rome itinerary

  • Set aside 4 hours at the Vatican City. Visit the St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Museums. For the last 2, you will have to book tickets in advance to get in as soon as the doors open. Reserve your spot here
  • You can break for lunch at the Vatican and then visit the Castel Sant’Angelo (1 hour). Book your tickets here
  • Walk over to Rome, and pick 1-2 piazzas to hang out in the afternoon
  • Then join a walking food tour in the neighborhood of Trastevere
Cafes in Rome: Food walking tour

Here are some of the food tours to consider in Rome, 

So you can combine attractions in both Rome and the Vatican for a relaxed 2 day trip!  

Are 3 days in Rome enough? 

If you’re trying to decide how many days to spend in Rome, three days is the perfect amount of time for first-time visitors. 

Pantheon

You’ll be able to see all of the city’s major landmarks and get a feel for the culture and atmosphere. 

Plus, with a 3 day Rome itinerary you won’t feel rushed and can take your time exploring everything. 

  • Day 1 of Rome Itinerary: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Walking tour of Monti
  • Day 2 of Rome Itinerary: Vatican City (St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums), Castel Sant’Angelo, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps
  • Day 3 of Rome Itinerary: Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Piazza Venezia, the neighborhood of Trastevere

With this itinerary, you’ll get to see all of Rome’s most famous landmarks and attractions. You’ll also get to explore some of the less touristy areas and get a true sense of what it’s like to live in Rome. 

So if you’re wondering how many days to spend in Rome, the answer is three!

Day 1 in Rome: 

We do recommend a hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus tour even for this itinerary but feel free to skip this by leisurely walking to the next stop, or using public transportation. 

On your first day in Rome, you’ll want to explore some of the city’s most famous landmarks. Start with a visit to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. These are some of the most significant historical sites in Rome and are definitely worth a visit. 

Palatine Hill

It will take about 3 hours to explore all these attractions and also learn about its history. After visiting the site, you can hang out at a restaurant nearby and try some Italian food. 

Right after the Colosseum tour and lunch, you can head to the Santa Maria in Cosmedin Church. It will take 15 minutes to walk from Palatine Hill.

The most famous characteristic of the Mouth is its role as a lie detector

Check out the popular Mouth of Truth aka Bocca della Verità here. This sculpture is dedicated to the God of the Sea and it is believed that it can catch a person if they are laying – almost like an ancient lie detector. 

You can also see the flower-adorned skull of St Valentine housed inside the side altar on the left of the Basilica.

Set aside some time to go on a self-guided walking tour of the Monti neighborhood. This is a great way to get oriented in the city and see some of the less touristy areas. 

Monti District

We recommend spending 3-4 hours in the afternoon wandering through the district, eating, shopping, and checking out a lot of attractions along the way. 

You can start at the Bar Monti (easy to get to from the Colosseum. Use Google Maps to take you there). 

Here are the stops worthing visiting

  • Trajan’s Column (ruins complex) and Church of Santa Maria di Loreto 
  • If you walk further down from here, you will at the Piazza Venezia 
  • Piazza dell Madonna dei Monti (square) is perfect to rest your legs and relish a nice gelato
  • Quirinal Palace is another must-visit spot on your Monti walking tour. It is one of the three current official residences of the Italian President. The palace is located on the Quirinal Hill, which is the highest of the seven hills of Rome, and this is why it makes for a nice sunset view from the piazza
  • Monti also has a ton of local boutiques, selling fashionable clothing, bags, and other accessories
Quirinal Palace

All along this walking tour, you will find numerous trattorias, hip wine bars, and chic cafes where you can dine. 

So set aside time, and stop when you find anything interesting or fancy – that is the beauty of wandering through Rome’s neighborhoods!

Day 2 in Rome:

On your second day in Rome, start with a visit to Vatican City. This is the smallest country in the world and is home to some of the most significant religious sites. 

St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums are all must-sees. 

After exploring Vatican City, walk to Castel Sant’Angelo. This is an imposing castle that was once used as a papal residence. 

From there, make your way to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. These are two of Rome’s most popular Instagram attractions and are worth a visit as well. 

In the evening, head to one of Rome’s many restaurants for a delicious dinner. Make sure to try some of the local specialties like carbonara and amatriciana. 

After dinner, enjoy a stroll through one of Rome’s beautiful squares or piazzas. Piazza Navona is one of the most popular. 

Day 3 in Rome:

On your third day in Rome, start with a visit to the Pantheon. This is an ancient temple that is one of the best-preserved buildings from Roman times. 

A visit to the Pantheon is absolutely free, so plan to get there in the morning hours (as soon as they open). 

Piazza Venezia with the palace (on the left), Trajan's Column (on the right)
Piazza Venezia – Altar of the Fatherland

After visiting the Pantheon, walk to Piazza Venezia to explore the Altar of the Fatherland or Victor Emmanuel II National Monument. There are usually long line-ups at the entrance gate so plan your time accordingly. 

Then, head to the neighborhood of Trastevere, and spend the rest of the day there. This is a great way to get off the beaten path and see some of the less touristy areas.

Old street in Trastevere in Rome, Italy

We recommend joining a food tour there. This is a recommended 4 hour culinary and history tour – you get to sample delicious Roman cuisines and also learn about the history of Trastevere. 

If you are not into food tours and prefer something different, opt for a cooking class in the heart of Rome! Here are some options,

Are 4 days in Rome enough? 

With 4 days in Rome, you can surely cover a few offbeat attractions in the city. For this itinerary, tweak the first 3 days a bit, and then include a new set of landmarks to visit. 

View of Colosseum

Alternatively, you can also venture outside the city for a day trip!

  • Day 1: Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, hop on and hop off tour, Basilica of Saint Mary Major
  • Day 2: Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps (relaxed day shopping and dining)
  • Day 3: Vatican City (St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums), Castel Sant’Angelo, pick a neighborhood- Monti or Trastevere (food or cooking class)
  • Day 4: Catacomb of Callixtus, Piazza Venezia, Villa Borghese, Piazza del Popolo & Pincio Terrace
People’s Square

With four packed days like this, you’ll get a great overview of Rome’s must-see sights and a little extra. And you’ll have plenty of time to explore different neighborhoods and do some shopping or relax in cafes. 

We will elaborate on day 4 of Rome itinerary here which covers the Catacomb of Callixtus, Piazza Venezia, Villa Borghese, Piazza del Popolo, and Pincio Terrace. 

This day starts with a visit to the Catacomb of Callixtus. This is one of Rome’s most popular catacombs and is often known as the ‘little Vatican’ due to the burial sites of Popes and dignitaries of the Roman church. 

Appian way, Rome

Note that this site is located away from the city centre of Rome, on the Appian Way. It occupies 90 acres with 12 miles of galleries on four underground levels. 

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. 

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

After that, head to the Piazza Venezia. This square is home to the huge Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, as well as some great shops and restaurants. 

Villa Borghese, Rome, Italy

Next visit Villa Borghese, a large park that’s perfect for a leisurely stroll or a nice afternoon picnic. If interested you can visit the Galleria Borghese aka Borghese Gallery and Museum. This is an art gallery in Rome. 

Late evening, walk to Piazza del Popolo (known as the People’s Square) and then up to the Pincio Terrace. This spot is perfect to soak in the sunset views in Rome! Be sure to take your camera.

Alternate Day 4 in Rome: 

Offbeat things to do in Rome

  • Doria Pamphilj Gallery: Housed in a beautiful palace this private art gallery was built for the Pamphilj family and has museums and a chapel located on-site.
  • Pyramid of Cestius: Just like the Egyptian pyramid, but smaller. This quirky landmark is located in a residential area of Rome. It dates back to 12 BC and it is the site of a tomb of a magistrate named Gaius Cestius. Tickets are available to enter the pyramid. 

Go on a day trip from Rome

Rome is the perfect base to explore more of Italy. We have listed some of our favorite picks below. These Italian destinations are perfect if you are trying to hit a new city or site and are pressed for time. 

Rome is a great destination to fly to, and then use trains or a guided tour to visit these spots

  • Hadrian’s Villa: One of the most popular day trips from Rome is to the nearby Villa D’Este and Hadrian’s Villa Tivoli. This is full-day tour with lunch and exploration of two Renaissance villas.
  • Florence and Tuscany: Florence is located 1.50 hours away from Rome by high-speed train. In one day in Florence, you can surely explore the old town including the Duomo. There are guided tours that also take you through Tuscany. Click to find more information here
  • Venice: Venice is also connected to Rome via high-speed train. For many Venice is usually a quick stop in the Italy itinerary, if that’s the case for you then you can surely visit it on a day trip. You can also book this as a day tour

Read: How many days in Venice is enough

Site of Pompeii
  • Pompeii and Amalfi Coast: Explore Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, and Positano on a tour. This is a full day tour of 13+ hours, and it takes you to explore the UNESCO ruins as well as sightseeing in one of the Amalfi towns
  • Pompeii: You can also visit the Pompeii site on a day trip from Rome on its own. You can do this via train or a day tour
  • Capri: Similarly a separate day tour to the Island of Capri is also possible from Rome. You can read reviews and check availability here

Our recommendation – How many days in Rome is enough

3 to 4 days. 

As a first-time visitor to Rome, we recommend setting aside at least 3 days to explore the city’s prime attractions. 

When in Rome you must visit the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, and wander the lanes of the historic centre. 

The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel is one of the masterpieces of Michelangelo Buonarroti

Of course, you can’t miss throwing a coin at the Trevi Fountain to return or walking up the Spanish Steps. 

3 days will ensure you have a relaxed time at each site because Rome is a popular destination, and each attraction (with or without an entry fee) will have some wait time – for clearing security, scanning your skip-the-line vouchers, etc. 

3 to 4 days will give you ample time for dinners and shopping in the evening. 

On the fourth day, you can add a lovely day tour to the mix, or indulge in activities from e-bikes to cooking classes or a private photoshoot!

Rome is the perfect base to explore more of Italy via a road trip, trains, or guided tours.

Sightseeing to cover in 4 days in Rome

In a nutshell, with 4 days in Rome you can cover 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
  • 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 and Pincio Terrace 

Day 1 in Rome

On your first day in Rome, start with some of the city’s most famous sights. The Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill are all must-sees. 

You can buy a ticket that gets you into all three, or you can visit the Colosseum separately and then explore the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill on your own.

Roman Forum

After that, hop on a hop-on hop-off tour bus. This is a great way to get an overview of the city and see some of the main sights. 

You can hop off at any stop that interests you and explore further. Or just stay on the bus and enjoy the ride!

Basilica of Saint Mary Major
Basilica of Saint Mary Major

End your day with a visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. This beautiful church is one of Rome’s oldest, and it’s definitely worth a visit.

Day 2 in Rome

On your second day in Rome, start with a visit to the Pantheon. This ancient temple is one of the best-preserved buildings from Roman times. 

Then walk to Piazza Navona, where you can see the beautiful Bernini fountain and some amazing street art.

Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona

Next, head to the Trevi Fountain. This is one of Rome’s most popular sights, so be prepared for crowds. But it’s definitely worth a visit! 

After that, walk to the Spanish Steps. These steps are a great place to people-watch and go shopping.

Day 3 in Rome

On your third day in Rome, start with a visit to Vatican City exploring the world’s most famous sights of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums. Plan to spend at least a few hours here exploring!

Vatican City

After that, walk to Castel Sant’Angelo. This castle was once a papal fortress and is now a museum. Get your tickets here 

In the afternoon, pick one of Rome’s great neighborhoods to explore. Monti is full of charming cafes and shops, while Trastevere is known for its lively nightlife. 

Whichever you choose, you’re sure to have a great time!

Day 4 in Rome

On day 4 of your Rome itinerary visit the Catacomb of Callixtus on a guided tour. We recommend joining a tour that includes 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. 

After that, head to the Piazza Venezia, followed by an afternoon picnic at the Villa Borghese. If interested you can visit the Galleria Borghese aka Borghese Gallery and Museum. This is an art gallery in Rome. 

Late evening, walk to Piazza del Popolo (known as the People’s Square) and then up to the Pincio Terrace. 

And that’s it! Four days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Rome. You’ll see all the city’s must-see sights and have plenty of time to explore its great neighborhoods. 

Budget for 3-4 days in Rome – How much cash should I take to Rome for a 3 day trip? Travel Tips for Rome

Your flights and hotel bookings for Rome will account for most of your budget. 

When we were planning our trip to Italy from Canada, flights to both Rome and Milan had good frequency from our city of departure. So either destination is a great spot to begin your Italy vacation from anywhere in the world including the United States. 

Read: How many days in Milan is enough

Plan to arrive in one of Rome’s airports – Roma Fiumicino Airport, or Ciampino Airport. We flew to Italy, and landed at the Fiumicino Airport. Also known as Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, this is the busiest airport in Italy. 

Rome Termini

In order to get to the city center, you can use the Leonardo Express to arrive at the Rome Termini Train Station, which is the largest in the country. The cost of the ticket is 14 euros. 

For transportation in Rome and 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 with a hop-on and hop-off tour.

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

You must also allot a budget for guided tours like how we booked a 3 hour Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill tour to learn about its history. 

Aside from the flight tickets, just for hotels, food and transportation and tours, it will be $150 to $180 USD per person (mid-budget accommodation). 

Rome Hotels Recommendation 

For hotels and accommodation in Rome we recommend staying in a central area – historic center or Centro Storico. Or in and around 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. 

We stayed at the Prassede Palace Hotel which was centrally located. It is a 4-star hotel, and is one of the nicest properties where we stayed. 

Prassende Palace

From here, we were able to walk to the Colosseum and other sites in the historical center. Click to book your stay here

Some of the other hotel recommendations include

Leonardo Boutique Hotel Rome Termini (luxury): This is a 4-star property located near the Termini Station in Rome – 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

Atlante Star Hotel (mid-budget): This is a 4-star hotel in the Borgo district of Rome (near the Vatican), which offers an amazing scenic restaurant with free breakfast. There are eateries nearby as well. Plus suites are uber stylish. Book your stay here

Condotti Boutique Hotel (affordable): 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. 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. 

Also, keep in mind that Rome can be quite crowded, so if you’re visiting during peak tourist season you may want to plan for a generous budget because the hotel prices can be very steep. 

Is Rome worth visiting? 

Yes, Rome is 1000% worth visiting. I LOVE Rome – a visit to the city was like reading pages of my history books, and chapters coming alive in vivid ways! 

Its vibe is contagious and you will surely want to return to the city time and again. 

Colosseum Rome

Rome is a popular tourist destination, there is no doubt. So crowds are common, regardless of the time of visit. 

But you must also check out the sites that ancient Rome was known for, and take the time to understand and appreciate its past. 

The Colosseum is touristy, but it is also a must-visit attraction in Rome. 

Rome is one of the oldest and most historic cities in the world. It’s been home to some of the world’s most influential people and has played a significant role in the development of Western civilization.

The city is home to an incredible amount of art and architecture. From the Colosseum to the Sistine Chapel, there are endless opportunities to admire some of the world’s most iconic works of art.

Rome is also known for its delicious food! From fresh pasta and gelato to traditional pizzas and breads, you’ll definitely want to sample some of the city’s culinary delights.

It is also a great place to simply relax and enjoy the atmosphere. With its beautiful weather, friendly locals, and endless things to see and do, you’re sure to have a wonderful time.

Whatever you decide, make sure to leave time to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee or glass of wine at one of Rome’s many outdoor cafes. Buon viaggio!

More Italy Travel Guides and Tips

Love it? Share it!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.