4 days in Rome

Four days in Rome will be enough to discover the most important stops in the Italian capital, but you won't have time to waste - I'll help you get organized!

Alex Grande

Alex Grande

15 min read

4 days in Rome

St. Peter's Basilica at sunset | ©Michele Bitetto

Four days in Rome is the perfect time to see all its monuments and main squares, but it will also give you time to discover its most curious hidden corners. Here is the perfect itinerary to spend four days in Rome and not miss any of its must-see places.

Day 1: Get to know Ancient Rome

On your first day in Rome you will see the most monumental sights of the city, the impressive buildings that have been preserved since ancient times and take a walk through the Jewish Quarter, one of the most interesting in Europe.

Start the morning with a visit to the Colosseum

In front of the Colosseum| ©Joshua Earle
In front of the Colosseum| ©Joshua Earle

What better way to start your trip to Rome than visiting the Colosseum, one of the seven wonders of the world?

Inside the Colosseum you will see Ancient History in its purest form: the most important place of Roman public life in the time of the Empire, where free citizens exercised their right to entertain themselves, something that today seems even ahead of its time.

To avoid the queues that form in the building, I recommend that you buy online your tickets for the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. And, if you are particularly passionate about history, perhaps it's a good idea to take a guided tour of the Colosseum that also includes the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

Book your tickets for the Colosseum

Continue to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Via dei Fori Imperiali| ©Unsplash
Via dei Fori Imperiali| ©Unsplash

This place, very close to the Colosseum, is an open-air museum of ruins of Ancient Rome. From senate houses to public squares, markets and palaces, this area is an archaeological and historical treasure trove.

Don't forget to book your tickets to the Forum and Palatine Hill in advance. The Roman Forum is located on the Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome, and you have two ways to enter: either through the door next to the Colosseum, which usually has the longest queue, or through Via di San Gregorio, although for this you will have to turn around a bit. If you are not in a hurry, it is best to queue.

You can also take a combined tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. It will be an exciting experience that will reveal all the secrets that at first glance you may not perceive, but if not it is more than enough to walk through these ruins and imagine the daily life of Antiquity. If you have been left wanting to see more ruins of the Roman Empire, there are more forums in Rome where you can walk through history within walking distance of the Roman Forum and with free access:

  • The Imperial Forum.
  • The Forum of Augustus.
  • The Forum of Caesar.

Book a guided tour of the Colosseum, the Forum and the Palatine Hill

Afterwards, visit Piazza del Campidoglio and Piazza Venezia

Piazza Venezia| ©Michele Bitetto
Piazza Venezia| ©Michele Bitetto

Piazza del Campidoglio is one of my favorite squares in Rome and even book a tour of fountains and squares in Rome.

Its oval shape, designed by none other than Michelangelo, and the beautiful buildings surrounding it make this square a special place to sit, relax and enjoy Rome for a while.

On your way to Piazza del Campidoglio you will pass through Piazza Venezia, with the impressive national monument to Victor Emmanuel II (or Altar of the Fatherland).

Book a tour of Rome's fountains and squares

Next, discover Campo de' Fiori

Piazza Campo de' Fiori| ©Wikimedia
Piazza Campo de' Fiori| ©Wikimedia

A quarter of an hour walk from Piazza del Campidoglio you will find Piazza Campo de' Fiori, very popular with tourists, where every morning except Sundays you will find a market with stalls of all kinds: food products, fruits and vegetables and even bakeries.

If you are interested you can book a tour of fountains and squares of Rome. You can also visit it if you book a food tour of Campo dei Fori

Another option is to continue to Largo di Torre Argentina and order something to take away at Mercerie, in Via di S. Nicola de' Cesarini, 5, a very trendy place in Rome where you can order some delicious stuffed baskets to take away.

Book a food tour of Campo dei Fori

Don't miss Largo di Torre Argentina

Ruins at Largo di Torre Argentina| ©Wikimedia
Ruins at Largo di Torre Argentina| ©Wikimedia

This set of ru ins is visited for two very different reasons. It is the place where Julius Caesar was assassinated, so Largo di Torre Argentina is a top attraction for history buffs, but it is also a haven for stray cats, so if you love cats you have to come here.

The ruins are located outdoors in the middle of a square and are the remains of several temples from ancient times, as well as what is left of the Curia of Pompey, the Roman Senate, where the famous assassination of the historical figure Julius Caesar took place.

In the afternoon, enter the Jewish Quarter

Symbols of Rome's Jewish Quarter| ©Wikimedia
Symbols of Rome's Jewish Quarter| ©Wikimedia

If you book a tour of the Jewish Quarter, you will enjoy a very quiet place where you can breathe a different atmosphere from the rest of the city. You will walk through its small streets and you can reach the Great Synagogue of Rome, see the Teatro Marcello, the little brother of the Colosseum, admire the historic Portico of Octavia and visit the charming Piazza Mattei with its Fountain of Turtles.

While you are there, I recommend you try the Jewish artichokes, a dish of fried artichokes very characteristic of this neighborhood.

And for dinner, a place that is quite good and frequented by many locals is Giggetto al Portico d'Ottavia, in Via del Portico D'Ottavia 21/a-22, where you can order the typical dish of artichokes, but also excellent pastas and meats.

Book a tour of the Jewish quarter

Day 2: Discover the historic center

On your second day in Rome, I recommend some must-see plans such as visiting Piazza del Popolo, entering the Borghese Gallery, seeing Piazza di Spagna, going to the Trevi Fountain and, of course, entering the Pantheon.

Visit Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo| ©Gabriella Clare
Piazza del Popolo| ©Gabriella Clare

Piazza del Popolo is another of my favorite places in Rome, with the Flaminio Obelisk in the center (which was originally located in the Circus Maximus)

In addition to its three churches, Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Santa Maria in Montesanto and the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo, which are worth at least entering, next to Piazza del Popolo is the Pincio Terrace where you can climb to enjoy beautiful views of the square and Rome.

Book the tour of fountains and squares of Rome

Dazzle yourself at the Borghese Gallery

The interior of the Borghese Gallery| ©Canova Paolina
The interior of the Borghese Gallery| ©Canova Paolina

From Piazza del Popolo you are just a short walk through the Borghese Gardens to the art gallery of the same name, the Borghese Gallery, which houses one of the most important collections of pictorial art in all of Italy.

Housed in a former palace, the Borghese Gallery is absolutely stunning and well worth a tour, especially if you have a passion for art. You can see paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael, and Titian, among other masters.

It is best to book your guided tour of the Borghese Gallery online to make sure you don't miss out and get the most out of your visit with an expert guide.

Book a guided tour to the Borghese Gallery

Go to Piazza di Spagna

Piazza di Spagna| ©Daniel Basso
Piazza di Spagna| ©Daniel Basso

After the visit to the Borghese Gallery, in the rest of the day you will see the most emblematic places in Rome and the tourist attractions that you must see on this trip.

We start with the famous Piazza di Spagna, whose staircase, full of flowers in summer in Rome, is always full of people.

The staircase is presided over by the beautiful Church of Trinità dei Monti and in the square is the iconic Fontana della Barcaccia. This square was the place of worship of the romantic poets Keats and Percy Shelley, in fact, in the square itself is the residence of Keats now converted into a museum. Book the tour of fountains and squares of Rome and learn all the details of this emblematic place.

Book the tour of fountains and squares of Rome

Take the best pictures at the Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain| ©Michele Bitetto
Trevi Fountain| ©Michele Bitetto

You can't leave Rome without visiting the Trevi Fountain. It is the most impressive and beautiful fountain in Rome and probably in the whole world. It has an unparalleled beauty and you can visit it if you book the tour of fountains and squares of Rome.

Whether it is for its majestic beauty, for having served as an iconic setting in 'La Dolce Vita' or for the tradition of throwing coins into the water, you will find a huge crowd of people at this fountain. Therefore, it may be a good idea to return either at dawn or after midnight, two magical times when you will find far fewer people and you can enjoy the essence of the Trevi Fountain in all its splendor.

One of the most beautiful fountains in Rome that you cannot miss. If you are going to throw a coin in the water, remember the tradition: you have to do it with your right hand on your left shoulder, and throw one coin to return to Rome, two coins to find love in Italy and three coins to invoke good luck in your marriage or divorce.

Book the tour of fountains and squares of Rome

Start the afternoon at the Sciarra Gallery

Just a five-minute walk from the Trevi Fountain is this gallery with a small courtyard where you can see Art Nouveau frescoes and take a break from the crowds, as it is not well known to tourists.

It is one of those secret places in Rome that you will love to discover on your trip, make a note of it in your agenda!

Be amazed at the Pantheon

Leaving the Pantheon| ©Christopher Czermak
Leaving the Pantheon| ©Christopher Czermak

The Pantheon, today known as the church of Santa Maria Rotonda, is a place full of mystery: preserved since Antiquity, it survived the incursions of the barbarians and in the 7th century became an important Catholic temple.

Personally, I consider it essential to book a guided tour of the Pantheon on your trip to Rome and marvel at this monument both outside and inside. An almost magical atmosphere reigns through the oculus of the great dome that lets sunlight into the interior. Here, you can see the tombs of several Roman monarchs and the tomb of the artist Raphael, as well as mosaics and sculptures with a special glow.

Book a guided tour of the Pantheon of Rome

Go to Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona by night| ©Wikimedia
Piazza Navona by night| ©Wikimedia

One of the most beautiful and popular squares in Rome since ancient times when this space was the stadium of Domitian is Piazza Navona, an ancient place whose current beauty is largely due to the renovations of the Baroque era, which created the three fountains of the square and the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone.

It is a place that is definitely worth visiting in a four-day itinerary in Rome, where you can sit down for a coffee, relax and enjoy the atmosphere. You can also take the opportunity to book tickets for the Piazza Navona subway.

Book tickets for the subway of Piazza Navona

End the day at Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo| ©David Edkins
Castel Sant'Angelo| ©David Edkins

A walk from Piazza Navona to Castel Sant'Angelo will take you through the Historic Center to one of the most beautiful bridges in Rome.

Booking tickets for Castel Sant'Angelo is a must on your trip to Rome. Its construction dates back to the 2nd century, when Emperor Hadrian ordered the Castel Sant'Angelo to be erected as a mausoleum for his family. Throughout its almost two thousand years of history, this building has served as a tomb, as a fortress for the Pope in case of attack, as a castle and, nowadays, as a museum.

You can visit Hadrian's mausoleum inside and tour the papal apartments and look out over Rome from the defensive bastions, where the cannons still rest. To prepare for the visit, I recommend you read this article in which I tell you everything you need to know about the Rome Castel Sant'Angelo Tickets: how to buy, prices and schedules.

Book tickets for Castel Sant Angelo

Day 3: Marvel at the Vatican and enjoy the afternoon in Trastevere

And for your third day, add to the schedule a visit to the Vatican Museums, visit St. Peter's Basilica, stroll through Trastevere and watch the sunset from the Gianicolo Viewpoint.

Start the morning at the Vatican Museums

Inside the Vatican Museums| ©Wikimedia
Inside the Vatican Museums| ©Wikimedia

The Vatican Museums are an artistic treasure trove of gems such as the Sistine Chapel, the Hall of Maps, the Vatican Picture Gallery and many more visits. Forget about trying to go to the Vatican Museums without having prepared in advance:

When planning your itinerary, keep in mind that the Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays except for the last day of each month (a day that I do not recommend at all, since the entrance is free and the queues are indescribable).

Book your tickets for the Vatican Museums

Do not miss St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica| ©Wikimedia
St. Peter's Basilica| ©Wikimedia

St. Peter 's Basilica is, without a doubt, the most impressive church I have seen in all my travels. Just the spectacle that rises in front of you as you enter Piazza San Pietro is one of the images that you will have a hard time forgetting on your entire trip to Rome, but inside you will find a work of art that you can walk around and feel, and if all this were not enough you can climb the dome of the basilica and admire all of Rome at your feet.

The entrance to St. Peter's Basilica is free, but you will have to wait in line, which is not a big problem on a four-day trip. Actually, the queue moves pretty fast, even if it seems like it doesn't. But why wait in line? You have the option of booking a guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica.

Pay special attention to the Baldacchino, Michelangelo's Pieta, the tomb of Alexander VII and the Vatican Grottoes, which is the most impressive thing about St. Peter's Basilica, along with the ascent to the dome, which you can see inside up close and outside, with the city of Rome stretching out to the horizon as a backdrop. By the way, Wednesdays are a bad day to visit St. Peter's Basilica unless you book tickets for the papal audience.

Book a tour of St. Peter's Basilica

Stroll through Trastevere

Santa Maria in Trastevere| ©Wikimedia
Santa Maria in Trastevere| ©Wikimedia

Trastevere is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Rome and will give you a very genuine feeling as you walk along its cobblestone streets. Here you will find the typical shuttered windows, colorful buildings and vines hanging from every corner.

Take a walk along the Tiber to Isola Tiberina and discover its surroundings, pass by the charming Piazza di Santa Maria and enter the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere to admire its golden mosaics, one of the churches in Rome that will surprise you the most.

From Villa Farnesina, just walk for about 20 minutes to reach Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere. Book a tour of Trastevere and get to know Rome's most peculiar neighborhood in depth.

Book a tour of Trastevere

Don't miss the sunset from the Gianicolo viewpoint

To end the day, you have the option to relax with a glass of wine and a slice of pizza in Trastevere (for this I recommend you try the delicious pizza at Ai Marmi, in Viale di Trastevere, 53-59). Or...you can climb the Janiculum to enjoy the sunset over Rome, for which you will have to walk about 15 minutes from Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere.

Take some snacks and drinks with you and settle on a bench to enjoy the view and the cool evening air. You can always return to Trastevere afterwards and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Day 4: Visit Testaccio and a hidden part of Rome

ROME (Testaccio)|©Antonello Serino
ROME (Testaccio)|©Antonello Serino

On your last day in Rome, you can't miss some emblems of the Italian capital such as the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius, the pagan cemetery, the Testaccio Market, Piazza Testaccio, the Orange Garden, the Lock of the Knights of Malta and a must-see, the Circus Maximus.

Start the day at the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius

Would you have guessed that you can see a pyramid in Rome? Well yes, and one that is also magnificently preserved from ancient times.

It is the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius, a Roman magistrate who ordered it built to house his burial chamber, in the style of the pyramids of Egypt.

You can see it just outside the Piramide metro stop, on the B line, but where you will have the best views is from the non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome, the next stop on the itinerary on your last day in Rome.

Visit the Non-Catholic Cemetery

This beautiful pagan cemetery is unique in the city of Rome, and even shocking to find something like this in a city so relevant to Catholicism. The poets Percy Shelley and John Keats, who as you know were in love with Baroque Rome, are buried here.

It is a very quiet place with a charming atmosphere from where you can see the Pyramid of Caius Cestius in all its splendor. It is also a haven for stray cats, and you will see many wandering among the gravestones in the cemetery.

Shop for souvenirs at the Testaccio Market and Piazza Testaccio

The Testaccio Market, unlike the one in Campo de' Fiori, is much more local and authentic, so you'll encounter far fewer tourists who don't include this visit among their priorities on a Rome getaway.

In the Testaccio Market there is everything from clothes, shoes and antiques stalls, and of course plenty of food stalls where I recommend you try some of the delicacies of Roman gastronomy.

Also take the opportunity to stroll around Piazza Testaccio, much less crowded than the main squares of Rome, and rest before heading to one of the most impressive monuments of the city: the Circus Maximus.

Book a tour of Rome's fountains and squares

Don't miss the Circus Maximus

Although this is not an essential visit of the itinerary, it is interesting to book a guided tour of the Circus Maximus especially if you are in the area. You can take the opportunity to stroll around the Circus Maximus, the first stadium in Rome where the famous chariot races were held. In the area there are still some ruins of the palaces that were built around this place.

Today it is a park where you can see the remains of antiquity and imagine what the shows that would have taken place here would have been like. And now that you've cleared your mind from a day full of sightseeing, get ready to discover one of the most special places in all of Rome.

Book a guided tour of the Circus Maximus

Say goodbye to Rome in the Orange Garden and the Lock of the Knights of Malta

The Lock of the Knights of Malta| ©Wikimedia
The Lock of the Knights of Malta| ©Wikimedia

On the Aventine Hill, one of Rome's hills south of the city, there is a place called the Giardino degli Aranci, or Garden of Oranges. Initially it was an orchard of Dominican monks, but today it is a park where you can find a gate with a keyhole through which you can observe in miniature the dome of St. Peter's Basilica.

It is a very beautiful and unique experience, and actually looking through the keyhole is just an excuse to stroll through the orange groves and enjoy their scent, especially on a summer afternoon.

I recommend you to book the hidden Rome tour and go up here an hour before sunset, even if it means reducing the time you spend on the previous visits: it is certainly the best way to end your trip to Rome and one of the most striking and beautiful views of Rome.

Book the hidden Rome tour