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5 days in Rome

5 days in Rome will be more than enough to discover the city and visit its museums and monuments. I propose you an itinerary to visit Rome in 5 days.

Alex Grande

Alex Grande

19 min read

5 days in Rome

Views of Rome | ©Christopher Czemrk

Rome promises adventure for as long as you go. However, five days is the exact measure of a perfect trip to Rome: you can stroll leisurely through its streets, see all its sights and some secret corners and take your time to really enjoy the city instead of rushing from place to place. It's easy to make a five-day Rome itinerary in which every day is a must-see, but only if you know what to see each day. Spending time in the Eternal City is something that pays off in spades, and in the following lines I'm going to tell you why.## 1. Day one: The main monuments of Rome and a walk through the Jewish Quarter

In my experience, starting a trip to Rome with the Colosseum and the Roman Forum is a spectacular way to get your first glimpse of the city's grandest side, that of its monuments and imperial ruins.### Visit to the Colosseum

The Colosseum| ©Unsplash
The Colosseum| ©Unsplash

Regardless of how long you will be in Rome, it is best to find out how to buy your tickets for the Colosseum in advance, which saves you from waiting in line at the ticket office. You will have to wait in line to get in, as this monument receives a huge influx from opening to closing. Another option is to take a guided tour of the Colosseum, with which you do not have to wait in line to access the monument and you have the narration of a guide specialized in ancient history.

Please note that if you have purchased the Roma Pass you have to book your ticket to the Colosseum and it is best to do so as soon as possible to ensure the first time slot in the morning.To get to the Colosseum, go by metro to the Colosseo stop (metro line B) and as soon as you get out you will have on your left the ledge on which so many people take a picture. The Colosseum is open from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm. The Colosseum is closed on December 25 and January 1.

Book a visit to the Colosseum, the Forum and the Palatine Hill.

Roman Forum

The Triumphal Arch in the Roman Forum| ©Unsplash
The Triumphal Arch in the Roman Forum| ©Unsplash

Next to the Colosseum, there is a huge archaeological site known as the Roman Forum. This was the center of Ancient Rome, where the main buildings of political life as well as temples and markets were located. The Roman Forum is on top of the Palatine Hill, and the main entrance is very close to the Colosseum. You can also enter through the Via di San Gregorio entrance. If you don't feel like walking or are not in a hurry, just go to the main entrance, where you can see the impressive Arch of Constantine, almost 1,700 years old. Once inside the Roman Forum, keep your eyes peeled for the Arch of Titus, which was built to celebrate the conquest of Jerusalem, the Basilica of Maxentius, a public meeting place that you may recognize as an inspiration for other Renaissance-era buildings, and the Temples of Antoninus and Faustina and of Vesta.

Book a visit tothe Colosseum, Forumand Palatine Hill

Lunch stop

A good plate of Italian pasta| ©Gabriella Clare
A good plate of Italian pasta| ©Gabriella Clare

If you're getting hungry, something that can happen literally every step you take in Rome, I recommend you head to the Taverna dei Quaranta, whose cozy atmosphere makes it a great place to enjoy a good meal and relax. With its vaulted ceilings and checkered tablecloths, the slightly retro style of this place goes hand in hand with exquisite traditional food. It is in Via Claudia, 24.

Book a gastronomic tour of Rome

Piazza Venezia and the Campidoglio

Piazza Venezia| ©Michelle Bitetto
Piazza Venezia| ©Michelle Bitetto

In the early afternoon, stop by Piazza Venezia, presided over by the monument to Victor Emmanuel II (also known as the Altar of the Fatherland). There you can climb up to what is known as the Terrace of the Quadrigas, or popularly 'Roma dal Cielo', and enjoy beautiful views of the square itself, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. The entrance fee is 7 € for adults and 3.5 € for children and teenagers between 10 and 18 years old, so this is a totally optional but recommended experience. Afterwards, go up the hill of the Campidoglio and sit in the square of the same name. Its oval structure, the statue of the emperor and thinker Marcus Aurelius in the center, and the beautiful buildings surrounding it make it, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful squares in Rome, so take your time to enjoy it. From its belvedere there are also nice views of the Roman Forum.

Book a tour of Rome's fountains and squares

Jewish quarter

Details of the Jewish quarter| ©Unsplash
Details of the Jewish quarter| ©Unsplash

After marveling at the major monuments of Ancient Rome, enter a very different side of the city: the Jewish quarter or ghetto of Rome. The Jewish quarter of Rome is a very quiet place where the ideal is to get lost in its narrow streets: located next to the Tiber, in its corners peace reigns and magically you will forget that you are actually very close to the crowded Colosseum.

On your stroll through the Jewish quarter, approach the Great Synagogue of Rome (which you can only visit inside on an official tour), pass by the Portico of Octavia, which in ancient times housed a library and several temples, and sit in Piazza Mattei to enjoy the murmur of the water of the charming Fountain of the Turtles.

Book a tour of Trastevere and the Jewish Quarter

Piazza della Bocca della Verità

La Bocca della Verità| ©Unsplash
La Bocca della Verità| ©Unsplash

The Bocca della Verita square, a short walk from the Jewish quarter, is home to one of Rome's most popular curiosities, inside the portico of the beautiful medieval church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. It is, of course, La Bocca della Verità, an image carved in marble depicting the face of a man with his mouth open. If you've seen Audrey Hepburn's 'Roman Holiday', you'll remember the scene where she reaches in instantly. According to legend, the Bocca della Verità knows how to recognize liars and that is why she bites off the hand of those who have put it in her mouth. In the same square you can also see other minor points of interest, such as the Temple of Hercules, the Temple of Portunus and the Arch of Janus. Afterwards, you can take a stroll and return to the Jewish quarter for dinner and a drink. I recommend you try the famous bean artichoke dish served in most of the restaurants in the area, but if you want a recommendation go to Giggetto al Portico d'Ottavia, in Via del Portico D'Ottavia 21/a-22, where they serve this traditional recipe as well as a delicious pasta.

Book a tour of theJewish quarter

Day 2: Walking tour of Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and the streets of central Rome

On the second day you will continue to see the city center and other important monuments. I recommend you to take a guided tour to learn about the historical details of the most emblematic places of the city. I'll tell you what they are:### Pantheon

The Pantheon| ©Christopher Czermak
The Pantheon| ©Christopher Czermak

The Piazza della Rotonda is home to one of the most interesting and beautiful places in the whole city: the Pantheon of Agrippa, also known as the church of Santa Maria Rotonda. In the 7th century, what had been built as a temple dedicated to all the Roman deities was converted into a Catholic church and thus has reached our days the best preserved building of Ancient Rome. The Pantheon is an architectural marvel, and inside you will have the feeling of having been transported to another world. The first instinct upon entering is to look up and marvel at the dome and the round opening at the top of it, an oculus that lets in sunlight and creates a magical atmosphere that fills the entire space. The opulence of the Pantheon's walls includes monumental tombs of Italian kings and the artist Raphael, as well as carefully crafted mosaics and sculptures that glow with a special light. Entrance to the Pantheon is free, so simply enter from the square and get ready to enjoy. On your way out, I recommend taking a walk around the outside of the building to really understand how incredible the structure of this temple is.

Book a tour of hidden Rome

Walking tour of the most beautiful squares

Piazza Navona| ©Grabiella Clare
Piazza Navona| ©Grabiella Clare

After visiting the Pantheon, take a walk around the surrounding squares. The nicest ones are Piazza di Petra, which has some very nice ruins and quite a lively atmosphere, Piazza della Minerva and Piazza Sant'Eustachio, famous among other things for Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè, a coffee shop that serves one of the best espressos in all of Rome.

Piazza Navona is one of the most famous squares in all of Italy, and no wonder: whether for its three impressive fountains, the most beautiful of which is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi with its huge obelisk, or for the baroque church of Sant'Agnese in Agone that provides a beautiful backdrop to the walk through the square.

Scattered around the square you will find restaurants, bars, cafes and street performers that animate tourists and locals, almost like in any main square of a large city. The oval shape of the square is due to the fact that in ancient times this place was the Stadium of Domitian, a prominent place of public life in imperial Rome where festivals and sporting events were held. A stroll through Piazza Navona is a classic of any itinerary through the Eternal City that boasts, to enjoy the beauty of its architecture while breathing the atmosphere of Rome.

Book atour of Rome's fountains and squares

Lunch stop

Fiametta| ©Ristorante Fiametta
Fiametta| ©Ristorante Fiametta

Near Piazza Navona, at Piazza Fiammetta, 10, is Ristorante Fiammetta, a trattoria tucked away in a street of antique stores. It makes sense, since this restaurant maintains all the quality, flavor and good work of the Roman food of a lifetime. You can eat both inside and outside in a cozy little terrace and for a price not too exaggerated, about 20 or 25 € per person. Totally recommended.### Campo de' Fiori

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

After lunch and a coffee, go back to Piazza Navona and walk south along Via della Cuccagna, towards Palazzo Braschi, an ancient palace that today is known as the Museum of Rome. Continue to Corso Vittorio Emanuele and cross the street until you reach Via dei Baullari, at the end of which is the square of Campo de' Fiori. During the day it is a bustling market and at night it becomes an area where you can go out for a drink. In the market you can find all kinds of food and even flower stalls, as it is actually quite tourist oriented but you can still find some quality typical gastronomic products. In the square of Campo de' Fiori used to carry out public executions, so in the center of the square there is a statue of the astronomer Giordano Bruno, condemned for his cosmological studies.

Book a food tour in Campo de' Fiori

Trastevere

Trastevere| ©Shutterstock
Trastevere| ©Shutterstock

From Campo de' Fiori, you are just a short walk from the last stop of the day: Trastevere. Head to the southeast corner of the square, right across from where you entered (I recommend using the orientation of the statue of Giordano Bruno as a reference point). Go down Via dei Giubbanari to the narrow alley of Via dell'Arco del Monte, and if you look down here you can see Ponte Sisto in the distance. Continue along Via dell'Arco del Monte and cross the bridge to cross to the other side of the Tiber. Turn left and continue along Via del Moro to the end of the street, and on the right you will have Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere, the main square of this famous neighborhood. It is home to one of Rome's most interesting tourist attractions, the iconic basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, which is definitely worth a visit to marvel at the impressive mosaics inside.Trastevere is a wonderful neighborhood to stroll around and enjoy the evening, either in the vicinity of the Isola Tiberina or on the terrace of a bar. It has some of the most charming dining restaurants in Rome.

Booka tour of Trastevere

Gianicolo Terrace

Gianicolo viewpoint| ©Wikimedia
Gianicolo viewpoint| ©Wikimedia

After touring Trastevere, and if you still have time to see the sunset, I recommend you to go up to the Gianicolo and enjoy the sunset over Rome. The Fontana dell'Acqua Paola, in front of which is the most popular viewpoint, is the direction you should head, about 15 minutes walk from Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere. If on the other hand you are late or don't want to walk any further, I recommend relaxing with a Peroni and a pizza on the terrace of the pizzeria Ai Marmi, in Viale di Trastevere, 53-59. Although the atmosphere there is anything but quiet, you will taste one of the most delicious pizzas in all of Rome, well deserved after a day of walking.

Book afood tour of Rome

3. Day Three: The grandeur of the Vatican and the Borghese Gallery

Day three starts with a visit to the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica. There are guided tours that include entrance to both and of course to the dome, from where you can see the best views of the Roman city. You will finish this day in which art is the protagonist contemplating the wonderful works of art that houses the Borghese Gallery and stroll through its gardens.### Vatican Museums

The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums| ©Wikimedia
The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums| ©Wikimedia

Many people visit the Vatican as soon as they land in Rome, and no wonder. In this tiny country you can find two of the most important places in the Western world, both for the History of Art and for Catholic worship.

One of them is the Vatican Museums, a lavish museum in which in addition to an impressive Hall of Maps and the Vatican Picture Gallery, which displays works by Raphael, Caravaggio and Da Vinci, you can see the famous Sistine Chapel and be left open-mouthed before the frescoes of Michelangelo's Last Judgment. I recommend spending a good time to discover everything that hides this place. In addition to the aforementioned rooms, stop by the Galleria Chiaramonti, full of Roman sculptures, go see the 'Apollo of Belvedere' and the awe-inspiring 'Laocoonte and his sons' in the Pio Clementino museum, the Rooms of Raphael, a series of rooms decorated by the artist himself, and the Chapel of Nicholas V, one of the jewels of the Vatican Museums that goes unnoticed by many visitors.

Even if you are going to visit the Vatican Museums on a 5-day trip to Rome and you can take it easy, it is still essential to prepare your visit in advance. I recommend you to buy your tickets for the Vatican Museums online to avoid the exhausting queues that form at the entrance. If you prefer a guided tour, the official tour of the Vatican Museums allows you to skip the line to access this place, and have at your disposal an expert guide who will offer you a very complete narration to understand everything you see. The best for this visit is to go as early as possible in the morning, even before opening time. How is this possible? With the Early Guided Tour of the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel, you will tour the main rooms of the Vatican Museums in a small group, and at a time when tourists are not yet allowed to enter. Enjoying the Sistine Chapel in silence is, frankly, an experience that everyone should have. If you opt for an Early Bird tour of the Vatican, you will be finished by 11:00 a.m. at the latest, which means you will have plenty of time to enjoy St. Peter's Basilica and the rest of the city. The Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays except for the last day of each month (a day to avoid, as admission is free and therefore crowds are massive). The official opening hours to the public are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Book an early morning visit to the Vatican

St. Peter's Basilica

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

The other must-see for Western culture in the Vatican is, of course, St. Peter's Basilica: the most imposing church, both inside and out, in the whole world. Just seeing it from the outside, admiring the magnitude of St. Peter's Square, is spectacle enough, but accessing its interior is like becoming a miniature and transporting you inside a painting that you can walk around and feel. You will be amazed at every corner, regardless of your faith. You don't need to buy a ticket to enter St. Peter's Basilica, but the queues are usually quite long, especially around noon. If you don't want to wait in line, take the Early Bird tour of the Vatican Museums to get in early, or take a guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica, again with an official Vatican guide, which allows you to skip the line.

Once inside, you can marvel at the Baldacchino, Michelangelo's Pieta, and the tomb of Alexander VII, some of the jewels hidden in St. Peter's Basilica, plus of course its dome, which you can ascend to see in detail (and enjoy, on the outside, breathtaking views of Rome). If you want to do an in-depth visit on your own, you can't miss the bronze statue of St. Peter, located on the right side of the central nave of the basilica. It is a bronze carving from medieval times, whose foot is kissed or rubbed by the thousands and thousands of faithful who make the pilgrimage to St. Peter's Basilica every year. Also, access the Vatican Grottoes, subway galleries where the remains of several famous popes are kept, including those of John Paul II. You can also see the tomb of St. Peter himself, located just below the main altar of the basilica.When to visit St. Peter's Basilica? The truth is that you are going to encounter a lot of people on this visit whenever you go, so as I indicate in this itinerary it is best to go after seeing the Vatican Museums, which are worth visiting with as few crowds as possible. Just avoid Wednesdays: St. Peter's Basilica does not open until 1 p.m. for the papal audience. The basilica is not open to the public on Sundays. Something very important is to respect the dress code to enter St. Peter's Basilica: shoulders and knees must be covered, so on this day you should wear long pants and a sweater or scarf, and leave the cap or hat in your backpack.

Book a visit to St. Peter's Basilica and the Dome

Borghese Gallery

Borghese Gallery| ©Wikimedia
Borghese Gallery| ©Wikimedia

The Borghese Gardens are home to the famous Borghese Gallery, a museum where you can see an impressive collection of art with some of the most famous works of Caravaggio, Raphael, or Titian. Beyond painting, the gallery is known for its catalog of sculptures, including 'Apollo and Daphne', 'The Rape of Proserpina' and the 'David' by Bernini and the 'Victorious Venus' by Canova.

I recommend buying your tickets online for the Borghese Gallery, which saves you time and avoids the tedium of waiting in line. At the end of your visit you can take a walk to the Piazza del Popolo and enjoy a nice little while in the shade and even the beautiful views of Rome from the Pincio Terrace.

Book tickets for the Borghese Gallery

4. Day four: Excursion to Florence and Pisa or Pompeii

Florence| ©Wikimedia
Florence| ©Wikimedia

Since you are going to spend a few days in Rome, why not visit one of the most beautiful cities in Italy on a day trip or go to one of the most famous ruins in the world? I am talking about, of course, taking a trip to the city of Florence, with its incredible cathedral, and on the way to Pisa to see its famous leaning tower, or explore the ruins of Pompeii where one of the most faithful images of life in the ancient world is preserved. Choose your own adventure!### Excursion to Florence and Pisa

Florence| ©Wikimedia
Florence| ©Wikimedia

This tour not only takes you to see the most unforgettable sites of Florence, but also passes through Pisa to see the iconic leaning tower that has made the city so famous.

A local guide, an expert in the history of both cities, will take you to see all the must-see sights: Florence's Duomo square, Palazzo Strozzi, Ponte Vecchio, and the Galleria dell'Accademia, where you can see Michelangelo's famous David (if you select this option when booking the experience) - The visit to Pisa will focus on taking you to see the tower and its surroundings.

  • The tour includes the round trip in an air-conditioned bus, but not lunch. The full day tour to Florence and Pisa from Rome has an approximate duration of 12 hours and a price of $ 266, and it is a perfect way to include a getaway in your trip to Rome as you will not have to organize anything, just meet your guide at the meeting point and start enjoying. If you want to prepare this tour on your own or have other options to visit Florence, I recommend you to read this article where I tell you everything you need to know: Florence Day Trips from Rome.

Book an excursion to Florence

Excursion to Pompeii

Pompeii| ©Wikimedia
Pompeii| ©Wikimedia

The other option for an excursion from Rome is to go to Pompeii and discover the history of this place and what happened there almost two thousand years ago. On this day trip to Pompeii and Vesuvius from Rome you will go up to Vesuvius, an active volcano from whose crater you will have a breathtaking view. Afterwards you will be taken for lunch at a Neapolitan pizza restaurant and in the afternoon you will tour the ruins of Pompeii and all its archaeological sites. To discover other excursions to Pompeii or to know in depth what you can't miss once there, I recommend you to read this complete guide about this experience: Pompeii Day Trips from Rome.

Book an excursion toPompeii

5. Day five: discover Rome's hidden gems and bid farewell to the city in style

Finish your trip by visiting some parts of Rome that you might not have time to see on a shorter trip. However, they are no less interesting to visit.### Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Wikimedia
Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Wikimedia

A ten minute walk from Piazza Navona is the Castel Sant'Angelo, across the Tiber across the beautiful Ponte Sant'Angelo, one of the most beautiful in Rome. It is a majestic building that was built as a mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian, and throughout its history has served as a fortress for popes and today as a museum for visitors. It is worth spending the morning visiting this emblematic building and climbing to its roof, from which you can see Rome from another perspective.

To avoid queues, you can buy online your tickets to the Castel Sant'Angelo with audio guide or if you prefer you can take a tour of the Castel Sant'Angelo. If you decide to visit it on your own, I recommend you to read this article to know in advance the most interesting things about this place: Rome Castel Sant'Angelo Tickets: how to buy, prices and schedules.

Book tickets to Castel Sant'Angelo

Appian Way and the Catacombs

The Catacombs of Rome| ©Wikimedia
The Catacombs of Rome| ©Wikimedia

The Appian Way is the ancient Roman road that connected the city with the southern sites for the transport of troops and goods. It is still quite well preserved and along its route you can visit an archaeological park full of interesting sites, the Parco Regionale dell'Appia Antica(one of the most beautiful in Rome). Walking along the Appian Way is a great way to enjoy another side of Rome away from the hustle and bustle of the center. My recommendation is to visit the Appian Way on Sundays, when it is closed to traffic as it takes on a very special atmosphere. Start the walk at the visitor center, until you reach the tomb of Cecilia Metella and the Circus of Maxentius. On the way, if you feel like it, you can visit the Catacombs of Rome: either the Catacombs of St. Callixtus or the Catacombs of St. Sebastian. The Catacombs of St. Callixtus are the most popular for offering a more extensive tour and being the resting place of the first sixteen popes as well as some Christian martyrs. If you decide to try this experience, you should know that it can only be done on a guided tour. Read the complete guide to the Catacombs of Rome, where I tell you everything you need to know before booking a tour: Rome Catacombs Tickets: how to buy and prices.

Book your guided tour of the Catacombs and Via Appia

Stop for lunch

Ai Fienaroli| ©Ai Fienaroli
Ai Fienaroli| ©Ai Fienaroli

For lunch, I recommend Ai Fienaroli, in Via Piemonte, 125. In their menu you can find some delicacies such as red tuna tartar with crunchy bread and fennel cream, a delicious carpaccio of sea bass with pistachios and black truffle, and they also have some great artichokes with beans. Although the price is around 40 € per person, it is worth a treat on your last day in Rome.### The lock of the Knights of Malta

The lock of the Knights of Malta| ©Unsplash
The lock of the Knights of Malta| ©Unsplash

At the top of the Aventine Hill, the southernmost hill in Rome, there is an area of lavish mansions and gardens that hides a secret: the Garden of Oranges, known by locals as the Giardino degli Aranci. It is a park where you can find a door through whose lock you can see, in the distance, the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, framed by trees.

In addition to this curiosity, the area is a delight to walk around while enjoying the smell of orange trees and, in the evening, admire the sunset from one of the favorite viewpoints of the locals. From October to February, the park is open from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm from March to September and from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm from April to August. I recommend you to take a place at the lookout point about an hour before sunset to enjoy the sunset and say goodbye to the amazing journey you are about to live.

Book a tour of hidden Rome