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Rome in 7 days: a practical guide to make the most of your week in Rome

The Italian capital is an incredible metropolis with a thousand things to do. So take note of the best plans to get to know the Eternal City like a true Roman.

Nuria Rozas

Nuria Rozas

11 min read

Rome in 7 days: a practical guide to make the most of your week in Rome

Nice view of the Roman Colosseum | © Pixabay

If you are lucky enough to spend seven days in Rome, you will enjoy the city to the fullest. You can get to know its secret corners, sink your teeth into its exquisite gastronomy and even take a trip to the outskirts of Rome. In this guide I will help you organize your week in the Eternal City so that you don't miss anything. Stay tuned!

Day 1: Colosseum and Roman Forum, the best of Ancient Rome

Roman Colosseum| ©Joshua Earle
Roman Colosseum| ©Joshua Earle

If you want to travel back in time and feel like an emperor, my top tip for visiting the Colosseum is to get up early on the first day to squeeze the most out of the Flavian amphitheater, popularly known as the Colosseum of Rome, which is still in the 21st century the main entertainment for tourists in the Eternal City.

Here you can relive and imagine the gladiatorial games, animal fights and bloody amusements that were used to entertain the people in ancient Rome. However, if you travel to Rome in summer, I recommend that you protect yourself from the sun: bring water, soft drinks, a hat and sunscreen because there are hardly any shadows or trees. Hydrate yourself as much as you can!

Start the day with energy

Buongiorno Roma! But in order to feel like a gladiator in the Colosseum, you need to recharge your batteries with a good imperial breakfast. One of my favorite cafes near the amphitheater is La Casetta a Monti, a very cute place, whose wall is completely wrapped by a vine.

Here you can find juices, smoothies, coffees, cakes and, for savory lovers, omelets and quiches. On the other hand, if you have a sweet tooth, I suggest you try the nutella cheesecake and pancakes, they are delicious!

  • Where: Via della Madonna dei Monti, 62

  • Prices: cheesecake (5€), pancakes (6€), omelette (7€)...

Discover the Colosseum through an expert's eyes

Visiting the Colosseum and the Roman Forum inside is quite a spectacle. In my opinion, it is best to do it with a guided tour of the Colosseum through the eyes of a specialist, who will discover the history and anecdotes of these jewels in about 1 hour. There are options for all budgets, some very economical and that will not make you scratch your pocket too much.

In general, most tours usually include skip-the-line entry to the Colosseum, which will save you a queue from hell. However, if you are a free soul, in this article I tell you how to get discounts or cheap passes to enter the Colosseum.

Book your tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum

Taste a delicious pizza!

If after walking around the arena of the Colosseum like a Roman warrior, you get hungry, I suggest you stop to refuel at the restaurant Alle Carrette, where you will find one of the best pizzas in Rome.

In this cozy place located in one of the most beautiful streets of the Monti district you will taste the authentic pizza of the Eternal City: made with a super thin dough and cooked in a wood-fired oven. Romans crowd here on weekends for one simple reason: it's a cheap restaurant with very traditional food. Try the gourmet anchovy and zucchini pizza. Delicious.

Continue to the majestic Piazza Navona.

To bring down the meal, continue strolling to Piazza Navona, where you can admire the splendid fountain by the sculptor and architect Bernini, one of the great geniuses of Italian art.

If you go to Rome in winter, you can also enjoy the magical Christmas market and ice rinks all afternoon, and don't forget to warm up with a good chocolate and some sweets at one of the stalls!

Day 2: tour the Vatican and picturesque Trastevere

Strolling through the Vatican| ©Pixabay
Strolling through the Vatican| ©Pixabay

Did you know that the Vatican is the smallest country in existence? Pope or no Pope, the Vatican Museums are a must-see on your second day. The Sistine Chapel and art galleries make it one of the most visited cultural treasures on the planet. Are you going to miss it?

Visit the Vatican Museums with a guide

If you wanted to spend several days in the Vatican Museums, you could. However, time is precious during your trip, so I recommend you to hire an expert guide who, in about 3 hours, will show you the main masterpieces. In this post I compare the best tours you can take in the Vatican.

Don't forget to pack a pair of long pants and a jacket to cover your shoulders during the visit. In the Vatican they are very rigorous with the attire.

Book a private tour of the Vatican

Take a gastronomic break overlooking the river

If you thought you could only picnic in Central Park in the Big Apple, you were sorely mistaken. One of my favorite things to do in the Vatican was to order a take-out pasta dish from Pastasciutta and eat it on the bridge, with a wonderful view of the river. It tasted great! Here are my five favorite dining options near the Vatican area.

Enjoy the sunset in Trastevere

If there is a colorful and bohemian neighborhood par excellence, that is the Trastevere district. After visiting the Vatican, I suggest you spend the afternoon wandering the narrow streets of this charming neighborhood. In addition, you can cross the bridge that connects to the Tiber Island, very lively and with open-air cinema in summer.

Finish the day in style watching the sunset by the river and with a romantic dinner in Rome on one of its terraces. It is also an ideal place for an after-dinner drink because of its lively nightlife. If things take longer, you can take the Rome Metro back to your hotel. Don't worry because cab fares are not outrageous.

Book your tour of Trastevere

Day 3: enjoy a day of flea markets and catacombs

Market at Plaza Campo de las Flores| ©José Manuel Azcona
Market at Plaza Campo de las Flores| ©José Manuel Azcona

One of my favorite things to do when I'm traveling is to get lost in the local markets as if I were just another local. I recognize that the market in Rome's Campo dei Fiori is one of the ones that has surprised me the most of all the ones I've been to. It is a festival of smells, colors and flavors impossible to forget. The morning will fly by.

If you go to Rome in autumn you will find many seasonal products such as roasted chestnuts and mushrooms, exquisite delicacies that the Italians make the most of. In addition, you can listen to impromptu concerts thanks to the street musicians that animate the square. Then you can take a stroll to the Pantheon of Rome and the Castel Sant' Angelo.

Delve into the subway Rome and its catacombs

In the afternoon, after savoring the food from the market stalls of Campo dei Fiori, you can visit the catacombs of Rome, which are literally a small city under another city, like the New York subway, but in a Roman version. Did you know that the catacombs were the ancient subway cemeteries used by the Christian and Hebrew communities in the area of Rome?

The catacombs began to be built in the 2nd century and were not completed until the 5th century. They were used to bury the pagan citizens, Jews and early Christians of Rome. And, believe me, whether it's hot or rainy in the winter in Rome, you won't be better off anywhere than visiting the bowels of the city under cover.

Visit the catacombs and crypts of Rome

Flip a coin and take a selfie at the Trevi Fountain

After a full day of walking, it's time to relax with a night tour of Rome with an expert guide so that you can forget about Google Maps and worry only about enjoying the wonders of the Eternal City.

On this route you will contemplate the main monuments of the city illuminated. Among them, the majestic and magical Trevi Fountain, don't forget to throw the traditional coin and take a selfie! After all, it's not every day that you are in one of the most famous fountains in the world, right?

Day 4: dive into Villa Borghese and dine in a convent

Villa Borghese Gardens| ©Matt Kieffer
Villa Borghese Gardens| ©Matt Kieffer

The fourth day of your trip promises to be full of adventures and dreamy corners. After several days of sightseeing in the city, I recommend you to get lost in nature. Any ideas? Yes, the gardens of Villa Borghese are a great and very romantic option to do in Rome if you go as a couple.

Breakfast like a marquis

Get your strength for all the emotions that await you with a powerful breakfast at Le Jardin de Russie, near Villa Borghese. I suggest you take a seat on its wonderful open-air terrace at the foot of Mount Pincio, surrounded by pine trees and citrus blossoms - you'll feel like a prince!

Important fact: Le Jardin de Russie restaurant has a smart casual dress code, so don't wear shorts. The effort will be worth it.

Stroll through the gardens of Villa Borghese

After having filled your stomach, you will be ready to spend a pleasant morning at Villa Borghese. This is the green lung of the city and the most emblematic urban park in Rome, full of greenery, fountains and a gallery with the works of geniuses such as Caravaggio, Raphael and Rubens, among others. So much beauty will leave you stunned!

Because it has become so famous for its combination of art and nature, the park can easily get crowded so my advice is to visit Villa Borghese first thing in the morning after the delicious breakfast I have recommended.

If you are itching to know more about these gardens with so much history, I suggest you read my article about the 10 best sculptures of Villa Borghese.

  • Address: Piazzale Napoleone I, 00197 Roma

  • How to get there: by subway, line A station Spagna or Flaminio.

Discover the Coppedè neighborhood, which is not in the guidebooks

One of the best secret places in Rome is the Coppedè district, a district that despite its beauty is not usually portrayed on postcards of the Eternal City.

Start the afternoon of your fourth day with a stroll through the area (it is only a 13-minute walk from Villa Borghese). This suburb is made up of 17 villas and 26 palazzos, which are located around Piazza Mincio. It has the feel of a medieval town, it's a fairytale place!

End the day with an aperitif in a convent

Finally, we can relax in the Chiostro del Bramante, a former convent converted into a cultural center, which is an extraordinary example of Renaissance architecture. It often hosts very interesting exhibitions.

Here, in its cloister, we can try another of Italy's most typical experiences: the aperitivo, a fixed-price buffet where you can eat and drink as much as you like.

Book your ticket for the Borghese Gallery

Day 5: discover Rome's fabled scenery

Park of the Aqueducts in Rome| ©Andy Montgomery
Park of the Aqueducts in Rome| ©Andy Montgomery

Take advantage of this day to do something different during your trip to the Italian capital, for example relax in the morning in the Aqueduct Park, one of the best parks in the Eternal City, especially when it is spring in Rome, a season in which you can contemplate the beautiful cherry blossoms.

Inside this esplanade you will find ancient Roman aqueducts that supplied water to the Italian capital, and you will take a trip back in time! When you are there, you will see that these landscapes give off a special charm that you will want to immortalize with your camera. Don't forget!

Visit the belvedere with the best panoramic view of Rome

Another of the most beautiful corners of the Eternal City that we can visit in the afternoon is the viewpoint of the Garden of Oranges, which is located in a small nook of the Aventine Hill.

In spring, you can stroll among its orange trees full of white flowers, delight in its fruity aromas and look out on its spectacular terrace to see the dome of St. Peter's and the Tiber River in the background. I still remember its delicious smell!

Discover Rome's hidden treasure

What could be the best hidden treasure of the Italian capital: a monument, a church? Well no, it's a lock! There is a very special and different door in Rome, which hides the best perspective of the city and is located just a few minutes from the Orange Garden.

If you look through this unique lock of the door of the Order of the Knights of Malta you can see three countries at the same time: the Vatican, which is the smallest independent state in the world, with St. Peter's Basilica and its dome; Italy and, finally, Malta. You can boast of having seen a lot of the world!

Nuria's Traveller Tip

The panoramic terrace of the Orange Garden surrounded by fruit trees is one of my favorite places to watch the sunset, you will love it!

Day 6: get out of Rome and explore famous Florence

Aerial view of the city of Florence, Italy| ©Josh Hild
Aerial view of the city of Florence, Italy| ©Josh Hild

Probably while planning your trip to Rome you did not think of including an excursion from Rome to visit other cities in Italy, full of art, history and magical corners. Doesn't it sound good? In my opinion, dedicating a day of your vacation to a tour of Florence is a great idea.

Marvel at Florence

So you are in Rome and you want to visit the cradle of the Italian Renaissance? Don't worry because in this article I will explain in detail all the details on how to get to Florence from the Italian capital so you can choose the best option.

Normally the minimum duration of the excursions from Rome to Florence is approximately 12 hours including the round trip. So you will take advantage of the whole day.

Practical information on excursions

As these tours you will cross the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge, gawk at the marvelous dome of the Santa Maria di Fiori cathedral and cross Michelangelo's famous David off your must-see list.

All this accompanied by a guide who will give you a very complete introduction to the city, its neighborhoods and its cultures. In my opinion, it is a fantastic option for first time travelers, as it is a very interesting first contact with the city.

  • Price: from 113€.

  • Total duration: about 12 hours.

If you like the idea, I leave here an article about the best tours from Rome to Florence so you can choose the one you like the most. I am sure you will not regret it.

Book an excursion from Rome

Day 7: bid farewell to the Eternal City in style - Arrivederci Roma!

Visiting the Porta Portese flea market| ©Alexis
Visiting the Porta Portese flea market| ©Alexis

If you haven't stayed up all night and you haven't let yourself be impressed by the Roman festivities, a perfect plan for Sunday is the Porta Portese open-air market, which is held from 8 am to 2 pm and hosts more than 4,000 street stalls in the Trastevere neighborhood. You can find all kinds of bargains: second-hand clothes, antiques and books while listening to live concerts, and be sure to try some of the food stalls!

Indulge yourself with modern gastronomy

On the other hand, if you do not like these hippie plans, you can say goodbye to Rome in a cooler way touring and eating at the Central Market of Rome at Termini Station. This space (which has almost 2,000 square meters) offers you the most cutting-edge gastronomic proposals of the city, but without leaving the pocket bare.

Book a gastronomic tour of Rome

See you next time in Rome!

Like all good things, this trip comes to an end, but don't worry because if you have thrown a coin in the Trevi Fountain, I'm sure you will repeat in the Eternal City. So, don't worry, be happy, because as a wise man once said: "as long as the Colosseum stands, Rome will stand".