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, so stay tuned!
Day 1: the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, the best of Ancient Rome
If you want to travel back in time and feel like an emperor, my top tip is to buy your ticket for the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Get up early on the first day to make the most of the Flavian Amphitheater, as the Colosseum of Rome is popularly known, which is still the main entertainment for tourists in the Eternal City in the 21st century.
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 your day with energy
Buongiorno Roma! But in order to feel like a gladiator in the Colosseum, you first 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 from the inside is quite a spectacle. In my opinion, it is best to do it with a guided tour of the Colosseum, the Forum and the Palatine Hill 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 entrance to the Colosseum, which will save you a hell of a queue.
Try 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 Alle Carrette restaurant, 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 neighborhood you will taste the authentic pizza of the Eternal City: made with a super thin dough and cooked in a wood oven. Romans flock 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 wind down your meal, continue strolling to Piazza Navona, where you can admire the splendid fountain by 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. 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
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 the 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 during your trip is precious, so I recommend that you hire a guided tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's with an expert guide who will show you the main masterpieces.
Don't forget to pack a pair of long pants and a jacket to cover your shoulders during the visit. The Vatican is very strict about clothing.
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 quintessential colorful and bohemian neighborhood, it's the Trastevere district. After visiting the Vatican, I advise you to enjoy the afternoon with a tour of Trastevere, where you will walk through 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. Of course, if you travel on this date be sure to check the article Rome in summer.
End the day in style watching the sunset by the river and with a romantic dinner in Rome in 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.
Day 3: enjoy a day of flea markets and catacombs
One of my favorite activities when I'm on a trip is to get lost in the local markets as if I were just another inhabitant of the area. 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 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 take a guided tour of Rome's catacombs which are literally a small city beneath another city. 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 where the pagan citizens, Jews and early Christians of Rome were buried. And, believe me, whether it's hot or rainy in winter in Rome, you won't be better off anywhere than visiting the bowels of the city under cover.
Toss 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 illuminated 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 see 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 you get to stand in one of the most famous fountains in the world, right?
Day 4: dive into Villa Borghese and dine in a convent
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 that you 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 up for all the excitement that awaits you with a power 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 you've filled your stomach, you'll be ready to spend a pleasant morning at Villa Borghese, the city's green lung and Rome's most iconic urban park filled with greenery, fountains and a gallery with the works of geniuses such as Caravaggio, Raphael and Rubens, among others. So much beauty will leave you in awe!
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 recommended and take a guided tour of the Borghese Gallery.
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
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! And if you want to go further afield, don't hesitate to book a scooter in Rome, the best way to make the most of your time.
End the day with an aperitif in a convent
Finally, we can relax at the Chiostro del Bramante, a former convent converted into a cultural center that 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 want.
Day 5: discover Rome's fabled landscapes
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 when you can contemplate the beautiful cherry blossoms.
Inside this esplanade you will find ancient Roman aqueducts that supplied water to the Italian capital. You will take a trip back in time! When you are there, you will see that these landscapes have a special charm that you will want to immortalize with your camera. Don't forget!
You can also choose to take a trip to the outskirts of Rome.
Visit the viewpoint with the best panoramic view of Rome
In spring, you can stroll among its orange trees full of white flowers, delight in its fruity aromas and look out onto 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 in 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 peek 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'll love it!
Day 6: get out of Rome and explore the famous Florence
Probably while planning your trip to Rome you didn't think to include an excursion from Rome to tour 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 about how to get to Florence from the Italian capital so you can choose the best option.
The minimum duration of the excursions to Florence from Rome is usually about 12 hours including the round trip. So you will make the most of the whole day.
Practical Excursion Information
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 accompanied by a guide who will give you a very thorough 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.
Day 7: say goodbye to the Eternal City in style - Arrivederci Roma!
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 stalls in the Trastevere district. You can find all kinds of bargains: second-hand clothes, antiques and books while listening to live concerts. Be sure to try some of the food stalls!
Indulge yourself with modern gastronomy
On the other hand, if you don't like these hippie plans, you can say goodbye to Rome in a cooler way by browsing and eating at Rome's Central Market 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. Still, I recommend you take a look at the post of 10 places to eat in Rome to make a list before your trip and, of course, to book a gastronomic tour of Rome.
See you next time in Rome!
Like all good things, this trip comes to an end, though don't worry because if you've flipped the coin at the Trevi Fountain, I'm sure you'll 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".