Rome is one of my favorite cities in the entire world, with its endless old world charm and beautiful culture. I think you’ll agree once you see this 4 days in Rome itinerary. Rome has so much to offer from its vast amount of incredible art, delicious food, to the amazing history it holds, Rome is impossible not to love. With 4 days in Rome you’ll have the opportunity to see Rome’s iconic highlights and experience everything the city has to offer.
The best place to start your Rome vacation is by visiting one of the most iconic monuments in the city .
Marvel at all the history within the walls of the Colosseum. The Colosseum is known to be the largest amphitheater in the entire world. It was originally used as a gladiatorial fighting arena and was built to be large enough to accommodate 80,000 spectators, it was even said to be used in boat battles where the Romans would flood the arena. The spectacular monument was commissioned to be built by Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD.
Many gladiators died in battle, approximately 500,000 people. The fights went on for many years and eventually stop in 435 AD.
When visiting the Colosseum be sure to climb the steps on the north side of the Colosseum and get the classic photos in front of the outside of the Colosseum.
I highly recommend booking tickets in advance to be able to skip the line, as it is almost always busy. The best option is to purchase a combined ticket for the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Or if you prefer, go at least 20-30 minutes before it opens at 8:30am to try to beat the lines.
Another option is to purchase a guided tour of the Colosseum. This is a great option if you love to hear the history behind such a monumental site, the tour is well versed in ancient Roman history. If you go with a tour you are also granted access to the gladiator rooms and the animal cages which are not open to the general public unless with a guide.
Arch of Constantine
Right next door to the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine, it was built in 315 CE to celebrate the Roman Emperor Constantine’s victory over Maxentius in the battle of the Milvian Bridge. Today, It is the largest surviving Roman arch and the last great monument of Imperial Rome.
The arch is something to behold and is definitely worth the quick stop while passing onto your next stop for the day.
Palatine hill is the most famous of Rome’s seven hills because of its rich history and spectacular views. The hill looks over the Roman Forum and the Circus Maximus, these ruins were one home to emperors and temples, and is the location of the legend of Romulus and Remus.
During the time that Augustus was in power, Palatine Hill was home to the wealthy Romans. Even today you are still able to see the remains of the imperial palace of Augustus and his wife Livia. Palatine is known to be an extensive archaeological site, where the ruins of the Flavian Palace, Stadium of Domitian, and legendary Hut of Romulus can all be seen.
Understanding the remarkable history that Palatine hill has to offer and getting a glimpse of Ancient Rome is all a must do when visiting Rome. Palatine Hill is quite extensive and there is a lot to see. You will need to plan a decent amount of time to be able to see everything.
The heart of ancient Rome was considered to be the Roman Forum and is the location of all of their important religious, political and social activities. All the important monuments, temples and courthouses were located here. Even today you can still see the ruins of the royal residence, Temple of Saturn, Temple of Vesta and many other significant buildings.
You can get a lot more out of the Roman Forum if you go with a guide. The guide will be able to explain the rich history behind each significant building and give you an overall greater depth of knowledge of Ancient Roman history. If you decide to go without a guide, to ensure you have enough time to enjoy the forums, plan for at least an hour.
Altar of the Fatherland
The Altar of the Fatherland also known as the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II was built by anItalian architect named Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885. The monument stands a sweeping 70 m (230 ft) tall and 135 m (443 ft) wide, the neoclassical monument is made of marble and features elaborate staircases, columns, fountains and statues.
As it is close to the Roman Forum, this monument is definitely something to behold and is worth the time to walk around and explore all the statues and beauty it has to offer.
Largo di Torre Argentina
The ruins are open-air, laid out in the center of the square, and are made up of the remains of several temples as well as part of Pompey’s Curia–the Roman Senate–is the spot where Julius Caesar was assassinated about 2,000 years ago.
As if the history of the place was not enticing you to go, it also is now known to be a sanctuary for local cats. It is considered to be a lovely spot to sit and watch the cats place and lay around. If your a cat lover, this place is for you!
The cats are taken care of by a local organization that feeds them. This historical site happens to be a great home for the cats as it is filled with trees for them to enjoy.
The Spanish Steps are located in between the Piazza di Spagna and the Piazza Trinita dei Monti. This famous staircase has 135 Steps and was built in 1725 to serve as a gateway between the two popular piazza’s.
At the top of the steps you can find many things carved into the stone as well as the trinita dei monti church. While at the bottom of the steps, the Piazza di Spagna contains a wide selection of shops and cafes that you can enjoy. Spanish Steps is considered to be one of the most iconic spots in the city. Is definitely worth a visit, however, recently there is a ban from sitting on the steps. This ban is to try to preserve the history of the Spanish Steps and their original beauty.
There are not many fountains in the world that are as famous as the Trevi Fountain. Constructed in 1762 by Nicola Salvi, the fountain pays tribute to the Roman God Oceanus who is seen riding his chariot pulled by Tritons. From the detailing of the sculptures to the workings on the fountain, it is all quite amazing. A tradition that has become famous is to throw coins into the water over your shoulder for good luck, although trying to do so next to a bunch of other tourists might be rather difficult.
The Trevi Fountain is located close to the Pantheon this fountain should not be passed up on when walking through the streets of Rome. Trevi Fountain is the largest and most beautiful fountain in the city and is very easy to find as it is intertwined within popular roman streets. It’s an absolute must-see when in Rome.
The Galleria Sciarra is an excellent way to escape the crowds of Rome’s popular tourist attractions and take in some great Roman art. The small courtyard is free to enter during business hours, and is home to Art Nouveau frescoes painted by Giuseppe Cellini in the late 19th century that cover the walls. The Galleria Sciarra is a great example of how beauty and hidden gems are truly around every corner in Rome.
The frescoes have a specific theme are women, or even more specifically, female virtues.
Step on and take a moment to admire the art for yourself, The courtyard will be very peaceful and a good place to take a break before continuing your day.
The Pantheon is one of the best preserved ancient Roman architecture and is one of Rome’s most famous attractions. It is said to be constructed in 118 AD by emperor Hadrian. It is known for its fascinating architectural design from the huge rectangular columns and a dedication to Agrippa on the triangular pediment front of the building to the dome that has many varying stone patterns and a central coffer that allows light to spill through the interior.
A truly interesting fact is that the Pantheon was originally built to be a temple to all of the gods and was only later turned into a church. Sitting in the center of Rome, within the Piazza Della Rotonda, is where you will find the Pantheon, a must-visit when in Rome. If you are interested in diving deeper into the history of the Pantheon, I suggest taking a Pantheon audio guide tour.
Piazza Navona was built in the 15th century on the site of the stadium of Domitian. This piazza has been one of the most popular piazzas in Rome. Just a few minutes walk from the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona is a great place to visit while walking around the city center. The neat thing about this square is that it has served as a stadium, as a food market, and even sometimes as a spot where public water parties are held on hot summer days.
Piazza Navona has always been known as one of the prettiest and most popular piazzas in Rome, home to three magnificent fountains that are perfect for taking in your surroundings. This square is surrounded by buildings creating a perfect open space for artists and street vendors to gather.
This market square may be touristy, but it’s also beautiful, bustling, and worth stopping by during your 4 days in Rome. Markets can be one of the best places to visit while in a city, and Rome certainly has some of the coolest markets.
Campo de’Fiori has been open and running every morning, except on Sunday, since 1869. Many travellers say you need to visit the market twice on your trip to Rome; once during the day for the market itself, and again at night for the bars and restaurants.
The Vatican City is the smallest state by area and population in the world. It might be small, but it is home to some of the most complex and history rich museums in the whole world. Each museum is home to amazing masterpieces of art collected by various popes throughout the years. The Vatican is home to the famous artwork by Michelangelo that is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, know as the Last Judgement.
The Vatican Museums, with their vast collection of art from historical treasures to the spectacular Sistine Chapel, are an absolute must see during your 4 days in Rome. Because of the outrageously long lines, it is wise to pre-book Vatican tickets in advance. By doing so, you’ll get a fast-track entry and use a separate line to enter. Try to do the tour as early as possible, because there are fewer people and you have to choose a time slot and the ones in the morning are sold out quicker than the rest. The later in the day you go, the more likely that all the queues will be longer. I would recommend taking the Early Entrance Vatican Tour as it starts an hour before the Vatican opens to the public and is a completely different experience .
Part of the Vatican museum complex, the Sistine Chapel is one of the most renowned religious chapels in the world and has a stunning amount of detail and artwork such as the Last Judgement fresco by Michelangelo and the ceiling artwork. These two magnificent pieces of artwork are considered some of the most influential and important in religious history.
Situated in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel was extensively restored in the 1400’s and is where the new pope is selected. Ensure that you have planned for enough time to see the astonishing structure and the wonders held within.
St. Peter’s Basilica is, one of my favorite church’s in all of Italy! Once you arrive at the basilica you will first be able to admire the iconic oval Piazza del Pietro. To enter and see the magnificent basilica is free, however, I strongly suggest paying to climb the dome. Be sure to go all the way to the top when visiting as the views are amazing. Its important to remember that St. Peter’s Basilica does have a dress code that is enforced: cover your shoulders and knees, basically dress modestly, just as the Vatican.
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the four major basilicas in the Eternal City, the others are – Basilica of St. John Lateran, Santa Maria Maggiore and St. Paul Outside the Walls. St. Peter’s Basilica is built on the burial site of Saint Peter, who is one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. The basilica holds masterpieces such as the baldachin, the throne of St. Peter and the tomb of Alexander VII. The basilica is home to a famous monument named Pietà and is a must see while visiting the Vatican city. For those who don’t know what Pietà is, it is a sculpture made of marble depicting Mary holding her son after the crucifixion. Michelangelo created the sculpture in 1499-1500.
One of the best ways for you too learn more about the history the the basilica is to take this excellent St. Peter’s Basilica guided tour.
Trastevere is an ancient part of Rome that is considered to be one of the few places where you can observe authentic Roman life and get a real feel for the city. Located on the west side of the River Tiber, you’ll find some of the best examples of the iconic shuttered windows and colorful buildings.
Trastevere is the most picturesque district with its cobblestone streets, small markets, coffee shops, and artisan workshops. It’s a great place to walk around and explore the area. While you’re in Trastevere, be sure to head to the Piazza di Santa Maria, it is full of charm, and you can visit the Basilica of Our Lady, which has some beautiful mosaics. To get a feel of Italian culture, you should add visiting Trastevere to your list while in Rome. This neighborhood is great for enjoying some lively nightlife.
Villa Borghese Gardens
The Villa Borghese Gardens are very beautiful, and you wont be disappointed with views at the top. The gardens are tranquil and provide visitors with the perfect spot to take a rest from the abundance of historical architecture found in Rome.
There is so much to see while visiting the garden, it is the third largest park in Rome and contains the Borghese Gallery and the Gallery of National Modern Art. Within the gardens, you can find various sections including the Casino Borghese that contains sculptures by Bernini, the Villa Giulia that contains the Etruscan Museum and the remains of other villas as well.
The more you explore the more paths and trails you will find that lead through the various plant life and trees, and landscaped areas of the garden with flowers, fountains and beautiful bodies of water. If you don’t want to walk this vast garden, you can always rent a bike to get you to
Within the Borghese Villa Gardens, you can find the Galleria Borghese. This galleria was established in 1903 and is the summer residence of the noble Borghese family, as well as the home to many important art paintings, sculptures and antiques. Throughout the galleria there are twenty different rooms with extensive Borghese collections including works by Raphael, Caravaggio, and Bernini.
In order to visit this extensive and beautiful art galleria, you must book tickets ahead of time, as the galleria is very popular and can only occupy 360 people at a time.When booking your tickets, you must indicate when and how long your will be there as you may not stay over 2 hours.
Piazza del Popolo
The Piazza del Popolo translates as square of the people, and is surrounded by historical structures such as the Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli, the Porta del Popolo gateway and the Basilica Parrocchiale. It also is famous for the statue that stands in the middle of the square called Pololo Obelisk. If you want a great view of the plaza and Rome, to the east is the Pincio Hill. Pizza del Popolo is a great place to relax, get a cappuccino and enjoy the bustling square.
The Castel Sant’Angelo was originally built to be a mausoleum for the Roman emperor Hadrian’s family in 123 AD and was named after the Archangel Michael. However, as time has passed, many different roman emperors have made changes to this magnificent structure.
While Emperor Aurelian was in power, he transformed the mausoleum into a military fortress which involved the city walls.
While in the 13th century, the Passetto di Borgo corridor was constructed and it connects the Vatican City and the castle. You can take a look at this secret corridor on the Angels and Demons tour.
As we know it today, this monument was turned into a castle in the 14th century when the papacy took over. The Papal apartments were designed to ensure a comfortable stay in case of a siege.
The castle today serves as a museum, with various exhibits, including Renaissance paintings, military weapons, furnishings and sculptures.
Head to the nearby Ponte Umberto for a great view of the Bridge of Angels and St. Peter’s Basilica. This is also a fantastic place to watch the sunset in Rome!
To learn more about the history of this gorgeous place, take a guided tour of Castel Sant’Angelo.