how many days in Rome? 4 day itinerary includes Roman Forum, archway pictured at sunset

How Many Days In Rome: Best Itinerary + Local Tips

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Wondering how many days in Rome are enough?

Visiting Italy and seeing the Colosseum is at the top of many bucket lists. As it should be! You should visit the Colosseum, tour the Vatican, wander through the Roman Forum, toss a coin into Trevi Fountain and so much more on a visit to Rome. 

I’ve been to Rome multiple times now and I’ve done everything from a whirlwind weekend to touring my family around for 5 days on their first visit to Europe. So, how many days do you need in Rome?

This post covers how many days you need, what to do with your time, where to stay and how to get around. Everything you need to get started on planning your trip to Rome.

Planning a trip? Use my favorite resources:

How Many Days In Rome Is Enough? 

Vacation time can be precious and you likely want to make the most of it. So, how many days do you really need in Rome? 

Is 2 days enough in Rome? 

With 2 days in Rome you can see the highlights of the eternal city and visit Vatican city. Start with the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi fountain and Pantheon.

Is 3 days long enough in Rome? 

With a third day in Rome visit Castel St Angelo and enjoy time seeing the lesser visited, but still incredible, Roman sites. 

Is 4 days in Rome too much? 

With four days in Rome you can spend time exploring the Trastevere neighborhood. This more residential area is one of the prettiest parts of the city. It’s not visited as frequently by tourists but is growing in popularity, and rightly so.

How Many Days in Rome? 4 Days Itinerary 

This itinerary is written so you can add or drop off days as you need to. You’ll at least see the highlights of Rome. You then have time to either explore the lesser known sites, or spend extra time exploring areas that you love most. So, if you only have 2 days in Rome, start with days 1 and 2 of this itinerary.

Day 1: The Classics – The Colosseum & Roman Forum

Begin your time in Rome with a visit to what is likely one of the biggest reasons you’re visiting: the Colosseum. 

colosseum view during day with blue sky background

Tour the Colosseum and Roman Forum

Start your day with a tour of the most popular places to visit in the eternal city. You can opt to visit both the Colosseum and the Roman Forum without a guide, but it actually is worthwhile to hire a guide here. 

There is so much history that can be easily missed without an expert guide explaining what you’re looking at.

Most tours begin with the Roman Forum. You’ll walk through this extensive site of Roman Ruins and learn about what life was like in the ancient empire. 

Note: There is little shade in the forum so visit earlier in the day if you can. This way, you’ll beat both the heat and the crowds.

When choosing from Colosseum tours note that there are several different options:

  • You could choose to tour the upper part of the Colosseum only with the standard guided tour.
  • Book a tour that includes visiting the arena floor, entering through the gladiator gate, and seeing the first level of the Colosseum.
  • This tour includes a visit to the area under the arena floor. See the tiny passageways that the gladiators used and the traps used to keep animals below the floor of the arena before performances.

Walk the Via dei Fori Imperiali

The tour of the forum and the Colosseum will likely take up the majority of your morning. So, grab lunch nearby

Then, head back down toward the Colosseum. You likely won’t have time to take as many pictures as you’d like of the exterior on your tour. Head back after lunch and take your time capturing photos of the historic structure.

Be on the lookout for pick-pockets and care for your things here, though. This is one of the theft hotspots in the city since there are so many tourists around. Be aware and keep your belongings safe.

Next, head to Via dei Fori Imperiali and walk toward Trajan’s Column. This pedestrian street takes you through the stages of the Roman Empire. 

You’ll see statues of the Roman emperors in front of their contributions to the area. Each added their own contributions to the city and it’s interesting to see how it all evolved over the years.

At the end, you’ll find Trajan’s column on one side of you and the “wedding cake” on the other. The wedding cake building is formally named the Emmanuel II Monument. 

It was built to honor a man who played a large role in unifying Italy. For the Ialians, it’s a bit of an eye sore as a stark white monument in the middle of the beauty of the ancient city. You can be the judge of that for yourself when you visit.

Trevi Fountain and The Pantheon

Trevi Fountain is worth visiting no mater how many days in Rome you have

Take your time wandering down the Via dei Fori Imperiali. Then, make your way to the Trevi Fountain which will be about a 15-minute walk. 

Trevi Fountain will be busy, but it’s worth it. The fountain is magical. Legend says that if you toss a coin in with your right hand over your left shoulder, you’ll return to Rome. 

Toss in your coin and then get some authentic gelato nearby, find a seat and enjoy the fountain. For photos, head to either corner of the fountain where it’s generally less busy. 

To enjoy the fountain without the crowds you’ll either need to visit very early in the morning or in the middle of the night. 

From Trevi Fountain the walk to the Pantheon is an easy 10 minutes. The Pantheon is open from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. most days. But, the last entrance and audio guide pick up is earlier so plan accordingly.


The Pantheon is one of the most impressive structures from the Roman Empire. It’s now a church. The visit doesn’t take long but it should definitely be on your list! 

After visiting the Pantheon head to dinner. 

If you have any energy left, head back to the Colosseum to see it lit up at night. If you can’t convince yourself to go on the first night add it to the list for later in your trip.

Day 2: Spend the Day in Vatican City

Even though the Vatican is technically its own country it should be on your itinerary when you’re in Rome. It might not feel like it should take a whole day to visit the tiny Vatican City, but it does. Don’t short change it.

Note that there is a dress code to enter the sites in Vatican city. No shorts are allowed and you should dress modestly with your shoulders and knees covered. They will otherwise deny you entry if you don’t meet the standard.

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

Purchase your entrance ticket to the Vatican Musuems in advance. Then, don’t miss your entrance time. Alternatively, book a guided tour of the Vatican for the best experience.

The Sistine Chapel is at the end of the tour of the Vatican Museums. It will be the most impressive thing you see today. Don’t be afraid to spend time admiring it before completing the tour.

You can reasonably expect touring the Vatican Museums will take your entire morning. Head to lunch after.

 St. Peter’s Basilica

St Peter's Basilica

There is no cost to visit St Peter’s Basilica, the elaborate and incredible cathedral.

So much of St Peter’s can be lost on you without a tour. There is a guided tour from Rick Steves you might consider downloading for this part of your day.

As the seat of the Catholic faith, St. Peter’s Basilica features all of the elaborate decoration that goes along with that title. Don’t rush a visit here. 

You can also go downstairs into the crypt, interesting even if you’re not Catholic. 

After visiting St. Peter’s Basilica, head to dinner and rest from your long but worthwhile day! 

Day 3: Castel St Angelo and the Tiber River

castel st angel in rome

Castel St Angelo 

Start day 3 in Rome by heading to Castel St Angelo. This castle sits along the Tiber River. 

It was initially built as the tomb of Emperor Hadrian, but later became a fortress for the Pope. There’s even an underground tunnel connecting it directly to the Vatican so the Pope could escape if ever needed in a time of war. 

The castle has a long history. It also has some of the best views of St. Peter’s Basilica. Don’t miss these views as you make your way up to the top of the castle. 

Afterwards, be sure to also visit the Pont St. Angelo just outside the castle. The bridge is lined with elaborate statues, musicians and people selling souvenirs.

Stroll the Tiber River

The Tiber River cuts through Rome. Walk along the Tiber either at water level or street level. On one side of the street you’ll find stalls for vendors selling books and souvenirs.  

Tiber Island

Tiber Island is a little boat shaped island in the middle of the Tiber. Use the island as a crossing point if you need to cross the river. But, also take note of what the little island offers.

Tiber island became home to a temple honoring the god of medicine and healing during Roman times. Since then it’s been an island known for healing in Rome. There is a great deal of history on this island from ancient Rome through World War II.

After visiting the island, head over to the old Jewish ghetto to wander this beautiful area of the city.

Circus Maximus

Circus Maximus will be nearby. If you still have energy head toward it and walk its length. This used to be where the chariot races were held. Now, it’s an open, grassy park that often hosts outdoor concerts, screened viewings of major sports events and more. 

Day 4: Explore Trastevere & Revisit Favorite Areas

Trastevere is often overlooked on trips to Rome but it must be on your list. This part of Rome is more traditional and residential. There are residents of Trastevere who take pride in never crossing the river into the bustling heart of Rome.

Here, you’ll find charming streets with ivy and flowers growing near doorways. Some of the most picturesque streets are in Trastevere. You don’t necessarily need a detailed itinerary here. You just need to spend some time taking in the scenery. 

The Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere is a must see. This is a pre-medieval church with a fun facade and an interior that is beautiful and very different from what you’ll have seen in St. Peter’s.

There is a monument in the main square of Trastevere with a few steps around it to sit on. In the evenings you’ll likely see a spray paint artist at work here. It’s fun to watch them paint while the sun goes down and Trastevere gets busier – this part of town is also popular for its nightlife.

Your final day in Rome can also be spent revisiting any place from your first few days that you loved and want to soak up even more. 

Of course, you could also spend your fourth day in Rome outside of Rome on a day trip. Rome to Naples is a popular day trip option, or you could even visit Pompeii

Where To Stay In Rome

You can find a great stay in Rome no matter your budget. Here are some options: 

📍Budget: B&B Santi Quattro Al Colosseo

visit a destination more than once

For about $100 per night you can stay steps away from the Colosseum. If you’re not interested in a hostel stay but still seeking affordability, B&B Santi can’t be beat. 

👉 Check Prices and Availability at B&B Santi Quattro Al Colosseo

📍Mid Range: Holidays Suites Navona 

Rome Spanish Steps

Holidays Suites is in a prime location for exploring Rome. Situated in Piazza Navona, it’s a short walk to the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Spanish Steps.

👉 Check Prices and Availability at Holidays Suites Navona 

📍Luxury: Rome Cavalieri 

Rome at night

Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, is the peak of luxury in Rome. The hotel sits atop a hill, so in addition to the luxury of the hotel you can have an incredible view over the city all lit up at night. Public transportation doesn’t connect the hotel to the city, but the hotel provides a regular shuttle to and from the city center instead.

👉 Click here to stay at The Rome Cavalieri 

Getting Around Rome 

Rome is the capital city of Italy and the bustling city can be sprawling. But, whether you’re traveling out to the Vatican and Trastevere or wandering the main city center, Rome is used to visitors and getting around is easy.

view of Colosseum in the distance

Walking Around Rome 

One of the best ways to see a city is by walking and Rome is very walkable! Plan to walk between most of the major sites. 

You won’t want to walk all the way out to the Vatican from Rome city center, but you’ll still walk a fair bit around Vatican city itself once there. 

Many of the streets are cobblestoned, so wear comfortable and supportive shoes. Google Maps works well for navigating around Rome, and with an e-Sim you’ll have access to the data needed for it to work seamlessly. 

Taxis in Rome 

Though taxis are readily available in Rome they’re not the most popular way to travel. It’s more expensive to take taxis than public transit, of course. Plus, you’ll want to take care that you aren’t being further overcharged as a tourist.

If you do take a taxi, be sure to first confirm with your driver what the rate will be to your destination before you get in the car. 

Public Transportation 

As with much of Europe, public transportation is popular and easy to navigate in Rome. The city boasts both an underground and bus system. It’s hard to build new underground lines in Rome. The locals joke that everywhere you dig you run into a new archeological site.

So, the bus system is the most extensive form of transit in the city. It’s easy to navigate bus routes in Rome using Google Maps as well. 

Bus tickets are available at the tabac stands or shops that dot the city. Be sure to buy your pass before you board the bus. And, make sure you validate your ticket when you get on the bus using the machine on board to avoid being fined during a random check! 

Visiting Rome: FAQs

As you plan your visit to Rome, let’s tackle some of the most frequently asked questions. 

What is the best month to visit Rome?

Rome is beautiful year round. In the summer the crowds are large and the weather is warm. Visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall are ideal. October and May are great months to visit. If you’re not a fan of intense summer heat, avoid visiting in July or August. 

Should I spend more time in Rome or Florence? 

Rome and Florence are both incredible cities. So, it depends on what you’re looking for. Rome boasts the history of the Roman empire and Florence is the capital of Renaissance art. You’ll have a great time in either city.

Are Romans friendly to tourists? 

Romans are easy to get along with and are friendly to tourists. They’re an open people and are used to the number of visitors the city sees each year.

Is Rome a walkable city?

Yes, Rome is quite walkable. Plan to wear comfortable shoes as you explore the eternal city!

Conclusion: How Many Days In Rome Are Enough?

Rome is a bucket-list worthy destination for a reason, whether you visit solo or in good company you’ll have an epic time. The eternal city offers incredible history, picture-perfect sites and delicious food.

Try to spend at least 3 or 4 days there but, even if you only have a very short trip, Rome is still worth a visit

There is so much to see and eat in Rome you’re sure to have an incredible vacation.

About the author: Jami is a travel-obsessed gluten-free foodie. She loves to see new places and eat the best gluten-free food while she’s at it. Follow along on her website for all of the restaurant recommendations and travel planning tips.