If you have 4 days in Rome, you really will be able to see a lot of the city. Provided you are a fast paced visitor and that you carefully plan in advance, with a detailed day to day itinerary and booking the entrances to the various attractions, you will be able to go through all the main tourist attractions, and you’ll even manage to explore some of the ones that – despite interesting – are often skipped due to lack of time.

I know Rome quite well – though mind you, the city is so big that one is never really quite done exploring. Anyways: I have been there many times, and I have even lived there for a while. So, I thought I’d take the stress out of having to plan your Rome in 4 days itinerary. All you’ll have to do is book your flights, accommodation and tickets for the attractions that require advanced bookings.

In this post, I will tell you what you can see and do if you have 4 days in Rome, and share some insights on how to skip the lines at the most popular attractions, save a buck or two, and overall enjoy your time in the Eternal City.

Make sure to read my post 27 Unmissable, Fun And Cheap Things To Do In Rome.”

Continue reading to discover all the things to do in Rome in 4 days.

A Day By Day Itinerary To Spend 4 Days In Rome

One thing I have to point out before anything else is that if you really want to make the most of your 4 days in Rome, you need to book entries to the most popular tourist attractions. Some of them only allow a capped number of visitors for strict time periods, thus getting sold out fast. If you don’t book these attractions in advance, you may end up being stuck with no way of getting in. Or you may actually get in, but only after a very long line at the ticket counter.

Don’t worry tough: I will tell you whenever you should be making reservations for the attractions mentioned in this itinerary to see Rome in 4 days. And if you follow my tips and this itinerary, you’ll have a memorable time.

For this itinerary, I will just assume that you have a minimum of 4 full days in Rome (which means you’re planning on sleeping there a total of 5 nights).

If you are coming from the other side of the world, you probably won’t have much energy to explore the city even if your flight lands in the morning – besides, keep in mind that it will take you at least two full hours (if not more) to clear customs, pick up your luggage, find your way to the city and finally make it to your hotel.

TIP: For your first day in town, the one when you literally just get there, I recommend taking it easy and just explore the immediate surroundings, and perhaps doing a guided food tour in the evening, after you have rested a bit. This food tour is an excellent option as it starts at 5:15 pm. You can book it here.

Curious to find out more about the best street food in Rome? Make sure to read this article.

TIP: I recommend to start your day of exploration very early, to avoid the large crowds and, if you are traveling in the summer, the peak heat hours.

The itinerary I have drafted that is seriously packed, but it is logic in the sense that I recommend  visiting attractions that are at an easy walking distance one from the other, so that you can minimize the time spent on public transportation.  

TIP: Have lunch on the go to maximize the amount of time left for exploring. Go for street food such as pizza al taglio, supplì al telefono or some amazing gelato and then have a proper sit down meal at a restaurant in the evening.

These are the best restaurants in Rome.

TIP: Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll have to do a lot of walking.

Finally, let’s get to the fun bits. Continue reading to discover my suggested itinerary for 4 days in Rome.

4 days in Rome

The Colosseum is the obvious starting point when visiting Rome

Day 1: Ancient Rome

This 4 day Rome itinerary starts with what I think are the simply unmissable attractions in Rome – those you’d regret not seeing. Your starting point is the Colosseum. After visiting that, you’ll continue exploring Ancient Rome by visiting the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill and Circus Maximus, and the Baths of Caracalla. You will then continue towards the Mouth of Truth. You’ll have a stop at the Orange Garden for some of the most breathtaking views of Rome. You’ll finish off with Piramide and Testaccio.

Please note that you can completely invert this itinerary leaving the Colosseum as the last place to visit. In that case, you’ll have to opt for a night tour of the Colosseum. More about that below.

Map of day one Rome itinerary

For a better idea of the walking itinerary for day one, I thought I’d link to the map so you can see how far each place is from the other. If you enlarge the map you can even see all the places where you can stop for a drink or a bite. You can see the map by clicking here. Feel free to adjust it to your interests and needs and to remove the places you are not interested in.

The Colosseum

Close your eyes and think about Rome. What’s the first image that comes to your mind? I bet it is the Colosseum. This is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world; a beautiful sight during the day and a breathtaking one at night, when it is beautifully illuminated. There’s no other way around it: you can’t go to Rome and skip the Colosseum.

The bad news is that there usually are very long lines to get tickets to enter the Colosseum.

In my post Five Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Colosseum And Skip The Lines” I detail all the ways you have to skip the line at the Colosseum. Make sure to read it, as it will give you some tips on how to get in – and you can even get money saving tips.

To make a long story short, however, let me just say that the only way to skip the line at the Colosseum is by getting skip the line tickets online. You’ll still have to go through security, but that line doesn’t even compare to the one at the ticket counter.

TIP: During high season the Colosseum gets easily sold out. If you are traveling during the peak months, buy your tickets well in advance. If you buy tickets on the website of the Colosseum you will have to go to a separate website to specify the date and time you intend to visit.

TIP: You may want to invest in a guided tour of the Colosseum via a third party site. This way, you can specify the day and time of the tour and they will be doing any subsequent arrangements.

These are some good group tour that include skip the line tickets to the Colosseum:

TIP: Be sure to read the full description of the tour and all the inclusions and exclusions. Some tours only include the main floor, others go to the underground and the second ring as well.

4 days Rome itinerary

Sunset over the Colosseum, as seen from the Arch of Constantine

Visiting the Colosseum at night 

If you would like a more intimate experience, you can go on a guided night tour of the Colosseum. Night tours usually start at 9:30 pm and last around 2 and a half hours. In this case I recommend starting your day in Testaccio and working your way towards the Colosseum. In fact, this option may allow you a bit more time to explore the other attractions.

TIP: I recommend having dinner before your night tour of the Colosseum.

Night tours of the Colosseum include access to the underground, the first and second ring, and the arena floor – they are generally more comprehensive than other tours. They cost around €87 per person, thus being more expensive than a regular tour. If you ask me, it is totally worth paying that extra money!.

These are some good night tours of the Colosseum:

The Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Circus Maximus

The same ticket that gives you access to the Colosseum can be used to visit the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. This is a rather big site, so you may want to do a guided tour to maximize your time and make the most of it. In fact, most tours that go to the Colosseum include a visit of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

These are some of the best guided tours that combine a visit of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum:

A few facts about the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill and Circus Maximus

The Roman Forum is one of the most interesting archeological sites in Rome. At the time of the Republic, it was a place thriving with life and the heart of the city. It was at the same time a market, a place of worship with lots of temples, the location of the House of the Senate and of brothels. During the time of the Roman Empire, it was used as a ceremonial center.

According to legend, the Palatine Hill is where the twins Romolo and Remo were raised by the wolf, and where Romolo killed his brother and then founded Rome. This is the area where the emperors and aristocrats of Rome used to live.

Circus Maximus is an ancient chariot racing stadium and entertainment venue located between the Palatine and the Aventine Hill. It is now a large urban park that is often used for concerts and other popular events.

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is a must see site

Baths of Caracalla

Very close to the Colosseum you will find the Baths of Caracalla, an enormous bathing complex where a whopping 1600 persons could all bathe at the same time. Contrary to many other sites in Rome, the Baths of Caracalla do show the passing of time. They still remain a very interesting site to explore, and since they don’t get nearly as many other tourists as other places in Rome, they may be a good place to cool down after the crowds of the Colosseum and a nice addition to this 4 day Rome itinerary.

Practical information: Admission to the Baths of Caracalla costs €11. You can buy your ticket in advance here. The tour with the audio guide costs €17 and lasts 1.5 hours. You can get it here.

Mouth of Truth

La Bocca della Verità, or Mouth of Truth in English, is located by the entrance of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, close to the Baths of Caracalla and the Colosseum. It’s a large marble mask that was placed by the side of the church in 1632 (though the actual mask dates back to the 1st century, when it was actually a manhole).

A Medieval legend says that the mouth bites off the hand of liars. It’s a fun place to visit for a photo.

INTERESTING FACT: The Mouth of Truth became internationally famous with the movie Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.

Rome in 4 days

A breathtaking view of Rome

Orange Garden

After you leave the Mouth of Truth, head to the Giardino degli Aranci, or Orange Garden. This is one of the most unique places in Rome, from where you will get incredible views of the city and especially of St. Peter’s Basilica. The gardens were designed in 1932 by Raffaele de Vico and nowadays they are among the most pleasant parks in Rome.

Pyramid of Caius Cestius

At just 15 minutes from the Orange Garden and on the way to Testaccio there’s Piramide, or Caius Cestius Pyramid. Built around 12 BC, this used to be the tomb of a prominent public figure. Though the tomb has been ransacked, the fact that it’s built within the Aurelian walls helped its preservation. Sure enough, finding an Egyptian looking pyramid in the center of Rome is a fun thing!

The Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome

At just a few minutes from Caius Cestius Pyramid, you’ll find the Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome. The resting place of some notable non-catholics such as poet Percy Shelley and now hosting a large cat sanctuary, the cemetery is the best place to get encompassing views of the pyramid.

Testaccio

The last place you’ll visit on your first full day in Rome is Testaccio. This is one of the most interesting areas of Rome, which can still count on a local atmosphere. Among the spots you shouldn’t miss in Testaccio, there is the market and the main square (Piazza Testaccio). Testaccio is also Rome’s original foodie neighborhood, so definitely a good place to stop for a meal at the end of the day.

TIP: If you are keen on eating in Testaccio, try to book a table at Flavio Al Velavevodetto – one of the best restaurants in town.

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain is a must see, but go early to avoid the crowds

Day 2: The Historic Center of Rome

After an intense first day, you may want to take it a bit easier on your second day in Rome. That’s why your day 2 of your 4 days in Rome is a bit more chilled. You will be walking some, but not nearly as much as on day 1; and you won’t have the stress of making reservations to skip the lines. You can just go at your own pace, stay in whichever place as long as you wish.

Map of day two Rome itinerary

You’ll find a map for this day’s itinerary here. As you will be exploring the heart of Rome, you won’t find a shortage of places where you can stop for a meal or a drink. If you want, you can add the Spanish steps on this itinerary (in which case they should be your starting point) – but keep in mind I suggest visiting them on day 3.

Trevi Fountain

There is little doubt that Trevi Fountain is one of the most iconic attractions in Rome, and it is only obvious to include it in the list of places you should visit in Rome in 4 days.

After some major renovation work in recent years, the fountain has been brought black to its original splendor and it’s an incredible sight.

TIP: Trevi Fountain is an incredibly crowded attraction, so head there as early as possible if you don’t want to find large crowds of tourists.

TIP: Do not even think of jumping in Trevi Fountain, or in any other fountain in Rome. There are cameras and police officers everywhere in town and if you get caught you will get a hefty fine.

Montecitorio

Continuing on, you will pass by Piazza di Montecitorio, the seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. You may have seen it on TV news at times. You can stop by for a moment or two to take in the building, planned by Bernini for Ludovico Ludovisi, who was a young cardinal nephew of Pope Gregory XV. It was Carlo Fontana who completed the construction. He added a a bell gable above the main entrance. The building was designed for social and public functions so it serves the purpose of hosting the Chamber of Deputies quite well.

4 days in Rome

The Pantheon is one of the most iconic buildings in Rome

The Pantheon

Between Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona you’ll find the Pantheon, which is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Rome and an absolute must see when you have 4 days in Rome. The building was commissioned by Emperor Hadrian and built in the 126 AD. Its Dome is thought to be the best preserved building from antiquity. Once a temple, the Pantheon became a church – which is why inside you will find the tombs of famous Italian artist Raphael and of King Victor Emmanuel II.

It is free to enter the Pantheon. You may want to opt for an audioguide to take you around (the tour lasts 35 minutes) for just €5 euro. You can get yours here.

If you are curious to know more about the Pantheon, read my post A Complete Guide To The Pantheon.”

Piazza Navona

I think Piazza Navona is one of the most beautiful and pleasant squares in Rome. It’s close to the Pantheon and there are bus stops nearby in case you wish to skip other places on this day’s itinerary. The square was paved over what used to be the 1st century Stadio di Domiziano during the 15th century. Nowadays Piazza Navona is home to one of the many markets of Rome. The main point of interest is the Fountain of the Four Rivers, designed in 1651 by Bernini, and the Baroque Sant’Agnese church, which was built in the 17th century.

Campo de’ Fiori

Campo de’ Fiori is located South of Piazza Navona and considered one of the most charming, scenic squares in Rome. The name (which means “field of flowers”) refers to the fact that in Medieval times the area over which the square was built was a meadow. It was paved in 1456, and since the late 19th century it’s been home to a popular market where you’ll find fruits, vegetables and flowers. There also are several bars and cafés.

Rome in 4 days

Did you know that the cats of Rome are famous?

Largo di Torre Argentina

If you are half as much a cat lover as I am, then you have to visit Largo di Torre Argentina during your 4 days in Rome. It’s located between Piazza Navona and Piazza Venezia. It is a beautiful archeological site mistakenly thought to be the place where Julius Cesar died.

In fact, Cesar was murdered a couple of blocks away, at the Theater of Pompey.

Roman history aside, what first caught my attention the first time I stumbled across Largo di Torre Argentina was the cats sleeping undisturbed on top of columns and ruins. Indeed, this place is home to the oldest cat sanctuary in Rome.

You can walk around the site to reach a small entrance where you’ll find a shelter and a tiny shop that sells gadgets in order to raise funds for the care of cats. You can make a donation, by a cool souvenir (ie a Cats of Rome calendar) and play with the cats a bit.

If you prefer to keep things official, you can donate online on the official website of Largo di Torre Argentina cat sanctuary.

The Jewish Ghetto

The Jewish Ghetto of Rome is an excellent place for a lunch stop and a nice area of Rome to explore.

Established by Pope Paul IV five centuries ago, the Ghetto is where all Jews living in Rome were forced to move in. It was surrounded by walls that were built with (forced) contributions of the local Jewish community, and it had doors that were kept locked at night.

Inside the Ghetto, the Jewish community developed its own language and mastered some of the most interesting dishes of Roman cuisine. This is where you should go to try kosher dishes such as carciofi alla giudia – fried artichokes with mint and garlic.

Piazza Venezia

The gorgeous Altare della Patria in Piazza Venezia

Piazza Venezia

After eating in the Jewish Ghetto, walk back a bit towards Piazza Venezia to admire Trajan’s Column and the massive monument to Vittorio Emanuele II. The latter was built in 1911 to celebrate the first king of unified Italy. Piazza Venezia really is the heart of Rome, where locals gather to celebrate as well as to protest. It’s where the parade of the Festa della Repubblica takes place on 2 June.

Tiber Island

Tiber Island is the only island inside the Tiber River that you’ll find in Rome. It is connected to the city by Ponte Cestio and Ponte Fabricio. It used to be home of the Temple of Aesculapius, which was built in honor of the Greek god of medicine and healing, Aesculapius, by orders of the Senate of Rome during a terrible plague. The temple no longer exists, but in 1584 a hospital (Fatebenefratelli) was built.

As the island is tiny, it won’t take you long to walk around before you move on to the last stop of your day 2 itinerary.

Trastevere 

Trastevere is located on the other side of the Tiber River and it is one of the most charming, lively and interesting areas of Rome. It’s a series of narrow alleys and charming streets, with nice squares where locals and tourists alike gather at night – this is you will find the best nightlife in town, with lots of pubs, wine bars, cafés and restaurants.

It’s the perfect place to end your day of exploration with a drink in hand, unless you want to go on a food tour. In this case, I recommend one that starts in the late afternoon such as this one or this one. If you want to add wine to the equation, book this tour.

4 days Rome itinerary

You can’t skip St. Peter’s Basilica

Day 3: Vatican City, Castel Sant’Angelo and Galleria Borghese

Day 3 of your 4 days in Rome itinerary will be almost as packed as your first day. You will visit the Vatican, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, Castel Sant’Angelo, the Spanish Steps and finish off at Galleria Borghese.

Map of day three Rome itinerary

You can download a map of your day 3 itinerary here.

St. Peter’s Basilica, The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel 

On this day, I recommend heading out no later than 7:00 AM for an early tour of the Vatican. This means you will have plenty of time to explore the other places afterwards.

The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel officially open to the public at 9:00 AM, while St. Peter’s Basilica opens at 7:00 AM and St. Peter’s Basilica Dome at 7:30. Lines to get into the Vatican Museums start forming as early as 7:30 AM.

I think you should get an early access Vatican tour that includes a dedicated entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Alternatively, you can decide to visit St. Peter’s Basilica as soon as it opens and then walk around the square to head to the Vatican Museums.

TIP: The lines at the Vatican Museums are among the longest in Rome. Make sure to avoid them! Check out my post How To Get Tickets To The Sistine Chapel And The Vatican Museums And Skip The Line” for more information.

All in all, I suggest going on an early guided tour of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica as it is a huge time saver, not to mention you’ll have the benefit of a guide taking you around sharing interesting facts about the Sistine Chapel and pointing to the best pieces of the Vatican Museums collection. An early tour also means seeing the place when it is still virtually empty. At the end of the tour, you will be guided to St. Peter’s Basilica.

If you opt for an early access tour of the Vatican, you will be done by 11:00 AM at the latest, which means you will have plenty of time to continue exploring the city.

TIP: For incredible views of the Vatican and Rome, make sure to visit the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. Find out more about it and get tips to skip the line in my post A Complete Guide To Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica Dome.”

These are the best tours of the Vatican with early access and entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica:

A few facts about the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica

The Vatican Museums are among the largest museums in the world: there are 54 chambers and a very large collection. The real show stealer however is the Sistine Chapel, home of Michelangelo’s masterpiece – The Last Judgement. This is one of Renaissance’s greatest works.

St. Peter’s Basilica is the most important church for Catholics. It was built by artists such as Michelangelo, Bernini and Bramante over a site considered to be the tomb of St. Peter. The church has 11 chapels, 45 altars and an incredible number of mosaics. Inside there are Michelangelo’s Pietà, Bernini’s Baldacchino, as well as the Chair of St. Peter.

Find out more about St. Peter’s Basilica in my post How To Get St. Peter’s Basilica Tickets And Skip The Line.”

TIP: Modest clothing is a requirement to visit the Vatican: cover your shoulders, chest and knees.

TIP: You can take photos inside the basilica, but no photos are allowed inside the Sistine Chapel. If you get caught taking one, you’ll be escorted out of the museums.

places to visit in Rome

Castel Sant’Angelo is another impressive sight

Castel Sant’Angelo

If you have 4 days in Rome, you probably have enough time to visit Castel Sant’Angelo. If you don’t want to go in, you can still walk by as you make your way towards the Tiber River as you continue to the Spanish Steps.

The castle was originally a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian which then became a prison. Nowadays it is a museum.

If you would like to go in, I recommend to buy a skip the line ticket beforehand to save some time. These are some good options:

The Spanish Steps

The Spanish Steps, or Piazza di Spagna as we call it in Italy, is one of the most famous places to visit in Rome and can’t be missing in a 4 day in Rome itinerary.  The 185 steps that lead to the beautiful Trinità dei Monti church were built in the 18th century and face Via Condotti – one of the most famous shopping streets in Rome. The views from there are lovely. The square is often crowded with tourists but it’s a must see. There is a nearby metro station (Spagna).

Piazza Del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo is located at the bottom of the Pincio (the Pincian Hill) and you will have to walk through it on your way from the Spanish Steps to Villa Borghese. It is one of the largest squares in Rome, which is often used for concerts and large social gatherings. At the center of the square you’ll be able to see the obelisk of Ramesses II from Heliopolis – the second tallest in the city. Take the steps that lead to the gorgeous Pincio Terrace for splendid views of the square (and to go to Borghese Gallery).

Rome in 4 days

Borghese Gallery has a fine art collection

Galleria Borghese 

Taking the steps from Piazza del Popolo to the Pincian Hill you will find a trail that goes through the park and takes you to Galleria Borghese, a museum that you absolutely have to visit if you have 4 days in Rome.

Borghese Gardens are absolutely gorgeous and Borghese Gallery has one of the finest art collections in the world, with paintings and sculptures of artists such as Bernini, Canova, Caravaggio and Titian.

Galleria Borghese has timed entrances and only allows 360 visitors at once. This means that it’s never really crowded. However, if you want to visit at a specific time you have to book in advance. In fact, I recommend booking in advance because it gets sold out in the peak season.

Make sure to arrive at the gallery at least 30 minutes before your visit – keep in mind that it takes up to 30 minutes to walk there from Piazza del Popolo.

For a more complete post about Borghese Gallery, read Seven Smart Ways To Get Galleria Borghese Tickets And Skip The Lines.”

For tickets and tours of Borghese Gallery, consider the following options:

St. John in Lateran

A detail of St. John in the Lateran church

Day 4: Lesser known Rome

On your last day in Rome, I recommend going to places that aren’t as famous as the rest, but just as interesting. You will start with a couple of churches and then move to the Catacombs and the Appian Way, but if churches aren’t your thing you can just skip them. You can even head directly to Garbatella for a walk in one of the nicest neighborhoods of Rome. Finally, if you feel like you want to get out of town completely, skip this itinerary and consider going on a day trip.

For the best day trips from Rome, make sure to read my post 20 Great Day Trips From Rome.”

Map of day four Rome itinerary

The map for your fourth day in Rome can be found here. Once you open it, you will notice that the distances are a bit longer than on previous days, so you may want to a bus or a taxi to move from one place to the other. If you click on the train icon on the map you will get the public transportation options.

San Clemente Basilica

If you enjoy visiting churches, make sure to go to San Clemente Basilica. Not even people who visit Rome regularly go – I only visited a couple of years ago for the first time!

The church was built on a site where Christians used to pray when they still couldn’t practice their religion freely. There are various levels of the church, following a number of excavations that uncovered remains from the 1st century as well as the 4th. Apparently there even is an older level of a building that was destroyed by the fire caused by Nero in 64 AD.

San Clemente is quite close to the Colosseum and small and easy to explore. There are panels explaining everything, but in case you want to join a guided tour, there are some good ones.

Some of these tours also go to the Catacombs:

St. John in the Lateran

I used to live in Esquilino, a few blocks away from St. John in Lateran, and walked by it (and marveled at it) every day on my way to class. That’s why I thought I’d include it in my list of places to visit in Rome in 4 days.

You may ignore this, but this church actually is the cathedral of Rome, and the seat of the Pope in the city. It’s the oldest basilica in town, but doesn’t nearly get as many visitors as St. Peter’s Basilica.

Standing in front of the church there’s the Lateran Obelisk, known as the largest standing Egyptian obelisk in the world. The church is known for its Scala Sancta, a stairway of 28 steps thought to be those that Jesus walked up while heading to his trial in Jerusalem. You may know them as those steps that pilgrims climb on their knees. In fact, this is the only way visitors are allowed to ascend.

Here’s a selection of the best guided visits to St. John in the Lateran:

things to do in Rome

The Appian Way is one of the most pleasant places to visit in Rome

The Catacombs and the Appian Way

The Appian Way is a nice addition to this itinerary. It was built in 312 BC and remains one of the oldest surviving roads in the world. At the time of the Roman Empire, it connected Rome to other important cities such as Naples and Brindisi, and it was used for military and commercial purposes.

Along the Appian Way, make sure to stop by the Church of Domine Quo Vadis, built in the 9th century, and the Catacombs of St. Callixtus and St. Sebastian. St. Callixtus catacombs is where 16 popes and several martyrs have been buried.

If you want to join a guided tour of the Appian Way and the Catacombs, these are a few good options:

Garbatella

Garbatella has yet to become a big tourist attraction. This remains one of the most local neighborhoods in Rome, and gained a lot of popularity in Italy when it was used to film a famous TV series. The neighborhood was first built in 1918, and had the reputation of being a dangerous place. This has evidently changed and it is now thought to be one of the nicest areas to live in Rome.

There are various attractions in Garbatella: museums, art galleries and churches such as St. Paul’s Outside The Walls. Here you can still enjoy an authentic local meal, without any of the crowds of the historic center.

where to stay in Rome

Ottaviano is a great place to stay for easy access to the Vatican

Practical Tips For Your 4 Days In Rome

Where to stay in Rome 

There are many excellent hotel options in Rome – some of them quite pricey, actually. I recommend staying in the historic center, so that you have easier access to all the main attractions and don’t have to count on public transport all the time. Ottaviano offers easy access to the Vatican; while Esquilino, which has more budget friendly options, and Monti, are closer to the Colosseum.

These are some good places to stay in the area of Ottaviano:

These are some good places to stay in Esquilino:

These are good places to stay in Monti:

For more information about accommodation in Rome, head over to my post “A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Rome.”

Guided tours of Rome

You can walk this itinerary for 4 days in Rome on your own. I recommend joining guided tours to make the most of the various attractions you visit – especially since they will take the stress of having to make separate reservations for the entry time.

You may want to consider a guided tour of Rome that goes to all the most famous attractions. Here are a few good options:

Vatican Museums

The Roma Pass may be a good option

Using a 72 hours Roma Pass 

My post “The Best Roma Pass Options And How To Make The Most Of It” gives you a full overview of what the Roma Pass is and how you can make the most of it.

You may consider getting a 72 hours Roma Pass even though you actually have 4 days in Rome, and use it to go to all the main attractions and get discount for others,  access public transportation and, in some cases, even have transportation to the airport.

These are some good 72 hours Roma Pass options:

  • Omnia Card for Rome and Vatican City: it includes skip the line tickets to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, preferred access with an audio-guide for St. Peter’s Basilica, access to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls and the Mamertine Prison. Tickets to the Colosseum are not included.
  • Visit Pass Rome Gold – a pass that offers fast track access to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums; St. Peter’s Basilica and Castel Sant’Angelo; the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hills. It also includes an app to draft your itinerary and link to download an audio guide for the Forum and the Palatine. Public transportation is included.
  • Visit Pass Rome Platinum –  a more expensive option than the others, but you get an actual guide inside St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • Omnia Vatican and Rome card – the most expensive option, but it really is the most inclusive pass with all the most popular attractions included. You even have a hop-on-hop-off bus ticket valid for 72 hours.
  • Best of Rome all access pass – this pass provides fast track entrances to the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hills, and an audio-guide. It’s not clear whether transportation is included.

Whichever pass you pick, make sure to carefully read the terms and conditions.

Keep in mind that even when you have the Roma Pass you are required to book your entry to sites such as the Colosseum and the Borghese Gallery. That’s why booking individual tours and skip the line tickets may be a better options.

These are the best tours with skip the line access to the site:

Colosseum and Roman Forum:

Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica:

When to visit Rome

It is always a good time to visit Rome, but I feel the city is at its best in October: the days are still nice and long-ish,  temperatures mild (not as hot as in the summer, but incredibly pleasant), and sites are slightly less crowded. Keep in mind that in the late spring and early summer months you can take advantage of the longer days and of the longer opening hours of the various sites.

Avoid going in August if you can. It’s when Italians get out of the cities, so you won’t really find locals and the lines of tourists at sites are the longest.

Rome

Getting to the center of Rome from the airport is very easy

How to get to Rome

There are two airports in Rome – Fiumicino, for intercontinental flights and all major airlines; and Ciampino, for budget flights to Italy and Europe. Both airports are well connected to the city by taxi and cabs, buses and (in the case of Fiumicino) trains.

You can get from Ciampino Airport to Rome city center by taxi or bus. Several companies depart regularly – Terravision is probably the most reliable one. You can book Terravision bus tickets here.

You’ll have more options to travel from Fiumicino Airport to Rome. The cheapest mode of transportation is the express train, which runs every 15 minutes (or every 30 minutes late at night). You can buy tickets and check the timetable online.

TIP: Remember to validate your ticket  before getting on the train! There are machines along the platform. If you fail to validate, you may have to pay a fine.

Other options include taxis, which have a €48 flat rate, or a private transfer, either shared or private.

These are some good transfers options

For more information, check out my post How To Get From Fiumicino Airport To Rome City Center.”

Rome is well connected by train to the rest of Italy. There are many train stations in Rome but the long distance trains usually go from Roma Termini station. You can buy tickets and check the train timetable here. 

How to move around Rome

You can’t count on Uber in Italy, so if you think you may need a taxi every now and then, download MyTaxi.

Unless you are staying really far away from the center, the best way to get around Rome is on foot, and this itinerary for 4 days in Rome is meant to maximize the amount of things you can see in any given area and allows you to avoid having to use the metro or the buses.

Locals may have a different opinion, but public transportation in Rome is quite efficient and there are many buses and two metro lines (a third one is still being built). Remember to validate your ticket before getting on the bus or metro.

You can get a Rome public transportation pass valid for 72 hours here. It may seem pricey but keep in mind it includes transfer from Ciampino airport.

TIP: Do not ride horse pulled carriages. With the traffic and noise in Rome, those animals suffer and you surely don’t want to contribute to their pain.

Check out my postThe Complete Guide To Becoming A More Responsible Traveler.”

Luggage storage in Rome

If you need to check out of your hotel in the morning but your flight or train is not until the evening, you may want to leave your luggage in storage at a central place. Check out this one or this one. Termini train station may overall be a better option as that’s where you’ll have to go to catch your train to the airport or to other cities.

Other useful tips 

Mind the dress code

Remember to dress appropriately, or you may be denied entry to certain sites. Keep your knees, shoulders and chest covered if you intend to visit churches, even during the summer. Wear a long linen skirt or pants and take a scarf or shirt to wear when you are meant to walk inside.

Get a data plan for your smartphone

Make sure you can use your smartphone in Italy and that you can access data to follow maps and use the internet if needed. Download maps that you can use offline, just in case.

Get a guide book

You may want to carry a good guide book with  information about the places to visit in Rome in 4 days, as well as some good pop out maps – just in case you can’t access internet.

These are some good guide books:

Stay hydrated 

Regardless of the season, drink plenty of water throughout the day. Carry a bottle you can refill on the go: tap water is safe to drink in Rome and there are fountains everywhere. If you are at a restaurant, ask for “acqua” and you’ll usually be served bottled water.

Mind the scams 

Tourists are a target of scams anywhere in the world and Rome is no different. Locals in Rome are friendly,  but beware of overly friendly people; always keep your stuff with you to avoid pickpockets; don’t accept help from strangers who offer to carry your bags or help getting tickets at the train station (and never surrender your own ticket) and never touch things that are offered to you ie a rose or a bracelet. A polite but firm no is a good way to go, though my favorite is to ignore any offer.

Get a good travel insurance

Regardless of how long you plan to stay in Rome, make sure to get a good travel insurance. Check out my post Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.” Get your travel insurance here.

Further readings about Rome

Check out my other itineraries:

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Discover what to see and do in Rome in 4 days - via @clautavani

 

Discover what to see in Rome in 4 days - via @clautavani

 

 

 

 

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