With one full week in Rome, you will really get to know the city well and can even push yourself beyond the city limit. A week in the city means having enough time to appreciate the top tourist attractions and to explore the lesser known ones.
Mind you: even if you have 7 days in Rome, you should still to do some planning. Places like the Colosseum, the Vatican and Borghese Gallery require advanced bookings, and as they set limits to the number of visitors that can get in at once, they get sold out quickly. You are better off booking your visit as soon as you are certain of when you’ll be in Rome.
Since I know Rome quite well – I have been countless times and I even lived there at some point in my life – I thought I’d help you by drafting an itinerary to see Rome in a week. It’s a nice paced one, whereby each day you will have a lot to see and do, but also have time to chill. All is left to do for you is booking your flights, your room in town, and get tickets for the attractions that require advanced bookings (don’t worry, I will tell you which ones).
In this post, I will explain everything you can see and do if you have one week in Rome, providing insightful information on the most popular attractions and sharing some tips to organize your visit.
Make sure to read my post “37 Unmissable, Fun And Cheap Things To Do In Rome.”
Continue reading to discover how to spend a wonderful week in Rome.
A Fantastic Itinerary To Spend An Amazing Week In Rome
Before I get to the fun bits and tell you all there is to see and do in one week in Rome, let me stress one thing: even with that amount of time, you really do need to book entries to the most popular tourist attractions.
Keep in mind that places like the Colosseum or Borghese Gallery cap the number of people they let in at a given time period, and they even get sold out at times. If you don’t book them in advance, you may end up spending hours in line for a ticket only to find out you can’t even get in.
I will make sure to point out any time you should be get skip the line tickets beforehand. Rest assured that if you follow my suggestions and this itinerary, you’ll have a fantastic week in Rome.
TIP: Even though you have quite a bit of time to explore Rome, I recommend to have an early start every day, so that you can avoid the largest crowds and (in case you are visiting in the summer) the hottest hours.
The itinerary I am going to draft is not too packed. It is meant to minimize the time you spend on public transportation by grouping attractions that are close to each other on the same day, so that you can walk from one to the other.
TIP: You may occasionally need to have lunch on the go so that you can continue exploring. The good news is that street food in Rome is delicious. Things such as supplì al telefono, pizza al taglio and even gelato are all good to give you lots of energy.
Make sure to read my post “All The Food In Rome You Should Eat: 25 Delicious Dishes.“
TIP: Wear comfortable shoes as there will be quite a bit of walking to do.
And now, to the fun bit! Continue reading for a wonderful itinerary for one week in Rome.
Day 1: Ancient Rome
This itinerary for one week in Rome starts those attractions you really do not want to miss. Your first stop is the Colosseum, after which you’ll go to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, the Baths of Caracalla, the Mouth of Truth and the Aventine Hill.
TIP: If you are keen on visiting the Colosseum at night, start from the last stop and then head to the Colosseum area later in the day. More about night tours of the Colosseum below.
Map of day one Rome itinerary
Click here for a map of your first day’s itinerary. You can see the distances between the various attractions, and even adjust it to your interest and needs by adding or skipping places.
I am quite certain that the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Rome is the Colosseum – and I can’t blame you for that. It’s an incredible sight, during the day and even more so at night. You simply can’t skip it. Especially not when you have a week in Rome.
However, there usually are very long lines to get tickets to visit the Colosseum.
In my post “Five Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Colosseum And Skip The Lines” I explain in detail how you can skip those lines. You really should read it, but let me get straight to the point here: the only way to skip the line at the Colosseum is to get tickets in advance – which you can do online. You’ll still have to go through security, but that’s a fast moving line.
TIP: If you plan to travel in peak season, you will have to buy your ticket to the Colosseum up to a couple of months in advance.
TIP: Guided tours of the Colosseum can be bought via third party sites that take care of all the arrangements, so that you don’t have to bother going to a different site and specify the time and date of your visit.
These are some good group tour that include skip the line tickets to the Colosseum:
- Skip the Line: Colosseum, Forum & Ancient Rome Guided Tour
- Ancient Rome Skip-the-Line Tour with Colosseum Underground
- Ancient Rome Tour: Colosseum Underground, Arena & Forum
- Premium Colosseum Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill
- VIP Colosseum underground tour with Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- Colosseum and Ancient Rome: Skip-the-Line Originals Tour
- Colosseum underground guided tour
- Colosseum fast track entrance
- Colosseum fast track entrance with a video-guide
- Colosseum: Priority Entrance + Arena Floor, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Package
- Colosseum S.U.P.E.R – seven unique experiences in Rome
TIP: Tours vary a lot one from the other: some include more thorough visits of the various levels, others are very basic. Make sure to read the description!
Visiting the Colosseum at night
For a more private experience, I recommend doing a night tour of the Colosseum. Night tours usually start at 9:30 pm and last around 2 and a half hours. If you are opting for a night tour, you should reverse the itinerary for the day and you will have more time at the other attractions.
TIP: Have dinner before your night tour of the Colosseum!
Night tours of the Colosseum go to the underground, the first and second ring, and the arena floor – thus being more comprehensive than the average tour. They cost around €87 per person. They are significantly more expensive than other tours, but they are worth the price!
These are some good night tours of the Colosseum:
- Colosseum by night tour with Colosseum underground
- Underground Colosseum, Arena Floor, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- Colosseum and underground arena night tour
- Colosseum underground by night
- VIP Colosseum night tour with underground and arena floor
The Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Circus Maximus
The ticket to the Colosseum also gives you access to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. In fact, most tours of the Colosseum also go there. A guided tour is probably a good idea, since the site is quite big.
These are some of the best guided tours that combine the Colosseum and the Roman Forum:
- Colosseum underground, Roman Forum and Hill tour
- Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill with Audio-Guide
- Skip The Line Colosseum And Ancient Rome Walking Tour
- Skip The Line Colosseum and Forum Walking Tour
- Colosseum: Priority Entrance + Arena Floor, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Package
- Colosseum: Priority Entrance + Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Package
A few facts about the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill and Circus Maximus
The Roman Forum is one of the best sites in Rome. It used to be the heart of the city at the time of the Republic: there was a market, temples, the House of the Senate and even brothels. It became a ceremonial center during the Roman Empire.
The Palatine Hill is where the twins Romolo and Remo were raised by the wolf (at least that’s what the legend says), and where Romolo founded the city after having hilled his brother. It’s where the emperors and aristocrats of Rome used to live.
Baths of Caracalla
Not far from Colosseum there are the Baths of Caracalla, an enormous bathing complex that unfortunately has suffered the passing of time. They still remain a nice place to explore; not to mention they get way less tourists than the Forum and the Colosseum. So, you may want to visit it if you have a full week in Rome.
Practical information: Admission to the Baths of Caracalla is €11. You can buy your ticket in advance here. If you want to get an audio-guide, it costs €17 – the visit lasts 1.5 hours. You can get it here.
Mouth of Truth
At an easy walking distance from the Baths of Caracalla, there’s La Bocca della Verità, or Mouth of Truth in English, which is located by the entrance of the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. Originally a manhole that dates back to the 1st century, this large marble mask that was placed by the side of the church in 1632.
According to legend the mouth bites off the hand of liars. You may give it a try! Though there may be a line when you visit, rest assured as it moves quite quickly. Besides, you have a full week in Rome so you can take your time!
INTERESTING FACT: Wondering where you first saw The Mouth of Truth? It probably is in the movie Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn.
You will get plenty of amazing views during your week in Rome.
After you leave the Mouth of Truth, head to the Giardino degli Aranci, or Orange Garden. You probably have never heard of it, but it’s a really gorgeous place – it’s a well kept garden, designed in 1932 by Raffaele de Vico, from where you can get impressive views of the city and especially of St. Peter’s Basilica. Not a bad place to end your day of exploration!
Day 2: The nicest neighborhoods of Rome
This is meant to be a fun, easy day during which you will explore two of the most authentic, interesting neighborhoods in Rome. There will be some sightseeing, but for the most part I recommend to enjoy your walk, taking in the lovely views, and try all the food that you can get your hands on. Indeed, Testaccio and Trastevere are the best places to visit in Rome to try local specialties.
Map of day two Rome itinerary
You can download a map of the itinerary for your second day in Rome here. If you enlarge the map, you will see that there are a lot of bars and restaurants in the area.
Testaccio is one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Rome. Known as Rome’s original foodie neighborhood, it also has a nice market and a pretty main square (Piazza Testaccio). Make sure to go during your week in Rome.
TIP: If you are keen on eating in Testaccio, go to Flavio Al Velavevodetto – make sure to book in advance.
The Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome
On your way from Testaccio to Trastevere, make sure to stop at the Non-Catholic Cemetery. It’s the resting place of famous non-catholics such as poet Percy Shelley, and it’s currently home of one of the largest cat sanctuaries in Rome. Besides, you get incredible views of the pyramid.
Pyramid of Caius Cestius
Given you are in Rome, finding an Egyptian looking pyramid is slightly odd. Caius Cestius Pyramid was built around 12 BC, as the tomb of a prominent public figure. The tomb has been ransacked since, but the pyramid is well kept and a nice sight. Not many people go – but if you have one week in Rome, you may as well.
As the name says, Trastevere is right on the other side of the Tiber River. I find this to be one of the most interesting neighborhoods in Rome, and more than anything a good place for nightlife as it is packed with bars, pubs, restaurants and cafés. Most people who visit Trastevere go there for the food – so you may do the same and join a food tour. You can go on this one or this one. Or even this tour, in case you also want wine.
Day 3: Vatican City and Castel Sant’Angelo
After a relaxing day in Testaccio and Trastevere, it’s time to go to some well known tourist attractions again. Today you are going to visit the Vatican, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel and Castel Sant’Angelo.
Map of day four Rome itinerary
You can download a map of your day 3 itinerary here. Though it looks like there isn’t much walking, rest assured this will be a tiring day as the Vatican is quite big!
St. Peter’s Basilica, The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
If you would rather avoid the crowds, head out no later than 7:00 am to go on an early tour of the Vatican – it’s one of the very few early starts you’ll have in your week in Rome. If you do this, you’ll be done no later than 12:00 pm, meaning that you’ll have the rest of the day to just relax.
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. Please note that the lines to get into the Vatican Museums start forming as early as 7:30 AM.
My tip is to get an early access Vatican tour with which you also get a dedicated entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica.
Alternatively, you can go to St. Peter’s Basilica as soon as it opens and then visit the Vatican Museums (there is no dedicate entrance this way around).
TIP: The lines at the Vatican Museums are terrible. Check out my post “How To Get Tickets To The Sistine Chapel And The Vatican Museums And Skip The Line” to find out how to avoid them.
All in all, I prefer recommending an early morning guided tour of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, which means you’ll also get a guide and visit the place when it is still virtually empty.
At the end of the tour, you can then hang around a bit longer to climb St. Peter’s Basilica Dome for incredible views.
TIP: Find out more about the Dome 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:
- Pristine Sistine early entrance small group Vatican tour
- Early access Vatican Museum with Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica
- Early entry Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica express service
- Vatican VIP experience: exclusive breakfast at the Vatican with early access to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
- Early access Vatican Museum small group tour with Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica
A few facts about the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica
The Vatican Museums huge, with a whopping 54 chambers and a very large collection. Right next to them, the Sistine Chapel is home to one of Renaissance’s greatest works, Michelangelo’s masterpiece – The Last Judgement.
St. Peter’s Basilica, the most important church for Catholics, was built by Michelangelo, Bernini and Bramante over a site thought to be the tomb of St. Peter. The church has 11 chapels, 45 altars and beautiful 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 must to visit the Vatican. Make sure to cover your knees and shoulders.
TIP: Photos inside the Basilica are allowed, but not inside the Sistine Chapel.
If you have a week in Rome, make sure to pop into Castel Sant’Angelo. Built as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian, it subsequently became a prison and it is now a museum. The building itself is the most interesting part, and the views of the Vatican from the roof are splendid.
If you are considering going in, get a skip the line ticket. These are some good options:
- Fast track advance ticket to Castel Sant’Angelo
- Castel Sant’Angelo tickets
- Castel Sant’Angelo Entrance With Digital Audio-Guide
- Castel Sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s Square Tour
- Castel Sant’Angelo skip the line
- Castel and Ponte Sant’Angelo Guided Tour
Day 4: A day trip to Ostia Antica or Tivoli
If you have one full week in Rome, you will feel the need to get out of city. Some people venture as far as Florence or Naples, but I think you should stick to the region and go somewhere close. There are plenty of incredible places to visit within an hour or 90 minutes reach. For your fourth day in Rome, I suggest going to Ostia Antica or Tivoli.
Ostia Antica is at just 30 km from Rome. There, you will find a wonderful archeological site. The city – which at its peak had more than 100000 inhabitants – is right on the Tyrrhenian Sea and it used to serve as a commercial port to store and ship goods to Rome. It was incredibly affluent – that’s why you will find remnants of villas, shops, taverns, temples as well as thermal baths and an amphitheater.
Ostia can be visited independently – the train leaves from Porta San Paolo station and you need to go towards Roma Lido. It takes about 40 minutes.
Alternatively, there are some good guided tours departing from Rome. These are some recommended ones:
- Ostia Antica half day tour from Rome by train
- Guided walking tour of Ancient Ostia and the Necropolis
- Ancient Ostia small group day trip from Rome
Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este, Tivoli
Two of best preserved Roman villas in the surroundings of Rome are located in Tivoli.
Hadrian’s Villa was built in the 2nd century by Emperor Hadrian, and it was his official residence in his final years.It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in incredibly good conditions, and inside you’ll find the remains of temples, palaces, libraries and barracks.
Villa d’Este used to be the home of the son of Lucrezia Borgia. It was built in the 16th century and it is surrounded by a gorgeous garden with lots of scenic fountains.
Alternatively, you can go on a guided tour:
- Day tour to Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa from Rome
- Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d’Este half day tour
- Tivoli day trip from Rome with visit to Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa
- Tivoli day trip from Rome – with lunch
Day 5: Borghese Gallery and the Historic Center of Rome
After a day out of the city, you will be ready to get right back into it. On your fifth day, you will be visiting Borghese Gallery, one of the best art collections in the world, and explore the historic center of Rome. Once you are done with the gallery, you will literally have no obligations to be anywhere at a specific time – so you can take it easy.
Map of day three Rome itinerary
You’ll find a map of today’s itinerary here but keep in mind that not all places mentioned in the itinerary appear on the itinerary. They are easy to get to, though.
With one week in Rome, visiting Galleria Borghese is a must.
Borghese Gallery and Gardens are among the most pleasant places to visit in Rome. The Gallery has a fantastic art collection, with paintings and sculptures of artists such as Bernini, Canova, Caravaggio and Titian.
Galleria Borghese has timed entrances and only allows 360 visitors can get in at the same time. This means that you won’t ever find it crowded, but it also means that you absolutely have to reserve your time slot in advance, especially if you are visiting in the peak season.
Make sure to be at the Gallery 30 minutes before your scheduled visit.
Make sure to read my post “Seven Smart Ways To Get Galleria Borghese Tickets And Skip The Lines.”
For tickets and tours of Borghese Gallery, consider the following options:
- Borghese Gallery Reserved Entrance Ticket
- Borghese Gallery With Optional Guided Tour
- Borghese Gallery tour and tickets
- Borghese Gallery small group guided tour
- Borghese Gallery And Gardens Half Day Tour
Piazza Del Popolo
If you walk through the park from Borghese Gallery you will get to the Pincian Hill and terrace, from where you can get beautiful views of Piazza del Popolo. This is one of the largest squares in Rome, at whose center you’ll see the obelisk of Ramesses II from Heliopolis – the second tallest in the city.
The Spanish Steps
At a short distance from Piazza del Popolo, the Spanish Steps, or Piazza di Spagna as we call it in Italy, is one of the most iconic places in town, and you absolutely have to visit it if you have one week in Rome. It will be crowded, but it’s worth it. The 185 steps that surmount the square lead to the beautiful Trinità dei Monti church, from where you will see Via Condotti – a luxury shopping streets.
TIP: Don’t put your feet in the fountain. It’s prohibited!
Trevi Fountain is another of the most iconic places in Rome, that became even more famous with Federico Fellini’s movie “La Dolce Vita.”
The fountain went through renovation work in recent years, and it’s been brought back to its splendor.
If you feel like it, make a quick stop at Piazza di Montecitorio, the seat of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. The building was planned by Bernini for Ludovico Ludovisi, the nephew of Pope Gregory XV. Carlo Fontana completed the construction.
The Pantheon is one of the unmissable attractions in Rome, and one of its most iconic buildings – there is no way you can miss it during your week in Rome. It dates back to 126 AD, when it was commissioned by Emperor Hadrian and served as a temple (it then became a Catholic church). Its Dome is thought to be the best preserved building from antiquity. Inside you will find the tombs of famous Italian artist Raphael and of King Victor Emmanuel II.
Visiting the Pantheon is free but you may want to get an audioguide to take you around (the tour lasts 35 minutes) for just €5 euro. You can get yours here.
For more about the Pantheon, read my post “A Complete Guide To The Pantheon.”
You will see many squares during your week in Rome. Just so you know, Piazza Navona is one of my favorite squares in town. It was paved in the 15th century over the 1st century Stadio di Domiziano during the 15th century, and is now used for a lovely local market. There you’ll be able to see the Fountain of the Four Rivers, designed in 1651 by Bernini, and the Baroque Sant’Agnese church, built in the 17th century.
Campo de’ Fiori
South of Piazza Navona, Campo de’ Fiori is one of the most scenic squares in Rome. In Medieval times this used to be a meadows (literally, a field of flowers, hence its name). The square was paved in 1456, and started being used as a market in the late 19th century.
Largo di Torre Argentina
Cat lovers, make sure to stop at Largo di Torre Argentina at least once during your week in Rome. It’s located between Piazza Navona and Piazza Venezia and it is a nice archeological site where, according to legend, Julius Cesar died. In fact, he was murdered at the Theater of Pompey, a couple of blocks away.
Roman history aside, Largo di Torre Argentina is home to the oldest cat sanctuary in Rome. You can visit the sanctuary, pet the cats and buy a souvenir and even make a donation to the organization that helps them.
Piazza Venezia is where you’ll be able to admire the beautiful monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, built in 1911 to celebrate the first king of unified Italy. It’s a must see in Rome.
The Jewish Ghetto
The last stop for the day – and ideally you’ll be there in time for dinner – is the Jewish Ghetto of Rome. This part of town was created upon orders of Pope Paul IV five centuries ago. He literally wanted to lock in all the Jews of Rome, and that’s why there were walls and gates that were locked at night.
Nowadays, this area is famous for its delicious kosher cuisine. Make sure to try carciofi alla giudia – fried artichokes with mint and garlic.
Day 6: Lesser known Rome
If you have a full week in Rome, you might as well go to places that are a bit lesser known (at least to foreigners) but just as interesting to explore. Start with two beautiful churches and then move to the Catacombs and the Appian Way – you can skip the churches if these aren’t your thing. Your last stop for the day will be Garbatella, one of the nicest neighborhoods of Rome.
Map of day six Rome itinerary
You can find the map for today here. Distances are a bit longer, so I recommend clicking on the train icon to find the transportation options to move from one place to the other.
San Clemente Basilica
San Clemente Basilica is a lovely, lesser visited church that you absolutely have to visit when you have a week in Rome. It was built over a site that Christians used to hide to practice their faith when their religion was still illegal in Rome. Various excavations brought out different levels of the church – one dates back to the 1st century, and one to the 4th. There apparently is an even older level that went destroyed during the 64 AD fire caused by Nero.
San Clemente, which is close to the Colosseum, can be easily visited independently. The panels inside the church share enough information.
If you’d rather join a guided tour, these are some good ones:
- Roman crypts and catacombs tour
- San Clemente and Quattro Coronati Church small group tour
- Crypts and Catacomb tour with Bone Chapel visit
- Christian Rome and underground basilica tour
St. John in the Lateran
Located in the lovely Esquilino neighborhood, St. John in Lateran is the seat of the Pope in the city of Rome and the oldest basilica in town – it’s another church you can visit since you have a full week in Rome.
In front of it you’ll find the Lateran Obelisk, thought to be the largest standing Egyptian obelisk in the world. The church is famous for its Scala Sancta, a stairway of 28 steps which is said to be the one Jesus climbed to go to his trial in Jerusalem. If you want to climb it, you will have to do so on your knees.
These are some good tours that go to St. John in the Lateran church:
- The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran
- Catacombs and St. John in the Lateran combo tour
- St. John Lateran, holy stairs and baptistery private tour
- Cristian Rome afternoon tour
The Catacombs and the Appian Way
The Appian Way is a lovely place to visit if you have a week in Rome. Built in 312 BC as a way to connect Rome to cities such as Naples and Brindisi and used for military as well as commercial purposes, it is thought to be one of the oldest surviving roads in the world.
Along the Appian Way, there are the Church of Domine Quo Vadis, built in the 9th century, and the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, where 16 popes have been buried, and St. Sebastian.
These are some good guided tours of the Catacombs and the Appian Way:
- Crypts and Catacomb tour with Bone Chapel visit
- Crypts, Bones & Catacombs: An Underground Tour of Rome
- Alone in Rome’s Catacombs: Exclusive After Hours Tour with Bone Chapel
- Catacombs and the Appian Way tour
- Catacombs and crypts small group minibus tour
- Catacombs of Rome exclusive after hour tour
- Appian Way, Aqueducts and Catacomb bike tour
Garbatella is still out of the main tourist route in Rome, so a nice place to visit if you are in Rome for a week. Unknown to most foreigners, it became very popular in Italy a few years ago after a TV series was filmed there.
Garbatella was first built in 1918. For a long time it was thought to be a dangerous place, but it is now considered to be one of the best areas to live in Rome. There, you will find some museums and art galleries, and the nice church of St. Paul’s Outside The Walls.
Day 7: A day trip to Viterbo or Tuscia
Once again, I suggest going on a day trip outside of town if you have one week in Rome. And once again, I recommend staying in Lazio and not going too far.
I know that most of you will be tempted to head far away to famous cities, but Lazio has some of Italy’s best kept secrets and if you give it a chance you will discover places that aren’t crowded with tourists, that have retained their local character, and that are truly scenic and worth visiting. In other words: trust a local!
TIP: If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can actually rent a car and visit Viterbo and Tuscia in a day. It makes for an excellent road trip.
In a way, I hope the secret will never spell: Viterbo, at about 100 km from Rome, is one of the prettiest cities in Italy. My dad is from Viterbo, so growing up I’d regularly visit my grandparents there. Aside from my obvious attachment, the city is objectively very pretty.
Viterbo has a very well preserved medieval center. It’s completely surrounded by walls and has gated entrances. During the 13th century, for about 24 years, Viterbo was the seat of the pope. You will be able to visit the Papal Palace. Other places of interest are the Duomo of San Lorenzo and the Church of Santa Maria Nuova. The oldest area of Viterbo is San Pellegrino, a maze of tiny alleys and scenic squares.
On 3 September Viterbo holds Santa Rosa festival, in honor of its protective saint. An enormous, beautifully illuminated papier-mache statue is carried around the darkened narrow alleys of the city by a team of 100 porters. It’s such a unique show that it became UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage in 2013.
Last, though not least, in Viterbo you can enjoy the beautiful thermal baths – they are very cheap too!
You can travel to Viterbo independently by train, departing from Rome Aurelia train station. The journey takes around one hour and 45 minutes. You can check the train timetable and buy train tickets here. Once there, you can either explore by yourself or join a guided tour such as this one.
Alternatively, there are some good guided tours of Viterbo that depart from Rome:
- Day Trip from Rome to Viterbo, Bagnaia, Thermal Baths & Lake Vico
- The Renaissance residence of Palazzo Farnese and the Pope City Viterbo
As far as road trips go, it is hard to beat Tuscia. This small region of Lazio still attracts very few foreign tourists – so it is the perfect place to visit if you want to avoid the crowds. The main city of Tuscia is Viterbo, but the whole region deserves a visit.
The name Tuscia refers to the word Romans used to refer to Etruscans, who ruled the part of Italy that spreads across northern Lazio, Umbria and Tuscany’s lower Maremma between 700 and 300 BC. This is a region of lovely, smooth hills and gorgeous medieval villages. It’s a place calling for a long term hike (the Via Francigena crosses the region). But if hiking isn’t your thing or you have no time for it, a road trip is just as good.
Among the places you should visit there are Bolsena, a village by a lake of volcanic origins; Bomarzo, in the Cimini Hills, Soriano nel Cimino which has a gorgeous castle and a beech forest which also became a UNESCO site; Calcata, on top of a hill and whose views from a distance are breathtaking; and Bagnaia, home of the stunning Villa Lante.
Yet, I believe that the prettiest village in the area is Vitorchiano – which is also the closest village to Viberbo.
Since there are many good guided tours of Tuscia, the best way to enjoy this region is by renting a car. You can check out the prices of car rental here. While in Tuscia, make sure to try local food: lombrichetti is the local pasta and it is delicious!
Practical Tips For Your Week In Rome
Where to stay in Rome
You won’t find shortage of good places to stay in Rome. I recommend getting a room in the historic center for easy access to all the attractions and so that you don’t have to rely on public transportation too much when you have one week in Rome. Ottaviano is perfect if you want easy access to the Vatican; Esquilino is best if you are looking for a budget friendly option; and Monti is close to the Colosseum.
These are some accommodation options in Ottaviano:
- Polinari Rooms – a nice small hotel with spacious comfortable rooms at 5 minutes from the Vatican Museums. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Town House 57 – a nice guest house with clean, modern rooms at easy distance from Vatican Museums. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- My Bed Vatican Museum – the closest place to the Vatican Museums with beautiful clean rooms. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Chester Suites – plush rooms in a great location. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
These are some accommodation options in Esquilino:
- Hotel Tito Rome – right by the train station. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Charm of Rome – a small hotel near Vittorio Emanuele square. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
These are some accommodation options in Monti:
- Relais Monti – good rooms and excellent location. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
- Domus Romana Hotel – best for families, with nice big rooms. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.
For more places to stay in Rome, head over to my post “A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Rome.”
Guided tours of Rome
A guided tour of Rome may be a good option to visit the most famous attractions. Here are a few good ones:
- Rome in a day tour with Vatican, Colosseum and historic center – a good tour that goes to all the top attractions. It includes a guide.
- Full day walking tour of Rome – the price is per group. It doesn’t go to the Vatican
- Faster than skip the line: Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica tour – it only goes to the Vatican.
- Skip the line ancient Rome and Colosseum half day walking tour – a guided tour of ancient Rome.
- Best of Rome: Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica and Colosseum pass – an audio-guide tour that goes to the most famous places to visit in Rome.
Using a 72 hours Roma Pass for your week in Rome
If you have a full week in Rome, you most likely won’t need a Roma Pass. My post “The Best Roma Pass Options And How To Make The Most Of It” explains the main advantages, but let me sum them up here.
A 72 hours Roma Pass can be used across 3 days to access to all the main attractions and get discount for others, access public transportation and, in some cases, it includes a transfer 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 most famous attractions in the Vatican, for which you also get an audio guide. Tickets to the Colosseum are not included.
- Visit Pass Rome Gold – you get 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. You get an app to draw your itinerary and you can download an audioguide for the Roman Forum. Public transportation is included.
- Visit Pass Rome Platinum – a more expensive option, but you get a live guide for St. Peter’s Basilica.
- Best of Rome all access pass – you get 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.
Whichever pass you pick, make sure to carefully read the terms and conditions and remember that you have to book your time slot for the Vatican and Borghese Gallery separately.
When to visit Rome
Any time is a good time to visit Rome. I find the city is at its best in October, when it is not as hot and as crowded as in the summer, and the days are still quite long. August is the worst by far: it’s as crowded with tourists as it gets!
Rome is a great winter destination too! Make sure to check out my post “21 Incredible Places For Winter Sun In Europe.”
How to get to Rome
Rome has two airports – Fiumicino, for intercontinental flights and all major airlines; and Ciampino, for budget flights to Italy and Europe. You can easily reach the center of Rome from both.
From Ciampino, you can count on taxis, private shuttles and even on the bus. The best is Terravision, which offers the most reliable service. You can book Terravision bus tickets here.
You can travel from Fiumicino Airport to Rome via taxi (there is a €48 flat rate), private transfer or train (the cheapest option). You can buy tickets and check the timetable online.
TIP: Remember to validate your ticket before getting on the train!
These are some good private transfers options
- Fiumicino Airport to Rome private transfer
- Fiumicino Airport to Rome budget private transfer
- Fiumicino Airport to Rome shared shuttle
If you are coming from the other side of the world, you will land in Fiumicino. Keep in mind that between clearing customs, fetching your luggage, and making your way to the city it will probably take you around 2 hours (if not more) to get to your hotel.
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 several train stations in Rome but most long distance trains depart from Termini. You can buy tickets and check the train timetable here.
How to move around Rome
You can’t really count on Uber in Italy, so for taxis download the app MyTaxi.
If you are staying in the center of Rome, I recommend walking everywhere during your week in Rome. In any case, the metro and bus system is quite efficient, despite some mishaps. You can get a Rome public transportation pass which is valid for 72 hours here. It may seem pricey but keep in mind it also includes transfer from Ciampino airport.
Alternatively, you can get your Rome Public Transportation Card (ATAC) for just the city (no airport transfers) here.
TIP: Do not ride horse pulled carriages. It’s one of the least responsible things to do and remember that those horses suffer for the sake to entertain tourists.
Check out my post “The Complete Guide To Becoming A More Responsible Traveler.”
Luggage storage in Rome
If your flight is late in the evening but you have to check out of your room, you are probably better off leaving your bags somewhere near the train station, from where you will likely take the train to the airport. There are a couple of luggage storage places near Termini Station. Check out this one or this one.
Other useful tips
Mind the dress code
Remember that modest clothing is a requirement to access churches, especially St. Peters. Cover your knees and shoulders. If you are visiting in the summer, carry a shawl or cotton shirt in your bag so that you can wear it right before entering.
Get a data plan for your smartphone
Make sure you can use your phone abroad – it’s a life saver to access the internet, use google maps and other apps to move around town. Make sure to download the maps I have provided so that you can use them offline – just in case.
Get a guide book
A good guide book is a great idea for more information about the places to visit, and it usually has a good pop up map.
These are some good guide books:
Water is safe to drink in Rome, and there are fountains everywhere. Carry a bottle with you and refill throughout the day. Drinking fresh water is important when exploring! Most cafés will allow you to use toilets for either a small fee or a drink.
Mind the scams
Tourist scams are as common in Rome as they are in other crowded tourist places. The places where you have to pay more attention are the train stations. Don’t trust overly friendly people that offer to carry your bags, or to help you getting a ticket, and by all means don’t accept anything from strangers, and if they try to place anything in your hands move away.
Get a good travel insurance
Further readings about Rome
If you don’t have an entire week in Rome, you may want to consider reading my other itineraries:
- The Perfect Itinerary To See Rome In A Day
- The Perfect Itinerary To See Rome In 2 Days
- The Perfect Itinerary For 3 Days In Rome
- A Fantastic Itinerary For 4 Days In Rome
- A Wonderful Itinerary For 5 Days In Rome
- 31 Incredible Places To Explore Rome Off The Beaten Path
- Where To Get The Best Views Of Rome
- 18 Useful Things To Know Before Visiting Rome
- The Best Airbnbs In Rome
- The Best Movies About Rome
Further readings about Italy
Make sure to read my planning tips for Italy in these posts:
- 17 Reasons To Visit Italy As Soon As Possible
- 67 Extremely Useful Travel Tips For Italy
- What To Do And What To Avoid When Planning A Trip To Italy
- A Perfect Italy Itinerary: What To See And Do With 10 Days Or More