In 2015, I spent 4 days in Rome, Italy to explore the city and to visit my friend Maria. I'd planned to see as much of the city as possible and walked from 10 to 15 km every day, shooting photos while following my carefully crafted itinerary.
While I do like to simply wander around a place and discover things by stumbling upon them, I mostly stuck to a daily itinerary on my four-day trip to Rome. Every night I'd check what I'd already seen and what I'd still need to do, adjusting my overall trip program accordingly.
I thought it could help you plan your trip to Rome, so I grabbed my notes (one page with some scribbles – woops), the map of Rome I used while I was there, Google Maps and the photos I took to reconstruct my 4-day Rome itinerary. I hope you'll find it useful. At the end of the post, I've also included some practical information.
4 days in Rome: a complete itinerary
Rome in 4 days – Day 1
On my first day in Rome, I didn't have any tours planned and so I could cover quite a bit of sights on my own. I started at the Teatro Marcello and visited the nearby Portico Octavia, where the Jewish neighborhood starts, as well as the Fontana delle Tartarughe.
From there I walked north to the Piazzale Caffarelli and the Piazza del Campidoglio, passing the Palazzo dei Conservatori, the Musei Capitolini, the Basilica Santa Maria in Aracoeli and the Palazzo Nuovo.
After crossing those squares, I got a great view on the Arco di Tito and, more in the back, Palatine Hill. I didn't go in, though, as I had planned a tour there for my third day in the city.
Instead, I snapped some photos from above before heading toward the Basilica di San Petro in Vincoli. It was still closed when I got there and so I took a seat on the benches by the entrance together with a bunch of other people. When the doors opened, it became clear why we all suspected it was worth it waiting.
After my visit to the Basilica, I walked back toward the Piazza Venezia. That square marks the beginning (or the end, depending from where you're coming) of the Via del Corso, a big lane I followed until I turned right into the Via delle Muratte to reach the famous Trevi Fountain.
The fountain was still wrapped in scaffolding due to an ongoing restoration project, though, and there were so many people there that I decided not to take any photos. The restoration was completed in late 2015, so if you visit now you’ll see the fountain in all its glory (and big crowds!).
Instead, I wandered around a bit and came across the Santa Maria in Trivio, a small church that seemed to be squeezed in between other buildings on the Via dei Crociferi.
From there, I walked onward to the Piazza di Spagna but when I got there, my legs informed me that it had been enough for the day and so I headed back to Il Boom B&B in the Trastevere district, where I relaxed for a while before meeting my friend Maria for dinner.
Rome in 4 days – Day 2
On the morning of my second day in Rome, I decided to explore the neighborhood I was staying in, Trastevere. I wandered through the little streets and passed the Santa Maria in Trastevere church.
Oh, by the way, that church is really nice. I'd visited it the night before after my friend and I came back from dinner.
Before crossing the Ponte Sisto into the touristy part of Rome, I hung around the Piazza Trilussa for a bit. The sun was shining brightly already and people sat on the steps of this small square enjoying its first warmth.
After having crossed the bridge I headed toward Campo de' Fiori, a marketplace and yes, there was a market going on. I strolled through without buying anything and listened to the mix of Italian and other languages being spoken.
Up next was the beautiful Piazza Navona. It was super crowded here and it was clear why. Not only is this square pretty gorgeous, it was also bathing in the sun that time of the day and people were taking advantage of every spot they could use as a bench to take a rest and have a snack.
If you're interested in seeing it for yourself, you can view a live feed of Piazza Navona online.
From Piazza Navona, I crossed the water over the Ponte Umberto I to reach the Piazza dei Tribunali. The Supreme Court makes an impressive sight when crossing the bridge, but is hard to photograph because of all the traffic and pedestrians passing in front of it and crossing the water. I took a photo but this one of the views you get from on the bridge is a bit more idyllic.
I crossed the water because I had planned a tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica at noon. To get there, I walked along the little book market on the Lungotevere Castello and past the Castel Sant' Angelo.
I spent the rest of my day inside the Vatican, pushing my way through the crowds at the museums, staring at the ceiling of the Sixteenth Chapel and being amazed at the size of the St. Peter's Basilica.
Click here for information and prices on the Vatican Tour I took.
Or check this other skip-the-line Vatican tour which comes highly recommended.
In the evening, I got some proper pizza from a place near my B&B and met up with my friend afterward for – what else – a cup of tea.
Rome in 4 days – Day 3
On the third day, I had another tour planned. This time of Palatine Hill and the Colosseum. It didn't start until noon, so I took the entire morning to get there, checking out sights along the way.
I first walked to the Pantheon, as I hadn't checked that out yet and it's a place you simply have to visit when you're in Rome. I was a bit surprised it's free to visit, seeing that it's such a popular place, but then again I shouldn't have as it's being used as a church nowadays. If you want to get a better idea of what you're looking at, get this 35-minute self-guided audio tour.
From the Pantheon I walked to Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Basilica and from there to the Chiesa di Sant’ Ignazio di Loyola. I probably wouldn't have visited this church if I hadn't read about it while researching my trip. It's not on any of the typical tourist routes and it's not impressive on the outside, but the interior is quite lovely.
As I still had some time left, I decided to wander through the Monti area, which lies north from the Colosseum. My friend had recommended it to me as an area with a few cool little stores, and while I wasn't in a shopping mood, I did enjoy walking along the Via dei Serpenti, the Via Urbana and the Piazza della Madonna dei Monti.
I then quickly grabbed a bite before starting my tour of the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum, which was, by the way, amazing.
Click here for information and prices of the Colosseum Tour I went on.
Alternatively check this 3-hour skip-the-line tour of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum which comes highly recommended as well.
During my tour, I started chatting with a guy from the States and as we needed to head in the same direction when the tour had ended, we decided to walk together along the Via del Corso to the Piazza di Spagna. He went on to meet his brother while I climbed the famous Spanish Steps toward the Villa Medici and the huge Villa Borghese park.
Walking along the road south of the park I got some great views of Rome and the park itself was worth a visit as well. I was a bit sorry that I'd come here so late in the day. It seemed like a great place to some walking, have a picnic and chill a bit with a book, but it was getting dark already by the time I entered the park and so I just had a quick look around before descending to the Piazza del Popolo and walking back to the B&B (and to get some food!).
Rome in 4 days – Day 4
On my fourth day in Rome I had a light breakfast because I'd booked a food tour in the Testaccio neighborhood.
The tour took me all around the neighborhood, so afterward I headed a bit more north and climbed the hill to the famous Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta. “The what?”, you might ask, but when I show you this photo, you'll probably know what I'm talking about.
It's a photo taken through the keyhole of a door at the Piazza, that gives you a great view through the garden and right onto the St. Peter's Basilica.
From there, I followed the Via di Santa Sabina which took me to the Giardino degli Aranci, or the “Orange Garden”. It's a lovely place to sit down for a while and offers great views of Rome. Oh, and there are orange trees.
From there I followed the road back down to the river and crossed it back into Trastevere, where I visited my last sight of this trip, the Monumento a Garibaldi in Trastevere. It's located on top of one of Rome's seven hills and yes, that means you need to climb to get there. But you'll get great views to reward you once you make it.
Where to stay in Rome
When I was planning my trip to Rome I knew exactly where I needed to stay: in Trastevere. Trastevere is a neighborhood just outside the historical center of Rome, Italy, with a lively area close to the river and a more residential area as you move away from the center.
It's also where my friend Maria from Heart Rome lives. As Maria would be working during the day and I'd planned on exploring as much of the city as I could, we agreed that I'd find a B&B in Trastevere so that we could easily meet up for dinner or drinks in the evening.
A quick search led me to Il Boom B&B.
Il Boom B&B, retro in Trastevere
Il Boom B&B is a small Bed and Breakfast in Trastevere, run by Angelo and located in an apartment building at the foot of the Janiculum hill.
Angelo himself also lives at the B&B and has decided to leave his living room and office space doors open to improve the interaction with his guests. He's always there to help with questions, but also just lets you be if that's what you want.
Angelo's openness makes you feel right at home at Il Boom B&B, as if you're staying with a friend and not just at any B&B.
There are three bedrooms at Il Boom and they are all dedicated to a famous Italian movie star. My room was very spacious, with two closets for clothes, a small table with a television, a chair, a bookcase and a double bed.
Like the other two rooms, I also had my own bathroom. I'd expected a small ensuite shower and sink, but this is what my bathroom at Il Boom B&B looked like:
Not too bad, huh?
Besides getting a large room and bathroom, each guest can also make use of the kitchen and lounge area on the second floor of the B&B, which is also the top floor of the building.
The kitchen table and fridge are always filled with deliciousness: croissants, homemade cake and cookies, bread, cheese, jam and more. Each morning Angelo sets the table for his guests, who can come up for breakfast whenever they like.
Just like the rest of the B&B, the lounge area is full of vintage items. Angelo is a real collector and there's not one thing at Il Boom that seems out of place or doesn't fit the rest of the interior.
By the way, there's also a large terrace on the top floor where you can chill in the sun or have your breakfast at one of the several tables. All with an amazing view over Trastevere and the rest of Rome.
If Il Boom isn't quite what you're looking for, I've researched some other accommodations in Rome that get great reviews:
Luxury: Harry's Bar Trevi Hotel & Restaurant
The 5-star Harry's Bar Trevi Hotel & Restaurant is located just a few meters from the famous Trevi fountain. All rooms here have air conditioning, parquet floors, tea and coffee facilities, a minibar, and a flatscreen tv. A bathrobe, slippers, and toiletries are provided. WiFi is free throughout the property and in the mornings, guests can enjoy a lovely breakfast included in the room price.
Boutique: Domus Capilupi
Domus Capilupi is located in a 16th-century building just 400 meters from the Pantheon. It offers rooms with a flatscreen tv, air conditioning, and a water kettle. The en suite bathroom has a bathrobe, slippers, and free toiletries waiting for you. WiFi is free throughout the property and breakfast is included in the room price. Guests can also use the communal lounge area.
Budget: Palazzo Lupardi Relais
The Palazzo Lupardi Relais lies right in the center of Rome, just 300 meters from the Piazza Navona. It offers rooms with air conditioning, a flatscreen tv, an en suite bathroom, toiletries, and free WiFi. An excellent continental breakfast is included in the room price.
How to travel to Rome
I flew into Rome Fiumicino Airport with Brussels Airlines and then took the train to Trastevere train station. From the train station, it was still about a 25-minute walk to Il Boom B&B.
If you'd rather not bother with public transportation and finding your way to your hotel while carrying all of your luggage, consider booking an airport transfer. That way, you know there's someone waiting for you upon your arrival who'll take you straight to your hotel at a price you already know and paid.
Taxi2Airport is a safe choice. This platform offers 24/7 support in 10 languages and always finds you the cheapest transfers among their verified taxi partners. It also gets a rating of 9/10 on Trustpilot with more than 14,000 reviews.
Book your airport transfer here.
To look for flights, Skyscanner is a good option. It gives you an overview of which airlines fly to Rome at what prices and also allows you to set alerts for when prices go up or down.
Click here to find the best flights for your trip.
If you want to take the train from the airport or even travel to Rome by train from elsewhere, check here for timetables and prices.
While there is public transportation within Rome, I walked everywhere and so I can't really comment on its efficiency.
To sum it all up, while it’s impossible to see everything in just a few days, this itinerary let me cover a lot of ground during my 4 days in Rome. Luckily, there are plenty of fun things to do in Rome, so use this itinerary as a template but stay open to the unplanned and the unexpected. Discovering hidden gems is half the fun of traveling!
Don't forget travel insurance
No matter how well you plan your trip to Rome, something unexpected – and unwanted – can always happen. A reservation gets lost, your luggage never arrives or you get sick. When something like this happens, good travel insurance has you covered.
I've had ongoing travel insurance ever since I started traveling to make sure I'm covered for every trip I go on but if you travel just a few times a year, you can get insured for each trip separately too.
Don't have travel insurance yet? Check out SafetyWing. They offer super flexible plans that you can even sign up for while you're already on your trip. On top of that, they were the first travel insurance to cover COVID, and when I got COVID, they reimbursed all of my expenses without making a fuss. Their customer support team is great and I can personally recommend them.
PIN FOR LATER
Clelia Mattana says
Ha! I just published an article about Rome today! All I can say about the public transport is… Good luck with that! And don’t forget that you can enter the bus from any door, front, middle, back…even the windows if necessary! We are in Italy after all :)
Hahahahaa, thanks for the info Clelia. I was pretty happy with walking everywhere :D
Tim UrbanDuniya says
Nothing compares to the architecture in Rome…. simply amazing. I was there for 3 days once, but I don’t think a lifetime could satisfy me :D
Haha, I have a friend who feels the same:)
Tom Bartel says
You missed my favorite church in Trastevere, Santa Cecilia. The sculpture of the saint under the altar is my favorite sculpture in all of Rome. Be sure to see it next time.
Aye aye, sir :)
Tom Bartel says
And, eat the cacio e pepe in Trastevere, too. You probably did that if you had friends recommending restaurants. I envy anyone who gets to spend time in Rome. It’s my favorite.
I don’t remember the names of the places we went to. Have to admit I didn’t write them down. Just enjoyed the food:)
Sounds amazing. What if you only had three days? Which destinations would you pick? What is really worth seeing?
I’d recommend making a selection based on your personal preferences. I like just wandering around, but if you’re very much into museums, you’d prefer that over seeing an extra part of the city.
Hi! Could you recommend some of the restaurants, please, so I could plan the tour together with the food stop? :D
You mean the restaurants I went to when I wasn’t on the food tour? I’m afraid I haven’t written down their names and it’s been a couple of years so I don’t remember. Sorry!
Hi, did you stop at Trastevere Station from the Airport or do you have to take the train into Termini Station, change to a local train and then stop at Trastevere Station? Thanks.
I believe I had a direct train but the trip was a few years ago so maybe the connection has changed.
Thank you. The B&B mentioned a train ride from the Fiumicino Airport into Termini station, then followed by another train to Trastevere Station.
I thought it should be a direct train ride there unless it’s an express train to Termini.
Thanks for the reply.
You should be able to find that information on the airport’s website. You can also just check Google Maps for the route from the airport to the Trastevere Station by public transportation or you can use a train route website (I always use B Europe) to check and make sure.
Hope you have a lovely trip!