Are 4 days in Rome enough? Honestly, we don’t think so. However, if you can only afford 10 days or two weeks in Italy, this is roughly how much time we suggest you devote to the capital.
To help you make the most out of your limited time, we packed an epic 4-day Rome itinerary to show you what you can do in such a short time to optimize your stay and give you some local’s insight on where to eat and where to stay.
Even though in 4 days in Rome you will be able to visit many of the main landmarks, depending on how much time you will spend in a single place will define how many sights you can add to your sightseeing.
Usually, museums and large archaeological sites like the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill will take up much of your time. Provided that you don’t want to make time for some relaxing leisure such as a stroll in the park, a relaxing aperitif or brunch on a Sunday morning, a concert, or some plain and simple piazza time!
If you are into archaeology, you might want to spend at least 3 days in Rome, while if you are looking for a deeper experience that will encompass different aspects of Italian life, from food to shopping to ancient and modern art, probably 5 to 7 days would be a better option.
This is mainly a 4-day Rome itinerary for first-time visitors because it touches the most famous landmarks you want to visit if you’ve never been before. If you are more into themed itineraries, you can check out these other options of Rome’s themed tours we packed for you.
Important to keep in mind: We do not advocate rushing when visiting Rome’s landmarks. We think 5 to 10 minutes are enough for a fountain (unless you are an art historian!), but larger attractions, archaeological sites, museums, and some religious buildings require more than the standard 30 minutes. If you have only 4 days in Rome this time, explore at your own pace to learn about the city, not just tick items off your list or take a selfie.
Table of Contents
- 1 Our suggested itinerary for Rome in 4 Days – What to see and do
- 2 What to see in 4 Days in Rome
- 2.1 Day 1 in Rome – Discover Ancient Rome – Map
- 2.2 Day 2 in Rome – The Centro Storico (Historic Center) – Map
- 2.3 Day 3 in Rome – The Vatican City – Map
- 2.4 Day 4 in Rome – Trastevere and the Jewish Quarter
- 3 Planning your 4-day Rome trip
- 4 What to add if you have more than 4 days in Rome
Our suggested itinerary for Rome in 4 Days – What to see and do
With the right planning, four days in Rome can actually be enough for at least the main historic sites. Here is a handy itinerary to help you explore the most important landmarks like the Colosseum and the Vatican, and the most famous Rome neighborhoods such as Trastevere or the Centro Storico.
Just like every itinerary, this one, too, is highly customizable. You can switch days, add or remove sights as you go either because they are closed when you are here or because you are simply not interested, join tours, or go romantic in Rome with your other half.
We will be linking to many of our posts so that you have enough resources to tailor and fix this itinerary to spend 4 days in Rome just like you have been dreaming of.
What to see in 4 Days in Rome
Day 1 in Rome – Discover Ancient Rome – Map
Visit the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill
We all have either read or heard about the Roman gladiators, so among the first things to do in Rome even if you stay only 4 or even 3 days, there sure is the Colosseum. We suggest adding this first thing in the morning to your 4-day Rome itinerary. If you manage, get there early, even before it opens, to avoid huge queues.
There are parts of the Colosseum open to the general public that you can access with a single ticket, and others where you can enter only with a guide or a tour. To skip the line, either booking online or a guided tour of the Colosseum is your best bet.
As the Roman Forum is right beside and the ticket is the same as the one you buy for the Colosseum, we suggest you do both of them on the same day, or better on the same morning. If you feel too overwhelmed and prefer doing something else right after the Colosseum, you can as the ticket is valid for two days.
If you like to go deeper, there are several underground tours of Rome that will show you the areas that are generally not open to the public, such as the dungeon where the gladiators used to stay before the shows and the fights.
Explore the Caracalla Baths
For as popular and After enjoying the beauty of the Colosseum and the pulsing heart of Roman ancient life in the Roman Forum, head to the Baths of Caracalla, one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in Rome. Here, you will be taken back to Ancient Rome and their love for spas and pampering themselves.
This is a very fascinating site that you can totally spare an hour for in your 4 days in Rome. Visit these ancient baths and see how they were organized, comprising several spa areas, pools, a gym, and even a library.
I know that four days is a pretty short time to visit Rome, but please, don’t devote only 20 or 30 minutes to the Baths of Caracalla. It would just mean ticking it off your list without appreciating the value of the ruins. Take in its history, its role in Roman society, and the different social classes from the highest to the slaves busy in the undergrounds, that you can also visit.
In fact, make sure you don’t miss the undergrounds of the Baths of Caracalla where is the largest Mithra temple discovered so far in the city. Whether you make it a 30-minute or a 1-hour visit, it won’t change much in your 4-day Rome itinerary, but your experience in this wonderful ancient site will be much richer.
If you are planning your four days in Rome in August, you can even see the Caracalla Baths spruced up for the night and for a scenic Opera performance.
San Clemente Basilica
When you enter, this is a medieval church, but we are including the site on the first day devoted to the imperial times because as you get underneath the modern-day street level, you are right in ancient Rome.
On the second layer, you will visit an early-Christian basilica, but don’t stop there. Make your way down one more level and walk around Roman tiny alleys, visit the Roman mint, and a Mithraic school and temple.
Walk along the Fori Imperiali
Round off your historical tour of Rome by walking along the Imperial Fora (Via dei Fori Imperiali). This is the long road of almost 1 km that goes from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia and shows the public spaces that emperors built for their
While it’s not possible to actually enter, you can see a lot from outside. Here is where emperors and orators made their speeches. Some of the most important fora are the ones of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nerva, and of Trajan. Right behind, there are also the fantastic Trajan’s Markets that I totally suggest you carve at least an hour to visit.
Museo Nazionale Romano – Diocletian Baths
A fantastic addition to your first day in Rome devoted to the ancient city is a visit to the Museo Nazionale Romano. One of Rome’s top museums, it is dislocated in several spaces, but the main one is where the Diocletian Baths are, right close to Termini station.
Walk the ancient baths as you enter and then carry on to the permanent exhibition of findings and remains from ancient Rome, from tools to decorations to Mithraic images. It’s really big, but in one or two hours you can really see a lot.
Day 2 in Rome – The Centro Storico (Historic Center) – Map
Piazza di Spagna (The Spanish Steps)
With the long Trinità dei Monti staircase, Piazza di Spagna is one of the most famous squares in Rome. Named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, on the piazza, you can see the Barcaccia, a Baroque sculpture by Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Going up the famous Spanish Steps, a beautiful view will start unfolding. On the right side of the staircase is the house of British poet John Keats who lived here until 1821, when he died aged 25. His house has been turned into a museum that can be visited every day except Monday. The staircase was built in the 18th century to connect the Spanish embassy to Trinità dei Monti church on top.
Right in front of the stairs, you will see the exclusive shopping street Via dei Condotti with some of the most luxurious Italian and international fashion brands.
Go Shopping in the Tridente Streets
Walk along Via del Corso, a famous shopping street in central Rome where you can find several brands of clothing, shoes, accessories and homeware. Either along the same Via del Corso or the other two streets of what’s known as the Tridente, Via del Babuino and Via Ripetta.
Some of the brands you are going to find in the Tridente roads are Liu Jo, Class, Intimissimi, Doppelganger men’s clothing store, Pepe Jeans, Moschino, Birkenstock, and more.
Hardly in need of any introduction, the Trevi Fountain is on the top list of any first-time Rome traveler, and even if you have only 3 or 4 days in Rome, this is a must.
Stunning and huge Baroque fountain, its theme is the sea and the large statue in its middle is the Ocean by Pietro Bacci, dating back to the late 18th century. The origins of the fountain are actually much more ancient as it was a Roman aqueduct that remained operative up to today.
This is a very touristy area, so you might want to be extra careful if you want to eat here. You can order a good meal at Il Piccolo Buco (Via del Lavatore 91), Colline Emiliane (Via degli Avignonesi 22), Baccano (Via delle Muratte 23) or, for a great gelato, San Crispino (Via della Panetteria 42).
An ancient temple devoted to all gods, whether you are spending 1, 2, or 4 days in Rome, the Pantheon is one of the unmissable landmarks. Especially if you are in the city for the first time.
Even after 2000 years, its dome is one of the largest in the world. Today the Pantheon is a Catholic church that hosts the graves of several members of the former Italian royal family as well as the tomb of Renaissance Italian painter Raphael.
This, too, is an area always packed with tourists, but even though tourist menus are the trend, it’s also possible to find some great eats. Some examples are Armando al Pantheon (Salita de’ Crescenzi 31), hands downs one of the best restaurants in Rome, Ginger e Sapori (Piazza Sant’Eustachio). For a fantastic gelato, head to Gunther Gelato Italiano (Piazza Sant’Eustachio), one of the best gelaterias in Rome.
Crossing Corso Rinascimento from the Pantheon, you get to Piazza Navona built on top of Domitian Stadium that hosts Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain and the Baroque church of Sant’Agnese in Agone designed by his forever rival Francesco Borromini.
On the side of the piazza is the palace of the Doria Pamphilj noble family, where Donna Olimpia used to live, now occupied by the Brazilian embassy. Apart from the majestic Four Rivers Fountain in the middle, there are also other two beautiful fountains on the two ends of the stadium-shaped square.
Ice cream lovers can enjoy a delicious gelato from GROM in Piazza Navona.
Campo de’ Fiori
With an easy stroll from Piazza Navona, cross Corso Vittorio Emanuele and you will end up in Campo de’ Fiori. Historic piazza that hosts a daily food market selling also clothes and kitchenware, in its center stands tall the statue of Italian friar and philosopher Giordano Bruno. Right in this spot, he was burned at the stake with the accusation of heresy by the Holy Inquisition in 1600.
Historically the place of the veggie market, today Campo de’ Fiori is a hangout place for locals, tourists, and young people thanks to the many restaurants and cafes surrounding the square, including one of Rome’s most popular street food places, Supplizio.
Day 3 in Rome – The Vatican City – Map
Explore the Vatican Museums
We suggest starting the third of your 4 days in Rome early at the Vatican Museums. Among the many things to do in Vatican City, these giant galleries are the most time-consuming so it’s a good idea to do it first thing and then proceed to other places. If you want to at least avoid the line, it would be a good idea to book a skip-the-line ticket beforehand or join a private Vatican tour.
Displaying some five centuries of artwork gathered by the popes either by commission or donations from kings and leaders from all over the world, the Vatican Museums enshrine a huge wealth of history and culture.
Some of the most famous areas, alongside the world-renowned Sistine Chapel, are Raphael’s Rooms, the Statues Courtyard, and the Gallery of the Maps, of the Tapestries and of the Candelabra.
Stare in Awe at the Sistine Chapel
This is a chapel inside the Vatican Museums but it deserves its own spot on the list because it’s so famous that you can’t possibly skip it. Always included in any tour around the Vatican, here you will see the famous Last Judgment by Michelangelo.
Very likely, you will enjoy it nice and tight with a few hundred people altogether, so if you want to have a more intimate experience, your best bet is to book a tour for either the early morning before opening time or in the evening after the museums close to the public.
Admire the Art in St. Peter’s Basilica
Inside it’s a huge basilica with several mosaics, statues, side chapels, the gorgeous dome, Bernini’s canopy and the wonderful sculpture La Pietà by Michelangelo Buonarroti. From inside the basilica, you can also go down one level and visit the crypt where several popes are buried.
Before entering the basilica, do stop to stare at the gorgeous colonnade by Gian Lorenzo Bernini framing the huge St. Peter’s Square. On the piazza are also several statues, among which Saint Paul’s and Saint Peter’s, an obelisk and the fountains.
The Vatican Necropolis
For this, you will have to book weeks in advance, so you definitely need good planning. This ancient necropolis lies some 11 meters below St. Peter’s Basilica and right next to Nero’s Circus, where Saint Peter was martyred.
This necropolis is where St. Peter is buried, and this is one of the reasons you might want to visit it. It’s a Roman cemetery, so you will see several pagan graves lying side by side with the tombs of their Christian slaves. It’s a very fascinating site where history, symbols, and religion are tightly intertwined.
Castel Sant’Angelo (Hadrian Mausoleum)
Located in front of St. Peter’s Square, right at the end of the long Via della Conciliazione, the Hadrian Mausoleum is a very interesting building and historical site to explore.
In the centuries, it served different purposes. Built as the tomb of Emperor Hadrian in 135 AD, Castel Sant’Angelo has also been a medieval stronghold, residence and political prison. It’s connected to the Vatican through the so-called “Passetto”, a long wall erected to protect the Vatican from the Saracen invasions and allow the Pope and high prelates to seek shelter in Castel Sant’Angelo.
Day 4 in Rome – Trastevere and the Jewish Quarter
Walk around the Trastevere neighborhood
Even just walking around the cobbled alleys of this quaint district is worth it. A former working-class neighborhood now gentrified and a favorite hang-out place for tourists and locals alike both day and night, there are many things to do in Trastevere.
Sporting a wealth of good restaurants, cafes and gelaterias, here you can easily spend a couple of hours just strolling around, watching the local architecture, and stopping for a good gelato (Otaleg, Fiordiluna, and Fatamorgana are my suggestions!).
Duck into the ancient Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica
One of the landmarks to visit in this neighborhood is the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. Dominating the view of its namesake piazza, this important Catholic church was probably the first official Christian worship place built in Rome. For sure the first one that was officially devoted to the Virgin Mary.
Renovated a few times in the centuries, it displays wonderful mosaics both inside and on the facade by Pietro Cavallini from the 13th century.
Visit Villa Farnesina and Raphael’s frescoes
If you are into art, don’t miss Villa Farnesina in Trastevere during your 4 days in Rome. Beautiful Renaissance building commissioned in Agostino Chigi in the 16th century, today is used by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei for their official ceremonies. At the end of the 16th century, it was bought by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, after whom it was later named.
The Villa is worth a visit for its interior decorations, including stunning frescoes by Italian painter Raffaello Sanzio and Giovanni Bazzi among others.
Explore the layers of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Basilica
Often neglected because it’s on the other side of Viale Trastevere, so not directly in the tourist heart of the district, this is a truly fascinating church and historic landmark.
Devoted to Santa Cecilia, the saint patron of the music, below modern-day street level is a gorgeous Byzantine crypt decorated with a forest of pillars and arches. Going down another level, you can walk into a wealthy domus home and an insula from ancient Roman times.
Even though one of the least-visited churches, it is absolutely worth including in your itinerary for Rome in 4 days. It won’t take you more than one hour or an hour and a half, it’s easy to reach, and it’s a historical treasure trove.
Plus, after this visit, you can enjoy an exquisite lunch at the nearby traditional Roman restaurant Da Enzo al 29 (Via Vascellari 29).
Discover the Alleys of the Jewish Ghetto
One of Europe’s oldest Jewish Quarter (only Venice one is older), this is an interesting neighborhood worth you are including in your 4-day Rome itinerary. You can get there very easily on foot from Trastevere crossing the Ponte Garibaldi bridge or with an easy stroll from Largo Argentina.
In the Jewish Ghetto, stop at the beautiful Renaissance Fontana delle Tartarughe (Turtles’ Fountain) and the nearby Portico di Ottavia, the ruins of an ancient Roman porch. In Via Catalana, inside the Tempio Maggiore complex, you can also visit the Museo Ebraico di Roma (Rome’s Jewish Museum) to discover the long history and rich culture of Roman Jews.
Planning your 4-day Rome trip
Find a perfect hotel
Finding a hotel in Rome can be confusing, but having a planned itinerary will certainly make things easier. Some of the neighborhoods we suggest booking your hotel are the city center, probably the best area since it’s close to most of the major landmarks or otherwise well-connected with the other districts via public transport.
A great neighborhood for your stay is also around the Vatican, so Trionfale or Prati areas. From here, too, you can easily reach most of the places mentioned in this 4-day Rome itinerary either on foot or by bus/metro/train.
For some budget options, also staying around Stazione Termini is not a bad idea. You can find good accommodation, reasonable prices and for sure you will have all the buses, trains and metro you need at your fingertips.
Get to the city center from the airport
There are several ways to reach Rome city center from Fiumicino airport and in all these years we used pretty much all of them.
You can take the public taxi, just stand in line at the exit and take one of the official white taxis. Or you can book your own private car and airport transfer easily online.
Or you can simply use public transport, which is also pretty efficient. There are trains to Termini Station every half an hour (Leonardo Express) for 14 euros, or trains to the stations of Trastevere, Ostiense, Tuscolana and Tiburtina roughly every 15 minutes for 8 euros.
You can also choose to take the bus to reach the city center or Roma Termini. There are several companies and prices are pretty cheap, around 6 and 7 euros depending on the company. You can buy the ticket at the counter as you arrive or book a shuttle bus online.
Rely on public transport
I know Rome’s public transport has been under the radar for quite some time and it’s true, it can be greatly improved. However, since you are in the city for a short period of time and most of your days will be spent downtown, in this 4-day Rome itinerary, we definitely recommend you rely on the public service for your mobility.
I think most of the time you will be walking, so I guess a single ticket (1.50 euro for 100 minutes validity with 1 train, 1 metro and unlimited bus rides) each time you need it will be enough. You can also purchase a 24h/48h/72h ticket, but I recommend these only for the days when you are actually planning to use public transport a lot as they cost respectively 7/12.50/18 euros.
Know where to eat
I might have said this before, but often in the city center, it’s not too straightforward to find a good place to eat or enjoy some properly made artisan gelato.
Especially around the most popular landmarks, you might find restaurants using enticing words like “antica”, “trattoria”, “osteria”, “tradizionale”, just to give a traditional and genuine impression, but sometimes they are just tourist eateries.
This is why we wrote a few extensive guides to the best places where to eat in Rome, where the locals go, fantastic places for great pizza, a traditional Roman meal, and even vegan or vegetarian restaurants.
In 4 days in Rome, you are going to have enough time to pick at least a few good places to eat so don’t settle for less than great in at least one meal every day. And if during the day you prefer to save time and keep going, stop at one of the best street food places in Rome for a quick but delicious bite.
Carry a small dictionary
While in tourist areas you will find people speaking some English, if you go a bit far from the most popular spots English is seldom spoken. So you better either learn some Italian basic phrases or carry with you a small dictionary or glossary. This will help you get by in situations like restaurants or asking for directions.
What to add if you have more than 4 days in Rome
Are you lucky enough to afford to spend one full week in Rome? Here are some fantastic places you can add to your bucket list.
If you can afford more time, check out our guide to decide how many days you should stay in Rome.
The Appian Way and the Catacombs
A fantastic area of Rome you can see in half a day is the southern Parco dell’Appia Antica park. Whether you are into archaeology or some physical activity, you will love this park. Visit Parco degli Acquedotti to see the remains of several ancient aqueducts and understand some of the most sophisticated engineering feats of ancient Romans.
The park is huge and you will see plenty of people walking, jogging, bike riding, and picnicking. If you have kids, there are also playgrounds for them to have plenty of fun.
On the same day, you can walk the ancient Appian Way to see some of its most famous tombs such as the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, as well as some of Rome’s largest catacombs. Close to each other are in fact the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, the Catacombs of Domitilla, and those of St. Sebastian.
To visit this area of Rome, it’s better to either drive or book a tour. If you feel a local expert will add value to your experience, read everything about the tour to the Appian Way we took with Take Walks.
Ostiense street art and industrial archaeology sites
If you are into modern art and history, I’m sure you will find the way to squeeze the Ostiense district into your 4 days in Rome. This modern and hip neighborhood is where you can explore the recent past of Rome’s industrial era through the vestiges of former power plants like Centrale Montemartini, gazometers, general warehouses and the river port.
Fans of contemporary art, can get lost discovering the murals that give a colorful look to Ostiense, while if you are not done with the churches overdose, nearby is the important Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.
Testaccio traditional neighborhood
Next to Ostiense is the traditional working-class neighborhood of Testaccio. Along with important remains of BC times such as the ancient Emporium river port and the Pyramid of Caius Caestius, you can also visit sights linked to more modern times such as the beautiful Protestant Cemetery, the former slaughterhouse turned into a museum and cultural center, and the lively Mercato Testaccio local market.
Apart from the many landmarks of Testaccio, the neighborhood is well-known in Rome for its great food scene. Authentic and traditional, here you are sure to find hearty meals and delicious street food.
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