3 Exciting Themed Rome Itineraries For Independent Travellers

With so much to see and do, visiting Rome in a couple of days or even a week is challenging at best. To help you make the most of your trip, we have come up with themed Rome itineraries that you can follow if you want to save time or dig deeper into a specific topic or moment of history.

We included a classic Rome highlights itinerary, perfect for first-timers, but we also created routes focused on more narrow themes such as street art and foodies. Our itineraries in Rome are perfect for exploring the Eternal City from a given angle or to get to visit the major highlights even if you have limited time.

Our suggested Rome itineraries

Not enough time?
Check out our tips on what to do in Rome in one day!

Pick one or more of our Rome itineraries and travel plans to enjoy the city the way you want and depending on how much time you have. These easy itineraries are customizable and adapt to all travel needs and preferences.

You are not interested in a specific landmark or theme? Skip a site or a day altogether. You are a foodie but it’s your first trip to Rome? Mix and match days and itineraries as it suits you best. Most important of all, enjoy your holiday and make your time count.

If you feel overwhelmed and need more help in creating a perfect itinerary, contact us and ask us to do it for you. We create tailored Rome itineraries following your interests, you just need to tell us what they are!

Rome itineraries

Rome Highlights Itinerary – 4 Days

The first of our Rome itineraries is a classic one and is what you should follow if it’s your first time in the city and want to explore as much as you can but you don’t know where to start. We got you covered and went ahead to make plans for you.

Rome Highlights – Day 1

Many are the highlights you want to see and photograph, but if you have let’s say a week, we have created a handy itinerary of the must-see sights if it’s your first trip to Rome. With our 4-day Rome itinerary, you will know how to get there, some suggestions for where to eat and how to get to your next stop.

You can do it in four days if you keep a fast pace, but if you have a week and these are the only sights you want to visit, you can take it easy, spend more time in the places you like more or enjoy some more restaurants. If you want to make it a 5 days Rome itinerary, you can either decide to devote more time to the sights included or check out more of what to do in Rome.

⇒ Piazza Venezia and the Imperial Fora: Start your visit from Piazza Venezia, a central hub from where you can reach many places either by walking or by bus. In Piazza Venezia, you can visit the “Altare della Patria” (Fatherland’s Altar) and the Vittoriano complex with the museum of the Italian Risorgimento. When you are done, from Piazza Venezia take Via dei Fori Imperiali to see the Imperial Fora and reach the Colosseum.

⇒ Colosseum: The most famous amphitheater of Rome’s imperial times, the Colosseum is the symbol of Roman gruesome taste for fun. You can visit the different areas of the Colosseum, including the arena and the dungeon, where the gladiators prepared to get out for the fight. Some area as part of the normal ticket, some with a tour guide.

Reach the Colosseum by metro (Colosseo stop, line B), by bus (51, 75, 85, 87, 118, C3), or tram (3, 8).

Join the best Colosseum tours for a deeper and more complete experience.

⇒ Roman Forum: With the same ticket, after you are done visiting the Colosseum, cross the road and enter the Roman Forum. Together with the Palatine Hill, accessible with the same ticket and through the same entrance, this is a fascinating archaeological site you really can’t miss if it’s your first time in Rome. The commercial and political heart of ancient Rome, this was the place for political and judiciary activities as well as sacred events due to the presence of important temples.

Reach the Roman Forum by metro (Colosseo stop, line B), by bus (51, 75, 85, 87, 118, C3), or tram (3, 8).

⇒ Circus Maximus and Aventine Hill: Not far from the Colosseum is the Circus Maximus located between the Palatine and the Aventine Hills. A huge stadium, it was used for sports competitions and also for carts races. Here is usually held New Year’s Eve concert and other events such as cultural demonstrations for Rome’s birthday on April 21st.

A short and pleasant stroll away is the Aventine Hill where you can easily spend a whole afternoon visiting the beautiful early-Christian Santa Sabina Basilica, peeping through the keyhole of the Knights Of Malta’s headquarters and relax with the stunning view of the orange-scented Giardino degli Aranci. If you go during Spring, you can also admire the many rose species of Rome’s Rose Garden.

Reach the Circus Maximus by metro (Circo Massimo stop, line B) or by bus (81, 85, 87, 118, 715, 628).

⇒ Suggested tours. To explore Rome’s ancient ruins, we suggest a skip-the-line VIP Colosseum tour that gets you access to the underground and the arena floor and includes the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

Rome Highlights – Day 2

⇒ Campidoglio and Capitoline Museums. Start also your second day in Rome from Piazza Venezia and visit Campidoglio, the seat of Rome’s municipality and mayor. Its Capitoline Museums are a fascinating journey on the city’s long history from its very inception, myth and reality.

⇒ Trevi Fountain. The gorgeous Baroque fountain is impossible to miss if it’s your first trip to Rome. It’s super touristy and quite difficult to take a photo without other people in it. If you want more chances to be alone with the fountain, try to get there very early morning. It might be hard to get up early on holiday, but I assure you it’s worth it.

⇒ Pantheon: A short stroll away is the Pantheon, beautiful former temple and now a Catholic Basilica where are buried members of Italian former royal family and painter Raphael. Entrance is 2 euro and you can also chill out in the lovely square. Some great restaurants nearby are La Rosetta (fish/seafood restaurant, very good and very pricey) and Armando (the best cacio e pepe pasta in the city, you need to book much in advance because it’s always full).

⇒ Piazza Navona: Cross Corso Rinascimento and get to Piazza Navona, a huge former Roman stadium now turned into a beautiful piazza with Bernini’s Four Rivers’ Fountain in the middle and Borromini’s Sant’Agnese in Agone church. Piazza Navona is a must-see landmark even if you are only spending one day in Rome city center. If it’s hot and you need to refresh, have a delicious gelato at GROM at the northern edge, one of the best gelato places in Rome.

⇒ Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps). End your day in Piazza di Spagna where you can take a picture of Bernini’s Barcaccia, the famous Spanish Steps and Trinità dei Monti church. If you can’t resist your shopping spree, all around the piazza are stores of Italian and international biggest brands.

⇒ Suggested tours. You can opt for a flexible Rome tour where every day you can pick the tour you prefer and visit different places each time. It’s very convenient and gives you plenty of freedom, it is worth taking a look at here.

Rome Highlights – Day 3

⇒ Vatican Museums: You can’t say you visited Rome properly if you haven’t seen the Vatican City. Plan at least half a day for the Vatican Museums as they are a huge art collection gathered over some seven centuries by popes and cardinals.

⇒ St. Peter’s Basilica. After the museums, head to St. Peter’s Square and visit the famous basilica. The entrance is free and the church is really stunning. I recommend you also get down to the crypt where the popes are buried from inside the basilica, that’s free too. If, on the other hand, want to visit the underground Roman cemetery where St. Peter was killed and buried, you need to book much in advance. For more info on everything to visit in the Vatican City, timetables and how to book, read my detailed Vatican guide.

⇒ Suggested tours: We strongly suggest booking a tour with a trusted guide to avoid wasting time and money. We’ve always enjoyed the tours of Walks of Italy as their guides are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. They organize a complete Vatican tour that includes the Museums and the Basilica with skip-the-line access (much needed!) or a tour to explore only St. Peter’s Basilica including climbing the dome.

Rome Highlights – Day 4

⇒ Campo de’ Fiori. Kick off your day perusing the stalls of the colorful market in Campo de’ Fiori, the famous piazza dominated by a large statue of Giordano Bruno, the monk and philosopher burned at the stake right here in 1600. Either walk along Via dei Giubbonari for some affordable shopping or take the main road Corso Vittorio Emanuele and get to your next stop.

⇒ Largo Argentina. Central hub with many buses connecting the different neighborhoods, the archaeological site of Largo Argentina is where Julius Ceasar was killed. Don’t be surprised to see cats doing their toilette and enjoying the sun, it’s now home to a large feline colony protected by the municipality.

⇒ Jewish Quarter. From Largo Argentina, you can carry on with this Rome itinerary by taking Via Arenula and then turning left on one of the side streets like Via dei Falegnami. You will find yourself immersed in Jewish culture, from shops to restaurants to historical sites. Here there is also the Jewish Museum and the Synagogue, as well as the Roman ruins of Portico d’Ottavia. You can stop here for lunch, there are some great restaurants serving Kosher cuisine. Try Nonna Betta (Via del Portico d’Ottavia 16), Yotvata (Piazza Cenci 70) or Boccione (Via del Portico d’Ottavia 1) for pastries, cakes, cookies and pizza.

⇒ Isola Tiberina. Head to Lungotevere de’ Cenci and cross the Ponte Fabricio bridge. You will end up in Piazza San Bartolomeo in the Isola Tiberina, the tiny island in Rome’s city center. This is a very historic place. Now it’s a trendy area but centuries ago it hosted a hospital reserved for people affected by the plague as this was a way to isolate them from other people and avoid spreading the disease further.

⇒ Trastevere. Cross Ponte Cestio bridge and you are in Trastevere, a famous neighborhood where locals and tourists like to hang out in the evening. Spend your afternoon here walking around its alleys, visiting the basilicas of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere and Santa Maria in Trastevere and admiring Raphael’s frescoes in Villa Farnesina.

⇒ Suggested tours. For a tour that will take you to the Jewish Ghetto, the Janiculum Hill, the Aurelian Walls and the Appian Way, you can take Take Walks’ Rome As A Local Tour. You can read my review of this tour here.

⇒ Handy hotels. Among the Trastevere hotels I suggest for this itinerary around Rome’s highlights is Hotel Lunetta near Campo de’ Fiori, great rooms, a lovely spa, perfect location and well-connected with the buses. If you’d rather stay close to the Vatican, you can pick great affordable options like Cameo B&B, or more high-end like Hotel della Conciliazione.

READ MORE: What to do in Rome in 3 days

2. Rome for Foodies Itinerary

This 3 days in Rome itinerary will take you to some of the best restaurants in the city’s central districts to taste traditional flavors and more contemporary takes.

For more Rome itineraries for foodies, check out our eBook “Tasting Rome by Neighbourhood“. We included five daily itineraries in five different neighborhoods where you will find the best restaurants in each district and paths on what to see and do.

Rome itineraries

Rome for Foodies – Day 1 – Central Rome and Trastevere

⇒ Breakfast at Roscioli Café. Roscioli Café (Piazza Benedetto Cairoli 16) is always a safe bet. Start this scrumptious Rome itinerary with a delicious breakfast near Largo Argentina. You can choose either a sweet or a savory breakfast but don’t forget that Rome has a lot to see and that only a few hours later is lunchtime!

⇒ Lunch at Nonna Betta. Serving typical Roman dishes prepared kosher-style, Nonna Betta (Via del Portico d’Ottavia 16) is always very high on all lists of the city’s best restaurants. A perfect lunch in the Jewish Ghetto before resuming your sightseeing.

⇒ Dinner at Armando Al Pantheon. An evening around the Pantheon is the perfect way to round off a long day, and since you are here you can well stop at Armando restaurant (Salita dei Crescenzi 31) for a typical Roman dish. The place is so famous and so good that it is always booked, so I strongly recommend you book a couple of days in advance to make sure you find a table. Armando is closed for the whole month of August and usually Saturday night and Sunday the whole day.

READ MORE: Read our review of the Twilight Trastevere Food Tour of Eating Europe

Rome for Foodies – Day 2 – Testaccio and Ostiense

⇒ Breakfast at Nero Vaniglia. This is a fine bakery/patisserie frequented mainly by locals, demanding ones on the lookout for a great Roman breakfast. Nero Vaniglia (Circonvallazione Ostiense 20, open 6 am-8 pm, Sunday from 7 am, closed on Monday) serves great pastries from the Roman and the Italian tradition and their croissants, stuffed with chocolate and pistachio cream or jam and honey, are topped with a syrup infused with grated orange and lemon, vanilla and cinnamon.

⇒ Lunch at Felice a Testaccio. Traditional and delicious, Felice a Testaccio (Via Mastro Giorgio 29) is in the working-class Testaccio neighborhood and serves dishes of Roman gastronomy. Don’t miss their cacio e pepe, spaghetti alla carbonara or coda alla vaccinara beef oxtail.

⇒ Aperitivo at Porto Fluviale. With a huge offer of dishes and styles (it’s a pizzeria, trattoria, coffee shop, cocktail bar), Porto Fluviale (Via del Porto Fluviale 22) proposes a rich buffet for 10 euro drink included. When you are finished with the aperitif, you can top it with delicious ice cream from nearby Gelateria La Romana.

⇒ Dinner at Trattoria Pennestri. Simple and tasty dishes of the Roman tradition proposed with some personal contamination and served in a rustic decor, Trattoria Pennestri (Via Giovanni da Empoli 5) is a new opening in Rome’s Ostiense neighborhood that is already drawing a lot of attention from locals. Closed on Monday.

⇒ Tip: Book a great food tour around Testaccio to explore this working-class neighborhood and enjoy local delicacies.

Rome for Foodies – Day 3 – Vatican and Trionfale

Breakfast at Le Carrè Français. Close to Piazza Cavour, Le Carrè Français (Via Vittoria Colonna 30) will make you feel in Paris. Start the third day of this city itinerary in Rome with some sweetness made of croissants, pain au chocolat and many other French pastries stuffed with almond cream, apple or raisins.

⇒ Lunch at Porto Fish & Chips. Ship decor and style, Porto Fish & Chips (Via Crescenzio 56) serves the dishes of the Roman and Italian culinary tradition in an original and modern twist. On weekdays, they give also the choice of an unlimited buffet where you have a truly huge choice of courses, salads, fruit and cakes for 9 euro per person, coffee and drinks excluded. On weekends there is only the option to order from the menu. If you are curious about their revisitation of Roman traditional dishes, don’t miss the typical cacio e pepe with seafood.

⇒ Dinner at L’Arcangelo. The restaurant of chef Arcangelo Dandini (Via Gioacchino Belli 59) serves the dishes of the Roman tradition in an elegant style. His original creations and personal touch make it worth a visit and a great place to discover the local cuisine with a contemporary twist.

⇒ Tip: Book a food tour around the Vatican to discover great restaurants in the area. Check out also the tours by Take Walks that include a pizza-making class and several tastings or a pasta-making session with a local chef.

Rome street art itinerary

3. Rome Street Art Itinerary

Who said that Rome stopped being a trendsetting city in the BC times? Suburbs and working-class districts have been spruced up by Italian and international artists supported by the local council and now are attracting many curious visitors. One of our Rome itineraries will take you to discover the contemporary art of the city.

Street Art in Rome Itinerary – Day 1: Ostiense

One of the pioneers of street art in Rome has been the neighborhood of Ostiense, the former industrial area where you can still see the old Gasometer.

Start your tour in Via Ostiense. Here, at the number 333 is the mural from American street artist Gaia “Il piccone demolitore e risanatore“, with a background of important contemporary buildings. Carry on along Via Ostiense and at the number 195, close to San Paolo Fuori le Mura Basilica you will find Sam3’s Silhouette, a dreamlike painting depicting a black silhouette dressed with stars staring at a sphere of light inside which is a group of unidentified men. Still on Via Ostiense, at the number 122, are the yellow cars of another Blu’s mural.

Keep walking towards Via del Porto Fluviale and here you will see the huge mural of the screaming rainbow faces Blu painted on the facade of the former Air Force building, the large swimmer of “Fish’N Kids” painted by Agostino Iacurci on the wall of Pescheria Ostiense, the local fish market, and the mural “Nessuno” (No one) by Spanish artist Axel Void that shows a woman from behind with a ring on her neck with another scene. This mural is painted on the walls of the old hardware warehouse from 1914 and used to store all the materials used to build the Ostiense neighborhood.

If you happen here around lunchtime, you have plenty of tasty options, from Porto Fluviale restaurant to Romeow Cat Bistrot to Persian restaurant Taberna Persiana.

When you are ready to resume your colorful sightseeing, head towards the old gasometer and in the nearby Via dei Magazzini Generali, where Rome’s old warehouse is, you can admire the long mural Wall of Fame by JB Rock who painted the portraits of famous personalities from different backgrounds, from Quentin Tarantino to Barack Obama, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, among others. Right in front, on the same street, you will find the murals “Black&White Power” by Sten & Lex, a series of portraits but this time of ordinary people.

Take a street art walking tour around Ostiense that will show you the best murals and explain their meanings.

Image: Rome itineraries

Street Art in Rome Itinerary – Day 2: Quadraro

As soon as you get out of Quadraro metro station (line A), turn right and your street art tour will start. On the other side of the road, Via dei Lentuli, is your first mural, “Art Pollinates Quadraro” by local artist Diavù, also the founder of the project.

The whole Via dei Lentuli displays a good wealth of street art so after you’ve seen these, including “Buckingham Warrior” by Gary Baseman in Largo dei Quintili, start venturing on the back alleys. Here you will see some fantastic works such as the huge bees by Lucamaleonte, the long snake in Piazza dei Tribuni, the portrait of old Italian comedian Totò in Via dei Quintili by Diavù, and other famous artists such as Beau Stanton, Alessandro Sardella, Dilkabear, Zelda Bomba.

The whole neighborhood is filled with murals, you can totally spend the whole day here and have lunch at one of the local restaurants.

Street Art in Rome Itinerary – Day 3: Tor Marancia and Popstairs

An otherwise uneventful district, now Tor Marancia is one of the most colorful neighborhoods and a must in one of our favorite Rome itineraries. In 2015, with the support of Rome’s Council, the association 999Contemporary gathered 20 international street artists and in a little more than two months the project of Big City Life was on display.

The grey walls of 11 buildings of Via di Tor Marancia 63 are now covered with the stunning murals of artists such as Diamond, Jaz, Domenico Romeo, Clemens Behr, Seth and others.

If this is not enough for today, you can explore one of the latest street art projects in Rome, Popstairs, where Roman street artist Diavù painted the portraits of three famous actresses on the stairs of three streets: Ingrid Bergman in Via Fiamignano, Elena Sofia Ricci in Via Ugo Bassi, Anna Magnani in Via Andrea Doria, Michèle Mercier in Via Ronciglione.

Join an exciting street art walking tour in Tor Marancia!

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About The Author: Angela Corrias

Hi, my name is Angela Corrias! I am an Italian journalist, photographer, and blogger living in Rome. After over ten years of living abroad, I finally came to the conclusion that in order to better organize my future adventures, I needed a base. Since I know and love Rome so much, I moved back to the Eternal City. This is how Rome Actually was born. Here, I cover everything about Rome, from the local food to the culture to Roman history.

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