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Last Updated on 19/05/2023
Looking for a 4-day Rome itinerary? Read on because I’ve got you covered.
In this itinerary, follow in the footsteps of one of the world’s top civilizations, discover the best place to eat tiramisu and find out where to see Renaissance masterpieces for free!
Named the Eternal City, Ancient Romans believed that no matter how many empires rose and fell, Rome will always stand. And I’m inclined to agree with them.
Echoes of Rome’s formidable past jostle among the city’s modern-day buzz. Coming face-to-face with icons of the once mighty Roman Empire is a common occurrence here.
Over thousands of years, the city has established itself as a centre of art, fashion, history and religion.
Then, of course, there’s the food!
Eating is one of the best things to do in Rome. There’s a wealth of hundred-year-old bakeries, tiny gelaterias, and family-run trattorias serving authentic Roman cuisine.
So, where do you even start with a city that has so much going on? This Rome itinerary can help. After visiting the city myself, I’ve created an itinerary with a framework for how best to explore it.
Read on to find out what to see in Rome in 4 days. Feel free to swap things around and make the itinerary your own!
Disclaimer: Jet2 gifted me a package holiday to Rome in exchange for this post, however, all words and opinions are my own.
How many days are enough for a trip to Rome?
First of all, I don’t think it’s possible to really “do” a place in a set amount of days. Cities especially have many layers to them!
If you want to experience Rome and see some of the main sites in a fairly laid-back way, the best amount of time is 4 days.
That’s plenty of time for eating, drinking and exploring without needing a holiday from your holiday.
Full disclosure, I spent 3 and a half days in Rome but the itinerary I did below felt pretty full-on. I was exhausted. So, learn from my mistakes and make it 4!
If you have more time, consider spending longer in Italy. Jet2CityBreaks also offers other Italy holidays to Venice and Verona.
Rome sustainable travel tips
- Bring a reusable water bottle. Water fountains are all over the city!
- The city centre is very walkable so you don’t need to use a vehicle
- Eat traditional food at local restaurants rather than international chains
- Stay at a hotel that’s committed to the environment
- Avoid the busiest times of the year to escape the crowds
The perfect 4-day Rome itinerary
Here’s how to spend 4 days in Rome. This isn’t a strict itinerary with every single detail of each day planned. Feel free to swap activities around and go at your own pace.
Rome itinerary day 1: Walking tours, gardens and sanctuaries
The first thing I like to do when I get to a new city is a walking tour to get my bearings and orient myself to the culture.
You might think you know how to cross a road but you won’t know how to do it like the locals!
To kick off your 4-day Rome itinerary, either spends a few hours wandering around your hotel’s neighbourhood or find a free walking tour on GuruWalks.
The platform has over 100 free guided tours and they usually last a couple of hours. It’s a great way to get the local’s perspective on the city!
I found this gem by chance on my first day. It’s a lovely place to visit if you have time but don’t sweat it if not.
Villa Aldobrandini is an elevated park on the grounds of a ruined Roman villa. The walled park is a tranquil spot that offers a little reprieve from the busy streets surrounding it.
Sit on the benches in the shade, stroll through the villa ruins, admire the blooming flowers or peek inside for ten minutes – the choice is yours!
Did you know Rome has the oldest cat sanctuary in the world and it’s near where Julius Caesar was assassinated?
Feral Feline Colonies Torre Argentina traps and neuters feral cats. Most are released but the old and infirm stay at the sanctuary – and what a sanctuary!
The ruins of Largo di Torre Argentina have the remains of four Roman temples and the Curia of Pompey, Caesar’s place of assassination on the Ides of March.
Street cats have inhabited these ruins since 1929. They were fed by local cat lovers until a proper facility was built beside the ruins in the late 1990s to provide veterinary care.
The sanctuary is free entry and popular so expect to queue.
Editor’s tip: If I could narrow it down to two essentials I wouldn’t visit Rome without, it would be a good pair of shoes for walking and a raincoat / umbrella. It always rains when I’m in Italy!
Rome itinerary day 2: The beating heart of Ancient Rome
Victor Emmanuel II National Monument
Victor Emmanuel II National Monument (otherwise known as Alter of the Fatherland) is a neoclassical monument which was built in 1885 to commemorate the first king of a unified Italy.
Standing beside the centre of Ancient Rome, it connects the modern city with its past. Admire it from the street or book tickets to go inside it and see panoramic views from the top.
Palatine Hill & Roman Forum
Before making your way to the Colosseum, arguably Rome’s biggest attraction, Palatine Hill & Roman Forum are worth a stop. After all, they’re pretty much adjacent to each other.
The Roman Forum was once the beating heart of the Roman Empire. It was the epicentre of politics, commerce and religion.
Although now ruins, you’ll still see the remains of the Arch of Titus and the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, which was converted into a Catholic church in the 17th century.
Then there’s the Curia Julia (the remains of the senate), the columns of the Temple of Saturn and so much more!
As you walk up the hill, you’ll come to Palatine Hill, the very centre of ancient Rome where the legend of Romulus and Remus began. It’s also the site where the very first Roman emperors lived in 27 BCE.
Again, it’s mostly in ruins but the sheer history of it all makes it quite possibly a more exciting place to visit than…
When you think of Rome, the Colosseum springs to mind. The Roman amphitheatre was once the site of mighty gladiator battles since it first opened to the public in 80 CE.
It’s the largest amphitheatre ever built and it was able to hold over 50,000 spectators in its heyday. Despite now being in ruins, you can still go in and explore it but you’ll need to book entry tickets.
Don’t underestimate the schedule for today. Despite being a small part of Rome, there’s a lot to cover here!
Editor’s tip: This ticket gives you entry to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill for under £20. I highly recommend you book it in advance if you want to see all three.
Rome itinerary day 3: Fountains, temples and pretty views
Trevi Fountain is a central attraction in the city so you’re bound to come across it sooner or later. However, there’s one caveat. The fountain is a magnet for tourists.
If you have a hope of enjoying it at a quieter time, you need to get there early in the morning (7 am type of early).
I’ve listed it as the first thing to do on the third day of your Rome itinerary – but don’t feel obliged! As I said, you’ll happen upon it sooner or later.
So, today… wake up early and head over to Trevi Fountain. It’s one of the oldest water sources in Rome – roughly 19 BCE.
What you can see today was designed by architect Nicola Salvi in 1730 (it was officially completed in 1762, 11 years after his death).
The character carved into the stone is Neptune, the god of the sea, pulled by horses on a shell-shaped chariot.
The white stone (made out of the same material as the Colosseum) lights up beautifully in the soft, early morning light.
About eight minutes on foot from Trevi Fountain is the Spanish Steps. Another popular attraction, it tends to be very busy during most of the day.
If you get there early in the morning, you have it mostly to yourself and it’s bathed in a soft golden light.
Walk right up to the top and get beautiful views across the city and glimpse the dome of St Peter’s Basilica in the distance.
The Spanish Steps were built in the early 18th century as a way for people to climb up the steep slope to reach the church at the top.
Its beautiful Roman Baroque style has now made it one of the most photographed spots in the city!
Fun fact: McDonald’s tried to open a branch on the Spanish Steps in the 1980s. The outrage led to what is now known as the slow food movement, a campaign which seeks to preserve culinary heritage.
The Pantheon is my favourite of all the Ancient Roman monuments.
Tucked within a square down a labyrinth of small streets, the magnificent structure was once a temple dedicated to all the Roman gods. It also has the largest unsupported dome in the world!
Since 609 CE, it’s been a Roman Catholic church which is probably why it’s so well-preserved today.
Like all of Rome’s attractions, it’s best viewed early in the morning. We rocked up at 7.30 am and it was pretty much deserted except for a few photographers.
You can’t get into the Pantheon at such an early time but you can walk right up to the huge doors and peak through the cracks.
As you do, make sure you look up at the 16 monolithic columns. I felt tiny next to them!
The final stop on your mini-walking tour is Piazza Navona. You can do this on your early morning jaunt or at any point during the day.
Quite honestly, I was exhausted doing it all in one go so I recommend either going back to your hotel for a rest or pausing in a cafe for coffee. There’s no rush!
Piazza Navona is one of the most famous squares in the centre of Rome. Roman in origin, it was built to be a stadium for athletic competitions in 86 CE.
The square is home to a collection of beautiful fountains. The main one is ‘La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi’, built by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the 17th century.
The stone characters represent four rivers: Donau, Ganges, Nile and Rio de la Plata. On top of it sits a 16-metre-high obelisk. I actually preferred it to Trevi Fountain…
You’ll also find two other fountains here by Giacomo della Porta, an apprentice to Michelangelo!
That concludes all the stops for day three. Since you’re in the area, Mr Tiramisu is a highly-rated restaurant with tiramisu among other tasty treats.
If you need something more to do with your day but want to rest your feet, this city tour by golf cart with gelato comes highly rated.
Rome itinerary day 4: Food, art and religion
Old Jewish Quarter
Found within Rione XI – Sant-Angelo, the Old Jewish Quarter or Jewish Ghetto of Rome is a small neighbourhood with a lot to offer.
Look out for Portico d’Ottavia, the remains of colonnade walks which housed temples, libraries, space for public meetings and an open-air museum during the Roman era.
In the Middle Ages, the area was used as a fish market!
You can also find the Tempio Maggiore synagogue with the Jewish Museum inside it.
If you get peckish, the Old Jewish Quarter is a great place for food.
There are plenty of restaurants with tables outside serving up delicacies such as fried artichokes and deep-fried pumpkin flowers among other tasty Judeo-Roman treats.
Nonna Betta is probably one of the most famous restaurants here. Unsurprisingly, it gets very busy so I recommend booking a table.
Castel Sant’Angelo is about a 20-minute walk north of the Jewish Quarter.
The cylindrical building was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to be a mausoleum for himself and his family in 123-139 CE.
The imposing tower was later used as a fortress and castle by the popes and it’s now a museum.
You can book a skip-the-line ticket (recommended if you want to see it) and have a look inside.
Or, you can take a nice photo and pass it to reach the Vatican. It really depends on how much energy you have left for sightseeing!
Full disclosure, I did the latter.
The final stop on your Rome 4-day itinerary, before you flop somewhere with an Aperol Spritz, is Vatican City – the home of the Catholic Pope and the Sistine Chapel.
It’s also the smallest independent state in the world.
If you just want a quick glimpse, you can get as far as St Peter’s Square where you’ll be able to spot its ancient obelisk in front of St Peter’s Basilica.
To get inside, you’ll need this skip-the-line ticket which includes entry to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel at a timeslot that suits you.
The Sistine Chapel is a must if you’re an art lover as it’s famous for its frescoes painted by Michelangelo!
St Peter’s Basilica is free of charge to visit but entry depends on how busy it is. The same applies to the Basilica’s dome.
Rome 4-day itinerary FAQs
Here are a few extra tips to help you plan your itinerary for 4 days in Rome. Have a question that’s not answered? Need more Rome travel tips? Feel free to drop it in the comment section below.
When is the best time to visit Rome?
Rome is popular among tourists all year round so it doesn’t really have a big low season. Its busiest time of year is between Easter and September and its quietest times are between October and March.
If you want to escape the crowds as much as possible, I recommend avoiding the city in June, July and August if you can.
I visited during the Easter Bank Holiday and it wasn’t as busy as I had expected considering it was a major religious holiday where people flock from all over to see the Pope!
Editor’s tip: All cities in Italy have a tourist tax which you pay to your hotel at checkout. In Rome, it was about €6 per person per night for us. You don’t need to worry about working anything out as your hotel will do that for you.
How do you get to Rome?
Jet2 offers flights to Rome from Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow and London Stansted.
We booked Jet2 flights from London Stansted as it was the closest airport to us. Ours was a very early 7 am but it meant that we got to Rome by mid-morning which gave us a good amount of time to explore.
Check-in was super easy and the flight departed on time. Plus, towards the end of the flight, the cabin crew sold sandwiches at half price to combat food waste!
Where to stay in Rome?
During our trip, my boyfriend and I stayed at Rome Times Hotel through Jet2CityBreaks. I chose it because the hotel’s sustainability commitments on its website appealed to me.
The four-star hotel turned out to be a great choice because it’s very central and round the corner from our favourite restaurant of the trip (yep, you’ll find out!).
The hotel was clean and comfortable with a lovely rooftop lounge area (no bar up there though). There’s a restaurant downstairs but we didn’t eat there because, well, see below!
Another good choice is UnaHotels Decor Roma. The four-star hotel is close to both the Colosseum and Roma Termini (main train station) and it has signed a UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge.
Where to eat in Rome?
Plenty of restaurants jostle for the top places to eat in Rome. There’s, unsurprisingly, quite a hefty competition.
In my opinion, the clear winner for me is La Taverna dei Monti. It absolutely nailed the sweet spot between great food for a reasonable price in an ideal location.
Tucked down a side street about a minute’s walk from our hotel, the restaurant’s menu is traditional Roman cuisine with highlights including spaghetti carbonara and tiramisu that’s to die for.
Honestly, it was the best tiramisu I’ve ever eaten.
We went there twice in a row and I wish we had eaten there every day of our trip. It was faultless!
Another good option is La Pace del Palato. It’s a little more on the fine dining end so be prepared to pay quite a lot more. It’s a lovely family-run restaurant and the food is delicious.
For something quick and easy for lunch, head to Antico Forno Serpenti. The deli-style bakery sells pastries and cheap pizzas to eat in or take away.
They also have a happy hour on Aperol Spritz and they’re about 10 minutes up the road from the Colosseum!
If you’re in the area, Forno Campo de Fiori is a great little bakery which serves traditional sweet and savoury snacks to take away. Pizza Bianca is highly rated here.
Recommended Rome guided tours
If you book one thing, make it Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Entry Tickets. All three sites are included in the ticket and it’s the best price for what you can get even if you don’t see them all.
This ticket sells out fast so try to book it in advance if you can. Otherwise, you’ll end up booking something more expensive and end up kicking yourself (like I did!).
Another highly rated activity is the Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket at the Vatican. Again, they’re likely to see out.
If you’re a foodie, you might want to do this Street Food Tour with Local Guide tour. The tour takes you around the edible delights of the Jewish Quarter or Trastevere.
You get to sample five street food dishes, a glass of wine and a glass of beer. Vegetarian options are available with prior notice.
If you’re an art lover, Villa Borghese is a beautiful landscaped garden in Rome.
It’s home to the Borghese Gallery with its collection of artworks by Caravaggio and Raphael as well as Ancient Roman mosaics. You will need entry tickets to see them.
Editor’s tip: Want to see Renaissance art for free? Head to the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo and feast your eyes on the works of Caravaggio without a price tag!
4-day Rome itinerary final thoughts
I hope you enjoy this 4-day itinerary for Rome. It’s an amazing city with plenty to keep you occupied whether you’re pounding the streets from dawn til dusk or soaking it all up at a leisurely pace.
Conversely, if you just want to hole up somewhere and eat your weight in pasta… you can do that too. In fact, there’s nowhere better!
That was my Rome itinerary with Jet2CityBreaks! Are you planning a trip to Rome or plan to see more of Italy? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out these posts!
- 8 Top Tips for Visiting Europe on a Budget (Updated 2023)
- An Easy Slow Travel Guide to Mastering the Art of Experiencing More
- Emilia Romagna Itinerary: An Epic Foodie Guide for 2023
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