Out of all the places there are to visit in Italy, Rome has always fascinated me the most. Mainly because I find it hard to believe that structures like the Colosseum are still standing after 2,000 years. In this way, I couldn’t wait to end my trip to Italy by spending a week in Rome! Below you’ll find all you need to know about my Rome itinerary (and why its the best).
Why a week in Rome?
Many people think a weekend in Rome will be enough time to see everything in the city. However, I personally think this is mad!! Rushing around like crazy to visit all the places to see in Rome in a short amount of time just sucks the enjoyment out of visiting. Who wants to be stressed while on ‘holiday’? Not me.
This is why I think a week in Rome is more appropriate. During my time in the city, I saw something new and amazing each day, but I was also able to have some downtime, which meant I could truly appreciate the city!
If you do only have one day in Rome then check out this guide!
When to visit Rome –
The best time to visit Rome is no doubt in the off season! I made the mistake of travelling to Rome in the height of summer, and while the city was amazing, the intense heat and crowded streets left a little to be desired… In fact, the crowds in Rome were probably the worst I’ve encountered on all of my travels!
Therefore the easiest way to make your visit to Rome even more enjoyable is by going when there’s less likely to be quite so many other tourists around…
Where to stay in Rome –
Before we finally get into my Rome Itinerary I just want to mention where I stayed in Rome, which was actually in two different locations.
The first was a wonderful Airbnb located a little out of the city centre. However, this distance meant that the area felt authentic and relaxed. The Airbnb itself was a spacious private room that was beautifully decorated. The host even laid on breakfast which was a great touch.
Book this Airbnb Here
However, after 2 days in Rome, myself and a good friend (who I’d been travelling the rest of Italy with) met up with my parents. Therefore, we moved to an amazing apartment just meters away from the Trevi Fountain. This was modern, clean and couldn’t have been in a better location!
Book this apartment on Booking.com here
Rome Itinerary –
Day One –
On the first day of my week in Rome, my friend and I decided to book tickets for a hop on hop off bus tour of the city. I found that this was a great way to get my bearings whilst learning interesting facts about Rome’s landmarks.
TOP TIP: We purchased a 48hour ticket with citysightseeing (through Get Your Guide) but there are many different companies offering virtually the same service!
The first of Rome’s sights we decided to ‘hop off’ the bus at, was the Colosseum. However, I have to say that the crowds here made me feel uncomfortable. There were just too many people in a small space. This wasn’t helped by the mass of street sellers who were very adamant and quite intimidating…
This said we found if you climb the steps towards the Colosseum’s tube station, the ‘terrace’ here is a lot less crowded and provides a great view of the structure, we were even able to get a shady spot on the wall where we could sit and admire its grandeur.
After taking some time for lunch (and then waiting for the inevitable Italian food coma to pass), our first day in Rome continued… We hopped back on the bus and decided to visit Villa Borghese park, which is definitely one of the best places to visit in Rome.
As the largest green space in the city, the park has a lot of attractions within its grounds (such as the cities zoo). However, we enjoyed simply walking along its shady tree-lined paths while stumbling upon sculptures and fountains, It’s really a fantastic place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Romes Centre.
Next, we decided to exit the park via Piazza Del Popolo, which was the main entrance to the city during the Roman Empire. The square’s centrepiece is an exquisite Egyptian Obelisk which is flanked by two identical churches. Therefore, although not as well known as other Rome attractions, I found this Piazza to be beautiful and would say its a must see in Rome.
Day Two –
Since our ‘hop on hop off’ bus tickets were valid for 48hours, my friend and I decided to make the most of them during our second day in Rome…
Thus, we used the tickets to firstly visit the Santa Maria Maggiore church. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, this church is said to be one of the four most important basilicas in the city, and it’s beautiful interior certainly matches this importance!
Following the tour of the Church, we continued our Rome sightseeing by going back into the centre of the city towards the Altare Della Patria (a humongous monument dedicated to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of Italy).
It’s hard to describe the sheer scale of this monument, which is quite unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s pristine white marble stands out against the earth coloured tones of Rome, while statues and fountains give the monument an elegant appearance. Out of all the things to see in Rome, the Altare Della Patria impressed me the most. Therefore I’d highly suggest visiting.
After marvelling at the monument, we walked a short distance to Largo di Torre Argentina Square, the site of Julius Caesar’s murder. Here several roman ruins are visible, including the Theatre of Pompey where Julius Caesar is thought to have been stabbed. I found it so fascinating to stand where such an important moment in history had occurred!
Rome at night (Day two continued) –
I’ve always wanted to visit the Colosseum at night, therefore we continued our second day in Rome by going to see it later in the evening. We decided to walk to it along the Via Dei Fori Imperiali, a wide straight road that leads from Rome’s modern city centre to its historic past.
The road is flanked on either side by hundreds of breath-taking Roman ruins (Including the famous forum). Walking along this road I could really imagine what it must have been like in the city over 2,000 years ago.
What’s even better is that visiting late in the evening meant that there were hardly any people about. We found this to be the same at the Colosseum, which much to my surprise, was widely deserted too. I was shocked by this as I thought seeing the Colosseum is one of the best things to do in Rome at night!
However, I’m not going to complain as having the place to ourselves was fantastic. I’d go as far as to say that seeing the Colosseum at night was the favourite part of my week in Rome!
Day Three –
My parents joined us on the third day of my week in Rome, and it was all about getting out of the city. So, we booked a tour to visit the cities Catacombs and the Appian Way.
The tour started by taking us out of the city centre to the Catacomb’s of St Callixtus where Rome’s early Christians were buried. Although a bit creepy, I found the Catacombs to be one of the best places to go in Rome to learn more about the cities past.
After exploring the Catacombs, we got our walking shoes on and headed out to explore the Appian Way, one of the oldest roads leading to Rome. I found it unbelievable to see the stones still marked with grooves and dents where old Chariots had damaged them!
Before heading back to the city centre, our tour made one last stop at an ancient Roman Aqueduct, the majority of which is Amazingly still standing. Interestingly, part of the structure still brings water into the city today!
Once back from the tour we spent some time relaxing in our apartment before heading out to visit the Pantheon, another must do in Rome. As the best persevered ancient Roman monument, the Pantheon is breath-taking, especially its dome (which remained the largest unsupported dome in the world for 1300 years).
TOP TIP: I walked past the pantheon several times during my week in Rome, and noticed that the queue to enter during the day was always very long! However, by visiting at about 6pm in the evening we hardly had to wait.
Day Four –
When you think of what to do in Rome, the first thought that pops into your mind is touring the inside of the Colosseum. Therefore we booked a guided tour of it along with Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum during our fourth day in the city.
However, our tour wasn’t until midday, so my friend and I decided to get up early and go to two famous Rome attractions before the crowds arrived: The Trevi Fountain and The Spanish steps.
We’d walked past both of these several times already on our trip to Rome, but hadn’t taken the time to admire them due to the intense crowds.
Thankfully, by visiting at 7am we had the famous landmarks all to ourselves. Therefore I’d highly suggest getting up early to visit these top things to see in Rome on your own visit! (Just take a look at the difference in the crowds):
Later in the day our Rome itinerary continued as we joined the tour. The inside of the Colosseum was amazing! As was Palatine Hill (the birthplace of Rome), which also provides beautiful views over the city.
However, for me, the crowning jewel was the Roman Forum. The ruins here are so well preserved, walking through its streets really did feel like stepping back in time.
However, the tour itself was pretty rubbish. Our guide seemed oblivious to the heat and kept us standing in the direct sun. What’s more his explanation of the ruins wasn’t great. Therefore with hindsight, I would suggest that you simply book skip the line tickets and tour the sites yourself. By doing so you could walk around at our own pace (taking breaks in the Shade). Further, audio guides or old school guidebooks would provide as much information as a person.
Day Five –
Ok so I know this post is titled a week in Rome, but I actually spent five days in the city…
So on the final day, we headed to The Vatican (the last of my top things to do in Rome). We again decided to book a tour, but this time it was definitely worth it. For one, the Vatican is huge! But more than this, it‘s always crazily busy, which makes it’s maze of rooms even harder to navigate alone.
Our guide on the other hand knew the best exhibitions to show us, and how to avoid the worst of the crowds! I learnt so much from her about the history of the Vatican, and the spectacular collection of art on display.
However, while there’s lots of Vatican Museum highlights, no doubt the most impressive part of the Vatican is St Peter’s Basilica, which is simply breathtaking!
When you visit make sure to look up at the magnificent St. Peter’s dome. This is if you’re not too distracted by the 150 incredibly intricate and detailed mosaics that decorate the basilica.
I could have easily spent all day just admiring the churches grandeur, and taking in the truly magical atmosphere. However, I also made sure to climb up to the top of St Peter’s dome, and I wasn’t disappointed as views it provides over Vatican City and wider Rome were amazing!
Thinking of heading to Naples after Rome? Check out this post which explains if Naples is safe to visit!
So that completes my Rome itinerary. I found that a week in Rome was the perfect amount of time as I left feeling like I’d seen everything I wanted to… Although I might have gained a few pounds in Pasta and Gelato along the way. 😉
However I will again suggest visiting Rome in the off season, when it’s less busy, as I think this will make your time in the city even more enjoyable!
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