You can’t think of visiting Italy without spending at least 4 days in Rome, the Eternal City. The best 4-day Rome Itinerary will have you visiting some of the most epic spots in the city. Think Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and the Vatican, as well as some lesser-known places.
Chock full of bucket list sites, Rome cannot be passed up.
Imagine cobblestone alleyways, dining al fresco under ivy and bougainvillea canopies, ancient facades, centuries-old monuments and expansive squares. So much history oozes from every corner of the Roman capital, you will never get bored with so many things to do in Rome.
It’s unlikely you will be able to see everything in Rome in 4 days, but this Roman itinerary will have you awe-struck by the highlights and hidden gems of one of the most visited cities in Europe.
This 4 day Rome itinerary also covers the best neighbourhoods to stay in Rome, where to eat in Rome, the best time to visit Rome, getting to Rome and how to get around Rome, plus more.
Wondering what to do in Rome in 4 days? I got you covered.
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4-Day Rome Itinerary: Quick Guide
Best Time to Visit Rome in 4 Days
Spring in Rome
April-May | Ahhhh Spring in Rome. The smell of freshly blossomed Bougainvillea and pine wafting in the air. At this time of year, you will experience mild temperatures around 19 degrees in April and 24 degrees celsius in May. As the days get closer to summer, the tourists will start to flood the city, but April and the first 2 weeks of May are pure bliss for your Rome 4 day itinerary.
Summer in Rome
June-August | Summer in Rome marks the high season for tourism and heat. And oh so hot that heat is. August brings a mass exodus of Romans fleeing to their cooler country hideaways to escape the oppressive sun. Given this, some businesses and storefronts will be closed. If you do find yourself in Rome in the summer, make sure to wake up early to explore the many sites, as the morning temperatures are much more bearable.
Autumn in Rome
September-November | I’ve visited Rome twice in the Fall, once in September and once in November. This is truly the best time to visit Rome, the Eternal City. Shoulder season here brings more modest hotel pricing and you will get to experience the cork trees change colour to a beautiful auburn and gold.
Winter in Rome
December-March | Twinkly lights adorn the piazzas and Centro Storico neighbourhoods making for a quaint and frankly romantic, walk through Rome. Of course, you will experience the coldest temperatures during this time, so bring a good coat and scarf, as the days take on a moody appeal. Your itinerary for 4 days in Rome will be spent on bundled-up walks and dining and exploring indoors.
How to Get to Rome
Getting to Rome is a pretty easy feat, as it’s one of the most connected cities in the world. As a major European international hub, both by air and land, finding a way into Rome will be a pinch, whether you are arriving from elsewhere in Europe or across the waters.
Flying into the Airports in Italy Rome
Rome has 2 major airports to speak of. Firstly, the Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO) which you will likely arrive in if you are coming in from elsewhere in the world. Secondly, the Rome Ciampino Giovan Battista Pastine Airport (CIA) will be your destination if you are coming on economical flights from within Europe.
I like to use Skyscanner to book flights within Europe.
Fiumicino Airport to Rome City Centre
The Leonardo da Vinci International Airport lies a 45-minute drive southwest of the Eternal City, nestled on the coast of the Mediterranean. Here is where you will land if you are catching more premium airlines like Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific or British Airways. FCO is considered the International flight gateway to Rome.
Getting from FCO to Rome is pretty straightforward. You can either take a taxi or bus that will be susceptible to traffic or simply take the Leonardo Express train to the city centre. You can find the train station by following the signs within the airport. The trip will take approximately 30 minutes and cost you 18 euros. The Leonardo Express will arrive in the city centre at Termini Station.
Rome Ciampino Airport to City Centre
Situated a 45-minute drive southeast inland from Rome, is the Rome Ciampino Giovan Battista Pastine Airport. You will arrive here if you are catching airlines like Ryanair from elsewhere in Europe.
Unlike FCO, it does not have a direct link to Rome’s city centre. You can take a taxi 45 minutes southeast of Rome, or if you are looking for a more economical way, hop on a bus. The bus fare tops out at $9.50 per person with services from SITBus or Terravision.
Getting to Rome by Train
Rome, like most western European countries, is connected via a fast train service. This train system connects Rome directly to major destinations like Milan, Vienna and Munich, as well as locally down to Palermo in Sicily.
Alternatively, you can take the slower train to reach more regional destinations like Sienna in Tuscany, Cinque Terre on the coast and out to see the leaning tower of Pisa. This train you will hear be referred to as the Regionale trains.
If you are already on your epic Italy itinerary and will be arriving in Rome by train, Termini Station will be your stop-off. This station is a very convenient arrival destination for many of Rome’s exciting sites. You will also be directly serviced by the Rome Metro and bus loop out front.
Located just east of the bustling Monti neighbourhood (which is easily walkable from the station) the area surrounding Termini Station can look a bit rough and tumble. Like any destination in the world, just keep track of your belongings and your wits about you, especially when arriving at night.
How to Get Around Rome in 4 Days
Navigating the ancient city centre of Rome cannot always be an easy mission, but most of what you will want to see as a first-timer to Rome is located within walking distance on either side of the Tiber River.
The Tiber runs down the centre of the city dividing Vatican City, Trastevere and Prati neighbourhoods from the rest of the ancient centre. But, you’ll notice many bridges that cross the river to make it convenient to cross from one side to the other easily in one day.
Due to the many centuries and layers of destruction and then rebuilding, the centre of Rome can be a bit confusing with its winding alleyways. But, as someone who has spent over a month exploring this great city, I recommend walking as your best mode of transportation to see all the sites in your Rome itinerary 4 days.
Rome Bus (city transit)
Buses are your best bet if walking all over Rome is not your vibe. The bus system runs extensively all over the ancient city centre taking you easily from one Rome hotspot to the next.
With over 300 bus routes servicing the capital of Italy, you won’t be waiting long before you are aboard the bus heading to your next stop.
Tickets cannot be purchased when boarding the bus, so make sure to purchase your Rome transportation ticket beforehand at any tobacconists, bar or vending machines at the Metro stations and major bus stops.
NOTE | Make sure to punch your ticket on the bus! I’d hate for you to be fined for not validating your ticket, a common mistake.
The Rome Metro is also a decent option when it comes to exploring Rome. While this expansive system has mostly been designed for commuters from more rural districts of Rome, you can take advantage of it to get to some of the biggest Rome attractions.
- Spagna Station | Spanish Steps, Borghese Gallery, Trevi Fountain + Piazza del Popolo
- Colosseo Station | Colosseum, Roman Forum + Palatine Hill
- Circo Massimo Station | Testaccio neighbourhood
- Repubblica Station | Monti neighbourhood
Rome Public Transportation Passes + Tickets
Metro tickets are valid for all public transportation including metro, buses and trams, and have 4 different options for validity and price. All tickets include unlimited transportation during that time period. Metro tickets can be purchased on the Metro platforms and validated at the punch station before use.
- 100-minute Ticket | €1.50 / $1.80 USD
- 24-hour Ticket | €7.00 / $8.35 USD
- 48-hour Ticket | €12.50 / $15 USD
- 72-hour Ticket | €18 / $21.50 USD
Rome Hop on Hop off Bus
Rome’s main highlights can be accessed simply by boarding the super-efficient Rome hop on hop off bus. Grab a pass and make up your own 4-day Rome itinerary.
Reserve your Rome Hop on Hop off Bus Pass
Where to Stay in Rome
With a population of almost 3 million people and 21 districts, Rome can be a hard place to navigate, especially as a first-timer. I’ve narrowed it down to the absolute best neighbourhoods and places to base yourself to get the most from this 4-day Rome itinerary. The neighbourhoods I’ve recommended will also have something special to offer other than being centrally located to explore four days in Rome.
Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in Rome for 4 Days
When you daydream of Rome, you are likely thinking about the romantic, cobblestone neighbourhood of Trastevere.
One of my favourite districts to stay in and explore in all of Rome! Red and white checkered tablecloths, the smell of fresh ‘za, ivy-covered buildings and quaint squares are all on show in Trastevere. This neighbourhood will give you the most authentic Rome while still being based near the city’s centre and walkable to all the major attractions.
As one of Rome’s oldest residential areas, Trastevere is chock full of quaint walk-ups and boutique lodgings. A perfect place to stay on this 4-day Rome itinerary to get off the beaten track.
TRASTEVERE | Donna Camilla Savelli $$$
This Rome hotel was tastefully converted from a convent, with black and white checkered floors, creamy archways and dreamy gardens. The high-class atmosphere here lends to peaceful energy, and you have all the amenities you could possibly want on-site.
TRASTEVERE | Over the Tiber Loft $$
Over the Tiber Loft is a centrally located fully equipped 1 bedroom apartment with great views of the Tiber river. Walk to downtown Rome, the Vatican and the Trastevere neighbourhood in 15 minutes tops. The tastefully decorated apartment comes with free Wifi, air conditioning and a dishwasher.
Prati is located just Northeast of Vatican City, meaning you have unfettered access to this part of town for early morning perusals of the museum and Vatican itself.
Prati is also one of the newest neighbourhoods in Rome, dating back as late as 1950, so the majority of the district is comprised of newer hotels and apartments.
Large boulevards make for enjoyable shopping and dining here too.
PRATI | Casa Sotgiu Guest House $$
Centrally located in Prati by the Tiber River, you can reach most Rome attractions in 10-15 minutes on foot. Casa Sotgiu Guest House has lush furnishings, private bathrooms and complimentary breakfast. The cozy common area is great for meeting fellow travellers.
Tridente (Central Rome)
If you are looking to be the most centrally located to all Rome’s attractions, the Tridente neighbourhood is for you. Encompassing a large number of the Eternal City’s highlights, including the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, this district is the bustling centre of Roman tourism.
Steps outside of your Rome accommodation you will find yourself in the middle of a scene from Roman Holiday or Eat Pray Love.
Because Tridente is the epicentre of Rome, the accommodation options will be on the more luxe side.
CENTRAL ROME | Crossing Condotti $$$
One of the most stylish hotels on this list, the Crossing Condotti accommodation is a designer flat with upscale decor. Situated right across the square from the Spanish Steps, you couldn’t get a better location than this! Crossing Condotti has a myriad of room options, with some that even had a balcony.
Located just east of Rome’s city centre, is the charming and bustling neighbourhood of Monti. The Colusseum, one of Rome’s most famous landmarks, can be seen at the far end of Monti’s main viale (boulevard) and makes for a picturesque backdrop to your exploration around the neighbourhood.
Ivy-covered facades, chatting locals and quirky haunts make up the character of the Monti district, with a lot to see and explore.
You can find anything from luxury boutique hotels to Roman-style apartment hotels in this area. Here are a couple of my favourites:
MONTI | Green Terrace Loft $$
Located in the heart of the Monti neighbourhood, Greece Terrace Loft offers apartment-style living with a charming patio to cozy up with an Aperol Spritz. Greece Terrace Loft also offers air conditioning for those hot summer months, free wi-fi, daily cleaning and a private airport transfer can even be arranged.
Map of 4-Day Rome Itinerary
To make your life easier, I’ve created this comprehensive map for your 4 days in Rome. Each colour represents the sites you will see on each day of your 4-day Rome itinerary.
4-Day Rome Itinerary
Day 1 of 4-Day Rome Itinerary: Centro Storico Walking Tour
Designed to get you oriented on your 4-days in Rome itinerary, stretch your legs and venture out on a walking tour of the ancient city centre, Centro Storico.
This area of town encompasses many Rome highlights and stretches from the Testaccio neighbourhood on the south to the Tiber River on the west and all the way up to the Piazza del Popolo and Villa Borghese Gardens. As the name suggests, Centro Storico is the most centralized area in all of the metropolises of Rome.
Explore the Historic Centre on this Evening Sightseeing Walking Tour
Piazza del Popolo
Start your 4-days Rome itinerary in Piazza del Popolo, or ‘People’s Square’. This large urban plaza was once the gateway to the Northern regions of Italy and was the traveller’s first view of Rome upon arrival. Public executions were also done here. Needless to say, this piazza has seen a lot of history.
You will find the Santa Maria del Popolo church in the northeast corner of the piazza (its namesake) and the remainder lined with shops and restaurants or large boulevards leaving the square. At its centre, the Egyptian obelisk of Ramsses II stands tall and proud.
EAT | After checking out the square, head to Antico Caffe Greco for an aesthetic Roman breakfast experience. Stand at the bar and sip on an espresso or take a seat in the historic eating room for a local pastry and people-watching. Because of the history of this cafe (it’s over 250 years old!), the prices are higher than average, but the decor and ambience make for a great experience.
WHERE | Piazza del Popolo, Rome
One of Centro Storico’s most famous sites and a must-see on your 4-day Rome itinerary, the Spanish Steps, constructed in the 1720s, sits at the foot of the Trinita Dei Monti church. The iconic set of stone stairs consists of curved and straight flights of 138 steps, with terraces and vistas.
The Spanish Steps was an inspiration for many artists and poets, including English poet John Keats. You can find Keat’s house located on the right side of the step as you start your ascent. The house is now a museum in his honour.
You will also see the Fountain of the Old Boat, at the base of the steps in the Spanish square. This fountain was created by Pietro Bernini and is said to be based on folklore.
NOTE | Unfortunately, you can no longer sit on the steps due to new regulations to preserve the architecture and discourage unwanted tourist behaviour with a fine of $450 USD.
See the Spanish Steps on this 2-hour City Centre Walking Tour
Villa Borghese Gardens
The third-largest and most popular garden in all of Rome, the Villa Borghese garden was converted from prestigious vineyards in 1606 on the land of Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V.
The garden itself contains a number of buildings, museums and attractions, including the house of Borghese.
Make your way up the Spanish Steps and head left towards Borghese park. The park itself spans 80 hectares, so starting here and working your way around counterclockwise is your best bet. End your Villa Borghese Garden tour at Pincian Hill for a great view of Piazza del Popolo and the city.
Borghese Gallery + Museum
Located on the eastern grounds of Villa Borghese is one of the hottest and most exclusive galleries in Rome. The Borghese Gallery and Museum is a must-visit on your 4-day Rome itinerary.
Make sure to purchase tickets early to see Cardinal Scipione Borghese’s impressive collection of Roman, Renaissance and Baroque artwork.
Explore the museum with this Borghese Gallery Entrance + Walking Tour
EAT | On your way back down the Spanish Steps towards the Trevi Fountain, stop at Pastificio Guerra. This small little shop makes fresh pasta for takeaway (for only €4!) with two pasta options changing daily, with at least one vegetarian option. You can also have takeaway wine for €1. Open 1-9 pm.
You will be hard-pressed to find a Rome itinerary that doesn’t include the beautiful Trevi Fountain. At the intersection of three streets in the Tridente district, the Trevi Fountain boasts a white marble roman scene, tall pillars, an enclave and a large pool. Standing at 86ft high and 161ft wide, it’s the largest baroque fountain in the city.
Originally an aqueduct servicing the city of Rome for 400 years, the Trevi Fountain is now where tourists and Romans alike go to toss a coin for good luck. Featured in cult classics like Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Holiday and Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, the fountain has seen some major fame.
Try this Trevi Fountain & Underground Tour on your Rome itinerary
As for many other popular Rome attractions, the Trevi Fountain faces hoards of tourists all trying to get a good view. It’s probably a good idea to accept the fact that this will be the case everywhere you go. The Trevi Fountain still remains a must on any 4-day Rome itinerary.
If you are hell-bent on getting a great shot of the Trevi Fountain, visit before 8 AM.
Take the road to the west of the Trevi Fountain and stroll through the enchanting alleyways until you reach the Pantheon, a 7-minute walk.
Once you turn the corner into the Piazza Della Rotonda, the large circular domed cella with temple portico facade of the Pantheon seems otherworldly. A unique piece of Roman architecture, the Pantheon was constructed in 113 AD and took 12 years to come to fruition.
As you walk inside, look up. The hole in the ceiling, otherwise known as the oculus or “The Eye of the Pantheon” is one of the main features of this Rome attraction. The dome itself is also a structural marvel, and to this day, architects still don’t know what exact material the dome was constructed with.
Make sure to pick up your Pantheon Audio Guide before visiting
The light streaming through the top of the dome down to the marble floor below makes a great photo opportunity if that’s your kind of thing.
EAT | Ready for an afternoon apertivo? Head to Armando Al Pantheon. This cozy traditional trattoria serves up Roman regional cuisine in a wood-panelled and booth seating style decor. Grab yourself a plate of artichokes, mixed cheeses and a glass of wine. Saluti!
Just a 3 minute walk away from the Pantheon is the famous Piazza Navona. Originally a stadium built during Emperor Domitian’s rule, the plaza takes on a unique elongated oval shape. The site is now home to three captivating fountains.
The central figure here is the Fountain of the Four Rivers created by the famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Take a few minutes to grab a bench aptly located around the fountain, to sit and marvel. Don’t forget to take a look at the Fontana del Moro and the Fontana di Nettuno.
EAT | Grab a hazelnut or pistachio gelato from Grom, at the northern end of the piazza.
WHERE | Piazza Navona, Rome
Campo De’ Fiori
Here is where you will end your Centro Storico walking tour. The Campo de’ Fiori square is home to lively restaurants and locals.
If you are interested in food markets, then this is the place for you! Campo de’ Fiori is home to the biggest food market in Rome. Please note, the food market is only open until 2 pm so it won’t be there if you follow this Rome itinerary. But, you can easily shuffle a few things around on this day to make it happen.
WHERE | Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, Rome
EAT | Grab a spice or two of the famous Pizza Rossa at Antico Forno Roscioli. Sit in the Campo de’ Fiori and watch the evening festivities.
Explore Rome’s highlights with your Rome City Pass
Day 2 of 4-Day Rome Itinerary: Exploring Ancient Rome
Okay, day 2 of this 4-day Rome itinerary will have you delving deeper into the ancient heritage of the Eternal City. Walking through sites like the Colosseum and Palatine Hill will bring you back to a more turbulent, political and intriguing past. Each playing an important role in Rome’s history and culture.
It surprises me that some Rome itineraries opt to skip the ancient ruins of this city, while I believe it’s imperative to understand the nuisances and atmosphere the Eternal City has to offer.
I’ve designed day 2 of these 4 days in Rome to be a good mix of ancient sites layered in with some great restaurants in the Monti area. Enjoy!
EAT | First things first, stop at Bar La Licata in the Monti neighbourhood for a pistachio cream-filled cornetto and an Italian-style coffee.
Head straight down Via Degli Annabaldi towards the momentous Colosseum. One of Rome’s iconic sites, the colosseum will greet you with its grand half-crumbled amphitheatre structure,, well known all over the world. The Colosseum was built between 70-72 AD by the Roman emperor Vespasian and later dedicated to Titus for his sack of Jerusalem. Constructed as a ‘gift to the people’, the stadium held games, dramas and even public executions.
Book this highly-rated Colosseum Underground, Arena + Forum Tour
Made popular through modern film, first with Ben-Hur, then Sparticus and more recently Gladiator, the colosseum is one of Rome’s most visited sites. Go early, and wait for the doors to open at 8:30 AM to get the best unobstructed self-guided tour of the site.
Watch out for the birds in the rafters as they are known to poop on passersby. I speak from personal experience here.
WHERE | Colosseum, Rome
Pass by the Constantine Arch on your way from the Colosseum to Palatine Hill built in 315 AD to celebrate Constantine’s arrival back to the city. Enter Palatine Hill through the ancient Via Sacra roadway.
Palatine Hill is for the history enthusiasts on 4 day itinerary Rome. Legend says that Romulus and Remus once dwelled on Palatine Hill in 753 BC. After the rising conflict, Romulus killed Remus, becoming king and naming Rome after himself.
The Perfect 2-hour Palatine Hill, Roman Forum and Colosseum Guided Tour
The widely accepted legend made Palatine Hill the most popular of the seven hills of Rome and one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in ancient Rome.
Today, Palatine Hill is an extensive archaeological site where the ruins of the Stadium of Domitian and Flavian Palace can still be seen. Due to the expansiveness of the historic ruins on this site, it’s recommended to take a guided tour to get the most of your visit here.
WHERE | Palatine Hill, Rome
Dating as far back as 500 BC when the Roman Republic was formed, people gathered in the Roman Forum. Said to be a place for important political, religious and social matters to be discussed, elections and political speeches and large markets took place here regularly. Essential the Roman Forum was the nucleus of commercial affairs.
Many of the Roman Empire’s major events happened here too, including the cremation of Julius Caesar.
The Roman Forum is a rectangular-shaped area, situated on low-lying land between Capitoline Hill and Palatine Hill and is home to many impressive temples and monuments. Make sure to visit the Senate House, the Temple of Saturn and the Arch of Titus.
EAT | Grab a quick pasta lunch at Pasta Chef Monti (opens at 12:30 PM) or a more leisurely midday siesta on the outside patio of Ai Tre Scalini (opens at 12 PM) in the picturesque Monti neighbourhood.
Piazza Venezia + Altar of the Fatherland
On your way from lunch to the Piazza Venezia, stop by to ponder at the Trajan Column, built to commemorate Roman emperor Trajan’s victory in the Dacian Wars. A spiral staircase is enclosed in the column.
The grand Piazza Venezia lays at the epicentre of all of Rome’s action. You will first notice that the majority of the plaza is actually a large loop for downtown traffic, but at the south side of the plaza lies the Altar of the Fatherland, a large white marble memorial monument. The monument itself is built to honour Rome’s first king and World War I soldiers.
The building lights up beautifully at golden hour before sunset and if you climb the stairs and head towards the back of the monument, you can capture a great view of the Roman Forum.
WHERE | Piazza Venezia, Rome
Spend the evening in one of Rome’s most hip neighbourhoods. And by hip, I mean hipster. Monti is the preferred neighbourhood for artists, and intellectuals, and comes complete with hole-in-the-wall dive bars, quirky library cafes, vintage shops and picturesque squares.
Make sure to spend some time people-watching on the steps of the fountain in Piazza Della Madonna Dei Monti. This is where you will find locals clinking glasses of wine and socializing.
Food + Nightlife recommendations for Monti:
Head to La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali for dinner and sit down at a red and white checkered tablecloth for some of the best local cuisine in Monti. Visited by celebrities like Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman and Bruce Springsteen, it’s a popular little trattoria. Make sure you make a reservation beforehand!
Try the Cacio e Pepe with black truffle or bucatini alla amatriciana, or if you are a carnivore, try any of the secondi and you won’t be disappointed.
After dinner, head to Fatamorgana Gelato Shop to top off the 2nd day of your 4 day itinerary of Rome. This shop is dedicated to using creative, unique and natural ingredients like black rice, avocado and lime, amongst more traditional flavours. They also offer dairy-free renditions.
If you’ve come to Rome for some nightlife, Libreria Caffe Bohemien will be your next stop. This quirky bar has a speakeasy quality and features walls covered in crammed bookshelves and mismatched chairs. Sit down at one of the small cocktail tables with a 1930s Parisian-style cocktail and meet some locals.
Day 3 of 4-Day Rome Itinerary: The Vatican + Beyond
Halfway through your 4-day Rome itinerary, and you’ve already seen a plethora of Rome’s top attractions. Now it’s time to venture over to the west side of the Tiber River, to see the iconic Vatican City, a sovereign-city state ruled by the Pope.
EAT | Grab a pastry and espresso at Bar Amore di Zucca Fabio, just inland from the Tiber River. This popular espresso bar is about a 6-minute walk from the Vittorio Emanuel II Bridge, which is where you will start the 3rd day of your Rome itinerary. Open at 6 AM.
St Peter’s Basilica
I had the pleasure of visiting this historic landmark in the early morning of the day. The sun was just starting to move across the white marble facade and Italian nonnas and priests were marching their way to the basilica. I walked into the mammoth wood doors and was awe-struck at the cavernous dark hall with opulent gold flinting sunlight.
You don’t need to be religious to appreciate the beauty that lies within St Peter’s Basilica. As an important part of the Vatican, it’s a must-see on your 4 days in Rome itinerary.
Book the most popular St. Peter’s Basilica Guided Tour
Make your way up Via Della Conciliazione, the main promenade leading to St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican. I suggest doing this early, around 7 AM, yes, I said 7 AM. Believe me, it’s worth the early morning wake-up call to get a headstart on the crowds. If you go any later, you will be behind a massive lineup of people that will likely take an hour or so to get through.
Take some time to enjoy the interiors here, stopping to marvel at the many Renaissance and baroque masterpieces like Michelangelo Pieta, and the baldachin by Bernini over the main altar.
Vatican Museum + Sistine Chapel
One of the most famous museums in the world, the Vatican holds over 20,000 pieces of art. A marvel to behold, your trip to the Vatican can be a half-day affair. Whether you are a slow peruser or a speedy visitor, I’d suggest putting at least 2-3 hours aside to properly visit the Vatican Museum.
As the seat of the Catholic Church for centuries, the first construction of the famous Rome attraction was built over St. Peter’s grave in the 4th century AD, hence the aforementioned St Peter’s Basilica (built in 1506). The area around the building was a popular commercial district and the Vatican itself was the site of pilgrimage for many.
The cherry on top of your tour of the Vatican is the impressive Sistine Chapel. Hand-painted by famous renaissance artist Michelangelo, I’d advise just take a seat along the wall and look up and muse at the frescoes. Yes, your neck might hurt, but it’s worth it.
NOTE | Remember to dress appropriately for a religious site, meaning no bare shoulders.
I’d recommend booking a guided tour of the Vatican museums, as they are quite extensive and therefore a bit overwhelming. A guide will help you spot the true masterpieces and important works of art.
WHERE | Vatican Museums, Vatican City
Markets + Shopping in Prati Neighbourhood
The Prati neighbourhood is one of the newest districts to explore Rome and borders Vatican City to the north. Trade narrow winding alleyways for expansive wide boulevards and palm trees. This is Rome’s shopping and market district. You can find large luxury names, small boutique shops and local marketplaces here, so there is a lot to see.
Check out the Trionfale Market, one of the best food markets in Rome. You can find 275 stalls here selling everything from fresh pasta, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, to fresh produce. A great place to do a self-guided food tour. Another alternative to the Trionfale Market is the Mercato dell’ Unita that features large fountains throughout the space.
Spend the afternoon discovering Prati.
DRINK | For an afternoon pick me up, stop at the century-old Sciascia il Caffe 1919, a local’s haunt. Enjoy a simple espresso here, as fancy coffee orders are not the vibe here.
Head toward the St. Angelo Bridge for one of the most epic views of the Castel Sant’Angelo. The bridge is lined with intricate sculptures and lends to a grand entrance to the castle itself.
Originally constructed as a mausoleum for Hadrian in 123 AD, this towering cylindrical castle is now home to a museum and an epic viewpoint of the Tiber River and beyond. The attraction is best visited in the morning or the afternoon after 6 pm. I suggest visiting after the majority of the tourists have dispersed and you can watch golden hour come over the Eternal City.
WHERE | Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome
Don’t forget your Castel Sant’Angelo Skip-the-line Ticket
EAT | Head back to Centro Storico and grab a seat at Cul de Sac. This small enoteca, or wine bar, serves traditional Roman cuisine as well as specialties from Egypt and France. Try to Armenian topik or artisan lasagne. Alternatively, find a local enoteca in the neighbourhood where you are staying in Rome.
Day 4 of 4-Day Rome Itinerary: Visiting the Trastevere + Testaccio Neighbourhood
I’ve dedicated the last day of this 4 days in Rome itinerary to my favourite neighbourhoods in the city: Trastevere and Testaccio. The former being one of the most romantic districts and the latter, the trendiest.
Trastevere captured my heart on my first visit to Rome with its red and white checkered tablecloths, smell of pizza in the air, cobblestone alleyways covered in ivy, and casual squares. This district just feels so welcoming, like you’ve lived there for years. The main walking street will rarely see a car, which makes for peaceful exploration.
Testaccio is a neighbourhood amidst gentrification which makes it the cool and trendy place to visit. Located south of the colosseum there is a great juxtaposition at show here. Traditional trattorias with old facades and modern fashionable restaurants with edgy street art, that makes Testaccio truly special.
Pass through the Porta Settimiana arch and you have entered into the Trastevere neighbourhoods most northern gate. Stop off at Caffe Settimiano di Mella Valter for a shot of espresso to fuel your last day of the 4-day Rome itinerary.
Trastevere is your oyster today, as there are just so many cute twists and turns in this neighbourhood. Most people will walk down the main walking path heading due south. I’d advise starting here but venturing off the path whenever you can. Make sure to sit your nose in any little shop you come across.
Eat your way through Trastevere on this popular Street Food Tour
You will eventually enter Palazzo San Callisto, the main square and epicentre of Trastevere. Here you will find the beautiful Basilica of Our Lady. Take a look inside and then take a seat on the fountain steps to watch the world go by and to rest your tootsies.
Now it’s time to make the small uphill climb to the Belvedere del GIancolo viewpoint, one of the best views of Rome in the city. You can choose your path meandering through the Orto botanical gardens or up past the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola.
EAT | You have two options now: you can either picnic in the expansive gardens surrounding the Villa Doria Pamphilj, or dine al fresco back in the cobblestone streets of Trastevere. If you pick the former, there is an express Carrefour supermarket on the south side of Villa Sciarra to pick up a few picnic ingredients. Head towards the Lago de Belvedere for a true European lunch experience. Remember to bring a blanket!
EAT | After lunch grab a gelato at Otaleg (gelato spelt backwards), where all the locals go for a tasty treat. Open at noon.
Head towards the Testaccio neighbourhood, a 20-minute walk across the Tiber River southeast.
You’ll start to notice that this 4-day Rome itinerary is chock full of restaurant recommendations and I’ve purposefully made room in the itinerary for slow meals and apertivo, as well as quick bites. Visiting the trendy neighbourhood of Testaccio is no exception, it’s a foodie dream.
If you are anything like me, food and boutique shops in cities like Rome are always at the forefront of your mind, so spend the afternoon perusing the small shops of Testaccio and admiring the street art. Stop off at the Mercato di Testaccio to get all the smells and colours of Italy. Open until 2:30 PM daily closed Sundays.
You can get a bit of history here too by visiting the Pyramid of Caius Cestius. What you might think belongs in a country like Egypt, you will find smack dab in the middle of the Eternal City. The pyramid was built in 12 BC as a grand mausoleum for a local magistrate and is the only pyramid in the Italian capital. Beautiful at golden hour before dinner.
EAT | For your last night on this itinerary for Rome in 4 days, I recommend booking a table at Osteria Fratelli Mori. This rustic-chic restaurant offers traditional Roman dishes in a white brick and wood-tabled space. Opens at 7 PM daily.
More than 4 Days in Rome? Try These Day Trips from Rome
If you have decided to spend more time than 4 days in Rome, which is easy to do, I’d recommend trying out one of these popular day trips from Rome.
Rome to Pompeii Day Tour
This Rome to Pompeii tour is amongst the most popular day trips from Rome and will take you to the UNESCO heritage site of Pompeii and a walk up to the top of Mt. Vesuvius for a great view of the Naples Bay area.
Day Trip from Rome to Amalfi Coast
One of the most sought after and Instagrammed places in the world, the Amalfi Coast is a must if you are visiting Rome, or Italy as a whole. Colourful homes layered onto a picturesque hillside over the light blue waters of the Mediterranean make a stunning backdrop to this day trip from Rome.
Amalfi Coast Small Group Day Trip from Rome (including Pompeii)
Day Trips from Rome to Tuscany
Oh, Tuscany, the pine-lined roadways curving through rolling green hills, what a dream. This day trip from Rome to Tuscany will have you exploring the small towns of Montepulciano and Pienza with a stop at a vineyard for lunch. Quintessential Italy.
Rome to Florence Day Trip
Visit the capital of Tuscany, Florence and explore the cobblestone roads and museums of this Italian hotspot. Add on a trip to the leaning tower of Pisa, and you have a fun-filled day trip from Rome.
4-Day Rome Itinerary Conclusion
Here’s to an exciting and jam-packed 4 days Rome itinerary. Yes, there is no doubt that your feet will be hurting after walking all over this history-drenched metropolis, but it will be so worth it. From the picturesque Trevi Fountain, the historic Colosseum, and the enchanting Vatican City, there are so many things to do in Rome.
One of my favourite things to din Rome is to simply grab a coffee or gelato and peruse the back alleys of the city centre of Trastevere neighbourhoods. Oh, and of course, get my fill of cacio e-pepe, Rome’s signature dish. Cheers to an epic 4 days Rome itinerary!