Planning a 4 day trip to Rome? I have got the perfect itinerary ideas just for you - especially if this is your first time to Italy! Get ready for an exhilarating adventure through the historic streets, awe-inspiring landmarks, and the BEST food from the Eternal City. Now, let me help whisk you away (aka you will be buying plane tickets soon) to Rome.
Day 1: Explore the Eternal City Streets
We chose to stay in another AirBnB just like we did when we went to Venice. We were legit right outside the Trajan Column and the ruins of Trajan's Market! Just like our other adventures we like to spend our first day ANYWHERE usually just wandering and discovering things! But I am intentional with highlighting things I want to see walking around.
- We walked past the Alter of the Fatherland - it's MASSIVE. Bought some roasted chestnuts from a street vendor (SO GOOD) turned a few blocks and found THE PANTHEON.
- The Pantheon - we simply listened to Rick Steve's free audio tour and marveled at the nearly 2,000 year old temple-turned-church. This is also where the famous renaissance artist Raphael is buried. Which will come full circle after we went to the Vatican.
- Make a Wish at the Trevi Fountain. It always very crowded (we went in October) but it's worth the wait to squeeze in at the front to make a wish and take a snapshot of this amazing piece of art.
- Visit the Tiber River - Ever since taking Latin in highschool I had dreamed of seeing the Tiber River in person. I am a hopeless romantic and bought this cool lock for us to leave there and toss a key into the river. There is a legend that says if you leave a key there that your love will last forever. But in reality... we ended up not finding a place to leave our lock and Jake ran quickly down to toss our key in the river! 😆 Worth it.
- The FOOD: Teri from No Crumbs Left spoke highly of this restaurant " La Taverna dei fori Imperiali" and it happened to be within walking distance of our AirBnB! And if you have never traveled to Italy they do dinner LATE. So we ended up getting a 9:30 reservation and wandered around a bit more to go to dinner. Again WORTH IT. I ordered the Puttanesca and it was DIVINE.
Day 2: Vatican and Cultural Gems
Morning - we woke up super early to walk to the Vatican (did you know it's the smallest country in the world????) for our AirBnB Tour. Did you know you can book experiences with AirBnB??? We did THREE AirBnB tours during this stay! ALL were fantastic and would HIGHLY recommend! This tour of the Vatican included the tickets and a certified guide to enter more private rooms that others can't see typically! We also got to see the Sistine Chapel as well as St. Peter's Basilica - which is the largest church in the world! As well as where St Peter was executed.
I literally have never been drooling from so much art in my life! Literally The Vatican is the treasure trove of the Ancient World!
We CASUALLY walked by a Picasso and a Salvidore Dali! I MEAN C'MON.
At St. Peter's Basilica DO NOT forget to go to the right an see the most beautiful piece of art I think I saw in Italy. The Pieta by Michelangelo. I had FEELINGS.
Afternoon - More fantastic eats - As soon as the tour was over, we were famished. We asked the locals where to grab a bite and they directed us to this small Osteria (an osteria is typically a small family owned restaurant and you honestly can't go wrong). This is where I got the recipe idea for my Paste e Fagioli. So simple and rustic yet the BEST.
Exploring Like a Local, Eating Like a Foodie
Evening - Go on a Food Tour! - remember I mentioned we went on THREE tours with AirBnB??? This was next later on the second day. Giving a shout out to our guide Manuella - she was so amazing and HILARIOUS. From wine to charcuterie tastings to cannoli to pizza to tiramisu... all local and all delizzioso!
And we ended up getting a glorious view of The Pantheon again on our way back to our room.
Day 3: Gelato & Gladiators
Morning: Espresso yourself with the most delicious cappuccino of your LIFE. Like Lorelei would live in this cafe. Jake & I loved this cafe so much from our food tour that we stopped by to grab breakfast at Mariani's. It's truly a hidden gem as it isn't even ON THE MAP. Only locals know about it and always had a steady line getting in. So if you plan on going... get here EARLY. Especially for their cornetti (croissants!)
Afternoon: We had a tour to the Colosseum & Roman Forum later in the afternoon which meant more traversing the ancient city of Rome! Again, I simply think getting LOST is the best way to spend your time on trips! We stopped for some more gelato then took another Rick Steve's audio tour of the Jewish Ghetto (a must in my opinion) and we ended up going past the famous Circus Maximus. After another slice of pizza it was off to our tour!
Evening: Our final tour with the AirBnB crew on our first trip to Rome! To the Colosseum. We must have taken 50 selfies which created a 360 view of this humongous piece of history. We learned that gladiators were a lot shorter and according to our guide"chunky boys" than what Gerard Butler has led us to believe.
Even though my legs were feeling like they were ready to give out (22K steps a day would do it!) but it was worth the climb up Palatine Hill for sunset. It's like watching a movie marathon, except you're surrounded by Roman ruins and breathtaking views.
Day 4: Options for your Final Day in Rome!
- Enjoy the beauty of Piazza di Spagna and climb the Spanish Steps for a panoramic view.
- Wander through the quaint streets of Monti, a neighborhood brimming with artisan shops and cozy cafes.
- Try all of the coffee bars - seriously. You can't go wrong.
- Enjoy an aperol spritz street side while surrounded by literal ancient art.
Discover iconic sites like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, the Vatican Museum, and St. Peter's Basilica. Don't miss the awe-inspiring Pantheon and the picturesque Trevi Fountain.
Purchase skip-the-line tickets online for attractions like The Vatican and the Colosseum. Booking that Tour is a MUST IMO. The lines were MASSIVE even early in the morning!
Consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of Spring (April to June) and fall (September through October) to enjoy nicer weather and less crowds!
Nope! Although a service charge is often included in restaurant bills. Just ask for the check! "Il Conto, per favore!"
Yes, then visiting churches like St. Peter's Basilica, dress modestly. Cover your shoulders and knees, and in general just avoid wearing revealing clothing.
Set a daily budget for meals, transportation, tours, and attractions. Honestly, the food here is very budget friendly (we were able to grab food on the go as well as a sit down restaurant for less than $80 a day for two people!) and those AirBnB tours I kept mentioning are a fraction of the cost of other tour companies I looked into and I felt like I got much more out of it!
I think there is enough to do here that you could stay a week! But for my personal preference I loved Tuscany and could spend a month or two in this gorgeous country!
Other Travel Posts you might like:
- 2 Days in Venice Itinerary: Our Travel Guide for First Timer's
- Unforgettable 3 Day Tuscany Itinerary
- The Ultimate Weekend in Waco Travel Guide - Magnolia and More!
- Ultimate Travel Guide to Charleston,SC
Feel like eating Italian now?
- The BEST Authentic Eggplant Parmigiana
- Pasta e Fagioli Soup (Italian Pasta and Beans)
- Sheet Pan Italian Meatballs
- Italian Caprese Salad with Crispy Prosciutto
- Toasted Caprese Sandwich with Basil Pesto
- The BEST Gluten Free Pepperoni Pizza