5 Days in Rome, a Perfect Itinerary

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Rome, the previous Caput Mundi (capital of the world), is an overload for your senses. The whizzing of a vespa, the intertwining of Italian with a hundred different languages, the smell of Pizza, the ancient ruins. The city is ridden with all-things-grand! From the pretty piazzas that end in colossal monuments, to ancient Roman forums that stand juxtaposing Baroque churches…Rome is a journey back in time.

Spending five days in Rome is enough to make you relish in this splendid open-air museum, and being there I couldn’t help but be transported to different eras with every masterpiece I encountered.

Dotted with treasures, with history, myth and legend – Rome is a city unlike any other. Having five days to spend in Rome is a great way to get a taste of the city’s mysteries and glamour! Here’s how to fit all the major attractions in five days.

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission.

View of Rome from Castel Sant'Angelo
View of Rome from Castel Sant’Angelo

Where to Stay in Rome

The Orange Hotel: The Orange Hotel offers incredible design, proximity to the most major sites, and a very quintessential vibe that reflects Italian architecture. The rooms are modern and spacious, a breakfast buffet with Italian delicacies is served daily on the rooftop restaurant, that enjoys views of St Peter’s Basilica. The neighborhood is lovely with the Vatican and a metro stop just steps away. There was also a great choice of restaurants, bars, and shops nearby. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.

Royal Rooms – Via Del Corso: You could stay at Royal Rooms which is about 201m away from Via Margutta and enjoys all types of amenities – from shopping, nearby plazas, cafes and things to do, along with amenities like a bidet, shower, hairdresser and much more. – Check here the latest prices and more details.

Palazzo Medusa: Located just outside Palazzo Medusa, this property is one of the best in Rome and is a lot of people’s top pick there. Not only do you get a large TV, bathroom, hairdryer, and more, you also get to enjoy a wonderful gastronomic experience, bike rental, and super comfy beds! – Check here the latest prices and more details.

Navona Colors Hotel: The thing about Navona is that it sells well and it sells fast. It’s an incredible choice for travelers – there is food, the city walks around, and bike rental. But there’s also the unbeatable location of being 192 m from Piazza Navona. You’ll thoroughly enjoy the Baroque architecture of the hotel.- Check here the latest prices and more details.

Piazza Del Gesu Luxury Suites: This is where comfort and slide go hand in hand, and the hotel itself has a hard to compete with the location. Located directly on the Piazza Navona, this hotel is a 5-minute walk away from history – the Pantheon… You’ll also enjoy free city views, free WI-FI, furnishings, and everything you need.- Check here the latest prices and more details.

Check out my post on the best areas to stay in Rome by a local.

How To Spend 5 Days in Rome: A Detailed Itinerary

5 Days in Rome: Day One

After arrival, I spent some time in my hotel settling, taking everything in and ready for all the sight-seeing I will be doing in the next days. I decided to make the Pantheon my first stop!

Pantheon

Pantheon
Pantheon

The Roman Pantheon, the most complete and best-preserved Roman building (and building in general) in the world is a sight to behold. The concrete structure is the largest in the world, and the building is simply wonderful. . Interestingly enough, on the walls, you can see the dates that reveal the age – a structure dating back to 125 A.D!

Inside the Pantheon
Inside the Pantheon

Apart from the exterior, the interior itself is even more impressive. The Oculus inside is the only source of light, and you’re advised to stay silent, so the play of lights, architecture, the dome and the designs inside along with the silence made this experience so much better.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona

I then headed to the famous Piazza Navona, lined with Baroque palaces, shops, cafes, and lavish fountains. Originally a circus, the piazza was a lively place to be filled with energy, tourists, and street artists!

Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona

I walked around the Bernini Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, a fountain that has an Egyptian obelisk as a masterpiece, and then took pictures of Fontana del Moro and Fontana del Nettuno.

Campo dei Fiori

After being in Piazza Navona, I went over to Campo Fiori, by far the city’s liveliest plaza ringed with a medieval castle and a bustling market. The plaza is noisy, colorful and vibrating with life and the market is a true reflection of Roman life with fresh veggies and nice drinks.

At night, the plaza turns into an open-air bar with hundreds of people drinking in the streets from the bars that line the plaza.

5 Days in Rome: Day Two

Piazza Venezia

Piazza Venezia from the Vittorio Emanuele monument
Piazza Venezia from the Vittorio Emanuele monument

I started my second day in the Piazza Venezia, the geographic heart of the city with proximity to some of the most important attractions. There’s plenty to see there, from palaces, shopping streets, fun restaurants, and even a hill!

Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II

National-Monument-to-Victor-Emmanuel-II
National-Monument-to-Victor-Emmanuel-II-

Passing by this remarkably large building, I couldn’t help but explore. White-washed with marbles, and showcasing medieval architecture – this building was built to honor the unification of Italy.

What struck me at first was the contrasting white marble with the surrounding brown-colored, normal buildings. It just completely stood out, and entering it I couldn’t help but be amazed at the statues, columns, the grand stairways and of course the statue of the horseman.

After exploring, I went to the top for 360-degree panoramas of the entirety of Rome – from there I could see pretty much all important sites including the Colosseum, the monuments, and of course, the squares!

The Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

Roman Forum in Rome
Roman Forum in Rome

The Roman Forum was once the greatest sight in all of Europe, the center of the Roman Empire, and Rome’s pulsating hub where life ebbed and flowed. It was once dotted with temples, palaces, shops, stalls and much more from the Empire.

The Roman forum
The Roman forum

Today, the site is still filled with history, and I was able to get a glimpse into the past grandeur of this place. There was an abundance of things to see; from triumphal arches, remains of buildings, and temples.

Colosseum

See the Colosseum is a must in your Rome itinerary
Colosseum

I then arrived at the most important attraction in all of Italy…The Colosseum…The personification of majesty, grandiose, and splendor of the Ancient world.

With my husband at the Colosseum
With my husband at the Colosseum

Of course, it’s as symbolic to Rome as the Eiffel Tower is symbolic to Paris, and the monument perfectly juxtaposes gore and glory together. You’ll find a structure that has survived earthquakes, fires, riots, and wars and still sands proudly, showcasing survival and lavishness!

2000 years worth of history are perched in the Colosseum, and exploring the structure, the second floor, the passageways and the arena is a wonderful experience.

Inside the Colosseum
Inside the Colosseum

Tip: The Roman Forum, the Colosseum, and Palatine Hill were incredible places to visit, and the most important monuments in Rome, so needless to say, the lines were massive. Luckily, we bought skip the line tickets that helped make our tour so much easier and convenient.

Find here more information about the skip the line tour to the Colosseum and Ancient Rome

5 Days in Rome: Day Three

Villa Borghese and Galleria Borghese

Now Rome is known for its extensive collections of art, museums, and galleries. In every corner, there were displays of art in museums, piazzas, churches and even in plazas.

The Galleria Borghese is one of the greatest museums in Italy, with one of the world’s largest private art collection. The villa that the museum is housed in was used for entertainment and now is used to display the art collection.

I loved that you could see major works by artists like Bernini, Titian, Caravaggio, Raphael, Correggio, Rubens, and Canova, while also admiring the incredible works of marble, the statues, and the Renaissance gallery. I bought skip the line tickets that made the entire ordeal much easier since the lines were discouraging!

After exploring the gallery, I spent some time amongst beautiful flowerbeds, fountains, and temples in Rome’s largest park – Villa Borghese.

Piazza di Spagna and Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps
Spanish Steps

Piazza di Spagna is one of the most renowned plazas in all of Rome, with the iconic golden hues of Spain perched in the middle of Italy. Fountains, the iconic steps, and a bustling vibe all give this square its personality.

Fontana di Trevi

Fontana di Trevi - Rome in five days
Fontana di Trevi

I had to elbow my way through the crowds to get to the gorgeously illuminated Fontana di Trevi. The true epitome of magic and fantasy – an attraction straight out of a storybook fairytale.

The Trevi Fountain is an iconic sight in Rome, and it was even more awe-inspiring to see it in real life. Great examples of Baroque art, the sea-god Neptune, winged horses, and allegorical figures all give this fountain the ethereal vibe it permeates.

This is where you come to toss one coin so you can come back again to Rome, according to legend. If you want romance, toss two, and if you want to marry your partner, toss three!

Via Veneto

After a long day of exploring some of Rome’s most important attractions, it was time for me to shop at the Via Veneto. The classic boulevard boasts some of the best shops in Rome, along with lively bars and vintage shops. There was an array of handbags, accessories, antiques and much more.

Via del Corso

The shopping doesn’t end there! The longest street in Rome is dotted with high-street stores, designer shops, boutiques, and an array of international brands. Not much of an authentic Roman shopping experience, but an authentic one nonetheless.

Piazza del Popolo - 5 day itinerary Rome
Piazza del Popolo

You can also do a little bit of sight-seeing as you walk the street with the Piazza Venezia and Piazza del Popolo.

5 Days in Rome: Day Four

Vatican City

Vatican

My fourth day was one of the most life-changing experiences to be had. Vatican City, the Holy See and the smallest country in the world, this place is nothing short of magical, and holy. An unparalleled spiritual discovery, the Vatican is dotted with holy buildings, lavishly-decorated churches, galleries, and gardens.

Tip: Visiting the Vatican is an essential Rome experience, and it will be quite overwhelming! Before anything, you should know that the queues are huge. No matter how much you think you can wait, you can’t. The queues go on for seemingly forever, so I recommend a skip a line tour.

Another way to enjoy the Vatican if you don’t have much time is by this Pristine Sistine, early entrance small group Vatican tour. The reason I like this tour is that you get inside the Vatican one hour before it opens, the group is small and you get to see the Vatican in under 3.5 hours.

All 3 times I’ve been there were with the skip the line guided tour, and it added to the overall comfort and convenience of my entire visit there.

The Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel

inside the Vatican Museum

No museum in the world compares to the Vatican Museum. It is simply without any doubt, the most beautiful museum in the world. Countless masterpieces are housed in this building, along with paintings and sculptures.

The largest museum complex in the world is almost impossible to explore in one day. There are over 1,400 rooms filled to the brim with priceless art that dates back 3,000 years.

Think Egyptian mummies, classical sculptures, tapestries, canvases and everything ranging from Renaissance art to detailed frescoes. You could also check out the Hall of the Maps showing you some of the most important lands and their old maps.

the map room at the Vatican with the impressive ceiling
the map room at the Vatican with the impressive ceiling

The Pinacoteca Vaticana and the Stanze di Raffaello are also definitely worth checking out.

St Peter’s Basilica

The Vatican is ridden with superlative, and it doesn’t end at the museum. The St Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world with some of the most lavishly decorated interiors in the world. It’s a celebrated edifice, with unparalleled size and opulence, and is an unforgettable experience in general.

You can check out the breathtaking interior, or La Pieta, the moving sculpture of the Madonna, or the main basilica halls. There are tombs to discover, colored windows, and golden angels!

Climbing the Dome

View from the Dome

After exploring the Basilica, you can reach the dome (either through an elevator or a 320-step climb), and get rewarded with the most breath-taking, gasp-deserving views in Rome. You’ll get panoramas of Rome, the buildings, the winding alleys, the plazas…This is when you realize the true grandeur you’re surrounded with.

Check out some great tours of the Vatican:

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s

Exclusive Early Morning Vatican Tour.

Castel San Angelo

Castel Sant Angelo
Castel Sant Angelo

Enter through a stone ramp and check out the Castle that dates back to Roman Times to the year 135! You can explore the mausoleum, the prison, and warehouses, or the upper terrace with unparalleled views!

Book here your skip the line tickets and 1 hour tour of the Castle

5 Days in Rome: Day Five

The great thing about the fifth day is the flexibility you have. You’ll be done exploring the main attractions of Rome, and it would be the perfect time to explore your options.

You can have a day trip to Pompeii where you get to explore the mountains, the volcanic crater, get gorgeous views of the Bay of Naples, and travel back in time to explore the lost city of Pompeii. The city is filled with ruins; frescoes, winding streets, and much more that are surprisingly very well preserved. The place there takes a full day to see.

Find here more information about the day trip to Pompeii

You can also have a food tour if you’re more of a foodie and want to experience the delicious Italian cuisine. It’s practically a walking tour where you taste different wines and tours around Rome!

If you want to learn how to make that delicious food so you can take and utilize your skills back home, then definitely go to a pasta-making class!

Practical Information for your 5-day Rome itinerary

How to get from and to the airport in Rome

Rome has two airports, Fiumicino and Ciampino.

From/to Fiumicino airport:

Fiumicino airport is only 26 km away from Rome.

Train: The Leonardo Express is a direct train that connects Fiumicino airport and Termini Station in Rome in 30 minutes. Tickets cost 14 euros each way. Remember to validate your ticket in the machine before entering the train. Tickets are valid for 90 minutes.

Regional FL1 Train connects the airport with other stations in Rome (not Termini) like Tiburtina. From there you can take the metro to the city center. Tickets cost 8 euros. You will need another ticket for the metro (1,50 euros) Remember to validate your ticket in the machine before entering the train. Tickets are valid for 90 minutes.

Shuttle Bus: The cheapest way to travel between Fiumicino airport and Rome’s city center is by a shuttle bus that makes 2 stops in the center (Termini Station and Piazza Cavour near the Vatican). Journey time 55 minutes depending on traffic.

Tickets cost 6 € one way and you can buy them online.

Book your shuttle bus from and to Fiumicino airport here.

Taxi: You will find taxi stands outside all the airport terminals. Always use the official taxi services and do not take offers from drivers inside the terminal. There is a fixed price of 48 € each way.

Private Airport Transfer with Welcome Pick-Ups: The easiest and most comfortable way to get to the city center is by a private transfer service like Welcome Pick-Ups. It costs exactly the same as a regular taxi, only now you will have already prepaid for it, your driver will be waiting for you at the arrivals hall holding a sign with your name on it, a bottle of water and a city map. You will not have to worry at all about the language as all drivers speak English. There is a fixed price of 48 € each way.

Click here for more information and to book your trip

From/to Ciampino airport:

Shuttle Bus: The cheapest way to travel between Ciampino airport and Rome’s city center is by a shuttle bus that makes a stop at Termini Station. Journey time 40 minutes depending on traffic.

Tickets cost 5 € one way and you can buy them online.

Book your shuttle bus from and to Ciampino airport here.

Private Airport Transfer with Welcome Pick-Ups: The easiest and most comfortable way to get to the city center is by a private transfer service like Welcome Pick-Ups. It costs exactly the same as a regular taxi, only now you will have already prepaid for it, your driver will be waiting for you at the arrivals hall holding a sign with your name on it, a bottle of water and a city map. You will not have to worry at all about the language as all drivers speak English. There is a fixed price of 44 € each way.

Click here for more information and to book your private transfer.

Where to Eat in Rome

Of course, it’s no secret that Rome offers one of the best gastronomic experiences in the world. Who doesn’t love Italian food with all its flavors and diversity? You can experience Italian food on every street, and in every back alley and neighborhood, but you can also choose some of the best!

La Proscuitteria: This is one of the best places to eat in, Rome and is renowned for the incredible food and wine. It’s a small place, very cozy, with incredible staff and it just around the corner from the Trevi fountain! This is where you go to have a quintessential Italian food experience!

Address: Via della Panetteria, 34/A, 00187 Roma
Via della Scala, 71, Trastevere, 00153 Roma
Via del Governo Vecchio, 21, Navona, 00186 Roma

Obica: This modern mozzarella place gives you authentically delicious Roman pizza, has a great breakfast, fresh food, and decent portions.

Address: Piazza di Firenze, 28, 00186 Roma 
Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, 16, 00186 Roma

Antica Enoteca di Via della Croce: A restaurant that dates back to 1842, this place has managed to keep its wooden bars, its authenticity, and its interior! Very close to the Spanish Steps, the restaurant has great food like soups, pasta, polenta, and pizza and it’s not at all overly priced.

Address: Via della Croce, 76, 00186 Roma

Pizzeria da Baffetto: If you want the best pizza in town, this is where to go! Delicious, warm pizza in a gorgeous, cozy environment, and it’s definitely worth the wait for the legendary pizza.

Address: Via del Governo Vecchio, 114, 00186 Roma

Café Sant Eustachio: Rome is known for its bustling café culture, and this is simply one of the best there. Great coffee, a great location next to the Pantheon, a cozy atmosphere, and unique coffee combinations!

Address: Piazza di San Eustachio, 82, 00186 Roma

San Crispino: You can’t really go to Rome without trying the renowned gelato! This place has been offering the best gelato since the early ’90s, with different flavors and a quirky exterior.

Address: Via della Panetteria, 42, 00187 Roma

You can also check out my post: What to eat in Rome.

Best time to visit Rome

Winter: the Christmas period is one of the best choices for a trip to Rome because you’ll have the chance to see the lights, the Christmas trees, and the colorful decorations, other than to visit the Christmas markets. Roman winter is quite mild (the temperature rarely goes below 10°C) allowing you to stay long hours in the open air.

Spring: it’s the most popular period to visit Rome, both because of Easter celebrations and its warm and sunny weather attracting large crowds of tourists. It’s the best time of the year to discover the Roman parks, but some rainfalls are still possible.

Summer: Roman summer is too hot to go sightseeing, but it could be the right moment to explore the surroundings, like the Roman castles or the Lazio coastline with the seaside resorts of Anzio and Ostia.

Autumn: the best period to enjoy warm weather, fewer tourists around and a charming atmosphere created by the seasonal light and colors.

Best month to visit Rome: October

How to get around Rome

By subway: fast, cheap, and efficient, the subway has 3 lines (A, B, and C) taking you everywhere in town. 1 ticket costs 1,50 euro and it lasts for 100 minutes after validation. You can also choose the ticket named “Rome 24h” lasting 24 hours after validation and costing 7 euro. As an alternative, choose Rome 48h or 72h costing respectively 12,50 euro and 18 euro. Download the subway map here https://www.travel365.it/file/mappa-metro-roma.png

By bus: they are slow and often late due to the frequent traffic jams, but you can choose among more than 400 lines! Tickets are valid both on subway trains and buses. Download the map here: https://www.travel365.it/file/mappa-bus-roma.pdf

By car: it’s not a good choice, because of heavy traffic

On foot: it’s the best way to discover the city, especially if you stay in the city center!

Special Tip: have a look at this tourist pass named “Explorer Go Rome” (https://gocity.com/rome/en-us). It lasts 30 days from validation and you can choose your favorite attractions to get a discounted entrance fee!

Overall, Rome was an overwhelmingly beautiful experience. There was so much to do, and getting bored or tired of the sites is almost impossible. My most important advice to you would be to get a skip the line ticket pre-booked. Nothing really prepares you for the harrowingly long queues except booking in advance and getting a skip-the-line ticket. This itinerary would not have been possible without it, and each attraction would have taken an entire day to get there.

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Planning a trip to Rome, Italy? In this guide to Rome you will find the best things to do in Rome in 5 days, a great 5 day itinerary to Rome.

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17 thoughts on “5 Days in Rome, a Perfect Itinerary”

  1. Your photos are beautiful. I love the editing. What kind of software did you use.
    Also your notes and itinerary for Rome was perfect. I was in Rome last year and had a wonderful time.

    Reply
  2. I am really pleased with your itinerary! May I know where you bought the tickets for the places you went?
    Did you booked it beforehand like the colosseum, palatine hill etc or you can buy it on the place itself on the spot? Thanks

    Reply
    • Thank you very much, Al. I bought my tickets online a month in advance. The lines are huge in most attractions so I suggest a skip the line ticket bought a few days earlier.

      Reply
  3. Can you tell me how you traveled between sites on Day 1 through Day 4… Is that all walk-able or do we have to take taxis.. We are planning trip end of March..thanks

    Reply
    • Rome is definitely walkable. Where are you staying? If you stay at the center you can walk everywhere otherwise you can also take the metro which is extremely easy to navigate. No need to take a taxi at all. Beware with taxis though you cannot hail a taxi you can take it from a stand and always be careful to take the official ones.

      Reply
      • Thanks for your prompt response. Another question.. We are visiting for 5 days just like you… Do you recommend any day trips from Rome..

        Reply
        • You are welcome. As a day trip, I recommend Pompei. Alternatively, you can get a glimpse of Florence too. It is close by highspeed train. I would choose Pompei though.

          Reply
  4. My son is planning his first trip to Italy. He wants to focus on Rome, Pompei, and Florence. Love the 5-day for Rome. Do you have similar recommendations for Florence? Thanks.

    Reply
  5. Was glad to have found this website after looking for sample itineraries in Rome.

    Very disappointed to discover this article seems to be a sort of advertisement for all sorts of getyourguide tours. Practically all the links lead to their web page where they sell all kinds of tours.
    It is ok to sell tours but that should also be mentioned explicitly so as not to mislead readers.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your message. I am recommending some tours from Get Your Guide as I use them myself. I highly recommend that you book a guided tour or skip the line tickets when visiting Rome. You don’t have to do it from my site or Get Your Guide though. I have a disclaimer at the end of the post but you are right it is not very visible so I am going to move it at the top. I have no intention to mislead anyone and I am sorry if I made you feel this way. Enjoy your trip to Rome it is a beautiful city.

      Reply
    • Thank you. You need to wake up very early in the morning in order to take photos without people. Some of these are not mine though.

      Reply

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