We visited Rome and the Vatican for four days in May 2017 and prepared (what we consider to be) a great first timer 4 day Rome itinerary covering the main attractions. We had an amazing time and it has been my favourite city break so far. It was the perfect romantic city getaway with so much to see and do. We were in awe of the incredible architecture, dreamy church frescos and delicious food! Rome is somewhere we would definitely return to. We travelled as a couple (pre-children!)
I hope our itinerary, holiday details, map and budget will help someone else planning their trip!
Rome 4 Day Itinerary:
Day 1 Central Rome:
We caught an early flight in, dropped our luggage at our Airbnb and set out to explore some of the Centro Storico (historic centre) on our first day.
- Spanish Steps – A popular tourist hotspot and public space for sitting and people watching
- Trevi Fountain – A large baroque fountain – another popular tourist spot. We visited in the evening when it was beautifully lit up and as the legend goes we threw in a coin to ensure that we would return to Rome again.
- Churches – We visited every church we came across to admire the amazing interiors! The frescos are unreal!
- Villa Borghese Gardens and Borghese Gallery – Lovely park and gardens to cool off in after sightseeing. It also houses the Borghese Gallery which has an impressive collection of art and sculptures. You MUST pre-book tickets in advance or you will not get in. Tickets cost us approx £12.99 per person. The gallery itself is relatively modestly sized so we were only there 1-2 hours but it was definitely worth going if you are interested in art.
Day 2 South East Rome:
- Colosseum – We did the Colosseum: Underground and Belvedere tour by CoopCulture which gives you access to the lower level of the Colosseum where the gladiators waited before a fight, and a view of the Colosseum from a terrace above. This is the only tour with access to these areas. It was an excellent tour and only cost £10 per person. There are other tours with good reviews too but which were a lot more pricy. As it is so cheap it is very popular and there are set dates each month where tickets are released for the following month, so you must plan ahead to get these tickets.
- Roman Forum and Palatine Hill – Archaeological sites of some of the oldest parts of the city. The Roman Forum comprises ruins of the former roman marketplace and government buildings. Palatine Hill was as legend has it, the location where Rome was founded and became one of the wealthiest areas in Rome. We ended up walking around these areas on our own and in hindsight wished we had booked a tour guide to bring it to life!
Day 3 The Vatican:
- We booked a Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, & St. Peter’s Basilica 3 hour tour with City Wonders, but there are so many tour guide companies so just check any you are considering on TripAdvisor. This cost us £54 per person (now £50 here). The tour was great, and the sistine chapel amazing, but expect it to be jam packed!
- Saint Peters Square – Large square outside St. Peter’s Basilica
Day 4 Central Rome:
- Pantheon (Free entry) – Impressive ancient roman temple with the world’s largest concrete dome. Normally long queues to go inside but moves quite quickly. If you stay nearby wait for a quiet period – we went in the early evening.
- More churches
- We ate a lot of amazing food but one place was outstanding –
Taverna Lucifero. I still dream about the truffle spaghetti and will 100% be returning one day. They also take you into a room of wine which you can pick out for yourself.
- Think about what you are doing on what days of the week. Some museums are closed on Mondays and it is not a good idea to go to the Vatican on a Sunday (we chose to go there on a Monday)
We stayed in a self-contained ensuite Airbnb room Dante’s Hell just around the corner from the Pantheon. This was so central we walked everywhere throughout our stay and could pop back for a siesta!
We flew into Rome Fiumicino Airport with Easyjet from Bristol and got the Leonardo Express Airport train to Central Rome (Termini Station). The train took about 30 minutes and were comfortable, regular and reasonably priced at €14 per person. There were cheaper (and slower) trains and buses if cost is a higher priority. We took an Uber from the Termini Station to our Airbnb and walked for the rest of our trip.
Budget for our 4 day Rome itinerary
Travel, Food & Drink
|Accommodation (3 nights)
|Annual Holiday Insurance*
|Train from airport to central Rome
|Uber to and from train station
|Food & Expenses
|Colosseum, Underground and Third Ring tour
|Vatican City Wonders Tour
Total Cost Per Person: £594 (*Including half the cost of insurance as this was an annual cover used for another holiday)