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How Many Days in Rome Do You Need? A Complete Guide to Help you Plan Your Visit

If this is your first time visiting Rome, how many days in Rome is enough? And what should you do with your time?

Rome is one of our absolute favorite cities and we love visiting the historic sites, wandering the streets and enjoying the delicious food. Rome is also a great jump off city for exploring the rest of Italy and we usually visit Rome for a few days when we’re heading off to another part of Italy.

This post will help you decide how many day in Rome you need for your next visit as well as some important travel information including suggestions on where to stay, how to get around, and things to do in the city.

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How Many Days in Rome do You Need?

To see the most popular sites in Rome you need at least 3 days and preferably 4-5 days. This gives you time to take a few tours, visit the popular sites, and also take in the delicious food of the city.

If you only have 1-2 days it’s still worth spending time in Rome and you can walk around the city, enjoy the fountains, squares and take a tour of one of the historic sites.

Here are some sample itineraries for helping you answer the question, ‘how many days do you need in Rome.’ (scroll down for the best activities in Rome that you can substitute for the activities in these itineraries based on who you are traveling with, your interest, whether you have kids with you and more.

One Day in Rome

With one day in Rome, you have enough time to visit one of the major sites – start your morning with a tour of the Vatican Museums or the Colosseum. Choose a morning tour so you have the afternoon to explore.

Grab lunch midday and then do a self guided walking tour of Rome. Visit the most famous squares and the fountains – we follow this guide, but note that this is a lot of walking in one day. Finish off the day with dinner in town.

How Many Days in Rome
View of the River in Rome: How Many Days in Rome

Two Day Rome Itinerary

With two days in Rome you can slow down your pace a little and give your legs a bit of a break. On day 1 start with a tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum (we recommend taking a tour instead of just buying tickets – you can see our recommendations on the best Colosseum tours). Enjoy lunch and then take a walk through town stopping at the Spanish Steps and making your way to Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Enjoy dinner in town.

On day 2 in Rome, start with a visit to Vatican City and the Vatican Museums. Booking a tour will let your skip the lines and we recommend getting an early start when it is less crowded. In the afternoon give yourself time to see any of the sites you missed the day before, eat some gelato, visit Campo de’ Fiori or wander through Trastevere. Enjoy dinner in Rome or grab a drink on a rooftop bar if it’s summer.

How Many Days in Rome
Wandering through the streets of Rome: How Many Days in Rome is Enough?

3 Days in Rome Itinerary

This three days in Rome itinerary will give you most of the highlights at a fast pace. If you have more time, you can slow the pace down and consider more tours and even some of the day long tours outside of the city. Each day on this 3 day Rome itinerary has one historic/tour activity and then time to wander to other sites on your own. If you love tours, you can also book more tours (there are SO MANY great tours of Rome to consider). You can find many of the best Rome tours on Viator or Get Your Guide.

Pro Tip: If you are spending a few days in Rome, you should consider getting a city pass for discounts on many of the sites. 

OMNIA Pass – this includes the Vatican Museum and you get skip the line passes to both sites that also includes a discount.

Roma Pass – This pass gives you a very small discount on several sites

Rome City Pass – This tour has a number of attractions as well as some other highlights like transportation from the airport.

With 3 days in Rome start with a visit to the Colosseum (see the best best Colosseum tours) Enjoy lunch and then take a walk through the heart of Rome with visits to the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona. Enjoy dinner in town.

On your second day in Rome, spend some time in the morning walking the streets near Campo de’ Fiori and visit the Capitoline Museums. In the afternoon take a cooking class, or if you are visiting with young kids consider going to Gladiator School.

On the last day of your three days in Rome, take tour of the Vatican Museums. Booking a tour will let your skip the lines and we recommend getting an early start when it is less crowded. In the afternoon wander through Trastevere. If you’ve missed anything on the list below, choose one of the sites or take some time to do some shopping. Enjoy dinner in Rome or grab a drink on a rooftop bar if it’s summer.

With 4-5 Days in Rome

If you have 4 days in Rome, you can adjust the 3 day Rome itinerary above to give yourself more time at the different sites, or consider adding on visits to Santa Maria della Vittoria, San Luigi dei Francesi, or Basilica di san Clemente.

If you have 5 days in Rome you may want ton consider visiting some of the nearby sites outside the city such as a trip to the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Tivoli, Capri, Florence, Tuscany or Orvieto.

6 Day in Rome (or more)

If you have more days to relax in Rome, embrace the word relax and slow down your activities. Give yourself plenty of time to see each site and enjoy the rest of the day. Also consider several excursions outside the city or an overnight trip to one of the nearby cities of Florence of Naples.

Map of Things to do in Rome

Best Things to Do in Rome

There are so many things to do in Rome and so many amazing tours, it’s often hard to decide what to do and exactly how many days to spend in Rome. The itineraries above will give you a sense of what you can see in a day in Rome and below you can find the top sites in the city.

Note that while these are some of the most popular sites and activities there are plenty more amazing things to do if you have more time.

How Many Days in Rome is Enough?
Trevi Fountain: How Many Days in Rome is Enough?

Trevi Fountain

This is one of the most popular sites in Rome and gets VERY CROWDED. If you can, visit Trevi fountain early in the day or late in the evening as it’s sometimes hard just to get to the front to see the fountain. There is no fee to visit Trevi Fountain and it’s easy to stop by as you walk through town. You only need a few minutes to enjoy the fountain.

How Many Days in Rome is Enough?
Visit the Colosseum: How Many Days in Rome is Enough?

Colosseum

The Colosseum is an incredible and massive amphitheater that was completed in 80 AD. The Colosseum was home to 500 year of shows, gladiator fights, and battle reenactments. We highly recommend booking a tour to visit the Colosseum as you will learn more. Most of the best tours also include visits to the Roman Forum.

See more about booking a Colosseum tour.

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are often included in a Colosseum tour and since they are right next to each other, you should visit them at the same time. While the Colosseum is one of the most famous sites in Italy, the Roman Forum is even more interesting in many ways with many layers of history. It’s amazing to try to imagine Roman life unfolding on these streets several centuries ago!

Roman Forum: How Many Days in Rome is Enough?
Roman Forum: How Many Days in Rome is Enough?

Piazza Navona

This famous square and open space and is home to 3 of the most famous fountains in Rome. This public space is surrounded by restaurants and shops. This is a great place to soak in some of Rome and get a gelato or simply people watch. Like many of the other sites – it can get quite crowded here especially midday.

How Many Days in Rome is Enough?
Piazza Navona: How Many Days in Rome is Enough?

St Peter Basilica, Vatican

This famous church in Vatican City is built in the Renaissance style and is the heart of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope presides over a number of liturgies each year and many popes have been interred here. It is free to visit here however there can be very long lines. You can pay to book a tour or a skip the lines pass in advance to save yourself some time.

See some of the best tours of the St Peter Basilica.

St Peter Basilica, Vatican
St Peter Basilica, Vatican: How Many Days in Rome is Enough?

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

There are 26 different museums within the Vatican Museum making it an incredible place to visit. The Sistine Chapel is housed within the Vatican Museum and you can see the famous masterpiece by the great Michelangelo.

This is another place where we highly recommend a guided tour as you will get a lot more out of the experience. A visit to Vatican Museum will take about 3-4 hours. See more about buying tickets online or find tours online here.

How Many Days in Rome? Visiting the Vatican

Cooking Class

Taking an Italian cooking class is so much fun and you can learn to cook pasta, gnocchi, or so many other delicious Italian foods. Look for an interactive class if you are up for getting your hands dirty! You can also find food cooking demonstrations, food tours, and more.

See more cooking classes online.

Santa Maria della Vittoria

This church doesn’t look that impressive from the outside, but is truly gorgeous inside. Dating back to the 17th century, it was built to commemorate Emperor Ferdinand II’s victory at the battle of White Mountain. The church was made famous by the Dan Brown book Angels and Demons.

Go Wine Tasting

Italy is a classic destination if you enjoy whine tasting and Rome is the perfect place to try out some of Italy’s best wine. Learn about the wine regions, the best food to pair with local wine, and the best wine in the Lazio Region.

Learn more about Rome Wine Tasting

Pantheon

The Pantheon is centrally located and the best preserved Roman monument and has stood intact since it’s completion in 125 CE. The impressive building with it’s distinct hole in the roof can be visited in a relatively short amount of time and you don’t currently have to pay to enter (although this may change soon so double check before visiting). There is often a line to get into the site so plan to spend as much time waiting in line as visiting the Pantheon.

How Many Days in Rome: Pantheon

San Luigi dei Francesi

Another incredible church in Rome, San Luigi dei Francesi is centrally located near Piazza Navona. Built in the 16th century, this Roman Catholic Church. The church is easy to visit and you don’t need tickets to enter. We spent about 30 minutes visiting this church.

Trastevere

This is a beautiful, fun and slightly different part of Rome and is absolutely worth visiting. When you are deciding on how many days to see Rome, it’s important to remember that some of the best things to do in Rome aren’t all about the famous churches and large historic sites.

Trastevere is a Medieval neighborhood known for its food scene, small narrow streets, and mostly pedestrian zones. We stayed here on our visit in 2019 and fell in love with this part of Rome.

Basilica di san Clemente

Not far from the Colosseum, the Basilica di san Clemente is home to impressive architecture and beautiful artwork. The leveled church gives you access to many layers of Rome’s history. Step back in time as you descend deeper underground.

There is a limit to the number of visitors each day, so it’s important to book your visit online in advance. You can reserve your spot directly through the website.

Campo de’Fiori

This open air and outdoor market is a vibrant place to wander through, find a unique gift, flowers, or a delicious fresh food item. The name means field of flowers based on the time when this market really was a field of flowers.

There are restaurants all along the edge of the square and we enjoyed lunch here one day as we watch people walk through the market and the vendors joking around and juggling a soccer ball.

Spanish Steps: How many days in Rome

Spanish Steps

The Spanish steps are a steep climb of 135 steps built in the 18th century. It is a beautiful place to climb and get a view out across Rome and you will find many people simply sitting and watching the people go past. It doesn’t take long to visit the Spanish Stairs, but it is one of Rome’s iconic sites and worth a stop.

Capitoline Museums

This series of museums are full of art and archaeological artifacts. Located in the Piazza del Campidoglio the museums are some of the oldest in the world and are worth visiting during your time in Rome, especially if you are visit for more than a day or two.

You can purchase your entrance ticket to the museums online, but make sure your check the opening and closing hours online before visiting. Tickets are around 16 euros.

Gladiator School

A fun activity in Rome if you have kids is the popular Gladiator School. This fun and educational class teaches young kids what it took to become a gladiator. You will wear traditional clothing, learn gladiator fighting skills, and get entrance to the Gladiator school museum.

Planning Your Rome Visit: Things to Know

How to Get Around Rome

Rome is a very pedestrian friendly city, but it is also a big city. The best way to get around Rome is by taking the Metro. There are 3 lines that connect many sections of the city, although overall the metro is somewhat limited.

You can also take the bus or the tram that run through more parts of the city. We found the bus easy to navigate. In addition to the public buses you can find the popular hop on-hop off buses that stop at most of the major sites.

You can also find taxis in Rome and these are often best if you need to get to a specific place quickly. Note that traffic can be a problem in Rome, so plan accordingly.

Safety in Rome

Rome is generally safe although you should use common travel related safety practices. Rome can become very crowded and in the popular sites use caution to avoid pick pockets.

How many days in Rome? Eating out in Rome

Where to Stay in Rome

Deciding where to stay in Rome can seem overwhelming – there are so many options, so many different parts of the city and a range of options based on your budget. Rome tends to be more expensive than many places outside the city in Italy, but if you are visiting on a budget you can often find apartments for rent.

You can see an overview of the different parts of Rome and which places are the best areas to stay in Rome

We booked our recent visits directly through the hotel as well as through Marriot and booking.com.

Rome also has lot of lovely smaller hotels – check out 12 Boutique Hotels in Rome for a few suggestions.

When you are picking a place to stay in Rome – pay attention to the location and try to stay near at least one of the sites you are interested in exploring. On different visits, we’ve stayed near the Vatican, close to the Colosseum and in a few of the neighborhoods.

Below you can find a few options in a variety of price ranges:

Domus Sant’Angelo Apartment: Centrally located and good for a family

TRASTEVERE ALEXANDRO IL GLADIATORE: this is a goof budget option in the fun area of Trastevere.

Sophie Terrace Hotel: This is a more luxury but small hotel with incredible views of the city.

How Many Days in Rome: Visiting Vatican City

What to do Near Rome

When you’re deciding how many days for Rome you need, it may also depend on home much time to plan to spend exploring other areas near Rome. Rome is centrally located in Italy and it the perfect jumping off place for many adventures.

Use the links below to explore other amazing places in Rome:

What's Your Next Adventure?

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