It isn’t without reason that it is said that all roads lead to Rome.
Every travel lover will sooner or later head to the “Eternal City” because this, in many ways, a unique metropolis considered one of the cradles of Western Civilization, represents an inexhaustible treasure of history, culture, and simple pleasures.
One of the most significant doubts you can face before traveling is how many days to spend in Rome.
Rome is indeed a huge city, one of the largest in Europe, and the number of sights is so great that it is often called an open-air museum!
Therefore, you can spend weeks in this city and be sure that you won’t get bored and will still have the opportunity to see something new every day.
However, since most tourists don’t have the opportunity to spend that much time or money, it is best to plan your visit in detail so that you can see all the main sights in a few days.
How Many Days in Rome is Enough?
Many sights and attractions in Rome are located a short distance from each other, so with good organization and planning, four days is enough to see most of what makes millions of tourists visit the Italian capital every year.
Make a schedule, book your tickets in advance to avoid long lines at the entrances to the most popular attractions, and prepare for a lot of walking.
Four days in Rome is also a good measure if the Italian capital is one of the stops on your trip through Italy.
However, if your busy schedule does not allow you to set aside this much time for Rome and you only have a day or two at your disposal, be sure that you won’t be able to visit everything that makes this city famous.
However, do not despair because even such a short time can be put to good use.
In that case, make a short list of the sights you want to see and consult mobile apps or a city map to organize your schedule of activities to make the most of the available time.
Are you the type of tourist who wants to see as many different things as possible, or is it essential for you to see the sights you visit in more detail, soak up the atmosphere and learn everything the tour guides have to share with you?
This question is also fundamental because the length of the list of sights you need to visit depends on your answer.
For example, you can see the famous Colosseum from the outside and take a quick photo in five minutes, but if you want to experience the place thoroughly, you will have to go inside and explore it, which will take you several hours.
Also, if you prefer to avoid the hectic pace and rush from one attraction to another, you need to relax, walk around the city and leisurely enjoy coffee, wine, or food in local restaurants, and adjust the plans to your rhythm.
In that case, it is best to either shorten the list of sights you will visit as much as possible or extend your stay in Rome by a few days.
Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect recipe. Rome is a treasure trove of cultural and historical treasures, but it is much more than that.
Rome is also a city of beautiful squares where you can enjoy an espresso or an ice cream, cobbled streets that will enchant you with their charm, and temperamental and charming people whose energy will inspire you.
Therefore, the final answer to the question of how many days to spend in Rome is up to you.
When is the Best Time to Travel to Rome?
The best month to travel to Rome is another one that is primarily up to you.
Rome is a good destination all year round. However, the crowds, prices, and the weather vary depending on the season.
Rome has a Mediterranean climate, so summers are hot, and winters are mild.
Average daily temperatures range from 8°C (46°F) in January to 26°C (78°F) in July.
If you’re trying to avoid the crowds and save money, the best time to go to Rome is between October and April, excluding the Christmas and Easter holidays.
During these months, you’ll find the cheapest flights and accommodation.
In addition, the queues to enter the city’s main attractions will be significantly shorter than usual, as fewer tourists choose this time of year.
However, the exceptions to this rule are the days around Christmas and Easter.
It’s because the whole of Italy, and especially Rome because it is home to the Vatican, has a great religious significance, so many Catholics visit this city during the most significant holidays.
On the other hand, Rome is enchanting at Christmas because it is beautifully decorated and festive.
Although winters in Italy are generally mild, it can get colder than you expect, so pack warm clothes.
The weather in Italy is enjoyable during May and September, although it can be rainy. In May, the daily average is 21°C (69°F), and on September 22°C (71°F).
During these months, you can enjoy sightseeing in the pleasant weather and still avoid the biggest crowds.
Most tourists come to Rome in June, July, and August, so prices are the highest.
Although the summers in Rome are beautiful, it can get too hot around noon.
If you’re traveling to Rome in summer, make a good travel plan that allows you to spend the hottest parts of the day out of the sun.
Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
What to See and Do in Rome?
One of the advantages of Rome is that no matter where you wander, you will come across something exciting and worth visiting.
It is a city where you can go without a plan if you have enough time. If you’re not limited by time and budget, feel free to embark on an adventure and let your intuition guide you as you explore your surroundings.
However, if you only have a few days and want to see the main sights, it’s safer to make a plan and stick to it as much as possible.
Try to group the places you want to visit according to the distance to make the most of the time during each day.
Also, try to avoid visiting numerous major sights on the same day.
For example, the most important attractions in Rome require several hours each if you want to see them properly, so if you visit two or three such sights on the same day, you will feel utterly exhausted at the end of the day.
It would be best to take a break between tours in one of the beautiful city parks or relax with a coffee or a treat.
If you spend the morning sightseeing, treat yourself to an afternoon of shopping or a meal at a romantic restaurant.
That way, you will recharge your batteries and take a further tour with new energy.
Below are suggestions for what you can see and do in Rome during your trip.
Of course, the list of attractions in Rome is much longer than the one we have prepared for you, but consider these suggestions as a list of sights you shouldn’t miss in the “Eternal City.”
If there is only one place you must not miss when traveling to Rome, it is definitely the Colosseum.
It can hardly be considered that you have been to Rome at all if you don’t visit the Colosseum.
This building, one of the most famous and most visited in the world, fascinates already with its monumental appearance, but visitors are additionally intrigued by its long and turbulent history.
The Colosseum was built in only eight years and only by human power. More than 60,000 slaves built this amphitheater from 72 AD to 80 AD.
The first name of the Colosseum was the Flavian Amphitheater, after the emperors of the dynasty that built it.
The name Colosseum came later, after the Latin word meaning colossal. Still, it actually did not describe the arena at all, but rather the massive statue of the emperor Nero that was located nearby.
Although there were hundreds of amphitheaters in the Roman Empire, the Colosseum was the largest and held around 50,000 spectators.
The primary purpose of the Colosseum was originally the fight between gladiators and between men and beasts.
It sounds shocking, but it is believed that more than half a million people and more than a million animals lost their lives in these fights, whose purpose was pure entertainment.
You will get the best idea of the Colosseum if you go down into its underground space.
The underground part, called the Hypogeum, was used to prepare the gladiators and to keep the wild beasts that later participated in the fights.
The Hypogeum was built from underground tunnels and dozens of animal pens.
Tickets for the Colosseum are usually included in a package with tickets for the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
All three sights are located nearby so you can visit them on the same day. However, leave enough time for all three attractions and see them without rushing so that you can enjoy the priceless experience these places offer.
Although based on the ruins of the Roman Forum, it is not easy to create a clear picture of what this magnificent square looked like in its heyday, you will be wholly impressed even with its remains.
The Roman Forum is full of colorful and tumultuous history, so we recommend you choose a tour with an expert guide to experience everything and better understand what the different parts of this fantastic place were for.
The Roman Forum was ancient Rome’s political, commercial, and religious center.
There’s a lot you shouldn’t miss in the Roman Forum.
For example, the Arch of Titus, apart from its magnificent appearance, is also significant because it is the oldest triumphal arch of the Roman Empire, after which many other triumphal arches were built.
The most famous building modeled on the Arch of Titus is the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Take advantage of the Basilica of Constantine, the largest building in the Roman Forum, of which only three soaring vaulted arches remain.
The remains of this building, which served as a courthouse but also had other purposes, today testify to the incredible construction skills of the ancient Romans.
There is also the Curia, next to which, according to legend, is the tomb of the founder of Rome, Romulus.
Don’t miss the remains of the Temple of Saturn, Temple of Romulus, Temple of Vesta, House of the Vestals, Temple of Antoninus Pius, and many other buildings.
You must have heard that Rome is built on seven hills, and on one of them, the Palatine Hill, according to legend, there was a cave where a she-wolf raised Romulus and Remus. It is on this hill that Romulus, according to the story, founded Rome.
Today, on this hill, you can visit the ruins of luxurious palaces and houses of wealthy Romans from the Republican era.
As well as being steeped in history, Palatine Hill is also a green oasis to relax and enjoy some of the best views of Rome.
Some sights you shouldn’t miss in this place are the Flavian Palace, the Temple of Cybele, Lupercal, and the Temple of Victory.
As its name suggests, the fascinating Pantheon in the center of Rome is dedicated to all the gods.
The Pantheon is impressive from the outside, primarily because of its size.
However, you will be genuinely stunned by the space that awaits you when you enter this temple.
From the marble floor, through the walls with paintings, frescoes, and statues, to the fascinating dome at the top of which there is an opening through which light comes in, this ancient building exudes a unique beauty.
Several important artists are buried inside the Pantheon, among them the most famous Renaissance painter Raphael.
Legend has it that the Pantheon was built on the exact spot from which Romulus ascended to heaven among the gods.
While the first building was created in 25 BC, after several fires, demolitions, and restorations, it was built in its present form by Emperor Hadrian.
The Pantheon can thank the fact that it has remained intact over the centuries because it was converted into a church by Pope Boniface IV in the seventh century.
Even today, the Pantheon is used as a Catholic church, where many believers come to.
The magnificent Spanish Steps are in the historic center of Rome, just fifteen minutes from the Pantheon.
Although it is no longer allowed to sit on the Spanish Steps, as tourists have been happy to do for decades, it will be enough to see them and walk along those more than 130 steps that UNESCO has long protected.
By the way, the Roman authorities recently imposed a fine of several hundred euros for anyone who sits on the Roman Steps.
An even higher penalty awaits those who dirty them or damage them in any way. Such a decision caused conflicting reactions in public.
While some support the decision that would protect the cultural treasures of Rome from intentional or accidental damage, others consider this law a bit excessive.
The stairs connect Piazza di Spagna with the Trinità dei Monti church, after which these stairs are called in Italian.
The Spanish Steps were built at the beginning of the eighteenth century and since then have been an important tourist attraction, a favorite meeting place for locals, and a place for romantic walks for couples in love.
They look lovely in spring, decorated with flower arrangements.
You must have heard of the legend that you should throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain if you want to return to Rome.
If you believe in such things, try to throw the coin the right way because the belief says you have to throw it with your right hand over your left shoulder.
It can be pretty challenging when thousands of tourists crowd around the fountain, but it’s worth a try!
The legend continues, saying that if you throw another coin into the fountain, you will surely find romance in Rome.
The third coin guarantees you a long and happy love and wedding in the “Eternal City”!
This legend alone is enough to explain the Trevi Fountain’s popularity. However, people adore it above all for its impressive beauty.
The fountain was built in the 18th century on one of the oldest Roman water sources.
The first architect, Nicola Salvi, didn’t wait to see the fruit of his labor, so the fountain was completed by the sculptor Pietro Bracci after his death.
The sculptures that decorate this fountain represent Neptune, the god of the sea, and his two sons, one calm and the other passionate, symbolizing the dual nature of the sea.
On the left side of the fountain, there is also a sculpture called “Asso di Coppe,” which, at first glance, has little to do with the symbolism of the rest of the fountain.
However, an anecdote claims that Nicola Salvi installed this sculpture just to annoy a local barber who constantly criticized his work. Allegedly, Salvi wanted to use the sculpture to block the view of the fountain to a barber whose salon was nearby.
Let’s get back to the coin toss. In addition to superstition, there is another reason to throw a coin into this fountain, and it’s even better.
Namely, a charitable organization directs the money collected from the Trevi Fountain to humanitarian programs worldwide.
It sounds incredible, but this fountain “earns” about 3,000 euros daily!
If you decide to visit the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Spanish Steps on the same day, you can rest in Piazza Navona.
It’s the perfect place to take a break and enjoy the view and a cup of espresso or ice cream.
This square dates back to the fifteenth century and is home to some impressive landmarks, such as the Fontana del Moro, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, the Fountain of Neptune, and Saint Agnese in Agone church.
In addition to the sights, you will mostly see tourists, artists, and street vendors in this square.
Rome is the only city in the world that contains an entire state. That is why it is almost unthinkable to go to Rome and not visit the Vatican City State.
Given the many sights in the Vatican, it is best to set aside a whole day for this visit.
You will enter the Vatican through St. Peter’s Square because this is the only place where the Vatican is not separated from Rome by thick city walls.
In the center of this circular square is a tall obelisk, and on the pillars surrounding the square, you can see statues of former popes and religious figures.
On the square is St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the world’s largest and most significant churches, in front of which there is usually a long line of believers and tourists waiting to get inside.
This church is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, and its interior is full of details that many famous artists worked on.
From the very top of the dome, which is only accessible by stairs, there is a fantastic view of Rome that you shouldn’t miss.
At the very top of the list of sights for which travelers from all over the world come to the Vatican and Rome is the Sistine Chapel.
Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the magnificent ceiling he painted for four whole years, and his Last Judgment fresco are genuinely so impressive you could spend hours in the Sistine Chapel just looking at these works of art.
Allow enough time to tour the Sistine Chapel and be sure to choose a guided tour to find out how Michelangelo, who until that point was known only as an excellent sculptor and not a painter, was chosen for the task of painting the ceiling in the first place.
You will also learn what hardships Michelangelo went through while performing this task, how he chose the “models” for the bodies and faces he painted, and how his work was reworked after his death.
The Sistine Chapel belongs to the Vatican Museums complex, where countless other works of art and exhibits await you.
Don’t expect to see everything these museums offer, as even a few days wouldn’t be enough to explore everything inside.
However, a little advance research, planning, and expert guidance will help you not to miss the most valuable exhibits in these museums.
A Few Additional Tips
However long you stay in Rome, try to make the most of your available time.
Here are some information and tips to help you have the best time possible and make Rome a perfect memory.
Where to Eat in Rome?
Enjoying food is an integral part of a trip to Rome.
In this city, you can enjoy some fantastic specialties and, of course, exceptional Italian wine.
However, you should know a few things before choosing where and what to eat.
First of all, the choice of restaurant is essential.
Although there are countless excellent restaurants in Rome, some are not so good, and the service is overrated.
Very often, restaurants near the most prominent tourist attractions may be much more expensive than you expect and offer you worse food than you hoped.
The old rule applies here: when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Locals know where to eat the best at reasonable prices, so feel free to follow them.
We also suggest you visit the famous Trastevere district. Besides being full of excellent restaurants, this part of Rome is perfect for enjoying a walk and exploring the charming and romantic winding streets.
Also, it does matter what time of day you go to a restaurant in Rome.
In this city, restaurants offer meals at specific times, so most places have lunch at 1 PM and dinner at 8 PM.
The restaurant may refuse to serve you if you arrive too early or too late.
Finally, never go to a restaurant when you are very hungry or short on time.
This advice may sound strange to you, but the culture of enjoying food in Italy is very important and meals last long, are eaten slowly and are meant to be enjoyed.
The Rules of Tipping
Tipping is not common in Rome, but it is not undesirable either.
Although Italians generally do not leave tips, in Rome and other cities visited by many tourists, waiters and taxi drivers are used to people from cultures where tipping is expected, so they will not consider it an insult if you leave them some change.
On the other hand, a tip is often included in the bill.
For example, the coffee you drink at the table will be more expensive than the one you drink at the bar, and the management of that price difference is compensation for the waiter’s service.
Also, sometimes you’ll see items like “table charge” on your restaurant bill, which is a pre-calculated gratuity.
Safety in Rome
Rome is generally considered a safe city, but you should avoid some parts of the city.
Fortunately, these are areas that tourists usually don’t even venture into, but you are advised to inquire when booking your accommodation in Rome.
What is problematic in the capital of Italy are pickpockets, of whom there are many, especially near tourist attractions.
Do not carry valuables or large amounts of cash with you, and keep an eye on your wallets and bags so that pickpockets do not spoil your vacation in beautiful Rome.
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