The Ultimate 4 days in Rome itinerary – I will tell you all you need to know and do whilst in Rome
“A fool is one who admires other cities without visiting Rome.” Francesco Petrarca, an Italian poet once said.
There is no doubt that Rome, the Eternal City, is a veritable open-air museum. Romantic, historical, and captivating simultaneously, Rome is unique and unlike any other European city.
I couldn’t dream of visiting a better destination in Europe than Rome. What to see and do in Rome? In this post, I tell you everything you need to know to visit Rome in this blog post.
A bit about Rome's history
On my latest trip to Rome, I finally understood why Romans say, “To visit Rome is to experience part of history“. I saw in the Italian capital a privileged place that the GODs and the heroes have created.
The legend says that Saturn descended from the skies to launch the Roman golden age at the beginning of the world.
Later, Herakles killed in Rome the monster Caucus, which raged on the Aventine. Then, in the next generation, the exiled Greek Evander had welcomed there the Trojan Aeneas who had gone in search of his new territory after the ruin of his city.
Rome’s history continued at Caesar’s time. At that time, Rome was at the head of a real empire and became the world’s capital. In 1377, the popes found Rome, torn by the Great Schism. Rome will not experience a real Renaissance until 1417.
The Italian capital will have difficulty recovering from its wounds, but the world will witness its resurrection during two spectacular events: the Jubilee of 1950 and the Olympic Games of 1960.
Rome’s infrastructures are equal to the big world capitals’ infrastructures; however, Rome preserved its historical side.
I can honestly say that I felt provincial warmth, tasted delicious Roman cuisine, and discovered numerous historical monuments in Rome’s historic center.
4 reasons why you should visit Rome
1) Walks through Art and History
Rome has remarkably preserved its monuments and exquisite artworks that contain a wealthy past. Strolling in Rome offers a scroll through the ages via its aesthetic and fascinating monuments. Many Roman monuments are listed in the UNESCO world heritage.
2) The visit of the medieval Trastevere
In this typically medieval Roman district, you can discover the Basilica of Saint Mary of Trastevere. You can also visit the square and chill in its many bars.
3) Streets full of charm
Roman streets are full of charm. I took great pleasure in strolling in these tiny streets, getting lost, finding my way, and getting lost again.
4) A visit to the Vatican
An actual state within a state, the Vatican is not just for people of the Christian faith. The Vatican is a majestic and unmissable state telling Rome’s story; it is worth visiting for its breathtaking architecture and rich history.
From London to Rome
From London, you can head to Rome to discover one of the most astonishing cities. I took a two way flight ticket that cost me £60.
I landed at Fiumicino Airport, the main airport in the Italian capital. Keep in mind that Fiumicino Airport is located west of Rome, towards the Mediterranean.
To reach Rome’s center, I had to go to Rome Termini; the station is located in Terminal 3 of Fiumicino Airport. Departures take place every 15 minutes between 6:38 a.m. and 11:38 p.m., and the trip lasts 30 minutes.
The price is £13 and free for children under 12 accompanied by an adult. To buy your tickets, head towards the kiosks and ATMs.
Accommodation in Rome
For my accommodation choice, I chose Hostel Carlito, which is located in the Marsala district, very close to Villa Torlonia. Six hundred meters separate Hostel Carlito from Roma Termini station. I chose Hostel Carlito because it has rooms with lockers, hypoallergenic pillows, and linens for each bed.
The hostel also has private bathrooms with courtesy toiletries, a hairdryer, and towels. It is located 5 minutes walk from Castro Pretorio, a famous Roman monument area. Hostel Carlito is also close to the Russian Embassy.
In case you are hungry, I recommend you go to Pizzeria Del Secolo. The pizzeria is visited every day by people from all over the world. Its staff is friendly, and it has a wide range of pizzas.
Best Pizza in Rome
If you want to eat in Rome like a real Roman, I invite you to visit Pizzeria Da Baffetto and Antica Enoteca.
1) Pizzeria Da Baffetto
Pizzeria Da Baffetto (Baffetto: small mustache) is one of Rome’s oldest and most popular pizzerias. I couldn’t leave Rome without tasting Pizzeria Da Baffetto’s pizzas. Several celebrities have visited Pizzeria Da Baffetto, including the Italian football pride Francesco Totti and the one and only Al Pacino.
With its many thin and crispy pizzas, you will have a hard time choosing your pizza. To help you, I recommend trying the 4 Formaggi pizza; it is a pure delight.
I can even say that it is a dining experience that I won’t forget. Due to the high traffic, it is best to arrive early at Pizzeria Da Baffetto, be aware that reservations are not available.
• Address: Pizzeria Da Baffetto, del Governo Vecchio, 114.
2) Antica Enoteca
Located in Rome’s touristic center, Antica Enoteca offers you the opportunity to accompany your wine with authentic Roman dishes.
You can enjoy your Roman dish on the outdoor terrace in the pedestrian street or on the long wooden and marble counter decorated with hundreds of bottles that adorn the place.
Antica Enoteca is an antique Italian restaurant worth a visit; it will reveal the secret of Italian food’s popularity to you. I recommend you taste their Risotto Frutti De Mare and Tiramisu.
• Address: Antica Enoteca, Della Croce, 76b.
My 4 day adventure in Rome
Day 1: Collosseum express tour and Porta Pia
I started my touristic journey in Roma by a Colosseum express tour. In my opinion, it is perfect for discovering one of the seven wonders of the world in a short time.
The Colosseum was Built in Rome’s center to highlight the beginning of a new dynasty, the great Christian persecutions, then the pride and resilience of the Romans.
The express tour lasts 45 minutes; it is conducted by an experienced tour guide who will explain to you the Colosseum’s history and importance. The express tour costs £40 for adults and £30 for children between 5 and 17. The tour’s price includes the Colosseum’s ticket fees.
When Nero, who had made Rome’s center his private palace, died, the emperor Vespasian ordered the construction of an arena inspired by the Greeks.
During its construction, Titus won the wars of Judea and took Jerusalem; Colosseum became a warning to anyone who wishes to oppose Rome.
Today, the Colosseum represents a symbol for any Christian because of the martyrs who perished there.
What to do in Rome at Night (Porta Pia)
At night, I visited Porta Pia, one of the gates of the Italian capital. Porta Pia is one of Michelangelo’s final artworks. For me, Porta Pia was a great start to appreciate Rome’s art and culture and be entertained.
At night, in Porta Pia, I found street artists and orchestras performing the Italian anthem and other songs.
Day 2: Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and Altare della Patria
The Pantheon is an ancient monument known for its famous dome. While unfortunately today, many ancient buildings in Rome are in ruins, the Pantheon is one of the few buildings – along with the Colosseum – whose state of conservation is remarkable.
The Pantheon is one of Rome’s monuments that should not be missed, as entry is free.
To visit it, I had to pass through two gigantic bronze doors dating from ancient times. Don’t forget to look down so you can admire the colorful marble-paved floor as well. After contemplating the floor, the most impressive awaits you.
The technical prowess of this building is the coffered dome and its multiple engravings. Pantheon’s dome rises to 43 meters high; it has an opening in its center that lets light through, giving the place a unique and exceptional luminosity when the sun shines directly on it.
If you want to return to the Eternal City after your stay, there is nothing wrong with forcing fate by visiting the legendary Trevi Fountain. In addition to granting the wishes of those who throw a coin inside, the Trevi Fountain is a real gem of the late Baroque period; it attracts all eyes.
The Trevi Fountain is arranged in the form of a stage performance. I had the opportunity to admire many statues, arcades, and columns.
The main Trevi Fountain’s attraction is Neptune (god of the seas) status. Neptune sits on a seashell-shaped chariot, surrounded by sea creatures such as seahorses, newts, and other mythological animals.
Remember that it is essential to properly throw the coins either with the left hand above the right shoulder or vice versa. A single coin thrown in Trevi Fountain means that you will come back to Rome at least once in your life.
Two coins mean that you will fall in love or else a personal wish will come true. Three coins thrown mean you are going to get married.
Piazza Navona is one of Rome’s most famous squares; you will undoubtedly find it hard to resist its charm when you visit it. Piazza Navona is a sports ground established by the Romans in Emperor Domitian’s name and dedicated to Greek athletes’ competitions.
However, the Romans found these competitions strange, if not immoral. The Pamphilj Palace, the Church of Saint-Agnes, and the different fountains’ complexity in the square are particularly worth a look.
Altare Della Patria
The Italian Monument of Victor Emmanuel II – otherwise known as the Altare Della Patria is a monument in downtown Rome that left me with a unique, enduring, and polarizing impression.
Designed by Giuseppe Sacconi, the Altare Della Patria was built to commemorate Italy’s unification under Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of Italy.
The statue represents Vittorio Emanuele II standing 12′ high and 40′ long on his horse; the Altare Della Patria is Rome’s largest statue. The horse’s belly was even big enough to host a banquet in 1911, attended by mayor Torlonia, Bastianelli, and 21 workers.
However, not every Roman likes the monument’s immense size. The locals found names that mock its exaggerated grandeur (the Wedding Cake).
Day 3: Vatican City
“The Vatican takes your breath away”. Joe Elliot, a British singer once said.
On my third day in the Italian capital, I headed to Vatican State to discover its fantastic museums. The tour includes visiting many astonishing monuments. Usually, the Vatican’s monuments are full; however, thanks to COVID-19, they were empty.
The tour costs £43 and is organized by a professional guide that gives in-depth information.
St Pietro's Square
On this tour, I visited St Pietro Square; it is one of the most famous and beautiful squares in the world. St Pietro Square’s dimensions are spectacular, 320 meters long and 240 meters wide.
Another astonishing aspect about St Pietro’s Square is that it is home to Saint Peter’s Basilica.
The 11 Vatican Museums were a pleasant surprise for me. They are considered among the most beautiful museums globally, housing many of the most famous artworks. Additionally, Vatican Museums display numerous eras from many countries such as Egypt, China, Italy, etc.).
Don’t forget to visit the Pio-Clementino museum; there you can admire the Apollo del belvedere sculpture. It is a copy of Apollo’s Bronze status.
The Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is the largest one in the Vatican. Since the 14th century, the building has been used to host numerous celebrations. Michelangelo, commissioned by Pope Julius II, produced between 1508 and 1512 the Sistine Chapel’s famous ceiling.
The Sistine Chapel’s famous ceiling represents Nine panels in the vault’s center representing creation, Adam, Eve, and Moses.
Later, between 1536 and 1541, Michelangelo inaugurated another masterpiece that made his international fame, the Last Judgment’s Enormous Fresco.
In Sistine Chapel, you can also admire twelve tapestries created by Rafael, the Renaissance painter and Michelangelo’s rival.
St. Peter's Basilica
I couldn’t leave the Vatican without visiting St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world. It was inaugurated in 1626 and has since been an important place of pilgrimage.
It can accommodate up to 60,000 pilgrims simultaneously. I had the chance to roam the Basilica and admire the columns and sculptures freely. It’s simply impressive!
St. Peter’s Basilica also houses the famous Pietà sculpture. The sculpture represents the Virgin Mary. It is so beautiful, so subtle, so expressive that I couldn’t help but wonder how Michelangelo was able to make such perfection.
After my tour, I went to the old bridge gelateria to try their notorious gelato. For 25 years, this ice cream parlor represented Rome’s finest gelato place. It is synonymous with tradition and quality.
The ice cream produced at Old Bridge gelateria is 100% natural, with no artificial additives. If you have an aversion to dairy-based treats, lovely sorbets, and frozen yogurts, know that they are also available.
Day 4: Terrazza del Pincio and Piazza del Popolpo
Before leaving Rome I had to visit Terrazza del Pincio and Piazza del Popolo.
Terrazza Del Pincio
Undoubtedly, Terrazza Del Pincio offers one of Rome’s best views; it is a great place to witness the sunset. I took the time to stop at the Pincio Hill lookout at Villa Borghese Park’s western end.
From one of its terraces, I could see Piazza Del Popolo. Additionally, I admired the Egyptian obelisk framed by four fountains in the center.
Terrazza Del Pincio offered me a spectacle of beauty, which I enjoyed by leaning on the fence to dream. When the sun disappeared into the sky, Terrazza Del Pincio’s sky took on a subtle orange color.
Additionally, I admired Saint Peter’s Basilica’s dome, which looked even more flamboyant at sunset.
How to get to Terrazza Del Pincio?
If you want to get to Terrazza Del Pincio, you can take the bus, Metro, Train, or Taxi. Once you arrive at one of the stations, it will take you around 5 to 20 minutes (depending on your transportation method) to reach Terrazza Del Pincio by walk.
Piazza Del Popolo
Located next to Roma’s north gate, Piazza del Popolo (People’s Square) is one of Rome’s most famous squares. In Piazza Del Popolo, I admired Obelisco Flaminio, a 24 meters high Egyptian obelisk located in the square center, dedicated to Ramses II.
Most tourists go to Piazza Del Popolo to visit the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo. It is an opportunity to contemplate magnificent works by Caravaggio and other exciting Renaissance art pieces.