The best itinerary for one week in Rome and around
Is spending one week in Rome too much? Never. It’s quite possible to spend 7 days in Rome and still not have covered everything there is to see and do. That’s why we’ve put together a 7-day Rome itinerary to help you prioritise.
One week in Rome
Day 1: Visit the Borghese Gallery and Roman Catacombs
For your first day in Rome, a mixture of activities is on the cards. This will take you to the heart of the historic centre, visiting underground tombs, and seeing one of the biggest private art collections in the world.
Start your day early by making your way up Pincian Hill for some sweeping views over the beautiful Piazza del Popolo. Here, you will find the Borghese Garden, one of the largest public parks in Rome, with its Villa Borghese, home to the Borghese Gallery.
The Borghese Gallery contains the art collection of Cardinal Scipione Borghese and includes famous work by Bernini, Caravaggio, and Raphael.
A unique timed reservation system allows only 360 visitors inside Villa Borghese at a given time. In addition, visitors can spend no more than 2 hours inside. If you book one of the earliest slots (the gallery opens at 09:00) you are guaranteed enough time for the other attractions on your itinerary for day 1.
Make time before or after your gallery visit to stroll through the gardens and have a coffee at Caffe Borghese. There are more than 90 points of interest, including monents and statues, in what is one of the largest public parks in Rome
Now you have the afternoon free for a tour of Rome’s catacombs. There are more than 60 catacombs in and around the city, containing thousands of tombs in a fascinating network of tunnels. Five of them are accessible with a Catacombs of Rome tour. They include the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, Catacombs of San Calissto, Catacombs of Priscilla.
Day 2: Visit the Vatican and the Trastevere district
A highlight of any 7-day Rome itinerary is a visit to the Vatican. Once again, the early bird catches the worm (or sees the Sistine Chapel in relative peace).
Either be at the Vatican Museums with your pre-booked skip-the-line ticket when it opens at 09:00 or book a Vatican breakfast tour.
From the Vatican Museums, you’ll move on to St Peter’s Basilica. Remember to go up into the dome and then down to the Vatican Necropolis.
When you’ve had your Vatican fix, it’s time to find a good lunch in the Trastevere district of Rome. Stop by the fountain in Piazza Santa Maria. You can easily spend the afternoon and evening in this laid-back district. Enjoy the sunset with a drink or gelato on Piazza Trilussa, either on the steps of the dell’Acqua Paola Fountain or at any of the many bars and restaurants frequented by locals and tourists alike.
Tip: Freni e Frizioni makes great cocktails.
Day 3: Discover Rome (and the Pantheon) with a Vespa
Take a break from your regular sightseeing activities for something more exciting. Rent a Vespa with which to dash through the streets of the Eternal City.
A leisurely drive along the banks of the Tiber river, stopping and taking a closer look at whatever catches your attention, is a wonderful way to go off the beaten track if you have one week in Rome.
Something on the beaten track worth a visit on the river banks is Castel Sant’Angelo, also called the Mausoleum of Hadrian. If you book your ticket in advance, it won’t even take such a big chunk out of your day.
Your next stop should be the Pantheon.
Make your way to the heart of the historic centre of Rome for a visit to the Pantheon, one of the architectural wonders of the world. You can look out for a lunch spot on the way. We can recommend Piazza Navona for this. Bernini Ristorante gets great reviews.
After almost 2,000 years, the Pantheon still has the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world. People arrive and leave in a steady stream to watch the natural light flowing in through the oculus, a central opening in the top of the dome.
Meander through the city until you find yourself in Piazza del Popolo at the northern entrance to Rome. Here, you can marvel at the Egyptian obelisk brought back to Rome by Emperor Augustus in 10 BC. Or view some art by Bernini, Raphael, and Caravaggio in the Santa Maria del Popolo church.
Admission to the Pantheon is free.
Day 4: Day trip to Pompeii
With 7 days in Rome, there’s no harm in taking some day trips to nearby Italian attractions. Pompeii, the Roman town that was buried under ash and lava when Vesuvius erupted in 79AD is a perfect day trip destination from Rome.
Situated just south of Naples, Pompeii can easily be reached by high-speed train. You can either go there independently or join an organised tour
Day 5: Visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
From the ruins of Pompeii to the ancient ruins of Rome. It’s a good idea to put aside a whole day to visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, the area in which Rome was founded more than 2,000 years ago.
The most stress-free way to experience the Colosseum is by buying your tickets online in advance. This means you can skip the ticket line and head straight for the security line. In the high season, it can save you up to 4 hours.
The Colosseum is the great Roman amphitheatre where the public was entertained by gladiators, exotic animal shows and even executions. To find out all about the history and design, it’s recommended to take a guided Colosseum tour which allows you access to otherwise forbidden spaces.
Try to get to the Colosseum before the tour buses arrive mid-morning. If you can’t, visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill first. Then grab some lunch before returning to the Colosseum in the late afternoon.
Colosseum tickets include entrance to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and vice versa. These top attractions are also included in the Roma Pass, the official city sightseeing pass.
Day 6: Spanish Steps, shopping and Trevi Fountain
The great thing about having one week in Rome is that you can alternate busy sightseeing days at top attractions with laid-back days where you can explore at your own pace.
After your mass tourist experience at the Colosseum and Roman Forum, it’s time to take it easy on day 6 of your 7 days in Rome. Why not explore more of Rome’s famous but free attractions at your own pace? You can do it all on foot and allow yourself to wander down any street to discover some of the city’s hidden treasures.
You can easily spend an hour or two on and around this famous staircase with its 135 steps. Why not enjoy your morning coffee and croissant here?
When you reach the top of the stairs, you’ll find yourself on the Piazza Trinita Dei Monti. Simply take in the views from here or take a look inside the twin-towered Trinita Dei Monti church on the edge of the square.
The Spanish Steps got its name because of the Spanish Embassy which is nearby. The square at the bottom of the stairs is accordingly called the Piazza di Spagna.
Always wanted to own a fashion garment by a famous Italian designer? After visiting the Spanish Steps you are presented with the perfect opportunity to do some shopping
The Via Condotti, the street directly in line with the Spanish Steps, is also Rome’s most famous shopping street. All the famous Italian fashion designers and brands are represented here, including Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari and Armani. If your budget doesn’t allow you actually purchasing anything, there’s nothing wrong with a little window shopping.
After leaving the Via Condotti you can slowly make your way to the Trevi district. Your final destination for the day is the Trevi Fountain. But take it easy – grab some lunch or relax in a park, because you don’t want to get here too early.
Tip: Gelateria Valentino has the best gelato near the Trevi Fountain.
The late afternoon or early evening, when most of the crowds have left, is a good time to arrive at the Trevi Fountain. It’s Rome’s largest, with the final design touches provided by Guiseppe Pannini in 1762.
Remember to bring not only one, but three coins to throw in the fountain. This will not only ensure that you’ll return to Rome but also that you’ll fall in love with an attractive Italian and end up marrying him or her.
Did you know that a million Euros worth of coins are thrown into the fountain each year? They are removed once a day and the proceeds are given to charities.
Day 7: Walking or cycling the Appian Way
On the last day of your 7-day Rome itinerary, it’s time to make some memories outside the city centre. You may have come across it on a catacomb tour, but the old Roman Appian way has so much more to offer.
Exploring the Appian Way nature and archaeological park on foot or on a bicycle is one of the most rewarding experiences for nature lovers visiting the Eternal City. Apart from the early Christian catacombs, the vast park area includes original Roman causeways, monuments, mausoleums, and the remains of Roman aqueducts.
You can reach the Appian way with public Bus 118, while many hop-on-hop-off sightseeing buses also stop here. Bikes can be rented at the park headquarters. With a packed picnic in your backpack, a day of cycling, walking and discovering in a landscape dotted with cypress and maritime pines lies ahead of you. It’s totally up to you how much time you’d like to spend here to end your 7 days in Rome on a high note.
Tip: If you’re unsure about where to go and what to see on your own, there are interesting guided walking or cycling tours of the Appian Way.
Conclusion to the places to see for one week in Rome
With the right itinerary and careful planning, one week in Rome can fly by in a flash. If you follow this 7-day Rome itinerary you will certainly leave satisfied that you experienced the best of Rome in a time-efficient way.