How Many Days in Rome is Enough? Best Guide for Quick Stays

Want to visit the Eternal City but not sure how many days in Rome is enough?

You’re limited and on time, and there are plenty of places to visit on a trip to Italy and Europe. How long to spend in Rome before moving on is a crucial question for your trip.

So, how many days is enough to see Rome?

For those looking for a quick answer, 4-5 days is a perfect amount of time to visit Rome. You can maximize what you see but also not possibly bore yourself with the city (which I don’t know is possible)

But, if you want a more detailed answer along with some itineraries, keep reading.

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How many days should I stay in Rome?

As mentioned above, 4-5 days is a perfect time to spend in Rome. If you wish to spend longer, I think there is plenty you can find to do.

Whether it’s dining, checking out museums, or exploring the outskirts, there’s always more to see in and around Rome.

But, if you’re tight on time, you may ask, “Is 3 days in Rome enough?

And the answer is yes! You can see most of the major highlights in Rome in 3 days. I would encourage you to spend more time in Rome to get a fuller experience.

How many days in Rome is enough is a question everyone asks themselves

But, I understand people are tight on time, so you have to use it wisely.

So, below, I’ve put together some quick itineraries to help you get around to the major highlights and maximize your time.

How many days in Rome, Italy? Rome itineraries

These itineraries will cover the major landmarks for your stay in Rome. There’s an itinerary here: three, four, or five days.

One thing I recommend checking out the different passes in Rome (for example, the 72h Roma Pass or the Rome Tourist Card).

These passes can get you unlimited access to Rome’s public transportation, which is crucial if you’re traveling with a lot of baggage. Plus, you can visit a few different landmarks depending on the pass you choose.

The Rome Tourist Card includes a bunch of perks and is at an affordable price.

So, check those out beforehand, as this could make your Rome trip far easier.

So, I’ll show you itineraries for:

What to see in Rome in 3 days

For this, your time is a bit tighter. So, it’s best to group the landmarks by their location to save you time.

Day 1: The heart of Rome

Attractions visited on Day 1:

  • Colosseum
  • Roman Forum
  • Palatine Hill
  • Altare della Patria
  • Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore

You’ll get five total tourist attractions on this first day, and they’re some big ones. Personally, I think walking between these is the best.

You get to pass by restaurants where you can sit and grab some food or a nice, large beer. You also walk among Rome’s buildings, experiencing the city center on the ground.

So, for this, we’ll start at the Colosseum. I know, a pretty big entrance, right?

Get your tickets online, and try and book early. This allows you to avoid many crowds (if possible at the Colosseum). And, you get to cross one of the large attractions off your list early.

The Roman Forum is an excellent look at ancient Rome

After the Colosseum, head to the Roman Forum.

If you purchase the Rome Tourist Card, you’ll get access to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum. These three are very close, and you could spend half a day walking around the ruins.

After you visit these three, you’ll head to Altare della Patria, or “Altar of our Fatherland.”

Last, head toward Basilica Papala di Santa Maria Maggiore to finish off day one.

An overview of Day 1

Day one will get you into the heart of Rome and show you what made it what it was. 

You start with the Colosseum, a World Wonder and world-recognized building. The sheer size of the building leaves you in awe that it was built so long ago.

Follow it up with the Roman Forum, where Rome grew from a small city to a major empire. Some of the most important decisions and events took place here.

Next Palatine Hill, where Romulus and Remus (the founders of Rome) were said to be found by a she-wolf. Later, it became one of Rome’s most esteemed neighborhoods, housing emperors and senators.

After, the Altar of the Fatherland honors the first king of a united Italy — Victor Emmanuel II.

Last, you get Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore to see the largest of the Maggiore churches in Italy. 

Built in 432, the church is said to have been built where Pope Liberius saw Virgin Mary in a dream.

An excellent day one intro to Rome!

Day 2: Roman Culture

Attractions visited on Day 2

  • Piazza Navona
  • Pantheon
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Spanish Steps

Day two will be a bit lighter. There will be four total attractions, and all of them are within walking distance of each other.

To begin, start at Piazza Navona. This wide open space features the beautiful Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers). Enjoy some time in this area, grabbing a coffee or some food before setting off.

Next, you’ll visit the Pantheon.

The Pantheon is one of the most impressive buildings I’ve seen in Rome. Its size is large, yes. But, it just feels even bigger when you’re standing in front of it. You can tour the temple/church if you’d like.

The Pantheon is a massive structure in the center of Rome

After, go to Trevi Fountain.

Everyone knows Trevi Fountain from the photos. What you don’t see, though, is the sheer amount of people that flock to this place. If you come here in the shoulders of summer (March-May or September-November), you’ll get the same view with less crowds.

Last, head to the Spanish Steps.

The Spanish Steps are another perfect photo-op. Watch out for the scammers who walk around trying to stuff roses into your hands. If your hand is open, they’ll stick a rose in it and hassle you until you pay them.

Day 2 overview

First, you’ll visit Piazza Navona which used to be the site of the Stadium of Domitian. Festivals and sporting events took place here (including chariot races), hence the square’s shape.

Next, you’ll get to see the Pantheon. It started as a Roman temple before becoming a Catholic church in 609 AD. This structure has been burned down and rebuilt, and has a fascinating history behind it.

After, the beautiful Trevi fountain and one of the most beautiful squares in Rome. The waters are said to pour out as a way to cool the city. But, if you’ve visited in the summer, you know it’s fighting a losing battle.

Last, the Spanish Steps are great for photos and people-watching. You can head to the top to tour the chapel, or just relax on the steps and watch the day pass by.

Day 3: Vatican City

Attractions visited on Day 3:

  • Vatican City
  • Castel Sant’Angelo
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Trastevere
  • The Aventine Keyhole

To start off your last day in Rome, you’ll head to Castel Sant’Angelo, which is near Vatican City.

After, take the short walk to Vatican City, and take in St. Peter’s Basilica. In St. Peter’s Square, you can get a beautiful view of the basilica and relax for a bit.

To visit the Sistine Chapel, you’ll have to book a tour. Book this online ahead of time, and you’ll schedule an appointment to visit.

Next, head south to Trastevere and roam the streets, get a drink, and grab some lunch. Trastevere is a beautiful area to walk around or find a cafe to relax. You’ll see many college students walking around, especially if you stay till the evening.

The Aventine Keyhole gives you a unique look at St. Peter's

Last, head to The Aventine Keyhole. It’s the perfect end to your day to view it basically where you began — only through a keyhole!

Day 3 overview

You’ll start the day with the towering Castel Sant’Angelo. This building was initially commissioned as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian, but was later used as a fortress and castle. Now, it’s a museum to visit. The view from the top provides a beautiful view out over Rome.

After, a short walk to Vatican City gives you a beautiful approach of St. Peter’s Basilica. You can lounge around St. Peter’s Square until your guided tour of the Sistine Chapel. Restaurants sit on the eastern side of Vatican City if you want to grab a bite.

Next, you’ll head to Trastevere, its cobbled roads, and tight buildings. This area is great for a late-night drink or meal.

Last, you’ll view St. Peter’s Basilica through the Aventine Keyhole. A unique way (and a great picture) to see one of the most recognized churches in the world.

How many days in Rome is enough? 3 isn't bad

You can view a walking map of the day-by-day sights using this Google Map.

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What to see in Rome in 4 days

Since we’ve already set what to see in the 3-day Rome, Italy itinerary, we’re just going to build off of it day-by-day, adding in additional sights.

So, if you didn’t see that one, scroll up to see the first three days of this itinerary.

We’ll pick up with day four.

Day 4: Tour the many museums of Rome

Attractions visited on Day 4:

  • Galeria Borghese
  • Capuchin Crypt
  • Four National Roman Museums

You’ve already seen the major attractions, and you’ve gotten a dose of culture. But, let’s turn things up a notch with some museums.

Start your day at Galeria Borghese and its beautiful art collection and museum. This is one of the most famous museums in Rome, so it’s a must-see.

Galeria Borghese is a great place to spend a morning in Rome
Photo Credit: Alessia Damato

Then, head to the Capuchin Crypt and its dark crypts full of bones and other relics. This gives a different view into Rome so you can experience everything it has.

Last, visit the four National Roman museums. You don’t have to visit all four, but adding a couple to your list are well worth it.

Day 4 overview

You’ll start the day at the Galeria Borghese, which was commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese 500 years ago for his art collection. It’s one of the top museums in Rome to visit.

Next, you’ll head to the Capuchin Crypt. A warning, this one is a bit on the darker side if you couldn’t tell by the name.

After, you’ll head to the four National Roman Museums. You don’t have to visit all, but I recommend visiting a couple so you can get a full dose of Roman culture. At these museums, you can see contemporary works, interactive videos, and ancient sculptures.

How many days in Rome is enough? 4 days is perfect.

You can see the four day itinerary on Google Maps here.

What to see in Rome in 5 days

After reading the previous itineraries, you may think, “Is 5 days in Rome too much?”

No, five full days in Rome is not too much! Five days in Rome is an excellent amount.

Okay, is a week in Rome too long? And you guessed the answer.

No, a week in Rome isn’t too long. You could easily spend weeks in Rome simply walking its streets, taking in some cafe culture, and eating great food. The sites along the way are an added bonus.

So, for this five day itinerary, you can take the previous itineraries and slow things down if you’d like.

Some people don’t like to go, go, go. So, spreading out the sites across more days on your trip to Rome and taking the time to go sightseeing is a great option.

So, here are a few more attractions to add to your list if you’re looking for a five day itinerary.

Day 5: Sample a bit of everything

Attractions visited on Day 5:

  • Baths of Caracalla
  • Appian Way Regional Park
  • Otello’s Restaurant in Trastevere

First, start at the ancient thermal at Baths of Caracalla. These are easy to find and are great for spending a morning walking around the ruins.

The Baths of Caracalla in Rome
Photo Credit: Ethan Doyle White

Next, head to the Appian Way Regional Park. Rome is full of history, that much is obvious. But, you don’t always realize how much of it is right in front of you.

Last, try all four Roman pastas at Otello. It’s a big feat, but finishing all four Roman pastas in one sitting is an excellent way to spend an evening.

Day 5 overview

You’ll start the day at the Baths of Caracalla, which were the city’s second largest (after the Baths of Diocletion which you would see if you visit the Roman National Museum).

These baths were built between 212-217. So, take in the time to appreciate the age of these ruins as you walk among them.

Then, head to Appian Way Regional Park. Here, you can walk along the oldest and longest road in Rome. 

Dating back to the 4th century, this road served as a vital transport road for the Roman military. Along the road, you’ll see various ruins and other buildings to make your trip more interesting.

Last, fill your stomach with the four Roman pastas: Gricia, Cacio e Pepe, Carbonara, and Amitriciana. Otello is located in Trastevere and was packed every night we visited, so it’s best to get there early. 

And, the pastas are fantastic.

Five days in Rome is always great.

If you want to view a Google Maps walking route, you can see it here.

So, how long do you want to stay in Rome?

So, if you’re looking and wonder, “How many days to visit Rome?” The answer is anything between 4-5 days is perfect. You can see most things in three days, but to fully appreciate the city, 4-5 is ideal.

Anything longer and you just get to soak up that amazing Roman culture.

If you’re looking for some inspiration for Europe, check out the best books for a trip to Europe. These will fill you with wanderlust quickly