If you’re short on time, 4 days in Rome can be enough to see some of the major sites and also give you some time to relax and people watch.
When planning my stay in Rome while I was mindful that it was the last stop on a busy 3-week European trip, I wasn’t sure when I’d be back so I needed to pack in as much as I could. I only had 4 days in Rome, I know, I know, not nearly enough time! With that in mind I basically hit the ground running after checking in at my Airbnb.
Coming from Florence (Click on the link to find out about my 6 days in Florence experience) via fast train, it was an easy (and safe) 10-minute stroll from Roma Termini to my apartment which was located in the Monti area. I chose this area simply because it was within walking distance to the Colosseum, the Forum & Palatine Hill, the main reason for my stop in Rome.
Also, I’d heard it was filled with great bars, awesome food, cobblestoned streets, vintage stores and a mix of younger and older people. That is what I am always looking for. Immersion into local life is how I like to travel. Monti, is a bit off the tourist path as far as accommodation goes and that is something that really does appeal to me.
With planning accommodation in Rome, is that it is really important to get a place that is close enough to the sights you want to see and what you want to do. There are much more touristy places where hotels and apartments tend to be more on the high-price side of accommodation. If you can afford it do it. You’ll save yourself some money from not having to catch taxi’s everywhere.
But if you are like me and conscious of what you’re spending then an area slightly off the tourist path could save you a lot of money AND get you fit at the same time. In saying though, the train system in Rome is really good so base yourself close to a station and you’ll be right.
As a whole, my advice to anyone going to Rome for the first time and if you have a limited amount of time, is:
- Plan ahead! Plan your days, plan what you’ll be seeing and how you are getting to and from places.
- Book your tours before you go to skip the lines (because they can get quite massive).
- Research places to eat and drink too.
Normally I like to not plan as much except for a few tours, I am more of a go with the flow kind of person. But I knew that I would miss out on too much if I didn’t make some serious plans. And there were times where I stuffed up big time and wasted a whole afternoon getting lost. But at least I saw some amazing sites along the way.
For my 4 days in Rome experience, I planned:
A get myself acquainted with the Monti area kind of day.
Straight on tour to the magnificent Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The tour took approximately 4 hours so afterwards I took myself out for a drink and meal.
This tour was absolutely brilliant and you can read my review here ***.
An early start to tour Vatican City (you can read my review here) and a walk back to Monti seeing the following on my way home:
- Piazza Navona
- Campo de’Fiori
- Basilica di Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
- Trevi Fountain
- Spanish Steps
It was a LONG day! I think I was up at 5.30am to be at the Vatican at 7am. I am calling it my ‘cram in as much of Rome as possible’ day! I was on my feet all day stopping only in Piazza Navona for lunch for a delicious pizza and for Gelati in a piazza not far from Monti on my way home. I think I clocked up over 20,000 steps on my Fitbit that day and slept like a baby once I finally got back to my apartment.
I just had a day of relaxing, washing clothes, packing & tidying up my Airbnb, strolling around the back streets of Monti, and eating out.
Ideally, I would have liked to have had a week in Rome, and really that wouldn’t be enough to see everything. But honestly, how much time is enough time in a city like Rome?
Unless you live in a city or can afford to spend a lot of time in one, can you ever really see everything? I know there was a lot that I missed, but with only 4 days in Rome, I think what I did was enough and afforded me time to spend strolling around and taking some time out to people watch.
There is a lot to be said about cramming as much in as possible in a holiday, but I am simply not that kind of traveller. Sitting in a bar talking to locals made me happier than some of what I did on day 4 of this trip. I mean, you can’t get that kind of experience ticking historical sights of a list. Yes, I could have done more, but knowing I’d be back some day, I did the basics and made a list of things to see and do next time. Some of which, the colosseum mainly, I will do again.
Hope my itinerary helps, if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments section below.