Soak up the culture, discover the history and embrace the Roman lifestyle with our top tips on things to do in Rome for a week!
Are you planning a trip and looking for things to do in Rome? With 280 fountains, more than 900 churches and world-famous monuments spanning more than 2,700 years of history, the Eternal City is full of beautiful surprises. If you’re lucky enough to be staying for a week, look no further than our favourite top tips. However, you’d be well advised not to over-plan, and to leave some time to just wander and soak up the atmosphere in the piazze.
Day 1 – Guided tours
Why not use your first day to find your bearings? There are lots of different kinds of guided tour to help you orient yourself and make getting around during your stay that bit easier. Choose from hop-on-hop-off bus tours
with audio commentary, excellent (and often free) guided walks, bike tours (with or without the help of an electric motor) and even segway tours. While Rome is well known for being a ‘walkable’ city, it’s also famous for being built on seven hills. If you are planning on cycling, a reasonable level of fitness will be needed! Once you have worked up an appetite why not choose a ‘trattoria’, a type of informal restaurant, and settle down to a traditionally Roman pasta dish of ‘cacio e pepe’ or ‘amatriciana’?
Day 2 – the Vatican
The Vatican is one of the must-see attractions for most visitors to Rome. Although the Vatican sights are always busy, you may want to plan your visit for a Tuesday, Thursday or Friday and to consider a fast-entry ticket. The museums are closed on Sundays except for the last Sunday of the month when there is free entry - and mind-boggling numbers of people. St Peter’s Basilica
and its Necropolis, the Sistine Chapel
, the Vatican Museums and the thousands of famous paintings and sculptures mean that you could easily spend the day here. If you spent a minute looking at each painting in the museums’ collections, you would have to stay for four years!
Day 3 – Ancient monuments
Follow in the footsteps of the Ancient Romans, starting with a visit to the Colosseum
, the amphitheatre that is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Forum
with its ruins of ancient government buildings and Palatine Hill with its views over the oldest parts of Rome, are only a short walk away. The Pantheon, the temple built around 120 AD by Emperor Hadrian, is another must-see landmark. Did you know that concrete was a Roman invention? The Pantheon has a completely unreinforced concrete dome, which is larger than that of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Day 4 – Ostia Antica
Although there’s more than enough things to do in Rome to keep you busy, there are also some great options for day trips. Why not check out the archaeological site at Ostia Antica, the ruins of Rome’s old sea port, just 30 minutes from central Rome? Wandering around the ruins, you’ll see the remains of homes, baths, docks and warehouses, as well as an amphitheatre and a small museum. Trips to other Italian towns and cities are also possible, including Florence, Orvieto, Naples and Pompei.
Day 5 – Museums
If you’re looking for a quieter, more reflective day, why not head to the Capitoline Museums
and the Museum of Rome
? The Capitoline is remarkable in itself, dating back to 1471, and most of the exhibits come from the city of Rome and relate to its history. Particular crowd-pleasers include the collection of classical sculpture and picture gallery with masterpieces by the likes of Titian, Tintoretto, Rubens and Caravaggio. The museum includes a famous sculpture showing Remus and Romulus being suckled by a she-wolf, part of the legend of Rome’s foundation. This image has come to represent Rome and can be seen around the city. There are many other captivating museums in Rome including Maxxi and Macro for modern art and the Museum of Rome, which has over time become primarily an art museum too.
Day 6 – Castel Sant’Angelo
Take in some fresh air with a visit to Castel Sant’Angelo
, on the banks of the Tiber. Built in the 2nd century AD, it was originally designed as a mausoleum by the Roman emperor Hadrian. Over the centuries it has been used as a fortress, papal residence and even a prison, before becoming a museum in 1901. As you walk up the wide ramp into the castle, a statue of the archangel Michael appears overhead, sheathing his sword as a sign of the end of the plague of 590. The views from the Castle’s rooftop over the city are beautiful and it’s well worth leaving time for a stroll by the river and to explore the magnificent grounds.
Day 7 – Villa Borghese
Finish your stay with a visit to Villa Borghese
. Although you couldn’t tell from the name, this is a fairly large public park, which houses a popular art gallery and other attractions. Tickets for the gallery have to purchased online in advance. Within walking distance of the park are the Spanish steps and the Trevi fountain, two other popular Roman landmarks. Tradition has it that if you throw a coin into the Trevi fountain, you will return to Rome. In fact, every night about 3,000 Euros are swept up from the bottom of the basin and donated to the charity Caritas, to provide services for families in need. This concludes our suggestions for things to do in Rome for a week. We hope that you have an amazing trip!