Five days walking and cycling itinerary to discover the best of Rome.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you will definitely need more than 24 hours to discover it! Actually, even though two or three rushy days may be sufficient to get a glimpse of the main sights, ideally you should try to dedicate not less than five days to the visit of the ethernal city.
So what should you see in five days? Well, here are my suggested itineraries. They are designed as walking tours (the best way to discover Rome, in my view!), so you don’t have to bother too much about public transportation. Renting a bicycle could be a good idea as well.
Ideally, try to reserve a hotel in the pedestrian area close to the Spanish steps. My preferred choice is the cosy Hotel La Lumière, a few minutes walking from the Spanish steps.
Day one: the Imperial Rome
Start this tour in Piazza Venezia. It’s easy to find, just at the end of via del Corso.
From Piazza Venezia, visit the Campidoglio square, designed by Michelangelo, who “recycled” the roman temple of Jupiter. Visit Santa maria in Aracoeli, then take the Altare della Patria elevator for a wonderful view on Rome.
Go to Via dei Fori Imperiali (passing close to the Carcere Mamertino, St Peter’s jail), then enter the archaeological area of Fori Imperiali (ticket needed, which includes also the entrance to the Colosseum) and visit the Forum and the Orti Farnesiani (renaissance garden build in the XVI century over the remains of the Emperors palaces). Visit the colosseum and, if you have the time, have a nice walk in the medieval rome to discover the Roman houses buried under medieval churches (click here to learn more).
At night, have a walk in Trastevere and find a nice restaurant there. My favorites: ristorante Paris (100 meters from Santa Maria in trastevere and ristorante Roma Sparita, for the best tagliolini cacio e pepe ever!
Day two: St Peters and the Vatican+ climbing up the dome
Consider a full day for all this sites. You can’t visit St Peter during Sunday morning (there’s the papal audience!). Do reserve your Vatican museum tickets, to avoid spending hours in queues (click here to reserve your ticket).
Don’t miss climbing up St Peter’s dome!.
At night have a drink in one of Campo de’ Fiori wineries. This is also a good place for your dinner. Suggested restaurant: Ditirambo, 50 meters from Campo dei Fiori square.
Day three: the Jewish Ghetto, Trastevere and palatino
Start in Campo de Fiori (nice market on week days) and walk to Largo Argentina. There you can enter the old Jewish ghetto and discover this off of the beaten track Roman neighbourhood.
Have also a look at Portico di Ottavia and at Teatro di Marcello. Cross the Tiber river at Isola Tiberina and enter into Trastevere, heading toward Santa Maria in Trastevere Church.
Visit the middle age church and enjoy the “old village” atmosphere. Loose yourself in the old streets, if you want you could visit Villa Farnesina Museum (paintings from Raffaello) and the Santa Cecilia church, hosting a touching statue of the saint. Cross the Tiber and visit the Santa maria in Cosmedin medieval church, which hosts the famous Bocca della Verità.
From there you can walk to the lovely Palatino neighbourhood (fabolous view on Circo Massimo and the Emperors palaces ruins), where you should visit the Giardino degli Aranci, the Santa Sabina church and the famous Key Hole with a view over St Peter (Piazza Cavalieri di Malta)
At night, go back to the ghetto for a kosher dinner. My suggestion: Il Giardino Romano.
Day four: Barocco Rome
Start your tour in Piazza del Popolo. From there, first have a look at Santa Maria del Pololo church (quoted in Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons”) which hosts two amazing paintings from caravaggio).
Walk up to the Pincio gardens (wonderful view on Rome) and keep on walking towards Trinità dei Monti. This is Villa Borghese, one of the most beautiful Roman parks, and a fantastic place for your morning jogging.
If you have time, get into Villa Medici (ticket required) and visit the renaissance palace and gardens. Continue to Trinità dei Monti where you will have the Spanish Steps at your feet. Go down, admire the Barcaccia fountain and, why not, have a coffee at the famous caffé Greco. Keep walking on your left, pass via Cavour and get to Fontana di Trevi (have a coin ready to be thrown in the fountain!). Click here to learn more.
From there, cross via del Corso, heading to piazza del Pantheon (stop to visit Sant’Ignazio Church and admire the amazing trompe l’oeuil painted on the roof. Visit the Pantheon, and the churches of San Luigi dei Francesi and the Basilica di Sant’Agostino (hey host 3 wonderfl paintings by caravaggio) and continue to Piazza Navona. From there, you can loose yourself in the delightfull and lively streets behing it (via del Panico, piazza del Fico, via dei coronary). Then cross the tiber at ponte Sant’Angelo and visit Castel Sant’angelo at sunset. Saint Angel castle could be your starting point for a magical night Rome walking tour (click here to learn more).
Day five: Appia Antica and rione Monti
If the weather is good, you can’t miss a biking tour on the Appian Antica archeological park (you will ride over an original roman causeway!) and a visit to the St Callisto and St Sebastiano catacombs. Click here to learn more.
In the afternoon, you can explore the delightful Rione Monti (it’s just buhind the colosseum) and visit San Pietro in Vincoli (which hosts the famous Mosè statue by Michelangelo).
Rione Monti is an excellent place for a drink and a for your last Roman dinner. My favorite place: bottiglieria ai tre scalini. It’s the top drinking place in the neighbourhood, but you will find a lot of nice restaurants in the same street (via Panisperna)
Enjoy your Rome tour!
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