Good to know....
We love to give suggestions to travellers and when they ask “how long should we stay in Rome?” it is a bit embarrassing to reply what the proverb says, “…a lifetime is not enough!”
In fact, I still have a list of not-yet-seen-spots which I’m planning to visit soon, during my days off. The list is in fact growing!
We understand you have limited time and want to focus on highlights. Ideally – and in order to keep a relaxing pace – to have a hint of all the ages that made Rome a three-millennia-old city you need a full week and this might be your plan:
- Ancient Rome : not only the Colosseum, but a nice walk including the Velabro (the crib of Rome!), Circus Maximus, Forum and Palatine, Capitol and Trajan’s Markets, Pantheon and one archaeological museum (chose between Palazzo Massimo and the Capitoline Museums)
- Ancient Rome outside the walls : the Appian Way (and the catacombs) and/or Ancient Ostia, the harbour of Imperial Rome.
- The Middle Ages through some of the most intriguing churches of the city (San Clemente, SS. Quattro Coronati, the cathedral of Rome S. Giovanni, the sparkling mosaics of S.Maria Maggiore, S. Prassede and S. Pudenziana, the picturesque district of Trastevere and its masterpieces i.e. S.Cecilia and S. Maria in Trastevere)
- Renaissance Rome: the frescoed villa Farnesina, Piazza Farnese, the lively Campo dei Fiori and its market, the Jewish Ghetto and the alleys of the “Tiber bend” district, Castel Sant’Angelo (with wonderful panoramic terrace)
- The Vatican: let’s devote half day to the museums, Sistine Chapel, the breathtaking basilica of St. Peter’s and its piazza.
- Barocco & the city! This was the second golden age of Rome and it’s all around: Piazza Barberini and the Painting Gallery of Palazzo Barberini, San Carlino church and S.Andrea to compare the great artists Borromini and Bernini, Piazza del Quirinale, the iconic Trevi fountain, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona ending the day with a baroque concert.
- Contemporary Rome: we suggest to rent a Vespa and feel like a real Roman of nowadays exploring EUR fascist architecture, the GNAM gallery of Modern Art, Renzo Piano’s Auditorium, the MAXXI or the street art in Quadraro and Ostiense districts.
If you still have some time the program could be completed with a first day dedicated to the Etruscans (on the way from the airport you could stop at the fascinating necropolis of Cerveteri and then spend a couple of hours in Villa Giulia Etruscan museum in Rome). And several day trips around Rome might be interesting too: lakes (Bracciano, Nemi….), sanctuaries (Subiaco or San Nilo in Grottaferrata….), hilly towns (Castelli, Tivoli….)…
All that said, we know it is unlikely you’ll have all these days at disposal just for Rome, but you can glean ideas and advices from the above list to turn your Roman days into your “perfect” Roman days!
Do not feel compelled to rooted itineraries, Rome is a many-sided city, explore the facets you like the most!