The perfect Roman holiday!

Posted on Jan 30, 2017 in Arts and History, Planning Support

[revised Novembre 2023]

We love to give suggestions to our guests and when they ask “how long should we stay in Rome?” it is embarrassing to reply what the proverb says,  “…a lifetime is not enough!”


I still have my list of not-yet-seen-spots which I’m planning to visit soon, on 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:

  1. Ancient Rome : not only the Colosseum, but a nice walk including the Velabro (the crib of Rome), Circus Maximus, Forum and Palatine, Capitoline Hill,  Trajan’s Markets and Column, Pantheon and one archaeological museum (chose between Palazzo Massimo and the Capitoline Museums)
  2. Ancient Rome outside the walls : the Appian Way (and the catacombs or the aqueducts) and/or Ancient Ostia, the harbour of Imperial Rome.
  3. The Middle Ages through some of the most intriguing churches of the city (San Clemente, SS.Quattro Coronati, the cathedral of S.Giovanni with the Sancta Sanctorum chapel, Santa Maria Maggiore and its sparkling mosaics, S.Prassede and S.Pudenziana, the whole district of Trastevere and its churches: S.Cecilia and S.Maria in Trastevere)
  4. 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 a wonderful panoramic terrace)
  5. The Vatican: consider at least a half day to visit the museums, Sistine Chapel, the breathtaking basilica of St. Peter and its piazza.
  6. Barocco & the city! This was the second Golden Age of Rome and it’s all around: Piazza Barberini and the 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.
  7. Contemporary Rome: we suggest to rent a Vespa and feel like a local exploring EUR fascist architecture, “LA Galleria Nazionale” 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).

Several day trips around Rome might be interesting too: lakes (Bracciano, Nemi….), sanctuaries (Subiaco or San Nilo in Grottaferrata….), hilly towns (Castelli, Tivoli….). For that purpose, I created a whole other website, as there is so much to see! Check my page Around Rome Day Trips. 

All that said, we know it is unlikely you’ll have all these days at disposal, but you can get ideas and advices from the above list to turn your Roman days into your “perfect” Roman holiday! Do not feel compelled to rooted itineraries, Rome is a many-sided city, explore the facets you like the most!