Unique Rome 4 Days Itinerary: Things To Do & Where To Stay (2024)

Wondering how to spend 4 days in Rome?

Then you’ve come to the right article as I too spent 4 days in the Eternal City, and I’ve written up my itinerary for you to use.

Rome is one of the few places I recommend pre-planning what you want to do and when to do it. This is because many of the main attractions book out months in advance.

Most itineraries in Rome are pretty similar, but I think I spent my time in Rome differently from others.

So here is my unique Rome 4 Days Itinerary.

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🇮🇹 When planning a trip to Rome, I recommend using:
✈️ Flights: Skyscanner
🏨 Hotels: Booking.com
💵 Hostels: Hostelworld
🗺 Tours: Walks Tours & Devour Tours
👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 Activities: Viator and GetYourGuide
🚗 Car Rental: Discover Cars
🚌 Transport: Flixbus
🏥 Travel Insurance: Safetywing
📱E-SIM: Airalo
💻 VPN: Surfshark

Rome 4 Days Itinerary Overview

As I said, I created a pretty unique itinerary for Rome, allowing me to see some attractions that others may skip during 4 days in Rome. Throughout this post, I will outline exactly how I spent my 4 days. In my opinion, 3 days is the minimum amount of days you need in Rome, so 4 allows for some time to fit in extra things to do.

  • Day 1: Stadio Olimpico, Explore Rome at Night & Free Rome Walking Tour
  • Day 2: Rome in a Day Tour & Sunset in St. Peter’s Basilica Dome
  • Day 3: Bioparco di Roma, Explore Rome & Sunset at the Colosseum
  • Day 4: Sunrise at the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum Arena and Underground Tour & Explore Rome one last time

This is my Rome 4 days Itinerary summed up in 4 bullet points, but I will now go into further detail on how I spent each of my days in the capital of Italy.

A picture of the outside of the Pantheon.

Day 1: Stadio Olimpico, Explore Rome at Night & Free Rome Walking Tour

I arrived in Rome around 4 pm so much of the day was gone already. The first thing I did after I had reached Roma Termini by getting a bus from the airport (Top tip: the best way to get from Rome Fiumicino to Rome City Centre is by bus) was head to the Stadio Olimpico. I’m not sure many people can say that was the first thing they did in Rome!

The Stadio Olimpico is the football (soccer) stadium of AS Roma and Lazio, two of the biggest teams in Italian football. It is also home to the Italian National Team. As a huge football fan, I had to visit. It is one of the most famous stadiums in the world!

Taking a tour of the Stadio Olimpico cost me around €20 but it was definitely worth it. Being shown around the stadium, seeing the museums and sitting in the changing rooms were all great experiences.

A picture of me sitting in Chris Smalling's chair in the dressing room of the Stadio Olimpico, the first stop on my Rome 4 days itinerary
Me sitting in Chris Smalling’s chair in the dressing room.
Me standing in the directors' area in front of the pitch.
Me standing in the directors’ area in front of the pitch.

By the time the tour was over, the sun was already setting and it was dark when I got back to central Rome. After having my first pizza, I headed out to explore Rome at night. I couldn’t wait to see the Colosseum!

So that’s where I went first. Seeing the Colosseum for the first time was amazing. Seeing it for the first time at night, even better. I spent around 45 minutes just sitting on the wall and taking in the beauty. Everyone has seen pictures of the Colosseum before, but seeing it for myself, wow. It made Rome worth visiting for this moment alone.

A picture of me sitting on the wall in front of the Colosseum at night.

As I visited Rome in December, I was lucky enough to see the Italian capital decorated for Christmas. After walking past the Roman Forum and the ruins that follow it, I reached Piazza Venezia, which had one of the biggest Christmas trees I have ever seen. Take a look!

A picture of me in front of the Christmas tree in Piazza Venezia.

Then I had a free walking tour of Rome at night which began at the Castel Sant’Angelo. Free walking tours are something I would always recommend to do when visiting somewhere new. They are a great way to see the city and the guides are usually very insightful. I use FreeTour and I always have a positive experience.

Note: Tips are kind of expected for free tours. Even though tipping in Rome is not mandatory, it’s nice to give your guide a little token of appreciation for them giving up their time.

The free walking tour ended in Vatican City, meaning I had visited the smallest country in the world. Seeing the Vatican decorated for Christmas was also pretty special! But by the end of the tour, my day was over and I headed back to my hostel where I relaxed and made some new friends.

The Christmas tree in Vatican City with St. Peter's Basilica in the background.

It’s worth saying also that I walked back to my hostel alone at night and felt perfectly safe. I found Rome was very safe and I was completely comfortable at all times during my trip.

Day 2: Rome in a Day Tour & Sunset in St. Peter’s Basilica Dome

The second of my 4 days in Rome is probably the most “controversial” if you like. I chose to do a Rome in a Day Tour, which meant I saw all the main attractions of Rome in one day, allowing plenty of time for me to explore for myself. While others may prefer to spread the main attractions over the course of a few days, I saw no point in wasting time.

I didn’t feel like the Rome in a Day Tour rushed me, I felt I had plenty of time at each of the main attractions. The tour started at the Colosseum, with access to the inside of the Colosseum (except the arena and underground). To step foot inside the Colosseum was a pretty cool feeling!

A picture of me inside the Colosseum during my Rome in a day Tour. I used one of my 4 days in Rome to see all the main sights.

After the Colosseum tour, we explored the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum was extraordinary, walking through the Ancient Roman Civilisation was also again a pretty cool feeling and it was really good to learn about how times were in Ancient Rome. One of the buildings was open too as it had an exhibition inside, I think it was an old basilica, it was amazing to actually step inside.

A picture of me inside the Roman Forum.

Next, it was time for the Trevi Fountain. Nothing would quite prepare me for the size of the Trevi Fountain. I knew it was big but I was not expecting it to be THAT big. It’s huge! It’s also magnificent and even better than in photographs. For reference, by this time it was about 11 am, my tour started at 9 and was scheduled to finish around 3.30.

A picture of the Trevi Fountain.

The Pantheon was the next stop on the tour and I was told that some people prefer the Pantheon over the Colosseum. I couldn’t understand how the Colosseum could come second in any competition but after stepping foot in the Pantheon, I can see why people think that. I can’t decide which I prefer, but I do know that both of them are absolutely stunning.

It’s much cheaper to visit the Pantheon though, as the entry fee is €5 per person. That being said, the Pantheon used to be free until July 2023.

A picture of the inside of the Pantheon.

After the Pantheon was the Piazza Navona. If I haven’t mentioned before, this is a walking tour. So if you want a good route around the main attractions in Rome, this is it! The Piazza Navona was beautiful. As I said, it was December, so there were Christmas markets in the square which only added to the beauty.

Then it was time for a quick break for lunch before making our way to the Vatican. I had another delicious pizza. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?!

Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona
Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona
A delicious pizza. Make sure to include plenty of time for eating yummy Italian food in a Rome 4 days itinerary.

The Vatican Museums were the last stop on the tour and they did not disappoint! There were so many fascinating things to look at dating hundreds and thousands of years old. It was a real-life time machine. Of course, the Sistine Chapel is the most popular part, and for good reason. It’s extraordinary. I can see why you aren’t allowed to take pictures there. Once we had toured the museums, my Rome in a Day Tour was complete.

Conveniently, I was in the Vatican and it was around 4 pm, sunset is around 4.30 pm in December so I decided to climb the 500+ stairs to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica and I am so glad I did. The view I got was outstanding. The view I got at sunset? Unbelievable. Seeing the orange and blue with a hint of pink over the city of Rome was a moment I’ll never forget.

A statue from inside the Vatican Museum.
A view from St. Peter's Basilica at sunest with a blue, orange and pink sky over Rome.

I had a pretty chilled evening and just strolled around Rome, had a nice dinner and relaxed after a busy day seeing the sights. If I was to visit Rome again in another life, I don’t think I would change anything. I loved seeing everything in one day and I didn’t in a hurry whatsoever.

Day 3: Bioparco di Roma, Explore Rome & Sunset at the Colosseum

As an animal lover, I wanted to visit the zoo of Rome, known as the Bioparco di Roma. It is within the gardens of Villa Borghese so I got to see it on the way too. The Bioparco di Roma in my opinion was a great addition to my Rome 4 days itinerary. I went at 9.30 am on a weekday, so it was very quiet and I was able to see the “main” animals on my own. I got to see a snow tiger for the first time for example and I was the only person in its enclosure.

A snow tiger at Bioparco di Roma, a unique visit on my Rome 4 days itinerary.

After spending a few hours at the zoo, I walked the 30 minutes back to central Rome. In my opinion, walking is the best way to get around Rome. I then continued to walk about and see what I could find. Personally, exploring Rome without a purpose is one of the best things you can do there.

It’s one of the few cities where you can have fun by doing nothing. Every street has something new and exciting. Around every corner, there is a fountain you haven’t seen before or a new statue of an old emperor. Rome is a beautiful city and its architectural beauty is not limited to the most famous landmarks, there are so many less popular things and hidden gems in Rome, you just have to get looking!

A picture of the Fountain of the Frogs, which I found while walking around Rome.
I found the Fountain of the Frogs, for example.

Towards the end of the day, I headed back to the Colosseum to catch sunset. I forgot to mention that I had also gone back to the Trevi Fountain and had delicious pasta too. Seeing the sun set over the Colosseum was dream-worthy.

The Colosseum is pretty all day long. I had now seen it in daylight, at sunset and at nighttime and I loved it every time. The Colosseum at night is defo my favourite.

It was still surreal for me to see the Colosseum for myself. I hate the cliche, but it really was a “pinch me” moment.

A picture of me leaning against a fence outside the Colosseum at sunset.

With this, my day was pretty much over. I went back to my hostel (which is the best place to stay if you are visiting Rome on a budget) and chilled for a bit, before returning to the Colosseum with a new friend I had made. We sat and talked with the Colosseum lit up until after midnight. Which made the 6 am start to my last day seem even worse.

Day 4: Sunrise at the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum Arena and Underground Tour & Explore Rome one last time

Me sitting on the wall of the Trevi Fountain at 6am with no one else around.

I began my last day with a 6 am start to see the sunrise at the Trevi Fountain. Or so I hoped. The sunrise wasn’t great, but what was good was that the fountain is very very quiet at that time, about 10 people total.

Compare this to the 100s at any given time during the day and it’s an insane comparison.

So to be able to get photos with the fountain with just me in them and not 100 other people was a hidden bonus to the early start.

I would say this would be a good tip if you want to take good photos in Rome!

I wanted to see the arena floor and underground of the Colosseum too, as my Rome in a Day tour did not include going there. So I had a tour of those parts of the Colosseum at 9.30 am. To be honest, I wouldn’t suggest going out of your way to see the arena and the underground. You don’t see much more than you do from looking down at the arena.

Here is a view from where I was standing during my normal tour on day 2, compared to where you stand on the arena floor.

A picture I took during my tour of the Colosseum showing the arena floor with text "The Arena floor" and a red arrow pointing to the arena floor.  I ended up taking 2 tours of the Colosseum within my Rome 4 days itinerary

And with that, I had a few hours to explore Rome for one last time before my flight. I had one main attraction which I had not yet seen and that was the Spanish Steps. So that’s where I headed. As I said before, you always find hidden gems when walking in Rome. Look at this fountain I found! I’m not sure if it’s well-known or not, but it looks cool! And the Spanish Steps themselves were pretty cool too, but I would probably rank them at the bottom of the “main attractions”.

A random fountain I found while walking around Rome. I'm not sure what the name of it is.
The Spanish Steps with the fountain at the bottom and the church standing tall at the top.  The Spanish Steps were the last main stop on my Rome 4 days itinerary.

Unfortunately, that brought an end to my Rome 4 days itinerary. I think it’s definitely unique! I loved doing the Rome in a Day tour which allowed me to see all the main attractions, even though I ended up visiting most of them again anyway.

If I had longer in Rome, I think I would have taken a tour of Pompeii from Rome on one of my extra days.

Essential Things To Do In Rome

When planning an itinerary, you’ll want to know the “must-do” things to do. Here are Rome’s essentials:

  1. The Colosseum
  2. Trevi Fountain
  3. Roman Forum
  4. Pantheon
  5. Spanish Steps
  6. Vatican Museums – Sistine Chapel
  7. St. Peter’s Basilica + Dome
  8. Piazza Navona
  9. Castel Sant’Angelo

On top of these essentials, I visited the Stadio Olimpico and Bioparco di Roma.

Where To Stay In Rome

In my opinion, the best area of Rome to stay in is near the Roma Termini. You are within walking distance (30 mins roughly) from all of the main attractions, as well as having easy access to Roma Termini to get to and from the airport.

➡️ Best hotel in Rome: Seven
➡️ Best budget-friendly hotel in Rome: Raeli Hotel Regio
➡️ Best hostel in Rome: Freedom Traveller Hostel

Rome 4 Days Itinerary: FAQ

Below are some common questions related to 4 days in Rome along with my answers to each question.

Is 4 days enough to visit Rome?

4 days is more than enough to visit Rome. You will have enough time to see the main attractions thoroughly, as well as have spare time to explore the city for yourself and find some hidden gems.

Is 4 days enough in Italy?

3 days is the minimum to spend in Rome so spending 4 days across a whole country is nowhere near enough. To see “enough” of Italy, I would recommend a minimum of 10 days, spending 2-3 days in each spot.

How much to take to Rome for 4 days?

While in Rome, I spent about €80 on food and drink for 4 days. Everything else was paid for in advance including my accommodation and tickets. In total, I spent €308 including my flights, hostel, tickets and food.

Is 5 days too much for Rome?

There is no such thing as “too much” time in Rome. You can explore Rome endlessly and always find new fountains or statues to look at. That being said, 5 days is more than enough time to see the main sights. You need a minimum of 3 days in Rome.

How much spending money do you need for 4 days in Rome?

It depends on what you want to spend money on. Souvenirs are very cheap: magnets, postcards etc. are all €1 each. Food is roughly €10-20 per person per meal. You will need to book your tickets to the Colosseum and Vatican museums in advance as these sell out quickly, everything else has free entry.

Rome 4 Days Itinerary: Conclusion

And there you have it! My complete Rome 4 days itinerary which I did during my time in Rome.

If you are visiting Rome for 4 days, I would urge you to make your own itinerary and not allocate one full day to the Colosseum, one full day to the Vatican etc.

You can see them all more than once! Why limit yourself to one day on each? You realistically won’t spend a full day at one attraction too.

So if you are visiting Rome, have a great time. It’s one of the best cities I have visited!

Now that you have a plan of things to do, it’s time to start booking things to do. Taking a Rome night tour is a good place to start as the city is stunning at night time.