5 Days in Rome: Ultimate 5-Day Itinerary

Ultimate 5-Day Rome Itinerary

Are you going to leave for 5 days in RomeWondering what to do and how to organize your days so you don’t miss anything?

You are in the right place!

To help you prepare for your trip, I have put together this itinerary for you to visit Rome in 5 days.

I start with some good tips to avoid waiting in front of the main monuments, then I give you my day-to-day program, perfect for optimizing your visit to Rome.

You will see, with all my advice and tips, you will make the most of your stay!

And at the end of the article, I also give you my selection of the best hotels to sleep in Rome classified according to your budget and activity ideas for a family trip.

So what to do in Rome in 5 days? 

Our advice: save time and avoid the queue in Rome!

As you certainly know, Rome is one of the most touristic cities in the world.

Whatever season you plan to visit the capital of Italy, you will sometimes have to wait several hours to discover its emblematic monuments such as the Colosseum or Saint Peter’s Basilica.

But that is without counting on my advice!

And yes, there are different tricks that allow you to avoid queuing during your visit to Rome.

For your 5-day trip to Rome, you have 2 options to save time. I explain them to you just below:

1. Rome City Pass

A first solution to save time during your 5-day itinerary in Rome is to buy the “Rome City Pass” or “Roma Tourist Card”.

100% digital, this pass is sent by email and does not require you to go to the collection office in Rome. You will have direct access to all your skip-the-line tickets for the city’s most famous sites!

This is the most practical solution to avoid queues!

Here is the list of places and visits included in this Rome Pass:

  • Ticket for the Colosseum with audio guide + Roman Forum + Palatine Hill (visit on the first day of my itinerary)
  • Skip-the-line ticket for St. Peter’s Basilica + audio guide (to be done on the second day)
  • Visit of the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel (visit offered as an option in the pass but which I recommend since I include it in the second day)
  • 20% discounts on museums (Castle of Sant’Angelo, Borghese Gallery), guided tours (Tour of the catacombs, Rome by bike) and excursions in the surrounding area if you continue your 5-day stay in Rome in another major city from Italy ( FlorenceVenice, etc.)

2. Omnia Card

To visit Rome in 5 days and have quick access to popular attractions, the second solution is to buy the Omnia Card. It is also called “Vatican and Rome Pass”.

Here too, this card saves you from queuing but it is only valid for a period of 3 consecutive days from its first activation. You will therefore not be able to use it from the fourth day.

But don’t worry, I have organized this itinerary in such a way as to concentrate paid visits on the first 3 days to make the Omnia Card profitable.

On day 4 and 5, the program is adapted with mostly free things to do and excursions around Rome.

I give you the main elements to which you have access with the Omnia Card:

  • Priority entrance to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel (to be done on the second day)
  • Skip-the-line ticket to visit St. Peter’s Basilica + audioguide (also in the schedule for the second day)
  • Visit of Saint-Pierre prison with audio guide
  • Admission to the Basilica of Saint John in Lateran and the cloister + audio guide
  • 2 free entrances of your choice between the following tourist sites
    • The Colosseum (Day 1 program)
    • The Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum (also day 1)
    • Castel Sant’Angelo (second day)
    • The Borghese Gallery
    • The Capitoline Museums
  • Free access to all public transport for 3 days in Rome
  • Discounts for certain activities and museums
  • 1 ticket for a Rome hop-on hop-off bus tour
  • 1 city map

To choose between the Omnia Card and the Rome City Pass, it will all come down to public transport and what you want to visit:

  • Don’t want to take public transport or visit the entire Vatican? Then the Rome City Pass is cheaper during your 5 days.
  • Are you thinking of taking the bus and do you want to visit as many things as possible in the Vatican? The Omnia Card remains the best choice.

Visit Rome in 5 days: the best itinerary

I now offer you my 5-day Rome itinerary, detailed with all the visits to do day by day.

For this program, I assume that your stay lasts 5 full days and that you have purchased your “City Pass” or skip-the-line tickets beforehand to make as many visits as possible.

If you have any specific questions after reading the article, feel free to ask me in the comments.

So what to visit in Rome in 5 days?

Day 1:  Discovery of Ancient Rome

5 days in Rome – Day 1

The visits of day 1:

A. The Coliseum
B. The Roman Forum
C. The Palatine Hill
D. The Piazza del Campidoglio / The Capitoline Museums
E. The Piazza Venezia / The monument to Victor Emmanuel II

A. Visit the Colosseum

The Colosseum is the most famous monument in Rome and surely the most impressive. It is therefore the ideal place to start this 5-day Rome itinerary.

The largest amphitheater in ancient Rome, the Colosseum could seat 50,000 spectators. The powerful organized all kinds of games there, including the famous and cruel gladiator fights, but also (which is less well known) completely harmless plays .

Despite a few missing pieces, the Colosseum still stands and is still just as imposing. You can visit the first and second floors, the arena and the underground passages.

As you can imagine, the Colosseum in Rome attracts a crowd of tourists every day and the queue to enter is endless…unless you think about taking a skip-the-line ticket in advance! This is what I highly recommend you do.

Colosseum tickets also give you full access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Please note that if you have purchased the Rome City Pass or the Omnia Card, entry to the Colosseum is included.

As not all Colosseum tickets are always available (for a given date there are a limited number of tickets of each type, and they sell out very quickly!), the orange links will take you directly to the page with all Colosseum tickets.

Just choose the one that suits you best on this page.

Of course, if you already know your travel dates, book quickly to be sure you can visit the monument.

Rome itinerary
Visit the Colosseum in Rome without waiting!

B. Visiting the Palatine Hill

As I told you, with your ticket for the Colosseum you will have access to the two other sites located right next door: the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum.

Continue this day of visit by the Palatine Hill which would be, according to legend, the place where Romulus and Remus would have lived.

The two twins abandoned and taken in by a wolf would then have founded the city from this hill.

You will be able to move freely among the ruins, discover a superb view from the top of the mountain and also see the residence of the first Roman emperor, Augustus.

The Palatine Hill, one of the 7 hills of Rome, Rome itinerary
The Palatine Hill, one of the 7 hills of Rome

C. Discover the Roman Forum

After the Palatine Hill, continue this immersion in ancient Rome by visiting the Roman Forum located a few meters away. This is the third site not to be missed during these 5 days in Rome.

It was actually the city center at the time and here you can admire the ruins of the old marketadministrative buildings and several temples.

I advise you once again to opt for a guided tour because there is no explanatory panel. To book by clicking here!

The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum

D. The Piazza del Campidoglio / The museums of the Capitol

For this third stage of your 5-day tour in Rome, I suggest you continue your journey in the historic center of Rome.

Meet now a 15-minute walk from the Roman Forum, in Capitoline Square, or more locally: Piazza del Campidoglio. Here you are in the old political and religious heart of the city.

This very beautiful square was designed by Michelangelo himself and you can see several buildings around it: the Palace of the Senators, the Palace of the Conservators and the New Palace.

They are grouped together under the term “Capitoline Museums” and they house several renowned works including paintings by Tintoretto and Caravaggio, as well as the famous statue representing the Wolf breastfeeding Romulus and Remus.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking here!

The Piazza del Campidoglio and the 3 Palais
The Piazza del Campidoglio and the 3 Palais

E. The Piazza Venezia / The monument to Victor Emmanuel II

After visiting the Capitoline Museums, walk to Piazza Venezia, located just 5 minutes away.

It is the central square of Rome, which you recognize at first glance thanks to the huge Victor Emmanuel II monument in white marble which stands proudly there.

You can also admire Trajan’s Column and its engravings representing the military exploits of the emperor.

It is from this place that all the streets lead to the places you will have the opportunity to visit during your 5-day stay in Rome.

The Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, in Piazza Venezia
The Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, in Piazza Venezia

Day 2: Vatican Tour

Rome itinerary
5 days in Rome – Day 2

The visits of day 2:

A. Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
B. St. Peter’s Basilica
C. Castel Sant’Angelo

A. Visit the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel

After a good night’s sleep, it’s off to a second day dedicated to visiting the Vatican.

This tiny country (the smallest in the world!) landlocked in the Italian capital is a must during this five-day itinerary in Rome.

I suggest you start with a visit to the Vatican Museums.

There are 13 of them and several predefined routes (which last from 1h30 to 5h) allow you to discover them one after the other, without having to see everything.

All routes end with the same thing: the famous Sistine Chapel. This is of course THE moment that everyone is waiting for during this visit.

To end the morning on a good note, take the time to soak up the atmosphere of this tiny chapel and its magnificent paintings , including Michelangelo’s famous fresco on the ceiling.

I strongly advise you to take a skip-the-line ticket before going to the Vatican Museums to avoid wasting hours in the queue.

Discovering the Vatican during your 5 days in Rome
Discovering the Vatican during your 5 days in Rome

B. St. Peter’s Basilica

Regain strength with a good lunch in one of the restaurants surrounding the Vatican, then continue this 5-day tour of Rome by going to discover St. Peter’s Basilica.

This huge religious building is erected on Saint-Pierre Square where you can admire several very beautiful columns surmounted by statues of Saints, an Egyptian obelisk and two fountains.

Saint Peter’s Basilica is one of the most visited monuments in the world. Admission is free and the queue is always endless. I therefore advise you again to use a skip-the-line ticket.

As you enter the basilica, you will be amazed by the immensity of the place. Admire the baroque decorations, the statue of Saint Peter, the huge dome designed by Michelangelo and the vaults of the popes.

Skip-the-line ticket to St. Peter’s Basilica + Audio guide

Guided tour of Saint Peter’s Basilica (skip the line) + dome + crypt (the most complete!)

Tips for your Rome itinerary:

To enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the surroundings, you can climb to the top of the dome (paying access).

St. Peter's Basilica, Rome itinerary 5 days
St. Peter’s Basilica

C. Castel Sant’Angelo

Now leave St. Peter’s Square and take a leisurely walk down Via della Conciliazione.

In 10 minutes, you will arrive in front of the Castel Sant’Angelo built under the orders of Emperor Hadrian. This castle notably served as a refuge for the popes during enemy attacks.

You can visit the interior of Castel Sant’Angelo and discover the former apartments of the popes, some tombs and the walkway which offers very beautiful views. Count 1 to 2 hours maximum visit.

When you leave the castle, don’t miss the Sant’Angelo bridge located just opposite. It passes over the Tiber and allows you to enjoy a beautiful view of the river and the city.

The perfect place to end this second day of your 5 day trip to Rome.

Skip-the-line tickets for your visit to the castle.

Rome itinerary
The bridge and the Castel Sant’Angelo

Day 3: Walk in the Historic Center

Rome itinerary
5 days in Rome – Day 3

The visits of day 3:

A. Piazza Navona
B. Pantheon
C. Trevi Fountain
D. Via del Corso / Via Condotti E. Spanish
F. Villa Borghese

A. The Piazza Navona

Your 5-day itinerary in Rome continues with the visit of the historic center for this third day.

I suggest you start from Piazza Navona, one of the most beautiful squares in the Italian capital. This is the perfect place to have a romantic breakfast in one of the quaint cafes that surround the square.

Then take the time to go around it, attend street performances and admire the 3 beautiful fountains and their statues.

B. The Pantheon

I then suggest you visit the Pantheon, another must-see monument in Rome.

Located a few meters from Piazza Navona, it dates from ancient Rome and houses the tombs of Emperor Victor Emmanuel II, the painter Rafael and many other historical figures that I let you discover.

And don’t forget to raise your head to contemplate the dome and the occulus allowing the light to pass through.

Since July 2023, access to the Pantheon is chargeable and requires an entrance ticket (cost: 5€). To visit it, you must therefore book your ticket on the official website.

And if you want more historical information, I advise you to take the skip-the-line ticket with an audio guide.

And for more detailed explanations, you can also choose a guided tour of the Pantheon by clicking here!

C. The Trevi Fountain

It is the most famous fountain in Europe and it attracts millions of tourists every year: the famous Trevi Fountain awaits you just 10 minutes walk from the Pantheon.

Many visitors take pictures and throw coins to see their wish come true, but above all it is a very beautiful work of art.

The statue representing the God Neptune which overlooks the basin is also very well highlighted by the Baroque monument located just behind the fountain.

Rome itinerary
The famous Trevi Fountain

D. The Via Condotti

What would a 5-day Rome itinerary be without a little shopping spree?

Leave the fountain and take Via del Corso.

It is here that you will have the opportunity to find many ready-to-wear shops at fair prices. For luxury brands like Prada or Gucci, continue a little further along Via Condotti.

Even if you are not a fan of window shopping, I still advise you to go through here because it is by this way that you will arrive at the next stage to visit Rome in 5 days.

E. The Spanish Steps in Rome

You have arrived in Piazza di Spagna (not to be confused with the Spanish Steps in Seville of course).

This pretty and very picturesque cobbled square is at the foot of the grand staircase which leads to the church of La Trinité-des-Monts.

There is a pleasant atmosphere typical of the Italian “dolce vita” and it is here that you can enjoy a good snack, relax and enjoy the street entertainment.

Rome itinerary
Rome’s Spanish Steps

F. Villa Borghese

A few minutes walk from the Spanish Steps, you will find Villa Borghese and its gardens.

This little walk in the fresh air will allow you to end the day quietly and recharge your batteries.

The gardens of Villa Borghese are probably the most beautiful public gardens in the city.

You can stroll through the alleys, discover several fountains, statues, a lake, a botanical garden, but also some museums to visit:

Rome itinerary
The Garden of Villa Borghese

Day 4: Walk in Rome

Rome itinerary
5 days in Rome – Day 4

The visits of day 4:

A. The Campo di Fiori market
B. The Trastevere district
C. The Aventine hill
D. The catacombs of Rome

A. The marches of Campo di Fiori

Let’s go for the penultimate day of your 5-day trip to Rome. I now suggest that you get off the beaten track a bit and get away from purely tourist attractions.

Spending 5 days in Rome leaves you free to explore lesser-known places.

Start by taking a trip to the Campo di Fiori market located in the historic center. This market is open every morning except Sunday and it is the cheapest in Rome.

It is also very authentic, so it is an opportunity to do some shopping to bring back in your suitcase.

Tips for your Rome itinerary:

I also recommend the gastronomic guided tour organized in the market and which allows you to taste the best local products of Campo di Fiori with a guide.

It is so good that a full refund is offered if you are not satisfied!

B. The District of Trastevere

This quiet neighborhood is located on the right bank of the Tiber, not far from the Vatican.

This is a real authentic working-class district that is not very frequented by tourists (even if it is becoming more and more popular with visitors, I won’t hide it from you).

In the Trastevere district, there are no historical monuments but cobbled streets, flower gardens, small friendly squares, cafés and artisan shops.

Don’t forget to climb to the top of the Gianicolo hill in the north of the district. Here you can admire a magnificent panoramic view of Rome.

Rome itinerary
The Trastevere district

C. The Aventine Hill

Continue this fourth day in Rome by the Aventine hill about 20 minutes walk from Trastevere (or 10 minutes by bus).

This is also a peaceful area with lots of gardens and pretty alleys. It is located in the heights and offers a breathtaking view of Rome.

You can also:

  • Visit the Basilica of Santa Sabina
  • Solve the mystery of the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta. Why is everyone waiting their turn to look through the keyhole of this door? I won’t spoil you! It’s up to you to test to find out the answer!

D. The Catacombs of Rome

To end this day on an unusual note, I suggest you visit the catacombs of Rome.

The catacombs of Saint Calixte are the largest (15 hectares!) and once served as a cemetery for Jews and Christians.

You can see several tombs and scenes of life engraved on the walls. The guided tour is obligatory and rather quick (about 30 minutes).

To book by clicking here!

You can also visit the catacombs of San Sebastian, Domitille, Priscille and the Capuchin Crypt. The last one is located next to the Trevi Fountain and is the easiest to access. You can buy your tickets directly here.

Rome itinerary
The catacombs of Rome

Day5: Day Trip around Rome

Spending 5 days in Rome gives you time to get out of the city and explore the surrounding area for a whole day. This is what I suggest you do to end this stay.

Several day trips are organized from Rome, here I offer you three to choose from:

A. Pompeii
B. Pompeii and Vesuvius
C. Tivoli

A. Visit to Pompeii

Ancient city emblematic of the region of Naples and famous throughout the world, Pompeii is one of the most beautiful visits to do in the surroundings of Rome.

This ancient Roman city was engulfed in lava in AD 79 during the eruption of Vesuvius and has been miraculously preserved.

It still testifies today to the ancient Roman civilization and allows you to take a real journey through time thanks to the streets, buildings and even bodies extremely well preserved by volcanic sediments.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pompeii is located about 250 km from Rome.

For the last day of your trip, discover this mythical city buried and rediscovered in the 17th century by booking the services of a return shuttle. This shuttle from Rome allows you to easily reach Pompeii and organize your visit itinerary as you wish, in complete autonomy.

The bus leaves Rome in the morning at 7:15 a.m. and returns at 7 p.m., giving you several hours to explore Pompeii at leisure. In particular, you can see:

  • The amphitheater which could accommodate 20,000 spectators
  • Cobbled streets intact
  • The forum
  • Spas,
  • Several villas
  • you temples

This shuttle + entrance ticket for Pompeii can be booked directly here.

And if you prefer to book an all-inclusive guided tour (bus trip + lunch + guided tour of Pompeii).

B. Pompeii and Vesuvius

This day trip entitles you to a round trip to Pompeii as well as a guided tour (with audio guide included for French translation) of the city plus the discovery of Mount Vesuvius.

After exploring Pompeii, you can therefore climb up to the crater of the volcano (provide good walking shoes for this) and enjoy a superb view of the region while imagining the unfolding of the tragic eruption.

This day trip from Rome includes lunch with an authentic Neapolitan pizza on the menu.

Book the guided tour of Pompeii and Vesuvius here.

C. Visit to Tivoli

About thirty kilometers from Rome, Tivoli is also a destination of choice for this last day.

A city in the Roman suburbs, Tivoli is home to two of the finest Renaissance residences in all of Italy:

  • The villa d’Este
  • The Villa of Emperor Hadrian: the largest complex in Imperial Rome.

You’ll have the opportunity to visit these palaces and their gardens with this organized excursion that includes round-trip transport, lunch, a guide and headphones for French translation.

This day-trip is to be booked in advance here.

You now have all my tips for visiting Rome in 5 days!

But before you leave, let me give you some additional good tips to finalize your vacation!

Accommodation in Rome

It’s handy to know how to visit Rome in 5 days, but have you thought about booking your hotel?

As it is not necessarily easy to find cheap accommodation in Rome, I have prepared a selection of my favorite hotels for you , in various price categories.

I really advise you to go there as soon as possible for reservations. The best accommodations go very quickly due to high demand.

So where to stay in Rome?

  • Biancaluna: B&B located near Termini Station, 1.5 km from the Colosseum. Modern, comfortable and very clean room from 70€. Most: the reception and the advice of visit, the location. An excellent choice for cheap accommodation in Rome!
  • Hotel Balilla: Located 1.6 km from the Colosseum and near a metro station. Well-equipped and quiet double room, impeccably clean, from €99, breakfast €5. Most: the friendly staff, the comfort of the beds, the location 10 minutes walk from the Colosseum. It is our favorite for its price/performance ratio in Rome!
  • Chez Alice Vatican : Located 450 meters from St. Peter’s Square. Contemporary room with neat decoration from €100 per night, breakfast included. Most: ideal location, terrace with a view of the Vatican, warm welcome.
  • MZ Hotel: Located towards the Campo di Fiori and not far from the Pantheon. Modern and welcoming double room from €150, breakfast at €12. Most: the location close to the historic center, the warm welcome, good bedding, new hotel.
  • Roma Luxus Hotel: Luxury hotel located just 400 meters from Piazza Venezia. Elegant, contemporary and chic double room from €300 per night, breakfast at €20. The pluses: the design of the rooms, the 5* service, the quality of the breakfast, the spa, the top staff. This is our recommendation for an upscale stay in Rome!
  • NH Collection Roma Fori Imperiali: This 5* hotel located right next to the Roman Forum offers sublime rooms with neat decoration from €580, breakfast included. The pluses: the exceptional location, the caring staff, the view, the comfort. This is our recommendation for a luxury stay in Rome!

And for a wider selection of hotels, classified by neighborhood and by budget, I strongly advise you to consult our article by clicking on the following link: The best hotels to stay in Rome.

If you want to save a little, you also have the option of choosing to stay around Rome.

I recommend that you opt for the comfortable camping option with a night in a bungalow. Camping Village Rome is located just 15 minutes by car from the Vatican and offers chalets and bungalows from €30 a night.

Comfortable, clean, air-conditioned and modern, it is the ideal solution for cheap accommodation in Rome.

Rome itinerary
Piazza Navona

Visit Rome in 5 days with the family

If you are going to visit Rome for 5 days with your family, here are some ideas for fun visits that will certainly appeal to children and allow everyone to have a good time:

  • A visit to the impressive Colosseum is a must and especially appeals to children
  • The gardens of Villa Borghese are ideal for a family outing. You can picnic there and there are playgrounds for children, bike routes or boat trips on the lake and even a zoo ( tickets on sale here! ).
  • The school of gladiators offers them outright to put on the traditional outfit of fighters and train them in combat. A truly original activity for your 5-day family stay in Rome. Click here to book this activity.
  • The Explora museum, a fun museum very well done with many manual and electronic activities. Count about 2 hours of visit.

If you want to do an original and fun family activity, I can also recommend this Italian cooking class organized near the Trevi Fountain.

Supervised by a real Italian chef, you will learn how to prepare an authentic Italian pizza which you can then taste during the dinner included in the offer.

This pizza making class + dinner must be booked by clicking here.

More things to do and see in Rome in 5 days

Did you complete our entire 5 Days in Rome sightseeing program faster than expected and still have time to visit?

I recommend that you go read my complete guide to the city, with all the things to do and see.

Just click on the link: What to do in Rome? The ultimate guide!

It’s the best way to end your 5-day vacation in Rome on a high note and leave feeling sure you haven’t forgotten anything!

Map of your 5-day Rome itinerary

To help you visualize your itineraries during these 5 days in Rome, I made you a map listing the places to visit day by day. You can display the map legend by clicking on the top left button with a small arrow. You will then be able to view the routes for each day.

Now you know how to visit Rome in 5 days!

Need help planning your 5 day Rome itinerary? Do not hesitate to ask me your questions in the comments.

Are you going to Italy? Read also

Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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