There's nothing quite like a trip to the ancient city of Rome, with its layers of history and culture waiting to be discovered. If your time is limited and you only have five days in Rome, there are plenty of incredible sights to see and experiences to savor.
From iconic must-sees like the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon, to hidden gems off-the-beaten path such as Campo de' Fiori or Villa Farnesina – each day brings its own unique flavor! Here's our guide on how best to spend five days in this breathtaking Italian capital, so you can make the most out of your visit. Let’s explore Rome!
Must-See Sights in Rome
First on our list is Vatican City, the world's smallest sovereign state. The Vatican holds some of the world's most famed art and home to the world-famous Sistine Chapel.
While in the Vatican, don't forget to check out St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church in the world that boasts impressive Renaissance architecture and stunning artworks.
No visit to Rome is complete without visiting the Colosseum, an iconic symbol of Rome’s rich history and ancient civilization. Built-in AD 70, the Colosseum could hold over 50,000 spectators for gruesome games and battles, making it a fascinating site to visit.
You can stroll around the Colosseum's exterior, and if you have enough time, a guided tour of the inside shouldn't be missed.
The Roman Forum
Adjacent to the Colosseum is the Roman Forum which was once the hub of Rome’s political and social activities. The ruins and monuments scattered throughout this sprawling complex will transport you back to ancient Rome and leave you mesmerized by the grandeur of the architecture.
Walking through Caesar's Palace, the Forum’s center would be a great spot for history buffs.
Completed in 1762, the Trevi Fountain is Rome's most magnificent baroque masterpiece, known as one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city.
Take the opportunity to throw a coin into the fountain facing away from the coins and make a wish that will grant you a return visit to this eternal city.
Finally, there's the Pantheon. Built-in AD 127 by Emperor Hadrian, this imposing monument impresses visitors by its perfect symmetry and awe-inspiring interior.
You'll be fascinated by the impressive marble decorations inside, including the tomb of Raphael.
Discovering the Local Cuisine of Rome
Pasta is a staple in any Italian diet, and Rome has its own take on this classic dish. Carbonara is made with spaghetti, guanciale (a type of cured pork), eggs, pecorino romano cheese and black pepper. Some versions may also include cream or peas.
It's creamy, salty, and savoury all at once. The best places to try carbonara are in the neighbourhoods of Testaccio and Trastevere.
Pizza al Taglio
Rome is famous for its crispy thin-crust pizza, but pizza al taglio is a different beast altogether. This type of pizza is rectangular and baked in large pans, then cut into squares and sold by weight.
Pizzas are topped with a variety of fresh and delicious ingredients like cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, prosciutto, and arugula. You'll find these pizzerias all over the city, but some of the most popular spots are Pizzarium and Bonci Pizzarium.
Cacio e Pepe
If you're a cheese lover, then you can't miss out on Cacio e Pepe. This dish is made with just three ingredients - spaghetti, pecorino romano cheese, and black pepper.
The pasta is cooked al dente and then tossed with the cheese and pepper mixture until creamy and delicious. You'll find some of the best cacio e pepe in the neighbourhoods of Trastevere and Monti.
Supplì are a popular street food that originated in Rome. These rice balls are fried and filled with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and sometimes ground beef.
They are crunchy on the outside and oozing with cheesy deliciousness on the inside. Look for them at local markets and snack bars all over the city, but some of the best places to try supplì are Trapizzino and Supplizio.
Finally, no trip to Rome is complete without trying some of the famous Italian gelato.
Rome has many excellent gelaterias, but some of the most famous are Giolitti, San Crispino, and Fatamorgana. Gelato flavours range from traditional options like chocolate and pistachio to more adventurous ones like ricotta and fig.
Where to stay in Rome
Best for first-time visitors: The historic center is a popular choice for first-time visitors to Rome as it's within walking distance of the city's most famous attractions, such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and the Pantheon.
This area is known for its charming narrow streets, stunning Baroque architecture, and numerous dining options. Keep in mind that the historic center can be a bit pricey, especially during peak season.
Best for nightlife: If you're looking for a happening nightlife scene, Trastevere is the perfect spot for you. This historic neighborhood is famous for its vibrant nightlife, live music, street performances, and dozens of bars and restaurants.
The area has a bohemian, laid-back vibe that attracts young travelers and students. Keep in mind that Trastevere can be noisy at night, so if you're looking for a peaceful place to sleep, this might not be the best option.
Campo de' Fiori
Best for foodies: Located in the heart of the city, Campo de' Fiori is a foodie's paradise. The area is famous for its colorful daily outdoor market, where you can find fresh produce, cheese, meats, and wine.
The neighborhood is also home to some of Rome's best restaurants, especially if you're into traditional Roman cuisine. Keep in mind that, like the historic center, Campo de' Fiori can be pricey.
Best for shopping: Monti is a trendy, up-and-coming neighborhood with a unique bohemian vibe and plenty of vintage shops and boutiques. Located just a few steps away from the Colosseum and Roman Forum, this area offers the perfect combination of historic landmarks and modern urban lifestyle.
Monti is also home to some of Rome's best restaurants and bars, making it a great spot for foodies and nightlife enthusiasts.