Discover historic and modern highlights of the Eternal City in this 5-day tour. Hear stories of gladiators in Rome's ancient Colosseum, tour the iconic Pantheon and visit the Vatican Museum to see the world-famous Sistine Chapel. Explore the Galleria Borghese to see works by Rafaello and Caravaggio, then stroll around the peaceful gardens of Villa Borghese. Enjoy a quiet cup of coffee in the Piazza Navona and unwind at night with a homemade Italian pizza and a glass of wine.

Highlights

  • Explore the world-famous Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel
  • Discover ancient legends and Rome's darker side at the Colosseum
  • Soak in the tradition and culture as you tour the Rome's top cultural sites
  • Learn to make (and eat!) a typical Italian pizza

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Rome Rome
Day 2 Guided Tour of the Colosseum and Bike Tour in the City Center Rome
Day 3 The Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and Boat Tour on the Tiber River Rome
Day 4 Art & Food in Rome Rome
Day 5 Depart Rome  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Rome

Narrow street and an open air cafe
Narrow street and an open air cafe

Welcome to Rome, City of the Seven Hills! According to legend, Rome was founded by brothers Romulus and Remus in 753 B.C.E. atop Rome's Palatine Hill. The long-time center of the powerful Roman Empire, Rome boasts nearly 3,000 years of architecture, history, and culture. 

After arriving at one of Rome's airports, you'll transfer to your hotel in the historic center. Settle in and relax, then head out for a stroll and your first look at the Eternal City. Your next few days will involve lots of sightseeing, so check out some of Rome's landmarks and sites. 

  • Visit the Catacombs of Priscilla, which were originally dug from the 2nd to 5th centuries as burial grounds for the elite families of Rome. After the entrance was blocked for centuries to protect it from thievery, the catacombs were re-discovered in the 16th century, and visitors can see the original structures as well as paintings and artifacts from various time periods. 
  • Stroll through the tangle of narrow streets in Centro Storico, one of Rome's most iconic historical districts, to see classical Roman and Baroque architecture and style. 
  • Stop to see the Colonna di Marco Aurelio, a Doric column with a spiral relief was erected in the 2nd century C.E.  to celebrate the victories of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. 
  • Head to the Colle Aventino, one of Rome's famous seven hills. Stroll through the Roseto Comunale, the rose garden which sits on the site of a former Jewish cemetery and the Orange Tree Park overlook (Parco Savello), then find the famous keyhole which gives visitors a direct view of the Vatican. Grab a cappuccino and lunch from one of the adjacent cafes. 

For an authentic market experience stop by the Mercato dei Fiori, where locals shop for fresh vegetables, a wide selection of flowers, meats, and cheeses. Browse for authentic Italian pasta and other souvenirs then take a break with coffee and a pastry at one of the many cafes surrounding the market. 

Day 2: Guided Tour of the Colosseum and Bike Tour in the City Center

Cozy street in Trastevere, Rome
Cozy street in Trastevere, Rome

Head out for a full-day guided city tour. Start with the Colosseum and travel back in time to relive the grandeur of the Roman Empire. Learn about some of ancient Rome's most famous and illustrious citizens, such as Julius Caesar, Emperors Augustus and Nero, and the Flavian Emperors who built the Colosseum.

Begin your tour at the Arch of Constantine, erected in honor of the Emperor in 315 C.E. Continue into the amphitheater to explore the history and hear stories of gladiators and animals, battles, and executions that took place inside its walls. 

Afterward, join a 3-hour bike tour to see the city's main attractions—the central Piazza Navona where families and tourists gather on warm days, the beautiful Trevi Fountain, and the iconic Pantheon

Day 3: The Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and Boat Tour on the Tiber River

Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican
Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican

In the morning make your way to the Vatican Museum to tour the world-famous Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica to see the masterpieces of Michelangelo and Bernini. This is considered one of Rome's top attractions.  

At the end of the tour hop on a tour boat to explore the city banks from the Tiber River. Admire Rome's most famous bridges: Umberto I Bridge, Regina Margherita Bridge, Saint’Angel Bridge, Mazzini Bridge, Sisto Bridge,  and the Garibaldi Bridge.

Later, head out into the city for some more sightseeing. Stroll through a city square, enjoy dinner at an open-air cafe, shop for souvenirs, or simply relax in the shade with a fresh coffee.

Day 4: Art & Food in Rome

Traditional Italian pizza
Traditional Italian pizza

In the late morning join a guided tour of one of the world's premier art museums to see works by extraordinary artists Bernini, Caravaggio, Canova, and Rafaello. The gallery's highlights include sculptures and paintings from Cardinal Scipione Borghese’s collection (1579 - 1633). 

Admire Caravaggio's most important paintings, including "Boy with Basket of Fruit", and see Bernini and Canova's sculpture collection, boasting works such as "Apollo and Daphne" and "David". Rafaello's "Entombment of Christ" is also a must-see. 

Walk through the ornate rooms of the Galleria Borghese and explore the splendid frescoes, stories, and masterful techniques behind the of world's most beautiful art museums. End the tour with a peaceful stroll around the Villa Borghese gardens, enjoying its beauty and calm far from the chaos of the city.

In the afternoon enjoy a fun cooking lesson on the banks of the Tiber River as you learn to prepare a traditional Italian pizza. Afterward, unwind as you enjoy your delicious handmade dinner with a glass of local wine.

Day 5: Depart Rome

Main train station in Rome
Main train station in Rome

Time to say goodbye to Rome - for now! After one last Roman breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

Map

Map of Explore Rome - 5 Days
Map of Explore Rome - 5 Days