No Italian vacation is complete without a visit to Rome, and this one-week whirlwind trip takes you through the country's capital city and its stunning southern coastlines. Explore Rome's historical center where ancient history comes to life before setting out to discover the incomparable Amalfi Coast. Discover the ruins of Pompeii and round out your trip with some relaxed beach time.

Highlights

  • Discover Rome's top ancient sites at the Colosseum and Roman Forum
  • Soak in the Italian culture as you explore Rome's streets
  • Visit the incredible ruins of Pompeii, preserved by Mt. Vesuvius’ eruption
  • Spend time enjoying sunshine, fresh seafood, and medieval villages on the Amalfi Coast
  • Escape to the island of Capri, playground for ancient Romans

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Rome Rome
Day 2 Early Morning Vatican Experience Rome
Day 3 Self-Guided Visit of the Colosseum and Forum Rome
Day 4 Rome to the Amalfi Coast - Pompeii en Route Amalfi Coast
Day 5 Capri Day Trip Amalfi Coast
Day 6 Free Day on the Amalfi Coast Amalfi Coast
Day 7 Depart Naples  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Rome

Streets of Trastevere, Rome
Streets of Trastevere, Rome

Welcome to Rome, known as the City of the Seven Hills! According to legend, Rome was founded by brothers Romulus and Remus in 753 BCE atop Palatine Hill. As the long-time center of the powerful Roman Empire, you'll find nearly 3,000 years of architecture, history, and culture throughout the city. 

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. The next few days will involve lots of sightseeing, and you'll spend your first few hours enjoying some of the highlights. Suggested activities include:

  • Visit the Catacombs of Priscilla, which were originally used from the 2nd to 5th centuries as burial grounds for the elite families of Rome. The entrance was blocked for centuries to protect against grave robbers, but the catacombs were rediscovered in the 16th century. 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 historic districts, to see classical Roman and baroque architecture. 

  • Stop to see the Colonna di Marco Aurelio, a Doric column with a spiral of relief sculptures. It was erected in the 2nd century 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. Then continue to Parco Savello (Orange Tree Park), where you can find the famous keyhole that gives visitors a direct view of the Vatican. Grab a cappuccino and snack from one of the adjacent cafes.

  • For an authentic market experience, stop by the Mercato dei Fiori, where locals shop for fresh vegetables, 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. 

For dinner, head to the Trastevere neighborhood for some of the city's best trattorias.

Day 2: Early Morning Vatican Experience

St. Peter's Square and the Vatican
St. Peter's Square and the Vatican

Today, you will visit the Vatican City museums and Sistine Chapel, as well as other top sights, in a 3-hour guided tour of the city's incredible art and history.  The tour will start at the Vatican, entering the Museums at 8 am and giving you a one-hour head start on the rest of the crowds. See the Pio Clementio Museum, Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of Tapestries, and Gallery of the Geographical Maps. 

Continue on to the magnificent Raphael Rooms, ending in the breathtaking Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo's Genesis ceiling frescoes and his Last Judgement altar fresco. Finally, end the tour at St. Peter's Basilica and Square, experiencing the magic of Renaissance art while learning the secret details and little known stories of these masterpieces. 

The rest of the day is free for you to explore on your own. Stroll through the Centro Storico, the historic center, of Rome and wander past iconic monuments and architecture such as the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Head over to Piazza Navona and admire the Fountain of the Four Rivers, designed by the iconic Italian sculptor, Bernini. Finish your evening with a stroll around the piazza, stopping for some pizza, gelato, and people-watching.

Note: Early Vatican visit not available Wednesdays and Vatican closed entirely on Sundays

Day 3: Self-Guided Visit of the Colosseum and Forum

The Colosseum
The Colosseum

Dive into the history of the Roman Empire with a self-guided visit to the Colosseum, the world's largest amphitheater. Walking through the ancient amphitheater is like taking a trip back to the days 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. For centuries, Palatine Hill, regarded as the founding site of Rome, housed the Roman nobility while the Roman Forum was the center of daily life. Today, the impressive buildings and archaeological ruins are not to be overlooked during your visit. 

As you approach the Colosseum, you will see the Outer Wall with 3 levels of arches. Near the Colosseum, stands the Arch of Constantine, constructed to honor Emperor Constantine’s victory in the battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 CE. The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill are all located very close to each other in the same archaeological area. 

Recommended Schedule

Best to start early in the morning! Give yourself 2-3 hours to visit the Colosseum- with a little extra time to go through security- and around 1 -2 hours to explore the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. 

While many rush to visit the Colosseum first, the Palatine Hill is typically the least crowded of these three sites and offers an entrance with shorter lines. As it's not the typical order to visit, it is a good idea to start your day bright and early here. As you walk through Palatine Hill, make your way to the directly connected and incredible Roman Forum. Your entrance ticket serves for all three sites, so after making your way through the Roman Forum to see the impressive monuments, the exit will lead you right next to the entrance of the Colosseum. 

Eating Nearby

After all this exploring, venture to the nearby Monti neighborhood, less than a 10-minute walk, to tuck into a well-deserved meal.

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Day 4: Rome to the Amalfi Coast - Pompeii en Route

Ancient street in Pompeii
Ancient street in Pompeii

In the morning, you'll leave Rome and head south to the Amalfi Coast. Take the train to Naples before heading by private transfer to your final destination of the Amalfi Coast, but before you arrive, you'll make an incredible stop. Visit the ruins of Pompeii, a bustling seaside city that was buried underneath 13-20 ft (4 to 6 m) of ash and volcanic debris after the 79 CE eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The ash, which killed many of the city's residents, acted as an archaeological time capsule by preserving many of the city's original buildings and features completely intact. 

The city was lost for 1,500 years following Mount Vesuvius' eruption before its accidental rediscovery in 1599. Items of all kinds from jars to furniture were frozen in time, and even those unfortunate citizens of the empire, unable to flee the oncoming ash, were perfectly preserved. A stroll through Pompeii's ancient streets will show off preserved villas, shops, public buildings, and plazas, giving you an insider's look into life 2,000 years ago.

After the excursion to Vesuvius, you'll continue on to the Amalfi Coast, where you'll check in to your hotel and settle in for the evening.

Day 5: Capri Day Trip

Busy port on Capri
Busy port on Capri

Spend the day enjoying the sunshine and clear blue waters of Capri Island. Known locally as the "Pearl of the Mediterranean," the ancient Greeks called it the "Isle of Sirens." Capri sits on the south side of the Gulf of Naples and has been a popular vacation destination for millennia. The ancient Romans, in fact, built summer villas here for the Empire's VIPs.

In the morning, you'll head out to catch a hydrofoil to Capri. Visit the Marina Grande and Marina Piccola harbors, walk along the Belvedere of Tragara (a villa-lined promenade with panoramic views), and explore the ruins of ancient Roman villas.

Then head up the hill to Anacapri to see the Piazzetta and Augustus' Garden, and enjoy the best views of the Faraglioni Rocks. Should you choose, you can later return to the water and explore the Grotta Azzurra, the famous "Blue Grotto," which is located inside a hollowed sea cave. Afterward, we recommend spending the remainder of the afternoon soaking in the sunshine on the beach, before taking the ferry back in the evening.

Day 6: Free Day on the Amalfi Coast

Enjoy your day on  the Amalfi Coast
Enjoy your day on the Amalfi Coast

Today, you are free to explore and enjoy the leisurely coastal pace of life. Go for a walk on the Lemon Path in the town of Minori, or try your hand at windsurfing or kayaking near the shores of Praiano. You can see artisanal ceramics manufacturers in the town of Vietri, or go for a half-day hike on the Path of the Gods. Of course, simply lazing on the beaches of Positano, Vettica Maggiore, and Centra is also an excellent option. 

Other suggestions include: 

  • Visit the beautiful Villa Cimbrone and Terrace of Infinity in Ravello.
  • Check out Praiano's nightlife at the Africana and Music on the Rocks nightclubs.
  • Rent a kayak and explore emerald green grottos, tiny hidden beaches, and impressive sea caves. 
  • Enjoy a quiet day in the serene town of Atrani, far away from the hustle and bustle of the larger villages. 
  • Explore the Fiordo di Furore, Italy's only fjord.
  • Visit the Cloister of San Francesco in Sorrento, an oasis of tranquility that's located steps away from the town's historic Sant'Antonino piazza. 
  • Enjoy nature in the Ferriere Valley Nature Reserve, famous for its postcard-perfect fishing villages and bucolic countryside crisscrossed with hiking trails.

For dinner head to a family-run restaurant for the best Italian pizza paired with a glass of the perfect local wine.

Day 7: Depart Naples

Sunrise over Naples
Sunrise over Naples

Time to say goodbye to Italy - for now! Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

Map

Map of Rome & the Amalfi Coast - 7 Days
Map of Rome & the Amalfi Coast - 7 Days