Spend 15 days discovering Italy's art, culture, and cuisine with this comprehensive trip. Ride a gondola in Venice, climb Pisa's famous tower, and see Michelangelo's 'David' sculpture in Florence. Enjoy wine tasting in Tuscany and learn to make the perfect pasta dish. Round out the trip with 5 days in Rome, where world-famous Vatican City and a relaxing visit to Castelli Romani summer estates await.
Begin at the historic city center at Piazza del Popolo, and head up a steep winding path to Terrazza del Pincio. This terrace is within the Villa Borghese Park and offers panoramic views facing west, so many locals and visitors come here around sunset. Notable sites dominate the skyline, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican.
Afterward, walk along a route that takes you to iconic attractions, including the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, plus a few lesser-known points of interest. In Rome, you should do as the Romans do and participate in the Aperitivo tradition along your walk! Our bar recommendations include an old favorite of famous artists with creative twists on the classic spritz and Negroni cocktails. Take your time to stroll through Rome and absorb the buzzing atmosphere as the sun begins to set.
Suggested Route and Points of Interest:
- Approach the Spanish Steps from the top, the second obelisk on your walk, and the church of Trinità dei Monti. The steps are Spanish because they lead down to the Piazza di Spagna with a famous drinking fountain.
- To the left of the Spanish Steps is the apartment in which the Romantic poet Keats stayed and died in 1821. It's now the Keats and Shelly Museum, and you can find a plaque displayed on the wall in his honor.
- The Trevi Fountain celebrates Rome’s control of water, featuring the ancient god Triton. According to legend, if you face away from the fountain and throw a coin into the water over your left shoulder, it means you'll return to Rome one day. Throwing two coins is meant to ensure you will find love in the city, and a third means you'll marry a Roman.
- From the fountain, cross Via del Corso, a very busy main street, to Piazza Collona. In the square is an ancient military column and behind that is the Montecitori Palace, designed by Bernini. In front of this is the Egyptian Obelisk of Montecitorio.
- Enjoy an Aperitivo at Bar Canova, an old favorite amongst famous artists. Along the way, stop at Salotto42 near the Pantheon. The bar is located in front of Hadrian’s Temple at Piazza del Pietra. Inside the bar are a modern feel and creative twist on the classic spritz and Negroni cocktails. The remains of Hadrian’s Temple include eleven 50-foot columns from 145 CE.
- The Pantheon is your next stop, an iconic building in Rome. The current structure was completed in 126 CE. During the day, it’s free to enter; but at night, the magic is in the setting sun, highlighting the incredible scale and detail of its exterior.
- End your walk at Piazza Navona and soak up the atmosphere. It's the largest baroque piazza in Rome, established on the site of a horse racing stadium. Wander around and admire the Fountain of the Four Rivers and the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone.
- Food and drinks around Piazza Navona are expensive, so head across the River Tiber into the Prati neighborhood to find some authentic places to dine. We recommend getting a gelato for dessert from Neve di Latte or Gelateria dei Gracchi on an after-dinner stroll.
- Gianicolo Hill: The view from Gianicolo Hill is one of the most diverse, with such a wide section of the historical center just in front of it. Every day at noon, a cannon goes off to proclaim the time of day. This has happened every single day for the past 165 years, only interrupted once! You can spend a lovely evening in this area, enjoying the sunset over St. Peter’s Basilica.
- Orange Gardens on Aventine Hill: This park lies at the top of Aventine Hill, where you'll also find the Santa Sabina Church. Just a little further along, find the secret keyhole in the Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta. This spot is famous for framing the St. Peter’s cupola perfectly. Moreover, the view is surrounded by a paradisal garden, offering many shaded spots under its trees and one of Rome's most tranquil panoramic views.
- The Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica: When you visit St. Peter’s Basilica, climb up to the cathedral's dome. This is one of the highest views you can get in Rome, opening up over the city's northern stretches, including the Prati, Spagna, and Colonna districts. Just in front of you lies the beautiful Piazza San Pietro with the towering obelisk and the boulevard-like Via delle Conciliazione.
- Il Vittoriano, Piazza Venezia: For a 360° view of Rome, make your way to Piazza Venezia, where you'll find the Il Vittoriano monument. This was a rather controversial project, as it triggered the destruction of a medieval neighborhood atop Capitoline Hill. Nevertheless, you can look straight down the famous Via del Corso through to the Piazza del Popolo from this space.
- Villa Borghese: This terrace lies within the equally gorgeous Villa Borghese park. It faces west, so come here at sundown to enjoy seeing the city at golden hour! You'll see the Piazza del Popolo directly below the terrace, and beyond that, the charming Prati district. The main sight, however, is the dominating Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican. After taking in this sweeping vista across Rome, you can enjoy a quiet and relaxing stroll around the regal spaces of this beautiful park. This is undoubtedly one of the most romantic panoramic views in Rome.
- Terrazza Caffarelli: To escape the herd, head to this lesser-known viewpoint, Terrazza Caffarelli. Located on Capitoline Hill, which houses the Capitoline Museums, it still manages to remain relatively peaceful. When you climb the ramped staircase, turn right instead of continuing into the center of the piazza. You’ll come across a small pebbled garden that looks out over the Jewish Quarter and many cupolas and has an impressive view of the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II from a unique angle.
Itineraries with A Free Evening in Rome
In Italy "fare tredici" means to hit the jackpot, and you'll do that on this relaxed 13-day itinerary. Start on the Amalfi Coast, where lemon groves and sleepy fishing villages tumble down steep cliffs to the turquoise sea. Visit the Pompeii ruins, explore the resort town of Sorrento, then continue to Rome where world-famous art, eclectic neighborhoods, and historic city monuments await.
Your trip starts with tours through Rome's historical core, Vatican City, and the Roman Forum, with walks through the Colosseum and to the top of Palatine Hill. Head to Florence to experience its historic squares, cathedrals, and museums. End your trip in Verona, visiting the infamous romantic of Shakespeare's love story and the floating city of Venice.
From the bustling streets of Rome to the sunny stretches of coastline in Amalfi, this trip is perfect for those looking to delve into the Italian culture while relaxing amidst picture-perfect scenery. Discover the capital city of Rome and its rich history and vibrant nightlife before heading down south to stroll through colorful villages and dip your toes in the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Nestled between two stunning cities, the town of Assisi makes for the perfect stopover for your journey up the Italian peninsula. With a couple of days to explore these stunning landscapes of the Umbria region with your rental car, this tour visits the highlights of Rome and explores the Renaissance beauty of Florence, combined with a few nights of small-town Italian life.