How to Spend One Week in Rome

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You’ve seen the deal of a lifetime. You’re ready to book. You’re going to spend a week in Rome. It’s all happening! Now what?

It’s time to plan. And we have some great ideas, tips and tours to help you get the best out of your week in Rome. Let’s go!

Your Week in Rome: Arrival

Rome's ancient wonders await! Photo: Pixabay/willian west

Rome’s ancient wonders await! Photo: Pixabay/willian west

One word: acclimate. It’s likely you’ll be flying overnight from the US. In that case, you’ll arrive in Rome the following morning. Depending on how well you sleep on planes, you might feel so exhilarated at the prospect of exploring a new city that you want to hit the pavement immediately.

So acclimation can mean two things: getting used to the city, the language and the area around your hotel; and getting used to the time difference, weather, and the feeling of solid ground under your feet after a long flight.

Getting to Know Rome

Exploring the Vatican Museums. Photo: Pixabay/Jonathan Singer

Exploring the Vatican Museums. Photo: Pixabay/Jonathan Singer

It’s time to explore! Line up some tours to give you some cultural perspective on the incredible sights you’re about to see. With a Virgin Vacations package, you can easily pre-book tours while you’re building your customized vacation. Here are a few to add onto your trip.

Centuries of priceless art on display at the Vatican Museums. Photo: Pixabay/serghei_topor

Centuries of priceless art on display at the Vatican Museums. Photo: Pixabay/serghei_topor

The Vatican Museums tour explores the Vatican Museums and Galleries, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. You’ll find unbelievable riches within the Vatican Museums, which collectively create one of the largest museums in the world. Works by artists like Raphael, da Vinci, Caravaggio and modern artists such as Chagall and Picasso can all be found here. There are also impressive antiquities, including Greek and Roman sculpture, ancient Egyptian artifacts, and Etruscan art. This tour is a great opportunity to learn about the highlights of the museums.

Ruins of the Roman Forum stand tall.

Ruins of the Roman Forum stand tall.

The Ancient Rome tour explores the splendor of the Roman Empire. You’ll explore Rome’s most ancient districts, walk along the original Roman grid, and enjoy a tour of the inside of the Colosseum. Along the way you’ll climb Palotine and Capitoline Hill, which offers an amazing view of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum; view the Temple of Vesta, the Arch of Titus and the Triumphal Arch of Constantine, and get a feel for the ancient world which once existed here.

Depending on your travel dates, you can often book these tours for the same day, giving you a fascinating journey through Rome’s biggest attractions — and setting you up for some successful sightseeing on your own during the rest of your trip.

Now that you’ve gotten all that history in, there’s something else very important to explore in Rome–the food! The Espresso, Gelato & Tiramisu tour is a must. You’ll visit some of Rome’s best and most historic eateries in search of the perfect pull of espresso, the creamiest gelato, and the most melt-in-your-mouth piece of Tiramisu. Your tour guide will give you great tips on the best ways to choose, order and enjoy Roman specialties. With plenty of time left in your trip, you’ll have ample opportunity to put this knowledge to good use!

Shopping, Strolling and Side Trips

With a six-night hotel stay, you’ve still got plenty of time to enjoy Rome even after your tours. And that’s perfect, because there’s so much to see and do. A week in Rome might feel like you’re cutting things short!

Spanish Steps: all roads lead to great shopping, it would seem

Spanish Steps: all roads lead to great shopping, it would seem

Shopping: High fashion and flea markets are both big shopping yes’s in Rome. You’ll find flagship stores for the world’s biggest fashion designers near the Spanish Steps. Via Condotti, the street leading away from the foot of the steps, is Rome’s Fifth Avenue. Gucci, Prada, Hermes–you name the posh designer, you’ll find their shops on this narrow pedestrian street of historic buildings. On the grid of streets all around you’ll find an enticing blend of shops, all enjoying pedestrian-only status so you can avoid Rome’s famous traffic.

Rome is also home to many flea markets where you can find everything from ancient treasures to cheap handbags. Try the historic Trastevere neighborhood for the Porta Portese flea market, which draws throngs of bargain-hunters looking for treasure on Sunday mornings.

Strolling: There are so many neighborhoods to explore in Rome, each with their own distinct character and historic landmarks. You’re sure to spend plenty of time in the section around Rome’s ancient ruins, so wander into Monti, an adjacent neighborhood with more authentic surroundings than the restaurants and shops put up along the tourist tracks. You’ll find cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafes and historic buildings with all the edges worn off after centuries of dozing in the Roman sun.

An outdoor cafe in the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere. Photo: Pixabay/kirkandmimi

An outdoor cafe in the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere. Photo: Pixabay/kirkandmimi

Another can’t-miss neighborhood with plenty of local flavor is Trastevere. Located on the Vatican side of the Tiber River, Trastevere’s bohemian feel and up-all-night atmosphere make it the perfect place for a night out. But don’t miss Trastevere by daylight, either–from the top of the neighborhood’s Gianicolo hill, you’ll get some of the best views of Rome the city has to offer.

Side Trips: You’ve gone all the way to Italy, so shouldn’t you see more of it? While there’s plenty to keep you occupied in Rome (we haven’t even talked about the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Villa Borghese, all the food you’re going to eat…) you might want to take a brief break from the city. Luckily, there are several worthwhile sites within easy train distance of Rome.

Ostia Antica's preserved Roman ruins are on par with Pompeii. Photo: Pixabay/neufal54

Ostia Antica’s preserved Roman ruins are on par with Pompeii. Photo: Pixabay/neufal54

Ostia Antica is a fantastic archaeological site just a half an hour by train from Rome. If you were considering Pompeii but didn’t want to travel quite so far, Ostia Antica is your answer. This well-preserved city was once Rome’s port town. Preserved by mud and silt rather than volcanic ash, the ruins of the town include the warehouses, apartments, commercial buildings complete with mosaic signs advertising their services, and a theater still used for performances today.

Other potential day trips include Tivoli, home to the beautiful country estate of Emperor Hadrian, Villa Adrianna; Cerveteri, where you can explore an Etruscan necropolis; and even Florence, just ninety minutes away by fast train.

Get more ideas from our blog post 10 Free Things to Do in Rome.

With so much to see in and around Rome, your week in Rome will definitely keep you busy! Prep for your trip with lots of walking, so you can fully enjoy all the pedestrian-friendly sites throughout the historic city center (and of course, all those museums!).

When you’re ready to book your week in Rome, look for optional tours to add to your itinerary. Our 8-Day Rome Vacation offers the tours mentioned above–just check their boxes once you’ve selected your flights to add the tours you want to your package. Or, you can get expert planning assistance from our destination specialist team — just call them at 1-888-937-8474. Have fun in Rome!

View our Italy Independent Vacations and Escorted Tours here.