Rome serves up Europe's most intoxicating brew of dazzling art, earth-shaking history and city life with style. On this tour, your guide will resurrect the grandeur of Ancient Rome's Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon and nearby Ostia Antica. From the Renaissance and Baroque eras, you'll marvel at St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and Borghese Gallery. You'll also enjoy today's Rome, with a cooking demonstration, neighborhood walking tours, memorable restaurants, and time to explore on your own. Join us for the Best of Rome in 7 Days!
You'll get all this!
- An extra-small group, limited to 20-24 people — less than half the size of most tour groups
- Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Rome come alive for you
- All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 19 sightseeing events • Pantheon • Evening walk through Rome including Trevi Fountain • Panoramic bus tour • E.U.R. visit • Appian Way visit • Catacombs of San Sebastiano • 7-day Metro Pass • Ancient Rome walking tour • Roman Forum tour • Colosseum tour • San Clemente Church tour • Rome Neighborhood walking tour • Italian cooking class • Day trip to Ostia Antica • Vatican Museum tour • Sistine Chapel • St. Peter's Basilica • Borghese Gallery tour...and more
- All group transportation during the week in and around Rome
- 6 nights accommodations in a memorable, centrally-located hotel
- All breakfasts and half your dinners
- All tips for guides and driver
- Free stuff including Rick Steves' Rome guidebook, Italian phrase book, map, moneybelt and earplugs
- Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
- Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
- Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2013
- 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
- Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
- Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above
- Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
- Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
- Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.
Day 1: Welcome to Rome
Let's get together at our hotel for a meeting at 3 p.m. this afternoon. After an orientation walk through our neighborhood, we'll get oriented to Rome's efficient metro system and then enjoy an "Am-I-really-here?" la dolce vita stroll through the heart of Rome, soaking up the city's evening ambiance at the classy Piazza Navona, the remarkably-preserved, 2,000-year-old Pantheon and the magical Trevi Fountain. Our day will end with a chance to get acquainted during a "Welcome to Rome" dinner together. Walking: moderate.
Day 2: Ancient Rome
After breakfast we'll ride the metro back in time to Ancient Rome. We'll arrive at multi-layered San Clemente — a 12th-century church sitting atop a 4th-century basilica and a previous Roman temple. Then we'll tour and hear vivid tales of the larger-than-life Colosseum. After a break for lunch, we'll tour Ancient Rome's birthplace: the Forum. You'll have the rest of the afternoon and evening free to wander through the nearby Palatine ruins, see Michelangelo's Moses at St. Peter-in-Chains Church or climb to the top of the Victor Emmanuel Monument to enjoy the city view (don't forget to savor a foamy cappuccino in between). Walking: strenuous.
Day 3: Day Trip to Ostia Antica
Today we'll venture outside the city, touring the ruins of Rome's first colony, Ostia Antica, the ancient seaport which connected Rome to its ever-expanding Mediterranean empire. Unlike Rome's politically-oriented Forum, our walk through Ostia gives us a chance to envision the daily lives of merchants and craftsmen, and appreciate beautifully preserved mosaics. As we head back to Rome, we'll take a panoramic bus tour as we continue to peel away the jumbled layers of this fascinating city, learning about Rome as Italy's political capital, the capital of Catholicism, and the center of the ancient world. On the way, we'll learn about Italy's fascist past at E.U.R. and see what our world might look like if Mussolini had his way. Then we'll continue along the ancient "Queen of Roads," the Appian Way, stopping to tour the eerie Catacombs of San Sebastiano. Arriving back in our Rome neighborhood, you'll be free for dinner on your own. Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.
Day 4: Neighborhood Rome
This morning we'll take a more intimate look at Rome, with a Vespa-dodging walking tour through our guide's favorite Roman neighborhood. Then we'll create today's tasty lunch during a fun and informative cooking class. You'll have the rest of the day free to make your own neighborhood discoveries. Walking: moderate.
Day 5: St. Peters' and the Vatican Museum
We'll spend much of today on the Vatican side of the Tiber River. At the sprawling Vatican Museum we'll tour the seemingly endless collection of treasures as we make our way to one of the world's most famous works of art: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. Our guided tour will continue to the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's moving Pietá. You'll have the remainder of the day free to explore this immense church, climb the dome if you're feeling energetic, and then enjoy lunch and dinner on your own, perhaps along a nearby market street. Walking: strenuous.
Day 6: Rome's Baroque Treasures
We'll begin with a guided tour of sheer beauty in the Borghese Gallery. Bernini's most graceful and lifelike sculptures reside here — his athletic David and delicate Apollo and Daphne — as well as masterpieces by Canova, Caravaggio, Titian and Raphael. Your afternoon is free to relax in the surrounding park, ramble through more of Rome, or do some last-minute shopping. Tonight we'll have one last dinner together to share travel memories and toast new friends. Salute! Walking: moderate.
Day 7: Tour Over After Breakfast
This morning we'll say our final farewells and head for home — or further adventures in Italia. Arrivederci, Roma!
Itinerary specifics subject to change.
Rick Steves tours are physically active!
This is an integral, essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of Rome in 7 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...
- Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
- Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
- Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
- After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate through the city on your own.
We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.
Sightseeing On Your Own
If you arrive in Rome before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Rome guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Italian and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.
Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Rome that we do not do as a group: Capitol Hill museums; National Museum; Etruscan Museum; Santa Maria Maggiore; Testaccio neighborhood; Castel Sant' Angelo; day trips to Naples/Pompeii (very long day, worth an overnight); Tivoli (Hadrian's Villa, Villa d'Este). Most museums are closed Mondays. Confirm your sightseeing plans with any tourist information office.
Those with a couple of extra days to spend may want to extend their time in Italy. Rome is well connected for quick trips around the country. Florence is only 90 minutes away by train, Naples is two hours south, and Milan and Venice are less than five hours north.
For a more rural experience, explore the hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria. These regions are most easily seen by car but public transportation can work for those with extra time and patience! Some of Rick's favorites include Orvieto, Civita, Assisi, Perugia, San Gimignano, and Siena. When traveling off-season, always call ahead for hours and closures to avoid disappointment.
Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.
Rome is a major transportation hub, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy.
Flying within Europe can be reasonable. Ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines. For links to helpful rail and air websites, go to www.ricksteves.com/plan/links and look under "Transportation."
Read Rick's Guide to Eurail Passes and decide if your travel plans merit a railpass (or contact our Rail Department for advice at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425/771-8303, ext. 214). Italy's point-to-point ticket prices are quite reasonable therefore you may not need a railpass. You can get an idea of costs from the above guide or in Rick Steves' Rome or Rick Steves' Italy guidebooks.
Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your tour hotel, as well as contact information for your hotel in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.
If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email email@example.com.
See a chart with monthly rain and temperature information for this tour.
For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.
Tour Guide Raves
"Ben far exceeded our expectations for guiding our group. We've never felt so cared for in all of our travels. We marveled at his amazing ability to share the history as well as his skills and sense of humor in dealing with all situations. He is simply darling!!"
— Larry in Topeka, KS
"Jaime was phenomenal. His knowledge of history and art has to be unsurpassed by any others. He was extremely efficient, well organized, an excellent speaker, possessed excellent teaching skills, and demonstrated such passion about what he was doing 24/7. I consider myself blessed that he ended up being my guide."
— Karen in Holland, MI
Favorite tour memories from recent alums:
"It was the culmination of different experiences that made it 'wow' and magical...from exploring and getting lost in all the picturesque alleys, to eating cinnamon gelato at the Pantheon, to the fabulous guided tours of the Vatican and Borghese Gallery, to bonding with my fellow tour guests."
— Elisha in Austin, TX
"Walking from the Colosseum into the Ancient Forum absolutely 'floored' me. To be surrounded by the places and history that I've read about since childhood was like walking in a long-held dream."
— Katherine Marie in Los Angeles, CA
"The Borghese Gallery was absolutely beautiful!"
— Wendy in Rochester, NY
To see more comments on Rick Steves' tours, read through our tour member reviews.
Videos & More
This region is rich in history, art and culture. To help you get the most from your trip, we've put together this collection of travel resources from Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, as well as recommended books, films and music.
Rick Steves' TV Clips & Shows
(For more Rick Steves' TV clips on this region, visit Rick on YouTube.)
- Roman Holiday (1953)
- Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
- Spartacus (1960)
- La Dolce Vita (1961)
- Gladiator (2000)
Rick Steves' Radio Interviews
(For more radio interviews on this region, see Rick's Audio Europe™ files for iPod, PC & MP3.)
Rick Steves' Audio Tours
- Rome: Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum
Rick Steves Audio Europe™
- Opera: Puccini, Rossini, Verdi, Andrea Bocelli, Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Ezio Pinza, Three Tenors
- Classical: Vivaldi's Four Seasons
- Pop/rock: Pino Danieli, Dean Martin, Mina, Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti
- Movie Soundtrack: Big Night
Rick Steves' Articles
(For more articles on this region, see Rick's Best Destinations.)
- Rick Steves' Rome
- The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — Edward Gibbon
- Rome and a Villa — Eleanor Clark
- The Seasons of Rome — Paul Hofmann
- When In Rome — Robert Hutchinson
- Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling — Ross King
- The First Man in Rome — Colleen McCullough
- I, Claudius — Robert Graves
- Roman Blood (mystery set in Rome in 80 BC, first in a series) — Steven Saylor
- Cabal (mystery set in modern Rome, third in a series) — Michael Dibdin
- Angels and Demons — Dan Brown