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We've all seen the packages promising amazing European vacations on limited budgets. But the number of days usually varies from 5 to 7 days. How do you see all there is to see in a city as exquisite and steeped in history as Rome? We've compiled a five day itinerary of sights that cannot be missed.
Day One - Take on the Colosseum bright and early in the morning. The site opens at 9 am and should take you about an hour to explore and get some terrific photo opportunities. Move on to the rear exit of the Roman Forum and pass the famous Arch of Constantine on the way. At the Roman Forum, be sure to visit the Basilica of Maxentius and the beautiful ancient temples. Near the Capitoline Hill, you'll find the Rostra platform, where Mark Antony delivered a eulogy for Julius Caesar. For a ritzy European lunch, make reservations at the Vecchia Roma. The Pantheon can be found on Via di Minerva. About two blocks away is Piazza Navona, which is the perfect spot for a cappuccino at one of the roadside cafes or even an evening meal.
Day Two - Visit the Vatican Museums. Take in the beauty of the Sistine Chapel and the Stanze rooms as well as all of the wonderful masterpieces from great artists. St. Peter's Basilica can sometimes be accessed from the Sistine Chapel and is also a must-see. You will likely spend several hours exploring the area, so be sure to arrive early. Your next stop will be to travel to (and up!) the Spanish Steps for an amazing view at the top. Near the steps you'll find the Keats-Shelley House. You can treat yourself to Victorian style teatime at Babington's Tea Rooms or visit Rome's oldest coffeehouse Antico Caffè Greco on the Via Condotti. Shoppers will be happy to find the street lined with luxury stores. To finish off the day, take in an orchestral concert at the gilded Baroque church or visit the Jackie O's discotheque.
Day Three - Visit the many resplendent churches of Rome. And take a look at some of the pagan temples, such as the Tempio della Fortuna Virilis and the Tempio di Vesta, and see the old Jewish quarter as well. Other points of interest include the Ponte Sant'Angelo, which features Bernini's angel statues, and the Castel Sant'Angelo fort. Also be sure to visit the Palazzo Altemps at the Piazza Sant'Apollinare.
Day Four - Relax! And do it in style! With a day trip to Tivoli, you can spend the day at the Villa d'Este taking in breathtaking sights among the gardens and fountains. Villa Adriana, where you'll find Emperor Hadrian's pleasure palace, lies just outside the town. Don't miss stopping in at Ristorante Sibilla for a panoramic view from the terrace as you enjoy an evening meal.
Day Five - Experience Roman culture through the myriad art museums scattered around the city, featuring elegant masterpieces by famous painters and sculptors and artefacts from a bygone era.