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Our time in Rome

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I will be traveling to Rome with my mother from September 11th to September 15th and I was hoping you all could chime in with some advice on what I have so far and any suggestions.

BACKGROUND:
Our total travel time is only 14hrs. We leave on September 10th at 1:30pm from Tampa, FL and arrive in Rome on September 11th at 9:30 am at the FCO airport. From Rome we are going to Florence.
We love art and I love a good view.

******We are trying to keep a daily budget to 50E each not including transit.*******

I especially want to see at least one hidden gem off the beaten path. (Secret gardens, awesome places to sketch, etc)
We are staying in the Trevi district. We wont be doing any guided tours.
I am 22 and my mom will be 51 but we are both in pretty good shape.

SUN 9/11 Day 1: I want to take it relatively easy the first day because of travel.
I figure that we can be ready to explore after lunch.
Stop 1: Fountain Di Trevi
Stop 2: Walk up the Spanish steps
Stop 3: Borghese Garden and Gallery
Stop 4: Panoramic Sunset (7:30PM) at Monte Pincio
Any tips or suggestions after this?

MON 9/12 Day 2: Vatican City - I wont be doing any guided tours
Stop 1: Simple breakfast in front of St. Peters Square (my mom will want to sketch the Dome)
Stop 2: 9AM St. Peter's (including the roof/dome)
Stop 3: Early lunch (low cost any suggestions?)
Stop 4: Vatican Museums, Sistine chapel, and Gardens
I figure we will be finished around dinner time but I have no plans after this. I was thinking about an activity like a cooking class, going to the opera, or wine tasting. Advice here would be great!

TUES 9/13 Day 3: Day trip to ???
I am thinking Pompeii, Tivoli, or Capri.
(We are already going to Florence, Pisa, Venice, and Tuscany.)
Advice here would be great!

WED 9/14 Day 4: Colosseum and more
Stop 1: Colosseum (also going to 3rd tier and sub arena levels where gladiators walked!)
Stop 2: Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
Stop 3: Capitoline Hill and Museum
Stop 4: Pantheon
These are just the basics of what I want to do so I am definitely open to tips!

THURS 9/15: Day 5:
We will be taking a train up to Florence around 11am so I’m not sure what we could do in the morning besides breakfast.

All your tips, tricks, and advice are much appreciated!!!!!!! Grazie!

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    Where are you staying? Having a good breakfast included will help keep your costs low. I require a hearty breakfast and can't function on the Italian norm of coffee and sweets. If I can manage to get a big breakfast, then lunch can just be a snack.
    Pompeii is an extremely long day trip--have you considered Ostia Antica? With your mention of gardens, I think Tivoli would be nice.
    Your days are full but I don't think excessively so until maybe day 4.

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    What does your 50 euros per day per person cover? Meals, entry fees and incidentals like the cooking class? If so, it's a very tight budget. Does your lodging offer breakfast included in the daily rate?

    Inexpensive lunches aren't difficult to find, especially in the areas most visited by tourists.

    Do you have reservations for the Galleria Borghese? This isn't a place where you can walk up and buy tickets. (The same applies to the Leaning Tower in Pisa if you were hoping/planning to climb it.)

    Your priorities may differ, but with such a short stay in Rome, I wouldn't take a day trip away from the city.

    If you're interested in gardens, you can do a self-guided walking tour of the Villa Borghese Gardens. It's a beautiful park.

    https://www.rometoolkit.com/walks/xmap_walk_villa_borghese.jpg.pagespeed.ic.d7oHA5fd1K.jpg

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    I am staying right next to fountain di trevi in an airbnb apartment. That way we can cook some meals at home and save money.
    50E for outside food and any other purchases other than trasportation. The reason we have this budget is we are going to be in Europe for 3 weeks, Rome is just the first leg of our trip. But obviously some days will be cheaper than others leaving some room for spending later.

    I will be booking the tickets/passes for everything before hand so that has no effect on the budget.
    I felt the 4th day was full too but its from the "cesear shuffle" from Rick Steves and its all relatively close so I wasn't sure.. :)

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    As pointed out, the Borghese Galleria requires reservations (visits are restricted to 2 hours). Allow time to check your bags (you aren't allowed to take bags in).

    I would rearrange your days a bit. The Vatican is pretty crowded on Mondays (although it's crowded every day) because it's closed on Sunday. The Vatican Gardens only allow access on certain days and times are limited (reserved guided tour) unless you just book the open bus tour (I'm not familiar with the hours for that).

    https://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/do

    If you change your days around, it might be beneficial for you to get a Roma Pass (38€ - 3 day/72hours) which includes transport in Rome (you would have to crunch the numbers to see). The first two sites visited are free and there are discounts after that. Your first two sites could be Borghese Galleria (entry fee 11€) and the Colosseum (entry fee 14€). The Colosseum, Forum, Palatine count as one visit. Public transport is 1.50€ so you would have to figure if you would be using enough transport within the 3 consecutive days to make it worth it. If you choose Ostia Antica over Pompeii, it's one of the sites on the Roma Pass so you would get discounted entrance if you already used your free entrances plus the public transport to reach it.

    http://www.romapass.it/p.aspx?l=en&tid=2

    http://www.romapass.it/doc/sitiAderentiCostoBiglietti_eng.pdf

    There may be a free weekend in Rome in September (for museums). I'm not sure they still do that, but it's used to be later in the month. You might look into it.

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    Right around the corner from the Pantheon is Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. I believe it is the only gothic church in Rome and has a beautiful Michangelo sculpture inside (Christ carrying the cross) and a Bernini elephant and obelisk in the piazza out front.

    I would consider going to the Pantheon when it opens at 8:30.

    For the day trip...I don't think you would want to hike all the way to Capri. Tivoli is a great option. visit Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este while there. Very close to Rome and I loved all the beautiful fountains at Villa d'Este. Another thought is Orvieto. It's a lovely town a little over an hour by train from Rome.

    Vino Roma does wonderful wine tastings, so if you are interested, check them out!

    We did the fullColisseum tour with the top tier and the "basement" with Walks of Italy and really loved it.

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    I am very concerned about you having only 50 euros a day for everything - meals, snacks, entrance fees, etc.

    Have you googled each web site to see the cost of entrance. Naturally some things - like St Peter's are free, but the Vatican Museum, Dome, Treasury, Scavi and gardens - if you want to visit those - are each additional and separate entrance cost. And what happens if you want to sit in a cafe and have a drink on a hot afternoon?

    I can't give you specifics on prices since this is not our price point - but I think any more than a slice and a soda for lunch and a very modest/small meal for dinner won't fit within that budget.

    I know some people will say to have you "big" meal at lunchtime because it may be less expensive - but that really cuts into sight seeing time, and having a hot meal in the middle of the day, esp in hot weather, can be way more than you want.

    Also some of the things you mention - like cooking class or wine tasting - will not be inexpensive, unless those are on top of your budget. For instance the wine tasting mentioned by denisea is a minimum of 50 euros per person. I would assume a cooking class would be similar.

    For the Vatican entrance to the Museum is 16 euros. For the Basilica's Treasury is another 5 euros. Have not looked up all the prices but as you can see there would be little left of 50 euros.

    Have you run a zero based budget inputting actual costs - rather than just arbitrarily picking 50 euros a day at random?

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    Now that I am on a computer I can properly address your concerns:

    @NYTraveler I have been planning this trip for two years. It took me one year to save up the money to take my mother and I - BOTH of us to Rome, Florence, Venice, and Paris with my own money and then I surprised her on her birthday last September. That is an extremely large investment of my hard earned pennies considering I am a college student and I am completely independent. Since I have been doing research for two years I 1) can name at least 3 street food carts and/or small restaurants that have meals for under 3 Euros in Rome. 2) As I said before I am pre-purchasing ALL Tickets/Passes, Transportation, and anything else that you have to buy in advance. 3) We will be smart with our money as we live in a tourist state so we know a lot of the extra frills are not what is important to experience a new place/culture. i.e. bring snacks along instead of eating out all the time or cooking some meals in the apartment to experience what it is like to be a resident of Italy along with saving money. I am also very aware of the prices of all of the major sites that require an entrance fee. I am also very aware that most things need/should be bought in advance.

    I may be a 22 year old but I am a planner and was hoping to get advice about things to do or out of the box ideas that aren't on typical tourist websites. Or advice from people who live in/have been to Rome who found something to be wonderful and memorable. Or inexpensive restaurants that locals go to.

    @kybourbon our flight arrives at 9:30 so we will have plenty of time to go to the apartment, leave our bags, and get settled before we go to the gardens. We will each have a small bag with us so if we have to check it, it will be pretty simple hopefully. :)
    Also I thought about the Roma Pass but we most likely wont use the busses or metros to get around Rome since we are staying so central. Would it be worth it for the entrances discount alone? Also I will move the Vatican to day 3 (see updated schedule at the end of this reply)

    @Denisea I think I will be taking Jean's advice and nixing the day trip (this time ;) ) I spoke with my mother and she agreed that we are still young and have plenty of time to come back so now I have a whole extra day to play with! I have looked at Santa Maria Sopra Minerva and I feel like it would be wonderful to sketch with all of the architecture. Do you think I should add it on to day 4? I feel that would be very much crowded, no?

    FOR THOSE TUNING IN:
    1) The 50E is only for things we buy that day like lunch or anything unplanned. I will be paying for ALL tickets, passes, activities, transportation, or anything you have to buy in advance.

    ********PLEASE SEE UPDATED SCHEDULE********

    SUN 9/11 Day 1: I want to take it relatively easy the first day because of travel.
    I figure that we can be ready to explore after lunch.
    Stop 1: Fountain Di Trevi
    Stop 2: Walk up the Spanish steps
    Stop 3: Borghese Garden and Gallery(already purchasing in advance)
    Stop 4: Panoramic Sunset (7:30PM) at Monte Pincio
    Any tips or suggestions after this?

    MON 9/12 Day 2: Open for suggestions now that I am no longer doing the day trip.

    TUES 9/13 Day 3: Vatican City (NO TOURS)
    Stop 1: Coffee in front of St. Peters Square (my mom will want to sketch the Dome)
    Stop 2: 9AM St. Peter's (including the roof/dome)
    Stop 3: Early lunch (low cost any suggestions?)
    Stop 4: Vatican Museums, Sistine chapel, and Gardens
    I figure we will be finished around dinner time but I have no plans after this. I was thinking about an activity like a cooking class, going to the opera, or wine tasting. Advice here would be great!

    WED 9/14 Day 4: "Caesar's Shuffle"
    Stop 1: Pantheon
    Stop 2: Colosseum (also going to 3rd tier and sub arena levels where gladiators walked!)
    Stop 3: Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
    Stop 4: Capitoline Hill and Museum (optional)
    These are just the basics of what I want to do so I am definitely open to tips!

    THURS 9/15: Day 5:
    We will be taking a train up to Florence around 11am so I’m not sure what we could do in the morning besides breakfast.

    Does anyone have any advice about the train stations/ subways/buses/or transportation tips in general besides pickpockets, like anything that made you think "I wish I had known that before" ?

    Thank you all for your advice!

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    >>> our flight arrives at 9:30 so we will have plenty of time to go to the apartment, leave our bags, and get settled before we go to the gardens.

    You are staying at an airbnb. You will be there probably 11:30am-noon. In order for your first plan to work, you would need to be able to leave your bags on arrival. Do you know that you can do this with this apartment at this time?

    I don't see any evening walk to visit fountains or Colosseum lit at night. No interest?

    >>> Stop 2: 9AM St. Peter's (including the roof/dome)
    This will be too late if you want to avoid crowd. Each visit, it has gotten more crowded earlier. Last fall I finished St. Peters Basilica by 9:00 A.M. and the tour groups were pouring in by mass by that time. By the time we got to the cupola right after, it was jam packed with selfie toting tour groups at the top.

    >>> I especially want to see at least one hidden gem off the beaten path (Secret gardens, awesome places to sketch, etc)

    This kind of place is hidden because of the special interest. If it is of general interest, it would not be "hidden". I visit some obscure monuments in Rome. These kind of out of way places are meaningless for those without specific interests.

    I see you have listed Pantheon. This is an architectural masterpiece if you have studied the history of the Roman architecture. I spend considerably more time than regular visitor every time I visit this place. Without that, it is just another domed structure. A hidden gem within an immensely popular site. But you need to know what you are looking for.

    Piazza Navona is another such place. For most, it is just another big square with pretty fountains and would look for "hidden" gems elsewhere. If you know about the history of the Piazza and the sculptors and the architects involved, it is the "hidden" place where on can spend long time marveling at their achievements when most tourists just take selfies and move on.

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    Hello there,

    Rome is my favourite city, I've been three times and love it more each time - enjoy.

    Re: your updated schedule:

    Day 1 - all that you have listed sounds great, I wouldn't add any more in, in fact I would maybe just check in to your accommodation, do Spanish Steps and Borghese Gardens and Galleria (they are near each other, the park is vast and the Gallery, while not huge, is still a lot of walking)and then visit Trevi after sundown for a nice evening walk. Also, while you are at Spanish Steps, if you have any interest in Romantic literature, you can visit Keats and Shelly house at the foot of the steps, for a small fee (but unless you are a lit-freak, your budget may not allow)

    Day 2 - Terme di Caracalla, the baths of Caracalla - absolutely stunning, and whilst not a 'hidden gem' (they are HUGE), we went there last June and there were only 20 or so other people there! I understand as a first timer you will want to visit colloseum but in my opinion Terme di Caracalla is just as wonderful, if only because it is less crowded. My taxi driver suggested I don't miss these baths on my first visit, and it took me 10 years to get round to seeing them - they also host operas there, wow.

    Also on this day, try to build in a visit to Trastevere district, quite different in character to the rest on imposing-classical Rome, this is medieval Rome, all little bridges and tucked away bakeries. Similarly Campo de Fiori and the Jewish Ghetto, wonderful food, Roscioli bakery.

    Day 3 - don't underestimate how enormous the Vatican museums are, you will be very tired after a day in the heat, first of all scaling the dome (beautiful though)looking around the huge bascilica and then the museums, which are the most awesome museums I have ever seen but the scale of them is incredible. Do some planning about what you want to see, as you do end up walking in a hurry past thousands upon thousands of precious artefacts - it can't be helped, there is just so much there. Myself, I can miss out the Pinacoteca (picture gallery) as I get my gallery fix elsewhere (Borghese is superior) unless you particularly want to see something that is there. You can then focus on other rooms or areas. I loved the courtyard with the Laocoon group in, and the room with the Belvedere torso, and the stunning gold-ceilinged map room, and of course...Sistine Chapel! Personally I would not be up for a cooking class or anything after that, maybe just a wander through the streets and a nice glass of wine, but then I am 20 years older than you haha

    Day 4 - all good, Raphael's tomb inside Pantheon is lovely also, you may be museume-d out after yesterday but the Capitoline museums are wonderful, especially the dying Gaul and head of Medusa, and the huge marble God, basking in the heat in a courtyard.

    Subway system is good, not like Paris where it is excellent - in Rome it is very limited as there are so many ancient ruins that they can't put subway stations everywhere so large swathes of Rome not covered, but most major places are i.e. Spagna, Colloseum. Very easy to use though. We used the trams more, you have to validate your ticket by pushing it in a machine before you travel. Bus network also good, if in doubt head for Termini station as you can get everywhere from there! Buses hot and crowded but an experience. Taxi's fairly cheap and plentiful.

    We arranged our days around Roma pass and found it invaluable, especially hassle-free transport (could just use our pass wherever / whenever, otherwise there are lots of restrictions with train/tram tickets you buy, such as you have to use them within an hour etc etc)

    Other tips on Rome - there will always be a fairly major site closed for renovation or covered in scaffolding, over the 10 years I have been going I've missed out on Trevi (last year)the fountain at the bottom of Spanish Steps (2007) the convent at top of steps (last year) and Sistine Chapel (2007) but don't stress about it if your 'highlight' is closed for work, there are a million other things!

    Accept that in 4 days you won't even come close to seeing even a fraction of what the city has to offer so just pick out 1 or 2 highlights and build in time for enjoying it and taking it all in, the major mistake I made was to try and cram too much in, the city streets and atmosphere itself is an 'attraction' that often people pass by on the way to another monument. Whilst getting lost in the backstreets, I came across the Fountain of the Four Rivers and the Antica gallery, where I saw my first Caravaggio, and I wouldn't have known about those things.

    Speaking of Caravaggio's, they are everywhere in churches, if you are an art-lover, maybe do a little hunt-the-Caravaggio.

    J x

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    I think Maria Sopra Minerva is not on many people's radar. from outside it doesn't look like much and most are running from The Pantheon to The Colisseum or Trevino Fountain, etc...to notice.

    Another gem is Doria Pamphilj...tons of art and truly interesting. It's an oasis is the middle of busy Rome.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doria_Pamphilj_Gallery

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    >>>We will each have a small bag with us so if we have to check it, it will be pretty simple hopefully<<<

    You will have to get in the line to check it. Bags/purses/camerabag/camera/cellphones aren't allowed. You have to allow enough time before your timed entry to get in the admission/ticket line, then into the bag check line. You are allowed to put your wallet in a clear bag to carry with you.

    If you walk to the Borghese, it's quite a trek uphill. There used to be little electric buses that crisscrossed the historic center, but they have been cancelled (one appears to operate about 1 day a week). I keep hoping they will bring them back. Even if you enter the metro at the Spanish Steps and take the series of escalators going up, you will still encounter flights of stairs and more uphill walking after you exit.

    >>>Since I have been doing research for two years I 1) can name at least 3 street food carts and/or small restaurants that have meals for under 3 Euros in Rome.<<<

    Beside the Spanish Steps is the entry to the metro and there is a pizza window right there. You can grab a slice of various pizzas (they will cut to the size slice you want). There's also a grocery in the metro.

    >>>i.e. bring snacks along instead of eating out all the time <<<

    Buy a bottle of water somewhere and refill it in many of the fountains you see around Rome. Fountains, including many decorative ones (the one at the bottom of the Spanish Steps for example) have potable water. You will see people filling their bottles and drinking from them. This video shows a variety of Roman fountians and how to drink without a bottle. If not potable, they are usually hard to reach or have a sign saying so. The nasoni app is on Itunes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKMK0nbYJV0

    >>>Vatican City (NO TOURS)<<<

    The Vatican gardens are only for tours which are limited to certain days. You can't access otherwise.

    >>>Stop 2: Colosseum (also going to 3rd tier and sub arena levels where gladiators walked!)<<<

    Tour required to access those levels.

    >>>Also I thought about the Roma Pass but we most likely wont use the busses or metros to get around Rome since we are staying so central. Would it be worth it for the entrances discount alone?<<<

    You would have to arrange your days differently putting the Colosseum the day after the Borghese for a pass. You would also have to call to make your Borghese reservation and tell them you are using a pass. Probably have to do it for the Colosseum also if you were booking the 3rd tier tour and tell them you were using the pass for admission. Might not be worth the hassle for your schedule.

    If you buy an entry ticket only online for the Colosseum/Palatine, it's good for two consecutive days - one entry to each area (Forum/Palatine is considered the same area). So you don't have to go to the Forum/Palatine the same day as the Colosseum.

    >>>Does anyone have any advice about the train stations/ subways/buses/or transportation tips in general besides pickpockets, like anything that made you think "I wish I had known that before" ?<<<

    I use public transport a lot in Rome (including with luggage), but I'm familiar with it and often have a pass so I make use of the trams, buses, etc. You can take the metro from your B&B to the Colosseum (you have to change lines at Termini)or the opposite direction to the Vatican (Ottaviano or Cipro stops depending on if you are going to St. Peters or the museum). Watch your belongings, don't stand near the doors. If you intend to only walk, allow extra time and don't be surprised if you get what they call Roman foot.

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    Hard to hit hidden gems and all the major sites in Rome on a four day trip but I really appreciate the amount of research you've done and the fact that you're traveling with your Mom ;). I'm sure you'll have a great trip. To be honest I didn't visit the Vatican till my third trip to Rome! On my last trip to Rome I saw quite a few of the smaller or less discussed sites including the Villa Giulia, Villa Farnese, Palazzo Colonna, The Mario Praz etc as we had three weeks. I blogged about them here
    http://www.somuchmoretosee.com/search/label/Rome
    though I'm not sure you need too many more suggestions at this stage - but just in case.

    One suggestion that jumps out because it fits your itinerary and is also super affordable and quite fun, is to get lunch at Pastificio just around the corner from the Spanish Steps. It isn't the very best pasta in Rome but its good and at 4 euro it's great to join the queue of office and shop workers who come here daily to get a quick inexpensive lunch. I found it on one of the food blogs and you get a small plastic cup of wine thrown in. There are limited choices - I think two pastas a day and no seats but it's a local experience and I think you might like it.

    Have a great trip!

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    I second spending some time in Piazza Navona. Great atmosphere for an outdoor meal (skip a few courses to save $$).

    For day 1, look into visiting the creepy Capuchin Crypt. It's nearby to what you're visiting and just takes 60-90 minutes to see.

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    Not hidden, but no crowd and well worth it: See Bernini's statue of the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa in the chapel of Santa Maria della Vittoria. It's marvelous. The only cost is a coin to turn on the lights.

    You may want to rearrange your Vatican day. Both St. Paul's and the museum have entry lines, but you can leave from the museum directly into St. Paul's without a second line. The museum is wall to wall people, no labels for most or all of the art, and if I had to do it again, I would do something else. Om the other hand, it's the only way to see the Sistine Chapel.

    Check if there is a Context Tour in the Public Interest while you are there. When we were in Rome we had signed up for one that went to Livia's Villa with an excellent docent for 5 euro per person. That was in 2012, so things may have changed.

    Take the warnings about the Borghese seriously. The art is absolutely not to be missed. but you must get checked in 30 minutes before your scheduled time or lose it, and there are multiple lines to wait in. Give yourself a hour's leeway, and use the bathroom before you go in. Save the last 30 minutes to go back to the statues on the first floor while the others are on the second floor.

    The Palazzo Massimo museum has a knockout collection of ancient art and artefacts and is not crowded at all.

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    <<vFor day 1, look into visiting the creepy Capuchin Crypt. It's nearby to what you're visiting and just takes 60-90 minutes to see.>>

    This is a site not every tourist visits and is not everyone's cup of tea, but my family and I thought it was quite interesting. Postcards from here are what my kids insisted we send to all the friends and relatives.

    I second the recommendation for the Terme di Caracalla. They don't seem to be on many visitors, "must do" list but I thought they were very impressive.

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    The Spanish Steps will still be closed for restoration when you are there.

    You can't sit in front of St. Peter's Square and sketch. It is busy and full of people. There are no cafes in front - only a taxi rank and a Catholic metal/rosary store.

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