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Rome sightseeing questions

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We will have three days in Rome, the first one is not a full day but we will be coming from Florence on the train and will do our best to get there early enough to have most of the day in Rome.

This will be our third trip to Rome and the second with the children. We have always wanted to do Via Appia and Tivoli but we had no time on our previous visits. We are considering doing them now. According to Frommer's suggested itineraries, you could do a couple of catacombs--San Callisto and San Domitilla, and still have time to visit Tivoli, tour Hadrian's Villa and Villa d'Este.

Q1. Is this really doable? If so, what is the best way to do it on public transportation? I know that there are a couple of busses that go to Via Appia. We could take them but how do we get from the Catacombs to Tivoli? Do the same busses go there or, perhaps, another one? Which one to do first, Callisto or Domitilla, and if we have time for one, which one to skip?

Q2. Is it worth it with three days only? As I said, it will be our third time. We have visited pretty much all the major sights, some of them twice. Still, on our must do list are guided tours of the Vatican and the Collosseum, Galleria Borghese, as well as walking in the streets and taking time to sit in cafes and watch people.

I am thinking that if I schedule an eary afternoon tour of the Collosseum on the day of arrival, we can take the rest of the day to be spontaneous and do the Trevi, Spanish steps and just look around. We could do Via Appia and Tivoli on day 2. On our last day, we could do the Vatican and Galleria Borghese. Is this too crazy? If yes, we'll postpone them again. I am sure we will go back, I hope so. If doable, we would like to see them because that would be something new.

Any advice, please? Thanks a lot.

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    " Is this really doable?"

    I don't think so. Last March we spent two weeks in Rome, and our day trip to Tivoli and Villa D'Este did not allow us sufficient time to get to Hadrians's villa. That was without trying to do the Via Appia as well.

    "Is it worth it" - I loved both. The Villa D'Este is a delight (and I am a 50 something grumpy male) - highly recommended. Tivoli is quite easily reached by train from Rome Tiburtina station - and quite a scenic ride once out of the suburbs of Rome. You can get a bus from Tivoli to Hadrian's villa, and then back to Rome. On the way to the Villa D'Este we walked down through the Villa Gregoriana - a deep valley park with manmade waterfalls - then the climb but up the other side to the temple.

    The Via Appia - We took the 660 bus to the tomb of Cecilia Metella from the Colli Albani metro station, then hired bikes and cycled about 4 or 5 miles along the road (Very cobbled, very bouncy, but great fun). Near the Catacombs we found the entrance to a park that runs alongside the main Via Appia - This itself as very pleasant. Quite, full of ruins and a great place for a picnic.

    Of the two options, I think I'd choose Tivoli , but I really enjoyed both.

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    Very possible with a car, not so much by public transportation, but I think it is doable. You take a bus from Rome (usually need to take a metro to the bus station as it's not in the center of Rome). Takes about an hour on the bus. It stops on the road as it enters the town and that's where you get off for Hadrian's Villa -and then about a 20 minute walk I think. Now that I've been there it seems easy but could be confusing . Then the bus continues up into the town of Tivoli and stops at the main piazza and the Villa D'Este is right near there.

    We did the Villa D'Este by bus one year, and another year had a car and were driving to Rome from Puglia so scheduled an overnight in Tivoli to see Hadrian's Villa.

    So you could do them both the same day but you'd need to know when to catch the bus between the stops and it's not all that frequent.

    There are some pretty good descriptions of how to do it by public transportation if you do a search. But when Frommer's says it's easy they either mean by car or they are being overly optimistic. I found them that way on another itinerary that they make it sound doable but in reality is not.

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