1 1/2 days in Rome

Old Aug 27th, 2008, 10:48 PM
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1 1/2 days in Rome

We only have a day and a half in Rome. We are arriving by Train about 5-6 pm on Sunday, have all Monday, and have till about 10:30 am on Tuesday (leaving on train at about 12). This will be the last week in September. The hotel is walking distance from the Colosseum and the train station.

We know we don't have much time, so we've only selected a few things to see - we'll see the rest on other trips later.

We'd like to see:
- St Peter's Square and the Basilica, including the Dome if time permits
- Perhaps the Sistine Chapel, time permitting
- The Colosseum, including the inside if time permits
- Trevi fountain

So this is what I am thinking...

After arriving Sunday evening and checking in, I'd like to walk to the Colosseum for a few sunset/evening/night pictures. I suspect no one else will want to go with me. Trevi fountain is probably too far to walk to that same night.

Monday would be The Vatican. I would think it is too far to walk, so we'd probably need to take the Metro (taxi is probably too expensive for our taste). Are there convenient metro stops near the Colosseum where the hotel is, and near the Vatican?

I've heard that St Peter's opens at 10 (unless you've paid extra, which from the cost for 6 of us, I don't think we are intersted in doing). I've also heard that the lines can be long in the morning, so the early afternoon might be best. So should we start in the Sistine Chapel, then St Peter's Basilica and the Dome after that?

This probably won't take all day, so from there to the Colosseum? Would we have enough time to go inside, or will it close too early? Perhaps we go to Trevi fountain that afternoon/evening instead?

Tuesday would then be the Colosseum in the morning, and we'd need to finish up to check out and get to the train station to leave about noon or so.

We are leaving on a cruise Tuesday evening at about 5 or 6, so we then need to figure out the train to Civitavecchia where the ship leaves. Can someone explain how this is done? Which train to take, how much does it cost, how long does it take, etc?

Are there a few other simple things we could see in case we have a spare hour or so?

I'm trying to not be too aggressive in order to have time to see these without being rushed.

Thank you for any comments and advice.
jdan is offline  
Old Aug 28th, 2008, 03:17 AM
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I don't know if you'll have enough daylight to do all this stuff on Sunday, but I'll make my suggestion anyway. After you check in to your hotel, walk to the Colosseum. Go inside if it's open. Then walk out to Via dei Fori Imperiali and head along it toward the Victor Emanuel monument. Climb the steps up the Capitoline Hill to see the Campidoglio, the great square designed by Michelangelo, and take in the view of Rome and the reproduction of the equesterian statue of Marcus Aurelius. Then walk over to the Pantheon area, going inside the Pantheon if it's open, and walk from there to the Piazza Navona and to the Trevi Fountain before going back to your hotel. If you get tired or you want to save time, take taxis to get to the Colosseum, to the Capitoline Hill, and to the Pantheon. For your Vatican City activities on Monday, search for threads in this forum. There's no problem in seeing St. Peter's Square and the Basilica, but getting in to the Sistine Chapel will involve lots of waiting in an endless line.

If you give up on the Sistine Chapel, I'd look at churches in Rome. One interesting one, very close to the Colosseum, is S. Pietro in Vincolo (sp?) with its statue of Moses by Michelangelo. Other churches, all in the Center Storico area, are discussed in threads in this forum. I'd do this in preference to the Sistine Chapel because you get to see a lot of Rome in the process and the churches are so interesting. Either way, you'll have a great time.
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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 04:51 AM
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You might not be able to do all the walking suggested in the last post on your first evening in Rome but you should certainly be able to see the Colosseum and Forum and Trevi fountain.

I would try to see the Pantheon area during the day when you can go inside this amazing building but it is also interesting to see this part of the city in the evening.

In answer to your question about the metro there are stops at the Colosseum and possibly nearer your hotel (Cavour) and near the Vatican.

Most people find that the line to the Vatican museums where the Sistine chapel is located are quite short by early afternoon. If your highest priority is the basilica you could see that first in the morning and see what the lines are like for the museums later.
I am not sure why you think St. Peter's is not open until 10. Here is a website with lots of information

Seeing the Sistine chapel and the nearby Raphael rooms takes a while because they are at the far end of the museums. If you don't want to retrace your steps to the entrance you can exit at the far end of the chapel (exit marked for tourist groups) near the basilica

After that I would strongly recommend going to the Piazza Navona/Piazza della Rotunda (Pantheon) area and seeing the Pantheon. You could either walk or take a bus

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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 05:40 AM
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This information I posted on another thread may be helpful to you. The major point: St Peter's basilica is entered from one part of Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel from another. I believe the Vatican Museums have the limited opening times you mentioned. St Peter's is open quite early.

To visit St Peter's, you must pass through a possibly-lengthy security line on the right side of Piazza San Pietro. Once past this security line, you can go either into St Peter's or climb the dome. You cannot enter the Vatican Museums from this side. (By using the group exit from the Sistine Chapel described below, you can bypass this security line.)

To visit the Sistine Chapel, you must enter via the main entrance to the Vatican Museums and wend your way through the museums to the chapel. Museum staff cordon off certain routes to control traffic depending on the time of year--less cordoning in the low season. The chapel is on the other side of the museum complex from the entrance. In very low season, I've managed a visit to the Rafael rooms and Sistine Chapel in an hour and 15 minutes.

If you follow the visitors exit sign to the left as you leave the chapel, you will have to return to the museum entrance by walking for 10 minutes back through the galleries. However you MUST do this if you checked any bags at the entrance. You also must do this if you intend to visit any of the other museums.

If you follow the group exit sign to the right as you leave the chapel, you will exit right next to St Peter's, having bypassed the St Peter's lengthy security line and saving a 15 minute walk around the Vatican walls from the museum entrance to Piazza San Pietro.
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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 06:14 AM
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I think seeing the Trevi fountain is more fun at night than during the day (but not if you're jet lagged!)

Seeing the Pantheon is very rewarding, but needs to be done during the day.

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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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from the original post I understood you were arriving in Rome Sunday evening by train, not plane, so I was assuming you would not be jet lagged. I agree doing much on Sunday would be difficult if this would be your first day after a transatlantic flight.
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Old Aug 28th, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Hi jdan,

my preference would be for you NOT to pln to do the sistine cvhapel [with its enforced march throguh the vatican museums] unless you can get in without much queuing. so this is what I would do with the time you've got, trying to limit your moving around as far as possible and maximise your acutal viewing time:

Sunday night: go out to see the colosseum and up to the victor emanual monument as per sjj's suggestions. if you decide to press on to the piazza navona etc, you'll probably need to take a taxi home, but what the hell- you're on holiday, and they are not hugely expensive - about €10 for that sort of distance. as you suspected, trevi is probably too far and not all it's cracked up to be.

in the morning, visit the colosseum as soon as it opens, and view, don't visit the forum as it's too difficult to absorb quickly, and wil take more time than you've got.

then metro over to the Vatican and

EITHER if the queue is short, join the queue for the vatican museums, view them and the sistine chapel, exit by the rear right-hand door [marked groups] and take the stairs to the side entrance of st. Peter's. [thus bypassing the security queue for the basilica]. view st. peter's and the dome.

OR - if the queue is too long, [and if you cant' see the entrance itself from the end of the queue, it IS too long, IMO] join the queue for st. peter's itself, view it and the Dome.

THEN if you managed to see the "centro storico" the night before, walk over to Trastevere and see St. Cecila's and St. Maria in trastevere, or if you didn't walk ove the Tiber to see the campo dei fiori, Pantheon, etc.

Remember your most comfortable shoes, won't you?

have a great trip,

regards, ann

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Old Aug 29th, 2008, 11:57 PM
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Your suggested itinerary sounds great.

I visited St Peter's square and the Basilica last fall, but we didn't get there till around 2:30 pm. At that time, the security line for the Basilica was only perhaps 15 min or less to wait. We only had the chance to see the Basilica and the Square, and nothing else.

We are not particularly interested in the Vatican museums, but would like to see the Basilica, the dome (and St Peter's Square), and the Sistine Chapel. Other posts here seem to indicate that in order to see the Sistine Chapel, that it is an integral part of seeing the museums, and that the eternal lines are to gain entrance to the museums that then lead to the Sistine Chapel.

If that is the case, then I don't think we will have the patience necessary for the Chapel, and will stick with just the Basilica and the dome. I presume that for the Basilica, that we can get there early (about 8 to 9am or so), and that there may be a bit of a line, but not bad?

There was no fee for the Basilica when I went last, but I believe that there is for the Dome. Where does one pay the fee and obtain a ticket, and how much should I expect it to be?

Since the Sistine Chapel will then be skipped, then we should have the whole mid-day and afternoon for the Colosseum, and/or Pantheon, etc.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 04:48 AM
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jdan--yes, you have understood correctly: the Sistine chapel is part of the Vatican museums. To get to it you have to stand in line for the museums and walk through a long section of other parts of the collection. As I suggested in my earlier post, you could do St. Peter's in the morning and then see what the lines look like for the museum. They often disappear by the middle of the day.

I think the earlier you get to the basilica the shorter your wait there will be. Information about visiting the dome is in the fodors' destination section of this website

You should be sure to get a good map of Rome so you will understand what people are saying about the location for the entrance to the museums and so you can plot your walks on Sunday evening and Monday afternoon. I still think you could easily fit in the Trevi fountain the first night.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 07:00 AM
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The line for the dome is to the right of the entrance to St Peters. The ticket window is right there where the line forms. You can walk all the way from ground level to the top, or you can pay more to take the elevator, which takes you as far as the roof over the nave. From there you climb just the dome to the cupola, which includes access to the walkway inside the dome that looks down n the central crossing of the basilica.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 07:41 PM
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If you use the metro between the Vatican & the Colosseum, you must change lines at Termini. Not a big deal, doesn't take much time, & easy to understand - just want you to know that.

There is also the option of the HoHo bus (hopon/hopoff). 16 euros & unconfusing transport to the major sites. Here's the site for the #110 red double decker bus - we like it better than the others HoHo buses - http://www.trambusopen.com/. Can pay onboard & includes headset for the interesting info as you ride thru town.

There is also the option of reserving one of the Vatican's official tours via www.vatican.va. Don't know if there is still time to do this, but you could try if you want to bypass the line. Once in, just leave the tour & head directly to the Sistine Chapel. The tour cost is minimal considering it includes the entrance fee you would have paid after waiting in line.

To avoid the line at the Colosseum, order your tickets online & print them at the same time. Then take the non-existent line to the left of the long line for the unticketed folks. Here's the website -
http://www.pierreci.it/do/show/conte...51/lang/enline In the 2nd paragraph, click 'info'. Here's what it looks like - 'Tickets bought in advance by internet must be picked up at the Colosseo. With [email protected] you can get your Colosseo tickets (adults and free) at home: INFO'. After clicking 'info', you will see each ticket is only 12,50 euros. The tickets can be used at any time during the Monday you will be there. This ticket includes the Roman Forum & Palatine Hill, but you won't have time for them.

If you do the advance work for the Vatican & Colosseum, you can easily see it all.

Regarding getting to your cruise port, if you go to cruisecritic.com, go to the 'Boards', select the Mediterranean board, there are a lot of cruisers who have gotten to/from the port to Rome.

Good luck & have fun, Julie
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 08:54 PM
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bookmarking - thanks.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 09:43 PM
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Wow. What great information.

I've seen someone mention that the line to the Colosseum can get long, and it would be best to get there in the morning. But peopel have also said that it is also best to get to St Peter's Basilica in the morning as well.

But if I understand correctly, if I have purchased the ticket for the Colosseum ahead of time, then it doesn't make any difference if there is a line or not, because I don't need to wait in the line.

My concern over seeing the Colosseum in the morning, is that the interior might still be in shadow since the sun will not have risen far enough to shine over the walls at 8am.

So I think that we'll see the Vatican in the morning, and the Colosseum in the afternoon. If I break the day into 3 4-hour segments, then I think we could see 3 areas: Vatican, Colosseum, Pantheon.

So I think the plan is this:

Arrive about 5pm, take taxi to apartment (near Colosseum), go for a walk to get pictures of the Colosseum as the sun goes down, and maybe Trevi fountain at night - I love to walk, and may be doing this alone.

If we allocate 4 hours total at the Vatican, then I think this should be plenty of time. Last time we saw the Basilica, we were only there for 1.5 hrs, and we could have used about 1/2 hour more. I hear the Dome takes about an hour, so that would be about 3 hours, with an hour to spare - we'll spend some of that time just relaxing in St Peter's Square. We'll probably take the Metro from the Colosseum area to the Vatican.

Eat lunch either near the Vatican or the Colosseum - any suggestions?

We'll again take the Metro from the Vatican back to the Colosseum area. If we give ourselves 4 hours in the Colosseum area, I think this should be plenty of time too. I'm guessing that the Colosseum will take about an hour, so that leaves about 3 hours to maybe also see Palatine (sp?) hill, and maybe even Trajan's Market and Piazza Venezia.

Eat dinner either near the Colosseum or the Pantheon - any recommendations?

The last 4 hours we'll spend at the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. Since we'll probably be near Piazze Venezia by this time, its probably not that far to walk to the Pantheon from there (20 min perhaps?). This should be enough time to see the Pantheon (perhaps Piazza Navona?), and then walk to Trevi Fountain. I expect that the sun will be setting, and we can get some evening shots.

Then back to the Apartment near the Colloseum for the night. We'll probably take the Metro, but I suppose that we could take a taxi.

We leave this day to Civitavecchia. We don't have to be in Civitavecchia until 4 or 5pm, but I think we need to leave the apartment at 10am. So I'll probably take a walk to a few churches near the apartment/Colosseum first, then we'll take a taxi to Termini station to take the train, and we'll have hours to take the train and relax.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 05:47 AM
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Tickets to the Colosseum are combined with tickets to the Forum (was free until this past spring) and the Palatine. They are good for two days. Often people go to an entrance to the Forum or to the Palatine on Via San Gregorio to avoid the long(er) lines at the Colosseum. As noted you could also buy them in advance to save time.

You mentioned you might want to go to the Palatine in addition to the Colosseum but didn't mention the Forum. Ideally I would do all three but you are too short on time. You could at least walk through the Forum and go to the Farnese gardens overlooking the Forum on the Palatine (access near the Arch of Titus) -- a great view of the Forum.
All of this would be included in your Colosseum ticket so why not walk through the Forum?

Another good view of the Forum is from the end of the Forum near the Piazza del Campidoglio (from the right side of the Senate building as you face that building)
People keep mentioning Piazza Venezia but I wanted to be sure to emphasize that the Campidoglio and the Cordonata, the staircase leading up to it, are IMO not to be missed. Both were designed by Michelangelo and are much more beautiful than the Piazza Venezia with lots of traffic and dominated by the incredibly ugly monument to Victor Emmanuel

The route from the Colosseum to the Campidoglio/Piazza Venezia and on to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona is very walkable. You won't have time to linger and really see the individual sites, though. Just be sure to go into the Pantheon.

On your last morning churches near the Termini include Santa Maria Maggiore (one of the seven major pilgrimage churches, San Pietro in Vincoli (with Michelangelo's statue of Moses) and Santa Prassede (known for mosaics). San Clemente would probably be nearer your apartment if it is near the Colosseum
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 09:54 AM
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Last fall, when it was still free, we toured the forum, and to be honest, we were a bit disappointed, and we thought we could better use our time seeing something else.

At Piazza Venezia, I actually wanted to see the Victor Emmanuel monument. People say that it is not well liked, but we passed by on the bus twice, and I never got a chance to actually "see" it.

While there, I also want to see Piazza Campidoglio, but I haven't heard of the Cordonata - my maps don't show it, so they probably aren't very detailed.

So the plan is to walk from the Colosseum to this plaza, while en-route to Piazza Navona. Since the route leads through the forum, then this will go straight to Piazza Campidoglio.

We definately want to go inside the Pantheon while we are there.

Thanks for some specific churches to see. I had see San Clemente on the map near our apratment, so that is definately on the list. I'll plot them on the map for a walking route.

Thank you for the ideas.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 10:03 AM
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Writing this on the fly so sorry if it's duplicate info:

There is a good tram system in Rome-check its routes to see if they coincide with your desires.
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