5 days in Rome-help me plan our days

Feb 16th, 2014, 07:07 PM
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5 days in Rome-help me plan our days

Need help in planning our 5 days in Rome, in June 2014. DH and teenage boys (16 and 18). I spent 2 days in Rome 25yrs ago. First trip for everyone else. Also dining suggestions for filling budget meals. The boys love to eat and are bottomless pits. They are not picky eaters and will eat anything.

Sunday-arriving 7:30 am-would like to go to Noon Mass at St Peters or another Basicala , get out and walk, Spanish Steps, etc. staying Campo de' Fiori (apartment) , will allow us to drop luggage
Monday-Ancient Rome, tour of Colosseum
Tuesday-Vatican, Sistine Chapel-tour, climb to the roof St. Peters,
Thursday-Pompei-long day but boys want to go or should they go on Tuesday.
Friday-take bus to Siena for 4 nights

Other interests catacombs, aquaducts. I might not go to Pompei (went there 25yrs ago) and go to the Vatican gardens and Villa Borghese (requires reservations) by myself. Husband and kids are OK with that.
We want to go to Mass at St Peters on another day if we don't go on Sunday. Don't want to over book our days. Have not booked any tours.
Best place to buy religious articles?
txtravelmom is offline  
Feb 16th, 2014, 08:13 PM
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You seem to have a reasonable plan. Not trying to do too much. I certainly would look at the major sites and make a priority list of what you would like to see such as the Pantheon. Piazza Navona and Trevi. They are all within easy walking distance to Campo de Fiori. Find time to visit these sites as well.
As for feeding hungry boys the pizza was really good and pretty inexpensive. Dining out was more expensive than we anticipated but it was our first trip and we probably didn't know where to go for good inexpensive food. If your apartment has a small kitchen you can really stretch the budget by shopping for breakfast food and snacks.
Here are some images of our 7 day Rome trip last May. We pretty much managed to do the major sites we had identified before the trip except Villa Borghese. Next time.
Rome http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr5...7634677664021/
stanbr is offline  
Feb 17th, 2014, 12:52 AM
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Would you consider skipping Pompeii and going to Ostia antica instead? It's only a half hour or so out of Rome. It's really good, I doubt you'd be disappointed. Google it if you are interested.
cathies is online now  
Feb 17th, 2014, 04:33 AM
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If the boys want to go to Pompeii, Pompeii it is. The difference between Ostia Antica and Pompeii is the "frozen in time, total disaster movie" aspect, and kids being kids, that certainly appeals. Plus there are those pornographic images dabbled around too

And I think your plan for the Borghese works so the guys can have their "all-guy" day.

I have two girls, one of whom was a teen at the time, and our visit coincided with family friends who were teens at the time. They got the biggest thrill out of just SITTING on the Spanish Steps with all those other teens from all over the world. We parents below watched them while we inhaled gelato.

Food: Pizza and gelato; pizza and gelato; pizza and gelato.

Catacomb"ish" site in a way that was really cool, according to my daughters now in their 20s--The Basilica San Clemente (near the Coliseum). The main floor is really old, but the sound of running water caused one priest to explore under the floor tiles. As a result, you can now climb down to a 4th century church, and then onto the 2nd century remains of a Mithraic temple and finally, onto a 1st century Roman Street.

There are tours, I think (we didn't do it) that combine the Catacombs & Crypts with this church.

AlessandraZoe is offline  
Feb 17th, 2014, 07:58 AM
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You have only four and a half days in Rome, and you're planning to spend two and a half days at the Vatican and another day on a trip to Pompeii. Even for devout Catholics, it seems a little unbalanced.

Here is the mass schedule for all of the papal basilicas in Rome:


The easiest catacomb to reach from central Rome is the catacomb of Saint Agnes, easily reached by metro (B1 line) or the number 90 express bus from Termini station. This is the only catacomb in Rome to have grown up around the grave of a Christian martyr, the 12-year-old Saint Agnes, from an aristocratic family, who is reported to have been killed for refusing to marry the son of a Roman official. Her foster sister, Emerentiana, who was the same age, was also killed for praying at St. Agnes' grave. The murder of these two young girls shocked even pagan Romans, and soon Christians were asking to be buried near Saint Agnes; her family donated the land for the catacombs.

The emperor Constantine built a basilica (now in ruins) near her grave and his daughter Costanza had a mausoleum constructed there so she could be buried near St. Agnes. However, she died while away from Rome, and was buried elsewhere, so the mausoleum was turned into a church, which is the very beautiful Church of Santa Costanza. This and the Pantheon are the two most intact ancient Roman buildings in the city. There is a mosaic on the ceiling of the ambulatory that depicts an ancient Roman grape harvest.

The "modern" basilica dates from the 7th century. The catacombs are entered from a door in the nave. The tour ends in the crypt, where Saint Agnes and Saint Emerentiana are buried together.

The church of Saint Agnes in Agone, on Piazza Navona, is supposed to be at the location of the martyrdom of Saint Agnes. There is a statue of Saint Emerentiana inside, although she looks an awful lot older than age 12!

The Church of San Clemente is very interesting, but doesn't in the least resemble a catacomb. Neither does the so-called Capuchin Crypt, which is of a fairly modern date and not even in its original location.

If it's hot, you probably should consider the trip to Ostia Antica rather than Pompeii, which can be a furnace in the summer, with very little shade. Ostia Antica gets some sea breezes and has a lot more shade. Sometimes people who want to go to Pompeii have never heard of Ostia Antica, which is within the borders of the city of Rome, and can be reached in half an hour from central Rome.


My adolescent nieces loved it. It's never crowded, so you can almost imagine you're walking through an ancient city, unbothered by fellow tourists. There are apartment building where you can climb to the upper story and look out an ancient Roman window. There is an ancient bar with an intact counter, and a wine cooler, and a mosaic showing various foods. There is also an ancient Roman public toilet, with intact marble side-by-side seats. (This was a big hit with my nieces.) In front of the seats, there is a channel in the floor, where sea water ran in ancient times. When you entered, you picked up a sponge on a stick, which you dipped in the sea water and used in lieu of Charmin. On the way out, you deposited your sponge in a basin of water, where it was prepared for the next batch of customers. This is not high culture, but it is very interesting for kids!

Another place kids love is the park of the Villa Borghese. There you can rent bikes, go-karts, or bicycle carts. It's a favorite spot for Romans on a warm weekend, and there are usually lots of teens there.
bvlenci is online now  
Feb 17th, 2014, 08:08 AM
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Pompeii will be a very long day trip from Rome. Try and catch the earliest fast train from Termini to Naples train station, then head downstairs (where you can also purchase your tickets) and catch the Circumvensuviana to Pompeii Scavi. Once you exit, turn right and follow the crowd to the main entrance. There will be plenty of people selling tours at this point. If you decide to not hire a guide, consider renting an audio guide when you purchase your ticket. If you rent an audio guide, you'll have to leave some ID (drivers license, passport, etc), which is returned to you once the audio guide is returned. Not much shade, so have water bottles with you (you can purchase them right before the entrance). Comfortable shoes goes without saying. Pompeii is very big and spread out, so seeing the entire place in one visit is probably not realistic. Don't short change Ostia Antica and consider that as an option if Pompeii doesn't work out.
Debs is offline  
Feb 17th, 2014, 09:13 AM
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Hopefully it will not be too hot for the climb up to the roof thru the dome at St. Peter's - I would think that would be pretty neat for teenagers - it is one of my fondest memories for Rome.

I've never been to Ostia but IMO from what I've heard, it will be a good alternative to Pompeii. Many of the art / artifacts from Pompeii are in the museum at Naples, including, I think most of the pornographic images, not that I'm sure I would want teenage boys to see those (call me fuddy duddy). Going to Pompeii from Rome will be a long day - either by tour or train.

I think there will be plenty of choices for keeping the boys fed - plenty of places with take out slices or inexpensive family places. The gelato should be a big hit!

There will be places to buy religious artifacts near St. Peter's. Also there is an area where the curia buy their garments, I think near the Pantheon. Interesting to see the nun's jammies and fancy cardinal robes - also plenty of other religious items for sale in that area. maybe another poster will give a more precise location.

There is a church / crypt near the Via Veneto I think, that has a creepy? display of bones that might might be an alternative to going out to the catacombs. It does not take long to visit and proves that Italians can make artwork out of almost anything. Perhaps another poster will provide the name of the church / Cappuchin crypt? Enjoy your trip!
suec1 is online now  
Feb 18th, 2014, 09:49 AM
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Based on the your interest in religious sites in this post and your other post have you heard about the St. Peter's Basilica underground Scavi tour?

It's a very limited (book early) tour of the ancient cemetery beneath the basilica, use the search function for scavi and you will find booking directions.

The tour ends at the tomb/grave of St. Peter which is debatable but I believe it is and I am a non-bias Atheist and only base my belief on the evidence.

The evidence is not 100% but I feel that with all factors combined it is much more in the 'yes' column than the 'no' column.

I personally believe that if it wasn't a Christian historical figure and site but rather a 1C Pagan historical figure/site the majority would lean to the 'yes' column IMO.

Anyway this is my take on the site.

This is a text-only Usenet Newsgroup/messageboard (sci.archaeology) so no fear of virus/malware etc.



In case the above link breaks it is also here http://tinyurl.com/petermuzzy5
Rostra is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 10:50 AM
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This piece in the small Palatine Hill Museum might also interest you, the Alexamenos Graffito

(scroll to end of thread)


It is long but the train ride there and back is very relaxing and if they take the newer fast train they can be in Pompeii in 2:05-2:35hrs.

Also have them site on the leftside of the train for some very nice views of aquaducts in fields after they clear Rome proper.
Rostra is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 11:32 AM
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Another vote for Ostia Antica. We visited it in October and LOVED it. The visit to the ruins was made all the better by a fantastic lunch at one of the beach front restaurants nearby.
ekc is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 01:32 PM
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Based on your Christian interests, you might rather have mass at Santa Sabina...it should give you an idea of what an early basilica is like...much different than the middle ages and renaissance church you usually see.

I also love these churches:

Santa Prassede (half-block south of Santa Maria Maggiore) - great mosaics that you can see close-up unlike a lot of other churches.

San Clemente (a couple of blocks ESE of the coliseum) - three levels of history to descend.

ssander is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 01:47 PM
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I have not been to Pompeii, because when there last, we looked at the weather forecast and it was going to be thunderstorming in Naples. However, it was sunny and 70 in Rome, so we altered our plans and went to Ostia Antica. Loved it! (However, if your boys are going for the "bodies", they'll have to get that at Pompeii.) I would suggest you and the boys read up on Ostia Antica and see if that will satisfy them. If so, it is only a 30-minute train ride and then a 15-minute walk.

I also recommend the Vatican area for religious artifacts. (There is one shop right across the street that must have 50 different crucifixes and 300 different rosaries!)

And yes, there is an interesting street near the Pantheon where all the diocese' can buy garments, chalices, etc. Very interesting window shopping there, let me tell ya! And you will be only 10 mts walk from Campo de Fiori.

My favorite Rome churches/basilicas, besides St. Peter's- St. John Lateran (also home to the Scala Sancta and Sancta Sanctorum); Santa Maria in Trastavere (mosaics); Santa Prassede (mosaics) and San Luigi dei Franchesi (the French church in Rome and just 2 minutes walk from Piazza Navona). This church has 3 Caravaggios in the front chapel and the rest of the church is stunning.

Buon viaggio!
sarge56 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 01:55 PM
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OH, PS- since it appears you may be interested.. you should note that there are several churches in Rome that house relics.

Some I've seen: St. Peter In Chains (the chains that bound Peter while he was in the Mamertine Prison); Santa Prassede (the marble post to which Jesus was bound for lashing, shortly before his crucifixion); St. Peter's (of course, on the Scavi tour you will see the bones of St. Peter).

Here is a website that lists several others: http://goitaly.about.com/od/romeattr...ome-relics.htm
sarge56 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 02:07 PM
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I also recommend San Clemente. I've been to both Ostia Antica and to Pompeii and loved both -- hard to say which is the favorite, but Ostia Antica is easier to get to when time is a factor. For reasonably priced meals, you might want to check some guide books such as Lonely Planet, Rick Steves, etc., and there's always pizza and gelato.
crckwc1 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 05:45 PM
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A couple of notes about the bottomless pits.

Portions in Italy are much smaller than in the US - so you will probably have to feed them several courses and then provide between meal snacks. I would look for inexpensive things like salads to fill them up before the main course. One friend took a boy in that condition and they had to order him TWO dinners every night - as in appetizer, TWO main courses, veggies on the side, dessert and a giant bottle of water)

Also soft drinks are very small and very expensive and there is no such things as free refills. Get them used to water (tap if possible) or fizzy and buy the largest bottles you can to save money (versus little individual ones). And plan on lots of gelato or other snacks (I would make them buy grocery store snacks and large bottles of water to carry with them to cut down on sit down meal costs).

If desperate, table wine is cheaper than soda and can be watered if necessary.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 08:56 PM
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Thanks for all of the tips. The churches with relics will be added to our list. We all are interested in the Catholic sites. Actually we won a raffle at our Church that is helping to pay for this trip. I told my husband when I bought the tickets if I won we would go to the Vatican and we won!!! We have talked about this trip for over 20yrs and are excited that with our winnings we can share this experience with our kids.

nytraveler-I was worried about the smaller portions. We have talked about having heavy appetizers (cheese, bread, etc) in our apartment before we go for dinner. We never travel anywhere without some filling granola bars and other snacks so I guess we will stock up when we get there. I am thankful the boys don't drink soft drinks but have a feeling they we will be doing some wine tasting.
txtravelmom is offline  
Feb 18th, 2014, 10:28 PM
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My traveller makes good points about filling your boys. Something to keep in mind is that protein is more filling than lots of other things. They could fill up on boiled or scrambled eggs as a snack when you are in the apartment, and of course, there's all that lovely ham etc as well.
cathies is online now  
Feb 19th, 2014, 07:10 PM
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txtravelmom- I so badly wanted peanut butter last time I was there and, while you can buy it, it ain't cheap in Rome! haha

Good thought to fill up on bread and cheese before heading out to dinner. I see pizza most nights in your future!

I created my own Rome Restaurants Google map. But it wouldn't be of much use to you, probably, because there are a fair number of expensive places on it. But you could do one before you leave, that has mostly affordable places on it. That way, when you're hungry, you can look on the map and find someplace close that won't eat at your budget too much.

Additionally, I encourage you to NEVER order unless you know what the price of everything is. Some places will list the price of the food and not the drinks. We once got ripped off for €10 for a Coke! ASK if you don't see the price on the menu.

We always kept a couple boxes of cereal and milk at the apartment, too. Perfect for late-night snacking (heck, anytime snacking!).

Good luck. If you have any questions you think I can help with, do feel free to email me. My hotmail address is [email protected]
sarge56 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2014, 07:17 PM
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PS TxTravMom- Here is the site you need for info on how to get reservations for the Scavi tour: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/in...090216_en.html

Your best option to get a tour is to simply let them know what days you are in Rome (and, subsequently, book all your other events around the tour). Try not to pigeonhole a date, as you may not get a tour.

As a Catholic, this will be the highlight of your trip, I promise you. Standing within a few feet of the place Peter was crucified, and seeing his bones, is usually very emotional for us Catholics. (I've been on the tour 3 times.)
sarge56 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2014, 06:57 AM
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Re Food:
My daughters were rather tough athletes (swimmers) who did need to inhale food in season, but I know that UNLIKE my swimmer moms with boys, I did not need to take two carts to the grocery check-up just to keep the frig full.

I have undying respect for their frig stocking skills.

Cathies made an excellent point about proteins. If you are at a hotel with breakfast, do tell them to load up on the ham and cheese and eggs over the carbs when they can. So yes, my pre-advised gelato/pizza is OK, but Cathies is SO right about trying to get their tummies satisfied first with a protein load.

We once had a sort of an apartment part of a hotel (the Santa Chiara)and we made a point of having a big cheese, prosciutto, fresh bread thing on our terrace around the time of the 6 pm Angelus. This practice not only helped us to order LESS at dinner but it also helped us to enjoy the bells of Rome. We went to a Mom/Pop grocery store nearby around 4 pm each day.

I hope you are getting excited for this adventure with your family!
AlessandraZoe is offline  

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