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5 Days in Rome: Vatican & Roma Card Advice Needed

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DH and I are scheduled to arrive in Rome at 7:30AM Thurs., April 3 - by my rough calculation, 18 hrs. from the time we leave home for the airport. We learned some years ago that our best bet is to spend the day of arrival on our feet – so we don’t fall asleep – and avoid anything even slightly cerebral, then get an early snack and be in bed by 8PM. By 6AM the next day we’re fine and pretty well over jet lag. Since we are staying about half a mile east of the Spanish Steps, I though we’d spend most of the day wandering that area, the gardens, maybe as far as Trevi. And that is Day 1.

I read somewhere – Slow Travel? – that of the days of the week we’ll be in Rome, Fri. is probably the best one for the Vatican, so we thought we’d dedicate Day 2 to the Vatican.

I’ll skip Sat. & Sun., Days 3 & 4, and jump to Mon., 4/8, the day all the museums are closed. I thought we’d head to the Coliseum, Forum and Palatine, the Pantheon if time.

That leaves a ton of other things – museums, churches, Pantheon, way more than we can do on Sat. and Sun.

A lot of people have recommended the Roma Card but I can’t figure if we can make it economical with this itinerary. As best I can tell, if we don’t go to the Coliseum as one of our first two entries, we’ll lose much of the value. I haven’t been able to find out the exact discounts on various museums and such but it appears not to be as great as half price – more like 6 euros instead of 8. Last time we were in Rome we walked everywhere – can’t remember taking public transportation at all. But last time we were in Rome we were 27 and 29 and that was 42 years ago, so I don’t know that we’ll be up for walking everywhere. Still, we enjoy walking and if it’s only 2 mi., we’ll probably walk. With our current plan, we’d get use of the card for entries two days, some sort of discount I can’t ascertain at the Coliseum, and transportation we might not use a lot. Might not even break even.

In addition, I somehow thought we could combine a Scavi tour with the museums and basilica at the Vatican but have read that doing that might be too much. I wonder if it would be better to do the museum/chapel on Fri. and the Scavi tour (if I’m not already to late for that) and St. Peter’s on Sat. (According to the Vatican site, the gardens tours are suspended until further notice.)

Any suggestions regarding optimizing the value of the Roma Card and how to handle the Vatican?

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