Advice for Rome

Sep 7th, 2005, 06:33 PM
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Advice for Rome

In exactly 11 days, I will be embarking on my first trip overseas EVER. I am very nervous, and of course excited, but I need advice. My friend and I are going to do Rome for 3 nights, Florence for two nights, and back to rome for two more nights. I am more about soaking up the culture by walking around neighborhoods and eating, then waiting on lines at museums. Any must sees, or good cheap eats? In either city...thanks!
meganboston is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 06:45 PM
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Don't wait on line in Florence, for the Uffizi, nor the Accademia. Reserve. Ask your hotel to do it, or get additional ideas here. You may need some luck for only 14 days from now (but maybe not - - the lead times have been long this summer).

"Any" must sees? You do have books, right?

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 06:50 PM
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Honestly, I got a few books out of the library, but they overwhelmed me. The whole idea of the trip is overwhelming. That's why I was hoping to narrow it down...

Thanks for the Florence advice.
meganboston is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 06:53 PM
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Hi, meganboston!

Congratulations on your adventure--have a wonderful time in Italy!

I can relate to wanting to take it easy--travel is more enjoyable that way, and you can always look forward to going again to catch sights you skipped. Also, you can absorb local atmosphere more easily in cafes than museums.

That said, there are some must-sees in each city. These are the minimum that I would choose--

St. Peter's Basilica
Vatican Museums
Forum (site)
Pantheon (building)
(Most people would undoubtedly insist on the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, as well)

Uffizi (museum)
Accademia (gallery)
Duomo (church)
Piazza della Signoria (square--also where some good, fairly cheap restaurants can be found)
Ponte Vecchio (bridge)

At least, that's where I'd start.

Have a great trip!
smalti is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 07:02 PM
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Thank you! This is really helpful. should I try to purchase tickets in advance for all of these gallerys/museums? Or just stick out the line? I am staying in a convent in rome, and a small Bed and Breakfast in florence, so I don't know if they can do anything for me...
meganboston is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 07:19 PM
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Advance reservations would save time, but unfortunately I can't offer any info there--I've always waited in line. A google search might work, or search on this site by each name ("Uffizi reservation," etc.) Or bring this post to the top periodically (just reply "ttt" to keep it current), and posters more knowledgeable than I may help you.

Buon viaggio!
smalti is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 08:08 PM
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Megan, I did my first ever trip to Europe two years ago and spent 5 days each in Rome and Florence. While all of it made me go "Wow", the things that really, really made me go "WOW!" were St Peters (definitely #1 on my list) and the Parthenon in Rome (though this was probably because we just stumbled upon it and didn't know much about it), and the Uffizi and Accademia in Florence.
I'm not a seasoned traveller but the best advice I could give you for Rome would be to use an English-speaking guide for your visits to the major sites, such as St Peters. They can add a huge amount to your enjoyment.
Have a great trip.
Pumblechook is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 08:12 PM
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Two favorite cheap eats of mine in Florence are Trattoria Pallantino and Trattoria Alfredo. You can have good cheap meals at both.

Try a search here for inexpensive eats in Rome. I've seen many mentioned here.

Smalti gave you good leads. In Rome you will also want to see the Colosseum. Consider Santa Maria del Popolo and St Luigi Francesi for other churches, and Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. See the Vittorio Emmanuale monument, but don't go inside.

Another great church, because of the wonderful art, is St Pietro Vincoli. The walk up there from the Colosseum is quite nice.

Eat, shop, go into churches, bring a guide book along so you will know what you are looking at.

I am sorry that you are overwhelmed. Try to do some reading. The books may seem overwhelming, but you will get a much better idea of what you are doing, and when to do it.

I never give this idea, but for you, I say read Rick Steves' Italy, and only the sections on Rome and Florence. You already have your rooms, so just read the rest of each of those sections.

Stay calm and have a ball.
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Sep 7th, 2005, 08:51 PM
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Of course, tuscanlifeedit, the Colosseum! I was mentally lumping it with the Forum, but mentally lumping things never does much good.
smalti is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 04:38 AM
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You can "see" the must-see's without waiting in a line for the following:

The Forum, please walk through this!
At the south end of the Forum you can See the Colusseum. You can walk around this, take pictures, enjoy it's size. IF you care to, purchase a ticket and to inside.
The Pantheon, no lines, free admission.
The Vatican, primarily St. Peter's Basilica, Free Admission. If you go VERY early, you can pretty much walk in when it opens. Try to see this. It is outstanding in scale & scope.
The museums always have a line, but it moves fast. At the end of the museum is the Sistine Chapel. Pretty much considered a "Must See". 1st time hubby & I went we zipped through the museum just to see this.
Trevi Fountain = Free (think "3 coins in a Fountain).

All of the above are within a concentrated area of Old Rome.

Have fun, look at a map on the plane so you can notate where these places are and plan your strategy of walking, soaking in the sights and stopping by windows and wine shops!
delvino is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 05:03 AM
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Just a word of "caution"!!

Based on your departure date, it looks like your last two days in Rome (if I am counting correctly) will be Saturday and Sunday (9/24 and 9/25).

Those two days are celebrated as Giornata Patrimonale. Basically, most of the museums and monuments are "free"--no entrance fees. Along with this concept comes very large crowds (families of Italian co-mingled with the normal tourist load). This makes the lines much longer than normal.

Because of this, I would recommend you see the "fee charged" sites on your first three days in Rome and leave the
"free" events and neighborhood walks to the final two days.

You can still reserve tickets for the Accademia in Florence, but I believe the Uffizi is already "sold out" of advance reservations for your dates.

Of course, you can always stand in line to wait to get in.

Don't fret, you will have a great adventure and many wonderful experiences!!
Georgine is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 06:36 AM
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Thank you to everyone who posted. I think my next step will be to buy a map, and try to plan a itinerary with all of your recommendations. Oh,yea, and I have to relax and enjoy myself. Thanks again!
meganboston is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 06:37 AM
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My thoughts would be to get hold of a copy of 'Italy for Dummies' to help with your plans. You are quite correct..the choice of travel books can be overwhelming and Dummies may help narrow things down.
Now one of the most memorable and unexpected delights of Rome was the Galleria Borghese.We went there only on the urging of a friend or would have missed this beautiful experience completely.
Throw your coins in the Trevi fountain so you may return..then relax and enjoy!
minx is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 07:55 AM
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Going to Rome as a first time visitor to Europe will be sensory overload, so be prepared. Buying good city maps is a must to walk around any large European city, especially Rome. Even with the best of maps, you will get lost, just go with it and enjoy! We were awed by the Vatican, Colosseum and the Forum, but our favorite was the Pantheon, and it's surrounding neighborhood of narrow, winding cobblestone streets. Another less popular but very pretty and relaxing walk is to visit the Knights of Malta 'keyhole view' of St. Peters. As for the Ufizzi, DEFINITELY get tickets ahead of time. You can actually call them direct to reserve. It can save you hours of waiting in line. You also may want to consider a night or two in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, just to decompress from hectic Italian city life.
zootsi is online now  
Sep 8th, 2005, 08:01 AM
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Minx gave you some good advice. I know you are overwhelmed, but you need a guidebook. I also suggest the Lonely Planet guides for the two cities. They cover it all, they are small and easy to pack and carry. Read the text too - they are well-written and you will feel a bit better about things.

Also go to the Enjoy Rome website:
They have lots of good information and suggestions of things to do for fun and for free, and inexpensive tours.

The Fodors mini-guides on this website are helpful too!

You are going to have a great time!
faredolce is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 08:14 AM
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Megan - my husband and I leave on the 16 and return on the 25th!

We are doing a day trip to Florence and just yesterday I got tickets to the Accademia. The Uffizi Gallery (I was told) was sold out till October. So if you want to see David, I recommend you go ahead and book on line.

We are waiting till we get there to schedule tours of the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel and the Coliseum... this may not be a good idea though. Did you schedule your Rome tours yet.

Georgete - thank you for your posts about the 24 and 25th.
monicainindy is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 08:18 AM
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no, I haven't sheduled tours, but this is only becuase I have a friend who will be meeting us there. (She has traveled there many times and is staying with a friend that lives in Rome). What website did you use for reservations?
meganboston is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 08:41 AM
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Congratulations on your upcoming trip! Rome is my favorite city and I'm green with envy! I think you are giving it a fair justice by allotting the amount of time that you did. There is just so much to do there! On top of the "normal" tourist attractions, definitely check out some of the churches. Santa Maria Maggiore and San Giovanni in Laterno are both gorgeous. And definitely take some time to just stroll and soak everything in.

For Florence, among the main attractions, I always highly recommend a trek to Piazzale Michaelangelo. Its across the River Arno and its an uphill walk but worth it because you will be rewarded with fabulous views of Florence and the surrounding area. You can also take a bus to the top if you don't want to walk.

Definitely bring a good map. We used the Rome and Florence Inside Out maps that can be purchased at Borders or Brookstone. We also bought a nice laminated map of Rome at borders and used that as well. I would also second the suggestion of picking up Rick Steves' Rome. He's not for everyone, but he gives good advice, especially for first timers, and its easy to read and comprehend.

Good luck! And don't worry too are going to have a fabulous time!

tcreath is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 09:33 AM
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The cheapest and easiest way to may reservations for the Accademia (and the Uffizi, if you can) is by calling 011 39 055294883 between 8:30-18:30 M-F (8:30-12:30 Sat) Florence time. You will get an English speaking operator and in minutes have your reservation. This is much cheaper than the commercial booking services.

The admission ticket for the Colosseum is also good for the Palatine. There are often long lines at the Colosseum, so after walk through the Forum towards the Colosseum, you can walk down Via di San Gregoria towards the left to the Palatine, and buy your ticket there.

luv2cthings is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 09:36 AM
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Sorry, that's the cheapest and easiest way to MAKE a reservation! And, if you are walking towards the Colosseum through the Forum, you need to turn RIGHT down Via di San Gregoria to the Palatine. I guess I need more coffee!
luv2cthings is offline  

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