Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Advice on upcoming Italy trip please!

Advice on upcoming Italy trip please!


Jun 15th, 2015, 05:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 9
Advice on upcoming Italy trip please!

Hi everyone, my boyfriend and I are coming up on a trip to Italy in a couple weeks. We have some questions on some of the sightseeing tickets etc.

Rome: Do you suggest getting tickets to the Coliseum in advance before leaving? Or is there a better option?
We would also like to visit the Vatican. Is it best to purchase those in advance? I have read about the lines being long so was hoping to beat that or get a discount? For attire to the Vatican...both of us have to have covered knees and shoulders. Any tips on what the ladies do in the heat for this? Scarf/shawl? Longer dress? Are the men allowed shorts if not shorty shorts?

Sorrento: We would love to go see the blue grotto in Capri on a day trip from Sorrento. Has anyone done this and have any tips? Or know the costs?

Venice: Any restaurant suggestions for budget travellers?

Thanks so much in advance for any help!!!
Misskelly11 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 15th, 2015, 05:41 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,647
For the Vatican you don;t need a shawl - just don;t wear a tank top - a tee with small sleeves is fine - as is a skirt reaching the knee or capris or pants (I always think lightweight pants are more comfy than a skirt when it's very hot). Both men and women's shorts have to reach/cover the knee (based on the particular Swiss Guard who is looking at your line of people). Only small children can wear shorter shorts.

there are NO discounts to the Vatican and the lines are long You can try to get timed tickets for entry - many people buy a commercial tour in order to avoid the worst of the lines.

As for Blue Grotto - you can get in only on those days when the sea is completely flat since the opening is so low. To get there one takes a ferry or hydrofoil from Sorrento (there are many each day) to the MArina Grande on Capris. There you can pick up a launch with perhas 25 people that will take you around the island to tnear the grotto. There you transfer to a rowboat - 4 people in each, who must lay on the bottom of the boat and the oarsman will row you into the grotto and row you around yodeling all the while. You are inside for a few minutes. After ward you must climb from the rowboat back into the launch (not difficult unless you are petite/short legs or don't have good balance). the men in each boat will help - and we didn;t see anyone fall into the sea (although a petite elderly lady in our rowboat had to be dragged up by two men on the launch.

IMHO it's mildly interesting and as long as you're there you might as well do it - but we enjoyed other aspects of Capri more. Be aware that the ferries back to the mainland stop in the late afternoon.
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 15th, 2015, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 18,429
There is some cheap food available in Venice, actually - surprising because everything else seems so expensive there. There are a number of places that have decent NY-style pizza slices (very casual, barely restaurants). Near the train station there's a well-known cafeteria called Brek with a variety of food (if you leave the station and turn left as you face the Grand Canal, you'll walk down the main drag toward toward Rialto. Brek is not far down on your left. Hard to miss the sign.)
Andrew is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jun 15th, 2015, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,542
You can buy tickets online for the date/time that you wish to visit the Vatican Museum thus allowing you to skip the lines (obviously, as long as it is available). You don't need a guided tour to skip the lines.

The online ticket purchase allows you to also include the highly recommended audio guide.


Have a great trip!
joannyc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2015, 05:15 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,058
In theory, men need to wear long trousers at the Vatican, while women just need to have their knees covered. The guards are stricter about this at St. Peter's Basilica than at the Vatican Museums, but it's not 100% enforced even there. My adolescent nephew was not allowed in about seven years ago, wearing calf-length clam diggers. This meant his parents couldn't go in either.

Here is a photo of the sign:

bvlenci is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2015, 05:50 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,647
I have seen men with long shorts admitted several times - but they were definitely below the knee - but the last time was 3 years ago. Perhaps they have decided to be stricter recently.

And the Swiss Guard at the entrance is the sole authority.
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2015, 06:31 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 6,058
This was longer than three years ago, but it's never been consistently enforced.
bvlenci is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jun 16th, 2015, 07:38 AM
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 13
I was just in Rome in May and here were my observations:

Colosseum - if you want to see if you really need to spend a couple dollars extra for advanced purchase tickets, you can wait until you get there and see how the lines are. If they are long, then buy on your phone. The email confirmation that you need came pretty quickly (i.e. within a few minutes). This assumes you have data on your phone.

Vatican museum - If you are in Rome on a Friday evening, I highly recommend getting tickets for the evening (they open until 11pm in high season except for August). The booking form did say only people with reservations can go in at these evening hours, but there definitely was a line of people waiting with no reservations that got in. There's still quite a few people in there, but not as crowded as during the day. Booking online was an extra 4 euro per person, I think, but highly worth it.

St Peter's - I've heard of different strategies of getting in when there's no line, but what worked for us was going early. We meant to get there by 8a but ended up getting there at 8:45a, but thankfully there was still no line for security and we got up to the Dome when not many people were in there. I definitely would not want to be climbing those stairs when there are a lot of people. It was pretty claustrophobic as it is (and I'm small and NOT claustrophobic and have made other tower climbs before). As for dress, we definitely saw people inside who violated the "dress code" but were let through anyway, but have heard stories of others not getting let in. It's one of those things where I would err on the side of caution and dress within the code and not chance not being let in.

Venice - we really enjoyed the cicchetti lunch and you can eat for pretty cheap. We ate a few bites from 3 different places around Rialto Market (Bar all'Arco, Cantina Do Mori, Cantina Do Spade). For dinner, we ate at Osteria Al Cicheto near the train station. Have to reserve though as there are only 4 tables and I did so over email a week in advance. It's down a little side alley. One of our favorite gelaterias in Italy is Gelatoria Ca'D'Oro on Strada Nuvo.

Have a great trip!
sunnymonkey is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:51 PM.