Back from Italy - Rome

Apr 15th, 2002, 10:45 AM
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Back from Italy - Rome

Message: My husband and I were Italy and spent 9 days in Venice, Florence, and Rome. Here is our feedback from Rome:

Weather - April was Cool and sunny, in high 60s, sunny everyday, little cloudy. Dress in layers.

Hotel - We stayed at Hotel Castelfridado, north of the train station. It was cheap, clean, and the staff very helpful. I would highly recommend staying closer to the older part of rome though. Although its easy to catch a bus from the station straight into town, I would advise staying closer the main area.

Experience in 3 days:
Hints -
1. Get a good map! Its a midsize city, and will keep you from getting lost.
2. Get a map of the trams and buses, its quick cheap way to get across town. By the way, the transportation system is a bit odd, you buy your tickets at tobacco shops or electronic vendors at the station (which often dont work). Also... no one checks your ticket on the buses, trams, or even the subway sometimes.

What we did -
*Lots to see and do- plan your time wisely!I would suggest looking at a map and creating sectors of areas and the things you want to see there.
* I suggest getting at least one guided tour, a good place is Enjoy Rome, office at the Train station. Old Rome tour about 13 Euros. We wished we had done it. I think you get more out of seeing place. Having a good guide book works as well.

Area One
1. Walked to the Spanish Steps and enjoyed the shops on Via Condotti
2. Went to Piazza Navona and hung out
3. The Pantheon is just amazing - great history, oldest best preserved building in Rome
4. Shopped around Campo Fiori.
5. Walked around the small streets, absorbed the environment.

Area 2
1. Vatican - Visited the Museam, the Sistine Chapel is at the end of the Museaum. The whole thing is just amazing - all the artists are represented in some way
2. St. Peters Bascilica is awe inspiring. Remember to see the Pieta in the corner

Area 3
* If you buy your ticket at the Coloseum or Palatine Hills, you can see both for same price
1. Palatine Hills - where rome began with Romuluas and Remus. Use your imagination to see what life was like 2000 years ago
2. Romum Forum - Fallen apart, need more imagination, but still amazing
3. Colliseum - See "Gladiator" before you go, it will really give you a good backgroud

This is what we had time to see, but others we met said to go to the Church of Cappuchin where the monks make things out of bones, you have to see to believe; go to the catacombs as well.

We ended up at the Trastevera area for dinner most nights. This is the neighbouhood across the Tiber. They have great little restaurants, in a more local neighbouhood. We would eat pizzas, paninis during the day just to keep on schedule, then to the Travestaver for dinner. Once again, look for small places with menus in Itallian.

*Eat Gelato Everyday. WE did. I think I racked up to 27 flavors (you can get 3 flavors on a cone at a time, and as many as 5 I believe)

1. Post a question, and I will be happy to answer.

Apr 15th, 2002, 11:20 AM
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I've been hearing so many opinions on the 'dress code' of Italy.

What type of clothes do you wear to an average restaurant for dinner?
We're quite casual on the West Coast of North America. Wondering if we have a different reality here.
Apr 15th, 2002, 12:12 PM
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My opinion?

Dress code shmressh Code.
Most places are pretty casual, unless you are going to a fancy place. Itallians dress down as well, in jeans, leather jackets etc.

We did change for dinner sometimes in nice cotton pants, button down shirts and sweathers for men, and skirts blouses for women.

Before I left I heard all this stuff (especially from Americans) about wear black, or youll stick out....dreas nicely etc... I think thats pushing it.
Apr 15th, 2002, 12:57 PM
Goin to Rome
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Please tell me about the Euro dollar. What is the exchange rate? Any porblem using your visa/master cards. And anything to consider regarding $$
Apr 15th, 2002, 01:25 PM
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We are Amrericans, living in Oxford UK, so we were changing pounds vs dollars. We had no problems, and our xchange rate was pretty good. US dollars are just a tad stronger than the Euro, but its pretty much a 1to1 change. Every 100 dollars gets you around 105 Euros. Unfortunatly, in converting to Euros, Italy is more expensive, they have jacked up prices compared to how it was in Lira, in order to conform to EU standards.

No problems using Visa.
Apr 15th, 2002, 01:40 PM
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The only EU directive I know of relating to the introduction of the Euro expressly forbid changing prices when converting to the Euro.

For this reason we found many prices quite bizaare in Euros where they had been converted directly from previous Lira price, e.g. 9.81 Euros for the Alilaguna ticket.

Infact many places, knowing they weren't allowed to increase prices seemed to have dropped them (according to old signs and my basic maths) to round down to the nearest Euro or convenient coin denomination.

We certainly have not found prices increased since Euro in France or Italy so far.

Perhaps we have just been lucky.

When in doubt with currency conversions I print cheat sheets from for my purse.

Apr 15th, 2002, 05:38 PM
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I just came back from Italy and found that hotel prices like the Romae in Rome have double their prices from last year at the same time like almost everything, it was 140,000 lire that was 70 dollars now it was $150 dollars .
Apr 15th, 2002, 06:03 PM
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Hi Mashel,

Were would you recommend getting a good map of Rome? We leave next week. I've checked the bookstores and not sure if they have the best maps. Can you get a detail map in Rome? thanks!
Apr 16th, 2002, 12:15 AM
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We bought all of our maps at tobbacco shops and vendors in the cities we visited. Buy the maps with the red covers, they are excellent, and should cost you no more than 2 Euros.
Apr 16th, 2002, 11:36 AM
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All of the information you have posted regarding Rome is amazing. I am heading there for my honeymoon at the end of june. Can you give some of your details info about Venice and Florence also. We have never been to Italy...and I have never been to Europe. Thanks so much
Apr 16th, 2002, 02:33 PM
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Don't laugh, but we went into McD for a Coke & grabbed one of their maps of Roma! It had all the sights marked & worked just fine. Free is good...

This was years ago so I don't know if they still have them.

Buon viaggio!
Apr 16th, 2002, 03:13 PM
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have similar questions for trip to those 3 cities in May. In particular, what day tour guides have people liked for Florence and Venice.

Apr 16th, 2002, 03:20 PM
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We always get the CITYWISE maps (I think that is what they are called). They are plastic coated and list not just streets, but major attractions. We had one in Rome and it was great. You can get them at Barnes & Noble or I assume other book stores.

LOVED ROME! I thought the Italians dressed well but didn't feel out of place being casual. The women were beautiful - but I saw lots of makeup and stiletto heels...actually saw a woman with stilettos in the Coliseum...OUCH! What some women will do for beauty!
Apr 16th, 2002, 03:34 PM
Church Lady
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Actually, they're called "Streetwise" maps & are available at Border's. Now isn't that special?
Apr 17th, 2002, 03:28 AM
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Hello All,

I'm glad my tips have been helpful to you.

For those who want info. on florence and venice, I have made postings on those cities with the same title "back from italy - city in question" (do a search with the city name).

Maps: Maps are cheap and very easily found at tobacco shops and magazine/newspaper vendors on the street. There are red maps that are excellent.
have a great time!

Apr 17th, 2002, 02:56 PM
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Apr 17th, 2002, 05:43 PM
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We will be arriving in Rome very early am. after long flight starting in Denver. What's a good way to spend the first day with jetlag? We will have 3 1/2 days there.
Apr 17th, 2002, 05:58 PM
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3 1/2 days is not enough. Hit the ground running, but spend some time the first day relaxing around Piazza Navona. You will want to go back there before you leave. St. Peter's doesn't have the waiting lines that the Vatican does, so you might see that and the Pantheon on your first day. Enjoy.
Apr 18th, 2002, 10:50 AM
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just few suggestions for vatican museum and st.peter.

- there is a door in the sistine chapel in the museum(usually the last stop for many) which lets u directly to the inside of the st. peter's basillica, so you don't need to stand in lines twice.

- avoid va museum lines by calling up the museum and scheduling a guided tour. u pay 6 euros extra but you get a much better perspective.
Apr 18th, 2002, 07:04 PM
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Thanks for the info. What is the # for the vatican tour?

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