Day trips from Rome? Teens in Rome?

Old Oct 12th, 2006, 08:20 AM
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Day trips from Rome? Teens in Rome?

Hi, I'm contmemplating 2 very different trips for our February vacation. We have 2 boys ages 14 and 17, and we're trying to decide whether to go to a dude ranch in Arizona or to Rome. The trip will be about 6 days, and approximately the same cost (actually, the dude ranch will probably be a bit more).

We're flying from NYC. My husband is bored with Rome (go figure) and would rather go to the dude ranch. My oldest son would rather go to Italy (the kids have never been), the youngest doesn't care and I'm leaning towards Rome.

Any suggestions? Also, where would you go for daytrips from Rome, and what can we expect for weather at that time of year?

Thanks so much fodorites!
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 08:27 AM
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My 15 year old son was fascinated by Rome. Have your sons read "Angels and Demons"? My son liked that book better than the Da Vinci Code, and it made him an "expert" on lots of the sites. I bet that at least the 17 year old has studied ancient civilizations and already knows a lot of the history.

We spent 6 full days in Rome and didn't see nearly everything - didn't take any day trips, but we did use up a whole morning with the papal audience. I guess you need to think about how many churches you want to get to; if you aren't huge on touring churches, you might want to plan a day trip or two.
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 08:28 AM
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Also, if the boys are strong readers, have them read "The Agony and the Ecstacy." It will make Italy come alive for them.
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 08:33 AM
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If it's a sunny day Ostia Antica is worth going to especially as you're not going to want to visit Pompeii with only 6 days in Rome.
The market in Porta Portese on a sunday might be fun, my boys used to like it.
February is cold by Rome standards but a lot warmer than NY!
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 08:36 AM
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Yes, they've both read Angels and Demons and also have studied ancient history.

Glad to hear that it will be easy to fill up 6 days.

I'm looking at a package that includes 2 rooms at the Hotel Della Muse in Parioli, I think it's a good spot, can anyone comment? Any suggestions for inexpensive restaurants?

Also, I recall reading about catacombs underground Rome, do I have the right city?

Thanks again!
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 08:37 AM
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Also, My kids like the cold. They're weird that way, that's why I decided not to spend the extra $2,000 on airfare to go in the summer!
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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In the recent past, my DH and I taught at a school for North American kids in Italy (military, diplomatic corps, plus). They were aged 14-19. Our school was within 2 hours of Rome, so we visited frequently (maybe 6/7 times over a 10 month school year). There were very few of "our" kids that didn't fall in love with it. It was by far the favourite trip beating Florence, Venice, the Trmiti Is. and Sorrento/Capri.

A few big hits with the boys: the Coliseum, Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain (pretty girls from all over the world having their picture taken), Scavi, Trastevere .

I don't know how much freedom you will want to give your boys, but armed with the basics, our school administration also felt that Rome was one of the safest cities for youth "out on the town" for an evening in Europe. The Roman ladies-of-the-evening are much less agressive and well-policed than some other cities. The pickpockets are less likely to target young men than older ladies. And though there are much more relaxed liquor laws than in the US/Canada, the culture is one where drunkeness in teens is frowned on. None of this may be relevant for a family vacation where you are all sticking together but FYI, anyway.

So I guess, its clear that in your shoes, I would pick Rome!
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 08:53 AM
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I wouldn't stay in the Parioli area. It's very nice and posh but full of offices and residential completely dead in the evening and you can't really walk anywhere. Go for Campo dei Fiori or Trastevere then the boys can go out by themselves.
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 09:02 AM
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Thanks for the replies...I never even thought about letting them go off on their own at night, but I guess you're right, it would be nice if they could do that in a neighborhood with more going on close by.

Now I'm thinking, is Della Muse in the Parioli? I need to go back and check, it was such a good deal, $715pp for airfare (including taxes and fees) and 3 nights hotel, we would get another hotel for the other 2 nights. Maybe we'll switch to one in Campo for the remaining nights.
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 10:31 AM
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It sounds as if it's in Piazzale delle Muse in which case I would forget it but I may be wrong.
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 10:41 AM
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I second the recommendation of a trip to Ostia Antica. We visited there when my kids were 14 and 11 and they loved it! It's only about 20 minutes by train from Rome, and the ruins are impressive. It also gave my kids the chance to run off some energy.
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Old Oct 12th, 2006, 07:51 PM
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Yes, Rome has the catacombs and we enjoyed them very much. They are sort of clustered near each other on the Appian Way. We have been to San Callisto and Domitilla. We found them both fascinating. There is the archeobus that starts in Piazza Venezia and stop at many of the archeological sites. You hop on and off.

I agree with the others who say a daytrip from Rome with 6 days is not really necessary, but Ostia Antica is good to keep in mind if you decide you want to get out of the city.

Some other things you might want to consider seeing are the Capucchin Monk Crypt (Via Veneto 27 in the Piazza Barberini) and the Criminologico Museum (Via Galfone 27).

Grinisa, on Slow Travel, posted "Chills and Thrills in the Eternal City" and it has excellent suggestions including the ones above. Some different ideas that might appeal to your boys. Here is the link: www.slowtrav.com/italy/rome/chills_thrills.htm.

I do think you should rethink the hotel that comes in the package. Often the packages include hotels that are not centrally located. Even if you don't want the boys out on their own at night it will be much more convenient for everyone to be centrally located. Makes it easy to go home in the afternoon for a short rest.
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 06:34 AM
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I don't know - for $715 per person for airfare and three night's hotel, I think I'd be willing to stay at a pretty out of the way place (assuming it was clean.) I know you're going in Feb. and we went in May, but we paid $1075 per person for air fare alone (and that was after lots of shopping around; most days the fare was $1250 or $1400). I'd consider the three nights in the hotel "free" if I were you. If you use the "regulated" (official) cabs, fares are relatively inexpensive because the distances are pretty short.
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 06:51 AM
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Missypie: from NYC r/t tix can be had for approx $430 per person around Feb. I see it's possible to get that price now for something in Nov, Feb should be comparable.

Since that is the case, I would completely recommend securing a room/rooms in Rome instead of being out of the way.

I'm actually shocked that tix for Rome are now $1200+ for May. That's amazing. Has shoulder season given all of us the cold shoulder?
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 06:56 AM
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The $1200 was for May of this year, from DFW.
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 08:33 AM
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MCNYC,

$430? That MUST be without tax and fees...Can you tell me where you saw that, because I've tried all the usual sites and the lowest airfare I've gotten during presidents week (Feb 16-25th), has been $560.

And yes, the price of $715 pp including the hotel is almost a free hotel!

Thanks for all the sugestions!
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 08:35 AM
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PS, I was looking for airfare from NYC to Rome last year in June and I couldn't get anything under $1,000.
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Old Oct 13th, 2006, 11:42 AM
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Kayak.com allows you to do searches. Some searches come up empty (meaning a $400 flight listed may no longer be available for purchase). Some come up w/real prices. The $435 I came up with is a real flight, including taxes, for Nov.

But since you cannot find better pricing right now for the time that you need, then I'd go with what you've already found. Especially since your dates are non-negotiable due to your sons' school schedule.

June is definitely not shoulder season. Was May ever considered shoulder season? I'd like to think so, but I have been wrong...
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Old Nov 2nd, 2006, 03:58 PM
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I have the perfect solution!After ruling out Sicily due to cost and time restrictions,we will probably be in Rome then with our 16yr old daughter!!!
Actually we brought her there two years ago and she loved it-her request to consider it as a return trip. We did some really fun ghost type tours and we also
sought out various skulls,fingers,hearts
of saints in churches,the thrills and chills tour mentioned by the last poster. All this combined with the traditional sights and the suggestions made by other posters will make for a great educational/fun week.Ostica Antica was wonderful,pardon the pun but you roam around there for hoursand let your imagination go wild.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2006, 05:46 PM
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We are going to Rome in Feb over school break (from NYC) for a 7-nights, too. It is my daughter's 16th birthday and she requested a trip instead of a party yeah. This will be her third time visiting Rome and she loves it. We usually stay with my friend, however, this time we've decided to rent an apartment in Trastevere. WIth four you might want to consider this as an option, too. We actually compared airfare and hotel with Florida during the same week and ITaly was much much cheaper! We like to travel to Europe in winter or April since it is cheaper.

For a day trip I would suggest going to Florence, Assissi, Orvieto, or Ostia Antica. On our last trip my daughter and I took a day trip to Florence and enjoyed that a lot. We reserved the train before we left as well as reservations for the Uffizzi and Accademia. This helped a lot with using our time wisely. THis time we want to go to Orvieto and maybe Ostia. Another time we did an organized bus trip to Naples, Capri, and Sorrento. It was quick, touristy, but we loved going to Capri and the blue grotto. But, I wouldn't recommend this trip for February. There is so much to do that you may not even want to do a day trip...
Colloseum, Forum, and Pallatine Hill
Nero's Golden Villa- Domus Aurea
San Clemente church near the Colloseum

Vatican and Castel St. Angelo
Pantheon & Piazza Navonna (Dinner at Orso 80- just order the AntiPasti)
Jewish Ghetto
Campo DiFiori
Trastevere - especially dinner at night!

Cappucine Monk Crypt
Lunch on Via Veneto
Borghese Museum and Borghese Park
Piazza Del Popolo

We're also going to go to the market at porto portese on Sunday morning since we'll be closer.
I think that February is generally in the 50's and 40's at night -similar to the weather that we've been having in NYC lately (with the exception of the 70's yesterday). I was in Rome in December 2 years ago and it was rainy and cool- but when it didn't rain it was lovely.

Bring two pairs of shoes and extra socks in case it rains because the streets get a lot of puddles- bring a waterproof coat- and things to layer and maybe a sweater or blazer for layering or wearing if it gets warm. Gloves, hat and scarf. Better to have your warm stuff with you and then just peel off or put on as needed. Just be prepared for cold, wet, and sunny.
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