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First time to Rome - thoughts on our 3 day/4 night plan?

First time to Rome - thoughts on our 3 day/4 night plan?

Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 11:21 PM
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First time to Rome - thoughts on our 3 day/4 night plan?

We are first-timers to Rome and will be there at the end of a three-week trip, arrving late afternoon on Friday, October 7th, and staying centrally at Hotel San Carlo. Let me just say that I have NEVER planned a trip to this level of detail before, but it seems that at least the city parts of our trip (Rome, Florence, and Venice) warrant it due to both quantity of sights, need for reservations, closings, etc. If I'm being neurotic let me know.

Here is my plan thus far...would appreciate comments before I finish all of the attraction bookings!
First night:
Dinner near Campo de Fiore/Piazza Navona, then do a night walk, winding back to the trevi fountain.
Day 1 (Sat):
Early morning Vatican tour with Context Rome (awaiting confirmation on this and possible follow-on Scavi tour).
Possibly Castel Sant'Angelo depending on the time, then walk back to Piazza Navona area and see the Pantheon.
Day 2 (Sun):
Nero's house (worth it???)
Quick stops at St Peter in Chains, Cappuccin Crypt, & Santa Maria Vittoria
Borghese Gallery & gardens
Walk back from Piazza del Popolo down to trevi fountain/steps, take in all the shops, etc.
Day 3 (Mon):
-See the trevi fountain early when the streets are still quiet
-Forum, Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Capitoline Hill, and Mamertine Prison.
I think one of the museums is closed here on Mondays, but by then we will have probably had our fill.

As always, thanks for your thoughts! We want to see what we can without ending our trip on a frenzied note...
Irish_girl is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2005, 11:33 PM
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Irish Girl -
This looks pretty good, but I think Monday looks pretty packed. I'd suggest dropping a sight or two that day, or moving one to Saturday or Sunday. (I can't speak to all of your choices, but the Cappucin crypt doesn't take long at all -- 30 minutes? It's interesting and worthwhile, just not a huge time investment. 'Course you've go the Borghese on Sunday, so that will take some time).

Have fun!
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Old Aug 24th, 2005, 02:26 AM
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I think your days are really full, but you can do it.
After the Vatican tour with Context Rome, take a break and sit for a bit in a cafe. Its not greuling, but you are a bit wiped out after seeing all of the magnificence. Seeing Castel Sant'Angelo is a good idea while you are there, otherwise you'll miss it. You may not have the energy for the Scavi Tour, but I hear it is really great.

Have a great time - you have chosen some great sights/activities, especially Domus Aurea!

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Old Aug 24th, 2005, 03:35 AM
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The Vatican museum closes early on Saturday so you might want to change your tour to Monday.
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Old Aug 24th, 2005, 04:29 AM
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I disagree with kybourbon about switching your Vatican Museum tour-you'll be spending about three hours there that morning,which is plenty for most of us.Your itinerary looks great. Be sure to have coffee at Sant Eustachio and/or Tazzo D'Oro when you are visiting the Pantheon!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 12:49 PM
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First would have dinner near the Spanish steps, from there walk to Trevi Fountain, then to the Pantheon and then to the Piazza Navona. The walking should take no more than 30 minutes, with if it was done without stoping, stopping to see the sights would take about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. This could also be reversed, depending on the location of your hotel, of which I am not familiar.
The first night you should easily see all of these sights, safely and comfortable.
Next day, I would arrive early, about 8:00AM to visit the Vatican Museum, line could be long, but moves quickly, should be in quickly. Could spend all day, but you probably will spend three to four hours there. Leave about 1:00PM, have a nice lunch in the area, and then walk around the wall and visit St. Peters Basilica. Spend two hours there. It is magnificent.
Have a great dinner!!!!!
Pass on Nero's Golden Palace.
Go to Borghese Museum, its a must!!!
If you can, Get to see the other major basilicas. St. John Lateran, Mary Maggiori and Gesu. All are beautiful. Gesu is between the Pantheon and the Coloseo and the Forum.
Don't over do it, but I believe I have mentioned all that you can do without exhausting yourself in three days.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 01:20 PM
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We were in Rome this past February (off season) and scheduled a Vatican tour for a Saturday morning. A bit disappointed because we spent an hour and a half of our tour standing in line. We had been to St. Peter's a few days prior (Thursday) and there were no lines to get into the church or museum. Also, there was no line to ride the elevator (and then hike the steps) the top of the dome. On Saturday, the elevator line was huge!!!

If you can, try to avoid this area on Saturday and definitely get to the top of the dome. The view was spectacular! We didn't want to come down.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 01:24 PM
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Forgot to mention - agree with Alberto01. St. John Lateran (San Giovanni in Laterano) and Mary Maggiori (Santa Maria Maggiore) were absolutely breathtaking! If you can, schedule some time to see them. These two are a short walk from one another.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2005, 03:15 PM
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Sounds like a great itinerary. We just did a similar one in June and it was wonderful. A couple thoughts:

- the Trevi Fountain is pretty disappointing. I guess you should see it because it's so famous, but I wouldn't wake up early for it and I certainly wouldn't plan to spend more than 10 minutes there.

- Even with a tour, plan to go to St. Peter's early, right when it opens. The crowds get overwhelming and spoil the mood of being in such a beautiful place. And the light streams through the back windows in an ethereal way when you come early.

- Get a tour guide or an excellent guidebook when you go through the Forum. Otherwise it looks like a pile of rocks and anonymous buildings.

- Detail is good. Rome is expensive and you want to maximize your time. That includes taking breaks and eating gelato. We were there when it was very hot, so we had to take breaks all the time. It should be more comfortable in October.

- Your itinerary is pretty full. I'd try to plan for sights you can drop if you are feeling too tired. The churches and museums, as beautiful as they are, start to blur together because you see so many of them.

- On Sunday, I'd plan to be at St. Peter's for the Pope's weekly address. We were in a crowd of maybe 10K people and the Pope addresses everybody from his apartment window for about 15 minutes. It's a great experience even if you're not Catholic, and if you are it could be the experience of a lifetime. He spoke in 6 languages fluently!

Have fun! Rome is amazing!
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Old Sep 3rd, 2005, 04:22 AM
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We were first-timers this past April. A few suggestions...

You HAVE to make reservations for the Borghese. They only admit by reservation or if someone cancels that day. We went at 9 AM on Sunday and it was not really crowded.

We used Icon Tours for our Ancient Rome tour and highly recommend them. VERY inexpensive. If you don't use a guide, I agree with the other's suggestion of at least having a book, but you will miss so much history. Plan time for the Mamertine Prison at the end.

We did not get to see the Vatican because of the Pope's passing, but we have also heard that Monday is a better day there than Saturday. Have a great trip!
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Old Sep 5th, 2005, 07:40 PM
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Nero's house (Domus Aurea) is great if you are into hard-core archaeology (which I am), but it does take time out of what looks like a full itinerary. The Capitoline Museums are closed on Monday; if I were you, I'd ditch the Domus Aurea and see the Capitoline Museums that day-- they open at 9 am.
While you're hanging around the Piazza Navona, drop into the church of San Luigi dei Francesi and have a peek at the Caravaggios.
Sta Maria Vittoria is a good choice--knockout Bernini (Ecstasy of St Teresa).
The church of San Ignazio near the Pantheon is an untouristed but stunning church. Walk in and look up.
I read someplace that the Capuchin crypt is "in restauro"--you might want to check on that, but then, I could be hallucinating.
Old Sep 5th, 2005, 07:52 PM
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Hi Irish_girl, the "Cappucin Crypt which in on the Via Veneto, up the street from the Piazza Barberini is open if you want to visit it.
Have a wonderful time in Rome.
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Old Sep 6th, 2005, 12:17 AM
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My wife and I went to Rome for the first time in July. I have posted a trip report with some pictures on my homepage http://gardkarlsen.com Maybe you can find some useful information there. Have a great trip!

Stavanger, Norway
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Old Sep 6th, 2005, 04:59 AM
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I think our favorite Campo De Fiori restaurant was Pierluigi.

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Old Sep 6th, 2005, 10:54 PM
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Thanks to all for your help! We have reservations for the Borghese and tours with Context Rome for the Vatican and Icon for ancient Rome. Tried to switch the vatican tour around from Saturday to Monday, but could only do the Icon tour late on Monday afternoon, and I thought that two tours (one at 8 am and one at 4 pm) wouldn't be the most relaxing way to spend our last (and 22nd) day in Italy.
Also decided to forgo Nero's house in lieu of some other churches and a little slower pace. This first Italy trip is Rome and north of Rome...perhaps when we do Rome and south of Rome we'll make it to the Domus Aurea!
We leave a week from Saturday - getting very excited!
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Old Sep 7th, 2005, 04:14 AM
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It depends on your interests, of course, but we thought the Domus Aurea (Golden Palace of Nero) was one of the most interesting sights in Rome, and the tour only took 1 hour. You need to buy tickets in advance. On the other hand, we had enough of churches at a certain point--maybe we were just too stunned after the magnificence of St. Peter's. I would think twice about the Domus Aurea, especially since it's right next to the Colosseum, Forum, and Church of San Clemente.
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