First Trip to Rome-Need Help w/Itinerary

Sep 9th, 2007, 09:56 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2007
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First Trip to Rome-Need Help w/Itinerary

My husband and I will be travelling to Rome in Nov. for our 10th anniversary. This will be our first trip and we are stayng for 5 full days (11/2 to 11/8). I've started some research and think I have an idea of what we want to do - but it can get a little overwhelming so I wanted to run it by Fodorite experts! I also need help with trying to plan our days.

We will be arriving Sat. at 7:30 am and departing Thurs. morning. We defintely want to hit the major sites - Colosseum, Forum, Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Borghese Gallery, etc. during our stay. We also would like to do one day trip but not sure where (I would love Florence but DH wants to see Pompeii). We also have a Scavi tour confirmed for Mon. (9/5) at 10:30 am and DH has expressed an interest in hearing the pope at sunday mass (rather than going to the papal sudience on Wed). We love museums, history, churches, shopping, food, and just soaking up the local culture in general.

Some general questions that I have:

The way our itinerary is shaping up, it looks like we will have to make 3 separate trips to the Vatican (which seems like a lot). Sunday for mass, Monday for Scavi, and Tues for the Vatican Museum (only availability it we book a tour through Context Rome). Is this feasible or should we cut something out?

Can anyone recommend a sample itinerary based on our interests and the sights we want to hit? I'd like to get started as soon as we get to Rome on Sat. but am worried about jet lag. What would you recommend as an easy first day of sights?

I apologise in advance for my lack of direction...once I know where everything is in relation with each other, I'll have a better idea on what attractions to group together. We also would appreciate any recommendations on other sights/attractions that are a must-see.


gayle_ann is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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hi, gayle ann,

the best tip we had was to try to group our sightseeing into areas, so that you are not jumping around too much. eg the colosseum, Forum, and the capitoline hill/ san clemente on the same day.

your trip is already complicated by what you have already booked/planned involving the vatican.

this is what I would try to do:

Sat: early arrival. I don't know where you're staying, but assuming it's the centre somewhere, go to hotel and drop off bags, then explore the "centro storico" for as long as your jet-lag wil allow. you could cover the campo dei fiori, piazza navona, trevi fountain & pantheon in the morning and then cross over the Tiber and explore trastevere in the afternoon. None of this is so far from where I'm assuming your hotel it be that you cant' nip back there if you want.

Sun: Service in the Vatican, then nice lunch followed by visit to the galleria borghese [must book in advance]

Mon: Scavi tour then self-guided tour of st. peters [the scavi tour depositis you in the middle of st. peters I believe, so you don't need to do the secuity queue again]. AFter lunch, bus to the colosseum and forum followed, if you've got the energy, by the capitoline museums [check if they're open on a monday]

Tues: Vatican. I would NOT try to do anything before your trip to the vatican, and not plan to do anything after wards. It is seriously tiring. All we managed was a beer! if you've got the energy, you could see Castel san angelo, go shopping, etc. etc.

WEd: free day - you could go to Ostia antica [like pompeii but only a short train-ride away from Rome]or Tivoli [about 1 hour on the bus]. or do the things on Rome that you've missed. you won't need to decide til the day.

one of the delights of Rome is just wandering around and looking at what you find along the way. if you like museums and churches, the Blue Guide might be useful for you.

Hope you have a great time,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 10:36 AM
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Hi Ann,

Thanks so much for your tips - they really help! It does make sense to group the trip in sections. We're staying in the city centre (Hotel Raphael) so it should be easy to walk to the sights you suggested for day 1. The Scavi trip definitely makes planning more complicated but it was the one thing we wanted to make sure that we did....I wonder if I can ask them to switch the days??
gayle_ann is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 10:58 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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hi, gayle,

I'm not sure that I would ask to switch [unlikely anyway as it's so much in demand].

rome is really a place where you want time to come across things - to be unplanned. IMO you have enough structure, and can use your half days to fill in as you go along.

there are quite a lot of themed trips you can do too- Rome's cathedrals [4 I believe] - churches with mosaics, churches with pre-christian remains [eg san clemente which is down by the colosseum] - rick streves' guide to Rome has a few ideas. honestly, you'l never run out of things to do!

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 11:09 AM
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Ann - I'm reading Rick Steves' guide now
gayle_ann is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 01:02 PM
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I'm not going to be of much help here. If you really must go to Sunday mass at St. Peters then don't sweat it. Catching a cab or even the metro is a piece of cake; we use the metro. If you just want to go to mass at St. Peters go on the day of the Scavi and hit Sunday mass at one of the other great cathedrals or a funky church somewhere.

I wouldn't go to Pompeii from Rome with your time personally. I'd hit Ostia Antica. It is better than Pompeii in terms of quality and an easier trip. To get to Pompeii yoiu're looking at either a hired (and expensive) car or two trains (rome - naples, naples - pompeii). Another good day trip, if you're interested, is Tivoli...Hadrian's Villa is great.

As far as something to do to get going right away...walk around. Walk around the Borghese Park, wind your way down to Piazza del Popolo, walk up to the Spanish Steps. You'll see several things that likely you'd want to see anyway, get some fresh air, get a lay of the land and still be productive in terms of 'crossing things off your list.'
mdtravel is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 01:18 PM
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>>hearing the pope at Sunday mass<<

The pope does not say Sunday mass or speak at Sunday mass. At noon, he appears in the window of his apartment overlooking St. Peter's Square and gives a blessing in several languages.
Zerlina is offline  
Sep 9th, 2007, 03:02 PM
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Thanks everyone for their responses - I talked it over with DH and we're going to skip going to the Vatican on Sunday.
gayle_ann is offline  

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