Help with Italy Itinerary: October 2016

May 24th, 2016, 12:40 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 7
Thanks for all the comments!

indyhiker: I think the only reason I chose the Trastevere tour was because it was at night, when most of the museums are closed and when I would be nervous to wander around by myself. I'll see if I can fit in the Testaccio tour instead in the afternoon. It looks like Testaccio is right off the Metro, which is good.

bvlenci: Thanks for the info on Trajan's Market--you are right, that does sound fascinating.

I'll definitely look into the Capitoline Museums, Barberini Gallery, Doria Pamphilj Gallery and the Centrale Montemartini.

I admit that I got a couple guide books and just pretty much circled everything with three stars. I have not traveled much, even in the US. For example, I have never been west of the Mississippi or to NY City.

I am learning so much on this forum--like how much fun I will have is more important what checking a box. I think I'll try to spend an entire afternoon just drawing outside in Rome in my journal if the weather is good. I am taking a art of journaling class at the local museum. And to be honest, I would much rather draw most days, than look at art. I took AP Art History in high school, but did not follow it up with any electives in college, while I was in the studio every year doing something.

indyhiker--Monti sounds like a great place to stay and seems very walkable. The apartment seems booked for my dates and even then I think I want to stay in a hotel--so I have a extra resource if something goes wrong. I was considering staying near Piazza del Popolo or the Spanish Steps because the area seemed pretty upscale/safe and near the metro. I don't like spending money on cabs if I could take the metro or walk. How does the safety of Monti compare to the above areas?

This trip is definitely a splurge for me as I imagine I will not travel again for another couple years. I generally only take off 3-4 days of vacation at a time. Most of the hotels I will be staying in the Amalfi Coast are firmly 3 stars. I think in Rome I am willing to spend more for a nicer hotel. Things are pretty expensive from what I have read and I think I might end up spending 300 euros a night in Rome, although I would prefer 200-250 euros per night.
annk5 is offline  
May 24th, 2016, 01:38 PM
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Central Rome as a whole is safe; I wouldn't worry about that if you use common sense. Monti felt very safe to me. There's so many people out an about; it's really not an issue if you just remain aware of your surroundings. One night on our first visit, we ended up walking from Prati to Monti (long story). We had to walk through the Spanish Steps area and Piazza del Popolo. Those areas actually felt eerily quiet at that point in the evening (11 pm-ish) than Monti did at a similar hour.
indyhiker is online now  
May 24th, 2016, 01:42 PM
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I'd add that the conventional wisdom--at least it would seem on these forums--is to stay closer to Piazza Navona or Campo de' Fiori--because they're more central. There's nothing wrong with that advice, but my husband and I much prefer to stay a bit outside of the most touristed areas, even if it means more walking. I don't think there's one location in Rome that is central to everything one would want to see anyway. At the end of the day, I think there are several valid choices. But I wouldn't let safety be that big of a factor. You'll be fine in any of those areas if you use common sense.
indyhiker is online now  
May 24th, 2016, 02:00 PM
Join Date: May 2008
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I'm staying here in a few weeks and will pop back in to let you know what I think after my stay:

I've been to Rome numerous times, mostly renting apartments, and have never felt uncomfortable walking around at night in any central area, and I'm using a generous definition of central. You can definitely extend your search beyond the Spanish Steps.

As for the Borghese Gallery, I love it but will admit to being biased as I am a big fan of the Baroque and Mannerism.

Your trip sounds so fun. I even showed it to one of my friends!
Leely2 is offline  
May 24th, 2016, 02:05 PM
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I should also add that I am dipping my toes into Le Marche (first time to this region) on my upcoming trip and plan to use some of bvlenci's suggestions. She lives in Italy, I believe, and is a wealth of information.
Leely2 is offline  
May 24th, 2016, 05:37 PM
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Im quite sure you do know this, but the Borghese does limit entrance tickets to something like 200 per two hour time slot. When I visited it did not feel crowded in the least.
Dayle is offline  
May 24th, 2016, 06:15 PM
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I did know that at one time but had since forgotten. Thanks! T
indyhiker is online now  
May 24th, 2016, 08:39 PM
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>>>Do you think it is still worth flying into Rome vs. taking the train from Rome?<<<

It depends on how comfortable you are navigating trains after an overnight flight. You have to take a train from FCO to Rome Termini, catch a train at Termini to Naples.

>>>I am thinking of using day tour groups for the busy sites, like Context Travel for the Borghese Gallery<<<

I wouldn't. You can book a tour with the Borghese or an audio guide if you feel you need one.
kybourbon is online now  
May 30th, 2016, 07:36 PM
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I want to thank everyone for your help! I went ahead and booked my flight (the fare was a steal!) and have come up with a more detailed itinerary. I went ahead and decided to keep most of the big sites, but added a few of the recommendations in, specifically the Testaccio food tour, Trajan's Market and the Capitoline Museums.

I particularly want to thank everyone on their input regarding using guided tours. I am planning to use guides for Pompeii and to get early tickets for the Sistine Chapel through a tour group, that are not available to the general public. I think it is possible that I will get lonely by myself with no human interaction if I use no guides. I also admit to being the type of person to ask tons of questions! However, most of the other sites will be done solo.

I am on the fence about a tour of the Colosseum. And if so, if the tour should include the 3rd tier and basement. Context Tours has a very good tour that do not include these areas. However, I know the Colosseum offers its own special area tours relatively cheap.

The following is my updated itinerary.

Thursday, October 6th:

7:35 AM—Arrive in Rome; catch train to Roma Termini and then train to Naples; catch the metro to Hotel Piazza Bellini
1 PM—Check-in time at Hotel Piazza Bellini; rest until 4 pm
4 PM—Walk in Naples (Hotel to Royal Palace and back)
7 PM—Dinner (Al 53)

Friday, October 7th:

9 AM—Metro to Naples Central Station; Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii Scavi
11 AM—Mondo Guide shared tour (reservations required)
1:30 PM—Train back to Naples
2 PM—Lunch (Trianon Pizzeria Verace Napoletana)
3:30 PM—Archaeological Museum
8 PM—Dinner (TBD)

Saturday, October 8th:

10 AM—travel to Naples Central Station
11 AM—train to Salerno (need reservation)
12 PM—meet tour group in Salerno

**Amalfi Tour Group**

Sunday, October 16th:

11 AM—Agropoli to Roma Termini (arrive Rome around 3 pm)
4 PM—Check into hotel
5 PM—Heart of Rome Walk (follow Rick Steve’s plan backwards); Spanish Steps to Campo de’ Fiori
8 PM—Dinner near Piazza Navona (I Pizzicaroli; meat and cheese, no reservations)

Monday, October 17th:

8:30 AM—Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill
12:30 PM—PANE & VINO for lunch
1:30 PM—Trajan’s Market
3:30 PM— Drawing at Villa Borghese Gardens
6:30 PM—Break at Hotel
8 PM—Dinner at Ad Hoc (needs reservations)

Tuesday, October 18th:

7:30 AM—Sistine Chapel Express and Vatican Museums Entrance Tickets through City Wonders (needs reservations)
This is a guided Sistine Chapel Tour along with Vatican Museum Entrance Tickets (no tour of the Vatican Museum). According to the website, the tour starts in the Sistine Chapel 1 hr. 20 min. ahead of the public (20 min ahead of other tour operators). Then, you can enter the Vatican Museum from the Sistine Chapel and explore on your own, without having to exit and reenter.
Noon—Lunch at Ristorante Arlù (Via Borgo Pio, 135, 00193; needs reservations)
3 PM—Scavi Tour followed by St. Peters Basilica (got my confirmation email!)
7 PM—Dinner TBD

Wednesday, October 19th:

9 AM— Borghese Gallery (needs reservations)
12 PM—Taste of Testaccio Food Tour (needs reservations)
5 PM— Capitoline Museums

Thursday, October 20th:
Catch flight home at 11:15 am

Thanks for any suggestions! I'm on the fence about switching Trajan's Market and the Borghese Gallery and I am sure there are many other potential changes.
annk5 is offline  
May 30th, 2016, 07:56 PM
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A couple notes for you.

When I visited the Arch Museum in Naples, they did not take credit cards and could not give change for large Euro notes, like the 50 E all the tourists get put of ATMs!
Go prepared with a variety of cash notes. Because I used my cash for admission, I could not get an audioguide and this museum is one where you really need it. Dont know if things have changed since 2005, but all signage was in Italian only so the longer descriptions are lost unless you know extensive Italian archeological terms.

I think you might need to taxi between the Borghese and your Testaccio tour in order to make it on time. Long distance apart. Check the metro map because there is a station very near the Borghese that might be better.
Dayle is offline  
May 31st, 2016, 12:03 AM
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Ristorante Arlù that will be a good meal, that street has a bunch of tourist dives and just a few good little restaurants, as does the parallel one next to it. If you cannot get a reservation, just wander down at about 7pm, as long as there is no one "enticing" you in the food will be fine. The benefit of 7pm is the enticers will be in evidence as eating at 7pm is just crazy.
bilboburgler is offline  
May 31st, 2016, 04:22 PM
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I'm not a tour person. As a friend said to me at the end of a very good day tour once, "You hate to be led."

On one solo trip to Rome, I booked a wine tasting @ vinoroma one night because I thought I might want to be forced to converse with others once in a while. I chose the My Italians and it was a nice way to spend a couple of hours if you are interested in wine.

Sorpasso is not too far from the Vatican. They have good, and they serve early as it's a wine bar.
Leely2 is offline  
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