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Help with Rome and Surrounding Area Itinerary

Help with Rome and Surrounding Area Itinerary

Old Jun 7th, 2009, 07:46 AM
  #1  
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Help with Rome and Surrounding Area Itinerary

I will be visiting Rome with my wife and three daughters (ages 19,21,25) in early September. Here is my proposed itinerary. Looking for feedback and advice:

Day 1: Arrive Rome- Walk around hotel and relax- need a hotel recommendation for 5 or is an apartment a better option.
Day 2: Vatican
Day 3: Borghese
Day 4: Forum/Colosseum
Day 5: High Speed train to Florence- Need Hotel Recommendation
Day 6: Florence- Afternoon rent car and drive to Orvieto- DuomoHotel
Day 7: Orvieto and surrounding area
Day 8: Drive back to Florence (return car at airport) and train back to Rome
Day 9: Fly home from Rome

Any advice or recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
sivo is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2009, 08:04 AM
  #2  
 
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Posts: 48,163
Why the backtracking? Rome-Florence-Orvieto-Florence-Rome is curious, to say the least. Do you have a map? Orvieto is north of Rome. Florence is north of Orvieto. And I can't see the purpose of even going to Florence if the very afternoon of your only day there, you're headed south again. This makes no sense to me at all.
StCirq is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2009, 08:23 AM
  #3  
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My plan was based on an assumption (possibly incorrect) that I could get to Florence in 1.5 hrs via high speed rail, spend 3/4 day plus most of the next day there and rent a car at the airport for the drive to Orvieto. If I can get the train to Orvieto first then I could re-plan my days in the following manner:
Day 5 Morning: Train to Orvieto
Day 6 afternoon:Train to Florence
Day 7 Florence
Day 8: High Speed train back to Rome
Day 9: Fly Home

I may be trying to pack too much into this trip and probably could consider some day trips from Rome.
Thanks for your help.
sivo is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2009, 08:30 AM
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OK, I think I get it now. The plan is to do a loop northwards from Rome. Since having a car in Firenze is so problematic, I guess it does make sense to go there first and then use the car to come back to Orvieto, dump the car, and take the train back to Rome.

I will say that your schedule in Rome as written seems rather sluggish. You can get a lot more done on each day than you have stated. Perhaps you could bundle up some of those activities in Rome and get yourself an added day for Tuscany and Orvieto, or Ostia Antica or something like that.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 08:34 AM
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I agree. Day 8 and 9 are a complete waste. If you rent a car as part of your stay in Florence, I would skip Orvieto and take two of your Florence days to explore Chianti. Tuscany in September is DIVINE! It's very easy to request a rental pick-up in Florence and a drop-off in Rome. You can drive directly from Tuscany to FCO if you wish on Day 9. It's not that difficult. The last thing I would do is clutter your itinerary with travel plans that make no sense or plan one-night hotel stays for five people.

Apartment rentals make sense for a family of five but many places won't rent for less than seven nights. You'll need to do detailed research.

You don't say a word about budget. Full, stress-free pleasure is available if you have a generous budget. There's no point in addressing hotels if we don't know what you're willing to spend.

Smart travel advice begins with smart questions. This one needs a little more thought.
NYCTS is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2009, 08:38 AM
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It's much easier to rent a car from the Florence's train station. You don't need to go to the airport. Florence is a small town and it's quite easy to exit Florence from the south and drive the gorgeous S222 towards Rome.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 09:13 AM
  #7  
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Thanks for the replies so far. This is my first post to a forum and I see that I have not provided enough information, so that you can answer my questions.

I planned a budget of 400 Euros per day for lodging/food for the five people. I would increase this to 500 Euros to make planning less stressful. I plan for another 100 Euros per day for tickets and misc. expenses. No budget limit for transportation. This is my first trip to Italy, so if I am seriously under-budgeting please let me know.
My itinerary in Rome was based on some posts in this forum that indicated we needed an entire day for the Vatican and for the Forum/Colosseum. I will re-look at this part of my schedule.
Thanks for the advice on renting the car at the Florence train station and working my way back to Rome via S222.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 10:06 AM
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Hi sivo,

You might want to think about training to Florence on the day of your arrival at FCO to make the most efficient use of your time. You could do something like this:

Day 1: Arrive Rome, train to Florence
Day 2: Florence
Day 3: Florence
Day 4: Train/drive to Orvieto
Day 5: Train/drive to Rome
Day 6: Vatican
Day 7: Borghese
Day 8: Forum/Colosseum
Day 9: Fly home from Rome

I would probably save an entire day for the Vatican, but you can defintely flesh out your other days in Rome. I spent about half a day at the Forum and Colosseum for example, and I tend to be slower than average at sightseeing.

I rented an apartment in Rome from realrome.com and was very happy. I believe they have a three night rental minimum. Sleep in Italy is another well regarded rental agency- I don't know what their minimum is.
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Old Jun 7th, 2009, 10:29 AM
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<i><font color=blue>"This is my first trip to Italy."</font></i>

Then I strongly recommend you put smiles on your family's faces and not over burden them. It takes a lot of patience to organize five adults, especially when three are young 20's.

Your three days in Rome look good to me. I've done your itinerary many times and I think it's good to limit your family to one big thing a day. That way, if you guys need to take a one hour nap, you can, and leave the evening for a lengthy dinner, gelati, and a loving stroll. Rome at night is magical.

Assuming you're arriving in Rome from an overnight U.S. flight, there's little time to recoup from the time change. Hitting three big "heady" adventures soon after you arrive is more than enough brain freeze. It's fine when one or two are raring to go. Not fine when two or three get tired after four hours of sightseeing.

I would recommend checking into Context Rome tours and let them do all the thinking. For history buffs, they're the best and I think they're worth every penny. I don't visit any Rome museum without a guide. I think a guided visit is so much richer and keeps the visit well focused. You can see the Borghese in two hours. I would set your family free to go shopping on that day.

<i><font color=blue>"No budget limit for transportation."</font></i>

I would pre-pay for a full-size car through Auto Europe, the class just under luxury. These cars sell out quickly and you automatically get upgraded to luxury when this happens. Tell Auto Europe you wish to pick up in Florence and drop off in Rome. I don't think the price will vary much. Expect to pay a premium for automatic transmission. (For me, worth every penny unless you enjoy driving stick.)

I like Orvieto but, for me, it's not a "first-time" must see. Orvieto's streets are very narrow. Not great for any car. You can visit Orvieto on another trip.

I could spend days driving around the heart of Tuscany, working my way down to Rome. The scenic drives are INCREDIBLE and there are tons of lovely towns that don't require more than an hour visit. September is a gorgeous time of year to visit this region and the pools may still be warm enough to enjoy a swim. As long as you insist on getting a car in Florence, I feel you must treat your family to the glorious wonderland of Chianti. I would base the family in Castellina in Chianti. Villa Casalecchi is one of my favorites but budget travelers should not ignore Palazzo Squarcialupi. One should not miss eating in Panzano. You might be able to squeeze in Siena.

The tiny cities in Chianti are about 30 (non-highway) minutes apart and the views at every turn are breathtaking. You can see a lot in a short amount of time. Every meal should be enjoyed outdoors.

Whatever decisions you make, make sure you show your family a well-planned, stress-free time.
NYCTS is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2009, 12:03 PM
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The only real odd thing to me about your original schedule was returning to Florence to return the car. The obvious choice would be to dump the car in Orvieto or Rome rather than backtrack to return the car.

I agree with Apres about moving Florence to first so you can put all your Rome days together at the end and waste less time changing hotels.

If you're not planning to explore the countryside, there's little reason to rent a car for your itinerary. Florence, orvieto, and Rome combine easily by train. If you do get a car, be sure it is large enough to fit five adults and their luggage.

I suggest you stay in hotels and book two separate hotel rooms. Let your adult daughters fight it out sharing one bathroom while their parents relax in their own hideaway.
ellenem is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2009, 12:33 PM
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sivo,

I very much agree with NY and Apres' advice. Train to Florence first thing. Do spend a couple days in Tuscany this trip, it will give you a very nice balance between cities/museums/sightseeing and countryside/scenery/food/wine! I love Orvieto and if you wanted to make this a stop before Rome, drop the car there and spend at least a 1/2 day. Train into Rome.

You could easily compile a list of options to add to your Borghese day - things that don't require advance res like some select churches, all the wonderful piazza and fountains.

TRAVEL LIGHT - don't try to do an apartment for your first Italy trip.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Old Jun 7th, 2009, 01:29 PM
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I'm not a fan of the "go to Florence first" idea, unless you fly directly into Florence. I don't like to exhaust myself. Yes, Florence is an easy day trip from Rome (once you're rested and acclimate to the time change) but if I fly into Rome from NYC, the last thing I want to do is deal with the train station, the train schedule, and sit for another 90 minutes to get to another destination. The trip to Florence could easily use up 1/2 a day, depending on schedules. I prefer to keep travel time as short as possible.

Flying in and out of Rome is so easy for a New Yorker. I've done the Rome>Florence>Rome thing so many times maybe I'm just used to it. I enjoy returning to Rome after a jaunt to Florence, even if my last night in Rome is just the one night. I prefer Rome over Florence so Rome as a base makes perfect sense to me. But I often travel alone and do not have to think about five people. For fun, I like to book the last night in Rome in a different neighborhood. I love taking in Roman life from a new perspective.

One last thing, I prefer dropping my rental car at the via Ludovisi Europcar location. It's easy to reach once you get off the highway and eliminates any need to drive around Rome's city center (which is a nightmare). And I prefer being chauffeured to FCO. In all my years of Rome visits, I've never dropped my rental at FCO. (Obviously, many travelers do without problems.)
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