Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   How to spend two hours before Apt. check in - early morning in Rome (

nancythenice Oct 11th, 2009 07:27 AM

How to spend two hours before Apt. check in - early morning in Rome
Our flight from the US arrives at FCO before 7am. We can't check-in to our apartment near Via Giulia until 10am (we cannot drop our luggage earlier - I asked). I figure once we collect our baggage and get euros at an ATM, we will have about two hours to kill. That isn't long enough to warrant stowing luggage at Termini - but too long to stand on the door-step of the apartment with our bags. I guess we could just hang out at the airport for awhile - but that seems dull. Is there a TI office there? We could visit it I suppose. Sleep-in-Italy recommended a long breakfast, which sounds like a good idea, but ideally that would be at a place near our apartment where we could sit with our bags until the apt. is ready - but I don't want to just wander around looking for such a place with bags in tow. How can I find a breakfast spot nearby? The apartment address that I have been given is Vicolo Orbitelli - civic number: 11. I also thought about hiring a car service from the airport, and asking for an hour long tour as part of the deal - since I have never been to Rome this might be a nice overview. Is there a better idea?

kybourbon Oct 11th, 2009 07:38 AM

You won't be at the apartment much before 9 (if you have to wait for luggage and then plan to train to Termini) unless your flight arrives early. The trains to Termini depart every 30 minutes and travel time is 30 minutes. There are plenty of tourist service and shopping in Termini if you want to kill time there.

nancythenice Oct 11th, 2009 07:56 AM

Would it be better to kill time at Termini than at the airport? I had planned on taking a car service from FCO straight to the apartment, rather than the train - but we could certainly go to Termini. We would then catch a taxi from there when it was time to go the apartment. I suppose there will be a place at Termini to sit and drink a coffee after we hit the TI?

annhig Oct 11th, 2009 07:57 AM

Hi nancy,

if you google the address of your apartment, and then enter "cafes" in the businesses box, you'll come up with any no. of cafes in the area of your apartment [which is very close to the Tiber, if i git the address right].

you can do the same with shops, restaurants, galleries, etc.etc.

otherwise, why not spend the time at the airport, rather than at termini? have a wash, get breakfast, before you hit the trains.

regards, ann

kybourbon Oct 11th, 2009 08:02 AM

There are multiple places in Termini to have coffee. You could also use the time to purchase any train tickets you might need (there are rows of ticket machines). There's also a grocery if you wanted to pick up anything for the apartment.

nytraveler Oct 11th, 2009 11:24 AM

Agree that if you land at 7 by the time you taxi to a jetway, deplane, meander through the airport, get through Immigration, wait for your luggage to turn up, go out and get in a cab or car and drive to Rome it will be in the area of 9am.

If it were me I would find the closest cafe and just sit and have a coffee. If there's no cafe within a block or so - you can do the same at the airport to use up a little time.

If your plane lands at 7 - there's no way you'll be in Rome by 8. At 8 you may well still be waiting for luggage.

nancythenice Oct 11th, 2009 12:03 PM

Yes - I figured we wouldn't be leaving the airport before 8am - but the question was whether to spend even more time there and if not, how to find "the closest cafe" and whether it would be near enough to the apartment that we wouldn't be dragging luggage around for several blocks. It is my understanding this is a fairly residential/quiet area - at least by central Rome standards - so I was concerned we shouldn't just show up assuming there would be a cafe on the block.
Annhg - many thanks for sending me to Google. I didn't turn up too much helpful info until I went to the "street view" feature on Google maps. Amazingly, I could visually coast around the blocks surrounding our apartment. It appears there is a small enterprise just around the corner on Via Giulia called "Snack Bar & Coffee" with a few tables in the street. That should work unless its raining or something. Also found the Hotel St. George a block or so away that appears to have a restaurant.
kybourbon - thanks for the info on Termini and the idea of picking up a few groceries.

ellenem Oct 11th, 2009 02:18 PM

There is absolutely no reason to stay at the airport. Take your car service to Rome to your apartment and find a nearby cafe/piazza to sit and wait. Corso Vitt. Emanuele two blocks away has plenty of choices. It's not really that far--much shorter distances than you've just dragged your luggage through the airport.

bardo1 Oct 11th, 2009 03:39 PM

Actually, if you are staying near Via Giulia, you could also kill a few hours at a cafe in nearby Piazza Farnese. I have (though not because I was TRYING to kill time)...

nancythenice Oct 11th, 2009 06:18 PM

So it sounds like I don't need to worry about having a specific place in mind - just get dropped off in the general area. If it happens to be raining, do you think I might prefer going to Termini - and taking a taxi from there at the appointed time for meeting the landlord? I wouldn't be able to pre-book a car service, however, if I want to leave that option open. What about taking a taxi from FCO to my apartment neighborhood if the weather is nice?

kybourbon Oct 11th, 2009 06:31 PM

Taxi will be a set fee from FCO to Rome of 40€ (make sure you get an official city of Rome taxi, not a rogue or city of Fiumicino).

Cries_Van_Notebook Oct 11th, 2009 07:28 PM

If you take LE from FCO to Termini, you could always walk out of Termini and go straight across the street to Piazza Repubblica. You can have a posh breakfast at the Boscolo Exedera or the St. Regis Grand, or you can have a cappuccino and croissant at La Casina Esedra and look at the beautiful fountain in the piazza.

From this transportation hub, it is easy to get a cab to your apartment.


nancythenice Oct 11th, 2009 07:40 PM

Sounds good.
Here is another "first day" question for you "experts". I am thinking of booking a Context Rome tour of the forum/coliseum for 2pm on the day we arrive - Monday, Oct. 26. My son cautions that you can't count on the plane not being delayed - but Context doesn't offer it the next day, and this is my numero uno sight for Rome - I think I will be eager to see it as soon as possible. I also think that walking around that first day will help me deal with jet lag. Still, I don't want it all to be a blur because of being tired and I could book with a different tour company the next day. If it were your first time in Rome, what would you do on the afternoon of arrival? (We will be there for three additional days.)

LoveItaly Oct 11th, 2009 08:16 PM

Personally I would not book a tour the day of arrival. I would want to check into my lodging, in your case an apartment, get unpacked, have a good shower and change of clothes and walk for a bit and have a drink and lunch at some cafe or restaurant. There is no way I would want to feel rushed due to a 2:00p.m. tour on the day I arrived in Rome.

Lexma90 Oct 11th, 2009 09:08 PM

Usually, I would give the same advice as LoveItaly. But Context tours are very good, very detailed, and if this is your numero uno sight in Rome, they're a fantastic company to see it with. Everyone is different, I know, but I usually don't get too foggy until later on my arrival day, so you may feel just fine. Also, being outside and walking around will help.

WillTravel Oct 11th, 2009 11:42 PM

I understand it's a great company, but still, the feeling of obligation for a Day 1 tour would be a bit much. They're also a very expensive company, and I'd want to be sure I was up to taking in what they had to say.

WillTravel Oct 12th, 2009 12:04 AM

Personally I think that a sight like the Colosseum is worth seeing multiple times. So if you felt like venturing out to see it on your own the first day, which you probably will, why not, and then a tour another day. But now I am having mixed feelings about my previous suggestion - if you feel strongly the Context tour is the best way to see it, maybe it's worth a little uncertainty and possible suffering.

nancythenice Oct 12th, 2009 11:56 AM

Oh boy - you guys express the pros and cons and my indecision very well. I just researched two other tour companies - Rome Walks and Through Eternity - which offer Forum/Colosseum tours the next morning. Decisions, decisions. I guess a final option would be to wait until we get there - and if we are feeling perky see about going the day we arrive. From the looks of my research, the tour companies aren't too busy, and if slots were available would probably be glad to add us to the tour.

artsbabe Oct 12th, 2009 12:30 PM

I have to agree with the don't take the tour on your arrival day posters. I think you'll be too tired and too foggy.

socaltraveler Oct 12th, 2009 12:31 PM

I would not book a tour for the first day, after an overnight flight. I would settle into the apartment, go out and scout the area, buy food for the apartment, shower, and then take a leisurely stroll to see some sites that are nearby (not necessarily in that order, would probably shower first :)). After a good dinner, I would just hit the sack and do tours the next day.

Vero1980 Oct 16th, 2009 04:52 AM

The apartment you booked is on Via Giulia... one of the most BEAUTIFUL streets in Rome... I would NOT waste time at Termini. Grab your bags and enjoy a drink in one of the beautiful cafès there!

Fra_Diavolo Oct 16th, 2009 05:40 AM

Another possibility, why *not* check your bags for a few hours and visit some of the sights in the vicinity of Termini?

Within a few minutes walk lie the basilicas Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Prudenzia and Santa Prassede. Even closer, you'll find the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Vittoria, the Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli and the rest of the baths of Diocletion, and the Museo Nazionale Romano di Palazzo Massimo. These are all major sights -- if you've planned to visit even one you could save considerable time later.

tommyp Oct 19th, 2009 12:08 AM

Termini is not a "pleasant" place to hang out, I'd pass through there as quickly as possible. *BUT* if you're willing, check your bags there and walk over to St Maria Vittoria (three blocks) and see Bernini's St Teresa in Ecstasy - it could be a great start to your Rome trip.
On the other hand, the areas you're staying in is great for hanging out - Pza Farnese has great people watching..
If you want to go to the Colosseum on your own, early, download a free podcast (Rick Steves is good) just go the the tourist office across from the Forum, get your RomaPass and walk by the queue waiting to get in at Colosseo. It includes entry into two Rome museums and a transport pass good for three days too - best deal ever, esp. for all those things you'll do w/o a guide. Includes discount to all but vatican museums too. After the Colosseo, you can also walk past the Forum line too... :)

Vttraveler Oct 19th, 2009 04:04 AM

Your apartment is in a great location as others have noted. I would not do a tour on day 1 but would explore the area. Via Giulia itself, Piazza Farense, Campo de' Fiori, Piazza Navona, Piazza della Rotunda--see as much or as little as you have time/energy for.

I also highly recommend visiting the Palatine as well as the Forum and Colosseum. I don't know how tickets work if you are on a tour but if you buy them yourself they are good for all three sites.

nancythenice Oct 19th, 2009 11:41 AM

Thanks everyone. We have decided against booking the tour the day we arrive, although we may book the Passeggiata walk that first evening. My son thinks it would be a fun way to start our trip - and will ensure we don't go to bed too early. I am glad to hear positive things about going it alone at the Forum & Colosseo. Maybe we will just go without a guide to those sites and book the Context Underground Tour for later in the week as a special experience. That certainly would leave lots of flexibility in our timing. And it is so nice to hear such positive things about where we are staying! I have booked a car service from the airport and will hope to find a cafe in the neighborhood where we can hang out for an hour or so before meeting our landlord if need be. I can't wait!

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:33 PM.