I BOOKED! Italy Itinerary questions

Apr 5th, 2004, 12:42 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 58
I BOOKED! Italy Itinerary questions

Sorry for the spam! I had absolutely no one to tell and I FINALLY booked my trip to Italy this August: Plane tickets and hotels are reserved. This is my first trip to Europe, and I have a few questions. First off, I am trying to put together my itinerary and have no idea where to start. I am very much interested in Roman culture and will definitely include the Coloseum, Forum, etc. I also want to build in a good amount of wandering time....so lost....

My itinerary thus far:
Aug 20 - Fly out of BWI
Aug 21 - arrive in Rome. Check into Hotel Albergo Cesari
22-25 - oh what to do in Rome???
26 - check out and take the train to Venice, explore!
27 - Venice
28 - fly back to BWI

Questions:
- How long is the train ride from Rome to Venice?

- Is it worth paying for 1st class tickets on the train?

- Museum reservations - does anyone use them, and are they worth it?

- I've heard booking a tour through the Coloseum can save huge amounts of wait time and that some people manage to get away from group if necessary. Is this feasible, worth it? Should I just wait in line? Are the lines really that long?

- What is the ONE thing you would tell me not to miss in each city, knowing its my first time there. I know so little about Venice, I could use some recommendations beyond my trusty Fodor's guide.

Thanks in advance for all wisdom to come!
jcolem2 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2004, 12:57 PM
  #2  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,213
Hi jcolem2-

Congratulations on your upcoming trip. I'll try to answer some of your questions.

< How long is the train ride from Rome to Venice? >
4hr 33 mins by Eurostar

< Is it worth paying for 1st class tickets on the train? >

The difference is about €22 on ES trains. Here is a quote from a post last year about the difference between 1st & 2nd class on ES:
=======================================
Author: GAC
Date: 05/16/2003, 12:51 pm
Message: Many people have inquired as to the differences between first and second class on Eurostar Italia trains, and whether the additional cost of first class is justifiable. Here are the principal differences:

First class rail cars carry fewer seats, which are three across, are wider and plusher than those in second class, and recline more.

Second class rail cars have higher seat density, are configured four across, with tight leg room for people over 6 feet in height. The seats do recline.

During hot weather, because of lower seat density in first class, the air conditioning gives the impression of working better than in second class.

There are more second class rail cars, and second class is typically more crowded. First class caters to Italian business travelers and upper-income tourists.

The luggage racks at the ends of second class rail cars are apt to fill up more quickly than those in first class. Additional luggage can always be wedged between seat rows. The overhead luggage racks do not accommodate large pieces of luggage.

There is complimentary coffee, juice, cookies/saltines, and Italian newspapers in first class.

Second class almost always represents better value, and is adequate for most travellers except those expecting higher standards of comfort.

Point-to-point tickets on Eurostar Italia trains include the cost of the seat reservation. The ticket is valid only on the date and train selected.

It is not mandatory to punch the ticket in the yellow machines for Eurostar Italia trains, as is the case on all other Italian trains. You may, however, punch the ticket if you wish.
=======================================

< Museum reservations - does anyone use them, and are they worth it? >

Depends on which museum you have in mind. For example, the Borghese Gallery in Rome requires advance reservations.

< I've heard booking a tour through the Coloseum can save huge amounts of wait time and that some people manage to get away from group if necessary. Is this feasible, worth it? Should I just wait in line? Are the lines really that long? >

Don't know about tour groups. Lines will be long unless you get there early, or buy your ticket at the Palentine Hill entrance instead of at the Coloseum.

< What is the ONE thing you would tell me not to miss in each city, knowing its my first time there. I know so little about Venice, I could use some recommendations beyond my trusty Fodor's guide. >

For Rome, read this thread ;-)
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34489192

BTW, even though you didn't ask, I'll say it anyway. You might want to consider taking 1 day away from Rome and spend it in Venice.
yk is offline  
Apr 5th, 2004, 01:11 PM
  #3  
 
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Posts: 10,301
I am so excited for you! Its a wonderful feeling. It seems someone else has answered about the trains, and we didnt use museum reservations, but we arent huge museum goers.
Here are some suggestions for things to do:

Rome:
Walking tour that includes the forum and coloseum, it just brings everything to life. we used www.enjoyrome.com and loved it. Scala Reale is also very highly recommended but a bit more expensive...do a search on them above for lots of posts.

Sit by the pantheon and sip wine

Hang out at the Spanish Steps

Visit Trevi Fountain by night...gorgeous

Go see the Capuchin Monks by Piazza Barberini

Venice:

Gondola ride in the smaller canals is a must

just wander and get lost

sip champagne in San Marco Square in the evenings

Go to the top of the companile to get some wonderful views.

Fodors desitination guides above should also provide some itineraries.

Happy Planning!
jamikins is offline  
Apr 5th, 2004, 04:21 PM
  #4  
 
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Posts: 16,519
Find the post here named Helpful information:Italy--a wealth of info.
Then, go to www.twenj.net

Have fun--I know you will.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Apr 5th, 2004, 04:43 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 163
Do a text search for this thread: 100 Best Things To Do In Rome
CafeBatavia is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 08:16 AM
  #6  
ira
 
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Helpful Information: Italy http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34443340
ira is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 09:58 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,036
Hi!

Congrats on your trip! You'll have a wonderful time! I'm sure you'll get plenty of responses for your Rome options, but I wanted to comment that, even though a few hours away, a day trip to Pompeii is incredible. We too love Roman culture and ancient history, and Pompeii more than met our expectations. I highly recommend it.

As for the Colisseum, we didn't book a tour but there were people all over the place outside of the Colliseum trying to get groups together for different tours. We didn't have to make reservations, we were just approached and asked if we spoke English and that a English tour would be starting soon and they pointed where we should stand. The benefit of a tour is that you don't have to stand in lines for the Colisseum, which can be hours during summer seasons. It was an hour long line to get in when we were there in March and it was rainy outside, so I can imagine what it would be like in August. Another thing to keep in mind for the tour: we paid for the tour and our tour guide bought our tickets and never gave them to us. This wouldn't have been a problem except for the fact that the tour was for the Colliseum and Palatine Hill, which you get in for free with a Colliseum ticket. We decided we wanted to leave the tour after the Colliseum and found out we would have to pay to get to Palatine Hill because we didn't have our Colliseum tickets. So if you plan our leaving the tour, make sure you get your ticket if you want to visit Palatine Hill; otherwise its another 7 or 8 euros.

Hope that helps some!
Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Apr 6th, 2004, 10:28 AM
  #8  
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Posts: 58
Thanks everyone for all your helpful information! Ira - that thread has a fantastic amount of information, thank you. Also reading through the www.twenj.net site now. Also need to do some research on those walking tour sites...how am I supposed to work under these conditions ?

Great information on trains. Sounds like it is pretty easy to do. The Galleria Borghese!! That's what I was thinking of when I mentioned reservations. Thanks much for clearing that up!

I am really considering adding Pompeii to the itinerary somewhere. I have TiVo'd more documentaries on Pompeii and Heculaneum than I can count! Did you take a guided tour out there, or do as other suggest and take the train on your own?
jcolem2 is offline  
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