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If you only had ONE day in Rome, what would you do?

If you only had ONE day in Rome, what would you do?

May 19th, 2014, 06:03 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2013
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If you only had ONE day in Rome, what would you do?

Hello, I posted a different topic, but think this may be more on-point....

We actually have less than 1 day, following a week of cycling with a bike company in Tuscany. Arrival time is approximately 1pm, and we leave the following morning at 7 a.m.

What would you see if you had this VERY short amount of time in Rome?

Would you take a tour, and if so, which one? Or would you do your own walking? We would reserve any needed tickets in advance to beat the queues.

Thank you!
ZiaVino is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 06:42 AM
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Are you really fit and ready for a full day after cycling? Or exhausted and want an easy relaxing day?

I'll assume super fit and ready to pack in as much as possible

I'd head for the Colosseum, Palentine Hill and the Forum in the morning as I'm more interested in Ancient Rome than the Vatican/religious buildings and would rather be outside in good weather. Also I hate queuing so this avoids the worst lines.

A quick lunch and gelato (ha!), and then I'd spend the afternoon at the Borghese Gallerie and gardens. Definitely have to book advance tickets for this and show up ahead of time.
Dinner near the Pantheon but visit this fascinating building BEFORE dinner and before dusk!
If you have the energy then after dinner stroll by the Trevi Fountain and throw in a coin so you get to come back and see the rest.

Rome wasn't built in a day. You can't see it all in a week!

If you wanted to take a tour I found this link
It's just for information. I've not taken this tour so I can't recommend it per se.
Just noticed you arrive after the start time anyway!

I'd condense the day outlined above as much as possible but if I had to then I'd leave out the Borghese Galleria!!
Skip the actual tour of the Colosseum and just soak up the atmosphere.

sassy_cat is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 06:46 AM
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I totally agree with the great advice above.

For a wonderful dinner at a typical trattoria just a few steps away from The Pantheon, try ARMANDO DEL PANTHEON, but make reservations ahead!!
WWK is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 06:50 AM
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WWK, Armando Del Pantheon...we've been there! <3
sassy_cat is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 06:53 AM
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Since arrival is 1 PM, I would just concentrate on ancient Rome and see the Colosseum, the Forum, possibly the Palatine, and then head to the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain as suggested above. No time for the Borghese, I'm afraid.
Nikki is online now  
May 19th, 2014, 06:59 AM
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Concur with Nikki
dwdvagamundo is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 07:03 AM
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If I could only do one thing in Rome I would go to the Borghese Gallery (advanced tickets mandatory) and get the docent-led tour. The visits are 2 hours and no more.

Then add on a few of the exquisite churches in Rome - Santa Maria Maggiore, San Clemente, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, San Pietro in Vincoli (for the magnificent sculpture of Moses). In the afternoon, when the light is good, visit San Franceso a Ripa in Trastevere where the Ecstasy of Ludovia (chapel on left nearest the altar) will leave you breathless.

Visit the Pantheon and some of the famous squares such as Piazza Navona, Campo dei Fiori. Then toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain so you can return for a longer visit and partake of Rome's wonders.

I would hire a taxi or car service for the afternoon/evening to zip you around to all the spots you want to visit and to see some of the sights as you pass by such as the Wedding Cake and the Forum. Hop out at the Colosseum for a photo op and to get a quick look from the ground level. Request an English speaking driver.

End with a late dinner and gelato and fall into bed happy that you saw some of Rome.
adrienne is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 07:50 AM
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ZiaVino--Have you done these bike trips before? That would be my pivotal question.

Here is where I'm coming from: We've done over 20 of them, and what happens is that at least one person in our party typically becomes a total slug after the bicycling portion of the trip.

Sometimes all of us become slugs; sometimes two of us become slugs, but let's just say, I've learned to take it easy on the planning UNLESS we have 36 hours or more left.

There's good reason for that "slugdom". If you end up cycling every long option for an entire week and move hotels every two days or more, someone's idea of good sightseeing will be limited to looking at fabulous wine/beer/food for the final hours of vacation.

More specifically, we've had two post-trips in Rome, and like you, we have spent considerable time in Rome before (one week).

When we hit Rome after our Tuscany cycling trip, we were DONE. The time open to us, originally the same as your mere hours left, was shortened even more because of a bunch of late check-outs. We did not get into the room until 5 pm or so. Even so, it ended up being one of our best nights in Rome (will not go into detail here, but let's just say that planning NOTHING other than our hotel worked really well for us).

In contrast, when we hit Rome after our Puglia cycling trip, we a) had 48 hours left AND b) had already had our first non-cycling period of 48 hours in Lecce (where for once I became the trip slug). Therefore, we both were rested and we could easily pack in a lot of activity in those last hours in Rome.

That's why I shall suggest that you might just want to organize a fabulous dining spot with a view of all the action and call it a night.
AlessandraZoe is online now  
May 19th, 2014, 11:04 AM
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I can't really say what one thing I would do in Rome. I've been there so many times, and have so many favorite things to see and do, that it's very hard for me to pick one or two things. I also have a very strong interest in ancient Rome, which may not match your tastes.

Given your time constraints, I would plan nothing. I think Alessandra's line of reasoning is exactly right. The Borghese Gallery has to be reserved in advance, and has very rigid entry times. I don't think it's a good idea if you have a very short time in Rome, as everything else will have to be fit around that appointment, making your available time for other things even more limited. It's also not exactly conveniently central. On the other hand, a relaxed visit to the Villa Borghese gardens might be a good idea if you're in the mood and have the time. There are great views of the city from the Pincian Overlook in the gardens.

Once my daughter and I arrived in Rome late in the afternoon, and had to catch a flight out early the next morning. We walked from our hotel to the Via dei Fori Imperiali, where most of the ancient Roman ruins are concentrated. They were absolutely glowing in the late afternoon light, and we had a wonderful time. We also went up to the Piazza del Campidoglio, the beautiful piazza designed by Michelangelo, and into the Capitoline Museums. We spent an hour or two there, and then had dinner at a restaurant we like, the Taverna degli Amici, a short walk from the Colosseum.

Another possibility would be a walk on the Aventine Hill, where there are nice views over Rome, especially at sunset. The famous keyhole in the gate of the villa of the Knights of Malta, where you can see the dome of Saint Peter's framed by a hedge of trees, is on the Aventine Hill, as is the lovely serene Basilica of Santa Sabina, one of the oldest churches in Rome, and the least modified in later centuries.

Finally, the Janiculum Hill is a nice relaxing place to spend a few hours, and another place with great views of the city. You could go to St. Peter's Square, and maybe go into the Basilica if the security line is short. Or, in the same area, you could visit Castel Sant'Angelo, where there are more great views from the upper terrace, and also a bar where you could relax for a bit. Then you could take the 115 bus from Piazza della Rovere up to Piazza Garibaldi, on the top of the Janiculum, and afterwards continue down on the same bus to Trastevere for dinner.

You don't all have to do the same thing; if some are more energetic than others, you can split up. I think the key is to have some ideas of things to do, but not fix any inflexible appointments.
bvlenci is online now  
May 19th, 2014, 11:16 AM
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Personally, I would not miss St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican enclave...
latedaytraveler is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 11:24 AM
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With such little time I wouldn't spend any of it on something that would require waiting in line, advance tickets, etc. So I would put together a walking tour (not 'take an organized tour') that hit the highlights. I'd walk past Trevi Fountain, make a quick stop into the Pantheon, Piazza Narvona, Piazza Campo de' Fiori, Capitoline Hill and the Coloseum. All of those are walking distance from each other and covers the 'Heart of Rome' and the two main ancient sites. Based on the location of your hotel, look at a map to determine what order to do those in. If you have more time you could take a bus over the St Peter's to see it. I doubt you'd have time to go into any of these sites (except Pantheon which is free and can be seen in a short time) but if you got lucky and there were short lines you might. Most people would want to have a meal some where in there, I'd personally just grab pizza and gelato a few times.
isabel is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 11:49 AM
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Isabel, your advice is very similar to what I recommended on the other post ZiaVino made. I'm really not sure why a new topic was started, except maybe to get a poll on what other people would do in the circumstances. The problem is that there will be no consensus here, because we all enjoy different things. Adrienne wouldn't miss the Borghese Gallery, whereas that is by no means my favorite museum in Rome, probably because I'm not enthusiastic about Bernini, or about Baroque art in general.
bvlenci is online now  
May 19th, 2014, 12:49 PM
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If I only had one day in Rome, I would spend it booking another day in Rome! But this is probably like the Genie with 3 wishes, you can't ask for more wishes so... I would walk around all day (since all of Rome is like on gigantic outdoor museum) starting with a pastry at Campo dei Fiori then drink a cappuccino at Piazza Navonna, popping into whatever churches struck my fancy then visit the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon, walking by St. Peter's square and having "un toast" at a bar for a snack, ending with a pizza margarita and call it the perfect day - so long as that included a gelato every hundred yards or so.
Jill02 is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 12:55 PM
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With such limited time I would do the Coliseum, Forum and Pantheon in the afternoon and then - before or after dinner do a (self) walking tour of a number of piazzas and famous fountains in the historic center.

sorry - with half a day that's a really packed itinerary.
nytraveler is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 12:56 PM
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Bring on the Baroque -- the more the better!! LOL
adrienne is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 01:01 PM
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Drop the cycling tour !
Bedar is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 03:40 PM
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Grazie Mille! You are so kind to give this wonderful, and humorous advice--- bvlenci, I started this thread b/c my other one in the Italy forum seemed too constrained (option a or b) - and I very much appreciate your advice!!! I meant to post this one in Italy- but goofed. Anyway I love all these replies. Thank you again!

I'm thinking we will not do a tour after all... Although my fascination with ruins (and Russell Crowe In gladiator) are pulling me toward the night colosseum tour....in case the cycling slugdom hits- no I have never done one of these before - Thanks Alessandrarowe for that perspective!!!
ZiaVino is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 05:10 PM
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I've asked the editors to put an Italy tag on this thread.
adrienne is offline  
May 19th, 2014, 05:14 PM
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You might like a Segway tour - http://www.odyssey-tours.com/segway-tour-of-rome/
worldinabag is offline  
May 20th, 2014, 05:08 AM
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Adrienne: In my Blue Guide to Rome, written by the great Alta Macadam, I found this is the section that describes the Borghese Gallery:

"How Bernini, in Rome, in the presence of the most beautiful statues of antiquity, went so far astray remains a riddle." - Jacob Burckhardt

I've never read Burckhardt's history of Renaissance civilization, but on that point, I agree 100%. It breaks my heart to see the beautiful Romanesque and medieval churches in Italy, with their interiors all gussied up in the Baroque style.

I think Alta Macadam doesn't care for him either; she stuck that quotation under the title, "A Controversial View", with no further comment, but I believe I see a kindred spirit.

I do love Baroque music, though.
bvlenci is online now  

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