Itinerary for Our First Visit to Rome

Jan 30th, 2013, 06:35 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 14
Itinerary for Our First Visit to Rome

Buongiorno Fodorites! I’m planning our first trip to Italy and would love your input. I have been running ideas and reading trip reports to my husband. His philospophy is “let’s just go and experience Rome for ourselves!”. Well, I can appreciate that up to a point but I’m a girl that likes to have a plan! Or a general idea of what we should see and where we should eat. So I turn to your expertise and opinion…since my hubby is getting a little bored with my planning talk. Please take a look at my Rome itinerary and give me your honest feedback! About us; a thirty something couple (husband more relaxed than wife) who want to see the popular sites and have some memorable meals but also just have some down time for wandering.

Day 1
Arrive at FCO at 8:55pm and taxi to our B&B, Nicolas Inn. After we settle in, hopefully have the energy to check out the nearby Cavour 313.

Day 2
Bus to Testaccio for Eating Italy Tour from 10:30am to 2:30pm (already booked)
After tour, explore the neighborhood a little more before returning to Nicolas Inn to freshen up
Walk to Piazza Navona to explore area
Any dinner suggestions?

Day 2
9am to Noon - Colosseum and Forum Tour with Francesca Caruso (already booked)
Lunch at L’Asino d’Oro
Then Capitol Hill to the Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain
Dinner ideas?

Day 3
Possible Pristine Sistine Tour at the Vatican with Walks of Italy (not booked, just an idea)
Lunch at Pizzarium
Walk to Trastavere to explore
(since the Pristine Sistine tour starts at 7:45pm, this could be a long day…maybe head back to Nicolas Inn for a siesta?)
Tram or bus to Cesare al Casaleto for dinner

Last Day
Check out of Nicolas Inn, cab to Termini and train on to Orvieto for next leg of trip.

I would also like to include the Borghese Gallery and National Museum of Rome in our itinerary but not sure if it’s feasible? Metamorfosi, Glass and La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali (especially since it’s near our B&B) also caught my attention. Lastly, I hope we are able to visit with the kitties at Largo di Torre Argentina.

Anyway, thank you in advance for any advice! Grazie!
ThingsAreLookingUp is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 06:41 PM
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Edit: Sheesh, too much wine tonight I guess. Forgive me for messing up on the Days. And the Pristine Sistine tour starts at 7:45am, not pm.
ThingsAreLookingUp is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 06:56 PM
Join Date: Aug 2012
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No St. Peter's?

You should take a daytime stroll through the market at Campo dei Fiori and stop for pizza bianco at the Forno.

One of our favorite restaurants in Rome is La Tartaruga. Memorable pasta dishes.

I can recommend Trattoria La Palomba in Orvieto. Buono!

Have a great trip.
wekewoody is offline  
Jan 30th, 2013, 08:44 PM
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I think some of your walks(Piazza Navona, Trastevere) will be further than what you think since you are staying on Via Cavour.
kybourbon is online now  
Jan 30th, 2013, 09:13 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,289
We had a few more days, but take a look at my trip report to see if that spurs any other ideas:
indy_dad is offline  
Jan 31st, 2013, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 248

For ~ the same price why not use a limo service, this way a taxi could be your 'Plan B' and one thing that is etched it stone for Rome is; "Always have a Plan B".

This company is even 1e cheaper than a taxi I've used them twice and many others here have also.


Is the bus the best option for you from Via Cavour to Testaccio? I assume(?) it will require a walk and a transfer to another bus?

The Cavour Metro station is a short walk from your hotel and the Piramide station is 3 stops away which gets you close to Testaccio?


If the bus is your best option getting there then perhaps the Metro might be a good way to return after your neighborhood walk?
The Pyramid of Cestius (~15BC), Protestant Cemetery and ancient City Wall and City Gate are all just outside that metro station.


Maybe taxi to a restaurant in that area after your long day and do the walk back in the evening when the sites you pass will be lit-up (Pantheon, Vittorio Monument, Trajan's Market and the Roman & Imperial Forums, etc).


Good choice! But being a history nerd I would add her 1hr option and include the Palatine Hill.


You might want to consider trying to book the Scavi Tour here and then work St. Peter's Basilica and a Vatican Museums tour around that?


Your call on the Borghese but as 1st timers you might want to consider doing the Capitoline Museums over the Nat. Museum of Rome?


A few years ago on Frommers Melissa of the Nicolas Inn recommended that place to me when I was staying in that area. I loved it and ate there quite a few times, a very friendly place.

I stopped in 1 day to thank her and her husband but they had already left for the day.
It's a pretty cool place, the sidewalk entrance opens into a small courtyard which is shared by the local residents.

Also 1 evening when he (owner of La Taverna d. Fori Imperiali) was closed but working inside he recommended the nice pizza restaurant across the street which was good and frequented by the locals.


I hope so too, there is a lull right now but they are fighting an eviction notice. (Click-on Diary)

The Roman officials in charge of the sites decided to open-up the ruins this year to tourists and like the scene from Casablanca "They were shocked, shocked to *suddenly* find there was a cat sanctuary there".

When this 1st started a few months ago I signed the petition and sent a few emails, that campaign has stopped for now but perhaps it will resume again?
Rostra is offline  
Jan 31st, 2013, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 126
We spent 4 nights in Rome.
Out by 7:30AM out back at 11:00PM
We could have used another night.
We used Walks of Italy tours. We found Rome difficult to get around even with 2 maps.
Our day night arriving we did the "Walks of Italy evening walking tour of Rome".
The tours do not pick you up at your hotel, so I would put aside $100.00 Euros for taxis and just enjoy yourself.

We did "Vatican City tour/Pristine Sistine-The Chapel at its Best" in the morning, and then that afternoon we did
"VIP Access-Colosseum Underground, Arena & Top Tier."

Another day we took the train from
Roma Termini to Napoli Centrale round trip. [pre-purchased our tickets for speed.] Took fast train at approx 7:30am train.

Driver picked us up at Napoli train station and we did Pompeii Tour with arranged guide, and then the driver drove us to Amalfi coast for the day and then back to train station.

Another day in Rome we visited Borghese Gallery. You will need to make reservations. It sells out.
The park is really nice to walk.

We also visited the Catacombs, Appian Way. You will need a taxi or driver to get around fast and get it all done in a few days and a short amount of time.

We are not into sitting and eating for a long time, just touring. So everyone is different.

We stayed near the Pantheon.
betsy3 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2013, 07:58 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,737
You are wise to take the tours you have set up, when you have a limited time and the funds- it is a good idea. I've taken a tour with Francesca- she is awesome!

I've also taken a tour of the Vatican Museums with Context Rome and loved it. Small group (6 of us).

I'd also recommend the Scavi tour, but only if you are either a) extremely interested in Roman history or b) interested in Christianity/Catholicism. If it is ancient tombs you're into, this might not be your time best spent. However, if you meet a) or b)- do try to get a Scavi tour in.

Consider buying the Roma Pass. Some people think you don't save much with it, but I loved it. First two places are free, then reduced prices at other places. You also get unlimited bus/metro use until midnight of the 3rd day after using the pass for the first time.

One of my favorite things is that using the Roma Pass at the Colosseum gets you past all the long lines. Stay to the far left- you will see the signs on the ceiling that read, "Roma Pass"- you go right in. Here is the website (and you can buy the pass at the first site you visit on the list):

Buon viaggio!
sarge56 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2013, 10:32 AM
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If your tours include admission tickets, don't bother with the Roma pass. We found the bus system confusing and the small free maps of it nearly useless. We (too late) discovered there is a good bus map sold all over that is large and detailed. Loved the Borghese, but they require pre-booking and are very strict on timing (arrive at least 30 minutes early). We booked on line. And look for the tiny il Gelato del Teatro for the absolute best gelato. My trip report:
AJPeabody is online now  
Feb 1st, 2013, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5,737
AJ- I'm sorry you found the bus system confusing. I have a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide for Rome and it has a bus map in the back that I found very useful. Had no problems catching the buses we needed. Additionally, several posters have listed the website hear where you can enter where you are at and where you want to go- and it will map out which bus(es) you need to take to get there. I hope you'll give it another shot next time you're in Rome.

PS Neither my tour with Francesca nor the one with Context Rome included entrance tickets. I was responsible for purchasing those separately. So, Things- you should check with your tour folks.
sarge56 is offline  
Feb 1st, 2013, 05:31 PM
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While I've used Limo Service Rome (mentioned above), Rome Shuttle Limousine is cheaper (40€)and has a lot of positive reviews on Fodor's.

>>>Is the bus the best option for you from Via Cavour to Testaccio? I assume(?) it will require a walk and a transfer to another bus?<<<

You can take bus 75 from Via Cavour to Testaccio. Get off before it crosses the river (Ponte Sublicio) to Trastevere at whichever stop is closes to your destination. The Cavour metro entrance isn't actually on Via Cavour. It's on Via Leonina. It would be a bit of a trek from the hotel where the bus stop is probably within a few feet (or at least in the same block).

I always get a Roma Pass when I go to Rome and use public transport a lot. It's really not hard once you learn to read a bus sign and make sure you are on the right side of the street for the direction you want to go. Here's how to read the signs (with pictures).

You can also hop the little electric bus 117 that runs on that block of Cavour. You can take it to the Spanish Steps or S. Giovanni in Laterano the opposite direction. The 116 runs from the Borghese Galleria through the center.

The trams are handy too. From Testaccio, you could take tram 3 across the river to Trastevere. Catch tram 8 to Largo Argentina.
kybourbon is online now  
Feb 1st, 2013, 07:55 PM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 248

Opps! That's the I've used and meant.


Great call on the bus route but a bit of a nit-pic on the Metro location?

Let's not confuse the OP if they plan on using it.

Exit hotel, turn left and in ~450m use the Metro marked stairs (M) on Via Cavour to the Cavour Metro Station's entrance below Via Cavour's streetlevel.
Rostra is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2013, 05:22 AM
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 36
We will be in Rome for 4 nights in April. Does anyone have contact info or a web address for Francesca Caruso? We booked the scavi tour and Pristine Sistine. We haven't booked a colosseum tour yet. Any other small group tour ideas for Ancient Rome?
Laurieobella is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2013, 09:03 AM
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Posts: 14
Laurieobella - After reading many positive reviews, I connected with Francesca at [email protected]. She responded promptly. Have a great trip!

Wekewoody - thank you for the pointers! I've seen several references to La Tartaruga. I'll add it to the list. And we won't miss St. Peter's!

kybourbon - I appreciate the head's up. Everything looks so close on a map that I just assumed that we could hoof it everywhere. I will have a backup plan!

indy_dad - awesome trip report!! If I have the wherewithal after the trip, I'd love to mimic your style. Easy to read and so informative!

Rostra - wow, thank you so much for all the great advice!!! Hiring a limo service hadn't even occurred to me and neither had taking the metro (duh). I just you-tubed a video on using the Rome Metro and it looks pretty easy. I appreciate that you pointed this out to me! I was happy to read that Melissa had pointed you in the right direction for dining. I have read that she is very helpful...a big reason I booked the Nicolas Inn for our stay. I'll give the kitties a scratch for you (assuming I can touch any?). I hope so! I'll need my cat fix!

betsy3 - did you enjoy the Pristine Sistine tour? Would you recommend?

sarge56 - I'm still on the fence about the Scavi tour. It sounds great...but I'm neither Catholic nor extremely interested in Roman History. I may leave this one up to the husband to decide. I'll likely go the Roma Pass route since passes aren't included with Francesca's tour.

AJPeabody - thank you for the link! I spent the early morning reading it! So excited for gelato! I'll get a map to find that place..those flavor combos sounds amazing!

Thank you all SO much!!!
ThingsAreLookingUp is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2013, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 203
The historic center of Rome is easily walkable. Not sure I'd walk the Colosseum to Vatican (one end to the other) but otherwise with a good pair of comfortable shoes you can do it on foot.
Remember to leave yourselves time to wander, grab a gelato and window shop, sit in a cafe and have a glass of wine, visit the market at Campo di Fiori. Some of the best parts of travel is listening to the local language, watching people and enjoying aromas and flavors. Sometimes you have the most memorable experience just getting lost and having to ask locals for help
hollywoodsc is offline  
Feb 4th, 2013, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 126
"betsy3 - did you enjoy the Pristine Sistine tour? Would you recommend?"

It was OK.
We did St. Peter's Basilica on our own, because it was closed during our tour that day. We went back the next day.
St. Peter's Basilica is unbelievable. Loved it the most.
betsy3 is offline  
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