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dutyfree Oct 15th, 2007 12:01 PM

Go to Rome but we can find a hotel WAYYY cheaper than $500 a night I think. I stay up on the Via Veneto area by the Embassy everyweek for work and its a nice area but difficult for the public transportation thing unless you walk down the hill to the bottom for the metro.
My daughter and I love the area off Via Nationale(sp?) as it is close for the bus,train ,metro or getting a cab.It has great shopping that is reasonable for a 12 year old and interesting to check out.
Our favorite spot is Hotel Aberdeen(on Via Firenze) which is in Rick Steves and Frommers books-3 cousins run it and it has everything you would want:TV,A/C,safe,minbar,internet,great bathrooms and rooms along with a wonderful breakfast in the morning. In January we usually pay 85 euros for 2 and I believe now would be around 125 euros.Check their website out.The three ladies who run this hotel are the best-you ask them anything and you get perfect directions,reservations made,etc.They really make you feel as though you are family and go out of their way for you.
My daughter and I did a last minute trip a few weeks ago and could not get the Aberdeen and all the other hotels were going to be over 200 euros so we stayed down on the same street on Hotel Nadasi which was alright for a few days-I love the Aberdeen though and I stay at a very nice hotel up by the Borghese everyweek.
For a full 3 days there-do a half day with the Vatican in the morning;another half day at the Forum and ruins; and also make sure that you go across the river to Trastevere for a meal and shopping. The store Oviesse is over the grocery Standa(think Target and lesser priced H and M store)and is a great place for teens to shop at reasonable prices. My daughter loves that store as she gets clothing there and everyone back home wants to know where you has gotten them.
Allow time for gelato,sitting with a coffee or coke and hitting the other tourist spots-I think that you will have a ball!

samsmom1127 Oct 15th, 2007 12:12 PM

Last February, I took my then 14 y.o daughter to Rome. It was a fabulous trip for both of us. At your budget, you would certainly be able to stay at the Albergo del Senato right on the Piazza del Rotunda (the Pantheon's square.) In any case, if Rome is your choice, I would advise looking at this site and at trip advisor and finding a hotel that is in the Pantheon/Piazza Navonna/Campo de Fiori area for such a brief first visit. You will find yourself literally tripping over gorgeous, facinating, historic things every time you step outside. The recommendation of Context tours is a good one, as is settling on just 2 or 3 "must sees" for this trip, and filling in as you feel like when you get there. Rome is so full of wonderful things that you will not get to see them all in one trip, so just spend lots of time smelling the roses (or just the Roman air. My daughter cranked open the window every morning so she could "smell Rome.")

All of that having been said, we are heading to Paris this March for spring break!

Wherever you decide, I hope you and your daughter have a wonderful time just being together in a fabulous European city.

threehearts Oct 18th, 2007 08:00 AM

Thank you all for your insights and recommendations. My husband is now not sure that he can he be home to take care of our son while we're away. I am ignoring him and moving ahead with our plans(LOL). I am now researching your hotel suggestions and looking into Context Tours as suggested. I bought a slew of guidebooks yesterday and in a few days, I hope to have the core plan down but probably not the details. Again, many thanks for your help. Threehearts

JeanneB Oct 18th, 2007 12:20 PM

We'll be in Rome next month and are using a private tour guide: 2 days, 3 hours each day.

Francesca Caruso is often recommended here. She wasn't available, so suggested we use Sonia (?). She's been delightful in our pre-trip planning. I'm not where I can access my notes. But if you like, I'll post her email later.

Anna1013 Oct 18th, 2007 01:09 PM


Hope you and your daughter have a wonderful time on your trip to Rome! Have you already purchased your airplane tickets? I'm always impressed with people who can plan last minute trips, since we are the complete opposite!

Please post a trip report after you have come back - I'm sure everyone would love to hear how your trip went!

threehearts Oct 18th, 2007 01:20 PM

Yeah!! My husband did get the days off. I will buy the air tix tonight. The Albergo del Senato is sold out for our 11/1-11/4 dates so now looking again at centrally located hotels. Will update soon. Threehearts

threehearts Oct 18th, 2007 05:15 PM

Hi Jeanne, I did a search and did find Sonia's contact information on Fodor's. She does sound wonderful! Thanks for the referral. Threehearts

JeanneB Oct 18th, 2007 06:05 PM

I hope Sonia can accomodate you. We will be following you by only a few days (arrive in Rome on the 7th).

Right now, you need to book a hotel right away! I can't imagine doing this with 2 wks notice, though the spontaneity will likely make it just that much more exciting. Have a wonderful time!
Have you checked with Hotel Due Torre or the Portoghesi? Both very nice and centrally located.

JeanneB Oct 18th, 2007 06:28 PM

BTW, where are you departing from the US? I just realized, we're leaving on the 31st---Atlanta to Rome. We'll be flying on to Florence from there.

threehearts Oct 19th, 2007 06:36 AM

I am thrilled! I've just booked the flights. United non-stops from IAD both ways. Leave the 31st at 5:30 pm return, Nov. 4th at 10:55am. After I couldn't book the Albergo del Senato(no online availability), I emailed the hotel directly. The reservations person confirmed that they have a twin bed room for us with a "view of the square." I'm not sure if this means the Pantheon or not. Now I am on airport tranfers by car service and then on to book tours. I looked at Context but they may be a little too in-depth for my daughter. Thanks for all of the suggestions. You have all have been an immense help. Grazie- Threehearts

JeanneB Oct 19th, 2007 06:48 AM

You got the del Senato----terrific!

We depart Atlanta at 4:30pm. I'll be asleep before you get off the ground. :)

threehearts Oct 21st, 2007 08:25 AM

Update- I have not heard from Sonia. I did get an official Vatican Tour on Nov. 2nd. I have the Villa Borgese timeslot for 5pm on our day of arrival. My latest question is- We have an official English speaking Vatican Tour scheduled for 12noon on Nov. 2nd. To make the most of our day, we would also like to do St. Peter's Basilica either before or after the Vatican. I understand that if I want to go directly to the shortcut for St. Peter's after the Vatican tour, I must not take the audiophones or I'll have to return them back to the entrance. The Vatican closes at 1:45 on the day of our tour and I'm not sure if you're allowed to look around after the tour or if they will immediatly usher you out. I'll be traveling with my 12 y/o daughter and she's anxious to choose a few items from the gift shop. My essential question is, should we tour St. Peter's Basilica before or after the Vatican? St. Peter's, according to their website will be open from 8am until 4pm. If before, what time should we be in line to purchase our tour tix for the Vatican so we are not too late in joining our 12noon tour? By the way, we'll be at the Basilica on our own. Lastly, we are staying at the Albergo del Senato in the Pantheon district. What would be the best way to get a taxi back to the hotel? I'm not sure that my daughter will be up to the walk after a long day

MAny thanks, Threehearts

MaureenB Oct 21st, 2007 08:36 AM

Is that something new that you have to return your audio headphones to the front desk at the Vatican Museum? We didn't have to do that. In fact, I don't remember where we returned the headphones, when we went out the Sistene Chapel door to see St. Peter's. Maybe our tour guide collected them, but we did not have to backtrack to drop them off. That would be a stupid idea if that's a new procedure.

It sounds like your plan would work very smoothly if you can exit from the Chapel directly to St. Peter's.

Or, can you call or e-mail the Vatican Museums' tour people to ask about the headsets? Has anyone else here heard of this?

threehearts Oct 21st, 2007 08:43 AM

Hi Maureen, There is extensive commentary on the problem with headphone return and going on to St. Peter's Basilica(via the "shortcut") on another widely used travel forum. There were enough posts about it that I took it to be true, but perhaps it is not. Threehearts

MaureenB Oct 21st, 2007 09:37 AM

Threehearts, well, I'm no expert. We were there in May '06, so it was awhile ago. It sounds like a bad idea. Maybe someone in the tour could return yours? We didn't pay a deposit on them or anything, so someone else could take yours back maybe. I'd plan on going to St. Peter's after the Chapel, and figure some other way to return the headphones. (You definitely need headphones.)

If you have the Vatican tour, I think you have a scheduled time to enter, purchase tickets, and go on the tour. You don't really have to get in line.

I can't help with transportation. We stayed near the Barberini Palace and my daughter knew the way to the subway stop for our trip to the Vatican. Then we wandered back in the afternoon.

Your weekend get-away sounds like it's really shaping up.

Vttraveler Oct 21st, 2007 10:03 AM

Our son began listing Rome as his #1 tourist destination when he was about 12 (after studying Greek and Roman history in 6th grade) and we finally took him to Rome for a week last February when he was 16.
It is a great city to explore on foot--very compact. You will be staying in a great location

Although our son's primary interest before going was in the Roman ruins, he found he really enjoyed the Piazza della Rotunda and Piazza Navonna areas, so we went there most days for at least a brief stroll. The portrait artists who work there are interesting to watch, and there are often mimes and street entertainers.
Our son also enjoyed the Trevi fountain and the Mouth of Truth at Santa Maria in Cosmedin (Your daughter could watch Roman Holiday before your trip)
Another place your daughter might like to see is the cat sanctuary at the Area Sacra dell'Argentina, very near your hotel.

threehearts Oct 21st, 2007 01:15 PM

Thanks for the tips. I will ask my fellow tourists if they wouldn't mind returning our headphones for us. I bet some kind soul will help out. I also appreciate the suggestions for teens in Rome. I will definitely walk to some of the areas mentioned. The last things to straighten out will be restaurants in the Pantheon area, where we are staying and we still have had no luck in getting a private tourguide for a half day tour of ancient Rome. I looked at Context again and it might be a little too in-depth for my 12 y/o. Thanks again, Threehearts

JeanneB Oct 21st, 2007 02:53 PM

When Francesca Caruso told me she was booked on our days, she shared a few names of other guides she thinks highly of. (This was in July) Sonia was one of them. The others are:

laria Ceccarelli at
[email protected]

Richard Bowen at
[email protected]

We are also staying in the Pantheon area in an apartment. Some nearby restaurants I've noted are:

Armando al Pantheon
Le Volte
Tavernetta 48

Not far away, near Pza Navona, is one of my favorites: FIAMETTA. Find the Hotel Genio and it's right next door (around corner).

threehearts Oct 21st, 2007 03:02 PM

Jeanne, you are a treasure! Thanks so much. You probably already are aware, but Nov. 1 and 2 are holidays. An Italian friend confirmed that the 1st is official and 2nd is unofficial but still taken as a long weekend by most. Thoughts on how this will impact crowds at the sites? Thanks. Threehearts

samsmom1127 Oct 21st, 2007 03:13 PM

Let me suggest two restaurants that I discovered through reading Fodors posts prior to our trip last winter. First, Armando al Pantheon at Salita 'de Crescenzi, 30. This is a little street just across the piazza from your hotel! The traditional Roman fare was so amazing that after our first meal there, I cancelled a reservation at another restaurant so that we could eat there again. If you and your daughter are unadventurous eaters, you will find delicious food there...if you are not picky, you will find wonderful new things. My daughter tried scamoraza for the first time at Armandos. She still thinks about it! Great soup, great pastas, and very good lamb. This is a moderately priced restaurant.

Another place we liked was Taverna le Coppelle at Via della Coppelle, 39. This is a 5 to 10 minute walk from your hotel through some very cute streets. It is a little pizza/pasta kind of place, frequented by locals. In fact, I don't think I heard anything but Italian spoken the night we were there. I was interested to notice that many of the Italians enjoyed beer rather than wine with their pizza. I asked for a glass of wine, and was a little concerned when the whole bottle landed on the table. I shouldn't have worried...when it came time to settle up, the owner picked up the bottle and eyed what was left, and charged accordingly. We shared a mixed fried antipasta dish; my daughter had a simple spaghetti and tomato dish, and I had a terrific crisp crusted gorgonzala pizza. This restaurant was very reasonably priced.

In order to eat late, as the Romans do, DD and I found it worked well for us to eat lightly at breakfast and lunch, and to return to the hotel in the late afternoon or early evening for a nap. We would get up around 7:30 to shower and dress for dinner at 9:00 or so.

I will try to find the name of the private tour guide we used for our visit to the Forum and other ancient sites.

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