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Gary Christopher Mar 21st, 1998 08:03 AM

Need Help With Rome Itinerary
My family, including wife and two kids, plan to arrive in Rome on Holy Thursday. Our flight arrives around noon and I would like some suggestions for the remainder of the day. Forum, coliseum, etc? In addition, we are planning a day trip to Pompeii. I know it's a long day but we have our hearts set on it. We plan to go by early train and return that evening. We also have a letter providing entrance to Easter Mass or Mass the night before. Any ideas on which one to attend or other tips. We plan to leave Rome on the Tuesday following Easter. I would like to plan everything, at least in my mind, beforehand including a tour of the Vatican museums and a full day tour of Rome. Because of possible closing around the holidays, any ideas on which days would be better? Maybe Good Friday to Pompeii and Saturday to the Vatican. What about the crowds? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

C. /Zappala Mar 21st, 1998 04:25 PM

You will love rome, we were there last summer. But it will be packed for the holiday. And maybe overwhelming, especially for the kids. Prepay some tours thru your travel agent first if you can. That's what we did, and then we checked out some more when we got there. Every day will be "full" anyway no matter what you do because there is so much. Just walking around you'll run into fantastic historial things like the Colleseum. Be patient, thats my best advice, "go with the flow".

Maira Mar 22nd, 1998 04:00 AM

Dear Gary & Family: You happenned to picked one of the busiest holiday weekends in Rome. The crowds around the Vatican are almost unbearable, however Rome is such a magnificent city that there isn't really a good reason to miss it. The afternoon of arrival go visit the Forum and the Colisseum (they are next to each other), the next day visit Pompeii (take a guided tour; is worth the money), on Saturday take a walk/tour of Rome (City Hall, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain; easy walk). On Sunday, go to Mass (is VERY easy to get lost in the crowds; watch for the kids), go back to Rome sightseeing (take a breather). Leave Monday open to accomodate any experience/site you may have seen that want to try/go back, etc.. Have the best time!

Tom Mar 29th, 1998 06:25 PM

Gary and family:

If you go to Pompeii hire a guide. However, decide if its really worth it. The train is from Rome to Naples and then you switch to a local "cattle car" for trip to Pompeii. It is a long, tiring trip and once you have seen about 20 volcano wiped out buildings, you will wonder why you did this.

For a shorter trip with just as much or more to view consider Ostia Antica which is very near Rome. You get just as good a history lesson without the all day trip.

Have been to the Vatican but did not attend Mass.

Enjoy your trip!

Joanna White Mar 29th, 1998 07:44 PM

I would check with your local Italian tourist board or consul before you go to find out exactly what will be open and closed over the Easter weekend. It's quite possible that most of the historic sites/museums will be closed. Better to be forewarned and have alternatives ready.

Joe Lomax Mar 30th, 1998 08:13 AM

The suggestion about Ostia Antica is very good, or you might consider the Villa Adriana in Tivoli and go up to see the Villa d'Este, too. Either Ostia or Tivoli are about 30 mi. away. Ostia you can get to by interurban that goes by S. Paolo fuori Mura, but Tivoli you need to take a bus. For your day in the Vatican, I would suggest the Garden tour which has an excellent multiligual guide. I am not positive, but I think on Saturday there is an option for an add-on museum tour with the Gardens. With such a full schedule, you will need to deal with jet-lag very effectively. You can get a paperback on it called "62 Natural Ways to Avoid Jet-lag" or something like that. It takes planning, but if you are to avoid cranky kids (and we both know how enjoyable that is :) ), you will need it.

Shari Mar 30th, 1998 03:58 PM

Just returned from Rome and Pompeii yesterday. We spent 5 days there following a Medit cruise. You don't say where your hotel is, but I liked Maira's plan. That's the plan we followed. Take some good guidebooks with you. We aren't much for guided tours and did lots by ourselves. We found Pompeii really neat and took the train from Naples, a couple dollars and a 45 minute ride. All the guidebooks explain how to get the train from Naples. There are guides that you can hire in front of the entrance or you can buy a guidebook for $8 that is really neat it has acetate layovers for the sites so you can see what it probably looked like. Using that and the Rome Access Guide and Baedekkers, we had no trouble doing the Forum, Pompeii and other sites on our own. Tours are informative, but take a lot of time and you can't structure your own time. Make sure you take your letter to the office to get your tickets for mass. The letter won;t get you in, you need to take it to the address on the letter to pick up tickets and they really do "overbook" Do that asap.
Rome was a zoo last week, a gazillion school kids from all over Europe. Anymore ? email me.

Sue Mar 31st, 1998 06:06 AM

I also agree with maira's itinerary. Rome is fabulous just even to walk around the different areas

St. Peter's Bascilla and the Vatican Musuem are well worth a visit. The climb up to the top of the Bascillica is well worth it and the Sistine Chapel is fabulous.

I am not particularly religious but we did visit several churches - each as beautiful as the next.

The catacombs are also worth a visit if you can fit them in.

Enjoy the trip

Jan M Mar 31st, 1998 10:55 PM

I can't believe Tom's view of Pompeii. Don't miss it! I have been to excavated Roman sites in many coutries and Pompeii is easily the best. Because it was covered in ash so suddenly, when they excavated it, it was like real life had just stopped. There is so much to see, and it is very well preserved. But buy a good English language guide book once you get to Rome. The other thing I disagree with Tom about is the train trip. We really loved the little narrow gauge train which does the trip from Napoli. Sure, it sways and rattles, but the children will enjoy it too.

Topper Jun 24th, 2001 11:11 AM

Any takers?

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