Only one or two days in Rome?

Old Jun 29th, 2004, 06:08 AM
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Only one or two days in Rome?

My husband and I have been planning a trip to Rome for 2006. Yesterday, he picked up Rick Steves Italy, and Rick Steves maintains that Rome should be done in a day or two at most, because the thieves are so prevalent. He even describes being able to look from a high point and see the thieves at work. He suggests doing Rome in one day and going to other cities instead. Now, we have never been to Rome, and I think it deserves a week, with maybe one side trip. I think 1 or 2 days is definitely not enough. Is Rick Steves being an alarmist or is his view of Rome accurate? My husband is concerned, but my point of view is that if it were so bad, people wouldn't go back again and again, as I know many do. What do you think?

Best,
Sandy
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 06:17 AM
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That's ridiculous and I don't think Rick Steves actually says that. He does discuss the problem of pickpockets in Rome (as he does for every major city in Europe) and how to avoid them. He also may say that he feels on a first trip you can get a taste of Rome in a couple of days and that he feels it's more enjoyable to visit other areas of Italy. And on those two points I agree. My first trip to Italy I did only 3 days (two nights) in Rome and was glad I had not scheduled any more time. I enjoyed Venice, Tuscany, Umbria and the Cinque Terre much more than I did Rome. I also feel I did get a taste of Rome in those few days. Some day I'll probably go back, and you could certainly spend a week there and find plenty to do. It depends on what else you want to do on your trip, how long you have, what your interests are, etc. But to avoid it just because of the pickpockets is silly.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 06:23 AM
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Though others will differ, I am in the camp that two or three days in Rome is adequate. My first visit there was ill-timed (July - heat and tourist hordes) and I left after one day. On subsequent visits in better weather I found that two nights was about optimal.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 06:27 AM
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Every large European city has pickpockets and Rome is no exception. However, during my last four or five visits since 2000, I've noticed that there have been no gangs of children with cardboard as there used to be. I have no idea where Rick Steves could be standing to watch gangs of theives at work.
Rome is a wonderful city; one I return to on each of my many visits to Italy. Sometimes I go to only Rome for a week or two. I still haven't seen it all and probably never will. I think to get a good introduction to Rome, you need at least three full days, preferably four. I think with any less time, you just see it in a blur and are in danger of coming away with the impression that it is just another large, noisy, dirty city and miss so much of what makes it so special.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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We were in Rome for 2 full days in March, and spent the 3rd day in Pompeii. Although Pompeii was wonderful, my husband and I agree that we should have spent that day in Rome as well. Rome is a wonderful city with so many different things to see. We are already planning another trip back and, from looking at the list of things we want to see, need to spend at least 3-4 full days.

I have the Rick Steves Italy guide and I think that he is referring to the fact that if you are short on time and want to see Rome, you can see the highlights of Rome in a few days if necessary. I would recommend at least 5 days, but I don't know if 7 would be necessary, unless you are planning a daytrip or two.

As far as pickpockets are concerned, we never saw any pickpockets nor did we feel unsafe at any time. However, because we were there in March, which is considered off-peak, the pickpockets may have been on a break!
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 06:48 AM
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I spent a week in Rome in April. I only scratched the surface. (Never saw any pickpockets or had any problem) I think Rome is one of those cities you go back to again and again to pick up where you left off. Like London and Paris.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 07:18 AM
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That sounds incredibly silly to me! I'd give Rome at least three full days. Pickpockets are everywhere, even here in my hometown of Chicago. I can't believe Steves would recommend spending only a day or two in Rome. You could spend almost one full day just in the Vatican!
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 07:33 AM
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Give Rome as much time as you possibly can. It is a favorite city of ours and no matter how much time we spend there, we always find something new and different to see or do, as well as returning to places we particularly like.

On our first visit to Rome 10 years ago a friend was mobbed by young girls with a newspaper to distract him and his wallet stolen. We were able to recover the wallet and most of the contents. Since then we have had no experiences with pickpockets in Rome. Of course they exist, but that's no reason to stay away or limit your time there.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 08:18 AM
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I think what RS says is that IF you only have a day or two, it can be done. He recommends three, I believe. My experience is that I usually need at least one more day than his itineraries allow for.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 08:22 AM
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... I was all wrong about RS when I said he didn't have a sense of humor. I cannot believe he said that, but I refuse to give him any money just to find out. By the way, congrats on such long-term planning.
 
Old Jun 29th, 2004, 08:27 AM
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Have to agree with isabel....while Rome has its must-sees, I enjoyed visiting Sorrento, Florence and Assisi even more. I thought 3 days in Rome was plenty!
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 08:29 AM
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ira
 
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Hi sandy,

I agree with the above. Either 3-4 days at a minimum or skip it.

I would do one day in Rome only if I were flying out the next day.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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There is so much that is wonderful to see and do in Italy - of course you could spend a day or two in Rome and still find plenty else to do. But don't. Rome is spectacular and could occupy you for a week or two. If this is your first trip to Italy, spend 4 or 5 days in Rome; you will be fine. In all of our trips to Rome (4), we have not had a problem with pickpockets. I think people are beginning to spend too much time listening to Rick Steves - if he says Rome can be done in a day, I certainly have no interest in his other advice. Go to Rome as you planned, and enjoy!
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 09:08 AM
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Please, please, please do not listen to Rick Steves about 1 day in Rome due to pickpockets. Get yourselves some GOOD guidebooks and read them. Return the Rick Steves to the store and get your money back!!! Hearing something like this angers me. Go to Rome...do not limit yourselves to a day or two. Minimum 5 days in Rome; preferably longer.

A good budget guidebook is Let's Go. Rick is a bozo!
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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What Rick Steves says is totally ridiculous.

You have to remember that Rick Steves' "thing" is to discover tiny hole-in-the-wall towns that are cheap, cheap, cheap. (He does make an exception for the Cinque Terre, and I think it might be one of the reasons that the Cinque Terre have become so overrun recently.) And he seems to scorn cities on principle. I saw his TV show on Venice, and it showed such a total lack of understanding of the city that I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

You specifically say that you have been planning a trip to Rome. Presumably you are attracted by one or more of the following things: the history as revealed in the archeological ruins, the wealth of art and architecture, the bustling life of the city or its quiet, secluded corners, the possibility of choosing your own pace, whether to move around and see a great deal or to sit in a cafe and watch Roman life go on around you, the vast choice of restaurants, whether modest or more expensive -- the list could go on and on...

Yes, there is some street crime in Rome, but I agree with an earlier poster that the hordes of Gypsy children holding a cardboard sign of some kind that used to surround unsuspecting tourists are far less in evidence this year than they have been in the past. You do have to exercise a reasonable amount of care, and you should be particularly careful on the No. 64 bus (it travels between Roma Termini and St. Peter's), which is frequented by large numbers of pickpockets and other undesirables. Many Italians, moreover, if they see tourists being approached by potential pickpockets, will warn them.

Please do not allow Rick Steves to change your plans! Go for as long as you can or want to!

The Romans have a saying, "Per Roma non basta una vita," which translates roughly as "To know Rome, a lifetime is not long enough." I have been going to Rome almost annually for the past 30 years, and on my last stay in May, I STILL discovered wonderful places and things that I didn't know. So I have to agree with the Roman saying. In fact, I'm delighted to agree with it and look forward to my next stay there.

And just in case you should think me a Rome fanatic: Rome is never the only city I stay in when I am in Italy, and I have visited and know many other Italian regions and cities.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 09:20 AM
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Six years ago, we read the same thing. Went anyway, even though we only had 2 nights (2.5 days). We were "concerned" about thieves due to the warning, and took care (wearing fanny packs in front, etc.), but NEVER had a problem.

2.5 days in Rome - 1 wandering around - Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Via Veneto, etc. One at the Forum, Coliseum and the like. One-half at the Vatican. It's a good start!
 
Old Jun 29th, 2004, 09:46 AM
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I can't imagine doing any less than 3 full days in Rome. My first trip was a week, and there never was a dull moment. My 2nd trip was about 3.5 days. We took our kids to the major sites and did a day trip to Pompeii. There's still much more I'd like to see if ever I have the opportunity. I never had a problem with thieves, but for the 1st time, did see a 2 young women with babies who looked suspicious on a bus on our last day of the trip. Everyone was eyeing them and an Italian man cursed then out in Italian. They quickly and quietly got off the bus.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 09:54 AM
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One of the travel-related things I regret most is spending only 3 days in Rome - three days don't do the city justice and as a result of running from one sight to another I was left with a rather chaotic impression of Rome. And with a yearning to return ... which I still after 10+ trips to Italy haven't been able to do ... did throw a coin in the Fontana di Trevi so I'm bound to make my way back one day!
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 10:15 AM
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Re: "Yesterday, he picked up Rick Steves Italy, and Rick Steves maintains that Rome should be done in a day or two at most, because the thieves are so prevalent."

Really? I don't recall Steves saying that in his Italy book, but maybe I missed it.

In any case, I couldn't disagree more. I spent over a week in Rome on my first visit there three years ago and it still wasn't enough. A year later, I spent four more days in Rome.

Carry things you can't afford to lose -- as opposed to things like maps, etc. -- in a well-concealed place and you shouldn't have to worry about the Roman evildoers.

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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 10:24 AM
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Blacktie
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... finally, posters are not falling in blind obedience at the feet of traveller Steve. He finally proved he stuck his head out that train window once too often. Rome in a day! Hilarious.
 

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