Only one or two days in Rome?

Old Jun 29th, 2004, 10:31 AM
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Re: &quot;<i>He finally proved he stuck his head out that train window once too often.</i>&quot;

*LOL*!! I admit, that is one of the funniest things about his PBS series.

As for people &quot;falling in blind obedience&quot; to Steves, nice bit of hyperbole but I don't think that's the case, for most people anyway. I've used his books for years but also disagree with him on many things.

I still have a difficult time believing that said that about Rome, but will gladly accept having my skepticism countered by facts.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 10:49 AM
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Of all the crazy things RS recommends, this is the second most ridiculous.

The top prize goes to his contention that you should save money by eating lunch standing up at some counter.

Doesn't he know that lunch is not only for food but for rest, too?

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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 11:28 AM
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Re: <i>The top prize goes to his contention that you should save money by eating lunch standing up at some counter.</i>

This is so funny. Although I can't say with 100% certainty he does not say &quot;should,&quot; -- and, again, will gladly accept having my skepticism countered by facts -- I'm sure he says &quot;can.&quot; In otherwords, he's likely informing people that's an option, not giving people an order.


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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 11:56 AM
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From Steves' &quot;Thrifty Fifty Best Tips for Smart European Travel&quot; on his website...

&quot;Throughout southern Europe, drinks are cheaper at the bar than at a table. <i>The table price can be a great value if you'll linger and enjoy the view.</i> But those just tossing down a quick drink do it at the bar for about half price.&quot;

No &quot;should&quot; in there. He's just informing people what a lot of tourists -- especially first-timers -- likely don't know, that there can be a two-tier pricing system in bars and restaurants, something we (to the best of my knowledge) don't have in the U.S.

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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 12:38 PM
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We all have different tastes, don't we? I am just not a big city person--I don't like the crowds of people, traffic, noise, pollution, etc., but many cities offer sites I want to see.

I like to see the historical and archeological sites, maybe one museum, whatever makes that city unique, and then head for smaller towns or the countryside.

For my first visit, I thought 3 days in Rome was enough before moving on. I saw the ruins, visited the Vatican/museum, walked from fountain to fountain, and visited a few other museums and neighborhoods (I walk alot.) By then I was tired of the noise, traffic, and high priced accommodations. Next visit to Rome I will probably spend a similar amount of time. I certainly did not see it all.

If I were planning a trip to Italy with Rome just as a part of it, like many posters I would allocate a larger proportion of my time in Tuscany, but not skip Rome.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 12:49 PM
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... I checked his actual words about seeing Rome, and what people are saying is correct - in one day. I couldn't imagine how, but then I noticed in his footnotes on p. 143 he mentions seeing the city by train. He goes on to advocate Tuscany in three hours, but suggests a money saver by booking second class opening seating, but gaining a seat by the open window to optimize viewing. It never pays to second guess RS!
 
Old Jun 29th, 2004, 01:01 PM
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Capo:

Your interpretation of the quote from Rick Steves' Web site is absolutely correct.

But I found this one, which to my mind really takes the cake:

&quot;To save money in restaurants, couples can order a side salad and split an entree. To save more, request tap water instead of mineral water, drink the house wine, and skip desserts.&quot;

If saving money to the point of risking hunger faints and indigestion is the most important consideration, then in my opinion it would be better not to travel at all.

That experiencing the local cuisine -- including dessert! -- is one of the joys of travel seems not to have entered Mr. Steves' head, and I find it regrettable that, through the millions of copies of his books that have been sold, he may have prevented many travellers from experiencing that joy for themselves.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 02:25 PM
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Thanks, Eloise. I saw that tip as well.

I'm very curious about how you see a couple ordering a side salad each, splitting an entree, drinking tap water instead of mineral, drinking the house wine, and skipping desserts as &quot;risking hunger faints and indigestion&quot;?

I'm also curious how you see mentioning skipping desserts as an <i>option</i> to save money, as somehow meaning that Steves doesn't grasp the concept that experiencing the local cuisine is one of the joys of travel?

Not everyone goes to Europe for the food (I can get Italian food in Seattle; I can't get Roman ruins in Seattle) and not everyone who enjoys eating food in Europe feels less joyful about their trip if they don't order a desserts after meals. I rarely order dessert after a meal -- preferring to satisy my sweet tooth at patisseries, etc. -- and have experienced almost nothing but joy on my eleven trips to Europe.


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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 02:56 PM
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Is there really anyone on the planet who takes every bit of travel guide advice as gospel? Regardless what Rick Steves says (and I think Capo has pretty well cleared up previous misinterpretations) don't you really just glean facts and tips from guide books, mix in other sources of information like the internet and this forum, and end up with your own travel itinerary and way of doing things? I can't imagine anyone traveling with any travel guide by chapter and verse, without questioning anything.

I also have to agree with Capo that in Italy in particular two salads, half an entree, house wine and no dessert would satisfy me and my husband. Portions are usually quite large and we long ago gave up paying extra for bottled water (without any advice from RS).
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 03:02 PM
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You can get Italian-American food in Seattle, but not Italian food - for that, there's nothing like the real thing, in the real place.
We're lucky enough to be going back to Italy for a third time in October. We've been to the Big Three (Rome, Florence, Venice), the Amalfi Coast for a week, Tuscany for a week, Lake Como, the Cinque Terre. On this trip we're settling in Rome for seven days and hoping to become more immersed in it than we have been able to do in the past. It is deserving of as much time as you can allot to it. For what it's worth, we've never been pickpocketed or otherwise victimed in Rome, but our tires were slashed on the idyllic Italian Riviera; so anything can happen anywhere. That's no reason not to travel and see and do what you want. As for Rick Steves - he's enjoyable to watch - but he's one cheap son of a gun who takes economizing just a little too far.
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 03:05 PM
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I didn't read all the replies, but I can't imagine any travel guide would say something like that.

We spent a week in Rome in March and enjoyed the entire time. Nothing was stolen and we didn't see any pickpockets . . or other varieties of thief.

You could easily spend a year in Rome and not see everything so please don't limit yourself to a couple days because of an alarmist idea.

We're going back to Italy (outside of Rome) for five or six weeks in October and November and expect it to be an equally pleasant experience.

Don't worry just be alert. You'll be fine.
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Old Jul 4th, 2004, 09:14 AM
  #32  
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Well, I previously responded in this thread about Rome and the lack of any problems. I must report that my son and his girlfriend (who are 19) are in Italy right not and just returned to Florence from Rome. He sent me an email today telling me that their trip back from Rome on the train was &quot;eventful&quot;. First, on the Roma subway, someone &quot;pressing against me from behind&quot; -- he turned around and the guy had his wallet (why it was in his pocket, I don't know - he knows better than that, and he has a moneybelt). He grabbed the wallet back and as he was getting off the subway, the second &quot;kid&quot; swung at him, hitting him in the jaw. The older kid started to follow them off the train, but the younger one held him back. He did say that if they had been followed, there were police right there at the station.

There were more &quot;events&quot;, but that was the only significant one - the others involved a bum trying to sell them stuff and beg for money, and someone who kept insisting on sitting next to his girlfriend on the train (they refused).

So, be aware of your surroundings!
 
Old Jul 4th, 2004, 09:28 AM
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I'm sitting with Rick Steves' book right in front of me and he does not say that at all. He lists suggested tours for &quot;Rome in a Day&quot;; &quot;Rome in 2 - 3 Days&quot; and &quot;Rome in 7 Days.&quot; He then says, &quot;After two dozen visits I still have a healthy list of reasons to return.&quot;

I too am concerned about pickpockets (as I was in London, NYC, and any major European city) and I plan to use a money belt and an extra dose of common sense mixed with healthy precaution.
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Old Jul 4th, 2004, 09:55 AM
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Spent one night and most of two days in Rome last Sept. and it was plenty. Since we were on our first trip to Italy, we felt there would be more time to delve deeper into Rome on future trips.
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Old Jul 5th, 2004, 01:24 PM
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FYI, since several here mentioned the &quot;gypsy problem&quot; associated with Rome, I responded but, on another, more specific thread. Feel free to read that response here: http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...p;tid=34506367

A smart traveler is a safer traveler.
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Old Jul 5th, 2004, 01:47 PM
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sandypaws3: <i>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.</i>

Songdoc: <i>I'm sitting with Rick Steves' book right in front of me and he does not say that at all. He lists suggested tours for &quot;Rome in a Day&quot;; &quot;Rome in 2 - 3 Days&quot; and &quot;Rome in 7 Days.&quot; He then says, &quot;After two dozen visits I still have a healthy list of reasons to return.&quot;</i>

Grazie, Songdoc. That's what I've thought all along. One wonders why the person who began this thread wrote what they did.


Re: <i>I also have to agree with Capo that in Italy in particular two salads, half an entree, house wine and no dessert would satisfy me and my husband.</i>

Grazie also, Giovanna. I have to say that I was very amused at the assertion by a poster that the above, for two people, would &quot;risk hunger faints and indigestion.&quot;


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Old Jul 5th, 2004, 02:06 PM
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Here is the exact quote from Rick Steves' &quot;Italy 2004&quot;: &quot;For most travelers, Rome is best done quickly. It's a great city, but it's exhausting. Time is normally short, and Italy is more charming elsewhere.&quot; In the &quot;Italy&quot; book he gives suggestions for 1- to 3-day stays, whereas in the book entirely devoted to Rome, he has a 7-day itinerary.

I think I would agree that if it's your first trip to Italy, you might want to spend more time elsewhere. It is true that the smaller cities are more charming, probably because their livelihood depends much more on the tourist trade, and it's in their interest to keep themselves more &quot;unspoiled&quot; at least in the central areas. Rome is a big city with all the diversity that usually entails, whereas Venice, Florence, Siena, or any of dozens other Italian cities and villages you might name have their own unique flavor.

As with anything, a lot depends on your own interests. If you are a city person, you would probably love Rome, and would definitely not run out of things to do. If you prefer a less hectic and more scenic environment, then spend more time in the countryside and smaller villages.

As for pickpockets, we haven't been to Rome for a few years, but I think they are pretty common everywhere tourists assemble. A friend of mine told me that the Louvre is now a popular target. I had my wallet stolen in Venice, and it was really my own fault because I was careless and left my bag open while in a crowded spot. It taught me a good lesson, and I hope I've learned to take enough precautions that it won't happen again, wherever I am.
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Old Jul 7th, 2004, 10:08 AM
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For anyone who thinks a day or two is long enough for Rome, here is a quote from William Murray's book &quot;City of the Soul&quot;:

&quot;No one should come to Rome for only a day or two, better to stay home and watch the Travel Channel. This is a city that makes demands upon your attention, that requires a commitment to leisurely exploration. Its ancient ruins, its gleaming Renaissance palaces, its great Baroque basilicas and dozens of treasure-filled churches, its squares and fountains and statues, its maze of narrow, cobbled streets, the very stones themselves, which exude an auara of time endlessley indulged, can only be appreciated in the intimacy of personal exploration. And even then you will find that whatever time you may have spent in the city, you will long for more. Like Hawthorne, Goethe, Byron, Keats, Shelley, Twain, and so many other artists and writers and just plain visitors, you will find yourself lured back to it time after time by the fascination it exerts. 'For Rome one lifetime is not enough' ... &quot;

&quot;City of the Soul&quot; is a wonderful book that I'd recommend for anyone traveling to Rome, to experience the flavor of the city from someone who loves it. It's quite short -- a small book of only 140 pages.

I especially enjoyed his comment to the person who was listing all the beautiful open spaces in Paris, claiming they were better than Rome's. &quot;All I said to him,&quot; reports Murray, &quot;was 'Piazza Navona.' He paused, stunned, then looked at me and smiled. 'You win,' he said. 'God's waiting room.' &quot;
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Old Jul 7th, 2004, 01:21 PM
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In addition to the &quot;City of the Soul&quot; book, there's &quot;A Traveller in Rome,&quot; written in the 1950's by H.V. Morton and recommended by Fodorites elsewhere on this site. I started it last week (it's 400 pages of small print) in anticipation of our October trip (our third)to Rome. It's terrific - provides a vast historical context for present-day (well, mid-20th century, right after the War) Rome, captures the Roman character well and makes you want to be there - no, to live there - all the time.
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Old Jul 11th, 2004, 09:19 AM
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Piazza Navona is &quot;God's waiting room.&quot;? I hope not. Yes, it's attractive; yes, it is fun; yes, the fountains are lovely; yes, the church (when it's unbound from scaffolding) is inspiring . . . BUT, there are all the hucksters, hokey artists (fun, but hokey nevertheless), street performers ranging from amusing to ghastly, and crowds crowds crowds. Somehow I was hoping for a bit of peace in God's waiting room.

I like Rome, but given a choice between Rome and Paris, I'll take Paris any day. Personal choice.
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