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perfecting 4 day rome itinerary

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Jul 17th, 2010, 10:44 AM
  #1
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perfecting 4 day rome itinerary

Hi everyone! After planning my high-level 12 day italian itinerary this coming september [which includes Rome - 4 days // Positano + Amalfi coast - 2.5 days // the Tuscan countryside - 3.5 days // and Venice - 3 days], I am now researching and planning at a more detailed level... starting with rome! Please help me perfect my itinerary with any helpful suggestions & comments regarding feasibility, balance of R&R and sightseeing, logistics, etc. BTW, we rented an apartment on Via del Collegio Capranica.

DAY 1 - TUESDAY, SEP 14 - 8:25 AM arrival from JFK to FCO
FOCUS - Central Rome
AFTERNOON - Trevi Fountain, Piazza della Rotunda, Piazza della Minerva, Piazza Navona, Campo di Fiori
SUNSET - Walk along Tiber River **Ponte Umberto I**
GOOD EATS - Lunch @ Armando Al Pantheon, Dinner @ Checchino dal 1887

DAY 2 - WEDNESDAY, SEP 15
FOCUS - Ancient Rome
MORNING - Colosseum, Roman Forum
AFTERNOON - Capitoline Hill & Museum, Palantine Hill, San Clemente, Piazza Campidoglio, Jewish Ghetto [if time allows]
SUNSET - cocktails/wine @ Hotel FortySeven's Terrace
GOOD EATS - Lunch @ Trattoria Monti, Dinner @ La Piazetta

DAY 13 - THURSDAY, SEP 16
FOCUS - Vatican City
MORNING - 8:00 AM - Climb to the dome of St. Peter's Basilicia [better light in morning or afternoon?]
9:00AM - 2.5 hour Vatican Museum and Sistene Chapel Tour with LivItaly
AFTERNOON - 1:45 confirmed Scavi Tour
3:30PM[ish] - Explore St. Peter's Basilica, climb to dome if not done in the morning
SUNSET - Castel San Angelo [nice views from the roof]
GOOD EATS - Lunch @ Pizzarium, Dinner @ Il Convivio or Vecchia Locanda? or possibly go to the market and prepare dinner @ apartment if kitchen/tools allow us to?

DAY 14 - FRIDAY, SEP 17
FOCUS - Spanish Steps + Borghese + Trastevere
MORNING - Spanish Steps
AFTERNOON - Borghese Gallery & Gardens, Piazza del Poppolo
SUNSET - Wine & Cheese Picnic @ Giancolo
GOOD EATS - Lunch @ Palatium, Dinner @ Antico Arco

I am looking forward to your feedback!
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Jul 17th, 2010, 10:45 AM
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Sorry I meant 14 day itinerary!
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Jul 17th, 2010, 10:49 AM
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OK I totally should have previewed and checked before I pressed submit. LOL. Day 13 and Day 14 should be Day 3 and Day 4!
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Jul 17th, 2010, 11:47 AM
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One minor point is that on day 2, afternoon, Piazza Campidoglio IS the Capitoline Hill, so that afternoon is less busy than you're perhaps thinking, and you will make it to the ex-Ghetto (which is a don't-miss IMO).
Generally spoken, you're certainly aware that it's impossible to see Rome in merely four days, and that you have to make a choice, therefore; probably, you're also aware that the choice you've made is very classic, very standard, more or less the sights that everyone visits, and nothing - really nothing - off-the-beaten-track. That's fine as long as you have made this choice deliberately, or as long as you are fine with it. You should just know that it can be incredibly exciting to explore also some hidden (or at least, the not-so-overrun) treasures of Rome. Don't think that the hidden treasures are hidden because they're less worth visiting; and don't think the overrun places are overrun because they are Rome's best sights. It's as arbitrary as everywhere: every sight, overrun or totally neglected, may be anything from astonishing world-class to so-so.
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Jul 17th, 2010, 12:01 PM
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franco - please please let me know how i can make my itinerary a little less cookie-cutter and standard. generally, for any place that i am visiting/exploring for the first time, i have a checklist of all the sights i want to see. if i have 4 more days in rome or if this was my second trip, i would have certainly tried to seek out the not-so-typical activities and sights. if you think i have any time on my itinerary to do something a little different, please let me know.
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Jul 17th, 2010, 12:21 PM
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Well, if those are the sights that you want to see, then your plan is certainly good. I don't think you have time to include MORE sights, except for the morning of day 4 (the Spanish Steps are a matter of half an hour). OTOH, I wouldn't want to leave Rome without seeing some baroque, and some medieval sights - baroque has been invented in Rome, and the medieval buildings (and particularly the early medieval, i.e. from the period shortly after antiquity ended) are definitely among Rome's best, and it's hard to find a similar standard for that period anywhere else. But it's of course tricky to suggest which of "your" sights to skip since this is your trip and not mine... if you want a personal opinion (but remember that it's really personal, and maybe useless for you), I wouldn't include the Trevi Fountain, Campo dei Fiori, the Spanish Steps, the interior of the Colosseum (but I would want to see it from outside), the Palatine Hill and Castel S. Angelo, and I think you're spending way too much time at the Vatican, which isn't - FOR ME!! - among Rome's premium sights. OTOH, I would certainly include S. Maria Maggiore, S. Prassede, SS. Cosma e Damiano and S. Stefano Rotondo for the early middle ages; the Roman houses behind SS. Giovanni e Paolo and the Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas for antiquity; S. Andrea al Quirinale, S. Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, Piazza del Quirinale, S. Ivo, Il Gesù and S. Andrea della Valle for baroque. But once more, that's just me.
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Jul 17th, 2010, 01:42 PM
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thanks so much for your suggestions Franco. I will look into each one.

I also forgot that I have to look into:

Summer Opera Festival or buy tix at the Opera House
Villa Celimontana Jazz
checking out one of the live music venues one night [Alexanderplatz, Stairs Club or The Place]
a bike ride?
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Jul 17th, 2010, 02:27 PM
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All I can help with is the Opera: there's no performance, unfortunately, when you are in Rome - the summer festival is in July and August, and the regular season at the Opera House starts in October. You don't miss anything at the Terme di Caracalla, however, since this year's casts are abominable.
As for a bike ride, I never thought of doing one, but it kind of makes me shudder. Riding a bike, in Rome? This would seem a teeny bit suicidal to me.
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Jul 17th, 2010, 02:29 PM
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I forgot to say, if you're seriously planning on visiting the Pomponius Hylas columbarium or similarly unusual sights, you'll get some help here: http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ightseeing.cfm
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Jul 17th, 2010, 02:45 PM
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haha suicidal? really? my boyfriend and I live in manhattan, NYC and do bike rides all over the city often. are the streets of rome as crazy as it is here? if so, we can handle it.
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Jul 17th, 2010, 02:45 PM
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I would agree with Franco that Castel S. Angelo is not a high priority. It is an abandoned
Castle with ruins scattered here and there. Aside from a view of the City of Rome (which you have included in your picnic ) the Castel is more impressive to see at a distance - and to know that the Popes had an escape route from the Vatican to the Castle - which I do not think you can see today - but I could be wrong. I also would not tour inside the colosseum unless you want statistics about construction and gladiator fights. It's impressive from the outside. This should free-up some time.

I do think, however, that visiting the Spanish steps (does not take much time), Trevi Fountain (a show stopper when first glimpsed coming thru the small streets), Campo dei Fiori (a slice of Roman life disappearing quickly where locals shop for food, etc. and now tourists shop there too) and Navona, Popolo, etc. are "musts" on your first trip. You did not specifically mention Piazza Venezia - the "wedding cake" ... it is next to the Campidoglio and now possible to walk up the steps behind the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and from there look over the city.

You did not specifically mention touring the Villa Borghese - lots of important sculpture and art - but it does take a few hours, so you may not have enough time. Depending on the specifics of your itinerary, you can actually walk from the Spanish steps - along via Veneto - to Villa Borghese .... and there is a bus at the "top" of Via Veneto where it meets Villa Borgehese - that will take you right to Pizza Venezia ... or you can walk from V.Borgehese to P. del Poppolo. Get a good walking map and you will see how easy it is to walk from one site to another.

You need to eat gelato at least 2-3x's/day! Near the Pantheon is Giolitti - an "institution" - ask anyone where to find it. Near Fontana di Trevi is a good gelateria - fruit flavors are his specialty - ask anyone where it is. The locals know about these things!

Rome is truly "La Citta Eterna"! (the Eternal City).. You may fall hopelessly in love with it!

Travelnaia
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Jul 17th, 2010, 02:48 PM
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anyway, I was thinking of a bike ride through the park or something... not so much the streets of Rome. perhaps earlier in the morning before Spanish steps [day 4]?
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Jul 17th, 2010, 02:54 PM
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travelnaia - I created a color-coded google maps by day of Rome. and I have all the gelateria hot spots on there with a snowflake pinpoint indicator. I plan on eating gelato twice a day for all four days.
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Jul 17th, 2010, 03:10 PM
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travelnaia - I do plan on touring the villa borghese for two hours max [my bf and I get "museumed-out" after two hours]. I have not booked tickets or tour yet. do you suggest the morning or afternoon an with tour or on your own?

I should probably tell you what our interests are. we love beautiful scenery, outdoor cafes, good food & wine, photography, ancient history, architecture, people watching, etc. I am really trying to get an itinerary that covers the major sights of Rome and still allows us to relax and just enjoy our surroundings.
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Jul 17th, 2010, 03:29 PM
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Villa Borghese is a large public garden - the museum is the Galleria Borghese, inside the garden. (Generally, in Rome, "villa" means "park".) Two hours is the maximum for Galleria Borghese anyway; they don't allow anybody to stay just one minute longer. Booking tickets for a definite entry time is obligatory, so you need to plan that day very precisely.

While the thought that Rome's traffic might be dangerous is obviously very funny for you, it's perhaps not as funny for the Romans: on this map http://www.slowbike.info/noleggio%20bici.htm, you see all the bicycle rentals of Rome. None is anywhere near the center since obviously, Romans, too, think riding a bicycle in the city would be positively crazy. If you want to go to one of those rentals on the outskirts of Rome, your bike ride (traveling to and from the agency, plus the bike ride proper) will eat up half a day minimum.

travelnaia, the escape route to Castel S. Angelo is still visible in full length, and is certainly the best thing about the "castle" (which is actually an ancient tomb, for Emperor Hadrian).
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Jul 17th, 2010, 04:04 PM
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If you want, go to my website and go through the Google Maps sub-area. You'll find tours for 6 days, for 3 days and for the locations of about 50 great churches in Rome.

http://www.passagetoroma.com/index.php/google

Sorry, but I haven't updated the individual location information on the new 6 tour map or on the churches map.

Also, you may find it easier to click the link to show the maps in the large view in Google than to view them on the webpage. To do this, right click on the link and view in either a new window or a new tab (depending on your browser).

In the Library menu area you'll find a free PDF download of the 6 tour guide book, with instructions on how to print and bind it.

dave
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Jul 18th, 2010, 07:35 AM
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I consider myself good at getting going in Europe after an overnight flight, but your first day itinerary would be more than I could take with jet lag. You could certainly eliminate some of the sights if you decide you want to sit down at a cafe or two. Campo de' Fiori is best in the morning with the market.

I would recommend the view from the Pincio gardens (near Piazza del Popolo) at sunset over the walk along the Tiber. There is a great panoramic view of the city.

The Spanish Steps definitely won't take a whole morning unless you want to do a lot of high end shopping, too.

I disagree with others about not going inside the Colosseum or to the Palatine, but it depends on your interest in Roman history. If you don't tour the Palatine at least climb up from the Forum (entrance near the ARch of Titus) for the view from the Farnese gardens.

I would eliminate the bike ride with so little time in the city.
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Jul 18th, 2010, 10:46 AM
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Every time I see an itinerary like this I think of recreating the D Day invasion ratther than a vacation.

What do you do if your plane is late.

What do you do if it rains on the day you arrive?

Where have you left time to just sit in a piazza - the one in front of the pantheon (don;t see that on your list and it's a don;t miss) is grat, a couple of nice cafes with free munchies in the late afternoon - and watch rome walk by.

Also - IMHO the Spanish steps is worth about 30 minutes (unless you plan on doing a lot of luxury shopping in the area) - I mean it's a set of steps - usually filled with young/youngish men with nothing to do ogling women.
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Jul 18th, 2010, 10:52 AM
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Jul 18th, 2010, 11:03 AM
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nytraveler, the Pantheon is on the list - Piazza della Rotonda, that's where it is located (actually, Rotonda is another name for it).
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