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Please help me plan our time in Rome

Old May 12th, 2007, 04:29 PM
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Please help me plan our time in Rome

We arrive in Rome on a Sunday morning (11 AM or so) and leave Thursday for Florence. The only thing I have confirmed is the Scavi Tour for Wednesday at 3:45 PM... Since this is July, will it be unbearably hot underneath?? I was thinking it might be best to do the Vatican and/or Colosseum area Monday since Borghese is closed on Mondays. However, what would you recommend we do for the day we arrive? I know we will likely be tired, but I am not going to go right to sleep. I'm thinking a walking tour of some of the major sites and a nice early dinner somewhere would be nice. Can we do the Vatican and Colosseum area on the same day? Any suggestions are appreciated!!
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Old May 12th, 2007, 04:44 PM
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I wouldn't do a formal walking tour with a guide on the day of arrival. The pace may be too fast for you and you may not be able to absorb everything the guide says if you are tired. But I do recommend a self guided walk around the centro storico. Visit the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Campo di Fiore and Trevi Fountain. All are close to each other with many interesting churches between them.
The Vatican is so vast that I wouldn't combine it with another important sight like the Colosseum. You could see the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine on Monday morning then in the afternoon, see the Jewish Ghetto and/or Via Giulia. You could devote all of Wednesday to the Vatican (St. Peter's Baslica, Museums, Sistine Chapel and Scavi) or split it up and see the Borghese Tuesday morning and some of the Vatican Tues. afternoon.
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Old May 12th, 2007, 04:56 PM
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Would we be able to see St. Peter's on Wednesday? I thought Wednesday is the day of the Papal service. However, I'm not sure what the timing for that is.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 03:57 AM
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I think Grinisa's suggestions make a lot of sense. A few additional points:

You don't say where you are staying, but to me it makes sense to do your day of arrival walking tour near your hotel if it is centrally located. Some people also advocate taking one of the hop on/hop off tourist buses the first day of arrival. Our family also arrived in Rome mid-day on a Sunday and we were able to do quite a bit of exploring on day #1 before going to bed relatively early.

Entrance fees to the Palatine and the Colosseum are combined, another reason to do those sites the same day. To avoid lost time and aggravation from standing in line, you can go first to the Palatine entrance on Via di San Gregorio (no lines) and walk thru the Palatine to the Farnese gardens overlooking the Forum then down into the Forum, then do the Colosseum later (lines for tickets there, but you will already have yours). At some point you should also be sure to walk up Michaelangelo's Cordonata to the Campidoglio and look out over the forum from that viewpoint (next to the Palazzo Senattorio)

My must see list for churches right around the Pantheon/Piazza Navonna would include Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, San Luigi dei Francesci (3 magnificent Caravaggios of St. Matthew's life) and
Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza if you can make it there during limited opening hours (my guidebook says 11 to 12;30 p.m. Sunday) Note many churches are closed for several hours mid-day.

If you split up the Vatican into 2 days, you could explore the Janiculum (Giancolo) area south of the Vatican and Trastevere one of those days.

The destinations section of this web site has a recommended 5 day itinerary which you could check out and adapt. We liked the DK Eyewitness Travel guide to Rome but that would probably be too much for you to take if you are going on to Florence (and beyond?).
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Old May 13th, 2007, 05:03 AM
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You can see the Vatican on Wed. If the Papal Audience is held in the Piazza, go to the museums/Sistine first. The Audience is in the morning, from 10 to about 12. See the Basilica after lunch and before your Scavi Tour. Also, in July, the Audience is usually held indoors due to the extreme heat. This is in a separate audience hall so the Basilica can be seen on Wed. morning.
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