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Questions about afternoon "siesta" in Rome

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Apr 13th, 2006, 09:57 AM
  #1
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Questions about afternoon "siesta" in Rome

Now that I'm going through my guidebook a second time, looking at the descriptions in detail, it seems that so many things close for a few hours in the middle of the afternoon. I suppose that the smart tourist goes back to her flat and rests during those hours. But if one doesn't want to.....

In the middle of the afternoon, does central Rome really "shut down"?

Almost all of the historic churches seem to be closed in mid-afternoon. Do they really lock the doors, or are there just certain areas you can't get into?

Do all of you experienced travelers really use the mid-afternoon as down time, or do you find SOMETHING open so you can still be out and about? (I suppose the plazas and fountains are a possibility.)

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Apr 13th, 2006, 10:03 AM
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Yes, the churches lock the doors, except for the Vatican which stays open all day. The Pantheon may also stay open. The Forum and Colosseum stay open too. We usually have lunch around 1 or 1:30 and because it is our main meal of the day, we take our time and enjoy it, not leaving until around 3 or later. Many stores close in the afternoon but reopen beginning at about 4 pm. Some are staying open all day (look for "Orario Non-Stop" signs in the windows). If you don't want to rest, get some gelato and walk around the piazzas.
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Apr 13th, 2006, 10:03 AM
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I hate to sound ignorant but I've been to Rome four or five times now, and this is news to me. I never knew it "shut down" -- and certainly not the way some places do in Spain. We usually return to our hotel or apartment around 5 or so for a bit of a rest and refresher as we go out later and usually eat around 9.
 
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Apr 13th, 2006, 10:04 AM
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Yes, many of the churches close for those hours, so if you really want to see them, make a schedule.

What does the smart tourist do? Have a great lunch and don't scar it down. Enjoy the leisurely pace of the meal.

Certainly the sights of Ancient Rome are open during those hours, as well as th Vatican Museums and St Peter's. More and more of Rome seems to stay open during those hours, especially larger shops. I also use the time after the leisurely lunch to stroll the backstreets, which requires no opening hours.
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Apr 13th, 2006, 10:05 AM
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bad typo! scarf it down
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Apr 13th, 2006, 10:05 AM
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all businesses that cater to tourist stay open. The city does not shut-down.
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Apr 13th, 2006, 10:07 AM
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It's just a long lunch hour, not a siesta (that's Spain) and you do need to plan around it if you want to keep on the go. (I prefer to join the Italians and take a break.)

If you need a tourist office or a travel agency, plan to visit those places before noon or after 4pm.

If you want to visit churches, check the opening hours. Yes, they really do lock the doors. Completely.

Most large museums will not shut, but smaller ones might.

Expect shops to be such, so if you were planning a picnic lunch with a trip to the market or grocery store, do it in the morning.

Be aware that the reverse is true: While the shops and other small places are shut, restaurants are open for lunch -- and then they close again. There are few places in Italy where you can sit down and eat all day as in the US.

In Rome, if it's not too hot, plan on seeing the outdoor attractions if you want to keep on the go. Visit the Piazza Navona during lunch (you can get cheap, superior take-away pizza a few steps away at Lo Zozzone, Teatro Pace 33.) Visit the Pantheon. The Forum. The Trevi fountain. Etc. Etc.

Or visit the large museums.
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Apr 13th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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By the way, the same is true for Firenze or anywhere you go in Italy except Milano and Torino, and even there, much still closes.
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Apr 13th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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I actually love the idea of taking a rest in the afternoon...however, if we find ourselves quite far away from our flat, it doesn't seem restful to trudge back.

I guess I'll plan, plan, plan, then plan some more.
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Apr 13th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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I disagree that "all businesses that cater to tourists stay open." If you want to shop, I'd say 95% of the stores near Piazza di Spagna are closed during lunch. The stores in the Piazza Navona are closed, and countless others. Stores you would find open are the little souvenir shops near the Trevi Fountain and Pantheon.
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