Rome *and* Florence, or Just Rome?

Nov 7th, 2000, 02:11 PM
  #1  
Gina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Rome *and* Florence, or Just Rome?

I've planned a January trip to Rome and Tunisia, with six days in Rome and eight in Tunisia. My original inclination was to spend all six days of the Italy chunk in Rome itself, since I know that one can spend a lifetime there and never see it all. But I'm finding myself a bit tempted, now, to take a day and a half for Florence. Should I concentrate completely on Rome before heading off to Tunisia, or try to fit Florence in?

If I did the Florence thing, here's how the timing would work:

Day 1: arrive 7:45 am, "jet-lag day Rome"
Day 2-4: full days Rome (three full days).
Day 5: morning Rome, late morning-early afternoon train to Florence. Afternoon and overnight in Florence.
Day 6: Florence, with a late afternoon train back to Rome for my 8 pm flight to Tunis.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I would like very much to see Florence as well, and the next time I go back to Italy I'd like to focus on villages and hill towns rather than cities. But on the other hand, I don't want to do Rome a disservice, and I'm worried that three and a half days plus one jet-lag day is just that. Opinions, y'all? (Oh, BTW, the length of the Tunisia section is not open for change.)
 
Nov 7th, 2000, 03:31 PM
  #2  
Monica
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Gina!

I think you can enjoy Rome in 3 full days (major sights and museums) knowing that you'll return someday to see the "rest" of Rome.

I would have your jet-lag day as one of the three days: check-in your hotel and have a leisurely day in Rome. You arrive early enough that you can even nap for 2 hours if needed. This way you can have the extra day for Florence. Only other option is to keep your time only in Rome and visit Florence and the Tuscany area on another trip. That way you can really savor Rome! There is much to see and so there. Tony and I were in Rome in 1998 and enjoyed many sights in 3 days. However, we were there in 1990. Although your "plan" is doable, I think you might be rushed with your trip to Florence, especially having to get back to Rome for you 8pm flight to Tunisia. Hope this helps!
 
Nov 7th, 2000, 03:36 PM
  #3  
wendy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hmmm, this is a tough one. Do you know what you want to see in Rome yet? Do you have any kind of itinerary? I spent 4 full days in Rome, and while I covered all the major sights, a couple of more days would have been great.

I thought Florence was a little dull. There's some really great art, but the city itself isn't really that exciting. Two days for me was plenty, but you might really like it.
 
Nov 7th, 2000, 07:03 PM
  #4  
Gina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Monica and Wendy, thanks for the advice. My Rome plan is still shaping up as far as exactly what I want to do, but as this will be my first time in the city, I'll be doing the "traditional" stuff (and I plan to take a lot of guidance from Ed & Julie's site). (Just had to get that in there.)

So we're talking Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, Vatican City, yadda yadda. I know the major sights are doable in what amounts to three and a half days; the question is whether I want to do that.
My other option would be to go straight to Firenze by train on arrival in Rome (since I get in at 7:45, I could probably clear customs and be there by 11:30ish), spend the rest of the afternoon acclimating and walking around Florence, spend the night there, and then spend most of the next day there and take an evening train to Rome. That gives me four full days in Rome, plus the day on which I fly to Tunis (at 8 pm). Does that seem to make more sense? Any Florence fans think I'd need more time than that for a first visit? (It's always possible that I'll come back!)

Some people seem to love Florence and some are pretty "eh" about it. Thoughts?
 
Nov 8th, 2000, 03:59 AM
  #5  
enzo torre
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Is it your choice only between rome and florence or also between rome and something else? Of corse to give you advice it woul usefull to know what are your interest. if you are intersted in art you should not miss florence and Galleria degli Uffizi, but in case you are more interested in people, way of living etc. why don't you consider to spend 1 and 1/2 days in Naples? it is closer to rome than florence, is very close to pompei that as you know is one of the most important archeological site of the world and is one of the liveliest cities in italy, not to mention pizza, mozzarella di bufala,and espresso where napolitans do their best. Don't believe people saying naples is too a dangerous city as it is as dangerous as new york or miami if you walk in the wrong places at the wrong time! Sorry if it doesn't help you to decide!
 
Nov 8th, 2000, 05:23 AM
  #6  
howard
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Since you say that you already plan to go back to Italy, is it possible that you would go back more than once? I'm from the school of "more time in fewer places," and thus recommend spending the entire six days in Rome and its environs (i.e., possible side trips to nearby Ostia Antica, Tivoli, etc.). There's that much to see and do. Besides a day/day and a half in Florence is a bit of a tease.
And, since you're likely to fall in love with Italy (!), you'll go back again and again! Save Florence for another trip. (And you haven't even mentioned Venice which is another story!)
 
Nov 8th, 2000, 05:30 AM
  #7  
elaine
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Gina
The timetable you mentioned seems to boil down really to the equivalent of barely one full day in Florence.
I would suggest traveling there on the evening of day 4 or the early morning of day 5, to give yourself a little more time to see the glories of Florence, if you decide to go there.
 
Nov 8th, 2000, 05:37 AM
  #8  
Gina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks, everyone, for the perspectives. I'm starting to lean toward saving Florence for next time (and there will be a next time, soon!), despite the strong temptation. Oh, and Howard, I've already been to Venice; it may be my favorite city of all, and I will definitely go back...just not this trip.

I'm sure I will have more than enough to do in Rome for six days; it's just that the proximity to all that amazing art--the Duomo, the Baptistry, the Uffizi, the Bargello, and Dante's and Michelangelo's houses--makes me quiver. Then again, I wouldn't want to have to rush those things.
 
Nov 8th, 2000, 08:38 AM
  #9  
Beth Anderson
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Gina,

Just to throw some more thoughts out there... whatever you do, I am sure you'll be happy with it!

one thing I did not see mentioned which you may/may not know about - there is a walking tour group which I have heard raves about in my research for Italy, called Scala Reale

http://www.scalareale.org/

caveat: I have not been to Italy yet, but plan to visit there this spring. I fully intend to contact these guides, and they also have affiliates in Venice and Florence.

also, a friend of mine travels extensively - he lives in London, picks up consultancy contracts for 6-9 months and spends the entire summer (4 months at a time sometimes) traveling in between contracts. He ESPECIALLY liked Florence and said the time he spent there was not enough.

You have very good pro-con reasons for limiting yourself to Rome this trip, but, look at it like this: if there are a few musuems which you just must see in Florence, perhaps a January (short) trip would cover those museums without the huge crowds. Perhaps you would not need to reserve ahead of time to get into the Uffizi to see David for instance (or could actually see him up close).

just thoughts. keep us informed!

Beth
 
Nov 8th, 2000, 12:30 PM
  #10  
carol
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Gina,

Besides its fabulous sights, magnificent architecture, and glorious public spaces Rome is also filled with extraordinary masterpieces of painting and sculpture. IMO, six days there is a teaser which will merely whet your appetite to spend even more time there. What a city! Take a look at the Blue Guide to Rome for a sense of the inexhaustible numbers of treasures to be found there.
 
Nov 8th, 2000, 12:32 PM
  #11  
Carol
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Also check out the Past Hosted Forum on Rome on this site. There's a fair amount of discussion of Rome in the winter months and lots of other good information.
 
Nov 8th, 2000, 12:56 PM
  #12  
luigi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Gina,
I just came back from my fourth visit to Rome in 8 years. We were there for 5 nights and then took the train to Venice for four nights.

I have also been to Florence three times and based on your time schedule and having done what you are suggesting, I would go ahead and wait for Florence. Even though it is a short trip, between getting back and forth to the train stations, packing and unpacking, checking out and back in, etc, you really end up wasting a lot of time.

It sounds like you have already made up your mind to stick to Rome this trip. I am just offering a second to that vote! You will NOT run out of things to see and do in Rome in six days, believe me.

And by the way, I don't believe the David is in the Uffizi, but rather in the Accademia museum in Florence.

Oh yes, one last thing: Make SURE you visit the recently reopened Galleria Borghese in Rome. It is well worthwhile.
ciao e buon viaggio!
luigi
 
Nov 8th, 2000, 02:50 PM
  #13  
nancy
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Luigi!
Hope you had a lovely time.
nancy
 
Nov 8th, 2000, 04:02 PM
  #14  
howard
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
To offer further reassurance that you're doing the right thing by saving Florence for another trip: We were there 2 1/2 days last year and felt we barely touched what's there to be seen. Spending less time there is even more of a tease!
 
Nov 8th, 2000, 06:27 PM
  #15  
Gina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks, everyone, for all the input! I do have a ton of guidebooks (sometimes I think I should just sign my checks directly over to the Travel Books & Language Center), but it's always so much more useful to get individual perspectives on a specific dilemma like this one. Based on all your input, I've pretty much settled on saving Florence for another time. (*Very very soon*, I swear!)

Oh, BTW, anyone who's debating which Rome guidebooks to buy--while I can't verify its usefulness as I haven't made the trip yet, I *highly* recommend Time Out Rome. The Time Out guidebooks are my absolute favorite city guides; Time Out Venice, Paris, and Amsterdam were enormously useful on my trips to those cities, and I'm betting my Rome guide will prove to be just as good. I hope they continue to expand their list of cities covered.
 
Nov 30th, 2000, 12:11 PM
  #16  
Terry
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Everyone should see Rome. You may never go back but see it once.Last Feb. my wife and I did Venice, Florence, Rome and Sorrento ( Amalfi Drive )This year we are doing Venice again, Florence again and Siena which will be new.I think this may tell you something.Besides the food and wine can't get any better than in Tuscany.
 
Nov 30th, 2000, 05:10 PM
  #17  
Rod Hoots
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
You didn't say why you were going to Tunisia. I've been there three times, on business, visiting all parts of the country. A lot of historical things happened there, but little visible evidence is left and I think you could cover the most interesting in three or four days. If possible, I would trade about three days of your Tunisia time for Florence.
 
Dec 6th, 2000, 04:58 PM
  #18  
julie
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I spent 4 days in Rome and 1 1/2 days in Florence. 4 days in Rome was sufficient as long as you are organized about your tours. 1 1/2 days in Florence was not long enough for us. We were not even able to see the Uffizi. Also, David is not in the Uffizi, he is in a museum around the corner. It was a small museum but I loved it. It had a lot of partially completed sculptures that were just amazing.
I would advize that you do go to Florence for at least 1 1/2 days, 2 would be better.
Also, I always save my jet-lag for when I get home. Take a dramamine on the plane and sleep the whole trip over.
Have a great trip
 
Dec 7th, 2000, 04:44 AM
  #19  
Gina
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Rod, thanks for the advice, but no, I'm really interested in spending a full week in Tunisia. It's a place that's not all that touristed--yay!--and my guidebooks (LP and Rough Guide) have provided me with a host of interesting prospects, from the Muslim holy city of Kairouan (fourth holiest in the Islamic world, and the only holier one that non-Muslim travelers can see is Jerusalem--where I"d hesitate to go at the moment) to all of the ancient Roman sites--Bulla Regia, Dougga, etc.

And yes, I know that Carthage is largely gone, but I do want to see it. I'm also interested in the desert south, and various villages there. I know I'll be getting back to Italy a lot and there will be plenty of chances to see Florence, but probably not so many for this unusual trip to Tunisia.
 
Dec 7th, 2000, 05:40 AM
  #20  
JohnC
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Don't miss Florence, even if you'll be going back soon. The train trip is easy and relaxing, and after bustling around noisy (wonderful) Roma, the more compact scale of Florence will be refreshing. The art is unforgettable (don't miss the Fra Angelico frescoes in the old monastery), and the Duomo is (to my eye) the most beautiful building in Italy. Finally, January is a great time to go there. My wife and children and I spent a couple of days in Florence last February, and it was far more pleasant than the first time my wife and I visited (in August). We walked into most of the museums with no wait at all. Enjoy.
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:39 AM.