Rome in 3 Days

Old Apr 20th, 2010, 05:14 PM
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Rome in 3 Days

Hi: You folks did a great job helping me plan an itinerary for Athens in 5 Days. I really appreciate the input and will follow most of the suggests. Surprisingly we were able to expand our time away so we are traveling 6-1 to 6-13. My husband and boys (based on various 3rd party input) are sure they will go stir-crazy if we stay in Greece that long so we are booked to leave Athens and arrive in Rome by noon 6-9 departing early Sunday 6-13. Since time is of the essence, I was hoping Fodorites could help again and give me a "Rome in 3" how too list.

1. What are your suggestions for the Top 5 must do's and what are the secrets to getting in and getting it done. We have the travel guides, but you folks must have some secrets that can't be put into published print that will help me avoid the long waits and crowds on the top see & do locations. I am not assuming this will be my only trip to Rome but would love to hit the highlights and get the most out of the short time.
2. We usually have everyone in 1 room w/kids on the floor - that's the mother duck in me. I am being told Rome has strict occupancy rules for two adults per room only and no cots. In Greece we are 4 adults but in Rome we will be 5 adults. Any thoughts on this restriction? It is killing us that we have to reserve 2 rooms each day
3. We are booked into the Marriott Courtyard Rome Central Park 2 days and then Rome Marriott Park 2 days. The first says it has some sort of paid shuttle to Rome and the second seems to be on some sort of bus route.
4. Do you recommend advanced reservations for entrance into attractions in either Rome or Greece?
Anyone who believes that you can't get there with points needs to keep the faith. So far all hotel and plane tickets are committed. The only thing I have had to spend money on is for taxes and surcharges plus the $75 change fee because we decided to go to Rome after the points had been converted to tickets -- that's our fault
Thanks in advance -- Joes trip is going to be a fabulous family memory.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 05:46 PM
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I'm no expert on Rome, having only been once before. But I can recommend a wonderful tour guide, Daniella Hunt (her website is We saw the Roman Forum and Colosseum with her and had a terrific time. Highly recommend
a tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's. We used
Context Rome. Villa Borghese is a lovely park, and the Borghese Gallery is a revelation, with its stunning Bernini
sculptures. If you go, you need to reserve tickets ahead of time(or have your hotel do it for you). Entries are timed in
2 hour increments. The Pantheon is well worth a visit.
The Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona,
Piazza del Popolo, Campo de Fiori. On our list for our next
trip: Capitoline Museums, San Clemente, San Pietro in Vincoli,
Trastevere. Consume large quantities of gelato. We particularly liked Giolitti, Il Gelato di San Crispino, and
Tre Scalini for their tartufo.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 06:31 PM
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Most people find points easy to use in Italy, but the hotels are usually not convenient/central. American chains tend to be on the outskirts of cities. Both your hotels are on the outskirts without good transportation so either use their shuttles or take taxis.

The Rome Tourist Board has a 2 and 4 day itinerary.

They also have suggestions for kids, but I don't think they are very good.

If you plan to visit the Vatican Museums, I would book entrance tickets (or a guided tour) with the Vatican so you don't have to wait in line.

Normally I suggest the Roma Pass (25€)for three days, but not sure it would be worth it for you, nor am I familiar with how it works for kids (you didn't mention kids ages). It gives you free admission to your first two sites (Vatican is not part of it), discounts at others and a transport pass good for buses, trams, metro, local trains for three days. You also get to bypass the ticket lines. The Colosseum/Forum/Palantine Hill counts as one entrance.
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Old Apr 20th, 2010, 06:34 PM
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You should be able to see the "main" sites in Rome if you plan well. Tickets online before leaving is going to be the key to avoiding the lines. If interested (highly recommended), plan a day for the St. Peter's and the Vatican Museums. We did the tour with the "authorized" tour guides (hired with a purchased ticket online). From my experience, it seems like they have the "power" to move other groups aside. The climb to the top of St. Peter's is well worth the effort for the view of all of Rome. Plan a day of the historical sites: The Colosseum, The Forum, Circus Maximus, etc. Again, get the tickets online to avoid the lines. We loved doing the fountains at night. Trevi (be careful of the guys with Roses), Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, Campo de Fiori, the Spanish Steps. The Partheon should be on your list (no tickets needed and no real line while we were there). And near the Piazza Colonna there is a WONDERFUL gelaterria called Giolitti. The line is long but SO worth it. Get the whip cream on the top... HEAVENLY!!! Rome is such a wonderful place just to "be". There is a wonderful (a bit pricey - around 130 euro for dinner and a nice bottle of wine for 2) restaurant that we visit each time we are in Rome called Hostaria Costanza's. Not overrun with tourists and the food was wonderful.

Hope some of this helps. Have fun!!!
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 12:49 PM
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I realize that you're using points, but if at all financially possible, I highly recommend that you change to a hotel closer to the center of Rome. You say you want to maximize your time, but you will waste a lot of time getting anywhere. You are a LONG way from everything you will want to see.

The first one is 5.4 miles from the Piazza Navona (the center of Rome), has no shuttle, and is over a mile to the metro station. The second one is 12.1 miles from the Piazza Navona, and their paid shuttle is 10E per person, so with your group, 50E per trip! Being this far away from the hotel means it is almost impossible to stop back there during the day without wasting all that travel time a second time.

That said, for your three days, plan a day for the Vatican/St. Peter's (see reservation information above), a day for the Colosseum/Forum, and do a little research to see what else interests you. Rome has so much to offer!
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 01:12 PM
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Joestrip, we have rented hotel rooms in Rome that allowed three people, my husband and I and our daughter. But the hotel rooms I can think of that would be big enough for five people would be very expensive hotel rooms..more like a suite or a suite such as we have had in Florence. You will need to contact the hotels in Rome to receive the official answer as to whether or not they will allow five guest in one room.

I have never rented an apartment but I believe some Fodorites have rented apartments in Rome for a short stay as you will be having. That might solve the problem and it would consequently have you in Rome rather than so far away. Hopefully some Fodorites will chime in about their apartment experiences or you could do a search here on Fodor's, if you are interested of course. Best regards and have a wonderful family trip!
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 02:35 PM
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Consider a one day trip with a Roman guide: we used Rome Cabs, and he created a tour to our specifications: Spanish steps, Trevi fountain, San Pietro in Viocoli (The Moses by Michalangelo is magnificent), Pantheon, Colosseum, Forum and a relaxing lunch break.

For the Vatican, we used Context Tours, and were very pleased with what we got to see. They got entry passes for us, showed us 4 hours worth of sights, educated us on some of the exhibits. Our guide was a museum exhibit planner who knew what she was talking about.
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 02:36 PM
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Also meant to tell you for a fun evening, check out Trestavere. Tratorrias, wine bars, great relaxed vibe.
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 06:11 PM
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You must be using Marriott points... check out what other MR members say on There are plenty of messages about both Marriott properties. Grand Flora would be a better option but I know it's difficult to get (I emailed everyone at Marriott numerous times before the Asst. GM contacted me and granted me access via points!)and it costs more points.

You can send a private message from the Insiders page to ProfChiara who has stayed at the Courtyard. She recommends it. There is a shuttle to the metro near the Vatican but better be first on line. It only runs once an hour and, if full... There is also a very close train line (about 1 block away from the hotel, I believe).

Others have not been happy with the full-service Rome Marriott Park. They also have a shuttle, think you have to pay for it. There is a bus line that runs in front of the hotel but it is much further out from where you want to be.

Good luck and have a great trip!
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Old Apr 21st, 2010, 10:12 PM
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Definitely change hotels - we stayed too far out of Rome and it was a pain in the neck. - Fodor's can help with itinerary suggestions There used to be a 3 day Rome itinerary, a 5 day Rome itinerary, but I couldn't find them. Make sure you keep things geographical so that you aren't tearing around like lunatics!!

The Forum/Palatine Hill/Colosseum combination ticket it worthwhile. Buy the tickets at The Forum or at Palatine Hill so that you avoid the queues at the Colosseum. Then when you get to The colosseum keep to the left of the HUGE queue of people waiting to buy tickets and walk straight past them (no smirking at this point!). You can then go straight through the bag check/security check and you are IN!! My husband used to scoff at the time I spent on Fodor's but this fabulous piece of advice and others converted him too.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2010, 01:45 PM
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The allure of the points stay is great, but you can definitely rent an apartment big enough for your brood for a surprisingly good price in Rome, and many are available for as short as a 3-night stay. We will be in Rome the first week of June and are renting a place for 3 for €150/night. It helps with food costs, too -- especially on snack food and breakfasts in our case.

Happy planning!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2010, 11:54 AM
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I am a fan of apartments in Italy. You may have points to spend, but you don't have much time in Rome and staying way out of the center is not worth it. And in an apartment you have a kitchenette and a living room so people can spread out and relax. And you can go there for a siesta if it's hot in the middle of the day. And at the end of the day when you are exhausted, you don't have to take forever to get "home".

We are going to stay here in September: which could accommodate your family. It gets great reviews on TripAdvisor.
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 06:59 AM
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joannyc - thank you so very much or the Marriott insiders link. I did not know about it and will use it for future trips--wish I had it last year. I learned a lot including how to get around via public transport and passes and what to avoid. You are all correct in saying both locations will require inconvenience in getting to the sites, and yes daily we will spend some money in doing so but good chance is it will be less than the daily apartment rate that we cannot afford so the price we pay is our time. For most folks time is money, for us the saying is also true but the opposite of what it usually means. The Marriott Insiders link as well as all of you have allowed us to be forewarned so we will be able to set our expectations accordingly.
I am so happy I stumbled across Fodor's and all the folks who take the time to respond and offer their insights and experiences through the forum
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 09:25 AM
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 11:15 AM
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IMO - if you can't afford staying in the center, you would be much better off cutting back one night. 3 nights IN Rome will let you see more than 4 nights that far out of town.

You say you are only spending (wasting) time, but in Rome that time is essential.
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 11:17 AM
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Meant to add - the transfer between your 2 hotels will eat up about 1/2 a day so you are losing even MORE time in Rome . . . .
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