Rome in 5 days; are we doing too much?


Aug 9th, 2004, 07:27 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 91
You have mentioned so many wonderful sights. Each one reminds me of a happy moment or interesting encounter. I know the temptation to creat a overly planned visit in order to "see more". But the idea of checking off treasures from a list sounds like turning a memorable trip into a huge rushed hassle. You are going to one of the most beautiful places on earth, choose fewer sites wisely and enjoy!
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Aug 9th, 2004, 07:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 14,483
Two experiences in Rome come to mind, both ocurred upon leaving the Galleria Borghese (the sculpture is too beautiful for words; skip the painting upstairs).

We set off in the Villa Borghese park from the Galleria Borghese, and spent the entire rest of a beautiful Sunday afternoon exploring the vast grounds of the park. Ponds, gardens, playgrounds, horses, a cafe, people playing games... we loved it and it really took hours to get to the area below the Pincio.

2. This March, upon leaving the gallery, we spied a bocce game. My husband wanted to take a few photos, and we ended up watching the match, and the dogs, and wives, and friends of the players for an hour or more. This is one of my favorite memories of Rome.

I share these, just to let you know that Rome is full of wonderful moments, as well as museums, churches, and monuments.

I will also add that at home, I am not a shopper. But I love to window shop in Rome.

My suggestion is to divorce your itinerary, make sure you go to the places you really want to see, and don't hesitate to relax and follow a whim.
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Aug 10th, 2004, 01:06 AM
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We spent 4 nights in Rome on our first family trip to Italy in June, and Rome was wonderful, exciting, just amazing, and had the best food in Italy, we thought.

We flew into rome and had 3 full days in rome. (3 full days, 4 nights.) So I planned 2 of these days carefully and left the 3rd day as "free choice" day. It turned out to be a wonderful plan, and I strongly urge you to leave the last day of your Rome stay a "free choice" day. by the time that day arrives, you will all know exactly how you want to spend that day!

Also, as someone else said, you need to leave some "free choice" hours in your other days, so that when you just happen to run into something interesting, you won't have to say, gotta run, we're behind "schedule"...

Since we visited rome in June, I left a few hours in the afternoon as free choice time. That really helped the whole day to flow better.

Where is your hotel? The location of your hotel makes a big difference. I recommend the Streetwise Rome map, which is plastic-coated and has a street and piazza index and has major sights marked. There's also an Artwise Rome map. You can buy them at a large bookstore.

Don't plan too many museums. Every museum is so crammed with amazing art in Italy it just overwhelms you, and you can't appreciate it all at once. Better to spend more hours enjoying a couple museums at your leisure than frantically trying to cram in 3 or 4 museums and feeling like you're really missing stuff...

Also your feet will be really worn out. for example on the day you see the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's you probably will be too tired to do anything else that day unless you go back to your hotel and rest, then you will have energy for dinner and a nice romantic walk after dinner. Even my teens were pooped after the Vatican Museums and St. peter's. You probably won't want to see Castel Sant'Angelo right after seeing the VAtican Museums and St. peter's.

You'll have a great trip if you expect two things to happen: First, you won't have time to do everything you have planned, because everything takes more time than you think it does. Second, you will find unexpected things that you enjoy and you'll want to fit these in.

Here's how we divided our time and it worked well, and allowed us extra time in these days to be side-tracked in wonderful ways: First full day, Ancient rome: started with a 3-hour private guided walking tour; were able to skip the line at the colosseum with our private licensed guide; saw Ancient Rome sites including Roman Forum, Colosseum, House of the Vestal Virgins, Mammertine Prison, Piazza Campidoglio, the Pantheon, and more, all with our guide...actually she was generous and we ended up with more than 3 hours with her. I didn't schedule anything else for this day because I knew that we would think of plenty to do after this exciting beginning, and we did! We easily filled up the rest of the day, finishing up with ancient rome on our own, resting in our hotel, enjoying a fun dinner and seeing sights near our hotel, including Piazza Navona and the Trevi fountain.

Second full day, we saw St. peter's Basilica (wow! stunning!), and the Vatican Museums, on our own, with guidebooks. This tired us out for the day and it was fantastic. Vatican Museums closed at 4:30 for us in June. We had time to rest before dinner. Enjoyed another walk after dinner.

third full day was our "free choice" day. Husband and teens were eager to return to St. Peter's for a last look as they were so fascinated with it, and also to climb the dome of St. Peter's. I chose to spend my time writing in my journal and re-visiting my favorite places, within walking distance of my hotel, such as the Pantheon and Piazza Navona and Giolitti's gelateria. We all got together for dinner and also saw the Spanish steps at night. Lots of people on the Spanish steps at night in June.

What worked for us is I did major research, and then purposely under-planned our days. But I brought info with me of additional sights, museums, fountains, etc. that we could fit in if we ran out of things to do. This plan worked out really well.

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