Rome Itinerary

Old Jul 30th, 2017, 10:21 AM
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Rome Itinerary

I'm not fond of lines, but the Rome leg of my trip falls on the weekend. Do you suggest any tours or fast pass for the following? I'm also open to rearrange my whole itinerary. Sunday at the Vatican be as busy as any other day?

9/18/2017 (Friday)
Roman Forum

9/18/2017 (Saturday)
Villa Borghese 
Spanish Steps 
Piazza diSpagna
Trevi Fountain
Piazza novanna

9/19/2017 (Sunday) Vatican
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 10:35 AM
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Or should I just get tickets on official sites (can't buy tickets?)

If so, how far in advance should I purchase tickets?
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 10:37 AM
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First day looks good.

Second day...I'd do a self-guided walk from one of the popular tour books...probably would include the last four items on your list and then some.

Third day...Walk up Via Giuglia (with a guidebook walk) to get to the Vatican.

I also suggest two hidden gem churches: Santa Sabina (5th c. minimalistic style as opposed to St Peter's Renaissance overkill) and Santa Prassede with it's great mosaics.

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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 10:50 AM
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As this is a trip in September this year, I would buy them now.

Can you not access the site for the colosseum etc? As well as ordinary tickets that give you access to the main part of the colosseum, you can also purchase a tour of the underground and the upper levels which people who have done it think is very good. The ticket also covers the Forum and the Palatine Hill and is valid for 2 consecutive days, which is worth bearing in mind if you find the first day too overwhelming.

If you want to see the galleria Borghese, you need to book and buy tickets in advance - you can't buy at the door.

As for the Vatican, it will be busy anyway, not sure about Sundays. i would book in advance for as early in the day as possible. However looking at the vAtican website, it says that the museums are closed on Sundays except the last one of the month which is free and cannot be booked:

However a bigger problem is that the Vatican thinks that that Sunday is 17/9/17, not 19/9/17 - have you got your days/dates right? [you have two 18/9/17!]

There are still tickets available for the Saturday 16th September - that would work, and you could always go back and see the bits of the Forum etc that you hadn't seen afterwards, or alternatively explore the Ghetto and/or Trastevere.

As for Sunday, I would move the Borghese to the Sunday and spend the rest of the day exploring the other sights you list, none of which requires you to book.

Here's the website:

Good luck and have a great trip.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 03:41 PM
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The Vatican Museums aren't open on Sunday unless it's the last Sunday of the month and then it's free. You could still visit St. Peter's on Sunday (doesn't require a ticket).
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 05:43 AM
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I used "Through Eternity" tours for the Colosseum and Forum. Excellent tour guide. Small group cost a bit more but was worth it. For Villa Borghese, you must purchase timed tickets in advance. A beautiful collection - well worth the visit. From there walk down through the gardens to Piazza del Popolo, over to Piazza di Spagna to see the Spanish steps and then on over to the Trevi fountain. Stop into some of the churches you'll pass along the way. If you're up to it, walk the few blocks over to the Pantheon and on to Piazza Navona.

Rome is a wonderfully walkable city. You'll get lost a few times (take a map), you'll stumble on beautiful sights and treasures. It looks like a long way on a map, but the blocks are short and the city is so fun and vibrant and full of beautiful sights around every corner. Enjoy. Can you tell I love Rome...
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 12:50 PM
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I wouldn't recommend visiting the Vatican Museums on the last Sunday of the month, when admission is free. There are no reservations available that day, the lines to get in are tremendously long, and the museum is crowded beyond belief. In addition, the Museums close early, so a lot of the people lined up to get in may not get in at all.

I visited once on a free Sunday, 20 years (if my memory is correct) in November. I swore I'd never do that again, and 20 years ago the crowds were nothing like they are now.

There are Friday evening openings of the Vatican at the time of year you'll be in Rome. These are much less crowded than daytime visits, although there are always some crowds. However, a visit to the Roman Forum and Colosseum may leave you too tired for an evening museum visit. I suggest you rearrange your schedule as follows:

Friday: Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps (located at Piazza di Spagna, so these are not two separate places). These things are really very near each other, and seeing all of them on one day won't tire you out. In the evening, visit the Vatican Museums. (This must be reserved in advance, preferably on the website.)

Saturday: Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Colosseum. You didn't mention the Palatine Hill, which is adjacent to the Roman Forum. It's a lovely park-like setting for many ancient Roman palaces and some Renaissance gardens. It also has great views over the Forum, and of the Colosseum. I suggest going to the Colosseum as late in the day as possible. Even if you've bought tickets in advance, there are sometimes long waits to get in, because there is a maximum of 3000 people allowed inside at once, and they often reach that limit. I once waited over 45 minutes to get in, even though I had tickets.

Sunday: you could visit St. Peter's Basilica, but you'd have to go very early or in the late afternoon. The Pope addresses the crowd in the square at noon, and recites the Angelus prayer with them. The immense crowds mean that access to the Basilica is blocked for hours.

I'm not sure what exactly you want to visit at the Villa Borghese, which is a large park, open to the public. There are several museums in the park; the most famous is the Galleria Borghese. If that's what you meant, this visit must be reserved in advance. You'd be given an entry time, and you have to get to the gallery about half an hour before your timed visit. You get exactly two hours from the entry time to see the gallery, and then everyone is made to exit before a new group can enter. There are many other art museums in Rome, some of which I like better than the Borghese Gallery, and none of them require a reservation. If you want to be flexible, you could consider visiting a different art museum. What sort of art do you prefer?

You could also switch my suggested Saturday and Sunday itineraries. This would avoid the problem of limited Sunday access to St. Peter's Basilica.
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