Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Rome Itineray - I've done most of my homework; Needs fine tuning!

Rome Itineray - I've done most of my homework; Needs fine tuning!

Old Feb 16th, 2013, 06:17 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Rome Itineray - I've done most of my homework; Needs fine tuning!

First trip to Rome and there is so much to see, but I don't want to be so busy that we don't experience the city. Some things are already booked and cast in stone. Everywhere else, there is a lot of flexibility. I am open to any and all suggestions for improvement and have also posted a few specific questions. We will be staying in an apartment in the Pantheon area. Thank you!

Restaurant suggestions and suggestions for the evenings particularly welcome!

DAY 1 - WEDNESDAY, MAY 22
Train arrives from Florence @ 1:30; Get to and settle in apt. Streets by 2:30.
Shop to stock apt., and explore immediate area
5:30: Twilight Tour of Rome with Walks of Italy BOOKED (gives an overview of the historical district).
8:00: On our own – dinner and back to apt.

DAY 2 - THURSDAY, MAY 23
8:30 - Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palantine Hill 3 ½ hour tour with Walks of Italy – BOOKED
QUESTION: What is the best/fastest way to get from Pantheon area to metro stop at the Colosseum? I’ve read that walking is faster than buses or going all the way to Termini to get the metro back to the Colosseum. Opinions, please!
AFTERNOON – Walk to Jewish Quarter for lunch and explore. Afternoon and evening are open. Suggestions??

DAY 3 - FRIDAY, MAY 24
MORNING - 9:00 AM – Scavi Tour Booked 1 ½ hours.
10:45 – 12:30: Go to Castel Sant'Angelo, see that, take in the view, have lunch, and head back to the Vatican.
QUESTION: Is there enough time to do this and get back to the Vatican for 12:45???
1:00 - 3.5 hour Vatican Museum and Sistene Chapel Tour with Through Eternity – BOOKED
QUESTION: After the tour should we go to top of dome? I don’t feel the need to go to the top of everything, but I don’t want to miss those opportunities that are really special.
EVENING: Open

DAY 4 - SATURDAY, MAY 25
MORNING - Campo di Fiori and wandering the shopping areas of Rome – Spanish Steps area, etc.
AFTERNOON: Explore Trastevere
EVENING: Open

DAY 5 – SUNDAY, MAY 26
MORNING: Find a cool church and go to Mass
AFTERNOON - Borghese Gallery & Gardens, Piazza del Poppolo
EVENING: Open – Last night in Europe

DAY 6 – MONDAY, MAY 27 – Early flight home, leave apt. at 6:30am for 9:30 flight.
QUESTION: BEST/MOST RELIABLE TRANSPORATION? I don't mind hiring a car, but would feel better with a recommendation.
darlenef17 is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2013, 06:23 PM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I did forget to add that most of the shopping in the Spanish Steps area is out of our budget. We will be LOOKING! Any suggestions for shopping on a college student (my daughter) budget appreciated!
darlenef17 is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2013, 07:06 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,097
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Greetings Darlene. Rome is a fantastic city and you will most likely fall in love with it! I'll comment on your Friday, May 24th. I went on the Scavi Tour twice (once in 2006 and then in 2011). One lasted the 90 minutes but the other extending to almost 2 1/2 hours. It depends on the docent and the group as to how long the tour actually is. I would not plan on walking to Castle Sant'Angelo and then to the Vitican Museaum to meet your 1:00 tour. When you finish with the Scavi Tour, I recommend that you proceed directly upstairs to St. Peter's Basilica and spend a hour or so there; then a quick lunch before meeting your guide. I haven't felt the need to go to the top of the dome but I'm sure other's have done it and loved it. Since your tour is the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel it doesn't include St. Peter's and you don't want to miss that.Plus it is a more efficient use of your time. I don't know if your are a "museum person" (I am) and if you want to spend more time in the Vatican Museum, you can do so after your guide departs. 3.5 hours is not a long time for a museum so important and you may find you want to stay in the Sistine Chapal for a good, long look around.
The view from the top of Castle Sant'Angelo is picturesque ...but, bear in mind, it's not a quick trip to the top. Once you enter the castle, you start walking up a ramp - around and round - until you get to the top. There is not a lot to see in the castle although being inside such an ancient building is an unique experience. Then again, you'll have many unique expereinces in Rome.
more to follow:
Margaretlb is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 02:20 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Day 4 - please do not miss the Bernini ecstasy in San Francisco a Ripa church. It's in the front chapel on the left and a wonderful sculpture. You can go right up to the sculpture and since it's on the floor it's very visible (unlike Bernini's St Teresa which is up high and not as easily seen). The afternoon is the best time as the light comes in from a window and makes the sculpture quite visible.
adrienne is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 03:38 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 97
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<QUESTION: What is the best/fastest way to get from Pantheon area to metro stop at the Colosseum? I’ve read that walking is faster than buses or going all the way to Termini to get the metro back to the Colosseum. Opinions, please!<

Walking will be faster.From Pantheon area the closest metro stop is Barberini(Fontana Trevi)(red line).You should get off at Termini and take the blue line (2 stops) to Colosseo metro stop.
Instead of walking to Barberini metro stop,I'd prefer walking to the Colosseum if taxi is not an option.
senozkadir is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 04:09 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Margaret - Thank you for that information. I forgot to add that the tour finishes at St. Peter's, so it is included. I had planned to take the 5 hour tour, but the Scavi time I was given conflicted, so I had to choose the shorter one starting at 1:00 or come back another day. I, too, was concerned about having enough time. Your suggestion is a good one, and I think we will stay behind when the tour exits the Sistine Chapel to go to the Basilica so that we can explore more of the museums since we will have seen the Basilica earlier. I think a guide is more important for the museums anyway.

Adrienne: Is San Francisco a Ripa in Trastevere? I've not yet looked at the area in depth, I just know it's highly recommended as a place to spend time it, so I thought I'd allocate an afternoon.

Senozkadir: A taxi is an option, and we could certainly do that and save our feet for the Colosseum. Is it difficult to find a taxi in the Pantheon area? Do you have to phone ahead for taxis in Rome or are there frequent taxi stands?
darlenef17 is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 04:34 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes - the church is in Trastevere but not near the main square. If you're at all a Bernini fan you should not miss this. I love Trastevere and stayed there on one trip. It's not a spruced up area so don't immediately be put off by its look. Things are much cheaper there (eating and drinking) if you go beyond the main square.

<< Is it difficult to find a taxi in the Pantheon area? >>

Just walk to the nearest main street and you can hail a taxi. I find they are very cheap in Rome and well worth using. Make sure you note the meter when you get into the cab and make sure you get the correct change after paying the driver. Rome taxis are required to stop if you hail them (unless they are occupied).
adrienne is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 04:54 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, I've read wonderful things about Trastvere, and I am a Bernini fan. Had considered staying there just to get more of a "local" feel, but for the first trip, decided on a more central location.

Thanks for the taxi tip! Do we need to call for one on the morning of our departure, or are they easily hailed at all hours like NYC?

Biggest concern is that my phone will not work in Italy and as far as I know, the apt. does not have one. This isn't a problem EXCEPT for securing transportation to the airport. That's why I had considered hiring a car in advance. Suggestions?
darlenef17 is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 07:29 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 20,528
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you are a Bernini fan, I recommend reading The Genius in the Design: Bernini, Borromini, and the Rivalry That Transformed Rome by Jake Morrissey

A short walk uphill from the main square in Trastevere takes you to St Pietro in Montorio with Bramante's Tempietto in the courtyard and a great view.
Vttraveler is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 08:18 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My experience with booking a taxi in advance (Radio Taxi - they have dispatchers who speak English) is that they would not take an advanced booking if one did not have a phone number.

I would take a shuttle to the airport for your flight and not depend on hailing a taxi. I've used this shuttle a couple of times and found them to be reliable. I think there are recommendations from posters on this board that you can search for.

http://www.limoservicerome.com/

I second The genius in the Design.
adrienne is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 08:24 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 181
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To get to the Rome airport, I recommend using a limo service, which you can reserve weeks in advance. My family and I have used this service several times: http://www.romeshuttlelimousine.com/ The prices are displayed on their website.

It is one of several excellent limo services. You'll find others, including RomeinLimo , on my website.

Sometimes, it's not easy finding a taxi.

Another alternative is to find out if the owners or agency from which you're renting the apartment offer a limo service. If so, you could get a quote from them.

Have you considered buying a European cell phone? The basic phones are quite inexpensive - probably 30 euros or less - and cell phone calling using a local provider can be very reasonable. I use a cell phone to confirm arrival times when I'm renting an apartment and to make restaurant reservations and for other incidental uses. I find it very valuable.
IdyllicItaly is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 08:24 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Some other books of interest:

Michelangelo and and Pope's Ceiling (Ross King). Even if you don't have a chance to read/finish the book there's a map of the Sistine Chapel that you can photocopy. It tells what the panels mean and I thought it was interesting to have in the chapel.

An Architect's Rome (John M. McGuire, Jr.)

For Florence:

Bruneschelli's Dome (Ross King) and The Sixteen Pleasures (Robert Hellenga) - a fictional account of the "mud angels" who saved Florence's treasures from the overflowing banks of the Arno in the 1960s.
adrienne is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 10:00 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Will definitely take a look at all of the book recommendations - thank you!

Sounds like the limo/shuttle service is the way to go. This is the option I was leaning toward, but needed a few good, reliable recommendations. I will check both of these out.

IdyllicItaly - I've been researching cell phones for Europe just for the purpose you described. I'm reading that Italy is not always compatible with the phone that you buy in France, and that Italy is difficult in general with cell phones. We will be in France also. I can imagine that you would find it valuable. I'm already going into withdrawals thinking about being without it. I guess I will have to rely on phone cards and email. I'll have my pad. I don't think anything will be critical except securing airport transportation. The advice here has been very helpful.

I booked the apt. through Sleep in Italy. I did see an airport transfer option on their site, but when I inquired by email, the rep. at SII told me to talk to the owner and he could arrange a taxi. Not sure I feel so comfortable with that since it's for such an early hour. I'd feel much better if it were a "done deal" so to speak.
darlenef17 is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 10:13 AM
  #14  
jgg
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,683
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think your daughter might enjoy shopping/exploring in Trastevere. My college student daughter is studying in Rome right now, her apt is in Trastevere. She says there are a lot of students living there and good food and shopping in the neighborhood. Lots of activity at night, particularly on the weekend.

Our past two trips we have stayed near the Pantheon- you will not be disappointed!!
jgg is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 10:13 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 181
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Darlene,

As far as compatibility of a cell phone in France and in Italy, the phone will work but you would need a SIM card specific for France and a SIM card specific for Italy. Otherwise, using a SIM card that is specific to one country within another country will be very costly.

There are many other options, too, such as an International SIM card. (I find the SIM specific cards simplest for my own use but there can be lots of reasons not to use them, such as keeping your U.S. phone number and getting an International plan if your phone and your cell phone service support that.)

I believe this topic has been covered in detail on this forum.
IdyllicItaly is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 11:18 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 289
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We used Rome Cabs from the airport into Rome http://www.romecabs.com/. On time, price was as advertised and I would definitely use again.

There is a taxi stand next to the Pantheon (just to the right as you face the Pantheon). As I recall the taxis were lined up there as early as 7 AM. It was our experience when we hailed a cab on the street, they put an extra 3-5 euros on the meter to start. That did not happen when we used a taxi stand.

Also, we found that as a ploy to get an extra large tip, many of the taxi drivers feigned having no change. Therefore, I would recommend carrying 1 and 2 euro coins to help.
gh21 is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 11:24 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
jgg - Thank you for that tip.

IItaly - I've researched the phones extensively. We are with Sprint; they don't have an international plan that covers Europe; and all of their SIM cards are locked, even on the Galaxy s3, which we both have. I've more or less decided to forego a phone in France as the apt. is equipped with one and I can use Skype to "call" home. For Italy, I was planning to purchase a calling card and rely on payphones. I assume they are relatively easy to locate. Feedback on accessibility of pay phones in Rome? Again, I don't anticipate needing a phone often as most reservations and confirmations can be done via email. Biggest concern is leaving Rome on time! (Not that being "stuck" in Rome would be a bad thing - only on the bank account.)
darlenef17 is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 11:29 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
gh - good to know. I will be sure to carry that extra change and to check the meter! Unfortunately, for a 9:30 flight, we will have to leave between 6-6:30, so the taxis may not be lined up yet.

On another note, Delta says to arrive at the airport 3 hours before the flight. Is this really necessary? That seems REALLY early. I know that outbound, we don't plan to arrive at our airport until 2 hours prior to flight time, but security is very fast and lines are not long. Any opinions on how early to get to the airport for an international flight to the US from Rome?
darlenef17 is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 12:11 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 248
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<<<5:30: Twilight Tour of Rome with Walks of Italy BOOKED (gives an overview of the historical district).>>>

Good choice with you arriving in the afternoon, this way your travel day isn't a complete loss as far as seeing some sites.

<<<DAY 2 - THURSDAY, MAY 23
8:30 - Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palantine Hill 3 � hour tour with Walks of Italy � BOOKED>>>

Looks like a good deal as it includes the Colosseum's underground and 3rd level plus the 74e includes the admisson fees.

<<<QUESTION: What is the best/fastest way to get from Pantheon area to metro stop at the Colosseum? I've read that walking is faster than buses or going all the way to Termini to get the metro back to the Colosseum. Opinions, please!>>>

It's around a 20-25 walk. A bus for 2 is 3e and the Termini option is well out of the way.

It's a long day for you I'd take a taxi to the Colosseum Metro Station which is right across the street from the Colosseum and I assume that is the meeting point for the tour?

A definite taxi stand if you have no luck around the apartment area is to;
Face the Pantheon, walk down the street on its left side and in ~250m it ends at major street and there is a big taxi stand there (Largo di Torre Argentina). |T|_____(P)_<-- (I hope no icons appear)

<<<AFTERNOON � Walk to Jewish Quarter for lunch and explore. Afternoon and evening are open. Suggestions??>>>

This is after your Colosseum/Forum tour so ~noontime.

Even the 4hr tours that cover the Colosseum (not including the underground & 3rd level), Palatine and Roman Forum miss *alot* esp in the Roman Forum.

And I assume your tour ends in the Roman Forum?

It's a one of a kind place full of history perhaps after the tour spend alittle more time there with one of those free downloadable things or purchase the Roman Forum guidebook on the site.

An example; Guides will point to the Rostra and say that is where Marc Antony give Julius Caesar's funeral speech.
But that is a later Augustus addition mostly reconstructed.

If you stand at the triple Arch alongside the Rostra you will see a curved narrow long seperate section at the extreme rear of that Rostra with stairs behind it.
That is where Marc Antony stood and delivered his famous speech.
Rostra is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2013, 12:21 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 273
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Rostra - I think it's a good idea to "save" our feet for the sights. We will taxi to the Colosseum. Thank you for the directions. Yes, the tour includes the underground and the 3rd level, and it's a good suggestion to consider spending more time exploring after the tour.
darlenef17 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -