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Scavi tour -- how claustrophobic?

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Jul 8th, 2013, 05:24 PM
  #1
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Scavi tour -- how claustrophobic?

We have reservations for the Scavi tour at St. Peter's in October. I have mild to moderate claustrophobia. Has anyone with that problem actually done the tour -- and not panicked?
Just how closed in is it all?
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Jul 8th, 2013, 05:35 PM
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I have very mild and it was not bad. It is a little tight, with narrow path and low ceilings.
Since it is underground there are no windows . There is room for a group of about 15 and it keeps moving along.
Unless you really,really want to do the tour you might want to skip it (if you are closer to moderate than mild).
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Jul 8th, 2013, 06:58 PM
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I do not think of myself as claustrophobic but I really wanted to get out of there. It was interesting but
I would not do it again.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 07:00 PM
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I have mild claustrophobia and had no problems whatsoever. To be honest I had more of a problem when I did the catacombs in Paris (I got a little anxious going down all the narrow stairways but was okay once we reached the actual catacombs).
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Jul 8th, 2013, 07:06 PM
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There was a woman in our tour who had claustrophobia. She had a little hesitation going through passageways but was OK once she entered each chamber/room on the other side. She would lag behind the group slightly so that she could walk through each passageway without needing to slow down. We were there in late October and were surprised at how warm it was underground.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 07:24 PM
  #6
 
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Scroll down to the pictures, it should give you a good idea.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...8&postcount=71
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Jul 8th, 2013, 08:39 PM
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I don't think those photos are representative of the entire excavation covered by the tour.

There is a slideshow of a few more photos on this website:

http://www.daramccarthy.com/tourguid...necropolis.php
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Jul 8th, 2013, 09:51 PM
  #8
 
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I went 6 months ago.
The main Scavi itinerary is fine I think with those with claustrophobia, as the ceiling, which is the foundation of the Constantine basilica built on top of the Roman burial chambers, is about 12 feet or more. You can opt out of poking your head into some side chambers with low ceiling (about 7 feet). So sticking to the main tour route, you should be fine. It's well lit, and since each group is limited in size, you don't feel squashed.
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Jul 9th, 2013, 10:54 AM
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Jean --- do you know how did Dara McCarthy got pictures? I thought pictures underground not allowed.
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Jul 9th, 2013, 11:38 AM
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I would pass. The McCarthy article even says if you are claustrophobic it's not for you.
To me, it wasn't the ceiling height. It was the being underground that was a little nerve-wrecking, and my claustrophobia is mild.
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Jul 9th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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I think the photos on Dara McCarthy's website are official Vatican photos.
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Jul 9th, 2013, 12:16 PM
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It's not a long distance covered so you would always be fairly close to the entrance and the exit when you get to the chapel/tomb area.

I recall reading a trip report when 1 person couldn't continue for whatever reason and the guide just estorted that person out and resumed the tour.

This is likely common and not a big deal for the guides.

The beginning of the tour spends quite a bit of time at the Pagan tombs and this basically right at the bottom of the entrance stairs.

"Excuse me but I have to leave" and you'd be out of there in seconds.

I'd say give it a try just hang back from the group to avoid crowding if that bothers you and have a Plan-B where you will meet up with the other part of "We" after the tour.

My thing is heights, I couldn't walk around the top of the Tower of Pisa and I just waited at the outside doorway until the tour returned and we walked back down the inner spiral staircase.

There are some photo and video links here that will also show you the different areas of the tour.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...or-fiction.cfm

Although I would scroll-down to May 25, 13 01:32 PM and use the later updated post link and the follow-up discussion on the other link.
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Jul 9th, 2013, 05:22 PM
  #13
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Thanks all -- I think I will go with the "hang back and jump out if necessary" plan. Since I made the reservations for everyone I feel I "should" accompany them!
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Jul 9th, 2013, 05:41 PM
  #14
 
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I have what I believe to be mild claustrophobia and did this tour two years ago without incident. No problems whatsoever. Hope all this advice helps!
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Jul 9th, 2013, 06:06 PM
  #15
 
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>>>I thought pictures underground not allowed.<<<

They aren't and the groups are small so the guide would probably notice an attempt.
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Jul 9th, 2013, 08:11 PM
  #16
 
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losaltos --- to add to someone else's comment that the guide will escort you up, etc.

We saw one phone down there and our guide mentioned that he'd have to call up for the office to trigger the "door unlock" mechanism. So just keep in mind that even if you need to be escorted up, it might not be immediate.

My dad had a very hard time breathing down there, but he has high blood pressure sometimes with anxiety so that might have been an issue. It was hot and stuffy. About 90 degrees above ground.
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Jul 9th, 2013, 08:13 PM
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kybourbon --- I didn't and would never sneak pictures down there, lol. God is watching.
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Jul 9th, 2013, 08:17 PM
  #18
Ian
 
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One of those links above is using the pics that I managed to get. Our Hungarian guide let me snap some without flash but officially they are verboten.

http://members.rennlist.org/imcarthur/roma.htm

My wife is mildly claustrophobic but managed. I agree that it is rather warm down there. You only have a problem when your mind kicks in & you realize just what is above you.

Ian
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Jul 9th, 2013, 09:02 PM
  #19
 
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If you have any doubt, just ask your doc for a couple of low-dose Xanax.

I am mildly claustrophobic but have been on this tour 3 times w/o incident.

Buon viaggio!
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