Sights and Tours in Rome on a budget!!

Old May 22nd, 2010, 05:48 PM
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Sights and Tours in Rome on a budget!!

We are headed to Italy for the first time and are very excited!!

We are trying to plan in advance to avoid as many lines as possible. We are planning to get the Roma Pass in Rome and think it is a good deal. Any thoughts??

The Roma Pass gets us in to the Colosseum but the Rick Steves guide doesn't walk us through like he does for other sites. Is the audioguide a good buy? Any suggestions on how to get the most for our money and still learn a lot? With a normal ticket can you still get in and see all the "goods?" Is it even possible to go down to the bottom and stand where the gladiators stood? If so do you need a guide?

We are planning to buy in advance to see the Vatican but aren't sure about tours. Rick Steves does a good job of planning it out but we don't know if we should download his itunes guide, rent an audioguide there, or schedule a professional guide. Your thoughts and help would mean a lot to us!
JnJSanDiego is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2010, 07:14 PM
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Hi JnJSanDiego ,
We used Rick Steve's guides for the UK, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy.

The reason IMO that there isn't a really detailed tour of the Colosseum in his books is because it is really self explanatory as you walk around. The museum section has descriptions of all the goods on display. I do not know if you can get down to where the gladiators stood. We could not and no one was down there when we visited. Maybe on a tour but not with a regular ticket.

We got to the Colosseum about 15 minutes before it opened and were the first ones in line. After two hours it started to get really busy, but it is still very easy to walk around and see everything.

It's a great idea to buy your ticket ahead for the Vatican. You bypass the huge line and are on your way to exploring. Just go up to the front of the line. Show your website printout to the guard and he will wave you in to go through security. Quick and easy. So worth it to buy ahead.

We just used Rick Steve's tour guides for everything but the itunes guides sounds great. Plus it will save you money if that is your primary goal, as it was ours also. We also used audioguides in many museums in Europe and they worked great for the most part.

Have fun,
michele_d is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2010, 07:17 PM
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You can download Rick's audio guide free for MP3 on his website or from ITunes (also free) for IPod. You can listen to them after you download and see if you think it's enough detail. If not, then you could rent the Colosseum's audio guide or they also have a tour. The tour is an extra 4€ I think and is 45 minutes.

For the Vatican, you might want to book one of their tours (Rick offers audio guide for the Vatican too), either the museum only or museum/St. Peter's. You can reenter the museum with your ticket that day.

The admission to the Colosseum/Forum/Palantine counts as one use on the Roma Pass. You can revisit during the three days if you want. If you will be in Rome on a Monday, then you might want to skip the pass as many things it covers will be closed.

Pierreci sells tickets for the various sites and has audio downloads. I think they are free, but you will need to check. I don't know if they are the same as the audio guides the Colosseum rents or not.

For the audio guides, scroll down.

To get the value of the Roma Pass (25€)use your first two entrances for the most expensive places, the Colosseum (12) and the Borghese (8.50€+ they charge a fee for reservation which is required). You still need a reservation for the Borghese, but you must call and make it telling them you are using a Roma Pass (or use the call back feature on their website). Plot your itinerary to use the pass on three consecutive days. You can't choose which are your free visits, the pass will automatically deduct the first two as free.
kybourbon is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2010, 07:43 PM
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Thanks so much to both of you!! You are helping us out a lot!
JnJSanDiego is offline  
Old May 22nd, 2010, 07:50 PM
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I agree, you don't really need a detailed guide to the Colosseum. I think we referred to whatever was in Rick Steves and the signs in the Colosseum. We did once take a tour (Context Tours, expensive, mostly for the Palatine Hill) that included the Colosseum, but there was little she said that we didn't already know.

For the Vatican, we've visited it with a Vatican tour and on our own, using the Rick Steves guide and the Rome Blue Guide. Though the Vatican tour was informative, I felt rushed, and there were things that the tour skipped that I would have liked to see or spend more time on. Reading our guidebooks worked the best for us.

Printed guidebooks vs. audio tours. For places like museums, I've found I like to move more at my own pace, which I find easier to do with a printed guide. We have used and enjoyed audio tours, but those were walking tours outdoors.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 08:17 PM
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Not just for the Colosseum, but useful for all Italy
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