To Rome Next Month...

Old Oct 10th, 2003, 06:09 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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To Rome Next Month...

I'll be visiting Rome during Thanksgiving week for 7 full days. Staying at the Duca D'Alba near the Coliseum with my mother and daughters, (we are 21 to 62 years of age). I am planning 4 days in Rome with day trips to Tivoli, Florence and Pompeii/Amalfi Coast via private driver guide. is this itiniery reasonable? When in Florence we only have 6 hours...I'd like to see David at the Academia and I'd also like to shop and explore the town. Is it a sin to miss the Uffize if we see the Borghese Gallery in Rome?? I'm afraid too much art will not sit well with the younger adults. I'd appreciate any input, ideas, must sees...This site has been great, everyone offers great ideas. Thanks!!
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Old Oct 10th, 2003, 07:41 PM
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I'll be in Rome then, too. Same as last year...

Skip the Uffizi for such a short visit, especially if the people in your group are not art history majors. While the paintings there are "important," I find the galleries poorly lit, poorly hung, and poorly labelled. (And I was an art major in college!) See David, a smaller gallery and therefore quicker, less taxing visit.

Why Tivoli? I've never been there, but understand it is known for gardens which may not be at their best at this time of year.

All the day trips you mention are possible, but you may find it tiring.(The round trip to Pompeii is about six hours of travel.) I'd choose one, maybe two as definites, say Pompeii and Florence. See how you feel about adding on more once you've been there. Pompeii with a private driver will require preplanning and reservation, but Florence you could just go the day you want if you feel like it. We had no difficulty walking right in to see David without reservations last year at that time.
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Old Oct 11th, 2003, 03:57 AM
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Do yourself a favor and make a reservation for David. That way you will not have to wait in line.
I skipped the Uffizi (I was in Florence for 6 hours as well) since a website I read said that it would take 3 days to get through.
With waiting in the line for the Duomo, that will eat up a great amt of time for sightseeing. Also, the Duomo has different lines for different parts. I just went up the to the cupola (dome) and skipped the other parts. I just would have not have time for another line and tour.
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Old Oct 11th, 2003, 04:35 AM
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I agree with Ellen; two daytrips max for a 7-day trip to Rome. Pompeii and Florence are good choices. Pompeii is easy to do by train from Rome, once at the site, there are guides for hire by the ticket shed. I strongly recommend the guides at the site; they are locals and know what's going on like no one else. I took my Mom (66y/o) to Rome last Nov, and while she was a pro taking in the sights and the walks, by the end of the trip she was feeling it and slowing down a bit. Try to arrange your trip so that the farthest away sights be done first (in your case that would be the daytrips and Vatican?). Is there a chance I can talk you into skipping Florence and spending an overnight in Assisi? My Mom loved it. Have an enjoyable time.
Old Oct 11th, 2003, 06:12 AM
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Thanks for the ideas....I choose Tivoli because I wanted to experience a hill town outside of the city for a half day or so...any suggestions?? Also, what can I expect the weather to be from those of you who have been there in November?
laur655 is offline  
Old Oct 11th, 2003, 06:18 AM
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This has been a very strange year as far as weather is concerned. I have read a lot from people returning from Europe and raving about pleasant temps. I can only relate to you how the weather was like when I was there last Nov 9-19--- Early 50's in the morning, mid-morning warmed up to maybe 55's. Partly cloudy in the afternoon, still pleasant fifties, rain mid-afternoon, starts getting in the 40's by late afternoon on to the evening. Rain around 8pm. Good walking weather when it wasn't raining. Have fun-- Walking around the streets of Piazza Navonna (loved Via Coronari) at night is almost magical.
Old Oct 11th, 2003, 06:41 AM
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IMO, I'd dispense with the day-trips -- there's plenty to see and do in Rome in 7 days. Or, as a compromise, how about just one, using not-too-distant Orvieto as a hilltown in lieu of Tivoli? With Florence and Pompeii, it'd be hit-and-run.

Also, to accommodate varying attention spans, why not consider splitting up your party for short periods of time?
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Old Oct 11th, 2003, 07:08 AM
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Hi Laur

I urge you to reconsider going to Florence for only 6 hr. David is currently undergoing a cleaning and there are scaffolds covering one side and the back.

If you want to experience a hill town, take the train to Orvieto. You get to ride the funiculare up the hill, and it is a very nice old town with lovely views.

You can take a day trip to Pompeii if you wish via This will fill up your whole day. I don't recommend trying to go on to the Amalfi Coast.

In short, with only one week, I suggest that you stay close to Rome.

ira is offline  
Old Oct 11th, 2003, 07:21 AM
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We spent 4 pleasant nights at Duca D'Alba in May. It is in a residential area and surrounded by a variety of restaurants. One we liked (recommended by hotel staff) was Silvio's located a block away just beyond the Cavour Metro stop. Silvio's is very casual (lots of locals), very inexpensive, and serves very tasty food.

Also, it may help you in packing to know there is a self service laundromat just a few blocks away. Wash & Dry Lavarapido is located at 125/126 Via Urbana. Via Leonina and Via Urbana meet at the Cavour Metro stop.

Looks like you are planning a memorable trip - enjoy.
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Old Oct 11th, 2003, 07:42 AM
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Hi Laur655:
Your post was of particular interest to me. I will be taking my sister to rome for 8 days during that same time period. Though I have been to Europe many times, it is my first trip to Italy. I too am trying to determine what day trips are worth it and logistically how to manage getting to the destination and back. I was thinking about Orvieto, Pompeii, and perhaps Florence. Can you tell me about your decision to hire a private driver guide to Pompeii? Were you planning to use a private driver to Florence as well? What is the travel time to Florence?

Hi Maira:
Why did you suggest Assisi instead? Would it require an overnight stay?

To all:
I realize that Florence is difficult to do in one day, but what, besides David (the art), are the compelling reasons, if any, to try to do this? Is it worth it? What are the "must see" day trips? Oh dear, I'm just not at all sure what to do!
Old Oct 11th, 2003, 07:49 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I've been to Italy many times.I LOVE it!! All of my family comes from Italy.I'm Brazilian. I would skip Tivoli. It's beautiful, but you won't have enough time, so spend most of your time in Rome (you could even stay the whole time there, and even so would not be able to see everything! Rome is my favorite Italian town!) You can go to Florence by train (very modern trains). If I were you I would choose or Pompei or Florence, so you can have more time to explore the place. If it were me, I would choose Florence. It's a wonderful city with lots of art all over it!
I hope I could help you! Have a wonderful trip!
lery is offline  
Old Oct 11th, 2003, 07:56 AM
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In addition to my previous post, I am struggling with which hotel to book. I have booked the Cavalieri Hilton for the first four days because I am using points. However, I wanted us to be able to stay in the historic center for at least a few days as well. So, I am planning to stay for the last four nights at either the RESIDENZA CANALI on Via dei Archi overlooking Via dei Coronari and near Piazza Navona OR the SAN CARLO on Via delle Carrozze near the Spanish Steps. We want to stay where we can walk out the door and have choices for many restaurants, places to sit and have a glass of wine and people watching. Both seem to fit the bill to an extent. The San Carlo has been praised on this site, and I have heard great things about the Residenza Canali that was completely renovated last year.

I know there are a lot of opinions on this site, so...let me know what you think!
Old Oct 11th, 2003, 10:19 AM
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By train it takes 1 hr 40 min to go to Florence. It takes 1 hour to go to Orvieto. It takes 2 hours to go from rome to Naples and about 40 min to go to Pompeii(change trains). It is 16 minutes from Pompeii to sorrento.

I have been obsessing where to go also since my sister and I are going to rome in the spring.
cparris is offline  
Old Oct 11th, 2003, 10:38 AM
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I wouldn't go to Tivoli (it was nice...) but since you're going to Pompei by private car, I would definitely ask the driver to include the Amalfi Coast! Last year we went to Rome, Florence, Siena, San Gimigiarno(sp?), Venice...We just came back from the Amalfi coast, Pompei, Sorrento, Capri and Positano. Positano was absolutely stunning, it made me want to cry. I felt the same way about Venice. With the short amount of time that you have, I would definitely skip the Uffize(Borghese was my favorite!) and either concentrate in Rome only or Rome and the Amalfi Coast or Rome and Florence (including San G), don't forget to hike/bus to Fiesole and Michaelanglo's piazza for a gorgeous view!
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Old Oct 11th, 2003, 10:49 AM
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Assisi has a combination of things that makes it a great choice for an overnight trip from Rome. A medieval town perched atop a hill overlooking the Umbrian countryside with an incredibly preserved medieval street layout and architecture. Great historical and religious significance, it was so relaxing to visit. We took the train from Termini and got to Assisi two hours later, took a cab up the hill, stayed at Hotel Alexander (about $100/night for a two-bedroom family type room). It certainly can be done as a daytrip, but the town is so charming that, at a minimum an overnight is the best option. Have fun!
Old Oct 11th, 2003, 10:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Given all the conditions of your trip, I would do the following

Go to Florence for the day, as suggested, reserve a time slot at the Accademia for David. Even with scaffolding I think you'll be thrilled.
I'd skip the Uffizi--I'm with ellenem, the art is important but the museum is user-unfriendly. Hopefully you'll spend time there some day when you have a longer stay, and can balance that experience with other diversions.

If you want to see one of the great buildings in Florence, concentrate on the Baptistery imo. It's beautiful inside, and so are the doors on the outside. Do a little reading, and tell your companions why the doors are so noteworthy and the details so remarkable.

Special treat: The best hot chocolate I?ve ever had, is at Rivoire, Piazza della Signoria 5. Rivoire is perhaps the best café-bar for people-watching in Florence and the Piazza della Signoria is by far the most striking square imo. If you sit outside you can at the same time view the magnificent sculptures displayed in the Piazza, keeping in mind that the ?David? is a copy because the original is in the Accademia museum.
Seating is available both indoors and outside. Chocolate and sweets are the claim to fame here.
The hot chocolate is thick with a huge portion of whipped cream on top. Sandwiches are also available, as is coffee and wine. They also sell gorgeous marzipan confections for shipping. Closed on Mondays. I?ve also read that the hot chocolate is wonderful at Café le Rose, Piazza dell Unita, near the train station.

The Borghese, as you already suspect, is a delight. If you want a chance at gardens in Dec the Borghese grounds are lovely.

Your Pompeii day will be long and if you add in the Amalfi Coast I wouldn't plan more than two hours at the Pompeii site. That may be just enough for all concerned.

If you want ruins closer to home/Rome, Ostia Antica is more intact, easier to figure out, and is a very short train ride from Rome. Ostia was Rome's port for a long time.

I have files on Rome and on Florence; if you'd like to see them, email me at
[email protected]
elaine is offline  
Old Oct 11th, 2003, 07:25 PM
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Feliciaa....I choose a private car with a driver because I thought the price was right....About $550 for a day for 5 people ( a mercedes minivan) with an American speaking driver. Broken appeared cheaper and more customized than a bus tour. Now i'm very undecided on what to do. Orvieto sounds wonderful...Ira, do you have train/bus details. I hate to miss Florence and the younger people voted for the Pompeii...will it really kill us to do it all? I thought 2 full days Rome, then a hill town, another day in Rome, Florence, then Pompeii, then finish with a final full day in Rome. Keep up the info...I love this site, glad I found it during my Italy vacation planning addiction.
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Old Oct 11th, 2003, 11:49 PM
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Listen to these people! You will want more time in Rome. Florence just to see David in scaffolding is not worth it. Your plan for Pompeii is good - just do that. Believe me - I tried to cram alot in 9 days - had a great time but my poor husband felt too rushed. With a group of people you are going to get some unhappy campers if you rush things.
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Old Oct 12th, 2003, 06:31 AM
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Take a deep breathe and calm down. Trying to please everybody often ends up with everybody unhappy.

Focus on Rome and don't try to do a bunch of long, tiring daytrips.

If you want ruins, then take the metro to Ostia Antica. Its quick easy and saves you $500.

Want to see a great hill town - go to Orvieto only an hour away via train.

Save Florence for another time and with another group who love art.
Old Oct 12th, 2003, 08:10 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I went to Rome and Florence last summer, and I visited the Borghese, the Uffizi and the Accademia.

I had 24 hours in Florence and we were able to pack in both the Accademia and the Uffizi while still visiting other parts of the city.

We didn't have reservations for either place, although I recommend it if you do end up going to the Uffizi. We waited in line for probably a half hour, which wasn't too bad. At the Accademia the line was like 10 people long.

I liked all the museums, but I have to say that I enjoyed the Uffizi the best. The Accademia wasn't much besides David. The Borghese was beautiful, but I was somewhat disappointed in the collection (there was renovations going on at the time). But the park where the Borghese is located is wonderful; I spent like three hours in there just walking around and checking out the vendors.

In Florence, I recommend taking a cab or bus up to Piazelle Michelangelo for a view of the city. Also, if you're looking for a bite to eat, check out Za Za, located in Mercato Centrale. Great food.
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