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

Vatican, Forum and Colosseum, Pompeii-group tour or self-guided?

Vatican, Forum and Colosseum, Pompeii-group tour or self-guided?

Mar 27th, 2007, 03:05 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 953
Vatican, Forum and Colosseum, Pompeii-group tour or self-guided?

Hi,

My husband and I will be going to all three sites with two seventeen yr old boys and I really want to make sure the boys (and DH) are completely engaged and fascinated!

Which one really "needs" a good tour guide and which one or ones are able to come "alive" just reading a map and using a headset?

We are already doing the Secret Tour in Venice and the Scavi Tour.

Thanks for all your help. This board has been incredible helping me plan my first Europe trip!!!
Jayneann is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 03:22 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,699
My husband and I shared a fabulous tour guide with another fodorite EK and her mate. I would recommend her more than anything. I am not a tour-guide type person but she was amazing and very reasonable at 45euro per hr. regardless of how many are in your party. She will take you anywhere you want. If I had to choose, I would save her for the Colosseum and Forum for sure.

I need to find her card to give you her phone number and email address. Her name is Francesca Caruso.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 03:26 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,699
Her email is [email protected]
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 04:17 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 953
Hi Sandi,

Thanks for the quick reply. How many hours would you recommend we need to tour the Forum and Colosseum?
Jayneann is offline  
Mar 27th, 2007, 06:18 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 953
Hi Sandi,

I just emailed Francesca and am very excited!!! I found EK's Italy report with Francesca, but I couldn't find yours. What is the title of your last Italy report with your Forum tour?

Thanks so much!!!
Jayne
Jayneann is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 06:38 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,699
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34939364

The thread above has my report and a link to my images.

I would recommend a couple of hours for each location. She will only bill you for the time you use but every minute is worth it. I can't wait to go back and have her take me elsewhere...anywhere.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 11:59 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,332
Jayneann, you could do a combo -- since you have found a rec for a great guide, go for it! I appreciate a guide's insights and knowledge. However, sometimes I prefer to wander with a map, a few photocopied pages from a book, an audio guide, or nothing -- just take it in. Depends on my mood.

In both the Forum and Pompeii I used and really liked the handheld audio guides. Especially at Pompeii. I really wanted to wander around and savor the ruins at my own pace and to learn about what interested me. The audio guide, combined with photocopies of maps from two guidebooks (we happened to have Rick Steves & Lonely Planet), was perfect for us. Frankly, the guide scene at Pompeii was a bit intense, and it was more fun and relaxing for us to do it our way.
annabelle2 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2007, 07:35 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 953
sandi_travelnut,

LOVED your report! Thank you for sharing!!! Hopefully we can do the same tour! I'll keep you posted.

annabelle2,

Thank you for the great Pompeii info. Glad to hear we can use handheld audio tours and do a self-guided tour. I like going at our own pace too!
Jayneann is offline  
Mar 29th, 2007, 01:04 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,332
Why, you are welcome, jayneann!

I didn't mind at all that Pompeii was crowded (I think I read somewhere that it is the most visited site in Italy, but regardless, it IS busy!) because, after all, it was a bustling city filled with people.

The audio guides, however, allowed me to tune out the conversations and comments around me and 'travel' to ancient Pompeii in my mind. Nice!

It is hot and bright (depending on when you are going, of course) so bring a hat and lots of water, and pace yourself. The restaurant seemed overpriced, but the cafeteria was fine.

It is easy to get there from Naples. What is your plan for that part of the trip?
annabelle2 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:47 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 953
Hi annabelle2,

We have hired a driver to pick us up at the Naples trainstation, bring us to Pompeii while he waits with our luggage, then he'll drive us to Positano!

I realize this is a more expensive way to do it, but it seems to be the easiest way to do it!! Thanks again for your help and suggestions!!

Sandi,
I still haven't heard from Francesca and it's been about a week. Should I continue to wait or try emailing her again? Thanks!
Jayneann is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 03:04 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,731
Jayneann - I second Francesca Caruso recommendation. We used her 2 years ago and have recommended her to others. My BIL and in-laws are going this June and unfortunately she is not available for them, but she has recommended another guide for them. I would definitely try e-mailing her again. She may be on vacation or very busy. She will respond to your e-mail. If she is not available for you, please ask for a recommendation. We did the Colosseum, Forum and Pantheon, and although we were scheduled for 3 hours, it lasted 4 and she didn't charge us extra hour (but we tipped quite well!!!)
jill_h is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 03:07 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,699
When I emailed her for our trip it took awhile for her response. I found out that her PC had been acting up.

EK if you're out there, can you post Francesca's phone number on her card? I can't seem to locate my copy.
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 05:00 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 953
jill h,
Thanks for the feedback! I really hope she's available, but we're also going in June so she may be booked already. I will ask for suggestions though.

Sandi,
Thanks again for all your help. I think I'll give it another day or so, then send her another email. June is coming fast!!

Has anyone used Angel Tours lately?
Jayneann is offline  
Apr 4th, 2007, 06:11 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,699
I found Francesca's business card. She lists her home and cell phone and told us that we could call her whenever we needed her. She said the best time to reach her at home is after 6pm.

Home: 06.7810633
cell: 339.2616482
sandi_travelnut is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 04:17 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 953
Thank you Sandi!!!! I'll post after I make the call!
Jayneann is offline  
Apr 5th, 2007, 06:11 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,297
If you would prefer not to pay the driver to wait while in Pompeii, you can easily train to Pompeii. You catch the local train in the Naples station downstairs and get off at Pompeii Scavi. The entrance is across the street from the train station and Pompeii has luggage storage at the entrance by the ticket booth. You could arrange for your driver to pick you up there later in the day to take you to Positano.
www.pompeiisites.org
kybourbon is online now  
Apr 7th, 2007, 06:56 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 953
Hi Sandi,

I just tried calling Francesca, and left a message, but her entire voice mail was in Italian and I had no idea what it said! I did leave my telephone number and told her to please check her email so we could correspond. Hopefully it will all work out because she sounds fabulous!!!

kybourbon,

Thank you for your advice! I have thought about doing exactly what you suggested, but I already committed to the driver (Renato)and he's been so helpful that I would feel bad to change the plans at this point!
Jayneann is offline  
Apr 8th, 2007, 12:06 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 15,317
My husband and I recently spent a week in Rome with our 16 year old son who really wanted to visit Rome. I am not sure there is any guaranteed way to make sure a boy that age is "completely engaged and fascinated" by the major sights you want to see.
Our son was not thrilled about visiting the Vatican or churches in general (wanted to go to Rome for the ancient Roman history) but he was fine about visiting St. Peters and the Sistine chapel/Raphael rooms at our own pace, with guidebooks. I think he would have been frustrated by either a guide or a head set tour.
He really enjoyed walking to the Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Campo de fiori, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and checking out street theater, mimes, portrait artists,etc so I'd be sure to leave time for that kind of wandering.
Vttraveler is offline  
Apr 29th, 2007, 05:11 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 251
Sounds like we were lucky to get Francesca in June.
pmuzzy17 is offline  
Apr 29th, 2007, 06:10 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 953
You are lucky! Good for you!! May I ask when you are doing the tour with her?
Jayneann is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:35 PM.