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Your top picks for things to see & do in Venice, Dubrovnik, Greece & Rome?


Apr 1st, 2007, 08:37 PM
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Your top picks for things to see & do in Venice, Dubrovnik, Greece & Rome?

Please help! My husband and I are traveling w/ a French couple on a Princess Cruise in late spring 2007. There are short stops in several places w/ so many tours and excursions offered,we just can't decide. Since our time is limited in each stop, what would be your top three picks, in rank order, of things to do/see in Venice, Dubrovnik, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Santorini, Naples, & Rome (three days there)? Thanks so much in advance for helping us decide!
packlady is offline  
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Apr 1st, 2007, 09:10 PM
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In Rome I loved St. Peter's Basilica. It's free, and way less of a line than the Vatican. It has the Piata which is made by Michelangelo and is said to be the best sculpter in the world. The history, the art and the beatiful architecture all add it up to the best site in Rome.



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Apr 1st, 2007, 09:16 PM
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For Venice:
1)Scuola Grande di San Rocco (if you only have time to enter one building, make it this!)
2)vaporetto ride on the Grand Canal
3)Piazza San Marco
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Apr 2nd, 2007, 06:51 AM
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For Venice, you want to see the history of La Serenissima, to get a sense of the Venetian republic at its zenith-to do that, you have to make the Palazzo Ducale your first stop, you'll want to see the astounding Sala dei Maggior Consiglio, with its huge Tintoretto mural on one wall, the portraits of the Doges along the walls (the Doges being the former civil head of authority in Venice) and the incredible frescoed ceiling-this huge hall, one of the largest in the world of its type, was the diplomatic reception area for the Republic during the 15, 16th century. You'll also want to tour the Basilica of San Marco next door, to see its magnficent golden mosaics inside, its frescoes, and to go up inside so you can walk around the outside of the Basilica to see the view.

In any visit to Venice, you'll want to take the vaporetto up and down the Grand Canal to see the magnificent palazzos that line the Grand Canal, but you'll also want to see the inside of one of these gorgeous palazzos as well, to see how the wealthy and titled Venetian families lived during the heyday of the Republic. For that you need to visit the beautiful Ca' Rezzonico on the Grand Canal, with its sumptious decor, and priceless art- works by Canaletto, Titian, and Tintoretto, which shows Venice and Venetians in various centuries, a fascinating pictorial history, as it were, with a lovely garden outside, and a nice little cafe for refreshment. Ca'Rezzonico is a must-see, IMO.

Then, I would suggest getting on the vaporetto, to go over for a visit to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, where Benedictine monks have inhabited this island for over 1,000 years, to see their stunning complex of a church built by Andrea Palladio, with its priceless works by Tintoretto, Palma di Giovane, and Titian, its two lovely cloisters, but particularly, to go up in their campanile (bell tower) to see the incomparable views of Venice and the lagoon area-you can see everything from here, it seems-really stunning.

And finally, I would suggest a tour of La Fenice, the exquisite Venetian opera house, to see Venice's present day culture, and I would try to get tickets to a performance so you can experience this opera house and its magnificent acoustics.


Or, as an alternative, I would get tickets to a performance at the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, to a concert or an opera that they regularly present. San Giovanni Evangelista is a stunning building going back several centuries, with murals and paintings by the great Venetian masters Bellini, Carpaccio, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, sculptural work by Mauro Codussi, among others. It is used by the Venetians for cultural presentations, and the President of Italy came for a visit just last week. The vast salon of San Giovanni is where the concerts are held, and it is truly stunning. You can view the salon, and/or purchase tickets for a concert at this website:


These are some of the places I would advise to see for a first trip to Venice, to get a sense of its history and culture, past and present.
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Apr 2nd, 2007, 09:04 AM
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In Dubrovnik, I would definitely recommend you walk the city walls. Dubrovnik is a small town and there aren't a lot of attractions; the main attraction is the town itself. Walking the walls will give you some amazing views. Afterwards I would just spend any remaining time grabbing something to eat and just wandering around the town.

For Rome, depending on how long you have I would either stick to the Vatican City area or do a walking tour that includes the Forum and Colosseum, Pantheon and Piazza Navona.

Good luck!
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Apr 2nd, 2007, 09:05 AM
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Try your best to get a reservation for the Galleria Borghese in Rome. I had not really heard of it before I became a fodorite, but it is one of the highlights of Rome.
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Apr 2nd, 2007, 04:41 PM
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If you have 3 days in Rome, you can see a lot. My suggestion would be to get on one of the excellent hop on/off buses that let you sit up top in the double-decker bus and see some amazing sites as you drive through the streets of Rome, sites that you would not see on foot, or in a regular van or auto. I'm talking about little ancient fountains, or doors-or an ancient stone face on a door-amazing and great fun. These 3 different tour buses, run by the city, cost 13 Euro for a 24 hour period, and provide great value-particularly if you don't want to get over-exhausted by walking.

My favorite is the "Cristiana" yellow bus that stops off at some of Rome's important churches, but will also point out where the major siteseeing venues are relative to these churches, so you get two for one. I loved this bus, and made three complete turns on it-to get my money's worth. The best place to pick all these buses is at Termini bus station, but there are other stops where you can pick it up as well-Piazza Venezia, and the Bocca della Verita are two places I can think of where all 3 of the buses stop.

This official Rome Tourism Board website gives you all the stops for the 3 different buses and their itineraries, so you can choose which one interests you the most:


As to an itinerary, suggest doing a walk-through in the morning of the Colisseum, Roman Forum, the Piazza del Campidoglio and the Pantheon.

Take a break at a nice trattoria in and around the Campo dei Fiori, and then take a walk through the historical center of the Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.

This is an ambitious but doable day, particularly so if you take one of the aforementioned buses.

I think to get a real sense of having seen something quite different in the way of the Vatican, and all that it offers, you should make reservations for the Scavi tour of the Vatican's underground necropolis--you will be right under the main altar in parts, and seeing the Etruscan frescoes, not to mention viewing what the Church believes are the bones of St. Peter's, is simply fascinating-I was totally absorbed in this tour, and felt I had learned and saw things that most people going to Rome will not know of and ever see. It's very well lit, and not claustrophic at all. I'm usually indifferent to most tours-but this was a highlight of my trip last September, as I finally decided to do it and can highly recommend it. You could do a limited Vatican museum tour one day, and Scavi the next, if you wanted to see both, but I wouldn't recommend both in the same day.

Also, you need to spend an evening down in Trastevere, to see this very authentic Roman neighborhood filled with great trattorias, and to watch everyone hang out in the Piazza at night.

If not too tired, I would suggest going to OPPIO CAFE, located at Via della Terme di Tito. Just like I advise going to "Les Ombres" in Paris for its incredible views of the Eiffel Tower and Seine at night, I suggest going here for the same reason-except for a very different and astounding view of the Colisseum lit up at night with parts of the Roman Forum for backdrop as well. Oppio Cafe has an outdoor terrace with these to-die-for views -and you can sip a great aperitivo and drink it all in. I also suggest seeing the Trevi Fountain at night, as this is when it is at its most stunning.

Oppio Cafe is open for breakfast lunch dinner and brunch, the outdoor terrace is heated with gas lamps, so you can go out there in cooler weather as well. At night it becomes a true cocktail bar, complete with live jazz, blues, and funk every night. Great bar food, if you want to go there just for that, but I've had quite decent pizza and a large salad (I like large salads from time to time in Italy). And it's open late-until 2am. Highly recommended.

For your last day, you could do the Borghese Gallery, and just do some shopping in the streets in and around the Spanish steps, eating and relaxing.
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Apr 2nd, 2007, 05:31 PM
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Oops...I missed the fact that you will have three days in Rome!

In that case, I would probably spend one day exploring Vatican City (St. Peters, Vatican Museum, etc.), one day exploring ancient Rome (Colisseum, Forum, Pantheon, etc.). For the third day I would probably explore one of the neighborhoods such as Trastevere, which has the beautiful Santa Marie en Trastevere church, one of my favorites in Rome. Another fun place to visit is the Baths of Caracalla. The ruined baths are located in a park and can offer a respite if you are getting tired of Rome (which I personally couldn't imagine happening because I love it so much, but I've heard that its happened! ).

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Apr 2nd, 2007, 07:52 PM
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Wow! Great ideas! Thank you so much. This is very helpful and should help us whittle down the choices in each place. Keep em comin'!
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Apr 2nd, 2007, 09:41 PM
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hi packlady.. when i was in Dubrovnik last May, we went on a half-day kayaking trip, and met a couple kayaking with us who had come in on one of the cruise ships. It was about 3.5 hours, so i'm pretty sure they had enough time to also walk the walls (recommended) and get something to eat. It really is a beautiful place. Enjoy!
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