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How Long to See Rome (Reasonably)?

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How Long to See Rome (Reasonably)?

My wife and I will be in Italy for ten days or so in late July early August and wish to split time between Rome and one another destination (perhaps something near the water, my wife probably deserves some beach time after being dragged about Rome from one ancient monument to another for several days). I wondered if someone who knows Rome fairly well could give me an idea how long it would take to see the city's treasures without rushing like crazy from one thing to the next and, second, where we might best enjoy a few days of relaxation at the end of our trip. I am a PhD student in Roman history, travelling to the eternal city for the first time, so I might take longer at certain monuments than most tourists. I also realize that we will be there during the height of tourist season and this could slow us up a bit. Outside the city, I would like to visit Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli and Pompeii. One thought would be to spend the first six or seven days in Rome and then, travel to the Bay of Naples for another three or so and stay at Sorrento or thereabouts and make the Pompeii excursion from there. I understand that Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany has some of the most beautiful beaches anywhere, so I wonder if staying there after spending a week in Rome would be worthwhile also. Anyway, anyone who could help me to solidify my trip agenda would be most appreciated.

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1. Re: How Long to See Rome (Reasonably)?

Tarsus,

I don't know who told you about Forte dei Marmi...it's a nice little town where rich Italians go on vacation, but the beaches there are not that great at all. Forte is lovely, very upscale, expensive, with a lot of boutiques, but if you only have 10 days I really wouldn't go there. The best beaches are actually in Sardinia.

Between Forte and the south, I'd definitely stay in the Naples area, much better seacoast there, more transparent water, more picturesque little villages, and much closer to Pompei!

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2. Re: How Long to See Rome (Reasonably)?

For the casual traveler, I would suggest at least 4 days. But given that you're a serious student of all of the wonders you'll be seeing, I'd suggest spending at least 6 or 7 of your 10 days in Rome.

Honestly, you could spend all 10 days there and still leave disappointed that you didn't see all you wanted to see. I'm not necessarily suggesting that, however, as I wouldn't want your wife to get mad at you.

Go south! In addiiton to Pompeii, you can visit Herculaneum (another town destroyed by the Vesuvius) and Oplontis (a villa in Naples with beautiful frescoes still in places, which belonged to Nero's wife, I think).

Also, you can visit the Archaeological Museum in Naples - supposedly the most fascinating things excavated from Pompeii are actually found in this museum.

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3. Re: How Long to See Rome (Reasonably)?

Since you have such an ernest intrest in the area...I would say you could spend 5/6 days in Rome itself. And then follow the previous suggestion of staying the south region for the remainder of the time.

May I also suggest going for a 1/2 day or even a full day to Ostia Antica....the ruins are phenomenal and very easy to get to.

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4. Re: How Long to See Rome (Reasonably)?

I suggest you should start to delete places that you are not bothered with. You mentioned history, but not architecture or other fine arts. Because if you do, you need more than 3 months to do them justice. While Forte dei Marmi maybe upscale, they have a street fair selling one-off samples and cheap stuffs (?from China?), and I forget the days.

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5. Re: How Long to See Rome (Reasonably)?

myositis, jjkdc, RnToTravel,

Thanks so much for the prompt response. I suspected that I would need 5 or 6 days at least in Rome and that staying in the south might be the way to go. Thanks for the hearty confirmation.

Would Sorrento be a good second destination, especially if I plan to visit Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the Naples Museum or would you suggest somewhere else? I hear the public transportation there is quite good. Positano or Ravello instead, perhaps? I hear Capri is lovely, but perhaps a day trip there would be sufficient given my interest in seeing the historic sites. As to the Naples area, how much is there in the way of actual beaches? Isn't the coast fairly rocky?

Also, you are not the first to suggest at least a brief visit to Ostia Antica. I shall invesigate the possibility further.

Thanks again!

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6. Re: How Long to See Rome (Reasonably)?

Sorrento would be the more convenient location. From there you can take the Circumvesuviana, an inexpensive commuter train, into Naples. There are stops along the way for Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Sorry, don't know much about the beaches.

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7. Re: How Long to See Rome (Reasonably)?

Tarsus, you're right that the coast in the Naples area is more rocky, but that makes the water much clearer. People there are very friendly, the towns are very beautiful, and the food in the area is amazingly good (especially the fish, of course!). I don't know that area very well, so maybe you'd be better off posting on the Amalfi Coast forums, where they'd be able to give you more up to date advice.

And given your research interests, I'd definitely spend at least 6 days in Rome.

Ciao

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8. Re: How Long to See Rome (Reasonably)?

Hmmmmm.......I do not have any special interest in Roman or Italian history buy during a recent 8-day visit to Rome - during the off-season when I did not have to contend with what I hear are alomost unbearable crowds - I spent the whole day from 8:30am to 8:30pm wandering around the city and STILL did not manage to see all the things I wanted to see!

Obviously, places of interest and lelvel of interest differs from person to person. However, one thing I can say is that it's essential to check out site opening times/days and to get a sense of where everything is located before flying out. That way you can plan out your day's activities most effectively

For example, most of the churches in Rome that are closed for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

Additionally, the Vatican Museums are closed on Sunday and this resuts in other museums being more crowded during this day and in the Vatican Museums themselves being even more crowded than usual on Monday (when most of the other museums are closed)

Also, depending on where you're staying, you can plan a route from museum/site to museum/site that will take you through the fountains, building, streets and churches you wish to see while en route.

The more thorough the research and planning, the more leeway you later have to be spontaneous regarding the experiences you have.

Have a great time.

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9. Re: How Long to See Rome (Reasonably)?

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