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First visit to Rome

West Midlands
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First visit to Rome

I am planning on going to Rome week beginning the 04th August 08, however I have never been before and to be honest don't know where to begin. I know what I want i.e. value for money accomodation that is central to the heart of Rome. I have searched the WWW but it is saturated with information. Can anyone advise me or share their experiences?

Cheers

GB
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151 posts
19 reviews
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1. Re: First visit to Rome

Hi there - I would start with a decent guide book. We took the Lonely Planet one (recommended by a colleague) which lists top things to do and see. Can't remember what it was called, but it was about £7 and was easy to carry around. Have a read and decide what you fancy getting out of your trip. Once you know what you want to see, you can decide which area is best placed to stay in and you can find out what accommodation is available in that area and check out the reviews on here. The Venere website has some useful hotel reviews too.

We split our time to concentrate on certain things each day starting with having a walk around (we got a bit carried away) and walked to the Colosseum from Piazza della Repubblica then to the Centro Storico (Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Spanish

Steps). We did that in an afternoon/evening.

The next day we went to the Vatican, Vatican Museums, Castel Sant Angelo having a pannini for lunch then having a more leisurely evening meal.

The last day we went to the Victor Emmanuel monument, Capitoline Hill then the forum and Colloseum and then we got the bus to one of the Catacombs.

We had a brilliant time, but could have made it more relaxing: it's just so tempting when there is so much to do. Plan what you are going to do and factor in some extra time for impromptu visits to bits and pieces. I would recommend you get a Roma Pass for getting around and entry to a couple of the major sites. Unlike in the UK, historical sites, museums and galleries usually charge entrance fees (usually free at home) and audio guides are available for an additional fee. If you want to see the Sistine Chapel, you have to enter the Vatican Museums and there are various threads on Tripadvisor on how best to do that.

Rome is amazing - it's a big, bustling city where ancient monuments are side-by-side with more modern buildings. You are sure to have a memorable holiday.

glasgow
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151 posts
17 reviews
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2. Re: First visit to Rome

hiya. Just back form Rome this afternoon. Stayed at the Sunset Hotel on bed only accommodation. It was central to all the sights and only a 20 min bus trip to the Vatican. It was very good value for money and has had good right ups on TA. It's tucked away up a side street with many restaurants and shops close by. Check it out. I paid about £480 for 4 nights and went on recommendation by a friend. If its a clean, safe and reasonble cheap hotel right in the centre of Rome this is the right place to go. Big bedroom with great shower and has a mini bar. It just doesn't offer breakfast or have tea making machines in the room, but there's plenty of places nearby. Let me know how it goes.

Irvine, California
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328 posts
4 reviews
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3. Re: First visit to Rome

hello,

we just came from Rome and for me it was the first time !

we were also 4 days and a half, so we divided the sites like the following:

first day to go by foot to the piazas - trevi, navona venezia etc, feeling the city roar and shops and restaurants etc... we also saw several great churches on ur way and the famous coloumn.

seocnd day - colloseum and forum and their surroundings, archeological sites

day 3 - was so rainy so we enterd many churches and museums

4 day - villa and galleria borgeze (we had a reservation a week before as needed) spanish steps and via veneto

the last half day - trastevere ahd its charm

you cannot see everything in4 days, we didn't see te Vatican this time, maybe some other time

Enjoy whatever you can, its an amazing city!!!

Chicago, Illinois
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34 posts
58 reviews
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4. Re: First visit to Rome

I just returned yesterday from first trip to Rome. Here's some quick advice. Take time away from the crowded "hot spots" and visit some of the smaller churches that aren't the typical destinations. Here in the US, I find the walking tours suggested by Rick Steves' travel books. You can find Michaelangelo and Bernini in less crowded places. It will be very hot, so plan accordingly with your wardrobe and bring sunscreen. We were wilting flowers last week as it was unseasonably hot. We stayed at a hotel where I would stay again. Small, delightful, CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN and run by the delightful and helpful Alberta. The Hotel Paba. On Via Cavour. Rooms are nice and clean and Alberta will suggest restaurants in Rome where she would go, not where the tourists go. We had wonderful meals, great walks - and succumbed to taxis time and again, which are easy and drivers are friendly. Trastavere is a must, the Vatican Museums are beautiful, but OH the crowds...a mass of chaos. In order to avoid "some" lines, email or fax the Vatican through their website and get the "official" tour. That still means crowds inside, but you'll bypass the hours-long line outside JUST to get tickets.

Indianapolis...
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346 posts
36 reviews
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5. Re: First visit to Rome

Check out venere.com for accomdations. Enter the dates you are visiting and they list what is available (at least thru them), you can also sort by price or by number of stars (one-star hotels, two-star, etc.) hotels are rated to narrow your search down a bit. I've reserved rooms through them and recommend them, but it can be a bot cheaper to contact hotels directly. They don't charge you when you reserve, but do require a credit card to hold the room.

Irvine, California
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328 posts
4 reviews
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6. Re: First visit to Rome

another tip -

the B&B in Rome prefer cash Euros, even it is written that Visa is acceptable.

Be sure you know the terms of payment in your hotel in advance.

avoid Bus No. 64 if you can !!! many problems with pickpockets !

Do not enter restaurants with Tourist Menu outside, it is probably a tourist trap.

when you re in Santa Maria Majore church near the termini, in front of her across the huge square there is a good Supermarket SMA , good prices for food. Despar is also kind of Supermarkets with many branches, more expensive.

albuquerque
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1,005 posts
35 reviews
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7. Re: First visit to Rome

You'll love Rome. I stayed last year at the hotel Barocco which is on a small side street just off the Piazza Barbarini. It's a great location and walking distance to just about everything except for the Vatican. Lovely rooms and great breakfasts and espresso.

We took 3 walking tours from a company called Context Rome and I highly recommend them. They take only small groups (6 or so) and they really helped us get to know Rome. The Colosseum tour (with an archeologist for a guide)was unbelievable and we also especially liked the Wine Bar walk.

If you like off the beaten path neighborhoods be sure to check out Trastevere and Testaccio (check out the food markets and Volpettis), both are an interesting view into typical Roman life.

Must do:

Coffee at Sant'Eustachio

The Pantheon

Colosseum (of course)

Villa Borghese

Vatican, especially the Sistine Chapel (1st thing in the morning is best)

Walking through all the Piazzas, & the Spanish Steps at night (much less crowded then & gorgeous)

Have fun!

West Midlands
3 posts
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8. Re: First visit to Rome

Thank you for all of your great advice, it is very helpful. In addition, do you recommend low cost air travel or don't they fly to the nearest airport? What about transfers from the airport to the accomodation, is taxi the best option or........? What are your recomendations guys?

Thanks

Irvine, California
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328 posts
4 reviews
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9. Re: First visit to Rome

hello,

well i arrived at Rome alone so for a woman i worried the termini so i book in advance a shuttle directly to my hotel, but it cost me 35 Euros.

i suppose that the train is OK, only 11 Euros.

maybe another traveller will advise something else

if you want i can give you the shuttle's phone no., as they were very good

Chicago, Illinois
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34 posts
58 reviews
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10. Re: First visit to Rome

Heavy bags and didn't want to deal with train so we booked Romecabs. On time, always a phone call away, and they were even early for our return pick up to airport. No worries with Romecabs. Stefano is always there to answer your emails or calls. 45 Euro each way, but honestly worth it for a no-hassle experience.