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What to see during first day in Rome after overnight flight?

New Jersey
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What to see during first day in Rome after overnight flight?

My husband and I are taking our first trip to Italy at the end of September. We are taking an overnight flight from New Jersey and landing in Rome around 8 AM the next morning, so I'm guessing we will be checked into our hotel by 11 AM. We only have 3 nights in Rome, so after we have lunch, we'll want to start sightseeing. We are planning to take the New Rome Free Tour that starts at 5:30 PM to see the Trevi fountain, Pantheon, Spanish steps, etc, but what should we see earlier in the day? I'm thinking we should visit the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine Hill that same day but am wondering if that is too much? Also, I was hoping to take a group tour of those sights that starts in the afternoon but they all seem to start in the early morning. Should we just book tours with the random tour guides located at the sights to give ourselves more flexibility?

pittsburgh
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1. Re: What to see during first day in Rome after overnight flight?

With only three days I wouldn't do any guided tours. You can easily see the city on your own and you'll want to go at your own pace to make the most of your time.

For your first day I would suggest visiting the outdoor sites like the forum and palatine hill. You may want to the the 110 open bus tour to get familiar with the city. Don't plan too much for the first day as you'll be very jet lagged.

Unless you are really into history I would bypass the tours for this short trip and just read up on the sites you plan to visit. Most guide books give great information about the sites and with only three days in Rome you won't want to be bogged down with hours long tours that might or might not be what you want to see.

Donna

Virginia
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2. Re: What to see during first day in Rome after overnight flight?

I'm also planning a first trip.

The only place I would be interested in taking a tour is at the Colosseum/Forum so we know what we're looking at exactly.

But I hear there are some great self paced tours that you can download to iPod or iPhone so you can use that (or a guidebook) to understand what it is you are looking at.

I think that's what I'm going to do. They also have some downloadable self paced tours for places like the Uffizi in Florence and The Louvre in Paris.

San Diego
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3. Re: What to see during first day in Rome after overnight flight?

You may check into the hotel and leave your bags but don't expect to actually be IN your room at that early hour.

When I arrive in Europe that early , I usually plan to do something close to my hotel that first day so where are you staying??

Are you planning to go to the Vatican/St Peter's at all during your stay?

Last time I was in Rome that is what I did on the first day.

I made a time certain entry res at the Vatican for about 2PM and found myself there at one with no prob. We walked from the Pantheon(where we were staying) and stopped for a coffee/snack on the way.

11AM is too early usually to find "lunch" in Rome.

Austin, Texas
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4. Re: What to see during first day in Rome after overnight flight?

I like to stay outside on the first day to help with the re-set of the body clock, I'd go with the Forum/Colosseum/Palatine Hill area that afternoon.

pittsburgh
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5. Re: What to see during first day in Rome after overnight flight?

VTJedi, Check out the tours on pocketvox.com. They have two of the forum that are really great. You can go at your own pace, pause or skip what you want. Hubby and I did it several years ago and were very impressed with the information given.

I hear Rick Steve's websites also has downloadable tours but I've never tried them.

This is my preferred way to see the sites. I can take my time or speed through something depending on the time I have. I don't have to be on anyone's schedule but my own and if my plans change- that's okay.

Donna

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6. Re: What to see during first day in Rome after overnight flight?

I also landed in Rome in the mid-morning during my last visit. I suggest you start with sights that are within walking distance of your hotel that allow you to travel at a more relaxed pace. You don't want anything too heavy that requires a lot of reading after an overnight flight. A good walking tour to get yourself familiarized with the streets and the atmosphere is to start at Trevi Fountain, followed by Pantheon, Piazza Navona, then Spanish Steps. Get some lunch and then head back to your hotel to get your room. Take a short break and go to Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Forum in the afternoon. That should pretty much be your first day. In the evening, if your hotel isn't far away, go back to Trevi Fountain for a night view.

Places that require more intense concentration like Vatican Museum should be saved for the second or third day when you have managed a night of proper rest.

Virginia
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7. Re: What to see during first day in Rome after overnight flight?

Donna,

I looked at pocketvox. Something I'll consider for the forum and for other cities I'm going too.

I'm sure I'll bring up the topic of a guide in person verses an audio guide when it gets closer to the date.

I have heard about the Free ones from Rick Steves. I didn't want to mention them directly because his name sets some people off I think. But the freeness of them makes them appealing to someone like me who would want to save money every chance I get.

milton keynes
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8. Re: What to see during first day in Rome after overnight flight?

I've been looking at guided tours as well. Real Rome, which gets good reviews on here, does a 2pm tour of the Colosseum and Ancient Rome. I think with jetlag I'd go for a guided tour as the easiest option

Le Marche, Italy
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9. Re: What to see during first day in Rome after overnight flight?

On the first day, I'd stick with something that doesn't require a lot of concentration and that's outdoors. For me, that leaves out the Roman Forum, because I find it a very intense visit. I'm very interested in Roman History, so I'm always very concentrated there.

I would take a stroll through the historic center the first afternoon: Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain. The Spanish Steps is very ho-hum in my opinion, so I'd give that a miss. There's no need for a tour between these spots. There's a very well-marked pedestrian route, and plenty of other people walking that way. If you're interested in the history of these places, you can read about them in a guide book on the plane. Otherwise, just enjoy them.

Definitely go inside the Pantheon. It's one of the few totally intact buildings from the ancient Roman era. The dome was a marvel of ancient engineering. For over 1000 years, it was the world's largest dome, and it's still the largest concrete dome. The hole in the center of the dome was a common feature in ancient Roman buildings. It let in light and the rain usually filled a little pool underneath. Here there's a drain in the floor underneath it.

The free guides outside the Colosseum and other attractions are a mixed bag. Some of them know very little about the sites they're guiding you around, and I've overheard some really ridiculous things being told to tour groups. They're usually good for entertainment, at least.

Donna, I've wondered about the mp3 guides to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. My problem at these sites, even with a map and a guidebook, is finding the actual things that are being described, because these sites are very poorly marked. How do the mp3 guides address this problem? In fact, these are the two places where I think a human guide could be invaluable, but I'd go for someone who really knows the subject.

pittsburgh
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10. Re: What to see during first day in Rome after overnight flight?

The pocketvox guides are really good with that. They give you a starting point, describing in detail the looks of the building and then walk you site to site, telling you which way to turn and describing the look of the next site. Then they have you press pause until you get to the site. You can listen to samples of the tours on their website.

We chose these over the free tours as we liked the sound of the better. We were really impressed with the information given, from info on the sites to info on which buses and metro stops were close by.

Donna