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Itinerary Help - Rome

California
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Itinerary Help - Rome

My mom and I are planning our first trip to Rome in May 2013. Our flights are not actually booked yet but we will be there seven days not counting the day we arrive and the day we leave.

My goal for this trip of a lifetime (my first out of the U.S.) is to plan so we don't miss any of the major stuff but also leave some free time to just explore and enjoy.

With this in mind . . . Our hotel is right near the Spanish Steps so I'm thinking if we're not too jet lagged we can go there, the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona on Monday afternoon/evening after we arrive. Does that sound like too much?

I figure we'll do the Colosseum, Forum and Palantine Hill (did I miss anything?) on Tuesday afternoon (I've read it tends to be less busy then). The tickets are now available . . . But should I wait to book them? Also I want to do the underground tour but see there's a guided tour available. Does the underground tour also cover everything that's in the regular guided tour? Not sure about what to do in the morning (maybe the stuff we don't get to on Monday afternoon/evening?) . . .

A tour of the Jewish ghetto on Wednesday. Not sure what else here . . . Maybe just leave it open? Or first of possible two day trips (see below) and move the Jewish ghetto tour to another day?

Then I was lucky enough to get the Scavi tour for 9a on Thursday. I figure we can do the Vatican/Sistine Chapel tour after that's done.

I would like to include the Campo de' Fiori Market and Borghese on my itinerary but I"m not sure where they should go or if there's enough time (I don't want to feel too rushed). Help.

Now for Friday we are planning a trip to Pompeii which I know is a long day. But the more I research the more I would like to tour the Amalfi coast (Positano, Sorrento etc). However, from what I've read on the travel forums it's not a good idea to try to do both in one day. My mom and I have NO desire to change hotels for just a night or two. So is it crazy to now do two day trips . . . One for Pompeii on Friday using the trains and a local tour guide that's in front of the ruins? And one on Sunday (I'm guessing we'll need a break on Saturday :) for the coast (using a driver if it's affordable or a tour if it's not)?

I would like to leave Monday completely free for any last minute shopping and to just enjoy our final moments before we leave. Plus we'll have to pack. :)

Finally, I can't decide if we should buy the Roma Pass. Thoughts?

Did I miss anything? A major sight or area? Is there a better itinerary than what I've tentatively put together? I find the TA travel forums so helpful in my planning and I'm very interested to hear everyone's thoughts.

Thank you so much and I'm sorry this is so long!!

Jennifer

California
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1. Re: Itinerary Help - Rome

I forgot to mention that my mom is 65 and has a sort of bad knee. And I'm in my mid 30's and a couch potato. =) I'm not sure if or how this well affect our sightseeing each day. Thanks!

New York State
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2. Re: Itinerary Help - Rome

You've done some research...I always do too. I wouldn't plan on doing anything the first day except arriving and getting settled...jet lag, time change will be exhausted. Besides, a lot of the museums are closed on Mondays, so that gives you a good reason. Snoop around the hotel, have dinner, check with the conceirge desk for booking tickets to the places you want to see, and take a breath from a long flight.

I've read mixed reviews on the Roma Pass, but with all the places you want to see in Rome, it looks like it will at the very least, pay for itself.

A day trip to Pompeii, will be a whole day from Rome, so I wouldn't adviise to try to fit in anything else unless you do an overnight. After the one day trip to the Pompeii area, you may think it's too far to venture twice, but maybe a day trip to Florence would work better for you, or to Pisa.

happy travels.

3. Re: Itinerary Help - Rome

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Removed on: 11 December 2012, 09:21
California
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4. Re: Itinerary Help - Rome

Thanks 0104smith!

I think you're probably correct about not doing anything on the day we arrive. Silly jet lag!

zomp416 -

Is this the correct website for Avventure Belliseme?

http://www.tours-italy.com/

Do you know if their price of 205 euros is correct? How did you find this company (recommendation, book etc.)?

This is great and interesting information . . . Thank you!!

5. Re: Itinerary Help - Rome

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Removed on: 15 December 2012, 07:57
Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Itinerary Help - Rome

I haven't used them. I was doing some research myself on a day trip to Pompeii and Amalfi and came across their website. However, after reading recommendations by others, I think I am going to focus just on Pompeii.

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Itinerary Help - Rome

Another thing that you may want to do for something different would be to do a Vespa tour (not sure your mom would be up for it). Google Nerone Tours (I read about them in a Huffington Post article about Vespas). Nerone offer 4 hour Vespa tours around Rome and offer different tour types (one is a night tour, one is a tour around to all the main sights, another is to the 7 hills of Rome and the other is the lesser known sights). To be clear, you don't drive the Vespa, but instead you are a passenger. It is expensive, but I imagine would be really fun. As I will be travelling as a solo female in my trip in a couple of months, I wanted to do something that would make my girlfriends back home a little jealous so have booked them in during my stay in Rome. It would also be an easy way of seeing a lot of sights in a half a day.

Le Marche, Italy
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8. Re: Itinerary Help - Rome

I think that making two long day trips would be more tiring than changing hotels for a night. Two nights would be better, if you want to see the Amalfi coast. You can stop over at Pompeii en route to Sorrento if you take the train.

However, if your mom has a bad knee, I would rethink Pompeii. Walking around on those ancient Roman paving blocks is not easy on the knees, and the site is very large. I would consider going instead to Ostia Antica, which is right in Rome, and is a beautiful, well preserved ancient Roman port city. Since it's so close, you won't feel as though you've wasted six hours of travel if your mom can't manage to do justice to the site.

http://www.ostia-antica.org/

I've been to both Pompeii and Ostia Antica multiple times, and in many ways, I really prefer Ostia Antica. There's a good deal of shade there, and a sea breeze, whereas Pompeii can already be unpleasantly hot in May. For people who are interested in Roman history, Ostia covers a much longer period than Pompeii. As a port town, it was also a lot more heterogeneous. There are temples from various eastern cults, a Christian basilica, and a synagogue, in addition to the usual Roman temples. The synagogue is a long way from the entrance, and I haven't got that far (yet).

Campo de'Fiori is very near the Jewish Ghetto. You could go there before your tour.

I don't know whether you want to visit the Villa Borghese gardens, the Gallery, or both. The gardens are large, but you can rent a bicycle cart (electricity-assisted) or golf cart to get around. The gardens are free, but the gallery isn't, and it also needs to be reserved in advance. The entrances are every two hours, and the entire group has to exit before the next group can enter. It does tend to gum up your schedule.

I do think you should limit the number of reserved visits and tours, as they make your time very regimented. I try to have only one, or at most two, visits that require reservations on a one-week trip. On a shorter trip, I never reserve anything. You've already mentioned three others: the Vatican Museums, the Jewish Ghetto tour, and the Colosseum. Then if you also take a tour to the Amalfi coast, you'll find that you have no ability to switch things around if you're tired, or if it's raining, or if your mom's knee needs a break. There are some other lovely museums in Rome that don't need reservations. Some of my favorites are the Barberini Gallery, the Doria Pamphilj Gallery, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, the Capitoline Museums, and the Villa Farnesina.

If your mom has knee troubles, the Vatican Museums may be very stressful for her. It's a long (and very crowded) walk to the Sistine Chapel. You should definitely go there on a weekday afternoon, and maybe consider reserving a wheel chair, if you feel up to pushing it.

…vatican.va/3_EN/…MV_Info_Servizi.html

Of the things we've mentioned, the Roma Pass covers any two of the Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill, the Borghese Gallery, the Capitoline Museum, the Barberini Gallery, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, and Ostia Antica (including the train ride). It will give you discounts on all the sites, after the first two, that you can manage to see in three days. If you'll be visiting two or more of these, and also using buses and the metro a fair amount, the pass will save you money. Before and after the three days, you can buy day passes (6 euros) for the days you'll be all day in Rome, or single tickets (€1.50) for days you won't be moving around much. For example, as someone has said, both the Vatican (if you go to the Museums) and the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine visits really require most of a full day. On those days, it's not likely that you'd use public transportation often enough to justify a day pass, which breaks even at four trips.

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Itinerary Help - Rome

Iceyhot - I was doing some research for my own day tour to Pompeii and i found that Context Tours provides a day trip from Rome to Pompeii (small group for 12 people for 200 EURO). Though this will also be a long day, it may be better than the other option I suggested as it looks like you will get to spend more time in Pompeii (which is recommended from what I have read on TripAdvisor). I haven't found recommendations for this speciifc tour on Tripadvisor, but Context Tours seems to have a good reputation for the other tours they provide.

pittsburgh
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10. Re: Itinerary Help - Rome

Two hundred euros!!!! That's so outrageously expensive it's almost funny. You can book your own train tickets for as little as 9 euros each if you purchase early enough or you can get them for 23 or 29 euros if you purchase them closer to your travel date. Once in Naples you simply go downstairs and buy a ticket for the commuter train which will cost less than 10 euros. You can hire a good guide onsite for a good price and save yourself hundreds of euros. There really is no need to pay these type of exorbitant prices just to have a guide ride with you for an hour on the train.

Donna