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2 night stay in Rome, late arrival, Leonardo Express etc

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2 night stay in Rome, late arrival, Leonardo Express etc

I am travelling to Rome for a weekend this winter and have a few questions.

I will arrive at the FCO airport at 9.55pm on a Friday. The hotel I am staying at is 5 minutes walk from Roma Termini so I was thinking of just taking the Leonardo Express which should arrive at Termini just after 11pm and then walk to the hotel. Is it safe to walk (there will be two of us) in this area after 11pm?

Also, is it straightforward buying Leonardo Express tickets at the airport at this time? I assume the shops are closed and someone else mentioned the automated teller system might be a bit tricky? Am I better off taking a taxi?

On the saturday I was thinking of going to the Vatican in the morning. What are the queues like in late Feb early March? I am contemplating booking a 9am guided tour (for the museum, sistine chapel, and St Peter Basilica) for €37. With this tour I skip the queues. Is it worth the price? Any other suggestions on how to enjoy the vatican without queuing for too long? Also, is it easy to find the vatican "entrance"? Are there queues here or just after you get into the vatican city?

For the rest of saturday and Sunday morning/early afternoon I plan on strolling around the area near the Termini station, see the Pantheon, Forum, Colusseum and Paladine. Is there anything else I should try to see while Im there?

Many Thanks

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1. Re: 2 night stay in Rome, late arrival, Leonardo Express etc

I'd take a taxi -- the fixed price is 48 euro, and you'll be tired and dragging luggage, and it will take you right to your hotel. If you get off the plane at 9:55, I don't think you'll be at Termini at 11 -- our record (with no checked luggage, being very familiar with FCO, and having a private car) from stepping off the plane to our front door near the Spanish Steps is 1 hour. If you take the train you could be arriving closer to midnight. While Rome is generally safe, given the late hour and your lack of familiarity with the area, I'd say take the taxi.

For the Vatican Museums, queues should not be bad given the season. That being said, there is often a line first thing in the morning. As for the guided tour being worth it, that's a personal issue -- it's not just skipping the line, it's also the value from the guide explaining some of the historical and artistic issues as well as helping you to hit the "highlights" in this very massive complex. One important thing -- as of today, the Vatican is not taking credit cards and is cash only.

The Colosseum is a combined ticket with the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. You'll can easily spend 1/2 to a full day there depending on your level of interest. Make sure to see the magnificent Pantheon, stroll Piazza Navona and Campo de' Fiori, see the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. See the Capitoline, designed by Michelangelo (with excellent museums, too). The Galleria Borghese is one of the greatest art collections in the world and well worth a visit. Not much to see near Termini station but you will be well connected by metro and bus to the rest of the city. For an evening stroll and dining, maybe spend one evening in Monti, and another in Trastevere. You won't be able to see much in 2 days, but you can get a good taste (probably enough to make you want to return to Rome soon!)

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2. Re: 2 night stay in Rome, late arrival, Leonardo Express etc

The drop off point of the SIT Bus Shuttle airport bus from FCO to Roma Termini (Via Marsala 5, in front of the Hotel Royal Santina) might be EVEN CLOSER to your hotel. There is a bus at 23:00, which you should be able to catch if your plane arrives on time. That will get you to the hotel by 12 midnight!!! A ticket from the driver is only 6 Euros (versus 14 Euros on the Leonardo Express train).

www.sitbusshuttle.it

sitbusshuttle.com/pdf_orari/Pdf-Orari-Fiumic…

Edited: 04 February 2013, 22:03
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3. Re: 2 night stay in Rome, late arrival, Leonardo Express etc

There are a few great things to see near Termini station. My favorites are the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, in part of the ruins of the ancient Baths of Diocletian, with an interior partly designed by Michelangelo; the National Museum of Rome, which has four locations, two of which are in the immediate vicinity of Termini station: Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, with a great collection of ancient sculpture, mosaics, and frescoes; and the museum of the Baths of Diocletian, which has a large hall which was part of the ancient bath structure, where two painted Roman tombs are displayed, and an interesting exhibit about the early development of writing in Latin. (This sounds a bit dry, but it's not at all. There are lots of examples of the things ordinary people wrote about when writing was a cutting-edge technology.)

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4. Re: 2 night stay in Rome, late arrival, Leonardo Express etc

Thanks for your replies. The hotel is approximately 1km (10 minute walk) from Termini - my travel partner and I will only be carrying hand luggage so unless there is a bigger risk than normal (for a big city) of getting assaulted/mugged etc I would be happy to walk to the hotel - the directions are quite simple and assuming I make the 23.00 bus I would be at the hotel by midnight.

The hotel is also 1km from Roman Forum, Colusseum etc and 2km from Pantheon, 1km from Trevi fountain, 1.3 from Spanish Steps and about 2.3km from Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona so I think most of the sightseeing will be done on foot. I am a big fan of walking so would not mind spending 6-7 hours on the move.

As for the vatican, as a Rome novice with an interest for history and religious history I think it would be useful with a guided tour.

Looking at some of the locations I have come up with two rough itinariess:

Itinirary 1:

Saturday

9am vatican tour

12am Metro back to Termini, stroll past Baths of Diocletian have lunch in the area

2pm roman forum, colosseum, paladine hill

5pm If time permits visit the Capitoline Museums

7pm Dinner

Sunday

9am - stroll towards the river:

Trevi Fountain -> Pantheon

Pantheon -> Campo De Fiore

Campo De Fiore -> Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona -> Spanish steps

Spanish steps -> Termini

4pm take train/bus back to Airport

Itinirary 2:

Saturday

9am Vatican Tour

12am stroll accross the river

Spanish Steps -> Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona -> Campo De Fiore

Campo De Fiore -> Pantheon

Pantheon ->Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain -> Termini area

7pm Dinner

Sunday

9am roman forum, colosseum, paladine

2pm lunch

3pm stroll to Termini via Baths of Diocletian

4pm bus/train back to Airport

Does this sound doable and if so, which one would be the more practical and realistic itinirary?

Edited: 05 February 2013, 09:32
5. Re: 2 night stay in Rome, late arrival, Leonardo Express etc

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6. Re: 2 night stay in Rome, late arrival, Leonardo Express etc

Nothing to see in the vicinity of Termini station? I beg to differ. There are two very impressive museums there, plus the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, plus some remains of the ancient Servian walls.

For someone with little time, I recommend at the very least a visit to the Basilica. It was constructed in the ruins of the Baths of Diocletian, to the designs of several architects, including Michelangelo. I consider it one of the most beautiful basilicas in Rome. There you can also see the meridian line that for about 150 years was used to indicate the time of exact noon, which was signaled to Romans by the ringing of the bells of the basilica. This is a line marked on the floor of the basilica. The light of the sun enters through a very small hole high up on a southern wall of the basilica, and falls on this line, at a different point every day depending on the time of year, exactly at noon. There are mosaics of the signs of the zodiac along the line.

The church has a famous organ, and there is usually a short concert between the 10:30 and 12:00 masses on Sunday. You can visit the church at any time between 7 and 18:30. During masses, you can't access some parts of the church.

This page (in Italian) has some clips that show panoramic views of the basilica:

http://www.santamariadegliangeliroma.it/

You need QuickTime to see the clips.

There is also this interesting video:

santamariadegliangeliroma.it/…

The voiceover is in Italian, but you can see the ruins that are visible from the street, as well as an aerial view, and the inside of the basilica.

The ruins of the Servian Wall are some of the earliest remains of ancient Rome, dating from the 4th century BC, before there was even a Roman Republic. The Aurelian walls, the next walls to be built around Rome, were constructed in the 3rd century AD, about 900 years later. In fact, during the long period when Rome was very powerful, there was no need of walls around the city. The Servian walls were built before Rome became powerful, and the Aurelian walls when its power was slipping and invasions threatened. You can see some of the Servian wall from the train as you come into Termini station.

Then there are the two museums, which represent two of the four sites of the National Museum of Rome:

Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, which has an excellent collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, and some beautiful Roman mosaics, and frescoes from the House of Livia, the wife of Augustus Casesar.

The Museum of the Baths of Diocletian. Here there is a large hall that was once part of the enormous bath complex. Inside there are displayed two rare painted Roman tombs, that were brought there from elsewhere, I think from Testaccio. Inside the museum there is a very interesting exhibit about the early development of writing in Rome (Latin).

There is a single ticket, at €7, which gives you entry to all four sites of the National Museum of Rome. It's one of the biggest bargains in Rome.

You could easily spend most of a day in this area, and for people interested in ancient Rome, it would be a day very well spent. In this case, Paolo won't have enough time to see it all, but I just want to banish the idea that there's nothing to see in the vicinity of Termini station.

Edited: 05 February 2013, 12:04
7. Re: 2 night stay in Rome, late arrival, Leonardo Express etc

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8. Re: 2 night stay in Rome, late arrival, Leonardo Express etc

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Edited: 19 February 2013, 00:17
9. Re: 2 night stay in Rome, late arrival, Leonardo Express etc

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10. Re: 2 night stay in Rome, late arrival, Leonardo Express etc

No, and I never suggested that. As I said before, I did recommend that the original poster skip these museums because of his short time in Rome.

For the last time, I contested your statement that there was nothing to see in the vicinity of Termini station for the benefit of people who have a longer time in Rome, and who might have been misled by your original statement.

Regarding museums, though, I think a lot of people might enjoy Palazzo Massimo alle Terme more than the Vatican Museums. It's not famous, but undeservedly so. Too many people skip over world class museums in Rome because they're not famous.

And people whose main interest is ancient Rome would be greatly rewarded by a day in the vicinity of Termini station. I'm not suggesting they skip the Roman Forum!