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Anyone want to review my family's itinerary?!

maryland
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Anyone want to review my family's itinerary?!

Hi everyone,

I've been pouring over the forums for weeks and weeks now, and finally have put together our rough itinerary for Rome. I'd love any suggestions you have! I've tried to plan things that are close together for the same day, to save on back tracking.

We are a family of five--three teenage boys 13, 15, and 17. We will be in Europe for 3 weeks, starting in Greece, then flying to Rome, then Florence and Venice. Roughly four nights in each city. We LOVE history and museums and good food! This will be our first trip to Italy.

I like to plan things out pretty thoroughly (especially since I need to book reservations ahead of time), with lots of options for each day, but we are also totally open to changing things up if we need to. I would really like to see everything on my itinerary, but am unsure if each day is realistic or do-able. If you think one day is too busy and another day a little light, let me know!

I've taken all my restaurant ideas from the forum (not restaurant reviews). Do I need reservations for dinner at many places? I do like to have ideas of restaurants to eat at, but we are also very likely to simply eat someplace that looks good that's convenient at the moment.

I haven't yet looked up opening/closing times for each place on my itinerary, so if you notice something down for a time you know it's closed, let me know. We will be staying in the Campo di Fiori area, so will buses be our best option for getting around (or walking!)? Also, wasn't planning on getting the Roma Pass, unless someone really thinks I should.

July 30, Tuesday:

Arrive from Athens via Easy Jet at 5:20 p.m.-- airport pick up from Rome Shuttle Limousine

Evening: Night walk across Rome (Rick Steves Pocket Rome): Campo de Fiori to Spanish Steps (Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Piazza Colonna, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps) with stop at Giolitti’s for gelato or Tazza d’Oro for granita. Hopefully listen to Rick Steves audio tour of Pantheon or do a free Angel tour.

Dinner options for any evening, close to our Campo de Fiori hotel:

Il Chianti Restaurant near Trevi

Ristoranti Campo de Fiori or Carbonara

La Focaccia

Magnolia

Navona Notte

Pizzeria Bafeto

July 31, Wednesday:

Forum, Palatine, and Colosseum day (walk there from hotel). Tickets already purchased and printed. Need to make underground Colosseum tour reservations for 14:21

Arrive at Forum at 9:30 a.m., use Rick Steves Roman Forum audio tour. We should have three hours to tour the Forum and Palatine before lunch.

Lunch: can we bring picnic food and eat somewhere in the Forum or Palatine? or Angelino ai Fori or lunch at the Capitoline Museum terrace.

Colosseum underground tour at 14:21 then tour Colosseum on our own (Rick Steves Colosseum tour or rent headphones) two hours total??

Other sights to see in the area: Circo Massimo, Piazza Bocca della Verita

Capitoline Museum (open until 8 p.m.)

Dinner: Trattoria Valentine (via Cavour 293)?? or any of restaurants listed on Tuesday

August 1, Thursday:

Campo de Fiore market

Lunch: ?

Vatican Tour with Angel tours (Vatican museum, St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, Sistine Chapel) tour runs 1:00-4:30 p.m.

--can we climb to the top of the dome after the tour?? What time does this close?

Either before or after we tour the Vatican I’d like to cross the Ponte Sant’Angelo and visit the Castel Sant’Angelo

Dinner: If we are still in the area, Dino & Tony’s do we need reservations here? or Osteria La Streghe (across river from Castel Sant’Angelo)

August 2, Friday:

Ostia Antica for the morning and early afternoon--3 hours total + 2 hours travel. Train from the Stazione Porta San Paolo station near the Piramide metro (Rick Steves audio tour)

Lunch: picnic at Ostia Antica, or are there places to eat here?

Afternoon: San Clemente, San Giovanni in Laterano, Scala Santa and chapel of San Lorenzo, (if we still have energy, Vittorio Emmanuel Monument and Santa Maria Maggiore

Dinner:

August 3, Saturday:

We will check out of our hotel and spend most of the day in Rome before catching the train to Florence in the early evening. Where should we store our bags? Hotel will be out of the way to pick up. Can we store at train station? Do not have train tickets yet, so departure time is flexible.

Piazza del Popolo and Santa Maria del Popolo, Leonardo da Vinci museum

Galleria Borghese and Villa Borghese 11-1:00 p.m.??

Lunch:

Capuchin crypt at Santa Maria della Concerzione 3:00 p.m.?? How long does this take?

Santa Maria della Vittoria (Baroque, Bernini)

We could take the 5:30 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. train to Florence. It should still be light out for the train ride I hope, so we can enjoy the sights along the way and not get in too late.

Things Not on List:

Trastevere

Janiculum Hill

Domus Romane sound & light show

Catacombs

I am most concerned with Friday afternoon, after Ostia Antica, and Saturday. Do we have too much planned for those days?

Thank you so much for any help you can offer! I know you DE's get asked to review itinerary's a lot, but it sure helps to hear an expert opinion!

Lisl Sukachevin

Australia
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1. Re: Anyone want to review my family's itinerary?!

You've done some very thorough work here!

Just a couple of points. You're not supposed to picnic at the ancient sites but Palatine Hill is so enormous I doubt anyone would stop you breaking out the pannini and sodas. Just don't sit on the ancient monuments while you eat :) The cupola (dome) of St. Peters closes around 5pm from memory. It is a very, very strenuous effort to get to the top. You can take an elevator to a mezzanine terrace but the rest of the walk is around and around an ever decreasing spiral staircase. It's very claustrophobic but the view from the top is well worth it.

My two-cents worth is as a fellow mom of teenagers. Your plan is very, very scheduled. Are your boys okay with that? I know my sons love to walk around new places on their own and they also love to go shopping, especially for clothes. I know you say you all love history but even the biggest history lover can get 'museum overload' and just start to zone out. For example your July 31 day involves the Forum, Palatine, Colosseum and the Capitoline Museums. That is a massive day and exhausting for me just thinking about it, let alone with three teenagers. Am sure you'll re-think your plans if your boys start to get that glazed look in their eye :) Anyway, you have so many good things planned and I just might 'steal' a few of your ideas for my October trip!

Edited: 24 April 2013, 05:57
Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Anyone want to review my family's itinerary?!

Can I suggest you keep this as a list of possibles, not as a list of "must sees". I too feel exhausted.

Note the Pantheon closes at 6.30pm. I always think this is a building best seen in the morning, before the crowds, and definitely when light (or rain) streams in through the occulus.

That last day is impossible in my book, and if you want the Borghese you must book well in advance.

The Castel Sant'angelo is on the same side of the river as the Vatican. The approach over the bridge is lovely with all the angels carrying items from the death of Christ. You can walk from Campo de Fiori to the Vatican and approach over this bridge but whether you have time for the markets, the walk, lunch, the visit to the castello and then the Vatican tour by 1.00 is up to you, especially given you will have an additional 3 hours or so on your feet. Do not underestimate how tired your feet will get.

Le Marche, Italy
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3. Re: Anyone want to review my family's itinerary?!

I wouldn't advise you to eat anywhere inside the Roman Forum or Palatine Hill. There's no suitable place to do so, and I don't think you should rely on not getting caught. Outside the archaeological site, on and near Via dei Fori Imperiali, there are benches where you could sit and eat something, if they're not already occupied. There are also food trucks, but they are ridiculously overpriced and mediocre. There are some restaurants in the vicinity, but I don't know if you'd have time for a full meal before your Colosseum tour.

At Ostia Antica, there is a cafeteria type restaurant inside, near the museum, as well as two restaurants just outside, one informal and quick, one formal and a bit pricey. I've eaten only at the informal one (and at the cafeteria).

I tend to agree that your schedule is a bit overly packed; it would be a bit much even if you didn't have three teenagers, but especially it seems to be too rigid for a family of five, who may not always agree with the program. When I travel with my family, even my husband and grown daughters, I try not to have any firm program, just a list of things that would interest me, if the others are in the mood to do the same things. I would also try to involve your husband and kids in some of the itinerary planning.

As far as restaurants, I would also allow a lot of leeway there. If there are some you feel you can't miss, make firm plans to eat there, but there's no need to make lots of reservations, which may end up being inconvenient if your sightseeing plans change even slightly. It's fairly easy to find a decent restaurant on the spot, wherever you happen to be when you get tired or hungry. Also, consider that having a meal at any of the well known or popular restaurants can be a two-hour affair. Meals are leisurely in Italy, and the popular restaurants tend to be packed, slowing the service. Two meals of this sort during a day can seriously eat into your sightseeing time. When I'm in Rome, I always have lots of things I want to see, so I tend to eat wherever I find myself when it's mealtime, and at least once a day, I try have a quick meal (pizza or salad) rather than a full Italian meal.

maryland
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4. Re: Anyone want to review my family's itinerary?!

Thank you for all your suggestions!

Kathy, thanks for letting me know the closing time of St. Peter's dome--guess we'll skip that! Yes, we do want to relax and maybe shop or sit in a cafe some--we'll definitely adjust the "schedule" if we start to get that glazed look! The good thing is we'll be arriving in Rome after a few days in a beach town in Greece, so will hopefully be rested from that :)

Lynn, this is definitely a list of possibilities, although there are a few must-see's! Didn't realize the Pantheon closed at 6:30 p.m.--we'll have to come back in the daytime then as we want to see inside too. Luckily it's not too far from our hotel.

Bvienci, we will grab some lunch between the Forum and Colusseum tours--thanks for the info! As far as restaurants go, most likely we will just eat places we find whenever we happen to be hungry. I just like to have a few in mind in locations I know we'll be, just in case!

I'm thinking I'll switch the last two days around: If I save Ostia Antica for Saturday, we can just head there in the morning, spend the day there, then head straight to the train station for the trip to Florence. Anyone have any suggestions on where we can store our luggage during this time?? I suppose we can leave it at the hotel, it just won't be terribly convenient to pick up in the afternoon.

Then on Friday we can head straight to the Borghese in the morning and then visit all the churches and the Capuchin crypt after that. I think this will work out better for us, and not make our last day in Rome too stressful.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Anyone want to review my family's itinerary?!

There's a left luggage facility at Roma Termini.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Anyone want to review my family's itinerary?!

I wouldn't eat at restaurants you may just happen to find -- many restaurants, esp near the main sights tend to be over priced and mediocre..

Make a list of 3 or 4 that are well reviewd near each of the main sights you will be visiting. Bear in mind that lunch is usually only served from about 12-2:30 and dinner does not usually start until 7:30 or 8 in the good restaurants.

Le Marche, Italy
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7. Re: Anyone want to review my family's itinerary?!

I tend to eat where I find myself, but I exercise a little discretion in choosing the restaurant. I've found decent and reasonably priced restaurants even near the tourist sites, especially if I go into a little side street, not on a main piazza.

Wellington, Florida
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8. Re: Anyone want to review my family's itinerary?!

All great advice here! I made an itinerary that seemed to be very packed but it helped me to have some direction in my exploration of the Eternal City. As long as you know that you are going to miss some of the sites, you will be fine. At the risk of starting controversy here, Campo de' Fiore is just an open air market, it does not merit a whole morning there. The only thing you will see are stands selling overpriced fruits and vegetables (I found prices to be cheaper even in Venice), so I would refocus that morning you have for something else.

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9. Re: Anyone want to review my family's itinerary?!

Aside from the market itself, the campo has an interesting history and one of my favorite statues in Rome - Giordano Bruno - just for a bit of info (not a fan of wiki but not going to write up the info from my various guidebooks about the campo:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campo_de'_Fiori

I don't see spending a full morning wandering it - I stay in that area and walk through it a bunch of times every day but rarely spend all that much time looking at the items but it is centrally located - between Piazza Navona (about 6 minutes to the west) and Trastevere (over Ponte Sisto) in about 10 minutes and just about 10 minutes from the Jewish Ghetto.

Le Marche, Italy
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10. Re: Anyone want to review my family's itinerary?!

I also really like Piazza Farnese, one piazza over, in the direction of the river, from Campo dei Fiori. It is a beautiful piazza; a highlight is the Palazzo Farnese, now the French Embassy, designed by Michelangelo.

Edited: 24 April 2013, 21:26