Confusion for a 1st time visitor

My wife and I are making our first trip in June. We are currently planning on spending 5 days in Rome, and 5 in Florence, with day trips from each to various spots (Pompeii, Tuscany, CT)... Biggest problem right now is the (apparently, age old) issue of whether to stay near the train station or near Navona/Pantheon. We do not mind walking. While we will be using the trains for day trips, are we better off enjoying the sites, evenings, and walking back to the Termini area (at night?) or enjoying the vibrancy of Navona, and getting to the trains as needed???? Any and all guidance is appreciated. Confusion abounds!

Posted by Robert
San Antonio, Tx, USA
29 posts

Frank, I was kind of thinking that the walk isn't a problem - we walk a lot, and enjoy the "sightseeing" of just walking around as much as the sites. I guess my real question is (and from your response I gather it is not a problem) whether walking in the Termini area in the evenings is an issue? I didn't realize there was activity in that area. I likened it to going to Manhattan and staying in the Battery Park area - you spend a lot of time in mid-town and above, and then head back down after the day's activity. I have never had a problem with this and it sounds like Termini has it's own neighborhood feel????

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5736 posts

You can use Google Maps Streetview to take a look around those neighborhoods for yourself to see which seems most appealing. I would also vote for Navona/Pantheon over Termini for the reasons you give.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10854 posts

OK, so maybe it was longer than 15 mins but it didn't seen that long. More than once we had dinner in the Termini area and then walked over to the gelato shop behind the Pantheon. The Termini area is very busy, lots of restaurants from fast food to white table clothes, lots of foot traffic, bunch of hotels. It is an area serving a very large train station with lots of people coming and going and big hub for the local transit system.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2452 posts

I prefer the Piazza Navona area, which has lots more to do at night. As posted previously, you can get to Termini easily by bus.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
631 posts

For my first visit I could have easily spent five days in Rome without any day trips. I would stay closer to Navona than the train station. Florence is better suited for day trips but you will be close to the train station no matter where you are in Florence since it is so small.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10854 posts

We have spent about a month in Rome over four visits during the past five years or so. We always stay in the Termini area for the convenience to the transportation hub. We are in our 70s and don't mind the walk. Can walk to Pantheon from Termini in 15 mins which for us is just getting warmed up. There is a lot of vibrancy in the Termini area and we enjoy a number of local restaurants in that area. We prefer that area but it many be from habit. We know it well.

Posted by SamSn
Scottsdale, AZ, USA
1092 posts

The Piazza Navona/Pantheon area is much more attractive than the Termini area but it is more expensive. If price isn't an issue I would stay near the Pantheon. It will serve you better while seeing the sights of Rome. This area is easily connected to Termini via bus. Frank, if you can walk from the Pantheon to Termini in 15 minutes you must be a power walker!

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3310 posts

From the station to the Pantheon or Piazza Navona is at least 2 km. therefore 25-30 min walk are more likely. If you jog, you can make it in 15 min.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17734 posts

Robert, I normally stay in the Termini area, and don't have a problem getting around as there are lots of transportation choices available there. If I need to get to parts of Rome that would be longer by foot, I use the Metro or Buses to get close to where I'm going, and then walk from there. You might find it helpful to have a look at the Italy Guidebook (which would be a good resource to pack along) or the excellent www.roninrome.com website. As this is your first trip, be sure to familiarize yourselves with the usual "caveats" regarding using public transit in Italy. Happy travels!

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3310 posts

I usually stay near Termini because I want to be walking distance to the station (I generally stay in Rome the day before flying back to the US, if I leave from FCO instead of FLR). The area is nice, especially close to the Opera House (Viminale area). You can walk to the centro storico in about 25 min. or take the metro at "Repubblica" and be at "Spagna" (spanish steps) or Barberini (Trevi fountain") in a handful of minutes. Alternatively you can take a bus too from via Nazionale. Anywhere downtown Rome, including Termini area, there is a lot of foot traffic. There are lots of hotels and restaurants near Termini, aside from train travelers, therefore lots of tourists as well.
If you choose the Termini area, try to stay close to via del Viminale/via Nazionale. I usually stay at the Selene or at the San Remo, very close to each other near the Opera House. Centro storico is the top of course, but hotels are pricier. If you don't have a need to be near Termini station and can afford to pay a little more, you should try to stay in the centro storico.

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
2197 posts

I agree with others: skip the sidetrip and spend your time in Rome. 5 days is just a good start. With 4 or 5 nights, get an apartment in centro storico. You will save money over a hotel, and by being in the historic area you will enjoy a better night scene, IMO. Better restaurants, nicer strolling. Also, by being in the centro storico, it is easier (IMHO) to run back to your apartment for a rest during the day. If you stay near Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Campo dei Fiori or Largo Argentina, you will find ample bus transportation, some tram options, easy walking: 25 minutes to St. Peter's, 20 to Piazza del Popolo, and 20-25 to il Colosseo. Termini can be a trudge and we avoid it whenever possible, whether by foot or bus. The restaurants around Termini are not very good overall, although there are some gems not too far away.

Posted by stacey
Bedford, texas, united states
37 posts

Hi Laura when you refer to the historical center is that all those places you mentioned

Posted by stacey
Bedford, texas, united states
37 posts

Hi Laura when you refer to the historical center is that all those places you mentioned

Posted by Christine
York, PA, USA
11 posts

I agree with Laura. The strolling is better near the Pantheon area. Restaurants are awesome. I did not like the Termini area (just my opinion) and at night the life in the Pantheon/Trevi area is the best and you are just a few minutes walk away vs 25 minutes to get back to your lodging.

Posted by Robert
San Antonio, Tx, USA
29 posts

The information available from this group is quite amazing. I have read the 2012 RS Italy, and it can be information overload. Reading your thoughts and suggestions really helps to clarify things. We haven't made a decision yet, but, if it isn't too much trouble to ask, I wanted to know if anyone has experiences (good or bad) with the following: in the Termini area, the Residenza Cellini; and in the Navona area, Hotel Albergo Santa Chiara. Thanks in advance!