Is it worth it to go to Rome in March?

Planned on sending my favorite niece (who has been sooooo good to my Mother, her Grandmother) to Rome in March. She's never been before, but now with the Pope's retirement and facing the probable closing of the Vatican Museum, Sistine and St. Peters for all of March, would we be better off changing the date of this trip? I know there are many sites in Rome, but it seems that if this is her only trip ever, to go to Rome when these are closed seems a little disappointing.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3314 posts

Any time will work. If the Sistine Chapel is closed when she's there, she'll have an excuse to go back. I saw the Sistine chapel for the first time in 1990, sfter they restored it, long after moving to the US. In 27 years living in Italy, never took the time. It also took me 12 years living in San Francisco before I stepped foot on a cable car. I'm a late adopter.

Posted by Miguel
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA
258 posts

Thing is, my mom was a 74 year old walkie talkie and she found it difficult walking around Rome and the sights in Rome. The cobble stones and the stairs can be a little difficult for older folks. Specially in the Vatican museum leading to the Sistine Chapel, it's a huge museum. That's a tough walk, even for a younger person. The museum, the Sistine and all of St. Peters are definitely a must! Take your time, unless they feel that running through it is not a problem. We went in April and the weather was pleasant. But you are asking if anyone can predict when the cardinals are going to choose a new Pope? That's difficult to answer. But as soon as they do, start planning or try going in October. Going in the summer with all those tourist (long, long lines to see everything) and the heat must be even tougher.

Posted by donna
roswell, ga, usa
996 posts

The Grandmother is not goinig just the niece and her husband. I was just wondering if we should wait until a new Pope is elected. It's not a matter of being too old to go, just a matter if it is best to wait for a time when everything is open. I guess we will need to work this out.

Posted by LaVee
Edenton, NC, usa
74 posts

Donna, Although I know that much will be open elsewhere in Rome, I feel your anxiety because I booked a studio apartment literally at the Vatican wall because I wanted to spend so much time at St. Peter's, etc. I'll be in Rome from 19/3-28/3, then on to Florence for a month+. I am hoping that I get to witness some unplanned & exciting Church history & still have some access to my original plans. (Father forgive me my cynicism, but I expect the Vatican wants tour dollars and will have the museums open as much as possible, especially now that the credit card issue is solved.) Perhaps I am naive- wouldn't be the first time! ;-) .
Regardless, my trip is booked and I will enjoy what is open/accessible in Rome, and I've booked what looks to be a great day trip cooking class in Toffia!

Posted by donna
roswell, ga, usa
996 posts

Thanks LaVee but I suspect this will be her ONLY trip to Rome. She is dragging her husband, kicking and screaming, and I think it would be better to reschedule. I can't imagine going to Rome once and having the Biggest (in my opinion) sites closed. Conclaves are unpredictable, but I am pretty sure a new Pope will be chosen by Easter. If it were ME, I'd go I've been many times before, and this would be a chance for me to be there for the White Smoke! You're doing what is a life-long dream for me staying in Italy for two months. Someday, maybe! You'll be returning to Rome after Florence, right? I know you've done Rome before too, so maybe you'll get to see some exciting events!

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1139 posts

How about just delaying until April? FYI, Labor Day, May 1, is a little challenging in Rome, since public transit is limited and shuts down early. So maybe mid April?

Posted by Bob
Gettysburg, PA
1364 posts

Donna, unless you have some inside info from above, the selection process could be very easy/difficult/short/lengthy. Go in march and enjoy a less crowded adventure in the Eternal City.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2464 posts

Have you checked for hotel reservations yet? I'm thinking they may be harder to find and more expensive during the conclave, and definitely through Easter week. Expect restaurants to be crowded as well. If it were me, I'd wait until mid- to late April. (You can compare hotel prices for a week or two in March and a week or two in April on booking.com or a similar site.)