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PLEASE HELP - We leave this Sunday!!

I am petrified! We arrive Rome (FCO) early this Monday the 22nd and return to the states on January 1st. My husband and I are traveling with our 13 year old son. We are at the Hilton in Rome on hotel points but my husband wants to go to Venice for 2 nights and I really want to go to Pompeii. I am just so confused. Will someone please, please help me figure out the trains – which ones to take, etc. I’m so overwhelmed I just don’t know what to do. We have limited funds so I want to make sure we do the most economical thing. My father passed away recently and I just haven’t had time to do much planning and this was the last month we could use our reward tickets for travel. HELP!!

Posted by
23443 posts

Relax, not sure what question you are asking BUT after taking the Leonardo Express to Termini, stop at the ticket office and arrange your tickets. They speak English and will give good advice. Personally I would save Venice for another time. Two reasons -- First, it is a long day trip so you will take two days of traveling out of a 9 day trip. That is significant. Second -- Venice in winter can have some serious flooding problems. Venice is far more attractive in the spring or fall. Pompeii is a long day trip but doable and easy with the train.

It would probably just as economically for three of you to take the taxi to the Hilton. The taxi price is fixed at 40 E.

Posted by
10344 posts

Donna: Don't panic, you can do this (and even enjoy it!). Frank's advice deserves your careful consideration.Two other things to help:Here's the most user-friendly website for train schedules:train schedulesThis website will give you an idea of how long it takes to get to Venice by train, so you can make an informed decision about your itinerary.And click here for additional information to help you pull together the loose ends of your trip:http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/italy/italy_menu.htm

Posted by
32247 posts

Donna,

I tend to agree with the others in that Venice might be better on a future visit, as it will be much more pleasant when the weather is better and it is a bit of a long trip (to & from will basically use one day). There has been record flooding in Venice in the last few weeks, but I'm not sure what state it's in at the moment.

However, a visit to Venice for two days is possible. There are EuroStar Italia trains from Roma Termini to Venezia SL several times daily, and the travel time is about 4.5 hours. You can buy your tickets (with compulsory reservations) when you arrive at Termini via the Leonardo Express from Fiumicino. Note that your car no. and seat no. will be assigned by the reservation, so be sure to sit in the right spot!

With such a short trip (9 days?) my preference would be to spend more time touring Rome, as there's LOTS to see. You could also take day trips to smaller towns in the area (Orvieto is a good choice, as it's fairly close).

A day trip to Pompeii is possible also, but it's a LONG trip from Rome. You specified that you're working with "limited funds" so using one of the tour companies from Rome is probably not feasible. To reach Pompeii, you'll have to take the "regular" train from Rome to Naples and then transfer to the Circumvesuviana commuter train. Be sure to check the web for the winter hours of operation of Pompeii. I'd recommend hiring a local Guide for Pompeii (if your budget will allow), as the tour is so much more rewarding when you know the history.

I would strongly suggest that you take Rick's Italy book with you, as it's a valuable reference source when traveling (open & close times for sites, etc.).

One final point - you can buy tickets for the Leonardo Express at the airport (machine or ticket window) - be sure to validate them in the yellow box before you board the train (date and time stamped).

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
582 posts

You received some very good advice here. If you still are a bit confused on what to do, you can call Rick Steves staff. The number is in this site. They are open on Saturday. They have a wonderful rail department there, and they are so nice and helpful. I've called them before, and they are more than willing to answer questions. You can also email them, but because you are leaving Sunday, it could be best to call.
I'm very sorry about your Dad's passing. I lost my Dad too. Very hard to go through. Your trip is much deserved, and try to relax because I'm sure you will have a wonderful time. It's very true what the other posters said about Venice in the winter. I also say to wait to visit Venice for another time. Also, Ken is right about Rick's Italy book. I used it last month when I was in Italy, and it goes into so much detail, and answered so many of my questions. The book is easy to find, and I'm sure you could find it tomorrow.
Ciao!!

Posted by
527 posts

Instead of Pompeii try Ostia Antica the ancient port of Rome. We enjoy it more than Pompeii and it costs 1 euro each way to get there. Bring Ricks Book and buy their map. Go to www.Ostia-Antica.org and you'll see how cool it is. Orvieto is a wonderful hilltown and an easy one hour from Rome and great fun. Fast trains to Venice are more costly but if you go try to get the Amica fares which save you 20%.

Posted by
15580 posts

What I'm about to say will be seen as heresy on this board...but...it may be useful.

You are staying at the Hilton. They will have every tour brochure for all types of tours. Look for one day tours to Pompeii. This will include transportation (usually coach) to the site as well as a guided tour, and a few extras thrown in. If it is in your budget, think about taking one as it will be less hassle then trying to do it on your own. (If you seek help from the Concierge/Tour Desk, remember, he/she makes a commission by selling the tours and will try to get you on one that pays the best.)

A couple of days in Venice is definitely doable. Explain to your husband that this is the worst time of year to go--as others have stated--but if he insists, there are fast trains between Rome and Venice Santa Lucia train station. The Trip is about 4 1/2 hours with no change of trains.

Oh, and with it being xmas week, check to see what will be open, what will be closed, and what will have limited hours.

But mostly, have fun.

Posted by
3 posts

I wish my husband and I could personally thank each one of you for your help. You've offered some excellent suggestions!

Posted by
582 posts

Donna,
Have a great trip no matter what you choose to do. I hope you will keep us posted on what you and your husband decided!
Ciao!!

Posted by
831 posts

Donna,
Use http://romeshuttlelimousine.com/ from the airport to the hotel. It will be much easier and cheaper than the train and taxi. Or use an official taxi from the airport to the hotel.

Consider Ostia Antica instead of Pompeii. Easier and cheaper to get to and vey enjoyable.

Posted by
32247 posts

Donna,

Be sure to post a "Just Back Report" when you get home, as I'm sure we'll all be interested in knowing how your trip turned out.

Happy travels!

Posted by
3 posts

Will do!! We are at the airport now waiting to fly into JFK. I will post when we return on January 1st.