Should I forget about Florence?! (part 2)

Update: After many great suggestions, I am in the process of paring down this trip. Thank you for your help. I will be traveling to Rome as part of a larger European trip. I would arrive in Rome around 13.30 on a Tuesday and depart Saturday before lunch. I have several friends who rave about Florence, and I was hoping to make a day trip of it. However, there are only so many days and I'm concerned that I may "glance" over some amazing parts of Rome to take the day trip. Here is a preview of the second part my preliminary itinerary; thank you in advance for your help! As a side note, my hotel is near the Pantheon. Thursday: The Caesar Walk ?Colosseum ? Arch of Constantine ? St. Peter-in-Chains Church ?Basilica di San Clemente ?Roman Forum ? Palatine Hill (Monte Palatino)– same hours as C ? Bocca della Verita ? Trajan's Column, Market, and Museum of Imperial Forums ? Capitoline Hill ? Piazza del Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill Square) ? Capitoline Museums (Musei Capitolini) ? Piazza Venezia Friday: Walk across Ponte Sant'Angelo to... ? Walk past Castel Sant'Angelo 9.00 Vatican Museum Lunch: Café in museum courtyard 15.00 St. Peter's ? Climb the Dome (€6) 17.00 – 19.00 Dolce Vita Stroll ?Begin – Piazza del Popolo ? Santa Maria del Popolo – 16.00 – 18.30 (not a must see) ? Shop your way down Via del Corso ? Mausoleum of Augustus ?Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace) (€7.50) – 9.00 – 19.00
? Turn left down Via Condotti to join the parade to the Spanish Steps ? Return to Via del Corso to the Capitoline Hill for amazing evening views.

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2406 posts

What's with all the question marks? Are these things you're unsure about? Also, you're days are way too crowded. I doubt you'll finish any day and be able to see all that you have planned. I would pare it back a bit. If this means skipping Florence then so be it but at the pace you've set you'll be worn out after day two. Also, the order you have sites listed doesn't make sense. You'll be running back and forth through the city. An example is Thursday. The colosseum, forum and palatine hill are all right next to each other yet you have two churches in between them. It makes no sense. Trajans column and market are right across the street from the forum and yet you're going the opposite way to see the Mouth of Truth. I would visit the colosseum, forum, palatine hill, mouth of truth, capitolini, p. venezia, trajans markets and column (I would also be exhausted at this point), then continue to St. Peter in Chains and San Clemente. Overall, I think you need to get a good map and really rethink this itinerary (all 4 days). Donna

Posted by Elaine
29 posts

I'm still planning my first trip, but my suggestion is to take a glance at the Itinerary of Rick's tour to Venice/Florence/Rome to get some perspective on how much to fit in. Remember, this is with an experienced tour guide, and much less than you have listed. Choose what you genuinely want to see and experience. Have a wonderful trip! :)

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1972 posts

You have many, many stops in your planned itinerary. You need to first hit St. Peters and the more popular sights. Then work your way back to second priority tourist sights. Every time I try to plan too far ahead, I overestimate my physical capabilities to see so many sights. Rome will walk you to death. There's just no way to keep up to such an itinerary because of variables. Just getting place to place is a variable, as is how long it takes to eat a meal. When in Rome, you just have to roll with the flow and see what sights you have the time and energy to see.
You should quickly figure out how to negotiate the mass transit system of buses and the subway, however.

Posted by David
Sacramento, CA, USA
205 posts

Both days are doable if you start first thing..dawn to dusk AND you do it on a dead run (Especially Thursday- Friday all day at the Vatican until 5pm is a reality but walk from the Vatican to Santa Maria del Popolo (end and see the Ara Pacis on the way). HOWEVER you will not remember a dang thing from this trip the way yo have it planned. When asked about Rome 3 yrs from will have a foggy memory of being in Rome once but no will have been to Rome but not seen it. Sorry. Skip Florence. Slow it down.

Posted by Patty
Steilacoom, WA, USA
307 posts

This sounds like a very exciting trip and I think we are all in awe of your stamina. However, I agree with the advice to check out the Rick Steve's guidebook for your day-to-day itinerary.He sets a pretty brisk pace and you want to build in time just to enjoy Rome, I.e. gelato stops, afternoon cappuccino. Save Florence for your next trip.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2529 posts

I would suggest the RonInRome website and Rick Steves' walking tours to get your planned sights into a more logical design. Some specifics: Some amazing views can be had from the Gianicolo, the hill/park on the Vatican side of the river. If you plan your Castel Sant'Angelo walk/Vatican Museum visit for afternoon, you can easily get to the Gianicolo for sunset, then backtrack to St. Peter's Basilica for night views of the Basilica. The Dolce Vita/Via Condotti/Piazza del Popolo (especially if the church is not a must-see), Via del Corso and a couple of other walk-bys (Trevi Fountain?) can be part of a Rome-at-night walk. I agree that you should put San Clemente/St Peter in Chains either before or after the Roman Forum/Colosseum/Palatine/Arch of Constantine walk. Very nearby San Clemente is the church of the Quattro Martiri; near the Forum is the church of Cosimo and Damiano, and near the Capitoline Museums is the Teatro di Marcello and the Jewish Quarter. Have a great trip!

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
633 posts

I don't see a big problem in your itinerary except maybe three hours for the Vatican Museum (probably not long enough) and climbing the Dome which probably doesn't take waiting in line into account. Most of those things are walk by's where you will look at them for a few minutes and move on. St. Peter in Chains is relatively close to the Colosseum but a little hard to find and I spent more time there than I thought I would. You obviously are taking many of your recommendations from RS which I completely agree with as a first time visitor. What worked for me and I would do a little different next time.....Cut out the section of the book for Rome so you don't have to carry the whole book. Mark everything you are interested in on the map. As you go along you can look at the map,see what is nearby and go see it. Leave a little flexibility because you left out meals and time to relax and soak it in. Pick restaurants the same way, this includes the rest of your trip. I started going to whatever looked good because I was tired and had some horrible meals. I found if I took a little time to go to a recommended restaurant nearby I had much better dinning experiences. It's good you are researching things that interest you but don't try and do everything, you'll be tired and disappointed. Assume you will go back another time and include time in your day to sit and take in the experience.

Posted by Kathy
United States
76 posts

I'll agree with David that it's too much, too fast. And as much as I love Florence, you should really devote your entire 3 and 1/2 days to Rome. With as much to see and do in the city, you will barely scratch the surface in that amount of time. And I'll agree with going easy on that itinerary as it's just not going to work according to plan. You are going to run into other interesting things along the way, many of the churches close up for several hours in the early afternoon, pouring rain could have you shifting outdoor sites to another day, and any number of other things will complicate a tight and inflexible schedule. BTW, The Colosseum, Forum and Palatine are right next to each other and share the same ticket: these should be visited in succession, and will likely consume the better part of that day. You've done a good job grouping attractions in the same general location, but you just have way too many of them! And make good use of your evenings as well! Attractions that are simply walk-bys - such as the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Venezia - can be seen just as well after dark as during the day, and some are often prettier with nighttime lighting.

Posted by Tanner
Oklahoma City
5 posts

I would like to thank everyone for their suggestions. I knew the itinerary was really wishful thinking, but a guy can dream, can't he? haha. Taking many of your suggestions, I think I will drop the Florence trip. You all are absolutely right - too much.