My wife and I are visting Rome for the first time in September. I've researched many of the information sites including RS and read his Rome book but the more I research the more confused I become about what to do and see in our short time there. We arrive FCO at noon on Monday and depart for 4 days in Florence on Thursday. We defintiely want to go to the papal audience on Wednesday but also see the Vatican,other sites and neighborhoods. We would prefer to use guided tours rather than do it on our own. Any thoughts on an itinerary/tour companies would be very much appreciated.
We just spent the same amount of time in Rome. Even with much research and my RS guidebook in hand we spent most of our days hot, lost and stuck in afternoon rainstorms. I highly recommend taxis over the bus especially to the Vatican. We found the RS recommended restaurants to be excellent and loved the Forum bakery if you are near campo de fiori. We loved the coop culture colosseum tour that we reserved in advance online. An additional forum guide would have been helpful. But it is a lot to do the forum after the colosseum tour. Bring water bottles and packable raincoats that you can get at Lands End or LL Bean. I think a guide is a great idea. The Trevi fountain and spanish steps are very crowded at night. I also thought the sp steps were no big deal. Loved the Pantheon. Italy has a lot to offer but you will spend a lot of time lost or showing up when things are closed (because you were lost) without a guide or taxi. That is my realistic advice. Hope it helps.
Lisa- thank you for the gerat insights, espcailly using taxis. Great idea baout the water bottles and rain gear. Thanks again.
We spent close to the same amount of time, and our plan worked well. While we walked miles, we didn't feel rushed and only had 3 things scheduled for a specific time. We did 2 tours and used RS Audio guides, which were very informative. Don't let the do-it-yourself tour intimidate you. Day 1: Arrived by Train at around 10:30 am. Dropped luggage at hotel by 11:00 (near Termini), took the Metro to the Colloseum with plenty of time to pick up our tickets for the underground tour at 12:20. After the Colloseum, visited the Forum (using RS audio tour), then Pallatine Hill. Stopped at a Pizzaria for a late afternoon snack and glass of wine around 4:30-5. Metro back to the Hotel, regrouped. About 7, hopped on the Metro to Flaminio stop, then did the RS Dolce Vita Stroll from Piazza del Popolo to the Spanish steps, eventually ate dinner, then returned to hotel around 10:00. Day 2: Metro to Vatican for 9:30 Scavi tour (had time for a coffee before the tour). Then did the RS audio tour of St. Peters, took the elevator to the dome (not enough time to walk up the stairs to the cupola.) Then over to the Vatican Museum for our 1PM tour. Sistine Chapel-listened to RS Audio tour and back into St. Peters. It was raining so took a cab to the Pantheon, hung out in an outdoor cafe for lunch and wine for a couple hours while it rained. Visited the Pantheon, did part of the RS Heart of Rome walk as we headed back to Hotel and regrouped. Went to RS recommended restaurant for dinner. Next morning took train to Naples.
We stayed about 3 blocks from Termini, so centrally located for the Metro and walking. Happy travels.
Thank you. I'm encouraged by the fact you did many of the same things we want to see and do and didn't feel rushed.
Dave I cannot stress enough to do your research ahead of time for Rome. use google maps to get a real street sense of where you are going once you decide on what you want to see. Before you get there, email the official tourist information center for good maps, timetables, etc. Although it was suggested to take taxis, Rome is very walkable and very heavily congested with traffic, so taxis are no guarantee of getting somewhere on your timetable unless it is very early in the morning or very late at night. Vatican museum tickets are available online on the vatican website and you can easily download the tours on your phones. The guides rush you through the museums in an hour or so and it is not enough time to thoroughly enjoy the site. Good luck!