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Free Time in Venice and Rome

Hello friends,
We are going on the V/F/R tour which begins on Oct 1.

I'm mapping out the adventure, and the free time.
Seems that the Duomo Museum is well worth the time. Here is the question:
- Could do it on the day after the walking tour and cooking class.... or on the following day, between the Uffizi & Accademia Gallergy.
any thoughts? I think that we are supposed to get tickets ahead of time....

Similar question
We have two full days in Rome... one day is Vatican (not sure when it ends), and one day is the Ancient Rome day (followed by the farewell dinner).

Seems like the Borghese Gallery is outstanding... worth it? Which afternoon should we book the tickets?

Finally, I seen in the Venice section of the trip, that on the last night, there is a group gondola event. Should I have dinner reservations prior to that? time ? or do that Gondola on our own?

Thanks for the input.

Posted by
5032 posts

Stu one quick point. The "group gondola event" is not a included event. If you read the wording closely, you'll see that it says that the guide will arrange a gondola ride for those who are interested. Thats exactly what our guide did. It was something about half the group did and paid the gondoliers for, so you have to decide if you want to do it, do it yourself, or skip it and do something else. Yes dinner is up to you, but if you want to join the group gondola ride, you have to figure out how and when to meet up. Free time is free time - up to you.

The Vatican day ends when you want it to, as long as you meet the group for dinner, if you want to. Once you exit the Sistine Chapel, the time you spend in St Peters is up to you.

Posted by
1573 posts

Yes, the Borghese Gallery is worth it, you need advance timed tickets for it. I didn’t read your itinerary...I took the 17 Best of Italy 🇮🇹 tour, but I think the afternoon after the Ancient Rome day would work. It was included in my tour. You are allowed 2 hours on each visit, very strict.

Yes, the Duomo Museum is excellent, we spent about 2 hours there, that may help you gauge your time. I think I would opt not to see it between the Uffizi and the Accademia, too much outstanding art in one day could do me in! Happened to me in Amsterdam...saw the Van Gogh and the Rijks Museums in one day,

Venice, it rained for the whole time, so no gondola for us! I need to see Venice again.
You will have a fantastic time.

Posted by
14 posts

WE did the group gondola ride, at a very reduced group rate via our guide Lisa. On your own probably twice as much.
Borghese well worth it, but tickets in advance is suggested. Morning best as least crowded.

Posted by
31 posts

I did this tour a couple of years ago. I wasn't able to climb to the top of the Duomo as tickets were not available the afternoons we had free. Definitely get tickets ahead of time! As far as which day is better, I'd probably try to get them for late afternoon/evening the day of the cooking class. I'd err on the side of caution and book the tickets for when you don't have an evening group activity.

Definitely do the Borghese Gallery! It was one of my the highlights of Rome for me. I got tickets for the afternoon that we did the Vatican. If I recall correctly, that day ended around 12:30 or 1:00. I think I had tickets for a 3:30 entry.

I would opt in to the group gondola ride. It's cheaper than doing it on your own. I had dinner after the ride, as did most of the group members.

Enjoy your tour!

Posted by
11573 posts

Seems like the Borghese Gallery is outstanding... worth it? Which
afternoon should we book the tickets?

It's very definitely outstanding: we've enjoyed that one more than the Vatican Museums due to the collection - the Berninis alone are worth the ticket - fascinating setting and excellent crowd control. However If I'm counting dates correctly and it's only possible to visit on one of your two full days (Oct 8th and 9th) in Rome, Oct 8th is a Monday and it's closed on Mondays so you'd have to go on Tuesday.

Posted by
7173 posts

RE: "WE did the group gondola ride, at a very reduced group rate via our guide Lisa. On your own probably twice as much."

and what was your rate?

Posted by
16771 posts

A gondola costs €80 by day or €100 by night for a 40-minute tour and the boat holds 6 passengers. By reserving for the group, your guide helps you split these costs, and perhaps also the cost of a musician. Most guides would schedule this in the early evening, probably around 7 p.m., but before dinner. Many restaurants don't open for dinner earlier than that.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks for all of the guidance.

To Kathy: THANK YOU for the reminder about the closure of the museum on Monday (Borghese)...

So, a related question: I’ve been to that Borghese website, and I cannot find any link to make it ENG. any hints? Have I lost my mind?
Are there other valid sites to reserve tickets?


Posted by
15 posts

And I think that I have Venice on the mind...
The title of this post was supposed to be about Florence and Rome !

I’ll post another time about Venice. We are getting there 2d early, so I really do have more free time there!

Posted by
614 posts

We just returned from Italy in June. The Duomo is definitely a good choice. This museum was so popular with my non museum loving friends, we spent 2 hours there. I would not go the same day you see the Uffizi and Accademia.

The Borhghese is one of the best museums: intimate and not crowded due to their reservation system. You mentioned you couldn’t get the site in English. I use Google and it translates. This link should work for you: If not, then just open the website in Chrome and it will ask if you want to translate. The docent led tour is worth the extra few Euros.

Have a great trip.

Posted by
15 posts

Hi again !

So, now that I've got the dates squared away, one more question
On the only day that I can go to Borghese, that is the night of the final Farewell Dinner.

What time does that dinner usually occur?

Posted by
57 posts

The Borghese Gallery is TOTALLY worth it. A jewel. I'd do it after Ancient Rome.

Re: Venice. By then, you should have some buddies on the trip and you may want to have dinner together before (not sure what time your gondola event is) OR if it isn't too late, have a snack/light meal before the gondolas and then go for drinks and munchies.

Posted by
13968 posts

To clarify about the Borghese. You reserve tickets but you must be there one half to one hour before the entry time to collect your tickets and check any large bags. You may also want to rent an audio guide, so allow a few minutes for that. I don't understand the comment about crowds - There is a limit of 200 places for each 2 hour visit and they are always sold out. You can line up any time. The closer you are to the front of the line, the more time you'll have in the galleries. It takes 10-15 minutes for the last of the group to get in.

Posted by
4028 posts

StuH, the Farewell Dinner is almost always in the evening, usually after 6:00 or 7:00. We had one tour where the Farewell Dinner was held at lunch - but that was unusual. If it's a longish walk to the venue, you guide may have you meet earlier, but I'd count on early to mid evening.

The Borghese is wonderful; it's one of my favorite places ever, anywhere. The Bernini sculptures are beyond words.

Posted by
741 posts

Also be aware that your guide can change up the schedule. Our guide, for instance, did the gondola ride the first night after our group dinner, because it looked like the next day would be rainy (it was). If I recall, the price for the ride, with musicians, was about 30 euro apiece. He made a few other tweaks in the tour schedule, so be prepared for your actual itinerary to vary from the so-called "final" itinerary you'll receive (which will probably be identical to the one posted online).

We very much wanted to see the Borghese and made 5 p.m. reservations, figuring we'd see it after the Vatican/Sistine in the morning. Another guide surprise! He announced we'd be going to St. Peter's in the afternoon and see Vatican/Sistine in the evening. This change made it impossible for us to use our Borghese tickets. We went in the morning and no other tickets were available for that day. We were able to sell two of our three tickets to a couple of young women who'd also been unable to buy tickets at the office. We were very disappointed to miss the Borghese, but the evening visit to the Vatican was supposedly much less crowded (if so, I'd hate to see it during the day).

Our trip was in May, so the evening Vatican hours may not be a factor for you in October.

Posted by
1 posts

Hey Stu - I'm on the same tour with you arriving 1-day earlier and staying 2 extra days in Rome. I've booked a food tour on Sunday Sept 30 and also planning other activities during the tour. I'll DM you to connect and swap notes.

Posted by
4214 posts

Stu, I'm on the same tour several weeks after you. The RS folks tell me the tour itself does not include inside the Duomo or the museum, so I'm planning to visit there later in the day, after the cooking class. Duomo is open until 5:00, the museum until 8:00, so there should be enough time. That plan might work for you too.

Posted by
15 posts

Yes, that is exactly my plan... Duomo after the cooking class.

I've already purchased the Duomo museum entry ticket and a 3pm time if I am dumb enough to walk the 400 steps to the top. Will be quite a story either way.
If I'm still upright, might even consider Medici Chapel to finish the day before dinner at Vin e Vicchi.


PS. Amazingly, the Borghese Gallery tickets for the date I am free JUST went on sale.... and they are not offering any for the 3pm time slot.
What is next most awesome site to visit? Capitaline Museum? Palatine Hill? Jewish Ghetto?