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Heart of Italy July 9: Tour Members connection, ideas for extended time

Are you on this tour? We just received our advance info today re hotels, team members, etc. Looking forward to this so much! Thought I'd start a thread for any who want to say hi and/or share ideas for the days before or after. We arrive in Rome a couple days in advance and intend to have an additional day in Rome to see things not covered in the tour (Borghese Gardens, Museum, for example). Another pre-day we are thinking about a train trip to Assisi. If you are on this tour, log in and say hello. Or even if not on the tour and you have extra-day-in-Rome ideas, please share.

Posted by
1583 posts

When we took this trip it went in the opposite direction (we started in Florence). A number of tour mates toured Venice before starting the tour. I wished we'd done that.

Posted by
8 posts

Ostia Antica is very interesting. I think you'd like Orvieto as a day trip too. Read a bit about it. Have a great journey.

Posted by
6607 posts

A wonderful day trip from Rome is 16 c. Tivoli Gardens and Villa d'Este. The gardens with it's hundreds of fountains is beautiful.

Posted by
197 posts

We did this tour in 2914. If you have some extra days in Rome I HIGHLY recommend doing an Eating Italy tour. We did the Twilight Trastavere tour. SO much fun! We learned some Italian customs around ordering food and had some AMAZING food.

It was very nice to have a list of great restaurants to go to on the nights we didn't have a group dinner!

Posted by
242 posts

Another vote for Ostia Antica. It's an easy train ride from Rome, not crowded, really interesting site. You can walk through an old Roman city, go into buildings. There is a decent cafe on the grounds.

Posted by
651 posts

I would not miss the Borghese Gallery. My favorite museum in Europe.

Posted by
68 posts

I went on the Heart of Italy last July and loved it! The Borghese Museum is a great idea before the tour- be sure to purchase your tickets in advance- along with the Capitoline Museums. I also enjoyed doing Rick's Trastevere walk on my own (discretely listening to the audio tour on his app on my phone), then joining an Eating Italy food tour in that neighborhood. Another night I had a fabulous time at a EatWith dinner for 24 in Trastevere. And I adore Orvieto, a good daytrip or overnight from Rome. So many great options- have a wonderful time!

Posted by
19 posts

So many good suggestions, thank you! I noticed that no one mentioned Assisi, a place we thought to enjoy because it is not on the HOI tour. Has anyone seeing this post been to Assisi? Would you recommend the place as a day's train trip from Rome? Or have you seen the city with one of RS's longer tours and have a comment on the appeal of that city?

Posted by
8247 posts

I've done Heart of Italy and also have done Village Italy which included Assisi. Frankly, there is SO much to see in Rome I would either stay there or do the closer Ostia Antica (have not been there!) on your extra day.

I really enjoyed the Basilica San Clemente in Rome. When we went, Capitoline Museum was not included and I did that on a later trip and recommend it.

I loved Volterra! What a neat place! Well, this whole tour is great fun!

Posted by
2789 posts

You would have to have a lot of energy to do this, because it's a long 12 hour day, but you could take the Enjoy Rome bus to Pompeii for the day(easier than the train) if Pompeii is on your bucket list.

Posted by
7477 posts

Have been to Assisi as part of the 17 day Italy tour. Very much enjoyed it and found it a worthwhile stop. I have not looked at the logistics of doing it as a day trip from Rome.

A day trip to Pompeii from Rome sounds, to me, more like a penance than an enjoyable vacation day. That is why I suggested Ostia Antica in a previous response.

Posted by
97 posts

Now that you have taken the tour, what did you do pre-tour in Rome? Are there ideas you wish you had pursued? What about afterwards in Florence? Did you add anything at the end? We've scheduled for April 2018 and starting to build our itinerary for before and after. Thanks for any tips! - Polly

Posted by
19 posts

So we focused on Rome in advance of the tour and did not travel out to Assisi, or Ostia Antica, as we were nearly tempted to do. We tried to stay realistic about our energy levels during the jet-lag adjustment period.

The RS folks will send you info on some suggestions, based on key sights that the tour will not cover. We had two days in advance and went to Borghese Gallery and Spanish Steps late morning through early afternoon of day one. You need a reservation at Borghese, which you can get online. Later in day 1 we went for pizza at Re Degli Amici on Via de la Croce. We were there mid-afternoon and had the place to ourselves! We walked back to the hotel and napped. Day two we focused on other sights not on the tour: The Capitoline Museum and St. Peter-in-Chains church. Both are near each other. We had intended to add the Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere to that day, but that was overly ambitious (so we did those areas later, during free time of the tour itself). After Capitoline we chilled at a restaurant and then went to the Opera. The Opera during summer is held outdoors at the Baths of Caracalla, and we researched getting tickets for that very evening to see Puccini's Tosca. On both days we used our feet, the metro and taxis to do all this. On the third day, the tour began.

Our top recommendation in Rome during your pre-days is the Borghese Gallery. We found it better than the Capitoline, as far as museums go. Also the Opera was a real treat. Even if you are not an Opera fan, you might want to say you saw the art form in a principal opera country. And it's not all people from our age group, as so often you see in the US, since opera appeals to many across all demographics. We saw all ages in the audience.

After we were done with the tour in Florence, we had just a half day. We spent it walking through the upper-end shopping areas (Gucci, etc) as well as the more modest stalls around the Piazza della Republica and the Ponte Vechhio.

I hope your planning goes well and that you enjoy yourselves immensely!

Cal Stevens

Posted by
408 posts

Thanks OP for coming back. How cool the opera! Wanted to point out to the new person asking we also did the Eatwith dinner after our BEO14 tour last year it was a highlight in Rome. Enjoy