Please sign in to post.

Heart of Italy Tour starting Sept 9, 2018

Any advice for the following schedule or just comments of "not worth the time" or "wished I would have done that"??
Arrive Rome Friday Sept 7, after 5;30 pm
Have tix for Borghese on 9/9 at 11:00
Going to see as much Bernini and michaelangelo as possible; Moses, Ectasy of Teresa, Aventine Keyhole, Alchemists Door
Also have an extra day in Florence at end of tour. Got tix with time to climb Duomo and see museums
then off to Lake Como for 3 nights, ZERO planned
Milan for 2 nights and working on tix to Last Supper and maybe climb up on roof before heading home.
And if you're going introduce yourself!

Posted by
2335 posts

Milan: Walks of Italy walking tour of the historic center included tix to The Last Supper and a walk to the roof of the Duomo. It was an educational walk with a very good guide and a small group of 15 people. Really glad I signed up with them. Very interesting and a good value for the money.
I spent 2 nights in Varenna on Lake Como with the RS 17 Days Italy tour and really enjoyed it. Do a boat cruise and go to the Villa Carlotta with its gorgeous gardens!

Posted by
11919 posts

Sounds good to me!

I thought the Aventine Keyhole was neat. We walked there from Hotel Sonya where we stayed on that tour.

Mark out your Bernini/ Michelangelo locations and carry those sections of the guidebook with you. We got in to San Pietro in Vinculi and I’m embarrassed to say I had to nip into the gift shop to see what they were selling so I knew what was important!! Do keep some Euro coins handy as some of the places the spotlight on the sculptures are coin operated.

This was my first RS tour and I did not really do enough research for free time activities for Rome and Florence. It sounds like you are way ahead of me!

If you’ve an interest in churches take a look at RS guide Sarah Murdoch ‘s blog Within the last year she’s done a special tour of off the beaten track churches in Rome which was very interesting.

Posted by
61 posts

Thanks for the advice Judy.
Read about the Lake Villas in RS Italy book that you can tour. I'm always up for activities, and am talking about that with my wife. I tend to wear her out seeing "one more museum"! Sometimes I wear myself out! I did that on the last RS tour we took: MSV, regretted not taking more time to sit and watch in one of those awesome Vienna cafes!

Posted by
9 posts

Just a few suggestions as we have taken this tour before and loved it. And, I am also a Bernini and Michelangelo fanatic. My mission when we are in Italy is to scope out as many of their sculptures as possible. So, if you get a chance, while in Rome, I have to suggest hunting down Bernini's Beata Ludovica Albertoni in the Church of Francesco a Ripa in Trastevere. I prefer it to Ecstacy of Saint Teresa, and even Rape of Proserpina, which you will see at the Borghese. (Don't be late for your 11:00 reservation.)

If you get a chance, while in Florence, you might visit the Medici Chapels to see some of Michelangelo's sculptures. For as great an artist as he was, he struggled with the female anatomy. The Chapels are located behind Basilica di San Lorenzo. The last time there, my husband and I toured the Bargello Museum and it was very nice. Quiet and not crowded. And, of course, enjoy the Sistine Chapel. It was lovely!

We really enjoyed this tour. I think my daughter and I liked wandering around Volterra and Lucca as much as some of the other places. We ended it by taking a train to Venice for a couple days. But Lake Como and Milan are going to be on my next tour!

Have a great time!

Posted by
61 posts

Awesome advice prudoe2paris
My RS map of Rome is filling up with X's of all the locations of the Bernini and Michaelangelo scavenger hunt!! Just got to find enough time on that Saturday to get to the sites not covered on the tour! Plus it will allow us to really see the city of Rome walking or bussing to all the sites.
In Florence, the Barghello made the list and the Medici is a target, just gotta bribe the wife to go or I just may be seeing one of these on my own and meeting up with her later at a cafe! Probably won't see all of the Duomo museums but I may find myself inside a few of them anyways!
We did find the website which allows you to have a local dinner in a private residence. Sounds interesting and how much more of a "local dining experience" can you have than that?? Anyone with any experience with Eatwith??
My wife thinks I am crazy doing all this studying but I'll try to provide both of us with a more meaningful experience than being Chevy Chase in Vacation, nodding his head at the Grand Canyon and leaving after 5 mins!! HAHA
it took traveling to make me a student of Italian Renaissance Art, and I love it! Can't wait to go and see all the wonderful sites in person.

Posted by
4 posts

I just returned from Heart of Italy and wanted to offer some advice while in Rome. I also booked 11 am tickets for the Borghese Gallery before our official tour started. Our hotel was near the Vatican, and I thought 1 hour would be adequate to take a taxi to the Borghese. Was I wrong! The cab was very late and due to some unknown reason traffic was at a near stand still. After we had only gone 2 blocks in 10 minutes I knew there was no way we would arrive on time (you have to check in no less than 15 min before your time, ideally 30 min). So we missed out on the Borghese. I was very, very disappointed. Give yourself 2 hours and enjoy the gardens if you arrive super early.

Posted by
61 posts

Thanks melissa. We understand that traffic can be horrible at any time. We plan on doing RS Heart of Rome audio walk to get us to the Spanish Steps and a short walk (I hope) to the meeting place. We are going to allow 2.5 - 3 hrs to stroll there. Can't wait go and experience all that you had and maybe a little more!!

Posted by
11 posts

Melissa - Thank you so much for this advice. I'm going on the RS Heart of Italy Tour that officially starts September 16, but I'm going to Rome 2.5 days early. Plan on reserving tickets for the Borghese Gallery for 5:00 pm on the 15th, and was wondering how much time to allow to get there. Looks like I should get the taxi at 3 pm. I don't mind enjoying the Borghese Gardens if I get there early. Thanks for the tip!

Posted by
458 posts

We did Eatwith when we were last in Tome after our BOE14 trip two years ago. We did Eatwith Barbara. It was an interesting night. She has raised her prices quite a bit from two years ago, but I am still considering doing it again.

We had people at dinner from all over the world. It was crowded, it was loud, & it was fun. My teens very much enjoyed it even though it was out of our comfort zone which is good.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
231 posts

You’ll have so much fun!

We did Heart if Italy in 2014. We did a great food tour our first night in Rome — Eating Italy Twilight Trastevere.

It was a great way to combat jet lag and learn about food — how to order, how to tell real gelato from fake and also see some great restaurants that we went back to on our free evening in Rome. The tour is expensive but is still one of the top highlights of our trip!

Also doing the RS audio tour of Trastevere was great!

Posted by
61 posts

thanks so much for the advice. We looked again at Eatwith and glad we did, seems like we tried to book a dinner with 10 places until we found one with 2 seats! Probably trying to book on a Saturday night didn't help. We booked with "Barbara and Ferdinand". Couldn't find just "Barbara".

I'll ask...How do you tell if it is fake gelato?? Is it a tourist scam??! Haha

Posted by
61 posts

Yea!! We got our tour docs!

Guide: Dimitri Rigas

Rome Hotel: Hotel Museum

Volterra Hotel: Hotel La Locanda

Monterossa Hotel: Albergo Amici

Florence Hotel: Torre Guelfa

They look great on Google!

Posted by
231 posts

Oh the Torre Guelfa is amazing!

We did HOI in 2014. On our first day in Rome the days before the tour started we did an Eating Italy Twighlight Trastevere tour. So much fun, learned a lot about Italian food etiquette ate some AMAZING food and got a lot of sunshine and fresh air to combat jet lag. Everyone we have recommended it to us enoyed it as well. We are going to Paris in May and I’ve a;ready purchase Eating Paris tickets. Enjoy your Tour!

Posted by
1 posts

My husband Jeff and I are also on the HOI which begins 9/9. It is our first RS tour and we are very excited. Have had some craziness at home just prior to leaving so have not had the chance to do enough research....
We have also booked 2 nights in Rome to begin and one in Florence on the end. We do not have anything extra booked yet but I am trying to remember that just wandering a beautiful new city can be just as fun :)
Looking forward to meeting you in Roma!

Posted by
11919 posts

Ohhh, I didn't see your update with your guide's name. I LOVE Dimitri! I had him for 21 Best of Europe and he is outstanding. So personable, knowledgeable and fun. With just 10 days you won't have to worry much but let me tell you he can walk your legs off without breaking a sweat, hahaha!

He also gave the best group tour advice I've ever heard. He said if you feel like you are having trouble keeping up with the guide get right up with them. The guide is always walking at a moderate pace but the further back you are in the pack, the more you'll scramble to keep up. Since then I've watched and yes, this is 100% true, particularly in a big city like Rome.

Posted by
9885 posts

Moses-- Be sure to check the hours for St Peter in Chains. As I recall they close for 2-3 hours at noon. Did not get to see Moses until our 2nd trip.

Posted by
61 posts

Hope you are also staying at the Hotel Museum in Rome?! Look for the totally american looking couple there! That’ll be us. Hint 2) I’ll be wearing a SD Padre hat!

You can tag along on the Bernini , Michelangelo scavenger hunt we are attempting Sat! You’re more than welcome to join us! The more the merrier, especially when you are on vacation!

Actually we have already started our trip and I am watching boats in the canal from my canal view room in Amsterdam!! Our 1st night after a 24 hr plane ride! Argh!!

But I’m here and Luvin it!!! Max Brown Hotel is looking wonderful, especially when I look at the canal sipping wine!

Gotta go!

Posted by
262 posts

And don’t forget Old Bridge Gelato (near the Vatican walls..a few blocks from the Hotel Museum)...Profumi di Sicilia flavor. Just amazing.