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Wondering about extending time at end of tour

We are booked on the Venice-Florence-Rome tour next spring. We are planning on arriving on the Saturday before the tour starts ( Monday) and have booked a room for those extra nights. I am not planning on much those days except rest and wander in Venice. But I’m not sure if we want to book extra time in Rome or will we be tired and ready to go home. The schedule looks to be pretty good for the must sees with some extra time if we want to do something else ( or again)
The only thing I thought about was the Borghese gardens and gallery. Are they also a must see? I love gardens so they sounded interesting.

Posted by
3474 posts

Wandering about in Venice is a great idea for getting over jet lag and acclimating. The Borghese gardens are very interesting. Since you will be in Rome, take advantage of that and spend a few extra days. You may regret not doing so later on. I really doubt you'll be too tired and/or want to go home.

Posted by
528 posts

we did this tour a couple years ago and it is amazing. We flew into Venice 3 days early and then when the tour ended, we took a train from Rome to Sorrento for 4 more days - we loved it - did a day trip to Amalfi with sharedtours.com and followed the RS Italy book and spent a day in Herculaneum (which we liked better than Pompeii). We then took the train back to Florence for 4 more nights and did day trips into Tuscany with WalkAboutFlorence.com - we flew home from Florence. If you can stay longer, def do. Even if it's just by adding more time to Venice or Rome - it is totally worth it. We would have loved more time in Venice or Rome too, so if our schedule seems too much, just add more time to Venice and Rome - they is SO much to see and do there. We did stay another day in Rome at the end of the RS tour and did 2 eating tours - they were fabulous.

Posted by
2798 posts

Three of my favorite cities. We’ve never regretted adding days before & after tours. Wandering off the beaten path in Venice is a great way to get acclimated & rested before your tour. We spent a week in Venice and still didn’t experience everything. I enjoyed this book: Frommer’s 24 great walks in Venice.

Rome warrants more time as well. I’ll never forget the first time visiting Rome. The Borghese was one of the top highlights! We’ve been to Rome many times & never tire of revisiting our favorite sites.

Enjoy your planning!

Posted by
6495 posts

You have already paid the money to get there and back — I am so glad you are going early, and I think you will be happy if you end time at the end, too. Take advantage ! You may want to go at a slower pace than you will have done on the tour— and that is okay!

Posted by
5965 posts

We were pretty tired and ready to go home when the tour ended, but it was so abrupt an ending (eat breakfast, rush to airport) that we wish we had stayed at least one more night so that we could relax and decompress. I'm not sure we would have done more sightseeing, but some time just enjoying the city, strolling about, and a leisurely lunch would have been nice.

Posted by
4697 posts

I did this tour in 2018 with several days added before and after. A multi-day vaporetto pass made Venice easier to explore -- I could walk till I got tired and then get a vaporetto back to hotel or wherever. There are many Venice sights the tour doesn't cover, like the Frari Church, Doge's Palace, Ca'Rezzonico, Guggenheim Museum, Ghetto, and others. I had time for a day trip to Padua. In Rome I had time for the Borghese Gallery (timed entry advance purchase), Capitoline Museums, Ostia Antica, and other sights the tour doesn't cover. It was nice to slow down from the tour pace and take things at my own speed, especially as I'd learned enough about the city and language to function on my own.

I’m not sure if we want to book extra time in Rome or will we be tired and ready to go home.

Yes, you'll be tired, but hopefully not ready to go home unless the tour was a bad experience. That would be a very unlikely outcome, at least to those on this forum. Make the most of what you paid in money and discomfort for those long flights!

Posted by
21192 posts

We always go early and stay late. Often after a tour we are tired from the schedule. So we book a few extra nights, wave good-by to everyone in the am and go take a nap. Find a nice pizza and beer place that evening and go to bed early. Then the next day we either move on to the next location or do some sightseeing. Being retired helps since we have no obligations to be anywhere at anytime. And often we do not have a return air ticket booked so that will determine when we finally depart.

Posted by
3888 posts

When we did the RS Rome tour, we spent more than a week in Italy before the tour and about 4 days after the tour. We did not find the tour any more tiring than when we travel on our own, perhaps even less tired since we didn't have to do any planning or managing of logistics.

The Borghese was amazing. A Borghese ticket is for 2 hours in the gallery.

Posted by
6495 posts

What Frank and Stan said. Even just to decompress and have a couple of slow days to enjoy a glass of wine at a cafe and then a stroll and gelato - would be totally worth it.

Posted by
12473 posts

You have already paid the money to get there and back — I am so glad
you are going early, and I think you will be happy if you end time at
the end, too.

I'll echo the above! Airfare is a big chunk of the cost so make the most of it by staying as long as possible. As someone else mentioned, extra days will also allow you to slow down and sightsee at your own pace, and to kick back now and again just to take in some people-and-scenery watching. That's ALWAYS a good time in the Eternal City, and many other places in Italy, for that matter.

Two full days plus one evening, which is length of the Rome part of the VFR tour, is really very little time for getting to know this fascinating city...if you enjoy much what that it has to offer. Galleria Borghese? A must-do on my personal list: we'll do it again next we're in Rome. Villa Borghese is sort of a catch-all for the immense (!!) park the gallery + some other museums reside in: good for breathing room from the busy city streets.

In addition to the couple included in the tour, there are countless other wonderful churches to explore, and most are free for the lookin'. You don't have to be religious (we're not) to enjoy the architecture and decoration, and many can be considered museums in-and-of themselves. Interested? We can provide some great ones to take a peek at. Roman archeological sites? In additional to the Colosseum/Palatine/Forum included in the tour are the Baths of Caracalla (Terme di Caracalla); Castel Sant'Angelo (my favorite bridge, Sant'Angelo, crosses the river in front); a number of catacombs that can be visited (tours only: buy your tickets at the sites themselves); the excavation of Area Sacre di Largo Argentina, the curia where Julius Caesar was famously murdered was located there; the many crumbling bits of tombs along Via Appia Antica + the remains of an emperor's private circus; the Portico of Octavia area - ancient Rome sitting right on resident's doorsteps!! - and many more.

That's just a scratch of the surface. You won't be sorry you stayed!!! :O)

Posted by
528 posts

Be sure to download the FREE RS app on you phone BEFORE you leave - he has amazing walking tours in Venice and Rome that are worth it - the Venice Vaporetto Tour is also great - just put on your earbuds, take a seat on the Vaporetto and you circle the whole canal with RS narrating the sites. Also great talks on gelato, coffee, etc - be sure to download all the Venice and Rome ones -

Posted by
908 posts

I’m with the go early/stay late crowd if you have the time. As mentioned earlier, there can be a bit of an abrupt, sad or wistful feeling at breakfast the last day of an RS tour. I like the idea of doing day trips from Rome or going to a place not covered on the tour or spending the night in a small town accessible by train before flying out of Rome.

At the end of one RS tour in Budapest, I caught the train west and flew out of Munich after the end of my travels. If anything, I suggest at least one more day in Rome before leaving. Sometimes tour mates who are also staying over may do their own thing during the day but meet back up again for dinner the night of the last day. That’s nice—kind of a slow goodbye! :)

Posted by
1857 posts

I've only done one RS tour so far and so my experience is limited, but my one and only frustration with the tour was it was a bit too rushed. I bring this up after looking at the Rome portion of your itinerary. If I'm interpreting correctly, your final full day squeezes in San Clemente, the Colosseum and the Forum all in one morning. If it was me, I think I'd regret not taking some extra time at the end to at least revisit some spots that you'll have been rushed through.

Posted by
1015 posts

If you haven’t been to Rome before, it is definitely worth some extra time. Rick Steves thinks there are a handful of European cities that are worth a one week stay - Rome is one of them. Also, it is nice not to have to rush home on the morning the tour ends - it sort of breaks the magic spell surrounding the tour experience. It is good to be able to say leisurely goodbyes to your tour mates, some of whom may even have become friends.

We have found it wise not to plan too much after the tour. RS tours can be tiring (in a good way). The Borghese Gallery is a must see. Note that you have to reserve a time for visiting.

Posted by
911 posts

You have already paid to get there, and while you will be tired, hopefully you won't be ready to go home. If you can squeeze more time in Rome in after your tour ends both time wise and financially, do it! If I can fit it in I always do. We are doing the BOEE tour June 2022 and have 1 night in Prague ahead and 2 nights after in Venice. There is so much to see in Rome that isn't part of the tour, and you can go at your own pace. Churches, museums, just walking around, Ostia Antica etc...have fun planning!

Posted by
23 posts

My husband and I took the 14 Day Best of Europe in 2019, which ended in Rome. We figured it was worth it to stay a couple days in Rome considering the time/expense it takes to get to Europe! It worked out well, and this is what we did (we tend towards action-packed itineraries):

We went back to St Peters Basilica to spend more time, attend a Sunday Mass, and climb to the top of the dome (not time to do that on the tour). That day we also did a little shopping and had some time to relax.

Day trip to Assisi. It was very easy to take the train, and we really enjoyed exploring the town and churches there. We felt it was a very doable day trip by train.

Day Trip to Vesuvius/Pompeii. For this we booked a bus tour, which worked out well. It was a long day, but we were glad we did it.

So to us, the extra days were worth it, and I’m glad we did it. We also spent two extra days in Paris at the front end of the tour, which was extremely helpful to get acclimated. Good luck in your planning!

Posted by
38 posts

There have been lots of good suggestions so I’ve sent a request to the hotel to see if they have any availability. According to their website they don’t, but we will see.

Posted by
6585 posts

Airfare and the whole hassle of flying overseas is enough reason to extend your time in Rome.
If your choice of hotel does not have availability, chose a hotel in a different area of the city to give you a more varied experience. We do that on purpose and our travel experience has been enriched.

Posted by
1542 posts

Admittedly my RS Italy tour was quite some time ago (2006) but if you can afford the extra days in Rome I'd recommend at least one extra day, two if you can spare it (I could not due to work). I loved the Borghese, one of the highlights of my time in Rome - the Bernini sculpture is simply breathtaking.

Posted by
12473 posts

There have been lots of good suggestions so I’ve sent a request to the
hotel to see if they have any availability. According to their website
they don’t...

Not being able to stay longer in the RS tour hotel is no reason to cut short your time in Rome. Let us know what transpires with their availability, and you'll get some good recommendations for alternate accommodations for your last days in Rome if you'll need them.

Posted by
317 posts

We added 3 days in Padua before continuing on to several extra days in Venice. The Scrovegni Chapel was important me and we discovered that Padua became one of our favorite places. Our extra time in Venice was spent climbing the spiral staircase at Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo for great views and visiting additional museums. We added 3 days in Rome as well so that we could do a day trip to Ostia Antica. We also booked our own Colosseum tour of the fourth and fifth levels that had reopened after being closed for 40 years. I'd definitely add time at the beginning and end of this tour.

Posted by
3383 posts

Some hotels do not list vacancies that far in advance on their websites. However, if you write them (as you did) they will often be able to make the reservations for you. Never take the hotel website as the last word.

Posted by
11262 posts

"Never take the hotel website as the last word."

Yes! I have had multiple experiences where a hotel website did not show availability, but by emailing them directly, I got the room I wanted.

In addition to this generalization, it's also possible that for Rick Steves tours, the hotel may hold some room availability they don't show to the general public. So, always contact the hotel directly and say that you're on a Rick Steves tour and want to extend your stay, and see if they have rooms and what they will cost. If they have rooms and the cost is acceptable, that's obviously easiest. But if they don't have room or if the price is too high, you can certainly change hotels.

Posted by
168 posts

I'm taking a My Way Italy tour next year, and though I've been to Venice and Rome multiple times I will still be adding days before and after the tour. One could easily spend weeks in both of these places; besides there are great train connections to other places of interest.

Posted by
9 posts

I heartily endorse everyone's recommendations to arrive early, stay late. I've done so on all three of my RS tours. When I did VFR, I flew into Milan a couple of days before the tour. I wanted to see "The Last Supper," and it did not disappoint. It was my first time in Italy, and Milan, with its walkability, was the perfect introduction. The train ride to Venice was a snap. At the end of the tour, I felt comfortable getting around Rome on my own, because our guide had shown us how to use public transportation.

Posted by
1148 posts

Since we retired, we always go early and stay longer after a tour. The only downside to staying longer is not exhaustion but missing our new friends.

Posted by
16 posts

I'll be taking the "Venice/Florence/Rome" tour starting on June 13, 2022, and I've already booked an extra day/night in Rome at the very end of the trip (at the same hotel we'll be staying at, the Hotel Lancelot). Mainly I want to stretch out a bit in the city, see a couple of things that aren't included in this particular package (like the Borghese Galleria, which is part of the "Best of Rome in 7 Days"-tour), etc. The hotel pricing is actually quite good -- when I booked my extended stay through Expedia, I received an e-mail from the hotel itself offering me an even better rate due to being on a Rick Steves-tour, which was amazing.

Posted by
9 posts

3 of my favorite cities. My first two RSTs were Venice and Florence in late 90s/early 20s when each was 7 day tour. Done Rome 7 day tour twice. Been back to all 3 cities at least once with friends on our own. Borghese Gallery is a most see. Some of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, one of my favorite sculptors, work is in the Borghese.

Posted by
33 posts

Definitely a yes to Borghese. We did an English guided tour and it was worth every penny. RS has a recorded guide for the Museum, but I find the interaction with the guide a better experience.

Posted by
7469 posts

I’m not sure if we want to book extra time in Rome or will we be tired and ready to go home.

I cannot imagine you would be too tired to continue for more days.

We found the RS tours to be active but not 'death marches'. I would stay as many additional days as you have time and $$ for.

We did the 17 day tour and spent 10 additional days on our own. By the end of 4 weeks going home was not unwelcome, but had we been able to stay longer we would have had no problem doing so.

An enjoyable post tour activity would be a trip to Ostia Antica ( https://www.ostia-antica.org/) & https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/read/articles/ostia-antica-near-rome)

Happy travels

Posted by
38 posts

Thanks for the input. We are still considering what to do. I emailed the final hotel a couple of weeks ago, but they have not replied. Looking at the website they look more expensive than the first hotel in Venice, and I don’t think I want to relocate just for a night or two. Also with the pandemic cases now rising again I’m even getting nervous about what next year will be like. Glad we have until December to make a final decision.

Posted by
911 posts

Yes, I always do extra time before or after if we can swing it. You are already there so might as well make the most of it.

Posted by
21192 posts

One other reason we often stay late is that we don't have a return flight booked so it may take several days to find a return flight since we are using ff points to obtain a business class return ticket. Since we don't have a schedule to keep, it makes no difference to us as to the exact return time. Some of our best experiences have occurred when we were just wondering around the last week with nothing planned. For some that would be too much flexibility.

Posted by
28 posts

We have done it both ways. It was definitely better to add at least one day. We found that when we left on the day the tour ended at breakfast, it really messed with our last full active day on the tour. And on many of the tours, that day can be action packed. Our minds started going to thoughts of getting our stuff packed for the journey home, checking in for flights, transportation to the airport, etc.. It was so much better when we could stay, enjoy a relaxing last dinner with our new travel friends, and tackle the trek home a day or so later.

Posted by
759 posts

"Borghese gallery"
The building in and of itself is a work of art. The statutes- simply the finest in the world. A good private guide is priceless with these works....

Posted by
38 posts

I’m checking with the hotel again. You guys have convinced us to try and stay an extra day or two!

Posted by
1942 posts

I agree with Onefastbob, the Borghese Gallery is a must see! I checked your tour itinerary and I don’t think it’s included. Buy tickets online. Before the Pandemic, you had to book for a two hour ticket, they are serious about the two hour limit. The sculpture is stunningly beautiful. You will thank us for this recommendation. I have been twice on two visits to Rome and would go again the next time I see Rome.
Definitely try to stay one or two days after the tour. It helps me to decompress a little and see some things I missed on the tour.
Enjoy!

Posted by
38 posts

I have seen what is described as a private tour. Worth it? I am not an art expert, so this might give more in depth info. Any recommendations for one to consider?

Posted by
1461 posts

I had to back out of one of their tours last Fall (for obvious reasons). They gave me a voucher good for three years, but stated (apologetically) that normally it would have been a refund - they would have folded if they had been giving everybody refunds back then.

Posted by
1942 posts

I have taken 3 Walks of Italy tours and cooking classes all with top notch quality guides and service. If you book a tour with them, ask for their refund policy.

Posted by
38 posts

You guys are such enablers! I booked an extra two nights in Rome for after the tour. Definitely the Borghese one day. Maybe a revisit to one of the sights the other day or just wander around.

Posted by
1461 posts

Just wandering around is the best! I’m glad you decided to stay a bit longer.

Posted by
1461 posts

Just wanted to mention that I don’t mean to criticize Walks of Italy for not providing a refund - I thought a 3-year voucher was really generous, it was an extraordinarily bad situation, and I’m glad they didn’t go under. Plus, I surely hope to get to Italy again!

Posted by
38 posts

Just wanted to mention that I don’t mean to criticize Walks of Italy for not providing a refund - I thought a 3-year voucher was really generous, it was an extraordinarily bad situation, and I’m glad they didn’t go under. Plus, I surely hope to get to Italy again!*

It was an extraordinary year and lots of companies had to do things differently. I thought that they seemed to respond to their clients and at least offered something, so they are definitely on my list.

Posted by
1942 posts

Good for you! You will love the extra time in Rome, there is so much to experience there.

By the way, I’m leaving tomorrow for Venice, 2 days before our small group tour begins, not RS, and I’m looking forward to getting lost in Venice! You will be glad for the extra days there!

Posted by
38 posts

Judy B, please let us know how your trip goes, the good and the bad! Happy travels!

Posted by
32 posts

Stay the extra night or nights. Rome has so much to offer.
Sometimes its good to go back and see things again that you saw on the tour.
Villa Borghese Gallery contains the creme of the crema. The museum is a must for anyone who loves sculptures. They only allow a certain number of people inside, and I believe your visit is timed in and out. i visited years ago and with fewer people allowed in, the atmosphere was not stressful.
Santa Priscilla catacombs are amazing too, a bus takes you near the entrance, same as Villa Borghese Gallery.
Can't wait till I go back to Rome, just to walk around with no particular agenda.

Posted by
32 posts

The Borghese is a MUST. Every piece of art in there is fantastic.
You won't regret spending extra time in Rome. Just take it all in and enjoy the sights, smells and sound!

Posted by
915 posts

Hi. I have taken this tour twice. My time was limited by my work schedule. In my experience, the time goes so quickly. After one of these trips, I took a train north to Munich/Salzburg to catch Christmas markets. Were I taking that tour today, I think I would provide some time to explore Ostia Antica and Trastevere, neither of which are explored during this tour, I believe. And, based on my previous travel, I might also consider Orvieto, which is a bit farther. I would also consider the Borghese gardens, as you have mentioned. If your time is not limited, you may find a few extra days with no scheduled activities to be really relaxing.

Posted by
3 posts

I think arriving early to recover from jet lag is a great idea. I always try to arrive at least one day early, and more if I have time (it also reduces stress if there are any airline snafus). On just about every Rick Steves' tour I've taken, at the end I think, "gee, I wish I had booked some extra days!". Those times I did book extra days, I was very glad I did. There is always something extra not on the tour that you'd like to see. I personally was not excited by the Borghese gardens, but the gallery was well worth visiting!

Posted by
1942 posts

Ncangelose,
I have returned from my trip to Venice and had a fantastic time! It’s true what everyone says about Venice, it’s a magical place. I wrote a trip report under “Trip Reports” titled Postcard from Venice if you want to look at it.

I read you have decided to stay a couple days in Rome post tour, if only to relax and absorb the memories of your adventures in Italy. Or, catch one or two sites you want to see before going home. Since you love gardens, look into seeing Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli. It’s probably in your Italy guidebook. There are so many possibilities, you can only scratch the surface!