Please sign in to post.

Rome

We just returned from our 10 day (8 on the ground) trip to Rome. Before going, I read so many others' reports and picked up some great information that I (our group of 6) can't thank you enough. I am going to just highlight some observations about Rome which I hope will help someone with their planning.

We arrived Saturday, Feburary 18 and left Sunday, Feb 26

Make sure you have thicker souled walking shoes, the cobblestones are everywhere and can be a problem if you don't have sturdy shoes. We walked an average of 8 miles a day, and it did start to take a toll by the end of the week. By the way, we ranged in age from 58-65.

Plan on only eating Italian food. I know, that is one of the reasons you go to Italy, but if you are thinking of trying anything else, forget it. You have to seek out any kind of ethnic food. I have a Chinese friend taking her parents in July and asked me to look around.

About the food, definitely go by Rick's recommendations, especially the following:
Dar Poeta for pizza
Enoteca Corsi - lunch only
Trattoria der Pallaro - no menu whatever the chef Paola makes that day, with the experience
I will add from Frommer's recommended Fiaschetteria Beltramme
Can't say we ever had a bad meal,it was more like "this place was a little better". Hard to even put one one the bottom. We mixed it up all week eating risotto, gnocchi (had it 3 times, light as a feather), pasta, polenta, and pizza.

Wine - the alcohol in each restaurant's house wine varied. I know at home 2 glasses of red wine have me a little buzzed, and I drank more than that each night. Only one place had a higher alcohol level and we could tell after one gulp.

We live in Brooklyn and don't particularly like Italian pastries here - but we were blown away in Rome. The panna cotta and cheesecake were especially delicious. Light and fluffy with great flavors. All the food that we find heavy here were so light, hard for me to explain.

Coffee - I don't drink it, but my husband is addicted. A duplo espresso is always on his lips. The best coffee he drank while there was at Tazza d'Oro near the Pantheon. It is in Rick's book and our Walks of Italy tour guide also mentioned it. It is near the Pantheon. We also purchased bags of beans as gifts.

Gelato - please don't judge me, I don't eat it, don't particularly like it. That said, my sister, who would eat nothing but gelato and pasta for the rest of her life thought this was the best place - Antica Gelateria Trevi. It is near the Trevi Fountain.

Hotel - when planning this trip back in June, the hotels in the Pantheon area Rick recommended couldn't accommodate 3 couples. Yes, even then they were booked. So, I asked my Italian friends and the Hotel Regno was one mentioned. I will recommend this place to everyone. It was on the Via del Corso. 2 "blocks" Roman style to the Pantheon one way and 2 blocks to the Trevi Fountain the other. There is a bus stop 1/2 block away with about 6 different busses. You can see the Victor Emmanuel Monument right down the block. The location couldn't have been better. We could walk EVERYWHERE and we did.
It was clean, the staff extremely nice and answered all questions politely and patiently.

The breakfast was delicious, I ate so many doughnuts in the 8 mornings then I have for the past 2 years! They had a wide variety of meats (salami/ham/prosciutto), cheese, cereal, pastries, rolls, yogurt, jams, fresh fruit, tomatoes. The eggs and bacon were 1.5€ and up extra, but there was enough to eat without them. The staff was so nice, she would put our hot water with tea and coffee on the table as soon as she saw us.

Tours: walks of Italy- took the Pristine Sistine tour with Julietta. Great value, great guide. Also took the VIP Colosseum with them, another fantastic tour though I couldn't imagine taking this 4 hour tour in the summer. Except for the short time below, the sun would be beating me down for sure.

Posted by
2466 posts

Glad it was going to be short - but I need to add a little more

Don't miss the Borghese or Capitalone museums. The elevator to the sky at the Victor Monument isn't worth the wait or money because you have the same views on the terrace where the elevator is.

We went to Mass at the Pantheon, just sitting there, daydreaming (it was in Italian, with the Readings and Gospel provided in English) about all the history is hard to put into words. What was very touching though, is that they picked 2 tourists to do the readings.

The Vatican - there are no words - being practicing Catholics the joy of being there was overwhelming. Touring St. Peter's ( we went with 2 Seminarians from the North American College) was a wonderful, fun afternoon.

Climbing the dome is a must, even if you just go up with the elevator. Also, they have the best souvenir shop there, with all items blessed by the Pope!!!!!

The highlights of our trip though were the SCAVI Tour and the Papal Audience. I cannot thank the posters on this forum enough for 1) letting me know about the SCAVI tour and 2) the tips about where to sit for the Papal Audience. We were so close that if not for all the security guards I could have been one of those crazies who tries to touch Him. Next visit I will have to find a baby to bring.

Anyone putting in a request for the SCAVI Tour, heed Donna's advice and be patient. Yes, there are only 2 people who work there and they are not happy campers. I would not want to annoy them with extra emails. I put in my request in June and did not hear until October.

Parting thoughts - we planned on doing a few days trips but scrapped them because there was so much to see and we didn't want to rush. We spent one entire day just visiting Churches (St. Paul outside the wall, St. John Lateran ( "walked" up the Holy Stairs on our knees), St. Peter in Chains (Moses By Michaelangelo), Santa Maria Maggiore). So, we ended up just spending the entire time in Rome.

There were definitely museums, Churches we missed, but as most posters say, " gives you a reason to return".

Well, I think that is it for now, but if anyone has any questions you think I can answer please do not hesitate.

Posted by
3024 posts

Nice trip report. Thanks! Glad you had such a great time.

Posted by
281 posts

Thank you for your wonderful posting of your time in Rome. It brought back so many great memories for me. We too loved Rome and using the RS guidebooks and this forum were so helpful. We enjoyed our first trip "on our own" that we made a return trip with a RS tour. Rome is one of those cities that one trip just isn't enough, although you can hit the the highlights. It kind of gets in your blood. Thanks again, I loved reading your posting!

Posted by
2719 posts

Thanks for sharing your trip - especially the reviews and hints! I'll be in Rome in December (my 6th visit) and I still am amazed at how much I learn from other travelers experiences.

Posted by
2466 posts

Next trip to Rome for us will probably after we retire in 2020. I would love to do 6 weeks in Italy adding all the cities and small towns we haven't gotten to yet. I also have Rick's small village Italy on my list. Almost everyone I know would return to Rome in a heartbeat, and I am adding our names to the list.

Posted by
281 posts

Barbara, I have not had the pleasure of the RS village tour but I'm sure it is wonderful. Just thought I'd add my two cents for what it is worth. Check out the Best of South Italy itinerary. This one I can vouch for and it exceeds all expectations!

Posted by
1034 posts

Barbara, I can say from experience that the Village Italy tour is one not to miss. Differently from being in big cities, you will have the chance to be in smaller places with a slower lifestyle and you'll meet many artisans as they practice their crafts. It was my favorite of the four RS trips I have taken.

Posted by
14908 posts

Hi Barbara, thanks for the report. I'm still "digesting" my visit, pretty much simultaneous to yours. Did you do the pasta-making tour/class?

You wrote: I would love to do 6 weeks in Italy adding all the cities and small towns we haven't gotten to yet. That made me laugh. 6 months is closer to the mark. I've spent a lot more than 6 weeks in Italy in the past several years, and my list of cities and small towns I haven't gotten to yet just gets longer.

Posted by
2466 posts

I have nothing planned next week so i will try my best. Every other month i was busy. Inside Panera on 42 street, correct?

Posted by
2466 posts

We didnt do the class because by the time we all agreed it was booked, one of the hazards of group travel. But we still had a fabulous time!
I have written before that we are very close to retirement, the end of 2019 or early 2020, so that will free up so much more time for travel. I work in the school system so i am on their schedule so most of my vacation time is July and August. I am not complaining since i do have 2 months off, but those other months are just so appealing!

Posted by
11288 posts

" Inside Panera on 42 street, correct?"

Close, but this Panera is at 452 5th Avenue, between 39th and 40th Streets.

Posted by
697 posts

What a wonderful report. Brings back great memories of our trip to Rome two years ago. I agree, you could spend weeks in Rome & never get bored.

Posted by
282 posts

Thanks for the great trip report! I'll be adding some of your suggestions to my notes since we will be going back to Rome this summer.