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First time rome suggestions

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Vancouver
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First time rome suggestions

Hi. We are a couple in our mid 40 going to Italy for first time. Any suggestions on must see or itinerary. Our timing is beginning of July for 2 weeks. Tentative plan is 5 days or so in Rome with maybe a couple add on days in Pompeii. Then up to Florence and back. Do you recommend booking tours in advance or just when we get there. Also should I book train tickets in advance? My husband is very into the history and is interested in guided tours that will give some good in depth info. Any help is appreciated.thanks

Australia
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for Pompeii, Herculaneum, Naples
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1. Re: First time rome suggestions

Book ahead for the Colosseum underground tour (see FAQs on right) and also for the Vatican Museums. You're going at a busy time so it's a must. I did the Colosseum underground tour back in January. They take very small groups and you get a below ground and third level view - which a regular ticket doesn't allow. It is unforgettable.

As for suggestions of course Rome is a history lover's paradise - the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill, the Pantheon are just some of the sites which date back to Republic and Imperial Rome. There is also the Ara Pacis and Mausoleum of Augustus - both not really on 'the list' but for fans of the Julio-Claudian dynasty - an absolute must see. The Ara Pacis is Augustus' altar of peace and was reconstructed by Mussolini and assembled in a brand new purpose-built museum only a few years ago. The Mausoleum of Augustus is directly opposite and although closed, is worth a look from the outside.

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2. Re: First time rome suggestions

I would book train tickets ahead of time as you can save significantly on the cost. Book at www.trenitalia.com.

Cookstown, United...
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3. Re: First time rome suggestions

If I had a very limited time to spend in Rome and if history was my thing (which it is) and if I had never been before then I'd concentrate on these things that I are vitally important and in close proximity to each other:- Colosseum (underground tour not essential and might hold you up) Palatine and Forum (included in Colosseum ticket methinks so if you went there first you could avoid a little queueing at Colosseum), Capitoline Museum and Trajan's Markets. You could easily spend two or three days taking your time in those areas and believe me . . . . you should most definitely take your time! The other crucial port of call for m would be the Pantheon. I try to ALWAYS visit the Pantheon when I'm in Rome. And if you do happen to make it to the Pantheon then you might consider the Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona on the same day. If you or your spouse get a good travel guide-book (e.g. Dorling Kindersley is the one that I like) and study it well beforehand then you can manage the crucial sites of ancient Rome on your own and without the need of a guided tour (the problem of which, for me, is that they are always so limited in their scope). I hope you guys have a wonderful time!

Chris.

Fort Worth, Texas
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4. Re: First time rome suggestions

We are also a couple in our 40's and just got back from Rome. We'd never even been to Europe so everything was new!

A lot to absorb over a week for a total newbie.

We enjoyed taking a Segway tour on our 1st day. This gave us an overview wout exhausting us. We then went and had lunch in the Jewish Ghetto. Make sure you get the Jewish Artichokes. Yum.

Then we walked up and down some famous street near there. No biggie. We walked along the river. That was calm and relaxing but not much to see.

The next day we went to the Vatican. There was no pope so I didn't book a tour bc I didn't know if it'd even be open. We were haggled and haggled for a tour on our way to St. Peter's. Yikes! Any hesitation and they jump!

The Vatican would've been better with a guide. That place is a beating, so big and so much to see. CASH ONLY!!

St. Peter's is nice. Beautiful. Go early or the line wraps around the square. You can also climb his dome and go underneath (Scavi Tour book wayyy early).

We really really enjoyed Walks of Italy with Katia for the Colosseum et all tour. She made it come to life and she worried about the tkts and times etc. We met at the Metro station and I got locked in the bathroom. I was really glad there was somebody that could've helped me if I needed it!

We used the train/metro for a side trip to see the ruins of Ostica. Easy breezy to use. Buy your tkts at any tobacco shop. You'll need 2 one way tkts for $1.50 each. There is a castle you can tour. The tour is free and it is at 11.

Do not tip at restaurants. Ask for tap water. When you find a gross looking fountain drink from it. It is actually clean. Plug up the bottom and water will shoot out from a little hole. Perfect for drinking if you don't have a bottle.

Go to Circus Maximus and get a gelato. Find the Keyhole and take a wander through the orange grove. Go to the top of the wedding cake bldg. for some breathtaking views.

Take care, m

Vancouver
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5. Re: First time rome suggestions

Thanks everyone. Getting excited for our trip!

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: First time rome suggestions

San Giovanni in Laterano for me is a must. It actually ranks higher than St Peter's Basilica and is the highest ranking church for catholics. I wish I hadnt gone there so late in the day otherwise I would have hired an audioguide.

Glasgow, United...
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7. Re: First time rome suggestions

if you are doing the Colloseum tour I would definitely recommend the Underground tour as it was one of the highlights of my last visit, also the Vatican necropolis tour was really interesting (who knew they just built on top of the old one?), and the guide was a history lecturer in the university so gave such an insight and answered all of our questions with ease.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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8. Re: First time rome suggestions

Vatican Museum: Book a tour in advance. We bought our tickets in advance and just got an audio guide. The audio guide commentary went on and on and on. We were exhausted by the time we were finished. A 2 or 3 hour guided tour would have insured that we saw the highlights. Avoid the Vatican Cafe across the street from the Vatican Museum. This place is a real rip off. Always insist on a menu with prices.

St. Peter's: No need for a tour since you can download an audio tour from the Rick Steve's website. Expect to stand in line for security.

#110 Bus tour/hop on hop off bus: IMO, not worth it since it seems to loop past the same sites. If it is raining, either be prepared to get wet on the top deck of the bus, or see nothing from the lower deck since many of the windows are obscured.

Stay in a centrally located hotel near a good public transportation links. We rode the bus all over Rome with no problems. With that said, many of the famous historic sites are within walking distance of each other so wear good walking shoes since there are a lot of cobblestones and uneven terrain at places like the Forum and Palatine Hill.

Galleria Doria Pamphiji-I really enjoyed this historic home/palace in the historic center. Your entry ticket includes an excellent audio guide.

Edited: 2:38 pm, March 24, 2013
Le Marche, Italy
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9. Re: First time rome suggestions

I think that for someone interested in Roman history, Ostia Antica would be most rewarding. Other early Roman sites that are well worth seeing, and haven't been mentioned yet, are the Baths of Caracalla, the Domus Romana (reservation necessary) under Palazzo Valentina, and the Case Romane under the church of SS. Giovanni e Paolo.

There are several great museums that focus on ancient history.

The Capitoline Museums, above the Roman forum has a superb collection of ancient sculpture, the foundations of the ancient Temple of Jupiter, part of the Annals of Rome, the orginal of the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, and many other ancient artifacts.

The National Roman Museum at Palazzo Massimo alle Terme also has some great ancient sculpture, and ancient mosaics and frescoes (from the villa of Livia, the wife of the Emperor Augustus). The ticket is good for three other sites, including the nearby Museum of the Baths of Diocletian, which has a large hall which belonged to that enormous bath complex. Inside the hall, you can see two intact painted Roman tombs (brought there from elsewhere). The main museum has a fascinating exhibit about the early development of Latin writing, including implements and examples of what people wrote about. In between these two sites of the museum, I recommend a visit to the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, which is inside another hall which belonged to the Diocletian Baths.

The Villa Giulia is an excellent museum of ancient Etruscan art and culture. By the way, in the Vatican Museums, I highly recommend the Egyptian collection and the Etruscan collection.

Edited: 4:46 pm, March 24, 2013
Rome
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10. Re: First time rome suggestions

If you want to get out of Rome for a day then a trip to the town of Tivoli and the Villa d'Este water gardens is well worth the hour's train trip and it's in the hills so much cooler than Rome. Lunch at Sybilla should be on every food-lovers list!