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Old 06-21-2014, 08:19 AM
 
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I can't really answer your question due to a) a heavy bias towards Italy... I've been to Rome three times for a week each time and still have barely scratched the surface - I could spend a lifetime there I think! I've also visited Pompeii and Herculaneum, and found both equally as interesting. If you're in the Naples area you could include a visit to the top of Mt. Vesuvius and say you climbed a volcano. Then there's the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Capri...

and b) I haven't been to Istanbul yet - but we're going next week! Due to our budget and only being able to pick one day trip, we're forgoing Cappadocia (as much as I would LOVE it) for a trip to Ephesus.

I'm a little jealous you get to combine Italy and Turkey...it was a toss-up for us, whether to go back to Italy or go somewhere new. Hope you have smooth travels and lots of fun and interesting adventures!
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,251,141 times
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My wife is just back from a trip with a 20-hour stopover in Istanbul. She loved it. She just changed a hundred bucks into Lira and went down to the Bosporus seaside and let Turkey happen to her, and then hailed a taxi to take her back to her hotel.

Most great travel experience arise out of letting things happen, rather than making them happen. Both
Rome and Istanbul have more than you could see in a year. Just take in what you can.
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:40 AM
 
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,787,996 times
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Istanbul is my favourite city in the world (so far!). Been there twice and could see moving there someday. While I've been to Italy about 7 times, I've never been to Rome, so cannot really compare the two.

I wrote a bit about my two trips to Istanbul that might give you some idea of the city, what to see/do (picture-heavy):
- Istanbul | September 2012 | fuzzphotography
- Back to the Bosphorus | April 2013 | fuzzphotography
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,251,141 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzz View Post
Istanbul is my favourite city in the world (so far!). Been there twice and could see moving there someday. While I've been to Italy about 7 times, I've never been to Rome, so cannot really compare the two.
I thought I was the only person who went to Italy without seeing Rome. I've been there 3 times, been to Sicily and the Dolomites, but never in the gap between Brindisi and Venice..
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Old 06-27-2014, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
8,593 posts, read 11,074,156 times
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Rome and Istanbul are two of my favourite cities anywhere. I'll take Istanbul overall though. The baths, the Grand Bazaar, the food...

You could easily spend three relaxing days in Rome, totally to capacity, and now with the high-speed train to Napoli you can bang in Pompeii if you feel the need.

Istanbul...beyond compare. Plus it's relatively cheap, especially compared to Italy.

Have a fantastic trip.
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Old 06-27-2014, 02:30 PM
 
3,565 posts, read 1,874,751 times
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Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
I will be visiting these two cities soon, plus Cappadoccia, Turkey.
Which city has more to see? Currently the plan is to spend (almost) three full days in Rome, and 4 days in Istanbul, plus 2 days in Cappadoccia. (I have been to Venice, Florence etc previously, but not Rome).

I've heard mixed stories about Rome. Put Vatican city aside, some say you can pretty much see everything in one day because everything is close by, others say it needs a whole week and will still find it exciting.

Most people seem to rave about Istanbul.

Any recommendations as to how to spend the time in each city? I will stay near Termini station in Rome and Tasim Square in Istanbul.
Personally, I would take more time in Istanbul than Rome, but your mileage may vary. When I travel, I see some major sites, but spend a lot of time just walking around, eating, drinking, and browsing. I think Istanbul lends itself to that approach very well, and Rome somewhat less so. The foreign crowds seem much more ubiquitous in Rome than Istanbul, making it feel a little harder to get away from them.

I stayed near Termini last time I was in Rome. It is a fine area to stay. If you only want to hit the major sites, you would need only a few days in either city (although your pace would be too hectic for me). I like Rome, but I love Istanbul. I stayed in Sultanahmet, rather than Taksim. If you are coming from the United States, especially having visited Venice and Florence, Istanbul will probably seem more "foreign/exotic" to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallybalt View Post
Rome and Istanbul. Hmm.

They are quite different cities. Rome is beloved. Istanbul has its share of admirers. Istanbul has the Bosphorus, while Rome is landlocked. Rome has much better food, but Istanbul has some decent restaurants and Turkish grills. Italian ice cream is much better than Turkish ice cream. Istanbul has better seafood than Rome. Rome is easier to navigate and easier to absorb. Istanbul is more difficult to get around. Rome, on the ground, is much more attractive and a prettier city to walk around. Istanbul has charming decay but is more attractive from a distance due to the setting on the various hills around the Bosphorus.

Rome is much richer, culturally, than Istanbul due to the museums, churches and baroque city planning. Istanbul has a different cultural heritage that's still very impressive in its own way but which will feel more different and possibly alien. The Ottoman/Islamic world never prioritized the great traditions of city building that the West did so their cities are different and outside the mosques you won't find the richness of public architecture you find in Italy and elsewhere in the West.

The culture in both cities are different. Rome is Western, European, Catholic and ancient. You really feel the history of Rome stretching back 2,000 years. Istanbul is not culturally European despite what some people may claim. It will feel very Muslim to you even if it is a secular city by the standards of the Muslim world. Despite the age of the Hagia Sophia, almost everything else save a few remaining churches in Istanbul dates from the post-Ottoman conquest and there's very little surviving from the Byzantine days, so it's difficult to get a sense of who the Byzantines were whereas in Rome the influence of Ancient Rome is just about everywhere you look.

Istanbul is a crowded city. In certain areas it will feel suffocatingly crowded if you're not used to it. Rome can be dense but not on the level of Istanbul.

As with all travel experiences it will come down to what you're looking for and what experiences you relish.

Having traveled frequently through Rome/Italy and taken three long trips to Turkey, which included several days in Istanbul on each trip, I personally prefer Rome, but I still enjoyed Istanbul.

In terms of the amount of time to spend in Rome, I could easily spend a week in Rome and never need to leave. The people who say you can see everything in one day are the people who go to seven countries in seven days. Are you one of those people?

The Vatican will absorb much of a day. Then you have the forum and the ancient Roman ruins, plus the Pantheon. There are scores of historic churches across the city that are well worth visiting, plus several palace museums. Even if I've exhausted the sights, just being in Rome and absorbing the la dolce vita quality of life is wonderful.

If you want to do day trips from Rome, then Pompeii is a long day trip as you have to go via Naples, but it's well worth the effort. Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli is another great ruined complex not far outside Rome.

As for Istanbul, three days is probably enough time to see the principle sights. Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar and the various great mosques are within easy reach of each other, but I'd also make the effort to see one or two of the surviving Byzantine churches near the city walls, which is quite some distance from the center. Topkapi palace is a must see, and BE SURE TO SEE THE HAREM. I had a pair of friends who went to Istanbul recently and they mentioned they skipped the harem due to the queue, but the harem is by far the best part of the palace complex. If you don't see the harem, you will not understand the Ottomans.

Take a boat ride up the Bosphorus on the public ferry. Cross over to Beyoglu and walk up the steep main drag and people watch. Cross the Bosphorus to the Asian side to explore a neighborhood or two, and there's several good restaurants on that side of the water. Istanbul also apparently has a great nightlife, but I'm too old for it.

Word to the wise: do not buy a rug in Turkey. Don't fall for it. It's not a scam, but you will overpay greatly. Buy your Turkish rugs in the US.
This is a nice discussion of the two places. I have a different take on a few things:

Food: Both have great food. I think that the variety of food in Istanbul (seafood, meat, vegetables, grains) makes it a more fun place to eat for a few days than Rome, though I would acknowledge that, on the high-end at least, Rome has finer restaurants.

Culture: Istanbul was and is the crossroad between the European West and the Islamic Near East. The city reflects its historical heritage as the capital of the late Roman Empire and the later capital of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey is a Muslim country, and Istanbul is a predominantly Muslim city, but the architecture and layout spawned from the different great powers that have inhabited the city. In fact, the architecture of mosques is heavily influenced by Byzantine monumental architecture, with cascading domes leading to one giant, central dome. I also think that Istanbul feels like a living, modern city in a way that Rome's center does not, really.

As for rugs, I'll expand your tip: you will overpay for an oriental rug almost anywhere in the world you buy one, unless you are an expert or very lucky.

I would add that traffic in Istanbul is downright terrifying, and the fatal accident statistics back up that feeling. Be very careful!
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Old 06-27-2014, 02:56 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,590,084 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallybalt View Post
Rome and Istanbul. Hmm.

They are quite different cities. Rome is beloved. Istanbul has its share of admirers. Istanbul has the Bosphorus, while Rome is landlocked. Rome has much better food, but Istanbul has some decent restaurants and Turkish grills. Italian ice cream is much better than Turkish ice cream. Istanbul has better seafood than Rome. Rome is easier to navigate and easier to absorb. Istanbul is more difficult to get around. Rome, on the ground, is much more attractive and a prettier city to walk around. Istanbul has charming decay but is more attractive from a distance due to the setting on the various hills around the Bosphorus.

Rome is much richer, culturally, than Istanbul due to the museums, churches and baroque city planning. Istanbul has a different cultural heritage that's still very impressive in its own way but which will feel more different and possibly alien. The Ottoman/Islamic world never prioritized the great traditions of city building that the West did so their cities are different and outside the mosques you won't find the richness of public architecture you find in Italy and elsewhere in the West.

The culture in both cities are different. Rome is Western, European, Catholic and ancient. You really feel the history of Rome stretching back 2,000 years. Istanbul is not culturally European despite what some people may claim. It will feel very Muslim to you even if it is a secular city by the standards of the Muslim world. Despite the age of the Hagia Sophia, almost everything else save a few remaining churches in Istanbul dates from the post-Ottoman conquest and there's very little surviving from the Byzantine days, so it's difficult to get a sense of who the Byzantines were whereas in Rome the influence of Ancient Rome is just about everywhere you look.

Istanbul is a crowded city. In certain areas it will feel suffocatingly crowded if you're not used to it. Rome can be dense but not on the level of Istanbul.

As with all travel experiences it will come down to what you're looking for and what experiences you relish.

Having traveled frequently through Rome/Italy and taken three long trips to Turkey, which included several days in Istanbul on each trip, I personally prefer Rome, but I still enjoyed Istanbul.

In terms of the amount of time to spend in Rome, I could easily spend a week in Rome and never need to leave. The people who say you can see everything in one day are the people who go to seven countries in seven days. Are you one of those people?

The Vatican will absorb much of a day. Then you have the forum and the ancient Roman ruins, plus the Pantheon. There are scores of historic churches across the city that are well worth visiting, plus several palace museums. Even if I've exhausted the sights, just being in Rome and absorbing the la dolce vita quality of life is wonderful.

If you want to do day trips from Rome, then Pompeii is a long day trip as you have to go via Naples, but it's well worth the effort. Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli is another great ruined complex not far outside Rome.

As for Istanbul, three days is probably enough time to see the principle sights. Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar and the various great mosques are within easy reach of each other, but I'd also make the effort to see one or two of the surviving Byzantine churches near the city walls, which is quite some distance from the center. Topkapi palace is a must see, and BE SURE TO SEE THE HAREM. I had a pair of friends who went to Istanbul recently and they mentioned they skipped the harem due to the queue, but the harem is by far the best part of the palace complex. If you don't see the harem, you will not understand the Ottomans.

Take a boat ride up the Bosphorus on the public ferry. Cross over to Beyoglu and walk up the steep main drag and people watch. Cross the Bosphorus to the Asian side to explore a neighborhood or two, and there's several good restaurants on that side of the water. Istanbul also apparently has a great nightlife, but I'm too old for it.

Word to the wise: do not buy a rug in Turkey. Don't fall for it. It's not a scam, but you will overpay greatly. Buy your Turkish rugs in the US.
This about sums up my thoughts. Both are amazing cities (although Ephesus is more interesting IMHO) but there is something about Rome that draws me back. As corny as it sounds, I still toss a couple of coins in the Trevi Fountain every time I visit to ensure that one day I will return.

In my opinion, Rome is the better city to just settle in and "live" in. It is perhaps the greatest people watching city in the world.
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Old 11-07-2014, 05:47 PM
 
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Hi from turkey,istanbul
22 years in istanbul and there are a lot of place which I haven't see. I thing you should limit your visit plan. for example sultan ahmet or taksim.
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