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Old 03-27-2018, 11:03 AM
 
Location: equator
3,522 posts, read 1,563,392 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
I'll second the suggestion of visiting the Borghese Gallery (whether you decide to see the Vatican Museum or not). Tickets MUST be purchased in advance, and you are assigned a time window for your visit - but this insures that the museum is never overcrowded, and you can get close enough to the work and stand in front of it long enough to truly appreciate it.

With a full six days in Rome, you will have time to see a lot. Don't forget the sights outside Vatican City! The Colosseum, the Forum, and the Pantheon are also must-sees. (Book a Colosseum tour that also takes you to the underground parts of the great arena.) And the remains of the Emperor Nero's great palace, the Dominus Aurea, just recently were re-opened for public viewing: https://www.tickitaly.com/galleries/...aurea-rome.php

Have a marvelous time on your trip!

Thank you Aredhel---most helpful post! Thanks to your link, I just booked the regular Vatican tickets AND the Borghese Gallery tickets, and both were almost OUT on the days I picked, and this is still over one month out and not in "high season".


I think these are the only scheduled events we'll have. Our apt. overlooks the Coliseum and Pantheon from our terrace, so I'm excited about those. I will look into the underground tour too, sounds great. I looked at Nero's palace too----wow.


Any other tips are appreciated. My first time to Italy and we'll also be in Florence, Venice, Siena, Lake Como, Orvieto and Taormina. Whew..................glad we have a month.


Thanks to all for the suggestions.
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Old 03-27-2018, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
8,607 posts, read 11,114,388 times
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Have a great time! Rome is one of my favorite cities in the world. One thing, I don't know where your apartment is, but it's virtually impossible to overlook the Pantheon and Coliseum at the same time, unless you're on top of the Victor Emmanuel monument, and even then you have to turn around.


https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Pant...5!2d41.8916315
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Macon, GA
1,176 posts, read 1,578,413 times
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I did a Rome and Florence visit last month and just like you it was my first time. I purchased tickets for the Vatican museums and the Colosseum in advance. This was a good move and I had very little wait at either place and the line to buy tickets was long--even in Feb. Nowhere else in Rome needed tickets in advance, however. We did the Scavi Tour at the Vatican (booked in advance is the only way to get this) and it dumps you out at the end right into St. Peter's Basilica. There are no tickets for St. Peters so it is do the Scavi Tour or wait in line for that one. The line for St. Peters was LONG, but it was moving fast though. Don't miss St. Peter's---FAR more impressive than any other and worth waiting for.

I wasn't all that impressed with the Sistine Chapel like others have said, but others were so to each their own. It is crowded, but world-renowned so that is expected.

I see you are going to Florence too. Get tickets in advance if you want to go to the Academia (statue of David) or the Uffizi (one of the best museums if you are into art and sculptures).

If you are taking the train and your schedule is set, you can save quite a bit by purchasing your train tickets in advance. Was worth it to me to have more money for fantastic dinners every night! One other thing if nobody has told you yet is that nearly all restaurants that we looked at required reservations for dinner and the popular ones filled up days in advance. We had to settle for our second choices a few nights because I didn't book the reservations in time.

Italy was amazing and I definitely want to go back!

Last edited by midgeorgiaman; 03-27-2018 at 12:21 PM..
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Yuma and Walker, AZ
246 posts, read 129,060 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greatblueheron View Post

The Basilica is stunning...incredibly beautiful.

Don't forget to see some of the artwork owned by the Vatican...Michelangelo's Pieta is immediately to your right as you enter the Basilica. You could study the artwork online prior to the trip, if interested.
I'd be in awe too...

Of the hypocrisy and anti "christian" display of wealth and privilege. Jesus wouldn't be impressed...if you believe that sort of thing.

Last edited by flint8ball; 03-27-2018 at 01:08 PM.. Reason: incomplete thought
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
27,092 posts, read 5,977,450 times
Reputation: 30347
Quote:
Originally Posted by midgeorgiaman View Post
I did a Rome and Florence visit last month and just like you it was my first time. I purchased tickets for the Vatican museums and the Colosseum in advance. This was a good move and I had very little wait at either place and the line to buy tickets was long--even in Feb. Nowhere else in Rome needed tickets in advance, however. We did the Scavi Tour at the Vatican (booked in advance is the only way to get this) and it dumps you out at the end right into St. Peter's Basilica. There are no tickets for St. Peters so it is do the Scavi Tour or wait in line for that one. The line for St. Peters was LONG, but it was moving fast though. Don't miss St. Peter's---FAR more impressive than any other and worth waiting for.

I wasn't all that impressed with the Sistine Chapel like others have said, but others were so to each their own. It is crowded, but world-renowned so that is expected.

I see you are going to Florence too. Get tickets in advance if you want to go to the Academia (statue of David) or the Uffizi (one of the best museums if you are into art and sculptures).

If you are taking the train and your schedule is set, you can save quite a bit by purchasing your train tickets in advance. Was worth it to me to have more money for fantastic dinners every night! One other thing if nobody has told you yet is that nearly all restaurants that we looked at required reservations for dinner and the popular ones filled up days in advance. We had to settle for our second choices a few nights because I didn't book the reservations in time.

Italy was amazing and I definitely want to go back!

Florence was my favorite out of the Italy trip....if you are interested in art, this is the city. And yes The Uffizi!
I was a serious art history student at the time of the visit...it's teeming with famous paintings...Botticelli's The Birth of Venus...etc. The city was the place of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, etc. during the Renaissance period...don't forget the architecture, the city is full of amazing structures, the Duomo, Bell Tower, the dome.

The Accademia too...

the city is more walkable than Rome...which is so large and spread out. Oh the small trattorias. the food and wine. Stay in the older section of town to have easy access to all the above.

Wish you a fabulous trip...
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
3,222 posts, read 3,211,690 times
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Also had a "meh" experience at the Sistine Chapel.


But Borghese gallery...loved it.
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:51 PM
 
3,152 posts, read 3,098,684 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
Thank you Aredhel---most helpful post! Thanks to your link, I just booked the regular Vatican tickets AND the Borghese Gallery tickets, and both were almost OUT on the days I picked, and this is still over one month out and not in "high season".


I think these are the only scheduled events we'll have. Our apt. overlooks the Coliseum and Pantheon from our terrace, so I'm excited about those. I will look into the underground tour too, sounds great. I looked at Nero's palace too----wow.


Any other tips are appreciated. My first time to Italy and we'll also be in Florence, Venice, Siena, Lake Como, Orvieto and Taormina. Whew..................glad we have a month.


Thanks to all for the suggestions.
OMG I'm so envious you have a month! Hubby, 22 year old son and I did a whirlwind trip to Italy before going on the England to visit with my husband's relatives. Loved every minute of it! We also went off season in March so while still fairly busy, didn't get the summer crowds and screaming kids.

Flew into Venice for 2 nights, a beautiful decaying city. Loved the little canals and walk ways, the history, the food! Didn't take a gondola ride, but did get a pass for the water taxis. (Hubby and I dream of going back to Venice just the two of us. So romantic!)
Took train to Florence... had a 6 hour delay because of a strike. A little frustrating, but seems to be fairly common over there.

Florence was amazing! Do not miss seeing "David"! Seeing it in real life and not just a picture was an amazing experience! We also spent an afternoon the next day taking a train to a small medieval city called San Gimignano. This was a place my son was really interested because of it's connection to a game called Assassin's Creed. Really interesting, relaxing and beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside. (I skipped the torture museum, but of course it was fascinating to my guys, lol!) Did I mention we only had 2 nights in Florence? ha ha! We walked all over the place and in spite of all the delicious food we ate, I lost weight!!

Spent 4 nights in Rome. Wow! Got there in the late afternoon and stayed near the Vatican. We arrived in the late afternoon and after dinner we took an evening walk from the outside of St. Pauls, through Piazza Navona, The Pantheon and to Trevi Fountain before turning back. There were plenty of people out and about so never felt unsafe. Everything was illuminated and it was magical!

Yes! Make an appointment to see Villa Borghese if you can! The art and scultpures are beautiful, and the experience was less hectic because of their pacing. Afterwards we rented bikes and rode around the Borghese park which was gorgeous!

From a tip from an acquaintance, we visited a smaller little less known church named Santa Maria della Vittoria! My heart just melted at the beauty inside! It's less than a mile walk from Villa Borghese.

As for the Vatican and St. Pauls... I would say it was the highlight of our trip! We went on a weekday when the Pope was not coming out to wave, but it was still very very busy. I was expecting it, so wasn't "shocked". I wasn't concerned with the people surrounding me, because my eyes were always looking upwards and around. Good thing you got booked for a tour... the line to get in without reservations were very very long! The tour guide was very pleasant, informative, and we felt that we learned a lot and it made us appreciate the art so much more. The tour ended at the St. Paul's Basilica where we were free to roam. I thought I died and went to heaven. My neck hurt! lol!!

Other tips... The Trastavere neighborhood is so charming! Older, medieval, narrow cobblestone pathways, great restaurants... next time (I wish a next time!) we'll stay there!

I got a lot of good tips from the forums for Rome at Tripadvisor.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForu...ome_Lazio.html

Also my husband downloaded an app from TA that gave us walking directions. (I'll have to ask him how he got it) It came in very handy in many places, just be warned it does drain the battery.

Here's a couple of pics... Pantheon at night and inside the Basilica

Have fun!
Attached Thumbnails
Help! Overwhelmed by the Vatican must-see-25.jpg   Help! Overwhelmed by the Vatican must-see-31.jpg  
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:53 PM
 
Location: NoVa
2,131 posts, read 2,918,127 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greatblueheron View Post
I went in March to stay away from summer crowds.

It's true...if you aren't into art and history in any way, you might want to skip it. Leave more room for those thrilled to be there.

But what are you going to Rome for, if not new and educational experiences???
You still haven't explained how one can lie down on the floor of Sistine Chapel without getting stepped on by other visitors. I was there in mid Oct, so summer was already done but the crowd was still massive. With that kind of crowd, even if you're able to lie down, there won't be any view to see other than up other people's skirts or inhaling other people's dusty stinky shoes.

To the OP: I see you've already booked Villa Borghese, very good choice as it has a fantastic collections of Bernini statues. They can certainly teach the Vatican a thing or two about crowd management. You'll understand what I mean when you've visited both.

I highly suggest you visit San Sebastian crypt - you will see how the early Christians practiced their religion underground (literally) and some of the early Roman cities that were excavated in recent years. If you're claustrophobic, this is not the place for you as it's dark and damp (just use your phone's flashlight). But it was one of the most moving places I've been to in terms of the wealth of history contained in one small place.

If you're a Catholic, I actually thought attending the Pope's general audience is worth it. It's held every Wed morning at 10am local time. I thought the experience was truly epic, and it's cool seeing the Pope zipping in and out of each lane to greet people on his pope mobile. He was close enough for me to touch his hand and the ambiance was like attending a gigantic rock concert with representatives from all over the world sitting together in one place. Imagine St. Peter's square filled cheek by jowl with people!

And the food, my goodness, I haven't even started on the food! I just love Rome, one of my most favorite cities in the world.
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:41 PM
 
2,181 posts, read 1,238,985 times
Reputation: 2720
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
I know we gotta do it; being in Rome for 6 days. Recently realized advance tickets are a must but there is such a plethora of companies and levels of service. Hours of waiting in line.


Does anyone have personal experience on how to approach this mandatory tourist site---best times/days or companies? Not really interested in spending hundreds on a private tour.....we will be in Rome end of April.....


It's completely overwhelming to even contemplate....

Maybe you can see it on Rick Steve's show
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Harbor Springs, Michigan
2,292 posts, read 2,652,233 times
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We visited Rome just after Pope Benedict had resigned/stood down, the Vatican was very quiet, the basilica is beautiful. The Sistine chapel was overcrowded with lots of guides shouting to quiet people down and not to take photos.

What we did find in Rome was the most unassuming churches can be a wonder. We stayed near the Borghese Park on the edge of the Spagna district, on the edge of the nearby Piazza del Popolo there is a church the Basilica Parriocchiale Santa Maria Del Puopolo has a very plain black door but inside there are paintings by Raphael and Carravagio amazing !!
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