Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rome (Nov. 3-7)

This is the entry that I've been dreading most, both because it's the place I most want to go and the place that's going to be the hardest to preview because there's so much stuff I'm going to have a tough time cutting stuff out. And with my limited time I have to cut out Florence and everything south of Rome (Amalfi Coast, Capri, Mt. Vesuvius & Pompeii) for my next trip.

And so, Rome. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Taking the overnight train from Venice, I get into Rome at 6:56am. My overall plan here is to see the most historic stuff, the oldest sites, the must-sees. I'm planning on 4 days here (rather than my typical 3 days) plus my one-day-a-week day off. What I'm going to have to do for my planning is look at the guide books itineraries and cherry-pick days or events.

I will likely buy the Roma Pass which, for 25 euros, get me access to (and at the head of the line for) the Colosseum and Musei Capitolini as well as unlimited public transport for 3 days.
  • Ancient Rome: Capitoline Hill, the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, the Colosseum
  • Navona/Campo: Campo de Fiori, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon
  • Corso & Spagna: Vittorio Emanuelle monument, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps
  • Villa Borghese: Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace), Galleria Borghese, Piazza del Popolo
  • Vatican City: St. Peter's, Vatican Museum
  • Jewish Ghetto
  • Catacombs & Via Appia
For my day off, I hope to get out of the city altogether, maybe a day trip to Ostia Antica near the coast or Tivoli, or go down to Mt Vesuvius, Pompeii, and Amalfi.

Rick Steves' 3-day suggestion:
  • Day 1: the "Caesar Shuffle" from the Colosseum to the Forum, then over Capitol Hill to the Pantheon. After a siesta, join the locals strolling from Piazza del Popolo to the Spanish Steps.
  • Day 2: see the Vatican City, have dinner on the atmospheric Campo de Fiori, then walk to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps in a "Night Walk Across Rome"
  • Day 3: Borghese Gallery and National Museum
On Nov 8th (Day 53), I'll take a train from Rome to Florence, probably something like the 8:15am which gets in at 9:50am.


    1. Rome is tough, I liked it, but didn't love it, you'll find a lot of English spoken here, which wasn't as fun for me! The Jewish Ghetto is really cool, be sure to have a meal there. There's also a synogauge that stayed open through the Nazi occupation. Even though I had the address, I wasn't able to find it. (I suspect it is hidden somewhere near the little Jewish hospital, but after spending an hour looking for it, I really appreciated how they were able to hide from the Nazis)

      Be sure to spend an hour at the Capuchin Crypt. It's free (although they ask that you donate $1) and is far and away the creepiest thing I have ever seen.

      If you can get down to Napoli, do it! I skipped Pompeii and did the National Museum there instead - that has all the cool artifacts from Pompeii, along with The Secret Room ( ) Naples was my favorite city in Italy, it is really inexpensive, and has a LOT to see and do. (Naples Underground, a day trip to Capri, the Archeological museum, fantastic pizza and bakeries, and my favorite cheap hotel ever, finally getting great reviews on Trip Advisor: (It's completely hidden down an alleyway full of graffiti, but absolutely charming, and cheap. People love it or hate it, but all describe it the same way.)

    2. Unlikely that I'll make Napoli on this trip. With the possible exception of a day trip to Pompeii/Amalfi, I won't be going further south than Rome.