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We will be spending a about 2 1/2days in Rome prior to our cruise. Is it best to split up tours Vatican on1 day and Ancient Rome omnthe next.? Or are we better doing a Rome in 1 day tour and spending the other day seeing the sites like Trevi, Spanish Steps,Pantheon,Villa Borghese, etc.? For context we will be coming from Venice via train and arriving by 2 or 3. We will be leaving on Thursday for the port.

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It's too much to cram everything in one day. Sure, cruise tours do it that way but they have no choice...

 

Far better -- from both efficiency standpoint and sheer ability to take it all in -- to divide up your time by doing the Vatican sites one day and some of the ancient Rome sites another day. Depending on what you actually want to see, you should have time to fit the other sights in on one day or the other.

 

Do you really have 2.5 days (e.g., arriving on Monday) or more like 1.5 days (arriving on Tuesday)?  If the former, you have enough time to see the major sites without seriously rushing it.

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Arriving Monday afternoon by train, our hotel is near Villa Borgese. We leaving for port on Thursday morning

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So you'll have a reasonable amount of time, which is good,

 

Your location isn't the most central; all the more reason for grouping sites together. For example, the Vatican -- depending on what you want to do there -- probably won't take a full day but could be combined with a visit to Castel Sant'Angelo (Hadrian's Tomb) or a walk over Ponte Sant'Angelo and visit to Piazza Navona and the Pantheon.

 

What are the main things you want to see during your visit?

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A whole day could go to just the Colosseum/ forum and the capitoline museum. Definitely do the Colosseum in the morning. Use the metro to get down there at 1.50€ pp.

 

Allow 2.5 hours for the galleria borghese. Gotta select a specific start time and recommend spending the 6.5€ for the guided tour. Only 1.5 more than the DIY audio guide. Definitely a must see when in Rome.

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I have three full days in Rome before my cruise. 

 

I am doing the Early Admittance Vatican Tour on Day 1 and the Colosseum (early tour start time, and skip the line pass) on Day 2.   Early is important to try to beat the heat.  

 

I will then have two afternoons and one full day that are not part of an organized tour.  Maybe I'll buy the Hop On, Hop Off tickets?

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12 hours ago, Mike45LC said:

I have three full days in Rome before my cruise. 

 

I am doing the Early Admittance Vatican Tour on Day 1 and the Colosseum (early tour start time, and skip the line pass) on Day 2.   Early is important to try to beat the heat.  

 

I will then have two afternoons and one full day that are not part of an organized tour.  Maybe I'll buy the Hop On, Hop Off tickets?

 

Even though it sounds like you're going to be in Rome during one of the hotter months, I would still not recommend using the HOHO buses -- they tend to be very, very crowded in the "peak" season, and they aren't ideal for sightseeing. Due to the many one-way and pedestrian streets in Rome, they do not pass by all of the landmarks you might expect. (In other words, you can't see them without getting off.) This includes Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, among others...

 

So, you have to get off. The problem is, once you get off, you have to wait for another bus to come by (which can take a while in the Rome traffic), and once the bus does come, it may be full. If no one gets off, you may not get on. 

 

Having said that, I think it is more enjoyable to walk in Rome anyway. You see and experience more at 'ground level'. Get a guidebook (I recommend Rick Steves for first-timers) that provides detailed self-guided walks. In half a day, it would be very easy to take a walk from, say, the Spanish steps, past Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Largo Argentina and Campo dei Fiori. This isn't too much of a push and you can always cool off with a nice gelato or a cool drink while sitting on a lovely shaded piazza.

 

Also don't forget Rome has great "drinking fountains" everywhere. Use them; the water is cool and very good. Most look like this:

 

image.png.5272437f1e3563739597bdeabecab2e4.png 

 

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Thanks for the info, CruiseMom!  

 

I know what a pain the Hop On buses can be, having been stranded for over an hour in Vancouver waiting for one with two available seats!!  When you are on "short time," trying to see a city in 6 hours or so, that can really mess up one's plans!

 

And my hotel is NOT near a Hop On stop.  So I will probably end up taking a cab to the walking tour routes -- not economically efficient, but my wife's comfort comes first.

 

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20 minutes ago, Mike45LC said:

 

And my hotel is NOT near a Hop On stop.  So I will probably end up taking a cab to the walking tour routes -- not economically efficient, but my wife's comfort comes first.

 

 

Taxis are fairly affordable in Rome for a few strategic longer hops. Sounds like a good idea. :classic_cool:

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We have done an Italy land tour which included 3 full days in Rome. Three days was nearly not enough time for all our must sees. Preplanning is crucial in maximizing your time there. I recommend getting Rome Tour books (I thought Rick Steves Rome book was the best for us) as well as getting a good Rome map. Armed with those tools (and the web as well), I would divide the city in geographic areas and then research things to see/visit in each geographic area. That way you aren't spending too much travel time in getting to each area. 

 

Unless you LOVE museums, I would only do the Vatican museum. It was an excellent museum of 2000 years of art and scupture. You end by seeing Raphael's Rooms and then walking through the Sistine Chapel (bring binoculars for better views). If that isn't enough, you then enter St Peters. That is one heck of a tour.

 

Plan to limit wait times. Lines can be long at the Vatican/St Peters and the Colosseum. So having an efficient plan avoiding lines is critical for a shortish stay.

 

We did an evening walk from the Spanish Steps (actually just a photo stop unless you like to people watch) all the was Piazza Navona including stops at the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. It was great.

 

Try to get a night tour of Rome if you can. The lighted buildings and monuments were stunning.

 

So preplanning is crucial to see what you want to see. Get a list of what interests you and organize the sites by geographic area. Use maps and Google satellite map view for help. Rome is a large congested city however it is full of superlative world class sites. 

 

Good luck.

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I admit it has been awhile since our last visit to Rome, but I clearly recall that there weren't that many English tours available at the Borghese Museum.  Since you purchase timed tickets in advance, perhaps coordinate it with the museum's English tour. Our guide was fabulous and added immensely to our understanding and enjoyment of their works.  At least back then, the museum's tour-guides were given preferential access to each artwork or sculpture and we noticed the other group tours always moved aside for our guided tour.

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17 hours ago, lynncarol said:

I admit it has been awhile since our last visit to Rome, but I clearly recall that there weren't that many English tours available at the Borghese Museum.  Since you purchase timed tickets in advance, perhaps coordinate it with the museum's English tour. Our guide was fabulous and added immensely to our understanding and enjoyment of their works.  At least back then, the museum's tour-guides were given preferential access to each artwork or sculpture and we noticed the other group tours always moved aside for our guided tour.

 

I've also done the Borghese with their audioguide and it is quite good, so if the English tour doesn't fit into your schedule, renting the audioguide is a great alternative.  When I rented one, they wanted you to leave your passport with them as a guarantee of return. I asked if I could use my driver's license (from the US) and they were fine with that. I am not happy to leave my passport in situations like that, so I always have my DL with me and try to offer it up first...

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Posted (edited)
On 7/20/2019 at 7:39 AM, cruisemom42 said:

 

Even though it sounds like you're going to be in Rome during one of the hotter months, I would still not recommend using the HOHO buses -- they tend to be very, very crowded in the "peak" season, and they aren't ideal for sightseeing. Due to the many one-way and pedestrian streets in Rome, they do not pass by all of the landmarks you might expect. (In other words, you can't see them without getting off.) This includes Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, among others...

 

So, you have to get off. The problem is, once you get off, you have to wait for another bus to come by (which can take a while in the Rome traffic), and once the bus does come, it may be full. If no one gets off, you may not get on. 

 

Having said that, I think it is more enjoyable to walk in Rome anyway. You see and experience more at 'ground level'. Get a guidebook (I recommend Rick Steves for first-timers) that provides detailed self-guided walks. In half a day, it would be very easy to take a walk from, say, the Spanish steps, past Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Largo Argentina and Campo dei Fiori. This isn't too much of a push and you can always cool off with a nice gelato or a cool drink while sitting on a lovely shaded piazza.

 

Also don't forget Rome has great "drinking fountains" everywhere. Use them; the water is cool and very good. Most look like this:

 

image.png.5272437f1e3563739597bdeabecab2e4.png 

 

First, I LOVE that water!  Another good reason to be a Hydroflask person.  

 

I'll give a big "no" to the Hohos.  I took one day only because I was not feeling well but wanted to be out and about.  The closest thing for the bus is the Colosseum.  St. Peter's Bascilia/Vatican stop is a couple of blocks away.  There were HUGE lines for sure at both those places and my bus couldn't take on any people.  The bus got me out of the hotel room and let me just look around as Rome passed by.  I wouldn't recommend it for sightseeing, though.  Except for that day, I walked, took the Metro, took the trams, and took taxis every time I've visited.  

 

Besides the Rick Steves book, I'll put out a shout out for the National Geographic's "Walking Rome" book.  It was written by someone I know who gives me good advice on where to eat in Rome.  Some of the eating advice in there is spot on, including some of my faves.  I've got new mosaics to visit, more churches to visit from the book.  She recommends Context for tours if you must do tours.  I wish I could say that she does food and historic tours, but I'm not allowed to...  Day tours, multi-day tours, how to get to specific places on your own, Rome by area.  A nice that gives some places to go that aren't in the other books.

(I'm currently salivating while reading her new book, "Food of the Italian South."  I've got to have a trip there!!!)

Edited by slidergirl

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On 7/29/2019 at 2:23 PM, slidergirl said:

First, I LOVE that water!  Another good reason to be a Hydroflask person.  

 

I'll give a big "no" to the Hohos.  I took one day only because I was not feeling well but wanted to be out and about.  The closest thing for the bus is the Colosseum.  St. Peter's Bascilia/Vatican stop is a couple of blocks away.  There were HUGE lines for sure at both those places and my bus couldn't take on any people.  The bus got me out of the hotel room and let me just look around as Rome passed by.  I wouldn't recommend it for sightseeing, though.  Except for that day, I walked, took the Metro, took the trams, and took taxis every time I've visited.  

 

Besides the Rick Steves book, I'll put out a shout out for the National Geographic's "Walking Rome" book.  It was written by someone I know who gives me good advice on where to eat in Rome.  Some of the eating advice in there is spot on, including some of my faves.  I've got new mosaics to visit, more churches to visit from the book.  She recommends Context for tours if you must do tours.  I wish I could say that she does food and historic tours, but I'm not allowed to...  Day tours, multi-day tours, how to get to specific places on your own, Rome by area.  A nice that gives some places to go that aren't in the other books.

(I'm currently salivating while reading her new book, "Food of the Italian South."  I've got to have a trip there!!!)

 

I ordered the book on the strength of your recommendation; have to say it's a little disappointing. I'm pretty good at Rome transportation but confess to not understanding the cryptic bus notes provided at all. And the majority of eateries I've read about elsewhere (to be fair, some on her site....)

 

That said, it seems like a nice, portable volume for someone looking to do some grouped neighborhood walks in Rome on their own, but with only a smattering of explanation.

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2 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I ordered the book on the strength of your recommendation; have to say it's a little disappointing. I'm pretty good at Rome transportation but confess to not understanding the cryptic bus notes provided at all. And the majority of eateries I've read about elsewhere (to be fair, some on her site....)

 

That said, it seems like a nice, portable volume for someone looking to do some grouped neighborhood walks in Rome on their own, but with only a smattering of explanation.

Sorry you are disappointed.  I like it.  Yes, she mentions a lot of those restaurants on her site, but many people don't know about her site.  I just know and trust her recommendations.  I liked the neighborhood setup.  It's not the be-all-end-all, but I like it better than most.  Maybe I'm just partial to Katie.   I wouldn't just use her book and go - it would be part of my overall research.  

Oh well.  Some go with Steves and are happy, some of us, like you, do a lot of research.  the more tools, the better.   

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I’ve never been to Rome and paid no attention in History Class, so I’m not sure what are the best things to see in Rome. I’ll spend 2-3 days there post cruise. Should I just do a Viator tour? We dock Nov 1, 2020. What will the weather be like then?

Thanks!

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8 hours ago, counsdr said:

I’ve never been to Rome and paid no attention in History Class, so I’m not sure what are the best things to see in Rome. I’ll spend 2-3 days there post cruise. Should I just do a Viator tour? We dock Nov 1, 2020. What will the weather be like then?

Thanks!

 

There is no real shortcut. You need to get a guidebook or do some online research. Rome has at least two dozen sites that would be considered 'must sees' in any other port, but in 2-3 days you can only see a handful. 

 

Don't just do a Viator tour. Viator is a middle man -- find a local tour provider or take the tours (offered by accredited guides) that can be booked through the various sites.

 

Here is a post I made yesterday recommending a way to see some of the most frequently visited sites in Rome in about two and a half days:

 

 

 

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