Rome, Italy

Shenexon

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Well...I'm glad you asked.

There's a quick train and a slow train from the airport to Termini station. Make sure you get the right one. The Trevi fountain is crowded all day and night...show up early or late. The Colosseum and Forum get very crowded. Choose your day and time to visit wisely. Guard your possessions on the Subway. It gets crowded and pickpockets like it when there's lots of pushing and shoving. I saw a woman pretending to be pregnant take a pocketbook from a young british woman due to the crowding on the train. As she was pushing, she was reaching under her bundle to cut the straps on the young woman's purse. Be aware.

If you like ruins, Ostia Antica is 1/2 hr from downtown by subway. It's an ancient port of Rome and in amazingly good condition. Rome has lots of museums if you like them. The Capitoline museum is superb, as are the baths of Diocletian (along with two other museums on the same ticket), the baths of Caracalla, a pair of relatively intact republican-era temples by the river in the forum boarium, a group of wonderful early temples in the Largo Argentina (adjacent to the place where Julius Caesar was killed), the forum of Trajan and Trajan's market, and lots of wonderful restaurants. In addition to the ticketed forum, there are also forums of Nerva, Augustus, Trajan, and Caesar that are all visible from a walkway with no fee. The street that runs from the Colosseum past the forums is closed on Sundays, with lots of street music and artists. The Hard Rock Cafe is across from the US Embassy. The national Etruscan museum is in the Villa Giulia. Cool place to visit. The Etruscans had lots of grave goods and there are many good museums of them in Italy.

The Vatican museums are the best I've ever been to and they also have an Etruscan section. They have incredible holdings gathered from all over the world. Buy your tickets online so you don't have to wait in the long queue to buy tickets. The tickets are for a specific time. They have decent places to eat on the ground level. I had some time in Rome so spent a couple days there.

If you like aqueducts, There's a large aqueduct park 15 minutes by subway near Cinecitta, Rome's version of hollywood. I thought the subways and buses worked well for me, though I also walked all over. Avoid the subways at rush hour...you can wait through several trains before being able to get on. There are more churches in Rome than you can visit in a year if you go to one a day. St. John Lateran with an egyptian obelisk, St. Paul outside the walls that has the chains that bound St. Paul before his execution, and St. Peters were my favorites. The artwork in Italy's churches is incredible.

The Pantheon is a can't miss. Built as a roman temple to the pantheon of gods, it's now a church. There's also a church adjacent to the baths of Diocletian that takes up a section of the original baths, retaining the splendor of the baths with the orginal marble floors, columns, and decorations. A relatively newly opened thing is the Domus Aurea, the palace of Nero. It's by the Colosseum and has a lot of original wall paintings and a cool virtual reality thing. Buy your tickets online...they're for a specific time and language. The Appian Way is closed to traffic on Sundays so it's a nice day to visit. There are some catacombs along the appian way, with a bus that runs to them though I don't know if it runs on Sundays. Rome2Rio.com is a good site to plan public transportation to various places.

There are a lot of free things to see in Rome and the museums are pretty reasonable, except for the Vatican Museums and Castel Sant'Angelo (the one museum I didn't think was worth the cost). There are hundreds of fountains in Rome. I think my daughter made me take selfies at all of them. The area around the Spanish Steps is the most upscale that I saw, with lots of trendy places to shop. There is a neverending supply of gelato in Rome. I've had gelato at 50 different places there with many hundreds more to try. Via Cavour has some nice places to eat adjacent to the forum area, but there are nice places to eat everywhere. My personal theory is that the places that have people in the street trying to get you into their restaurant are the places to be leery of. The worst pizza I had was in the Campo di Fuori. Trastevere, across the Tiber from downtown Rome, was recommended for its nitelife, but I only went there during the day.

Sorry to go on so long, but I love Rome and want to go back soon. One last thing: if you're by the Vatican wanting to head back toward the forum, the 40 bus never shows up...
 

Shenexon

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Well...I'm glad you asked.

There's a quick train and a slow train from the airport to Termini station. Make sure you get the right one. The Trevi fountain is crowded all day and night...show up early or late. The Colosseum and Forum get very crowded. Choose your day and time to visit wisely. Guard your possessions on the Subway. It gets crowded and pickpockets like it when there's lots of pushing and shoving. I saw a woman pretending to be pregnant take a pocketbook from a young british woman due to the crowding on the train. As she was pushing, she was reaching under her bundle to cut the straps on the young woman's purse. Be aware.

If you like ruins, Ostia Antica is 1/2 hr from downtown by subway. It's an ancient port of Rome and in amazingly good condition. Rome has lots of museums if you like them. The Capitoline museum is superb, as are the baths of Diocletian (along with two other museums on the same ticket), the baths of Caracalla, a pair of relatively intact republican-era temples by the river in the forum boarium, a group of wonderful early temples in the Largo Argentina (adjacent to the place where Julius Caesar was killed), the forum of Trajan and Trajan's market, and lots of wonderful restaurants. In addition to the ticketed forum, there are also forums of Nerva, Augustus, Trajan, and Caesar that are all visible from a walkway with no fee. The street that runs from the Colosseum past the forums is closed on Sundays, with lots of street music and artists. The Hard Rock Cafe is across from the US Embassy. The national Etruscan museum is in the Villa Giulia. Cool place to visit. The Etruscans had lots of grave goods and there are many good museums of them in Italy.

The Vatican museums are the best I've ever been to and they also have an Etruscan section. They have incredible holdings gathered from all over the world. Buy your tickets online so you don't have to wait in the long queue to buy tickets. The tickets are for a specific time. They have decent places to eat on the ground level. I had some time in Rome so spent a couple days there.

If you like aqueducts, There's a large aqueduct park 15 minutes by subway near Cinecitta, Rome's version of hollywood. I thought the subways and buses worked well for me, though I also walked all over. Avoid the subways at rush hour...you can wait through several trains before being able to get on. There are more churches in Rome than you can visit in a year if you go to one a day. St. John Lateran with an egyptian obelisk, St. Paul outside the walls that has the chains that bound St. Paul before his execution, and St. Peters were my favorites. The artwork in Italy's churches is incredible.

The Pantheon is a can't miss. Built as a roman temple to the pantheon of gods, it's now a church. There's also a church adjacent to the baths of Diocletian that takes up a section of the original baths, retaining the splendor of the baths with the orginal marble floors, columns, and decorations. A relatively newly opened thing is the Domus Aurea, the palace of Nero. It's by the Colosseum and has a lot of original wall paintings and a cool virtual reality thing. Buy your tickets online...they're for a specific time and language. The Appian Way is closed to traffic on Sundays so it's a nice day to visit. There are some catacombs along the appian way, with a bus that runs to them though I don't know if it runs on Sundays. Rome2Rio.com is a good site to plan public transportation to various places.

There are a lot of free things to see in Rome and the museums are pretty reasonable, except for the Vatican Museums and Castel Sant'Angelo (the one museum I didn't think was worth the cost). There are hundreds of fountains in Rome. I think my daughter made me take selfies at all of them. The area around the Spanish Steps is the most upscale that I saw, with lots of trendy places to shop. There is a neverending supply of gelato in Rome. I've had gelato at 50 different places there with many hundreds more to try. Via Cavour has some nice places to eat adjacent to the forum area, but there are nice places to eat everywhere. My personal theory is that the places that have people in the street trying to get you into their restaurant are the places to be leery of. The worst pizza I had was in the Campo di Fuori. Trastevere, across the Tiber from downtown Rome, was recommended for its nitelife, but I only went there during the day.

Sorry to go on so long, but I love Rome and want to go back soon. One last thing: if you're by the Vatican wanting to head back toward the forum, the 40 bus never shows up...
PS: I've heard that Rome is also having a severe garbage issue. When I was there I stayed in an apartment. 100 yards down the street were a group of dumpsters, some for garbage and some for recyclables. They're public dumpsters and maintained by the city. However, I think it's a mobbed up part of the economy and garbage is piling up as a statement to the new mayor. Rome was pretty clean when I was there and the dumpsters weren't overflowing. Rome is stressed I think.

I don't know where you're staying, but I found a nice grocery called COOP on the Via Cavour near the forum. Liquor is incredibly cheap, there's lots of fresh food, and many familiar things. I think they're a chain in Rome so look them up if you're looking for a place to shop. They charge for bags.

Via Del Corso is a nice street to walk and shop. Rome's Disney Store is along that street. It runs from the Piazza Del Populo to the Piazza Venezia, where Mussolini delivered speeches from a balcony off his office. Many people in Rome speak English so you shouldn't have too many issues if you don't speak Italian. There are lots of ATM's but be wary. Some ATM's charge hefty fees. Read carefully and cancel out if the fees look high. I found the cost of ATM's to be similar to here in the states. I think 2 to 3 euro per transaction was my norm. I've also heard they're cracking down on tourists sitting and eating at historical sites, but I found lots of places to picnic without issue. The Circus Maximus is adjacent to Palatine Hill and a great place to sit and eat if you're out walking. It's close to the forum boarium where there are a couple of intact early temples. The ancient city is fairly compact and worthy of a month of walks. Lastly, there are a lot of panhandlers in Rome. When I was there, African refugees were the largest group, families of Roma, and the poor and/or homeless. Some are aggressive. Just a heads-up.
 

Chip

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Find a cafe on a busy street in the middle of the day. Have a few glasses of wine and just watch the women navigate through seemingly lawless traffic on vespas with high heel boots while smoking a cigarette. It’s mesmerizing.
 

dan7800

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Rome is a great city. Watch your pockets, especially in the subways and the tourist areas.

Find a nice restaurant outside of the tourist zones and have an amazing meal
 

NKR1978

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I was just there last month and had a great time. Took tours of the Coliseum/Forum and Vatican Museum and had the time of my life. Completely nerded out with the Forum. Couldn't stop smiling over the notion of walking on streets that the emperors traveled.

I didn't have any issue with pickpockets or the homeless that I was expecting. Some people trying to sell you trash was kind of annoying, but never felt that they were dangerous. Seems the new government has done a good job of cleaning the streets up.

There's a really great food hall in the Rome Termini station. I had dinner at "La Tavola, il vino et la dispensa" in the food hall/market and it was a really good meal.

Was fortunate to have enough SPG points to stay at the St. Regis for a couple nights before moving on to Florence. If you're into really great cocktails in a fairly unforgettable setting I'd recommend having one there. It's a very short walk to the Termini station.

Offline Maps - an app, was indispensable for me. A little buggy, but generally was a life saver to get everywhere I wanted/needed to go.

Also - strongly recommend this tour. Colosseum and Ancient Rome Small-Group Walking Tour 2019 The guide was really knowledgeable and basically you are left at the top of Palatine Hill and then can explore the Forum as much as you want. I wish I was able to get back to the forum to really take it all in again. That might be my favorite tourist site ever. I loved the trip so much that I've decided to go to Egypt next January.

The Italian railway system is great. 80 minutes to Florence - you can easily make that a day trip if you don't want to spend the night. The Uffizi was incredible, though I was annoyed that David is in a different museum. The Winter Garden restaurant at the St. Regis in Florence was the food highlight of my trip, fairly affordable for a Michelin star restaurant located in a truly beautiful hotel.

Enjoy your trip. Italy really was amazing, and I'm not sure the history can be beaten anywhere.
 

supp

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Enjoy your trip. Italy really was amazing, and I'm not sure the history can be beaten anywhere.
Just go into a neighborhood church and they've got more Renaissance-era art than you'll find in any museum here. I love Italy but I have to say that I hate Florence. It's like a giant theme park version of Italy. There are better places to visit in my mind but I won't mention them for fear of tourists over-running them like they have Florence's historic center. The Ponte Vecchio is just a travesty. The worst of American consumerism combined with the worst of American tourists. I did try the Jordan Schlansky sandwich shop in Florence the last time I went. Best deal going.
 

NKR1978

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Just go into a neighborhood church and they've got more Renaissance-era art than you'll find in any museum here. I love Italy but I have to say that I hate Florence. It's like a giant theme park version of Italy. There are better places to visit in my mind but I won't mention them for fear of tourists over-running them like they have Florence's historic center. The Ponte Vecchio is just a travesty. The worst of American consumerism combined with the worst of American tourists. I did try the Jordan Schlansky sandwich shop in Florence the last time I went. Best deal going.
Florence was at least 40% American college kids. To that end, it's a neat place to just wander around. Agree with the Ponte Vecchio. Kind of cool to see, but walking on was just a joke.
 

dan7800

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Sicily is where it’s at. Far fewer tourists and pickpockets.
I spend a few weeks there every summer.

I hated Venice. Too many tourists. Pisa is a great city if you avoid the leaning tower crowds.
 

Shenexon

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Sicily is where it’s at. Far fewer tourists and pickpockets.
I spend a few weeks there every summer.
Very cool...Agrigentum and of course Syracuse are on my list...Cuseregular recommended the area where the godfather was filmed as well. So much time so little to do...
 

Shenexon

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Sicily is where it’s at. Far fewer tourists and pickpockets.
I spend a few weeks there every summer.

I hated Venice. Too many tourists. Pisa is a great city if you avoid the leaning tower crowds.
Yeah, I won't go back to Venice anytime real soon. Volterra, Perugia, & Orvieto were very cool.

If you're looking for a fixer-upper investment opportunity:
Check out this property on PrimeLocation!
I'd be happy to relocate to the villa and work on the various repairs.
 

dan7800

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Very cool...Agrigentum and of course Syracuse are on my list...Cuseregular recommended the area where the godfather was filmed as well. So much time so little to do...
I stay in Cefalu every year. Agrigento is nice, but very HOT in the summer months. I will be doing Syracuse this summer as well.
 

supp

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I stay in Cefalu every year. Agrigento is nice, but very HOT in the summer months. I will be doing Syracuse this summer as well.
Great restaurants in Cefalu.
 

Ghost

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Rome is a great city. Watch your pockets, especially in the subways and the tourist areas.

Find a nice restaurant outside of the tourist zones and have an amazing meal
Not to derail this thread, although I think the trip is long since over, but has anyone on here every actually been pickpocketed?

I'm not sure I've even met someone that suffered the indignity...although I'm quite sure it happens.

I do know someone that let a random guy carry her bags up some stairs in London because he was dressed well...and he just kept going. :)
 

NKR1978

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Not to derail this thread, although I think the trip is long since over, but has anyone on here every actually been pickpocketed?

I'm not sure I've even met someone that suffered the indignity...although I'm quite sure it happens.

I do know someone that let a random guy carry her bags up some stairs in London because he was dressed well...and he just kept going. :)
A friend on a study abroad got pickpocketed by gypsy kids in Paris. She grabbed one and beat bh him until his cohort gave her stuff back. You really don't see gypsies in Europe like you used to.
 

chugg21

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Not to derail this thread, although I think the trip is long since over, but has anyone on here every actually been pickpocketed?

I'm not sure I've even met someone that suffered the indignity...although I'm quite sure it happens.

I do know someone that let a random guy carry her bags up some stairs in London because he was dressed well...and he just kept going. :)
My wife got money and keys to her airbnb swiped out of her bag on a train in Turin a few months ago. Was around midnight and the airbnb host then wouldn't pick up and she couldn't get in to her place and was having a meltdown. Was able to get a hotel for the night and then airbnb actually refunded her that cost, was pretty happy about that. She works within the intelligence community and is actively aware of her surroundings at all times and they still got into one of the pockets of her backpack somehow just due to congestion.
 

CuseFaninVT

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My wife got money and keys to her airbnb swiped out of her bag on a train in Turin a few months ago. Was around midnight and the airbnb host then wouldn't pick up and she couldn't get in to her place and was having a meltdown. Was able to get a hotel for the night and then airbnb actually refunded her that cost, was pretty happy about that. She works within the intelligence community and is actively aware of her surroundings at all times and they still got into one of the pockets of her backpack somehow just due to congestion.
she's a spy? that's so cool...
 

cuseattle

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I’m leaving for a week in Rome this coming Thursday. Any advice or suggestions.
Hey! I'm avoiding the basketball board today... Did your family go to Rome? Did you go to any of the aforementioned places? Did you get mugged?
 

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