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Old 03-22-2006, 01:53 PM   #1
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Alright all you who've been there, I need to get some feedback on some of my plans.

I know we can't see it all, so I've tried to work out some walking tours that will get us to a couple of can't-miss spots, but I have no sense of the distances involved and the time they'll take.

Walk 1: (late afternoon/evening) from Metro "Spagna", walk to Piazza Trinita dei Monti, down Spanish steps, along v. d. Due Macelli to Piazza del Quirinale and down v. Dataria and San Vincenzo to Trevi Fountain, (we need to come back to Rome to see the Vatican museums when they're open) then back up to Metro Barberini.

Questions: how long will this take, strolling, and is it reasonable to do in the early evening, arriving at the metro after dark? I'm guessing we'll find a trattoria or something en route at which to grab a reasonably quick dinner - I know there's places around the fountain, but if we're hungry before that?

Walk 2: (afternoon - Easter Sunday - us and five million other people). From Metro Colosseo, check out Colosseum (how long does this take?), up v. dei Fori Imperiali, checking out Imperial Forum - not the big one on the left - to Piazza Venezia. N. up v. del Corso and v. Caravita to Pantheon. I can't figure out the closest metro station to the Pantheon, it looks like we'd have to walk up to Piazza del Popolo to Metro Flamino.

Questions: how long will this take, strolling? Is there a closer metro station to the Pantheon? We'll have been out since around 8, aiming for Mass at St. Peter's (with a viable option of darting into some other church...I'm sure we'll find one SOMEWHERE
) so I'm trying to keep the walking distances somewhat limited. But our kids are tough little cookies and can walk for kms if they're intrigued, so I'm aiming for intriguing. If we concentrate on the fori around the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus, and blow off the Pantheon, will we ever forgive ourselves?

Another question that won't really make a difference to our plans, but is better to know in advance - how accessible are the Roman metros and sidewalks/streets? If you were in a wheelchair, would you be able to do it, or would you be pitching into potholes at every turn. We're dealing with a stroller, not a wheelchair, but sometimes that's easier to visualize...

That's it, we leave for Naples the next morning, so I don't think we can cram anything else in. We're currently booked at a hotel north of the centre (6 beds @ 30 Euro/night in a hostel = two rooms at a modest hotel...), but a friend of ours (a priest) is checking out some other options for us with a friend of his, currently in Rome - so our base camp may change. If we can get in somewhere closer to the centre, we'd probably stick with the general plan, just have less commuting time.

I'm having difficulty figuring out where to stay the rest of the trip - we're driving down from Germany and have friends in Milan we'd like to see (but can't stay with), anybody have any suggestions for Milan? Even the "hostels" I looked at charge 30-40 Euro/bed, and that adds up pretty quick! I have found a couple of hotels out of town a bit, which isn't a problem with the car, but it'd be nice to hear some recommendations, if anyone has them.

In Naples we're staying with friends, which is why we're going there in the first place.

On the way back, we'd like to break the journey somewhere on the Swiss/Italian border. A couple of hostels in Como looked promising, but we really wanted to get into Switzerland - Bellinzona is our first choice, since it's close to the motorway, but I can't find any accommodations there...anyone have any experience? Lugano or Locarno are in the area, but a ways off the highway it looks like - we don't want to add much more driving to the 14 hour trek, if we can avoid it. Anyone know southern Switzerland like the back of their hand? We'd prefer to stay in a guesthouse, pension, etc. - can we just show up and look for "zimmer frei" signs?

I can't apologize for the long post, you know mine always are!

Thanks all,
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Old 03-22-2006, 08:38 PM   #2
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I've been to rome a couple of times last time was this new years and it was rather crowded, most of the things you mentioned are 2 hour or under walks. I've walked carrying my back, my glrlfriends packs (she was carrying her shopping and she probably the tiniest dane in the world) and we walked from termini to the vatican and then out to spanish steps in under 3 hours and you can't really walk thru rome with without doing alot of window shopping, As far as eating you can find somewhere on most ever street, becareful with cucina romana as it isn't american italian food (I like oxtail soup but your kids may not) (Southern Italian or Tuscany cooking will be more like american style italian food. Please do yourself a favor though and go outside the tourist areas to eat some real cooking, least go to trastvere (sp?) neighborhood for a meal its a near the vatican if your ther for the right day Porta Pisa (sp?) market is a must see, Pantheon was ok, pantheon was the only time someone tried to pickpocket me, we walked up to and it it was just a throng of people and alot appeared to not be tourist i knew it was a not a good idea but we had just studied it in uni and we really wanted to go so we went with her infront of me kinda blocking me since had our valuables and she just pushed out of the way and someone tried to pickpocket me i hit his hand an he kinda disappeared so stay on your guard they are pretty blatant there.
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Old 03-22-2006, 09:49 PM   #3
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I cannot really help very much but will just say that I understand your frustration with only 2 days in Rome....I had an 18 hour overnight layover and went around like crazy after dark trying to see stuff!

I saw most of the things you mentioned but I was on one of those hop on hop off buses; you might consider that although yeah, it`s not as nice as walking...but when you have really limited time at least in my case it seemed the way to go.

Sounds like a really nice trip!
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Old 03-23-2006, 06:25 AM   #4
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Yea, I would say you could do those walks in just over an hour, two at the most.

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If you were in a wheelchair, would you be able to do it
NO. Seriously not handicap friendly at all.

As far as a church...go to San Lawrence! Its much different than the 4 major Cathederals. Actually, from the outside you would hardly know it was a church. Once inside there is a Renaissance era church, and then under that (they built over it because of earth quakes) there is a church from around the 10th century, and then under that (same thing) there is a 2nd century church that had been a pagan temple before it was a church. The art work is amazing really. In the upper most level the entire apse of the church is one big icon - the largest of its kind if I remember correctly. Anyhow, there is a lot there and you won't be dissapointed.

Since you are driving down from Germany you really must stop in Assisi - such a beautiful town. I wish I could remember the lace I stayed there. It was a lodge with little cabins up the mountain from the town. Had one of the best meals of my life there. Anyhow, you could see most everything there in a day. Other nice stops that I really enjoyed: Sienna, Perugia, and Como.

Can't help with Hostels, its been too long since I was there...

Have fun
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Old 03-23-2006, 08:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
you can't really walk thru rome with without doing alot of window shopping
Unfortunately, if you're with my husband, you can

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cucina romana as it isn't american italian food (I like oxtail soup but your kids may not
Yeah, tripe wasn't a big hit in Spain, but they love weird stuff like squid and couscous, so hopefully we'll be able to find something! I found a "menu decoder" which I'm perusing so I can figure out a couple of sure fire hits.
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stay on your guard they are pretty blatant there.
Very good to know, thanks.

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those hop on hop off buses
A good idea, I didn't know they had them. I figured it would be faster to walk than deal with traffic... and I'm always a little scared that one of the kids won't make it on or off with the rest of us...
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NO. Seriously not handicap friendly at all.
I was afraid of that. Ah well, forewarned is forearmed.

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San Lawrence!
Sounds incredible, thanks for the tip. I mean, how do you choose with all the options out there?


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stop in Assisi
Hmmmm. One of our friends is a Franciscan monk.... a very good suggestion.


Quote:
Como
Oh good, that was one of our options to stay on the way back, nice to hear it's a pleasant place to stop.

Thanks for all the tips guys, and the assessments on my walking routes - the kids can easily handle a two to three hour walk, especially if there are strategic gelato stops involved. Glad to hear my plans aren't totally unreasonable, as they usually are.

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Old 03-23-2006, 04:26 PM   #6
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I'd really have to stress the previous point about rome not be handicap accessible at all, alot of resturants have steps to the dining room or up into the resturant, alot of ways require you to go down long flights of stairs or really far around, Rome has two tram lnes that run to most of the destinations with minimal walking I'd really would look into those if i was you, espically with your limited time, its hard to get lost on roman trams as it theres only 2 lines be prepared for back tracking and looking at maps to try and find new routes though they won't make where steps are, alot of the musuems i notice have discreetly placed elevators so I'd ask about that, but regardless the will be plenty to see and i wouldn't let something like this hamper my going.
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Old 03-23-2006, 04:49 PM   #7
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We are both not spirtual but I thougt Sant' Ignazio di Loyola a Campo Marzio was the nicest artwork. Though if thats what you want to see the Borghese can be done in an hour and half if you had to and the barberini(Sp?) in under an hour if you rushed though i don't know if the latter is handicap accessible though i know borghese is and its in a lovely park with many other musuems. Barberini is near the spanish steps. the Borghese would requre a cab or a tram and a bit of a walk we took a cab there as not to be late and walked back Termini area in under an hour and 15 minutes.
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Old 03-24-2006, 02:03 AM   #8
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Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, we're going to be arriving on the Saturday afternoon before Easter, and leaving on Easter Monday, so I expect all the museums etc to be closed for the holiday. That's why I was just planning out walking tours of stuff we could appreciate from the outside, even if they're closed to visitors at the time.

We'd actually be going to a church primarily for the Mass (which is why St. Peter's is our first choice) but we don't want to end up at some spare, suburban outpost, so I appreciate all the tips!

Quote:
plenty to see and i wouldn't let something like this hamper my going.

:D We've never let an inaccessible place keep us from visiting, it's just good to know in advance, so we can figure out which stroller to bring, and take into account the additional time needed to haul it up and down steps. Thanks for the heads-up. I'll check out the tram lines too, that might be a good way to cover the distances back to the metro at the end of the day...

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Old 03-24-2006, 08:30 AM   #9
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Oh, one last thing, if your gonna go to any of the main arch sites buy your pass online, you won't have to wait in long lines at the flavian ampitheatre you can buy them online and pick them up at will call at the ampitheatre
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Old 03-24-2006, 08:34 AM   #10
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Ahhh, excellent. Can I do that now, or do I have to wait until closer to the day?

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Old 03-24-2006, 05:57 PM   #11
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i'll just add my two cents. I just got back from Rome a week ago. it was amazing. You seem kind of set on a place to stay, but I would HIGHLY recommend The Beehive. Its just a block from termini and absolutely the best place i stayed on my entire trip. There is a 10 bed dorm room, but it really doesnt seem that big. They also have single rooms and apts for very reasonable prices, and they are kid friendly.

the best restaurant i found in rome was near the Spagna station. It was called Gina and the food was outstanding.

Good luck on your trip. you'll have no problem seeing so much in just a few days, you stumble on history every step you take.

AC
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Old 03-24-2006, 06:34 PM   #12
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You can book it now, I used Ticketclic.it had no issues they have a few options depending on what you want to see and think you'll need, i got the one with all the choices i think it was less then 30 per ticket which isn't to bad if you use them all. Any other questions I'll make sure to check back and respond. Oh and watch out, i like to think of myself as reasonable street smart having never not lived in a major urban city and i got hustled by the taxi driver at the train statin, I knew he was doing it,cabs marked up like a real cab, turns meter on like normal and then managed to get make it jump 20 euros in a split second tried to charge me 50 euros for less the 10 euro ride, i argued with him while i was in the cab, had my girl jump out and get the luggage from the trunk so he didn't try to split and left 15 on the seat and got out he started yelling but noticed some police coming towards us and got back in his car and left so watch out.
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Old 03-25-2006, 01:05 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the tips - we're now contemplating inverting our trip, going to Napoli first and Rome on the way home, so we can actually check out some of the museums. It kinda depends on whether our priest friend can find us a place to stay for cheap at Easter.

Has anyone had any experience buying tickets through "italy select"? The guidebook I was looking at (an inherited Frommers) suggested them for buying tickets in advance. Do the online places charge a convenience fee or anything extra? I'll check out ticketclic, too.

Good advice about the taxi, too. Since we'll have our car (and we don't all fit in one cab, anyway) we'll probably stick to metros and buses for getting around the city. We had a similar experience with a cab driver in Athens, so know to watch out!

I'll check out the Beehive as well, thanks for the suggestion. It's hard to pick a hostel sometimes, because "kid friendly" isn't usually on the reviews! One thing about being in the city, though, because we're driving, we need a safe place to park the car...do you know if the hostel had some kind of parking arrangements?

Thanks again for all the help, everyone...



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Old 03-25-2006, 09:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by tumblezweedz@Mar 25 2006, 01:05 AM
Has anyone had any experience buying tickets through "italy select"?* The guidebook I was looking at (an inherited Frommers) suggested them for buying tickets in advance.* Do the online places charge a convenience fee or anything extra?* I'll check out ticketclic, too.
[snapback]108869[/snapback]
I know when we went to the Vatican for Christmas 1999 and New Years 2000 there was a certain time that they handed out tickets for free to all of the events. We also go an audiance with the Pope by calling in. You might check the vatican website and make some calls.
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