My daughter is going to Rome and I wanted to know what all there is to do, see, and what she will need to take when going. Since we are new to this, it will be a great adventure for her, but also want to make sure she is taken care of there.
So, any advice as to what she needs to take, see and do while there would be most appreciated! I wish I could stow away and go with her, but unfortunately, I will be stuck in the USA.
She will be going in June. Any help and advice would be great! Thanks
One thing I would definitely recommend is purchasing a Roma Pass ( http://www.romapass.it/ ). Not only will this allow free entry into two museum sites of her choice, but substantially reduced prices for all others. And, very importantly, it includes a "line skipping" feature - for example, the waiting time to enter the Colosseo (Colosseum) in summer months can be hours; with the Roma Pass in hand, she just goes to the special entrance and walks right in.
The Roma Pass also includes free use of the city's transport system - buses, subways/local trains, etc. One great way to make use of that feature is a visit to Ostia Antica. See:
If she decides to visit Ostia Antica, tell her to be sure to carry bottled water or her beverage of choice. It's a big place and one can get mighty thirsty in the summer sun.
If you purchase Roma Pass online (recommended), have her take the receipt to the pickup point of choice when arriving in Rome to obtain the actual pass, guidebook, and tourist map. Pickup points are conveniently located; the easiest in my opinion is the one at the tourist office in the central train station (Roma Termini) but there are others as well.
My hobby is finding things. Having found most of my own, I am happy to help others find theirs. PM me!
As in any large city, tell your daughter to watch her personal belongings and to remain vigilant of her surroundings at all times. Pickpockets are common at tourist sites around Rome-particularly near the Trevi Fountain. I know of people who have had their wallets stolen on buses there, as well as have a friend who had her backpack stolen from in between her legs while waiting for a train at the Termini train station in Rome. She might want to pick up a used copy of a Rick Steve's tour book or some other travel guide, particularly if she is planning to do the city on her own. Definite must sees are Vatican City (St Peters Basilica and The Vatican Museum-Michelanagelo's Sistine Chapel). The Trevi Fountain where, if you toss a coin in the fountain, it is believed that you will return to Rome, the Coliseum, the Forum, the Spanish Steps with its beautiful flowers, just to name a few places. If she plans to visit the Vatican Museum, we found that there was no line at 1 P.M., whereas if you arrive there in the morning, there are very long lines. We bought our tickets online and paid a surcharge, but when we arrived there at 1, there was no line and we could have just purchased our tickets there without the surcharge. There are long lines at the other sites. A single day in Rome is certainly not enough. I've been there twice over the years and still have not seen everything. Also some churches there do not allow those wearing shorts or sleeveless tops to enter. She should do some online research concerning dress codes. Erudita
Wow, thanks for the info!! She will be there for two weeks, with her senior girls class. She will be with her classmates from a private Catholic school and one of the Parish Priests. On the Roma pass, it can only be used for 3 days? So, basically, activate it when it would be needed/used the most, right? Or, can it be used the whole two weeks for a discount.
We have heard about the pickpockets there. I guess that would go along with any large tourist city, not just Rome. Thankfully, it will be a large group of about 30, so that helps. Strength in numbers, right?
I am getting excited for her. Her trip begins the first week of June. What is the weather like during that time?
Things are getting better but to be on the safe side carry Kleenex and wet wipes in your backpack. Not all bathrooms are as well equipped as in the USA. Remember, you cannot enter the Vatican (or other major churches with shorts or with shoulders uncovered. A silk scarf worn through belt loops when not needed will double as a coverup for churches and as protection from the sun during the day and any cool breezes in the evening. If you sit at a table in most cafes you will pay double the price for take away or stand at the bar. One exception is the bar/cafe on the roof of the 'wedding cake' or Altare della Patria in Piazza Venezia. IT's worth the climb and the view is fabulous and the food up there is very good.
I will be visiting Rome, Florence, and Venice next month and would love some suggestions! I know we want to go to see Pompeii one of our days in Rome. And I would love to go to Verona one of our days in Venice. Also, we are interested in seeing an opera while there, but seeing one in Verona doesn't seem to fit our schedule.
On our last trip to Italy my wife and I decided to rent out a small house just outside of Florence for two weeks and we found that we could commute to Rome each Morning at 8AM express train from Florence to Rome arriving at 10AM spend the day in Rome, returning each evening (there is an express train leaving Rome EACH HOUR arriving in Florence), hopping a city bus or taxi back to our home outside of FIESOLE (20 minutes by bus) . We sometime had dinner on the train or stopped off in downtown Florence and then went home. Peter
I see the last question was posted in June and the poster has probably already returned from Europe, but I am posting the following info, in case anyone else needs it:
Venice is such a fun city to walk. Lots of steps to get over bridges though, but so much fun to navigate and get lost in the various alleyways-hopefully you won't have to drag luggage through that city, but everyone there seems to manage despite the many steps. Gondola rides are 80 euros for a 30-40 min ride-if you've never been there before, you might find that fun. I was on a gondala ride in 1971, but not on our recent trip there this past May. If you decide to go to the museums by St Mark's square-like the Doges Palace, it is best to go to the Museo Correr and buy a multi-ticket there, which includes the Doges Palace and two other museums. There is no line there, and then you can avoid the long lines at the Doges Palace, as they have a separate line for anyone who already has a ticket. I've been to the palaces in St Petersburg, Russia and, quite frankly, was not impressed with the Doges Palace and the other museums there, this go around, but they are still worth visiting. There is a free Music Museum in Venice which has some interesting musical instruments to look at, but that is not near St Mark's square. I haven't been to Murano's Glass Factory since 1971, and I've never been to Burano's Lace Factory, but i understand that could be worth visiting. I got very little opportunity to speak Italian while in Venice; English is spoken everywhere there. We didn't get a chance to see an opera there.
Public restrooms are scattered about-not too many of them. You can purchase a card for 10 uses, but we never bothered. Use free restrooms at the museums, or at bars or other eateries, as long as you are purchasing something at those.
We took a bus from the airport to the Piazzale Roma and then walked from there. Also they have a people mover which can get you to the cruise port, if anyone needs that info. It only takes a few minutes and is very inexpensive.
I've enjoyed reading through these two recent posts here. (I had previously enjoyed reading the previous posts as well.) They have been really informative and I hope that more people who have recently visited Italy will add to this thread and share their experiences. I liked Peter's idea of renting a place outside of Florence, using that city as a base and then commuting from there daily to visit Rome, and I guess other places.
I always enjoy and appreciate your contributions to any topic Erudita and found your experiences here helpful and of course interesting. Interesting: your comment about English being widely spoken in Venice. Are there other places in Italy that you have visited where you have found that English is widely spoken. I still understand our dialect but don't really speak it so well, (I know my relatives both in the South and the ones that moved North still know our dialect), but I don't “speak” Italian (and knowing dialect won't be much use in most parts of Italy.
Can anyone comment on how safe it is for a woman to be travelling in Italy on their own? (I'm picking up on your “getting lost in various alleyways” Erudita. My eldest son and I are classics when it comes to briefly getting lost on bush walks, mainly because he talks so much and I listen so intently that we forget to read the signs!)
There is nothing particularly dangerous about a woman travelling alone in Italy since many Italians speak English because it is mandatory (or used to be) in High Schools there. But the usual precautions are suggested; wearing your passport and money in a flat pouch off your neck and obscured from view, carrying a pocket book between you and the buildings or another person but not exposed to the street and always ask a policeman for directions if there is no old lady who understands you is able to direct you. Peter
Angela As Peter has stated, many speak English in Italy, particularly in the main cities like Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice. When my older son was in Middle School, he had a penpal from Pisa. The young boy wrote very well in English, and I think he had only been studying it for a year. When my husband and I were in Rome last, which was in 2009, we got lost and were trying to find our way back to the train station near St Peter's. I stopped and asked a female cop in my best Italian, but she spoke so fast when she replied, that I had no idea what directions she gave me, and I was too embarrassed to ask her to speak slowly and repeat the directions. She probably did speak English, but made no attempt to do so. Then I stopped a young couple with a baby in a stroller. The man understood me but then asked if I spoke English. I guess my pronunciation was really bad, as I never speak or hear the language here in the U.S., and it's been many many years since I studied Italian in college. Anyway, we did find the train station, which was hidden down some side street. In Naples, the guy at the kiosk got a kick out of me speaking in Italian to buy train tickets, and he replied in English with a big smile to show me that he understood what I said. But, there was this older woman at the bus stop there, and she started speaking to me in Italian very very rapidly and I had no idea what she was saying. So I told her in Italian that I was from the U.S., but that we didn't speak Italian at home. She seemed very surprised. I was then relieved that her bus came before the one we needed. I don't think she knew English. My husband, although also of Italian decent, does not speak, read, or write Italian, so it's up to me to buy tickets, get train schedules, etc. I recall in Pisa, in 2009, I needed a train schedule to get back to Florence. The woman in the office there didn't speak English and didn't have printed out copies of the train schedule, but did understand me, as I asked her if she could write on a piece of paper for me, the times of the trains returning to Florence and she did. Generally though people who work in places that deal with tourists tend to speak English, and I found this to be true in other European countries as well, although bus drivers in Helsinki, Finland don't necessarily speak English, we discovered.
And, as to getting lost in Venice-you pretty much really can't. All alleyways seem to lead back to the important places of interest and to the main streets.
Thanks, Peter. I love traveling in Europe. Finally got to Athens, Greece, the Grecian Isles, the ruins at Ephesus in Turkey, and Croatia this past May. We got to see very little of Croatia though, but what we did get to see was absolutely beautiful. We liked Dubrovnik but not Split. Anyway, this seems a bit off topic from the original post about visiting Rome. Didn't get any coins in the Trevi Fountain when I was in Rome last-in 2009-as it was so crowded and I couldn't get close enough to toss my coins into the water. So,I guess I'm never returning there??? How sad! A definite tourist site where you need to hang onto your personal belongings. Lots of pickpockets loiter there. Erudita
The last trip we made to Italy in 2006 put an end to travelling to Italy and the Mediterranean, Europe. My wife and I decided after the numerous trips we made to Italy and Europe its a time to NOT drop any coins anyhwhere. We went off to the Arctic, down to South America to see my old girl friends in their wheel chairs and took 4 years to drive the 48 states. Peter