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Rome advice please

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  • LondonFly

    Thanks to HFP I’m very excited about my upcoming 3 night stay at the Rome Waldorf Astoria.
    I would appreciate advice on Rome. We are looking for a relaxing time but, what is a must see?
    How do you get around? esp. from the hotel
    Any valuable HFP tips and advice to have a great stay?
    I know it will be very hot weather

    Many thanks!

    NorthernLass

    Beautiful city but can get very hot and crowded. Don’t try and cram too much in! If you want to visit the Vatican (great approach on foot past the bridge where the James Bond car chase was filmed in Spectre), but can’t get tickets to the Sistine Chapel, you can actually get into St Peter’s Basilica for free as long as you don’t mind queuing and airport-style security. Lots of weird and wonderful things to see including Michelangelo’s Pieta plus the tombs of lots of popes in the basement!

    *Just remembered on our last visit we got skip-the-line tickets to the Coliseum on Viator which saved some time and guaranteed entry (though you have to go to an office to collect the tickets which was quite difficult to find).

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by NorthernLass.
    AFKAE

    Try to find a free booklet with 3 days of walking tours in Rome. I think our taxi driver from the airport gave it to us. We did 2 of the 3 tours suggested and they were great.

    Admittedly this was Feb and more suitable for walking (in fact it was beautiful sunny weekend).

    Book coliseum tickets on line as soon as possible.

    The centre is quite compact and lots of things are walking distance if your hotel is central.

    Tracy

    Went to Rome 2 years ago and going back next month. My 2 favourite things we did last time and are doing again this time is The Scavi tour of the Vatican(only bookable via email lol) and the underground tour of the Colosseum. I have booked these in advance as they can be difficult to get. I also enjoyed the VR experience at Neros palace. I was very disappointed in the Trevi Fountain & Spanish steps but we went midday and it was crowded. I am planning to go very early in the am this time….I think we averaged 25k steps every day as we walked everywhere. We stayed near Castel Sant’Angelo last time and walked past it countless times but never went in so that’s a must for us this time, I’m hoping it has a nice view 🙂

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Tracy.
    masaccio

    For getting around just use public transport. There’s a metro and a very extensive bus network.

    Richie

    BBC iplayer should still have Stanley Tucci’s programme about Rome which is very interesting.

    NorthernLass

    We really enjoyed the Stanley Tucci series, I’m very envious of all the celebs who got to travel during the pandemic though!

    Bearing Up

    I’ve been a couple of times to Rome and believe your requirements revolve around whether you have no, some or an appetite for their ancient history. Personally, I’m a fan of that era.
    Consequentl many, regardless of that interest, do the usual Coliseum, Forum etc. For me however, the most atmospheric destination is the little known Carcere Mamertino in the dungeon of the Apostles prison on the Capotiline Hill behind the Forum.
    If you’ve read or know anything of Julius Caesar and his famous battle with Vercingetorix of the Arverni at Alessia, you will appreciate standing in the spot where Julius later had him executed- along with many other famous prisoners reputedly incarcerated within over those early years. (There is a long list on the wall)
    On both occasions I visited I had the place to myself.
    Well worth a look.
    Overall, a great city, enjoy but do be aware of the dress code requirements for St Peters Basilica, Cistine Chape and other religious sights.

    Entitled

    Rome: Very simple, just walk. There is something of interest on every street. Do take time to pop into some of the smaller churches you will pass.

    Waldorf: You will need a taxi to and from Rome because it is out in the suburbs. One advantage of being surrounded by ‘locals’ however is that you can eat where they eat. If you want to stretch your legs one night head to AL 384 Pizzeria con Cucina for dinner. Less than five minutes away and very good.

    John

    Far too hot to walk IMO. I walked everywhere, but that’s why I went in February/March and it was already getting a bit hot on some days. The other advantage is that there aren’t any other tourists, which was also the case before covid

    AJA

    If you want to visit St Peters Basilica men must wear trousers and women must have a dress that covers their knees, and no bare shoulders either, women can just sling a shawl over theirs while men must wear a proper t-shirt (no rude words). Too much flesh on display is a no no despite the fact that Jesus is depicted in statues inside in just a loin cloth.

    If you can stand heights not sure if they still allow you to climb the stairs (or take the lift) so that you can walk around the gallery of the dome and then on to the roof outside spectacular views over Rome from there.

    Also recommend a tour of the Castel St Angelo (as featured in the Tom Hanks film of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons which is linked to St Peters so possi le to do on the same day.

    Also recommend having an expensive drink of wine or coffee at one of the restaurants in Piazza Navona, in order to take in the splendour.

    I recommend a tour of the Vatican museums too. Ask you hotel concierge if they can prebook this for you either before you arrive or when you check in as the queues to pay as you go are horrendous (well pre covid they were)

    Also try to pre book the Coliseum (I’ve never managed to see inside despite visiting Rome at least 8 times over the years). A walk around the Forum which stretches from the Coliseum to the back of the typewriter (the White monument to Victor Emmanuel) is free and is fascinating.

    Also go to the Trevi Fountain at night, it’s less crowded and also beautifully illuminated so much easier to take a great photo (no splashing around inside it ala Anita Ekberg and no throwing coins over the shoulder)

    Same advice for the Spanish Steps. Quite atmospheric at night.

    can

    By far the most intellectual entry of the decade!
    I made a note of it, too.

    I’ve been a couple of times to Rome and believe your requirements revolve around whether you have no, some or an appetite for their ancient history. Personally, I’m a fan of that era.
    Consequentl many, regardless of that interest, do the usual Coliseum, Forum etc. For me however, the most atmospheric destination is the little known Carcere Mamertino in the dungeon of the Apostles prison on the Capotiline Hill behind the Forum.
    If you’ve read or know anything of Julius Caesar and his famous battle with Vercingetorix of the Arverni at Alessia, you will appreciate standing in the spot where Julius later had him executed- along with many other famous prisoners reputedly incarcerated within over those early years. (There is a long list on the wall)
    On both occasions I visited I had the place to myself.
    Well worth a look.
    Overall, a great city, enjoy but do be aware of the dress code requirements for St Peters Basilica, Cistine Chape and other religious sights.

    HughM

    A couple of cooler suggestions: St. Paul’s outside the Walls, marble and mosaics, is Vatican territory so stamp and post your cards here and beat the queues. The catacombs are worth exploring. Priscilla, ancient murals, and Domitilla, deep and dark.

    LondonFly

    Thank you for all the suggestions.

    How do you get to hotel(WA) from airport? Do you just get a cab at airport?

    Does anyone have any experience renting a motor bike/scooter?

    To dare is to do

    Rome PopOut Map (PopOut Maps): Popout Double https://amzn.eu/d/fVlGRQy

    Get one of these. They fit in your pocket.

    Maybe spend sometime researching your destination or even buy a guide book. You say you want a relaxing time but Rome isn’t exactly a relaxing place. It’s full of must sees and dos. Be careful of pickpockets and scams like any other place in the world.

    If you’re renting a scooter 😱 make sure you have proper travel insurance. Ask at WA for recommendations.

    You will get a wealth of info on Rome trip advisor forum.

    Just get a taxi from airport or ask WA to arrange an airport pickup sometimes more money than getting taxi direct, advantages being they will know when you are arriving and if early flight they might have room ready early.

    YouTube also has loads of videos of hotel, area, attractions etc.

    WaynedP

    Wow, great suggestions !

    Never visited at this time of year myself, I imagine it’s likely to be hot, sticky & crowded.

    Beware of pickpockets in crowds and in subways accessing the Vatican. I always wear a gaudy, neon orange sports whistle around my neck. Just visibly raising it to my lips as if to blow it parts the crowd of opportunistic scoundrels, often women holding babies who will distract and impede your progress by dolefully shoving their babies in your face while their menfolk pick your pocket in the confusion. There are several orders of Religious Sisters who minister charity to these groups, so there is no excuse for their criminal behaviour and I have no qualms challenging them with potential police intervention by threatening to blow my whistle.

    Also ask one of the Swiss Guards to direct you to the official Vatican operated little ticket office-cum-tourist info bureau where you can get free entry tickets to Mass at St Peter’s Square. It is staffed by Vatican employees and once there, if Mass is not your thing, ask about free (or queue jumping tickets) to other Vatican attractions and you’re more than likely to be surprised by better access at considerably lower cost (maybe even free) than commercial outlets to some spectacular venues.

    Wishing you a fantastic time in the Eternal City !

    To dare is to do

    If you do go to Mass, they used to do a service sheet in several languages so you can follow. Even if you’re not religious or Roman Catholic it’s centuries of tradition to watch.

    As for the undesirable elements of the city, when I went must be 10 years or more ago if you go to buy train tickets from station there used to be young girls beggars gypsies offering to “ help” buy your ticket. Don’t engage. Also watch out for moped thefts make sure any handbags or cameras are worn across body and make sure you have good strong zips, never underestimate how quick these thieves are!

    To dare is to do

    After reading all these suggestions I’ve decided to change my booking and stay at the WA next April. My grandson is well pleased he now has swimming pools. A great use of 240k points I thought.

    WaynedP

    Hope you avoided Holy Week, Easter weekend and the Easter Octave which pretty much rules out the entire first half of April 2023.

    The city and especially The Vatican will be heaving with clergy, religious and lay Catholic pilgrims throughout that time.

    Also something to consider when planning trips to Rome relatively far into the future is the likelihood of another Conclave with its dramatic descent in numbers of journalists from all over the world, not to mention the arrival of Cardinals eligible to vote and their own entourages. Pope Francis is not a young man, and he is increasingly struggling with health and mobility issues.

    I wonder if anyone has had their existing Roman accommodation booking cancelled by a hotel that found itself able to fill itself with international press willing to pay a fortune to be in residence near The Vatican for the duration of a Conclave.

    Could you claim on your travel insurance policy, and if so would it just pay out your lost booking cost, or stretch to covering you for alternative Roman accommodation at exorbitant cost, if such could even be found ?

    To dare is to do

    @WaynedP … it wouldn’t stress me out tbh flights on points hotel on points. If it gets cancelled it gets cancelled. We’re going 1/4-4/4 only time we could find with other commitments. My loses would be £150 to cancel 3 reward saver flights. Would I claim on my insurance no I think the excess is £100. My main problem is getting around as I can’t walk far unless I take wheelchair which I may have to do. Or as I’ve been before I could stay in my nice hotel go to the spa and the family can go off sightseeing, I like that idea.

    Awentford

    Can I kind of hijack this thread and ask for hotel recommendations?

    Ideally something more central and close to the main attractions.

    Thanks

    To dare is to do

    Awentford.

    I originally had booked here as was supposed to be doing trip on the cheap, famous last words. Check out the area lots of cafes and restaurants and near main sites.

    Home

    If you book through hotel.com via BA shop it’s currently 12 points per £

    It really all depends what kind of hotel you are looking for area, price range etc. maybe if you give a little more detail other people can help.

    AFKAE

    Can I kind of hijack this thread and ask for hotel recommendations?

    Ideally something more central and close to the main attractions.

    Thanks

    I stayed at the Hotel Barberini https://hotelbarberini.com/en/ . It’s a good central location, Spanish Steps, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain all close by.

    Price was reasonable on booking.com

    Awentford

    Thanks, both look interesting and I’ll take a better look later.

    Planning on going early/mid October for around 5 nights and up to £250 a night I guess. Would rather reduce the need for public transport if possible and near good food.

    To dare is to do

    There’s currently 12 points per £ through hotels.com via BA stores.

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