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Rome - tips on eating out, access to tourist sites, what to avoid? What not to miss?

(38 Posts)
almost50 Thu 23-May-13 14:30:50

Travelling to Rome soon. Has anyone any tips at all? (Accommodation sorted). Where to eat, what to do, things to avoid, etc

Toptack Thu 23-May-13 14:47:19

We found the Roma Pass value for money. I don't think it covers the Vatican but you can book tickets for that online to save queuing.

Fluffy1234 Thu 23-May-13 17:15:48

Defo prebook tickets or book a tour to avoid queuing. The Sistine Chapel was my best bit, I got quite tearful in there, you can literally feel the history ( the same with the Colloseum) and it is so beautiful. Infact the whole of Rome is so take a good camera.
Have a great trip.

SantanaLopez Fri 24-May-13 15:11:49

Get a pass for the metro- you can get either 3 or 7 days unlimited. Really worthwhile, takes you everywhere and it's quite cheap.

Comfy shoes!

Giolitti's is the most amazing ice cream shop ever.

I didn't feel so awestruck by the Sistine Chapel (but I'm not religious), it was madly busy and they had several guards standing shushing everyone.

MissPB Fri 24-May-13 15:16:52

next to the Spanish Steps is the house where Keats (the poet) lived and died. It is owned by Americans but they open it as a museum - it is such a lovely quiet place to visit and see Keats letters/poems and so on. If you like his poetry - definitely find time to visit.

Also - the coffee shops in the main squares will be very expensive - go down the side-streets to the more ordinary looking cafes. They will be cheaper and quite possibly more fun/atmosphere too.

Trevi Fountain is in a tiny square, packed and rather underwhelming - nice to see but not worth going out of your way for.


GreenShadow Fri 24-May-13 15:20:47

Now I disagree about the need for a metro pass. The city is pretty compact and we just walked everywhere. You get to see so much more that way.

We also found the Roma Pass wasn't worth getting for us and just paid as we went.

Incidentally, one thing for anyone who is going to Rome to celebrate a birthday (quite a common thing - we did for my 'big one'), then you get free entry to most of the big attractions including collesium, forum etc. (just show passport).

Cavort Fri 24-May-13 15:28:07

We also walked everywhere, which is very doable but comfy shoes are essential. We are not religious but enjoyed the Vatican dues to the grandeur and history of it. Colosseum is obviously a must and nothing prepares you for how impressive it is on first sight. Try not to plan it too rigidly as walking around taking it all in and stopping at the many street cafes and restaurants is one of the best things to do.

RedBunny Fri 24-May-13 15:29:16

I went to a couple of moths ago and I and some other people there found that if you went into a cafe/restaurant whatever for a drink, they will bring snacks you haven't asked for. Always point out you didn't order them or sometimes they try to charge you!!

SantanaLopez Fri 24-May-13 17:20:22

I suppose the metro depends where you stay and time of year? We stayed at Termini in the height of summer so although walking was do-able, it wasn't pleasant!

Fairylea Fri 24-May-13 17:27:37

We walked everywhere... and I was 24 wks pregnant!

We loved the Vatican the most.

We did however find a severe lack of que etiquette wherever we went! People just push in ... like at McDonald's, which is also a coffee shop out there like Costa etc .. everyone just pushes in!

almost50 Fri 24-May-13 18:04:31

These are all brilliant trips. Re the free entry on your birthday.. Will they accept postdated birthdays of a month and a half???

almost50 Fri 24-May-13 18:08:19


Chubbette Tue 15-Oct-13 17:16:53

We are going to Rome during October half term. I can't tell from the Roma Pass website if it's worth buying a pass just for the two adults or if I should buy one for the children as well (ages of kids 14 and 12). Can you advise on that. Thanks.

JustBecauseICan Tue 15-Oct-13 17:18:51

We walked everywhere as well.

St Peter's with the light shining through the top windows is breathtaking enough to convert almost anyone IMO.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 15-Oct-13 17:38:50

We went last October half-term - really fab. What to do depends to some extent on the ages of your DC (if you have any). Our DD was 13 and one of the best things we did was - having watched some of DH's 'great lecture' dvd series on architecture - walking from the Baths of Caracalla, via the Pons Fabricus through to the Pantheon - appreciating all the barrel vaults and relieving arches. grin

The best day of all was at Ostia - its an easy train ride which is within the limits of the travel pass! Surprisingly not crowded.

If you're going soon, temperatures should be pleasant for walking, we didn't really need coats just umbrellas a couple of days. Oh, and did someone mention comfy shoes? wink

DH found some nice trattorias using a Lonely Planet guide on his phone, so I'd recommend you get that.

We got the roma pass to avoid the long queues at a couple of places esp the Colosseum (best on a sunday, the area is pedestrianized then), and if you want to avoid a mega queue for the Vatican museum there's a tourist office up at the Catel Sant'Angelo (which we also enjoyed) where you can pre-book.

We actually didn't bother going into St Peter's, DH and I had been before and found it peculiarly lacking in atmosphere relative to English cathedrals - that may just be us though!

And then there are so many other museums, some of which are very quiet because so many people just do the Colosseum/Vatican - e.g we really liked [ the Etruscan]] museum.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 15-Oct-13 17:43:30

Chubette - IIRC (and I may not!) we didn't get a Roma pass for DD because, in common with some of the other 'national' tourist sites it is free to EU citizens under 18.

BoffinMum Tue 15-Oct-13 17:54:14

Be at the Trevi fountain absolutely first thing to get a good view. We stayed around the corner, which really helped.

Get a guide book with recommendations of local pizzerias etc as hotels will probably assume you are American and will only eat McDonalds, when you ask for suggestions!

The central zone is pedestrian only so hire cars are a waste of time.

There is nowhere nice to eat at the train station but a block or two away you will find decent local restaurants.

It is hard to get anything decent to eat near the Colosseum.

The guided tours around the Colosseum seemed pretty good.

BoffinMum Tue 15-Oct-13 17:56:29

Definitely prebook tickets, by the way!

Wishihadabs Tue 15-Oct-13 18:05:19

We went in August. No need for metro passes. We loved the maxi museum of modern art. Found it all very good value. Local delicacy is supli (fried rice with tomato and cheese-amazing)

Housesellerihope Tue 15-Oct-13 18:20:40

For food try the reading the Elizabeth Minchelli blog and app. We worked our way through most of these - heaven!

Chubbette Wed 16-Oct-13 11:06:45

Thanks Errol the Dragon. Your tips are very helpful. Can the children still skip the queues even if they don't have a Roma Pass but the adults do?

Leopoldina Wed 16-Oct-13 11:17:10

the Golden House of Nero is amazing - an underground palace that was buried and forgotten then rediscovered in the Renaissance but not fully excavated until centuries later. Incredible wall paintings. Entrance is near the collosseum (wouldn't bother going in there) and is guided tour, strange timings only but well worthwhile.

THe Pantheon is utterly magical and mustn't be missed. If you're only doing one ancient thing, that would be it for me. For Baroque Rome - quite a few lovely things to just pop into (Free of charge) close to the Pantheon - the Caravaggios in S Luigi de Francese, the Bernini fountains in Piazza navona and his elephant carrying the obelisk just down the side, plus amazing ice cream at Della Palma just up from Piazza della Rotonda, so all doable within a lovely hour and a half.

There are a couple of restaurants in the Piazza Farnese (one fancy / linen table cloth, the other more basic) which give you a lovely view of the palace at night, and are just a couple of steps away from Campo Dei Fiori which is normally hopping at night (amazing mozzarella bar there too)

Leopoldina Wed 16-Oct-13 11:18:27

o & for kids of 12 / 14 going over halloween, you should go and look at the Capuchin chapel with all the BONES - amazing patterns on the walls made out of the knuckles etc of all the former capuchin monks at that monastery

ErrolTheDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 12:05:48

>Can the children still skip the queues even if they don't have a Roma Pass but the adults do?

IIRC there was a different queue at the Colosseum- I can't remember exactly. Strategy was to stand in queue and send DH to scout ahead to see if there was a quicker way in.

One think to be aware of with the roma pass is that its meant to be single entry to a site, which we didn't realise when we went into the Roman Forum, realised how huge it was and went out to get lunch. Fortunately the ticket lady took pity on our downcast faces and let us back in.

yy to Piazza navona fountains and the elephant!smile

Also DD was rather taken with the cat sanctuary.

The only place we regretted going was ['s_Market Trajan's Market]] because when we went quite a lot of it was closed off and you can see quite a lot of it from outside.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 12:12:45

>Golden House of Nero is amazing
Unfortunately, it was closed last year (and for several years prior) - did you visit recently Leopoldina or quite a while ago? You were lucky to see it!

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