44 Replies Latest reply: May 18, 2009 9:03 PM by mastersman RSS

1st trip to Rome

relaxing Platinum
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We will be travelling to Rome for a week mid-may. Staying for 7 days at marriot Grand Flora hotel using points. Looking for any suggestions or comments re: hotel, area dining, things to do.

  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    kwallace64 Silver
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    Don't take hotel recommendations for dining. Just stop in local places. You can't get a bad meal in Rome. Must sees-Trevi Fountain, The Vatican, Spanish Steps.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    beaux1 Silver 1 Reviews
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    We're planning a trip to Rome in Oct...please let us know how your trip goes and what's a must to do>>>.

    Thanks.

    Beaux1

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    travelgal Gold
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    There is so much to do in Roma!  You're going to love it.  My favorite spots are Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon.  And Piazza Navona.  And the Vatican.  The list could go on and on.  You must try the Cappuccino.

     Have a great trip!

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    aoh1811 Silver
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    Just go walking!  I went there on business and had a weekend to myself and just got a map and walked.  You will find some great little, family owned resturants down the small side streets.  I walked to all the major sites with no problems and had some great food and wine along the way!  Have fun it's fantastic!

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    umgopooh Silver
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    If you're a history junkie, I would recommend taking the tour of the 'Domus Aurea', part of Nero's Golden Palace underneath one of the Hills of the Palatine.  I've heard they had closed it to tourists to provide additional structural support, but have hear recently they have re-opened portions of it.

     http://www.goporta.com/tickets/Domus-Aurea_ticket.htm

    Amazing experience...try to envision what it was like in it's glory, as well as to look at some of the remaining frescoes that decorated the walls. 

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    bobamick Platinum
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    The Marriott Grand Flora in Rome is an outstanding property;excellent bar and restaurant; ideally located for walking tours; close to many good restaurants and shops; and strongly recommend for an overall great experience.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    sunseeker Silver 1 Reviews
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    You were fortunate to be able to secure a room at the Grand Flora using points.  Only 75 rooms so it is nearly impossible I have found.  However, we stayed two years ago with friends who I booked into the top floor suite (using their dollars).  I called the manager, asked for a Rewards room, and he arranged for me to use my points for a "regular" room.  It was very nice. 

     Hotel is very well located.  Nice little market nearby.  Across the street and up to the corner.  Market is underground.  Take steps down.  Nice wine selection and snacks to have in your room. 

    There is a very nice park above the hotel, outside the wall.  The Villa Borghese is located there, and is worth a look.  There are often art exhibits and events there.  A nice walk from the hotel.

    The Via Veneto has a number of "glassed-in bubble" restaurants which are fun.  The one we enjoyed the most was near the bottom of the Via Veneto, near via Barberini. 

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    upgradequeen Silver
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    We stayed in this hotel several years ago and LOVED it. The location on the Via Veneto is great and you can walk to many things. Just walking down the street with no destination is wonderful. It's like being on fifth Ave in NYC.  Make sure you sign up for a package that includes  the buffet breakfast. It's worth it. As for what to see in Rome - everything!

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    emlpal Silver
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    This is your first trip to Rome, so by all means take in the ancient history of this "Eternal" city.  The Colisium, the Forum, the Pantheon, Tivoli Fountain and the most spectacular, to me, anyway, the Vatican.  St. Peter's Basillica and the Sistine Chapel (no cameras allowed inside the Chapel) are once in a lifetime must sees.  Rome is not like Paris and other European cities, the sidewalks are narrow, so watch out for traffic and wear COMFORTABLE walking shoes.  Enjoy.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    sactown Silver
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    Rome is one of my favorite cities in the world. The most important thing when travelling to cities with so much history is having a great tour guide. Dont go cheap with your tour guide and pay the extra money for a private one (obviously assuming you can afford it). We had the most incredible guide while there that not only understood the architecture....but also the history. He took us in places that the "normal tour guides" didn't. Check out the company at http://www.nerone.cc/. I would suggest that you use LINO as your guide if he is available. Read the comments section before you call as it talks about all the great guides. http://www.nerone.cc/romemtm/nuovosito/testimonials.htm

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    cdleroy Silver
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    My wife and I recently got back from the Marriott Rome Gran Flora in October. The hotel is quite nice. Remember you are in Europe and hotels are not as luxurious as in the US. The morning breakfast buffett on the roof is very nice with fantastic views of the city. The Spanish Steps is an easy walk from the hotel - about 10 mins. The hotel is right across the street from the Borghese Gardens and the subway. At night they have live entertainment in the lounge with a piano player (who doesnt really know any words to the songs) as well as his side kick who looks like Elton John. It is an entertaining night. Too bad the dollar is as weak as it is. Hey steal some soap off the cart and send some to my wife.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    bigdaddy3859 Platinum
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    When are you going that you could use points.  I have been trying to find rooms using points and have not had success.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    brianr Gold
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    A very nice hotel!  I stayed there a couple of years ago and loved it.  It's a bit of a walk to many of the Rome sights... but not too bad.  Right across the street is Harry’s Bar - a must try.  Also around the back and a little stroll through a beautiful park is the  Villa Borghese Gallery (http://www.sonetlumiere.net/sel_eng.html) Definitely worth a half day... so much history here.A favorite place I found to eat was a little tratoria around the corner... can't remember the name but I'll get back to you on that if you would like, such friendly people there.  I mentioned that I missed truffle dishes (which were not on the menu) from a previous visit to Italy, and the owner asked me to come back the next day... What a surprise!  He went to a restaurant he previously worked at years earlier and gathered the ingredients for one of the best truffle dishes I've ever had.  The staff and I sat well past closing drinking vino and sharing stories.  Let me know if you're interested in more information - it's bringing back some very nice memories!  Attached are a couple photos of the folks at the restaurant I mentioned.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    dmchicago Member
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    We spent 4 days in Rome on our honeymoon several years ago. There are several must do items when visiting Rome.The #1 must do activity in Rome is a visit to the ancient part of the city. Take the paid tour of the coliseum as it is well worth it.You can stroll through the Forum on your own but here is a key tip for viewing the Forum. Vendors near the coliseum will be selling a red "flippy book". It is well worth the money to buy one of these as it will show you the picture of the pile of rocks you see today and then you flip over a velum page that shows you what it looked like in ancient times. Having this book will make the forum much more of an interesting visit.Another must do is a trip to the Vatican. Be sure to dress appropriately or you wont be able to enter.Trevi fountain is also a spot to see, but usually crowded. You can skip the Spanish steps as it is disappointing.None of the places we ate were memorable enough to mention, but I would recommend a visit (or several) to the local Gelato shops. They are everywhere and you shouldn't miss the chance to enjoy this Italian ice cream delicacy.

    Hope you find this helpful.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    kasienbob Platinum
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    A must see -Tivoli: fountain at Villa d'Este. It is a short ride to these amazing fountains and gardens. On your way there you cant miss seeing these wonderful columns up on an overlooking cliff. After touring Villa d'Este go up to this spectacular viewing area for a wonderful lunch - outdoor, shaded by vines that have been growing for hundreds of years.  It is amazing.  Also, take a train to Florance for a day - great shopping - See Statue of DAVID/ museum and many talented street artists. BE VERY WARY OF ANYONE OFFERING HELP- even if they are in an official uniform! We had a guy con us- we were told they can be very dangerous. Other musts: The Vatican, coliseum, catacombs, sistine chapel, numerous fountains and cathedrals (make sure that any females have a sweater to cover her arms and skirts or skorts that cover the knees as you will not be allowed into churches without them). Just taking a walk around the city is fabulous!

    You are in for an amazing trip!    

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    bcary1 Gold
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    Context Rome is a great tour group. I believe the email is rome.contexttravel.com. Docents give tours, groups are small (up to 6 people). We did the Vatican art tour - no waiting in lines, the insider's view! They have a variety of tours to choose from depending on your interests.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    dbt26ind Platinum
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    Stayed at Grand Flora several about 5 years ago and again recently.  Wonderful hotel.  Rely on the Conceirge for recommendations - email him/her in advance.  Spend one whole day just walking from Piazza to Piazza, it will give a great lesson in relaxation and people watching. 

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    lovestotravel Gold
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    We visited Rome last April and stayed at the Grand Flora.  Beautiful hotel, good location.  I would HIGHLY recommend if you visit the Vatican to book the tour with an agency.  The hotel can get you the information.  We were glad we did.  The crowds and the line were unbelievable but we were able to get right in without standing in line because we were with a tour group.  The downside to the tour is you have limited ability to ask questions because they are on a tight schedule and it is very noisy, sometimes making it difficult to hear your guide, despite having headsets.  Also, the hotel has a beautiful outside dining area near/on the roof which overlooks the city.  It wasn't open for service when we were there so we were only able to stand outside and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views for a few minutes.  Hopefully you will be luckier!   A visit to the Colosseum is a must if you have the time and you are interested in its history.  We didn't know that much about it but found the self-guided tour fascinating (you get headsets).  Lastly, be wary of the unscrupulous men driving around in cars in Rome trying to lure unsuspecting tourists into buying their goods out of their cars.  They get you to come over to the car on the premise that they need directions and then try to sell you their "Versace" leather goods, etc.  I would visit Italy again in a heartbeat.  Have a great trip!!!

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    sammymom Silver
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    If you're planning on museum tours, I'd strongly suggest a private guide. They help you whizz through some of the admission lines and can really help you refine your tour for the best use of your time and energy.  It's well worth the $$'s.

    Also, I would strongly encourage you to carry your luggage onto the plane, particularly if you fly British Airways. I spent 19 days in Italy while my luggage toured someplace else.

     

    Have a marvelous trip!

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    duffgen Platinum
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    Rome's an interesting place.. Don't be surprised if you walk along a main road, and find it cut off, with a 30 chasm in front of you where there's some archaeological work going on!

    Keep your money in your front trouser pockets - it's more difficult for a pickpocket to get it from there. Dont let your credit card out of your sight when paying a bill. There are a lot of scams for separating you from your cash!

    Be prepared for no room service in the hotel after hours. Some of the rooms are cramped, some of the "views" from the rooms are best left to the imagination.

    There is a particularly good eatery a 3 minute walk from the hotel that they will recommend to you (out the front door, turn right, right again, and about 100 yards - it's downstairs but good).

    The hotel's in a good location to walk most of the sights. When you walk into Saint Paul's Basilica look at the far end of the church. There's a circular yellow panel in on of the windows. In the circle is the image of a bird - it's over six feet across.. (there are lots of free tours of the cathedral and worth taking to give loads more details like that!)

    Enjoy your holiday!! 

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    pmattingly Platinum
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    You are in for one of the greatest hotels I have ever stayed in.  To put it into context.  During WWII, when Gen. Rommel came to Rome guess where he stayed?  I assure you he could have stayed anywhere he wished.  Seriously, it is just a great place in a great city.  All sorts of food and wine all around.  I just wish I was going again.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    dragonfly Silver
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    The red on/off bus (Roma 110 Open) is a wonderful way to get around and be able to explore on your own.  We frequently got off at one stop and walked to a different stop to cover some extra territory and enjoy the side streets.  Be sure you have a map with you. 

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    wilandra Platinum 7 Reviews
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    Things to do:

    We have been to Rome at least 7 times and still have more to see and do. The worst area is around the train station (Centrali). It is filled with cheap places and many gypsys.

    With only 7 days you will be rushed to see just the tourist places, we spent any entire day in the Vatican Museum alone and another day in the Vatican. Plan to walk a lot. Don't wear shorts and tank tops, you won't get in to some of the churches. Forget the religion, the churches are some of the most beautiful buildings in Italy.

    Check out www.contextrome.com -- they have small group walking tours led by excellent guides. Most guuides are students in some field that relates to the particular tour.

    Restaurants:

    Ristorante Monserrato, Via Monserrato, 96 -- a short walk from Piazza Farnese -- good food and good service. Can be crowded.

    Il Buco, Via S Ignazio, 8 -- At the back of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva -- Tuscan food, good service, can be crowded.

    Don't plan to eat before 7pm - none of the good restaurants are open (only the tourist places). Leave your hurry-up-I-gotta-get-going attitude at home, that's not the way it works in Italy. Go to a restaurant to dine not to eat.


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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    rmt0528 Gold
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    Where to begin...set aside a bunch of time for the Colossuem and the Forum.  Be sure to wander through the Trestavere section - it's where the "real" Romans go to hang out.  You'll get a real flavor for the small neighborhoods of Rome and some good, inexpensive restaurants.  In and around the Trevi Fountain you'll find some awesome gelato shops an some nice places to sit back, enjoy a refreshment and something to nibble on.  The Spanish Steps are nice to see but don't expect much except for a lot of people milling about...but still quite a site.  Don't miss Piazza Navona or the piazza near the Pantheon.  In each case you can just sit and take in the flavor of the city.  There are tons of restaurants in both piazzas, not to mention artists with original oils.   We've got two of those oils hanging in our home and they bring us right back to Rome with many happy memories.

    Enjoy your trip and if I think of anything more I will drop you a note back.

     I would highly recommend the tour of the Vatican Museum - a certain "don't miss" tour.  You'll find Rome relatively easy to see on foot once you're in a given section.  Get yourself a good city map and be sure to check yourself now & then so you know where you're wandering. 

    You can find companies which will set you up with private tour guides for a day or 1/2 day depending upon what you want to see.  We did it for the Colosseum and Forum and really enjoyed the time.  Our guide was incredibly gracious and knowledgeable.

    In the end, be sure to give yourself an opportunity to soak it all in.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    lbeamguard Silver
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    If you plan on going anywhere on the train then I recommend purchasing your rail passes before you leave the states.  It will be cheaper than purchasing in Rome.  Make sure you take all schedules and documents that are sent with your rail passes, they may not be available from the train stations, which we found out when we tried to replace our very worn schedule book.  There are many website available, I don't recall who we purchased from, I just checked out the different offers to find what best fit our needs.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    natlchamps Platinum 3 Reviews
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    Definately climb to the top of St. Peters Basicalla in the Vatican.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    travelanywhere Silver
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    Rome is a great city - I lived there for 2 years 2005-2006.  Here are some tips -when you go to the Vatican, get there early and go to the museum first before the Basilica.  The museum is located on the back end of the Vatican wall.  After you tour the museum, at the end is the Sistine Chapel, then you can eat lunch and go to the Basilica after as it will be less crowded then.  A worthwhile trip is to go to the top of the Basilica - it is about 200-300 steps and gets kinda tight, but it gives a fantastic view of the Piazza as well as the Vatican property and the city.  They also have the catacombs where some dead Popes are interred. This pretty much will cover 1 day, but if you still have time and arent tired, you can also go see Castel Sant Angelo, which is very close by - you will be able to see it from the Vatican.

    Some other sights are of course the Coliseum, Roman Forum, the Pantheon, Trevi fountain, Spanish Steps, Circo Massimo (where they used to run the chariot races), Castel Sant Angelo (near the Vatican).

    The most efficient way to see most of the sights besides the Vatican, is to get a good map of Rome.  You want to start at Piazza del Popolo - it is real easy to take the Metro to here).  From Popolo, you walk down Via del Corso and zig-zagging off this street and you can catch most the other sights.  As you walk down Corso, you will pass Piazza de Spagna (Spanish Steps), Pantheon, Piazza Navona with the three fountains, Trevi Fountain, Italian Parliament buildings (nothing much to see here), and at the end of Corso, you get to Piazza Venezia (an eyesore in the middle of a once famous imperial road).  If you walk to the left of the huge Building (be careful, there is a huge roundabout in front), you will be on Via de Fori Imperiale.  This road will take you to ancient Rome - the Roman Forum, Palantine hill and the Coliseum.  Also near the Coliseum is a church called Santa Maria Maggiore - it is worth a visit if you have time.  The church dates to about 400AD.  Also close to the Coliseum, but on the other side is Circo Massimo  This agenda will take 2 days and is the most efficient way to see the city - I took all visitors on this tour when they came to visit me when I lived there.

    As for restaurants, I reccomend a place called la Fraschetta, it is in Trastevere.   http://www.lafraschetta.com/  I always enjoyed eating there-but it is a bit pricey, but it is worth it.

    Also, near piazza Navone, there is a place called Monte Carlo Pizzeria - I highly reccomend this - good cheap food. http://www.lamontecarlo.it/index_eng.htm <</a>/p>

    When you go to the Vatican, there are many touristy restaurants that dont have good food.  I can reccomend a place that is about a 5-10 minute walk from the Vatican called Pizza House - from piazza Risorgamento, you walk down Via Cola di Rienzo - 2-3 blocks on the right hand side.  Good food at great prices.

     Some basic tips - life there is relaxed and non-rushed.  Dinner can take 2+ hours to eat and nobody is rushing you out the door.  That said, service can, and will be, slower than you are used to.  Good thing is you are not expected to give a big tip.  A few euro will suffice.  Also, you may notice on your bill something called a coperto - this is a cover charge and is quite common (usually it costs 1 euro per person).  Just relax and enjoy good food, good conversation and good wine, for less than you will pay in US.  At non-touristy restaurants, you can expect to pay about 40-50 euro for dinner for 2, complete with anti-pasta, pasta, a meat, coffee, wine, water and dessert.  I almost always drink the house wine in the restaurants - it is cheaper and sometimes it is even homemade.  They will get the wine straight from the barrel, so it might be a little fizzy at first.  Basically, you will eat very well there, all ingredients used are fresh, but because of how much walking you do, you might even come home lighter than you left.

    Pizza - there are two types.  The kind you get at restaurants, which is basically a real thin crust, brick oven pie, about 8 inches round that serves 1.  At the fast food pizza counters, they sell pizza by the weight.  Both are good and I reccomend trying both of them while you are there. 

    For the women, bring comfertable shoes, as there are many cobblestones and walking in heels can be a painful adventure.

    Feel free to write back if you have any questions 

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    golfergal Gold
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    Relaxing,

     

    We stayed there last year at the start of our trip.  Our room was on the 2nd or 3rd floor.  At first I thought it would be a dud as it was too low for a view.  But turns out the balcony was huge and we looked down on Via Veneto.  So the people watching at night with a Limoncello was awesome. 

     

    Around the corner from the hotel (take a right out the door and then another right) there is a very nice restaurant.  We didn't want to go far for lunch, so the hotel sent us there.  It was delicious. 

     

    As for some sightseeing suggestions, we did two amazing tours.  We had been to Rome before and only had 2 days before heading to Positano, so we wanted tours with major bang.  We did the After Hours Vatican tour with a loving Irish woman whose name escapes me at the moment.  It was incredible to walk through the museum and the Sistine Chapel with other about 12 other people!!!!  Worth every single penny.  We also did a private tour of the Forum and Palentine Hill.  Again worth every single penny (and a lot less than the Vatican tour).  We had done both on our own before and it just doesn't compare to having an expert with you.

     

    We spent a lot of time just walking around and soaking in the sights and sounds.  You'll have a great time whatever you do.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    gazoo987 Silver
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    Hi - Congrats on your 1st trip to Rome!  It is a great city and something that everyone should see.  Of course all the normal touristy stuff is a MUST. 

    Suggestion for the Colosseum.  You will see there are people around who are offering tickets to "guided tours".  They can spot an American a mile away and will most likely approach you.  When I went 3 years ago it was about 10 Euro more but totally worth it.  They had American speaking guides, who have pre-purchased the passes into the Colosseum.  You wait for the start time of the tour, but DO NOT have to wait on the TWO lines (buy tickets and wait to get in).  They talk to you about the history, the surrounding areas, the Forum etc.  They tell you a lot of interesting facts about the inside, the Gladiators, the animals, traditions, spectators etc.  If you go inside on your own, you will walk around, think it looks cool...but will be missing out on so much information and history.  Depending on how much of the ruins and things you see around the Colosseum, this can be a 1/2 day or less.

    The Spanish Steps area is a busy place.  Honestly, I didn't get it.  The beautiful church at the top of the steps was closed when I was there and still closed when a friend was just there in December.  The renovations were to take YEARS!  This is where all the 'high-end' shopping is.. but I live in NY and can go into NYC any time I want if that was my thing.  If you are from an area where you can shop in Gucci or Prada or any of the high-end fashion places why waste time in Rome doing that, unless it is your thing!  To me, it is sort of a waste of time, but my best friend was just there in December and spent hours up and down the streets window shoppping. (it's not like she can afford any of the items) 

    The Piazza Navona is probably the most fun!  Especially at night.  The Piazza is encircled with restaurants, but don't feel obligated to eat there.  Always a bit more $$ and very 'touristy'...though if you do, I would recommend "La Dolce Vita" right in the Piazza.  There is the gorgeous Bernini Fountain "The Fountain of Four Rivers" in the Piazza, and it is gorgeous!  Though most of the Bernini fountains and items all around Rome are beautiful.   It is so much fun at night!!  All these local merchants and artist are out trying to sell their goods.  Yes, there are a lot of t-shirt vendors and stuff like that, but the artist are very talented.  We did not want to spend a ton of money on 2 paintings, so we took advice from a friend and purchased 2 one night in the Piazza.  The artist was wonderful, he rolled them up, sealed them in a very sturdy and safe travel tube and we were set!! 

    If you are interested in something a little bit different you MUST go to Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, or Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins...and see  the Capuchin Monks Crypt.  It is the freakiest and coolest thing I've seen in ages!  It is a crypt in the church, they ask for a donation, most people will pay about 2 euros a person.  The entire things will take you less then 30 minutes to walk thru.  I would suggest looking it up on line, because it is only open certain times of the day. 

    The church were the crypt is located is on Via Veneto.  It is a great walk up and around to the top of Via Veneto.  If you are interested, the Rome Hard Rock is near the top of the street.  (Via means Street).  If you walk the Street all the way up and around it will sort of end at one of the entrances to Villa Borghese Park.  It is a beautiful park and there is a way, though we got lost and it took us 2 hours... there is a way to see the park and come out near the Spanish Steps.  I do remember that we were in the right direction when we hit upon a "bust display' as in all the heads (busts) in an area, all on pedastals in the middle of the park!

    The Vatican... I know people that have killed themselves to "do it all in one day".  If time allows, do it in 2.  Depending on how much you will want to see.  St Peters Basillica is amazing and can take HOURS to go through the entire thing.  I would ABSOLUTELY receommend that you pay the extra fee and go to the top of the Basillica, called the Cupola.  You will get the most amazing view of the square!!  Of the 600+ photos I took on our 5 day trip to Rome, the one I took in B&W from the top overlooking the court of the Basillica is one of my favorites!  Keep in mind if you do the Vatican Museum, the actualy "Sistine Chapel" is all the way at the end! 

    WATER - There are water fountains EVERYWHERE in Rome.  Water coming out of all sorts of spigets in a wall, small fountains etc. (I am not talking like the big touristy fountains, it will make sense when you are there.)  The water is cold, clean and totally drinkable.  We purchased 2 water bottles and just kept refilling them our entire trip.

    Gelato is a must!  I am a HUGE fan of Nutella Gelato.  If you are familiar with Nutella and like it, you have to find a place that sells Nutella Gelato!  

    I have to say the only thing that did not bowl me over was the food in Italy.  I've heard that from most of my friends too.  They are not so big on spices, garlic etc in Rome as they are say in Portofino, Venice, Lake Como etc.  The food was good, the pizza was delicious, but noting was a total WOW!  I think I am just spoiled, my family cooks amazing and we have the best Italian restaurants in NYC!

    We are big on Post Cards and always try and mail them from someplace fun, like having them postmarked from the Eiffel Tower in Paris or from The Vatican in Rome!  I am a bit of an organized nut, and I took my Christmas list of mailing lables and just created a sheet with my family and a few friends.  We print the lables out for the post cards and take them with us on vacation!  It makes it SO much easier!  If you do, don't forget to write USA on them!  My boyfriend and I will write a post card to each other and also mail it from our vacations.  It is a fun surprise when we get home!  We have saved everyone over the last 10+ years!

    I hope some of my suggestions help make your trip as fun and memorable as ours was!!

    Grace

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    omnirich Silver
    Currently Being Moderated

    We stayed at the Rome Marriott Park (southeast of Rome).  I think the one you selected is much closer; far better than being a bus ride away.  May should be ideal weather and fewer crowds than summer.   I would heartily recommend the usual touristy things to do: Colliseum, Pantheon, Spanish steps, advanced tickets for Vatican City and the Art Museum.

    If you're interested in Archeology, try the crypts tour at the vatican (requires pre-booking).

    Dinner: La Pergola; hard to go wrong in Rome

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    horizons Silver
    Currently Being Moderated

    It's been decades since I visited Rome, but be sure to attend a son et lumière (sound and light) show at the Forum in Rome, if it is offered during your stay. Also, check out the Rick Steve's website for suggestions on hotels, restaurants, and things to do. 

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    keithinatl Gold
    Currently Being Moderated

    I stayed there (Hotel Flora) this past summer.  It's a fabulous place and a great location.  You can walk across the street to visit the Villa Borguese.  Right behind the hotel, there was a really interesting little pizzaria that I'd highly recommend (I don't recall the name, but it's in the middle of the block directly behind the hotel).  The food was very fresh, flavorful, and most surprisingly - cheap!  Also, the owner was a real fan of American sports - particularly baseball and football, so he was fun to talk to.  Drink the house red wine there (and everywhere for that matter).  I was never disappointed, and for about $6 per half bottle, it was a real steal.  In general, I'd avoid the large touristy places for dining, and try to just find the out of the way places that caters to locals.  The people there are very warm and accomodating.  Oh, and whatever you do, try the gelato every chance you get!

    One last tip - when you get there, ONLY take the white taxi cabs from the queue front of the airport.  We were approached by a guy right there in line for taxis and thought he was one of the regulated drivers.  He took us to his black minivan and drove us to the hotel.  The fare was a little over $100.  In a regulated taxi, the exact same drive would have been less than $50!

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    ladylily Gold
    Currently Being Moderated

    I don't know if you normally prefer to drive.  I suggest you don't in Rome though; it will be a lot easier on the nerves.  You can get a Tessera from the public transit system good for ALL public transportation within Rome, and it will get you anywhere including Stazione Termini*sp*; and Vatican City.  When it comes to eating at various restaurants and trattorias; remember the less pricey ones; but equally good quality; won't be near the main tourist areas though there are one or two good cafes/bars near Vatican City...Don't be fooled by the word bar either.  It doesn't mean the same thing as in the US so it is very common to eat there and get a good capuccino as well...My personal favorite museum in Rome is at the monument to Vittorio Emanuel....Quite a few steps at the entrance but once you enter in it is truly a nice place to visit.  To the left of the entrance; if it is still there; is a small courtyard with pieces of a very large statue of Jupiter; his hand is so large that an adult can stand next to it and still be smaller...There is also a room with busts of some of the Emperors, and a charriot encased in glass...The Piaza di Spagna is also lovely at that time of year; just remember; the eateries in that area are a little on the expensive side...Believe it or not; if you are looking for good food but at a cheaper price; then you might want to try one or two of the ethnic hostels....I cannot tell you the price today though because it has been a while since my last visit to Rome; the food is good there though...Oh and don't forget to have some ice cream; it is a girl's dream come true....since it is soft serve you can get five flavors in one scoop if you want, and it is made fresh every day...As they say in Italy...Buona Mangiata

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    gllobalwizzo Platinum 2 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated
    Hi, Just came back from Rome. The Grand Flora is in a good area and you can walk to the shops and dining. The rooms tend to be small even when I got upgrades. The train from FCO into town takes about 30 minutes and costs 11 euros. If you don't have too many bags, that plus a 10 euro cab ride is much better than the 60 euro rides in from the airport. Haven't done much tourist stuff in Rome, so can't help there. Have fun. The low dollar makes the trip expensive.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    ladylily Gold
    Currently Being Moderated

    I don't know if you normally prefer to drive.  I suggest you don't in Rome though; it will be a lot easier on the nerves.  You can get a Tessera from the public transit system good for ALL public transportation within Rome, and it will get you anywhere including Stazione Termini*sp*; and Vatican City.  When it comes to eating at various restaurants and trattorias; remember the less pricey ones; but equally good quality; won't be near the main tourist areas though there are one or two good cafes/bars near Vatican City...Don't be fooled by the word bar either.  It doesn't mean the same thing as in the US so it is very common to eat there and get a good capuccino as well...My personal favorite museum in Rome is at the monument to Vittorio Emanuel....Quite a few steps at the entrance but once you enter in it is truly a nice place to visit.  To the left of the entrance; if it is still there; is a small courtyard with pieces of a very large statue of Jupiter; his hand is so large that an adult can stand next to it and still be smaller...There is also a room with busts of some of the Emperors, and a charriot encased in glass...The Piaza di Spagna is also lovely at that time of year; just remember; the eateries in that area are a little on the expensive side...Believe it or not; if you are looking for good food but at a cheaper price; then you might want to try one or two of the ethnic hostels....I cannot tell you the price today though because it has been a while since my last visit to Rome; the food is good there though...Oh and don't forget to have some ice cream; it is a girl's dream come true....since it is soft serve you can get five flavors in one scoop if you want, and it is made fresh every day...As they say in Italy...Buona Mangiata

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    mquinn Silver
    Currently Being Moderated
    Recommend using a private guide.  Tell him where you want to go and he will take you there.  I recommend John James Fiore.  His web site is RomeLimousinebyJohn.com.  We were there last year.  Wonderful.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    noplacelikehom Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    Since you are staying at the Grand Hotel Flora in Rome (Via Veneto) there is rustico pizza available across the street and down a side street (can't remember the name).  It rivals NYC for pizza, you pay by the kilogram.  Also, I recommend you get off the "beaten path" and see where the local crowds with family are eating.  Stay away from the tourist trap restaurants, especially near the Trevi Fountain (also pickpockets) and the Vatican.  Expect to pay extra if you want to eat sitting down or outside at some restaurants.  Try some wine bars for a unique feel of Rome.  Take a walk in the park and see if you can get tickets for the art museum there(can't remember the name, again).  Walk towards the US Embassy on Via Veneto and take the street that the Hard Rock Cafe is on, there are some restaurants, (check menus) that offer great deals on breakfast.  Make sure you have good walking shoes, Rome is a city to be explored by wandering (and a good map).  Also across the street from the Flora is what looks like a subway entrance, but leads to an underground supermarket.  good way to stock up on spring water and nibbles for your hotel room. 

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    steelman Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    Did you have any trouble booking with yourpoints?  How far in advance did you book?  We were thinking of an anniversary trip there but haven't really started checking it out yet.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    travelbuff Platinum 2 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hello,.

    Have visited Rome many times, including last 4 summers.

    Husband and I stayed at Grand Flora about 3 yrs ago.  It is a lovely old hotel, great location!!!!!!!!.  The room that we had was on the Via Veneto with a nice balcony,  smaller than most nice Marriott's, but nice and a great location for walking to the spanish steps, etc. but a good walk.  There is also a sub entrance close but we did not use.  Food in resturant very expensive.   Breakfast is good and worth it but would look somewhere else for dinner.  Rome is beautiful.  Use the metro for most major sights or walk if possible.  Lots more info if you need.?

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    travelbuff Platinum 2 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated
    It is difficult to get the Grand Flora on points even with stay anytime, plan ahead.  I would also suggest you get the attendant who accepts your reward certificate if you use the paper ones to sign and date for receipt of it.  The accepting attendant lost ours so they charged our stay to our credit card and it took several months and lots of phone calls, hassel, to resolve it and get the charges off of our credit card.  It is  good to have a name for reference if there is a problem.  We always do this now and also get a printed receipt showing balances.  Of course, the new email transmittal takes care of most of this, except for the anytime awards.  With lots of travel, this problem has only occured twice and was always resolved.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    bagsarepacked Silver
    Currently Being Moderated
    to--Emipal,   Read your profile and impressed with your 85 countries visited.  I thought that I had it made with 78.  Congratulations! I'm still hoping to increase my total and always have -------Bagsarepacked.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    scudderatc Silver
    Currently Being Moderated

    Agree with many of the previous posts.  Only one thing to add, it was a recommendation from a Roman business associate who I work with. 

    "Get Lost in Rome".  Take a day and have no plans, just wander out of the hotel and walk until you feel the urge for an espresso and a pastry.  After breakfast continue your haphazard journey.  You will stumble across many beautiful and historic things, take them in at your leisure.  When the urge to eat strikes you, pick any cafe along the street you won't be dissappointed.  The house red and a roman pizza will give you the strength to continue meandering.  When you get to tired to continue walking simply grab a cab and get escorted back to your hotel. 

     

    My wife and I spent our first 3 days in Rome trying to "see" everything.  We were on a ridged schedule and were soaking in as much as possible.  On the fourth day, we took this plan.  We wandered aimlessly and found beautiful squares, fantastic food and friendly people.  It was one of our best days in Rome.  Enjoy your trip it is a fantastic City!

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    donethattoo Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I have to agree with my fellow posters that Rome is one of my favorite places to visit. I have had the opportunity go there twice in the past 18 months. Things that stood out to me from my trips there include landing at Leonardo DaVinci airport. The beautiful countryside looked as portrayed in so many movies with Italian settings. There is a large indoor shopping mall just a couple of stops from the airport by metrorail train. The fare was cheap. For retail type shopping, I suggest going there. I did, and found some wonderful culinary finds to bring home. The food was phenomenal. Portions were smaller, but totally filling. Prepare yourself for the price of alcohol. I remember sitting down to dinner with traveling companions and ordering a plates of pasta, while they added a single beer to their orders. The pasta was 10 Euro, and the beer was 12 Euro. You do the math. I made some very nice leather purchases. A couple of small clutch purses for nieces and a pair of leather mary jane shoes for my daughter. Don't overlook the street vendors, but don't necessarily buy from the first one you see. Rome is a walking city (despite the terrible traffic downtown) so wear a good pair of shoes. Do visit Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the old city (although you may not want to pay some of the fees to actually go into places like the Coliseum, which you can largely view the impressiveness of from outside). Restrooms can be sparse in the old city ruins, so plan accordingly. Also, beware the 'experts' who hang out in the areas of the ruins and are most happy to impart their 'knowledge' with you as a guide there for a reasonable 'fee'. Some are rather persistent. I divided my sight seeing in Rome by the river. The metro system around Rome was very good, and inexpensive and the way I recommend getting around distances where time/energy are in short supply. I took it from the Hard Rock Cafe' area to get to the other side of town to the Vatican. My feet still thank me. Enjoy your trip. It is a wonderful place to visit.

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  • Re: 1st trip to Rome
    mastersman Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    My wife and I will be traveling to Rome in October 2009 and would like your recomendations as well. We are staying at the Grand Flora Marriott.

     

    Thanks, 

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

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