I have three questions:
I will be traveling to Rome (for the first time) on October 30th. I am trying to find a nice, inexpensive place to stay near the center of things. I must work while I am away so the hotel must have wireless Internet access (preferably free). It needs to be a reasonably nice hotel but again -- cost is a factor. I'm really not into roughing it at all.
So, question #1 is -- Does anyone have any recommendations?
I'm still working on my itinerary and someone just suggested that I add a trip to Florence.
So, my multi-part question #2 is -- How far is Florence? How long is the train ride? How much is the train ride? What is there to do/see in Florence?
If anyone wants to take a stab at this -- if you had 5 days in Rome -- what would your itinerary look like?
Thanks in advance for your help.
Travel time to Florence is between 1,5 - 4 hours depending upon the train. Prices range from 15 EUR(2nd class slowest) to 50 EUR (1st class fastest) one-way. Trains are frequent.
But if you ask me, Florence deserves a trip of its own. There is so much to see and do if you are an art freak and a fashion guru, it beats Rome hands down. I stayed for 5 days in Rome and for 7 days in Florence when I was in Italy and I made the right choice.
As for hotels, look in the area between the Vatican and Stazione Aurelia. The area around the train station is a bit seedy, you don't want to walk around there alone at night.
I don't think you need 5 days to see Rome. I was there for 2-3 days and saw everything I wanted to see.
The vatican is a must , especially the Sistine chapel and as you know the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Capitoline Hill, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona etc.
I just found a hop on hop off bus ( I love these generally as i find them cost effective and gets you round without getting too lost lol) : http://www.viator.com/tours/Rome/Rome-Hop-On-Hop-Off-Double-Decker-Bus-Tour/d511-3523ROMOPEN?wpm=Rome:Must-See-and-Do-in-Rome
How about if you did 2-3 days in Rome and 2-3 days in Florence?
In previous trip to Rome I have stayed in the Albergo Nazionale which is very central, just off the Via del Corso (the main artery through the City Centre). It was 1997 when I was there so prices could be considerably different now, but it was a nice clean hotel with good facilities and in walking distance of the Colesseum, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, the Borghese GDns, the Roman Forum, the Via COndotti (shopping area) etc.
On a separate trip I stayed in the Internazionale. Slightly more expensive, situated close to the Spanish steps. Lovely old building.
I'm going again this coming January and staying in a guesthouse right beside the Spanish Steps. I can't recall the name at the moment, but if you're interested send me a PM and I'll dig out the info for you. It's pricey though, I know that.
My own personal opinion is that you will easily spend 5 days in Rome and still wish you had more time. There's a LOT to see and do, but then it depends on what sort of holiday you want to have.
You need to split the city in two in order to sightsee. Take a couple of days on one side of the Tiber and do the following in more or less this order:
- Circus Maximus
- Roman Forum
- Piazza Navona
- Trevi FOuntain
- Via del Corso (shopping)
- Via Condotti (shopping)
- Spanish Steps
Obviously, they are just the MAIN highlights - there's so much more to see if you have the time.
Another couple of days on the other side of the river to see:
- The Vatican
- The Sistine Chapel
- Castel Sant'Angelo
Florence is an equally beautiful city, a much smaller feel to it, but dont be fooled! You could need even MORE time in Florence to really see it. If you are an ART lover, as TMaia said, then this is place to visit. There are a huge amount of churches, art galleries and museums, and you need to be IN THE MOOD to take them on
It's a really beautiful city though.
If you just have 5 days on this trip, my advice would be to stay in one place and enjoy it. If you can do longer though, then definitely take in Florence as well. It's a couple of hours on the train from Rome.
Hope that helps!
Thank you all so much for your feedback. Does anyone else think 5 days will be too long in Rome?
I found a hotel in the heart of Rome and supposedly walking distance from the Colesseum.
I'm not much of an art enthusiast but fashion I can get into. :-) Would a day trip to Florence be worth it?
I keep reading about pickpockets and crime in Rome. Has anyone encountered this? I had read the same about Venice but when I went last year we didn't feel unsafe at all.
I grew up in South Central Los Angeles, so I know how to guard my purse -- and myself. :-)
Thanks again for your help!
There are pickpockets very active in Rome, but no moreso than any other major city. Watch yourself around places like the Trevi Fountain and the Piazza Navona - places where you have crowds. Buses and trains are the worst places for pickpockets, but if you are careful about your bag not being open etc, you'll be absolutely fine
My family and i were followed once by a group of young boys. It was obvious that they were up to something, so we took a convoluted route through the streets to see if the were following us, and they were. We even let them pass at one point and they ended up behind us again. My Dad just turned around and stared them out of it until they just got lost.
I've never once felt unsafe in Rome, even at nigth wandering around the streets.
As previous posters have said, there shouldn't be a problem finding 5 days worth of things to do in Rome. I spent 4 days there and it didn't feel like nearly long enough.
Ev's list sums up most of the bits I wouldn't miss, but we also went to the Aventine hill, which is a beautiful leafy area with some lovely parks and buildings, and the Palatino which is an area with the ancient residential homes of the richest members of Ancient Rome, and is covered in really well preserved mansions - you can buy a joint ticket to the Colisseum and the Palatino.
Re personal safety, there is a fair amount of pickpocketing - be wary when you are in a bustling, busy crowd. Also, I do have a friend who was robbed at knifepoint in Rome, but he had wandered off into a park by himself in the dark, thus busting many a rule I'm sure you will have learnt already from LA. And frankly I would be wary of doing so in any city in England too. I personally didn't feel unsafe in Rome.