Rome: Is this too much to do?

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#1
Los Angeles, CA
75 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
We are arriving in Rome at 10:30am, shuttling to our hotel and then planning on lunch and touring. We will have this half day, one full day and then we are boarding our cruise on the third day. This is our first time in Rome so we're trying to cram a lot into our time there. Is this schedule feasible?

Day 1:
Finish lunch by 2
3-6pm Through Eternity Tour - Colesseum and Roman Forum Tour (27Eu/person)
7-9:30pm Through Eternity, Rome at Twilight Tour (27Eu/person)
Dinner

Day 2:
11am-5:30pm - Vatican City and St. Peters Tour (Through Eternity, 39Eu+entry)
Dinner and exploring on our own

Day 3:
Board ship

I'm just looking for feedback on whether these tours are a good idea for newbies and if we're packing too much into the first day. I also have read about Rick Stevens downloadable audio tours that sound similar to our first day. Do you think it would be better to be on our own the first day?
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#2
11,168 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
I think you've got too much programed. Rome is a city that just begs to be soaked in; I spent a month there the first time I went and have been back more than ten times since and I've only begun to scratch the surface. Knowing that you can't possibly see it all, how about zeroing in on the things that are most interesting to you?

You don't mention whether you will be arriving from the US or not, but even if your flight isn't transatlantic, a three hour walking tour on arrival day is ambitious ... two of them (including the Twilight tour) feel suicidal.

Perhaps only two of the tours, filled in with exploring on your own?
#3
Ontario, Canada
7,598 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Are you arriving in Rome from LA on an overnight flight? If so, I think it's a lot to plan on for your first day.

I would choose one tour for your first day, preferably the earlier one, or do the RS podcast Colosseum/Forum tour on your own. If you still have energy in the evening, RS has a nighttime walking tour in his guidebook.

Is your Vatican/St. Peter's tour 6.5 hours...it seems like a lengthy tour? If it's shorter, doing the Rome at Twilight Tour on that day might work better.

Enjoy!
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Susan

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#5
11,168 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by KK18
This is our first time in Rome
After re-reading your post, I also want to point out that this is your first visit to Rome and not your last. See what you can see without knocking yourself out ... you'll be back.
#6
Ontario, Canada
7,598 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
There are a lot of variables when planning how to spend your first day ...
  • How well you sleep on an overnight flight.
  • How stressed/exhausted you are from the pre-trip arrangements and tying up loose ends at work/home.
  • How fit/energetic you are.
  • How much time you'll have in Rome.
  • Whether you've been there before, or will have the opportunity to visit again.
  • How many sites you hope to visit, and how in-depth you want those visits to be.

For some, the excitement of being in a city like Rome for the first time will propel them through the day and evening, until they drop from exhaustion. For others, the excitement can wait until the next day. It's probably best to see how you feel once there before deciding how much (or little) to pack in. Just my thoughts after numerous overnight flights.
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Susan

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#7
Los Angeles, CA
75 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Thank you everyone for your responses, I really appreciate it! We're both just really excited and want to do as much as possible.

Originally posted by Susan-M
There are a lot of variables when planning how to spend your first day ...
  • How well you sleep on an overnight flight.
  • How stressed/exhausted you are from the pre-trip arrangements and tying up loose ends at work/home.
  • How fit/energetic you are.
  • How much time you'll have in Rome.
  • Whether you've been there before, or will have the opportunity to visit again.
  • How many sites you hope to visit, and how in-depth you want those visits to be.

For some, the excitement of being in a city like Rome for the first time will propel them through the day and evening, until they drop from exhaustion. For others, the excitement can wait until the next day. It's probably best to see how you feel once there before deciding how much (or little) to pack in. Just my thoughts after numerous overnight flights.
These are all excellent points. I tend to sleep pretty well on overnight flights and then I'm usually excited and rearing to go for awhile. I'll crash when we get back to our room for the night though. I haven't done a trip like this with my husband yet but I think he'll be as energetic as me. I hadn't thought about how big of a time difference it is from LA to Rome.

I will look into the RS audio guides as an alternative to the booked tours, that way we're not locked into anything and can play it by ear when we get there.

Any thoughts on the paid tours vs. RS tours?
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First time cruiser on RC Legend Greece and Eastern Med - September 2009 Honeymoon cruise
#8
minneapolis, mn
2,311 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Originally posted by KK18
We are arriving in Rome at 10:30am, shuttling to our hotel and then planning on lunch and touring. We will have this half day, one full day and then we are boarding our cruise on the third day. This is our first time in Rome so we're trying to cram a lot into our time there. Is this schedule feasible?

Day 1:
Finish lunch by 2
3-6pm Through Eternity Tour - Colesseum and Roman Forum Tour (27Eu/person)
7-9:30pm Through Eternity, Rome at Twilight Tour (27Eu/person)
Dinner

Day 2:
11am-5:30pm - Vatican City and St. Peters Tour (Through Eternity, 39Eu+entry)
Dinner and exploring on our own

Day 3:
Board ship

I'm just looking for feedback on whether these tours are a good idea for newbies and if we're packing too much into the first day. I also have read about Rick Stevens downloadable audio tours that sound similar to our first day. Do you think it would be better to be on our own the first day?
Looks like you have a lot packed in, but there is a lot to see. Not sure what to cut out.
We were in Rome for 4 days after a transatlantic cruise (didn't have to contend with jet lag). We did 3 walking tours through Angel tours, and loved them. I would stick with the walking tours rather than doing it on your own.
Did the Colosseum and forum tour the morning of our first complete day in Rome. In the afternoon, we did fountains/Pantheon/spanish steps. The next morning, we did the Vatican/St Peters. The Pantheon was our favorite--I recommend making sure one of your tours includes that.
#9
Austin, TX
2,027 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
I would suggest that for your last morning, ask your hotel to hold your luggage for you and wander a bit that morning, you can easily get a half day of Rome in that morning before going to the cruise ship. We usually try to stay outside on our first day, it helps our internal clocks readjust. I would probably put your evening tour off to your second day and wander in the evening on your first day if you are up to it.

You did not say what area your hotel is in, that could be a factor in your wandering.
#10
USA
8,952 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by KK18
We are arriving in Rome at 10:30am, shuttling to our hotel and then planning on lunch and touring. We will have this half day, one full day and then we are boarding our cruise on the third day. This is our first time in Rome so we're trying to cram a lot into our time there. Is this schedule feasible?

Day 1:
Finish lunch by 2
3-6pm Through Eternity Tour - Colesseum and Roman Forum Tour (27Eu/person)
7-9:30pm Through Eternity, Rome at Twilight Tour (27Eu/person)
Dinner

Day 2:
11am-5:30pm - Vatican City and St. Peters Tour (Through Eternity, 39Eu+entry)
Dinner and exploring on our own

Day 3:
Board ship

I'm just looking for feedback on whether these tours are a good idea for newbies and if we're packing too much into the first day. I also have read about Rick Stevens downloadable audio tours that sound similar to our first day. Do you think it would be better to be on our own the first day?
Are you planning to DIY based on touring style/budget/energy?

You might want to consider a private hosted tour for day 2. The first day can be rough even with a good sleep and arrival. We found most of our party ready for a quick nap or rest right around 3pm on our first day. We arrived 6am ( did a 7am LA-Philly, Philly to Venice), dropped luggage at hotel around 9:30am. But by 2pm everyone except me needed a rest.

1st day suggestion:
Check in and lunch. I don't think you'll actually get out of Hotel till early afternoon right when time offset will be at its worst. Assuming you get thru it, doing two things is possible DIY ( your plan looks good to me, wouldn't have worked for the other 10 people in my party )

Colosseum and Forum... you could add Spanish Steps in the evening. That place was alive at night when I visited decades ago.

Or consider Trevi/Spanish Steps and Pantheon. This is lkely more relaxing then the Colosseum and Forum IMHO. The nice thing is I think you can do colosseum and Forum the next day when it is cooler then Vatican in the afternoon.

2nd day: Spending a day at the Vatican you can really get soak it in. Beware as I am told the lines are the longest in the morning if you are DIY. You might want to consider reservation and guide if your budget allows this. Or consider my suggestion above do Vatican in PM, lines looked much shorter.

Enjoy Rome and your Honey Moon
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#11
Los Angeles, CA
75 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by chipmaster
Are you planning to DIY based on touring style/budget/energy?

You might want to consider a private hosted tour for day 2. The first day can be rough even with a good sleep and arrival. We found most of our party ready for a quick nap or rest right around 3pm on our first day. We arrived 6am ( did a 7am LA-Philly, Philly to Venice), dropped luggage at hotel around 9:30am. But by 2pm everyone except me needed a rest.

1st day suggestion:
Check in and lunch. I don't think you'll actually get out of Hotel till early afternoon right when time offset will be at its worst. Assuming you get thru it, doing two things is possible DIY ( your plan looks good to me, wouldn't have worked for the other 10 people in my party )

Colosseum and Forum... you could add Spanish Steps in the evening. That place was alive at night when I visited decades ago.

Or consider Trevi/Spanish Steps and Pantheon. This is lkely more relaxing then the Colosseum and Forum IMHO. The nice thing is I think you can do colosseum and Forum the next day when it is cooler then Vatican in the afternoon.

2nd day: Spending a day at the Vatican you can really get soak it in. Beware as I am told the lines are the longest in the morning if you are DIY. You might want to consider reservation and guide if your budget allows this. Or consider my suggestion above do Vatican in PM, lines looked much shorter.
We're leaning towards no DIY and doing the tours with Through Eternity. The Twilight tour includes the Spanish Steps/Trevi/Pantheon which is why I definitely want to do this tour. I was thinking that we will be energetic since it's our first day and we would be able to do both tours the first day. Then Vatican the second day and go back to the Spanish step area afterwards to wander on our own.

Originally posted by chipmaster
Enjoy Rome and your Honey Moon
Thank you
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First time cruiser on RC Legend Greece and Eastern Med - September 2009 Honeymoon cruise
#12
20,085 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by KK18
We're leaning towards no DIY and doing the tours with Through Eternity. The Twilight tour includes the Spanish Steps/Trevi/Pantheon which is why I definitely want to do this tour. I was thinking that we will be energetic since it's our first day and we would be able to do both tours the first day. Then Vatican the second day and go back to the Spanish step area afterwards to wander on our own.

If you are both excited (and you do try to rest on the plane), I think you will be fine with your schedule. After a flight to Europe, I tend to bounce off the plane and keep going until I drop. But then, it's a little easier coming from the East Coast.

P.S. I haven't used Through Eternity, but I have heard good things about them.
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Wherever the wind takes me I travel as a visitor. (Horace)
#13
Los Angeles, CA
75 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Thanks Cruisemom. I guess we'll have to talk more about it before we decide for sure, but I'm optomistic.
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First time cruiser on RC Legend Greece and Eastern Med - September 2009 Honeymoon cruise
#14
Cincinnati, OH
5,741 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by KK18
I will look into the RS audio guides as an alternative to the booked tours, that way we're not locked into anything and can play it by ear when we get there.

Any thoughts on the paid tours vs. RS tours?
I'll be the contrarian and vote for doing the RS tours, particularly on your first afternoon. That way, you will not feel bad if you cannot make it through everything you have scheduled for that day. His Rome walking tours and his sight-specific tours really are excellent.

I will admit that I had a bit of a problem due to my inability to sleep well on an overnight flight in the mid to late afternoon on our first day in Athens last month, and it really would have been difficult for me to keep up with a walking tour.
#15
Ontario, Canada
7,598 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by CintiPam
I'll be the contrarian and vote for doing the RS tours, particularly on your first afternoon.
I agree with you. Another problem that could occur is a flight delay (we had a 6 hour one going to Barcelona.) I think DIY on the first day with scheduled tours on the 2nd day, and even possibly one on the morning prior to heading to Civitavecchia would be more enjoyable.
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Susan

~~~~Azamara Quest-Ancient Empires 2008~~~~Xpedition-Galapagos 2006~~~~Millennium-Med 2005 (Review)~~~~
~~~~Zenith-Bermuda 2003 & 2005~~~~Radiance-Alaska 2003~~~~Cunard-Baltic 2000~~~~
#16
Oakville, ON
194 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by KK18
We are arriving in Rome at 10:30am, shuttling to our hotel and then planning on lunch and touring. We will have this half day, one full day and then we are boarding our cruise on the third day. This is our first time in Rome so we're trying to cram a lot into our time there. Is this schedule feasible?

Day 1:
Finish lunch by 2
3-6pm Through Eternity Tour - Colesseum and Roman Forum Tour (27Eu/person)
7-9:30pm Through Eternity, Rome at Twilight Tour (27Eu/person)
Dinner

Day 2:
11am-5:30pm - Vatican City and St. Peters Tour (Through Eternity, 39Eu+entry)
Dinner and exploring on our own

Day 3:
Board ship

I'm just looking for feedback on whether these tours are a good idea for newbies and if we're packing too much into the first day. I also have read about Rick Stevens downloadable audio tours that sound similar to our first day. Do you think it would be better to be on our own the first day?
My 2 cents - I personally wouldn't survive 6 hours of walking on day 1 but if you feel you are up to it go for it. I would suggest DIY that day with RS as you will have more flexibility to change things up depending on how you feel (disclaimer: I'm big on DIY and have never enjoyed the few tours I've taken; I just do tons of research and go armed with my trusty RS, good maps and another good guide book.) But if you prefer tours and you can live with the possibility of missing one due to flights or exhaustion then go for it.

Day 2 seems like a reallly long time for the Vatican and St. Peter's. We did the Scavi tour and then St. Peter's on our own and were out by early afternoon for lunch. Anyway, this might be an opportunity to fit something else in.

I agree with others that you have a great opportunity on the morning of day 3 to sneak in a full morning of sightseeing before you head off to the ship.

One suggestion - do take the time to have some nice meals while you are there to just relax, soak it all in and enjoy a fab pasta and wine.
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#17
South Carolina
27,324 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Who knows! Everyone is different.

With us ... when we plan to do too much, we end up enjoying nothing as much as we would have if we had planned less ....
#18
Los Angeles, CA
75 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Originally posted by Wakkyj
Day 2 seems like a reallly long time for the Vatican and St. Peter's. We did the Scavi tour and then St. Peter's on our own and were out by early afternoon for lunch. Anyway, this might be an opportunity to fit something else in.

I agree with others that you have a great opportunity on the morning of day 3 to sneak in a full morning of sightseeing before you head off to the ship.

One suggestion - do take the time to have some nice meals while you are there to just relax, soak it all in and enjoy a fab pasta and wine.
The Vatican Tour includes: Michelangelo's dome, St Peter's tomb and statue, Bernini's canopy, Art gallery, Laocoon, Apollo Belvedere, Bernini's colonnade, Bernini's canopy, St. Peter’s Square, Caravaggio’s Deposition, Leonardo Da Vinci’s St. Jerome, Raphael’s Transfiguration, Raphael rooms, Sistine Chapel.

We plan on having a nice dinner and strolling the piazzas after ward, especially since we'll have done the twilight tour the first night.

Since the tours are just reservations and you pay in cash at the tour, if we have problems and are unable to make it on the first day I think we would be fine.

Thank you for all the feedback.
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#19
Texas
1,789 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
We've been to Rome twice. Each time we made a list of what we wanted to see......and actually managed to see everything on our list. You just need to plan it out.......and have a good map. We walked all over Rome and only used the bus once on the first trip and once on the second one. I love Rome. It was the city I enjoyed seeing the most.
#20
Midwest, USA
1,067 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by KK18
Since the tours are just reservations and you pay in cash at the tour, if we have problems and are unable to make it on the first day I think we would be fine.
You'd contact Through Eternity to let them know you couldn't make it, though, wouldn't you? We had a no-show on our Through Eternity tour and it was hard on the guide... knowing that the person probably was too tired, but afraid of negative reviews if he was just delayed and we left without him. It's only fair to the guide and your tourmates to let them know you won't be coming. Plus, you want them to expect you on Day 2!

I do think the last tour on Day 1 is just too much. I wouldn't be able to manage it due to jetlag, and that's coming from the Midwest, not the West Coast. Even if you are still awake then, you'll probably enjoy strolling around more than another guided tour.
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