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Planning a trip to Rome

Trip to Rome

So I’ve scheduled all of the side trips, and written up the itinerary for my parents. It feels to me like it’s not covering nearly enough, but when my parents looked at it, they thought it was mostly within their limits possibly a little challenging. Let me know if you have any suggestions of places to see/eat. Or just stuff.

We have flight reservations with British Airways

leaving PHL (BA0068) at 21:00 Saturday
arriving Heathrow 09:30 Sunday

My parents vote not to leave the airport – OMG. I might need to get out and do something.

leaving Heathrow (BA0558) at 18:15 Sunday
arriving Fiumicino 21:45 Sunday-ish

They have hotel reservations at Rome Marriott Grand Hotel Flora

I also have a reservation at a hostel.

All of the necessary Marriott points have been converted into codes for points redemption on the stay and travel.

After arriving in Rome at the butt crack of night, we shall spend the morning relaxing. If my father wakes up and feels perky, he and I shall have a jaunt exploring the city and finding restaurants to eat at the rest of the week.

That night at 8pm, we shall all three take a bus tour of Rome by Night

Now that we’ve had a rest, let’s start with the hard part (so if we need to split this is up into multiple days, that’ll be fine.

So I’ll pick up a picnic lunch on the way over to your hotel. You’ll have a leisurely breakfast.

We’ll try the subway and see how stressful it is. We’ll ask the Concierge whether there is an easy path through the Villa Medici grounds to get the to Metro-Spagna stop. Otherwise, we’ll walk about 600 yards to the Metro-Barberini stop (by the Spanish Steps). We’ll transfer at Termini from the A line to the B line, go two more stops, and then get out at the Coliseum.

The alternative bus line is the 117. It runs along the southwest side of Villa Borghese and down a road of many names (Via del Babuino, Via del Due Macelli, Via del Traforo, Via Milano), it will make a right turn onto the Via Panisperma, a left on to the Via del Boschetto, a short right onto the Via Leonina, and a right onto Via dei Serpenti, just after you turn left onto Largo Gaetana Agnesi there’s the stop for the Coliseum.

It’s a couple blocks farther to walk to get the bus than the train, but no tranfer.

We’ll explore the forum (walks card #20-24). If we haven’t seen anywhere with decent food (fairly likely), we’ll pay admission to the Coliseum, find a nook and have a picnic. Maybe more forum after?

Pretty much everywhere is steeply uphill from there. So we might just catch a cab back to the hotel.

If you are up for an uphill walk on the far side of the Coliseum, we can aim for the Via Labicana and San Clemente (open Mon-Sat 9am-12:30pm; 3-6pm), which has Byzantine mosaics. Then, hopefully, there will be food near there, and I can explore the basements of San Clemente (walks card #25, which include a Mithraeum (admission 5 euros).

If you are feeling more energetic, the uphill just to the left of the Via Labicana is the Via della Domus Aurea. It should lead to an entrance to the excavations of the Domus Aurea (walks card #28), open for guided tours (by appointment) Tues-Fri 10am-4pm for 6 euros. (06 3996 7700).

And then either catch a taxi or back downhill to the Coliseum for the ride to dinner.

I’m putting the uphill walk at the end of this trip because I am considering it optional. If you want to change that priority, we can put it first by taking transit to the Coliseum and then immediately catching a taxi. And then walking down the hill to the Forum/Coliseum.

And then an early night.

This is a slightly more laid back day. If you are antsy in the morning, I recommend a stroll around the Borghese gardens or the Spanish steps. Possibly even the nearby Piazza Navona (walks card #12-13), full of bustling tourism with cafes and shops.

We’ll want an early lunch (11ish-11:30) so that we can comfortably be back at the hotel by 1:30pm.

At 2pm, we’ll be waiting for a shuttle pick up before going on a tour of the Roman Countryside.

Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel

The 116 bus starts right by your hotel, jiggles all around the city. And then ends at the Vatican Museum. It should be a fun ride.

And then in the evening, we can catch the 116 bus across the river. We’d get off the bus right after it turns off the Lungotevere, to a small road, and then onto the Via Giulia.

And then go to La Taverna Di Martin for dinner

Then we can go back to the Via Guilia and walk along it (walk card #39) touristing until we are tired of walking. The 116 runs all along the street, and goes back very close to the hotel. After the stop we got off, the next pick up is between Via di Sant’Aurea and Via della Barchetta.

I vote we grab one of the on/off buses and take a full loop around and see what we’ve missed.

We can catch more of the Forum. We can hit the Jewish area (walk card #30) and Isola Tiberina (walk card #31). All sorts of fun.

There’s also the Piazza del Quirinale and the Trevi Fountain (walk card #7)

Get picked up very early in the morning for the Tivoli trip.

national holiday this day, so many things will be closed

I say we leave the day open for a) wandering the gardens, b) wandering the city, c) getting massages, or d) something else suggested by the concierge. Possibly a day of napping.

If we haven’t yet had a day of rain, than this is the day for the Pantheon (walk card #9-10). Even on holidays, they should be open 9am-1pm. And if they aren’t holding to a holiday schedule, then they should be open until 7:30pm.

early night

leaving early in the morning for Pompeii


A very early plane departure. Make sure that by Saturday, we have made shuttle/taxi reservations.

leaving Fiumicino (BA2545) at 07:30 Tuesday
arriving Gatwick 09:10 Tuesday


leaving Heathrow (BA0069) at 16:15 Tuesday
arriving PHL 19:30 Tuesday

Things not on this specific list:
Ara Pacis

Info about riding the bus

2 thoughts on “Planning a trip to Rome”

  1. Oooh, that looks like a lovely trip, m’dear. 🙂

    btw, my rss reader all of a sudden (well, last week, but all together) picked up like a dozen of your posts, going all the way back to Combined Purchasing in Jan, and stuffing them all under a Mar 11th date. weird.

  2. 1. You have to get out of Heathrow and spend some time in London. Take the Heathrow Express and you are there in 30 minutes. Just get out and wander around, or organise something – the London Eye would be great (with the folks), if you can get on, or a walking tour of Jack the Rippers London (assuming the folks don’t come) is ‘fun’ – in fact most walking tours are great, or take a bus up the river.

    2. If you know a Catholic priest / nun ask them for tips on where to eat in Rome. Chances are they spent some time there and are a great source of little places you will never find.

    3. Consider taking a tour bus on the Monday. Not the most exciting thing to do, but it does give you a great overview of the city. You will then know where you could walk and where you need transport.

    4. Be careful if someone dressed as a gladiator offers to take a picture of you with another dressed up person at the Colliseum. You then have to pay for the photo and they have your camera ! It is eyewateringly expensive to get it back…

    4. Take an organised tour of the Vatican / Sistine Chapel. We rolled up and there was a 3 – 4 hour queue (which is not unusual), but someone was hawking a tour to those queuing. She took us to near the front (which was worth the price of the tour alone), but the tour was excellent too. The best thing we did in Rome.

    5. Don’t miss the Trevi Fountain (I know it is on your list, but don’t miss it).

    6. If the folks need to sit down, pop in to a church. There are litterally hundreds in Rome, one on most streets. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter, quiet and plenty of seats! Tradition has it you can make a wish in each one too !!

    7. National Express run a coach taking you from Gatwick to Heathrow, which is probably the easiest option for you.

    Hope you have a great trip

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