Need suggestions on what to see in Rome


#1

My husband, 25yr old son and I are going to Italy this September. I can’t wait! :smiley: We have never been to Europe before. We have are hotels and flights booked. We have the Rick Steve’s book on Italy but I would like Catholics’ opinions on what is best to see in Rome. We are also going to Assisi, Venice, and Florence.


#2

Rome: Scavi tour (must book in advance), Vatican Museum, 4 major basilicas, Testacchio Market, Church of St. Peter in Chains, St. Mary in Piazza del Popolo (for the Caravaggios), catacombs,

Florence: Duomo and Baptistry, San Marco (for the Fra Angelico frescos - amazing), Uffizi Gallery (must book in advance), San Miniato al Monte, Public Market,

I was in Rome, Florence and Orvieto in July! We liked visiting markets because it's real life, not a tourist trap. If you get the chance to eat at a restaurant where you pay one price (30 euros or so) for a meal and the chef decides what to give you - do it! We did it several times w/ no regrets.

I love Italy. :thumbsup:


#3

Oh! Wow! Where do I start!!

I have been to Rome four times - once as part of a group going for a canonization; then with my husband and one son; then twice with my husband. We both love Rome!

What to see? It will depend on how long you will be there! There is so much to see that you will have to limit yourselves, otherwise you will suffer from burnout!!

Definitely, St. Peter's. The square, the Basilica. Mass in he Basilica (my DH and I were there on June 19th at 5:00 pm. There were 4 choirs from the US there singing. It was heavenly!!).

The Vatican Museum. The other basilicas - St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, St. Paul Outside the Walls.

One of the Catacombs - The Catacombs of San Calisto or the Catacombs of San Sebastian.

The Trevi Fountain (Marvellous!), The Spanish Steps. The Pantheon and also the church a little way from there where the remains of St. Catherine of Sienna are.

The Sancta Scala (Holy Steps) - see italyheaven.co.uk/rome/scalasanta.html

The Roman Forum, the Coliseum, the Maratine Prison. I would recommend taking one of the tours of the Coliseum and the Forum - it was worth the money!

There is so much! How do you plan to get around? If you are there a week, buy an integrated bus ticket (we got one week tickets) that allow you to travel on any bus or tram and also on the metro for seven days from the time you activate it by putting it through the machine on the bus.

Rome is so marvelous! You will never run out of places to see. A couple of times, my DH and I just got on a bus and went to the end of it's route just to see whatever there was to see. Then, on the way back, we could decide where we might like to get off and explore.

Have a wonderful time.


#4

[quote="KCT, post:2, topic:208920"]
Rome: Scavi tour (must book in advance), Vatican Museum, 4 major basilicas, Testacchio Market, Church of St. Peter in Chains, St. Mary in Piazza del Popolo (for the Caravaggios), catacombs,

Florence: Duomo and Baptistry, San Marco (for the Fra Angelico frescos - amazing), Uffizi Gallery (must book in advance), San Miniato al Monte, Public Market,

I was in Rome, Florence and Orvieto in July! We liked visiting markets because it's real life, not a tourist trap. If you get the chance to eat at a restaurant where you pay one price (30 euros or so) for a meal and the chef decides what to give you - do it! We did it several times w/ no regrets.

I love Italy. :thumbsup:

[/quote]

What specifically are you looking to see and do you have any sort of mobility issues? Each time we go, we sort of have a different theme (first time was "typical tourist" then "Catholic" then "Ancient Ruins" then "Food" then "Beaches" then "Relax" and a few others mixed in) so knowing your interests would help with specific suggestions.

We've also used a number of the travel books, and while I like Rick Steve's show, I don't like his books at all. Frommer's has the best book IMO. If you get a Day-by-Day book, it'll be very small (easy to carry around), have maps of public transit and a big map of the city, and has restaurants and recommended itineraries. If you have no idea what to do, Frommer's "Rome in 1 day" or "Rome in 3 days" or "Rome in 1 week" will get you to the major tourist destinations and most of the sights of interest. But you can live in Rome for a year and not see everything.

We went a few months ago and used Frommer's Rome Day-by-Day and Frommer's Florence Day-by-Day and they were very good (I'm pretty sure these are new. We had "Frommer's Pocket" books before and the Day-by-Day is a major upgrade). Frommer's Naples Day-by-Day wasn't very helpful, but that's because Naples is a horrible place to visit (do not go to Naples unless you speak Italian. And even then they were very mean to me.)

A few other tips: don't drive. You'll probably die (it really is as bad as people say - stop lights are a suggestion). Bring a backpack to carry things in as you walk around (unless you have mobility issues, you should walk everywhere in the cities - especially Venice). And take time to just walk around the city streets in the evening. Especially Venice and Rome. If you really dislike cigarette smoke (I'm very allergic), eat inside at restaurants. Outside everyone will smoke.


#5

Thank you both for all the ideas. Unfortunately we only have 10 days in Italy and we will be in Rome for 5 nights so we have to narrow it down. We will be staying near the ancient ruins which I understand is near Pantheon. Please pray for my dh and son that they will become believers.


#6

[quote="CoffeeHound, post:4, topic:208920"]
What specifically are you looking to see and do you have any sort of mobility issues? Each time we go, we sort of have a different theme (first time was "typical tourist" then "Catholic" then "Ancient Ruins" then "Food" then "Beaches" then "Relax" and a few others mixed in) so knowing your interests would help with specific suggestions.

We've also used a number of the travel books, and while I like Rick Steve's show, I don't like his books at all. Frommer's has the best book IMO. If you get a Day-by-Day book, it'll be very small (easy to carry around), have maps of public transit and a big map of the city, and has restaurants and recommended itineraries. If you have no idea what to do, Frommer's "Rome in 1 day" or "Rome in 3 days" or "Rome in 1 week" will get you to the major tourist destinations and most of the sights of interest. But you can live in Rome for a year and not see everything.

We went a few months ago and used Frommer's Rome Day-by-Day and Frommer's Florence Day-by-Day and they were very good (I'm pretty sure these are new. We had "Frommer's Pocket" books before and the Day-by-Day is a major upgrade). Frommer's Naples Day-by-Day wasn't very helpful, but that's because Naples is a horrible place to visit (do not go to Naples unless you speak Italian. And even then they were very mean to me.)

A few other tips: don't drive. You'll probably die (it really is as bad as people say - stop lights are a suggestion). Bring a backpack to carry things in as you walk around (unless you have mobility issues, you should walk everywhere in the cities - especially Venice). And take time to just walk around the city streets in the evening. Especially Venice and Rome. If you really dislike cigarette smoke (I'm very allergic), eat inside at restaurants. Outside everyone will smoke.

[/quote]

Thank you too Coffehound, I will definately pick up the Frommer's Day-By-Day for Rome.
My dh and son want to see the vatican, the ruins, and the coliseum. I am interested in the Catholic churches. Do we need to get tickets before we go?


#7

[quote="onmyknees, post:5, topic:208920"]
Thank you both for all the ideas. Unfortunately we only have 10 days in Italy and we will be in Rome for 5 nights so we have to narrow it down. We will be staying near the ancient ruins which I understand is near Pantheon. Please pray for my dh and son that they will become believers.

5 nights in Rome is great! You can fit a lot in! Of course that's touring everyday but that's what your there for. I went in '03 and only had 2 days. Saw the Vatican Museums St Peter's; a lot of the fountains Trevi being spectacular. The Forum and the Colosseum (sp?) You will have time to see much more. I know I did more but that's what I can remember right now. No matter how much time you have there it will never be enough!!

Congrats and have a wonderful, blessed and safe trip.

[/quote]


#8

Oh thank you for this! I was thinking that we would only be able to see a couple of things. Do you know if we need to book ahead or can we book things from our hotel?
[/quote]


#9

[quote="onmyknees, post:8, topic:208920"]


#10

[quote="onmyknees, post:5, topic:208920"]
Thank you both for all the ideas. Unfortunately we only have 10 days in Italy and we will be in Rome for 5 nights so we have to narrow it down. We will be staying near the ancient ruins which I understand is near Pantheon. Please pray for my dh and son that they will become believers.

[/quote]

Thanks for the information. I'll get back to you in a few hours. But for now I wanted to say that the most moving experience I've ever had is in some of the deep ruins of Rome. You can literally find 1st century and 2nd century churches. They look very similar to modern Catholic Churches - Passion frescoes on the wall and all. When you see places where St. Peter could have prayed, that's pretty moving. You have to imagine how strong their belief was to construct churches when Christians were being thrown to lions less than a mile away.

You just have to be careful in Rome if you have a tour guide. Many like to bash the pope (seriously). The problem was that in the 1600's, many of the marble columns and the marble statues from the Roman Empire were moved to the Vatican for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica. Even today, many Romans feel like the pope blighted their city (which really isn't fair since the Visigoths really took much of the copper and rubled the city then a series of invasions in the 1000's really destroyed most of what was left).


#11

[quote="ElizabethPH, post:9, topic:208920"]


#12

[quote="CoffeeHound, post:10, topic:208920"]
Thanks for the information. I'll get back to you in a few hours. But for now I wanted to say that the most moving experience I've ever had is in some of the deep ruins of Rome. You can literally find 1st century and 2nd century churches. They look very similar to modern Catholic Churches - Passion frescoes on the wall and all. When you see places where St. Peter could have prayed, that's pretty moving. You have to imagine how strong their belief was to construct churches when Christians were being thrown to lions less than a mile away.

You just have to be careful in Rome if you have a tour guide. Many like to bash the pope (seriously). The problem was that in the 1600's, many of the marble columns and the marble statues from the Roman Empire were moved to the Vatican for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica. Even today, many Romans feel like the pope blighted their city (which really isn't fair since the Visigoths really took much of the copper and rubled the city then a series of invasions in the 1000's really destroyed most of what was left).

[/quote]

Oh thanks for the heads up about the pope bashing story. We don't know yet if it is best to take a tour with a guide or just go at our own pace. Someone told me that if we don't have a guide we won't get the information because everything is in a different language.

The ancient churches in the deep ruins is something I was hoping to find. Awesome! My son and dh are really into ancient history.


#13

You will LOVE Rome!!! I cannot stress enough how you should arrange in advance to take the Scavi tour, directly under St. Peter's. It was AMAZING beyond words. To see what may be Peter's resting place...WOW! Here is the link: saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/ScaviTour.htm

We also loved the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html

We were honored and humbled, on our last visit, to have a private audience with His Holiness Pope John Paul II inside his apartments. We think our Archbishop arranged it, but we have never known for sure.

Just walking around Rome is delightful. We loved all the old ruins, churches (St. Paul's Outside the Walls was a favorite.) and the food is amazing.

Have a wonderful time!!!


#14

[quote="onmyknees, post:12, topic:208920"]
Oh thanks for the heads up about the pope bashing story. We don't know yet if it is best to take a tour with a guide or just go at our own pace. Someone told me that if we don't have a guide we won't get the information because everything is in a different language.

[/quote]

Nope. Everything is in English in Rome. Every informational sign I've ever seen (the ones along the ruins that tell you what it is) is printed at least in Italian and English, and sometimes also in German, Spanish, French, and Japanese. If you go outside the city to some of the small towns you'll only see Italian, but you won't need to go there - you'll stay in the city. In the city, at least 75% of the people speak English (and virtually100% of the waiters and shop owners - I only know of one pharmacy where they don't speak English, but the Frommer's guides have enough Italian in the back to get you through) and most signs are in English. Also, almost all restaurants have an Italian and English menu and they put them outside the restaurant along the street so you can see the food before you go in.

The first few times I went I didn't speak a word of Italian and got by just fine without a guide. Guides are helpful for the Vatican, though, because there is just so much to see in the museums you can't do it all yourself. We also get a guide if the location offers it (like the Colosseum). People will stand outside the main tourist locations and offer you a "guided tour". Never take those. They're almost always just random people (that will lie and say they are archeology students) looking to make a few bucks and probably don't know much about the site (seen Slumdog Millionaire?). When you go to the site to buy tickets, the site will say if it has an official guided tour.


#15

[quote="dixieagle, post:13, topic:208920"]
We were honored and humbled, on our last visit, to have a private audience with His Holiness Pope John Paul II inside his apartments. We think our Archbishop arranged it, but we have never known for sure.

[/quote]

Wow! We tried to get a private audience after our wedding for a blessing, but I was told Benedict XVI did not continue that tradition and that it was a John Paul II only thing.


#16

You can see plenty in 5 days. No problem!

Public transportation is great, plus many sights are walking distance. This last trip, my brother and I decided in advance to use as little public transportation as possible and walk as much as we could. (we had both been to Rome before, so we weren't interested in cramming everything in)

I'd make a list of your "must see" places then leave plenty of time for exploring. We found great churches and restaurants on our own.


#17

Thanks CoffeeHound, dixieagle, and KCT,

You all have given me such good info. I really appreciate it. Coffeehound I am a coffeehound myself. I love expresso and am looking forward to trying the real thing in Italy. I will use your links too dixieagle.


#18

[quote="onmyknees, post:1, topic:208920"]
My husband, 25yr old son and I are going to Italy this September. I can't wait! :D We have never been to Europe before. We have are hotels and flights booked. We have the Rick Steve's book on Italy but I would like Catholics' opinions on what is best to see in Rome. We are also going to Assisi, Venice, and Florence.

[/quote]

I recommend the Basilica Santa Croce (Holy Cross of Jerusalem). It is near St. John Lateran. There is a relic chapel in the back that contains part of the Titulus, the sign from the top of the cross retrieved by St. Helen in the 4th century. The word "Nazarenus" in Latin is very readable on it. It had quite an impact on me.


#19

I forgot to mention the Holy Stairs near the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

Believed to be the stairs Jesus climbed to see Pilate, they are covered in marble and have a few “windows” you can look through and see blood stained wood.

Most people climb the stairs on their knees. I’ve done it twice and found it very moving.


#20

I agree with what everyone here has suggested. :)

I might be mistaken, but I didn't see anyone mention the Rocca Maggiore in Assisi. It is a big fortress/castle. When my class went to Europe, we were given a choice: either we could visit the Basilica of St. Francis and the Basilica of St. Clare, or we could go to the castle. I chose to go with the group to see the Basilicas. When our groups met up afterwards, I had to listen to the other people talk for hours about how amazing the castle was. For the people who went, it was the highlight of their trip.


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