we’re looking to make a trip to Rome this year to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary…can anyone recommend a good place to start searching for packages? We’re looking for “family friendly” even tho it will just be the two of us…we don’t want a stuffy time
Ohhhhh, I wanna go back!!! When I visited, we stayed with family - however, I have this thread marked for when we get to go again
We did Italy solo but Globus has some nice trips.
I went to Lordes, Fatima & Santiago de Compostella with Globus.
Any particular reason you need a package?
Our family went for Christmas 2004. We rented an apartment, used public transportation, and found restaurants when we needed them. We also like Rick Steeves and used his guidebook.
I would recommend a hotel in a second. More homey (and economical) than a hotel, kitchen, washing machine and great ambiance. —KCT
oops! I meant I would recommend an apartment in a second!!
see if your diocese or any parishes are sponsoring tours you can get in on to save money on travel and accommodations.
you can easily do rome on your own with a rick steves book
or you can do a pilgrimage with steve ray, for example.
he has one this october on his site.
My husband and I are going to Rome in October. We decided not to go with a tour group from the US. It was a big decision on our part but the groups that are going from our parish and neighboring parish are also going to spend lots of road time in Italy. We prefer to stay in Rome, see what we want to see and take day trips out of the city. My advise is to identify what you really want to see and do while you are there. Then see if a group will offer what you want. You can search the web to find lots of your answers to help you decide! We ended up booking with a travel agent our entire trip: flight, hotel, and ground tours in Rome!
as a complete sidenote… did you know he is on the board of directors for NORML (national association for the reform of marijuana laws.)
i find that amusing.
and to the OP, i’ve been to Roma a bunch of times… my advice, skip the tours and wander the city. The first dozen or so times i was there i’d stay in the less desirable part of the city near the termini train station and St. Mary Major Basilica which isn’t as bad as people say. last time i went, i still stay in that part of the city because i’m familiar with it.
just wander and get lost, Rome is small and walkable, you can be from the parthenon to the spanish steps to the Vatican post office in 60 minutes if you hustle. You get the smell of diesel in your nostrils everywhere and take a few hours each day in front of some small cafe with some little half packs of cigarettes and a few drinks and just people watch. it’s an interesting mix of amazing people. i don’t smoke. but for some reason i always do in Rome.
i even dug through my bookmarks and found the place i usually stay at…
not for everyone, but i’d recommend it.
Heh, doesn’t surprise me. Rick Steves is a real lefty. His politics really show in his books too – sit down and read them and you’ll see. Same with his website. Nor do I appreciate his constant assertions that his travel style is superior to all others, or his implications that you’re a fool if you don’t take his advice.
Alas, as annoying as Rick Steves is, he’s written some of the best European travel books out there. So, when I go to Rome in January, his book will be coming with me.
Has anyone been to Rome in January? Is it a good time to visit?
(PS: If you’re feeling tempted to buy Rick Steve’s $100 carry-on bag…don’t. ebags.com has the same bag for half the price, and it’s the best bag that I’ve ever bought…)
I’ve been looking into that too. Expedia has some nice packages near the Vatican for around $1600-2000.
Don’t miss lesser known churches - San Pietro and San Giovanni in Laterno are spectacular, to be sure, but there are so many secret treasures. I’ve been to Rome 3 times, for a total of 27 days, never with a tour, and my favorite parts were just wandering, popping into every church we passed.
San Clemente is gorgeous, with a great archeological dig underneath…Santa Cecelia is quietly moving (I don’t know if they’re open all year, but if you can get to the catacombs, and see her memorial there, do so). Santa Maria Sopra Minerva is right near the Pantheon and has fantastic gothic architecture and art.
Santa Maria in Trastevere has breathtaking mosaics. Santa Susanna, the American Church in Rome (where you can find English masses) was kind of non-descript in general, but cannot be missed - it is the home of the Ecstasy of St. Theresa by Bernini - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecstasy_of_St_Theresa My personal favorite, I think, is Sant Andrea del Fratte, near the Spanish Steps, that contains some of the original angels from the Bridge of Angels.
Speaking of Bernini, if you enjoy art and sculpture at all, don’t miss the Villa Borghese. His sculptures defy description - they are so full of detail and raw emotion, and humanity, sometimes there is the eerie sense that they are real people, trapped in stone. All are remarkable, but my favorite is The Rape of Proserpina, depicting Pluto kidnapping her to the underworld. Last time I studied it for almost an hour. See the Pieta and other works first though - by the time I got to Michaelangelo, I’d been thoroughly spoiled by Bernini, and found it very…blah.
I have lots and lots of recs /tips for the secular historical/pagan side of things as well, but I don’t know if you’re interested One general one is that if you’re planning on seeing the colosseum, your ticket is good for both the colosseum and the palatine hill across the street - buy your ticket at the palatine office and avoid all the massive lines, you can skip ahead when you get to the colosseum (they’re good from the time bought until I think 1 pm the next day, excluding holidays, ask when you purchase to make sure, if you’re planning on splitting it).
If you want to be in the center of things, and be able to walk almost everywhere (the only time we used public transport was to get to the catacombs, though Borghese is also a hike, but doable if you’re active and have time) look for a place near the Pantheon. We stay at the Hotel Adriano, which is very nice, clean, pretty quiet, great staff, good breakfast, and very affordable - don’t know if that’s because we’re originating in Europe as well though. There’s also an awesome hidden little take out pizza place (authentic and cheap) practically next door, and “the best gelato in rome” aka “most famous”, Giolitti’s, is right around the corner - pay first, then go to the counter with your ticket.
A lot of books/hotels call things “centered” that really aren’t - Pantheon puts you about a 20 minute walk from the Vatican and colosseum (opposite directions, with lots between), 10 from Trevi, 5 from the Spanish Steps.
Have a great time, it’s my favorite city in the world!
One of my favorite churches is the Church of St. Peter in Chains. I find it very moving.
St. Cecilia in Trastavere is also beautiful.
There is just no shortage of churches in Rome!! —KCT
I second the notion GET THE RICK STEVE’S ROME 2007 book!!
He’s the best!
Stay at the Hotel Michaelangelo near the Vatican!!
I so want to go to Rome again soon. It’s been 30 years since I was there.
I was pleasantly surprised by his treatment of Christmas in Rome. There were clips of JPII at what was his last midnight Mass. I thought it was done w/ respect. —KCT
Yup! It is cool, and far less crowded. Still Christmas Season, so, the Vaitcan is still decorated - the life sized manger in St. Peter’s Square
January is when we always go - we hate the heat, and the crowds, and found it gorgeous and not too busy. We were there for Ephiphany twice, and so were in St. Peter’s square to hear the Pope’s address. First John Paul II, and then Benedict (the year between we arrived the day after, and visited JPII’s tomb
The energy in the crowd with JPII was incredible - I cried with joy, which was completely unexpected since I was going through a rough patch with my faith at the time. Totally different feeling for Benedict, I felt badly for him when the crowd was dispersing while he was still speaking, but it was his first one, and everyone will warm up to him in time
We had no rain at all and beautiful blue skies the first two trips, then more rain and clouds the 3rd, but it was still pleasant. I would hate to go in the summer with the intense heat and hordes of other tourists.