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    Thread: Rome first week of March 2019

    1. Member psykokid's Avatar
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      01-21-2019 01:32 PM #1
      So we've got a trip booked for Rome in a just over a month. Leaving LAX on BA on 2/27, flight to London then a 2.5 hour layover at LHR then a short hop to FCO landing at 16:30 on the 28th. We've already got a few things on the books to do, looking for any additional things to check out while we're there. Our schedule looks like this so far:

      Thursday 2/28 - Take the Leonardo express from FCO to Termini station, hop the Metro A line to Ottaviano Station and walk the two blocks to our Air BNB. Check in and then go walk around St. Peters square in the Vatican and get some food before calling it an early night.
      Friday 3/1 - Early morning Vatican tour starting at 7:00 to get into the Sistine Chapel before it becomes a zoo. Tour the rest of the Vatican Museum and St. Peters. Should be done around noonish. If the line to the top isnt silly we'll climb to the top of the Dome of St. Peters. Walk over to the Mercato Trionfale and get some snacks and probably call it an early day at the Air BNB.
      Saturday 3/2 - Early visit to the Colosseum, then Palatine Hill and the Forum. After the Forum walk to the Altar of the Fatherland and check out the views from the top of the city. From the Altar, just go on a walkabout checking out the sights. Planning on seeing the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain and Spanish steps. By then we'll probably be done and just head back to the Air BNB and rest.
      Sunday 3/3 - Heading to the Appia Antica and check out some of the catacombs. If we have time after that we may check out the Castel Sant'Angelo and then just kind of poke around the Prati area or maybe head over to the Piazza del Popolo.
      Monday 3/4 - Get up early and catch the Freccerossa high speed train to Naples, then take the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii. Kill a few hours at Pompeii and then back to Naples. If time allows we're going to head to the Naples National Archaeological Museum and see some of the stuff the locals looted from Pompeii and Herculaneum when they were re-discovered. Taking the Frecciarossa back to Rome at 19:30 and probably grab something to eat on the way back to the flat.
      Tuesday 3/5 - Low key day, see anything we didn't have a chance to see that we wanted to on other days.
      Wednesday 3/6 - get up early and head to FCO for our flight back home at 11:00.

      We've got our schedule pretty laid out, but depending on the weather things may get shuffled a bit. Only things that are laid out in stone right now are the Vatican tour and the day trip to Naples/Pompeii.
      You can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter

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    3. Member psykokid's Avatar
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      03-13-2019 08:06 PM #2
      Got back a week ago Wednesday and had an absolutely amazing time. Stayed pretty close to our original schedule, but had to make some changes on the fly due to tour availability and crowds on some of the days.

      Thursday 2/28 - went almost exactly to plan, but ended up getting dinner at a little pizza joint before checking out St. Peter's Square since we were famished from traveling all day.

      Friday 3/1 - Did the early morning Vatican Tour, well worth the early entry. We got let in at 8:00 and sprinted through a pretty empty museum. When we got to the Sistine Chapel there were about two dozen people in the place which made it really nice to sit down and be able to enjoy everything without a crowd of people. We went back through the chapel on our way to St. Peters and it was pretty packed, not as bad as some pics I've seen but still not as nice as it was when we were in there. After our initial visit to the Sistine Chapel we went back through the Vatican Museums and saw everything we sprinted through and more. Our tour Guide from Walks Of Italy, Dario, did a great job of giving us the highlights and pointing out the important things in the Vatican Museum. The museum is MASSIVE, and without a guide it would have been really hard to get a good grasp of the highlights of the museum. We will definitely go back one day to saunter around and explore at our leisure. After the Vatican Museums we headed to St. Peters. WOW.. The place is just awe inspiring. You can see tons of pictures but never really get a sense of the scale of the place without being there in person. Again, Dario gave us a quick glossing over the highlights and at 11:00 we were done. This worked out well as the only tour we could get of the Colosseum that included all the areas we wanted to see was on Friday at 13:05.

      We headed up to the Ottaviano metro station and took it down to Termini where we switched from the A line to the B line. You get off the B line at the Colosseo station and it dumps your right in front of the Colosseum. The trip only took about 30 minutes total so we wandered around and figured out where we needed to meet our tour group, which if you book through the Colosseum is at the Stern Gate. It was a bit confusing as the ticket conformation said nothing about where to meet but the official Colosseum workers pointed us to the right place. With it figured out we wandered around the neighborhood close to the Colosseum and found some snacks and a gelato to kill some time till our tour group was to meet up, which was actually at 13:20, not the time on our ticket. We met up with our group and did the full tour of the Arena Floor, the Underground, and the Belvedere which is the highest level of Colosseum. This took about 2 hours total and after the tour is over you can wander around and see the temporary exhibits and some other areas we didn't see on our tour. By the time we left the Colosseum it was around 4:30 and we were pretty beat after running all day. We hopped the metro back to the flat and took a siesta. Went out and found a restaurant a few blocks from the flat and had a good sit down meal of antipasto (meats and cheeses) and primi (pasta) . Good, but not out of this world. It wasn't bad for a random spot picked out of the blue. After dinner we walked around and explored the area, making our way down to Castel Sant'Angelo and the pedestrian bridge in front of it that is lined with pretty awesome statues. From here we walked back down the central drag towards St. Peters square and then back to the flat..

      Saturday 3/2 - Since we got the Colosseum tour out of the way on Friday we started our day a little more leisurely and took the metro back to the Colosseo station after grabbing an espresso and cornetto at a cafe near the flat. We used the second part of the Colosseum ticket to visit Palataine Hill and the Roman Forum. We just sort of wandered around and checked everything out, spending about 2 hours between the two areas. Around 11:30 we exited the forum and walked to the Altar della Patria aka the Wedding Cake or the Victor Emmanulle Monument. Walked around and made our way up to the middle of the monument where you can take an elevator to the top for 10 euro per person. We went ahead and did it, the views across Rome were pretty amazing as it's one of the tallest structures in Rome. After gawking at the sky line for a while my wife and daughter were getting hungry so we headed towards Campo Fiori to check out a resturant we'd read about. Along the way we passed Largo Argentina, the place where Julius Caesar was murdered and is now home to a large colony of feral cats. Once at Campo Fiori we found the restaurant, Osteria Da Fortunata, and were able to get a seat pretty quickly. We timed it just right as shortly after we arrived the lunch rush hit and the place was packed. They hand make their noodles on site and the Carbonara was the best I had while in Rome.

      After lunch we wandered around the open air market that they hold daily at Campo Fiori and just took in the sights. Some good produce, meats and cheeses were there as well as a bunch of junk since it is also a pretty touristy area. We took it all in and when we were done we started to make our way towards Piazza Navona. It was midday the the lighting was pretty crap but the fountains in the middle by Bernini were still pretty impressive. My daughter had been fighting a bug so we just took it sort of slow after she started to lag. We hung out by the fountain at the south end of the Piazza and people watched for a bit before deciding to get some gelato on our way to our next stop, the Pantheon. We found a little hole in the wall joint and got three excellent gelatos and sat down inside to rest our feet a bit. Once the gelato had been consumed and we were feeling rested we made our way to the Pantheon. It's amazing how you are walking down a little alley and all the sudden BAM! here's this massive structure that has been in continuous use since it was built, thousands of years ago.. We walked around the Piazza della Rotunda and then made our way inside. WOW... it's another one of those places that you have to see, as the scale of it is just so massive. There are a lot of famous Italians buried there, including the painter Raphael and the first king of a united Italy, Victor Emmanuel II. It's so well preserved because it went straight from being a pagan temple to a church that has been continuous use. With the Pantheon ticked off the list we made our way to the Trevi Fountain. Even outside of the tourist season it was a zoo. I let my wife and daughter wade through the people and I hung out and admired from afar. After they were done with the Trevi Fountain they were feeling kind of done so we decided to head to the closest metro station, Barberini, and head back to the flat. Well, due to a navigational error by yours truly we ended up walking in pretty much the opposite direction we needed to go in. After discovering my error we back tracked and then re-routed and made our way to the Metro. Again, an afternoon siesta was in order. My daughter was feeling a bit out of it so we let her rest and decided to check out another place we'd heard about, Bonci Pizzarium. It was about 8:30 at that time and by the time we walked the 20 minutes from the flat it was just about an hour before closing. You take a number at this place and then wait your turn. Once your number is called you pick out the pizza you want and how much as this is done al taglia, or by the cut and sold by weight. They weigh it up and then toss it into the oven to heat, so you take your receipt, pay and then wait again for your number to be called. Once its done if you're lucky you can find a spot at the counter outside to eat as there is no seating other than a random bench out front. This pizza was well worth the wait, which ended up being about a half hour total. After we ate we took some leftovers back to the flat for our daughter who was still knocked out and called it a night.

      More to come...
      You can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter

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