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Planning for 10 nights in Rome in October

devarae

100+ Posts
Fingers crossed! I just booked direct flights from Boston to Rome for a ten night stay in Rome, September 20 thru October 10th!

It will be myself and my husband, along with my parents and my adult brother. I've booked an AirBnB in Piazza Sidney Sonnino, Trastevere: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/11541020

My husband, Mom and I were in Rome in 2017 for three nights (also in Trastevere) during which time we visited the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Colosseum/Palantine Hill (we took a small group tour), and we visited San Clemente and got to see the underground layers of previous temples, etc.

I'm starting to look into anything we should book in advance, such as visits to the Borghese Gallery, or any small group tours. I have a few questions for folks here:


Favorite/recommended small group tours of the Sistine Chapel/Vatican? I was looking at WalksOfItaly and debating whether doing the super early in the morning version was worth it for having fewer crowds. Also any thoughts on how tiring such a tour would be? There are 3 hour and 4 hour tours. I am wondering if there are benches or places to sit for folks with less stamina.

Has anyone here done a small group or private day trip to Civita di Bagnoregio from Rome? My dad and I are both very interested in seeing it but I think public transport would be too stressful for our party. I was looking at something like this: https://livtours.com/tours/orvieto-and-civita-di-bagnoregio-private-day-trip-from-rome/ (I would love to see Orvieto too, even if it's only for a morning).

Has anyone here visited the Roman Catacombs and did you enjoy them? (We loved our small group tour of the Paris Catacombs).

We are always on the lookout for "Secret" tours (like the one in Venice of the Doge's Palace) where you get to see things that are not open to the general public. If anyone has suggestions for things like that in Rome we would be happy to hear of it.

Has anyone done a "night" tour of the Colosseum as well as a day tour, and if so did you think it was worthwhile?

Thank you all in advance! I will add to this thread as I make further plans!
 

Mom83

100+ Posts
Update: I booked a Scavi tour! The website doesn't provide an email (only a fax/telephone) but I had seen folks listing one elsewhere and tried using that, and it worked fine. I emailed this morning EST and had a booking link within two hours!
You will enjoy this tour very much, I think. We have done it 3 times...2005, 2011, and 2017. The first time was just my husband and our 2 children...our daughter was attending school in Rome at the time. The next time was when we brought my husband’s parents to Italy...the 3rd time was when we brought our good friends with us. Each time, the tour was different as they are led by different guides...but we thoroughly enjoyed it each time.
 

Allen

10+ Posts
Outdoor ‘Breakfast at the Vatican’ buffet was a reasonably priced and delightful way to beat the morning crowd. I too found the scavi tour very interesting, though a bit grim. Child that I am, the highlight for me was being approved for entry and waved through by the impressively uniformed Swiss Guardsman scavi gatekeeper.
 

SMJ

100+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
We liked the Scavi tour as well.
It gets very warm down there, I don't know what it would be like in October; we did it in June and were nearly cooked!
Take plenty of water with you, and perhaps a fold up fan just in case.
You'd think it would be cold underground, but oh no. :0
Wear good footwear, as you are climbing over uneven narrow paths in dim-ish light.
I also agree with 3Millennia Tours if they are still operating.
Tony is very knowledgable!
 

devarae

100+ Posts
I absolutely loved our experience doing the Scavi tour! Good for you!
My husband and I will be back in Rome for 10 days next month. You might want to follow along on my blog, in my signature. Also, here's a link to our Scavi Tour experience if you want a little preview. http://keepyourfeetinthestreet.com/2012/05/the-scavi-tour/

I can't believe that was 10 years ago!
Thank you! I already had your blog in my feedreader having enjoyed your past reports and I am looking forward very much to hearing about the new trip! I hope everything goes well!
 

devarae

100+ Posts
Outdoor ‘Breakfast at the Vatican’ buffet was a reasonably priced and delightful way to beat the morning crowd. I too found the scavi tour very interesting, though a bit grim. Child that I am, the highlight for me was being approved for entry and waved through by the impressively uniformed Swiss Guardsman scavi gatekeeper.
I suspect my husband will also find the Swiss Guard one of his favorite parts!
 

HarveyK

10+ Posts
Outdoor ‘Breakfast at the Vatican’ buffet was a reasonably priced and delightful way to beat the morning crowd. I too found the scavi tour very interesting, though a bit grim. Child that I am, the highlight for me was being approved for entry and waved through by the impressively uniformed Swiss Guardsman scavi gatekeeper.
We did the Breakfast at the Vatican, in Sept., 2019, and it was wonderful. You do need to be at the Vatican very early (I believe it was around 7 or 7:30 a.m.) but you have a wonderful breakfast buffet on the terrace and then can see the Vatican for about an hour before they open the doors to the public and it becomes way overcrowded.
 

Alpinista

100+ Posts

devarae

100+ Posts
Coming back here with an update on planning, since our trip is less than 2 months away (eee!).

Reiterating what I already posted for reference: It will be myself and my husband, along with my parents and my adult brother. I've booked an AirBnB in Piazza Sidney Sonnino, Trastevere: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/11541020

Here's our current itinerary:

Sept 29 (Thursday): Fly direct from Boston.

Sept 30 (Friday): arrive early morning, but not planning anything in case of delays and since we will probably be tired. But maybe we will take a ramble around Trastevere or over to the Pantheon.

Oct 01 (Saturday): Unscheduled.

Oct 02 (Sunday): private day tour to Orvieto (9AM to dinnertime): https://livtours.com/tours/orvieto-and-civita-di-bagnoregio-private-day-trip-from-rome/

Oct 03 (Monday): Vatican Scavi tour in the morning. Hopefully since that is in the Basilica we can see that after we finish the tour? And probably some of us will climb the dome. We plan to stay in the area for lunch (does anyone know if there's anywhere we can sit to eat sandwiches if we bring them with us?) and then we have skip-the-line tix for the Vatican Museums at 3PM.

Oct 04 (Tuesday): Morning Unscheduled. Afternoon, visit the Aqueduct park. Probably via taxi to avoid extra walking to get there.

Oct 05 (Wednesday): Morning Unscheduled. Afternoon: Colosseum/Forum (or just Colosseum and save Forum/Hill for tomorrow).

Oct 06 (Thursday): Unscheduled, unless we decide to only do the Colosseum the previous day (we will have the 2-day tix so we could save the Forum/Hill for this day).

Oct 07 (Friday): day trip my brother is planning to a nearby seaside village (he really wants to see the Mediterranean)

Oct 08 (Saturday): Morning Unscheduled. Borghese gallery tix at 2PM (2 hour timed entry). Then in the evening (7:30) we have a night tour of the Colosseum including the underground.

Oct 09 (Sunday): Unscheduled.

Oct 10 (Monday): Fly home.

We are trying to do just one "thing" each day so that we can take it slow and have plenty of time for gelato breaks and side rambles! I am hoping to visit the Baths of Caracalla, Aventine Keyhole, Orange Garden on one of the free days, and to use the free mornings for meandering without any plans. And for checking out some of the pastry shops I have my eye on!
 

Mom83

100+ Posts
You have a wonderfully slow week planned!
1. Oct 3…the ScavI tour ends up in the Basilica…perfect time to visit it as you do not have to wait in the sometime lengthy security check line to enter.
2. Just a thought…Oct 5&8…I would not think you would want to visit the Colosseum twice…is there a reason you want to do that?
3. Maybe add in the Domus Aurea tour on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday? We are going for a second time in October. Or the Domus Romane?
- Domus Aurea https://www.coopculture.it/en/poi/domus-aurea/
- Domus Romane https://www.palazzovalentini.it/domus-romane/
 

devarae

100+ Posts
You have a wonderfully slow week planned!
1. Oct 3…the ScavI tour ends up in the Basilica…perfect time to visit it as you do not have to wait in the sometime lengthy security check line to enter.
Oh good, thank you for confirming that! I was hoping that was the case!

2. Just a thought…Oct 5&8…I would not think you would want to visit the Colosseum twice…is there a reason you want to do that?
We really wanted to do the night tour and also see the underground at night but we also very much wanted plenty of time on the Palantine Hill and see the SUPER sites, so that requires two different tickets (no Palantine/SUPER at night). We could of course do them both on the same day but the night tour was only available on Saturday and I thought perhaps midweek might be less hectic.

3. Maybe add in the Domus Aurea tour on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday? We are going for a second time in October. Or the Domus Romane?
- Domus Aurea https://www.coopculture.it/en/poi/domus-aurea/
- Domus Romane https://www.palazzovalentini.it/domus-romane/

I have added those to my list of possible options for unscheduled day! Thank you!
 

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