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Rome and Florence in September - what to see, what to do?

js4design

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My wife and I are going on our honeymoon at the end of September - 3 days in Rome, 4 in Florence, and an evening in Paris (Paris was not planned but became an option through an overnight flight. We should have 16 hours there). My question for those who have been, what things have you really enjoyed in either city? We don't want to cram in everything possible since it is a relatively short trip, but we would like to see the most famous sites as well as do some things off the beaten path. Any restaurant and shopping recommendations are welcome as well.

One other question - we are going to the opera while in Florence at St. Mark's English Church, and are wondering what the acceptable attire is for an event like this? Black tie, suit, sport jacket? Any insight would be appreciated.
 

SkinnyGoomba

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Awesome, we did Rome and Florence last year and had a great time. I went on the church tour in Rome, they're spectacular. We also went to the spanish steps to shop, if you enjoy the famous italian brands you'll be blown away. There was also a row of Antique dealers around the corner from there that had some incredible inventories.

Dress well and they will treat you spectacularly in the shops. I received service in every one of them that was next level.

I enjoyed rome but it felt like a much older version of new york to me, I fell in love with Florence.

Small, but incredible, restaurants were much easier to find in Florence. We went to Palazzo Pitto, Uffizi Gallery, catacombs, a tour to Siena, Chianti and Pisa. I started skipping tours at this point and just enjoying the city, it has a lot to offer and is run at a very relaxed pace. The shopping is incredible, they have every italian brand I could think of and if not a full store front they would have them in the proprietor run clothing shops.

I would not be shy on wearing black tie to opera, but it's probably not necessary to wear better than a suit. We went in July, so it was incredibly hot, I wore coat and tie everywhere and never felt out of place. I brought a couple linen suits but rarely felt the need to wear them.
 

js4design

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Thanks for the info SG. Was the church tour through a specific group? My only concern with the opera is that it is a small venue (150 seats) and might be a bit more informal. We are trying to pack light so I'd like to bring my blazer suit to do double duty, and the tux would be a lot of packing space for something used just one evening.
 

SkinnyGoomba

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I would skip the tux if you are saving room for stuff you'll use more often. If you are a clothes horse, then save room for what you bring back.

You could rely on a coat/tie and be perfect for pretty much everything you'll do. Italians, as a whole, dressed much better than what I'm used to seeing, but not incredibly formal.

We went with kensington tours and they set us up with a local guide who was pretty good, they put together all the touring packages for us.
 
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LuxLife

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Old Florence is very compact and completely walkable. Always buy tickets online, for only a few extra euros, you will save time waiting in the long lines.

In Rome the ‘’Hop Off Hop On Bus’’ is a good deal as it transports you to all the sites and saves the headache of having to find your way.

A suit in Sept for the Opera will be fine.

Below is a list I just created for a friend, hope it helps.
If you have questions, please let me know


Food, Life and Italian Culture in Rome
http://www.browsingrome.com

Free Apps for IPhone
Rome restaurants

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cibando/id342656869?mt=8

Restaurants
Breakfast in Italy is an Espresso & Corneto. You can buy this at any corner coffee place.


Florence
http://www.visitflorence.com/
In Florence the specialty is Pasta Cingale (Wild Boar) and Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Steak charred with spices and pre-sliced)

Nerbone (Mercato Centrale)
Boiled beef sandwich with hot sauce or Lasagna with glass of wine


Trattoria Mario (Mercato Centrale)
Via Rosina, 2r | Corner of Piazza del Mercato Centrale,

http://trattoria-mario.com

Cipolla Rossa
Via de' Conti,53, Florence, Toscana 50123, IT


To eat Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Steak)

Trattoria "I due G" - Via B. Cennini 6/r - Tel. 055-218.623
http://www.trattoriaidueg.com/english

Trattoria Sostanza
Via della Porcellana 25r
+39.055.212.691

http://www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com/2011/12/trattoria-sostanza-florence.html
Trattoria Cibreo
Via del Verrocchio, 8r

http://www.edizioniteatrodelsalecibreofirenze.it/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=152&Itemid=90

Gelato
Antica Gelateria Fiorentina Via Faenza, n. 2A
Lots of crappy gelato in Florence, this place is tops.


Coffee & Pastry
CAFFE GILLI
Piazza della Repubblica 39R

http://www.gilli.it/
CAFE RIVOIRE
Piazza della Signoria 5R

http://www.rivoire.it

Visit
Mercato Centrale.
If you are staying in an Apt:
At the Mercato go to the PASTA kiosk and buy Pasta Trufuto (You will die)!!! Then buy some Parmesan Reggiano and
that will make a good dinner. At the Mercato buy, Prosciutto, Mortadella and truffles, biscotti, Vino Santo and Chianti


Places you MUST visit
Il Duomo


Uffizi Gallery (Galleria degli Uffizi) MUST GO TO THIS PLACE. Go to the place and buy a ticket for you to pass in front of the line!!! Or you will wait for hours. Michelangelo, Giotto, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Perugino, and Raphael.

Piazza della Signoria

Church of San Lorenzo Piazza San Lorenzo

Church Santa Maria Novella at Piazza Santa Maria Novella (Near train station) Around this area walk to the back streets and have lunch for 5 euros

Galleria dell' Academia

Ponte Vecchio

The things to buy in Florence, besides food are leather bags, gloves, shoes, scarfs, wine and oils.

ROME
http://www.rome.info
http://www.aviewoncities.com/rome/romeattractions.htm
Pasta Carbonara, Fried artichoke, Pasta Cacio e Peppe

La taverna dei fori imperiali
via Madonna dei Monti, 9, 00184 Rome

http://www.latavernadeiforiimperiali.com/english.htm

Trattoria Monti
Via di San Vito, 13, 00185 Rome, Italy


ELEANORA d’aRBOREA
Corso Trieste 23 – Roma (Trieste Area)

http://www.ristoranteeleonoradarborea.com/en/

Osteria Barberini
Via Della Purificazione 21, 00187 Rome, Italy

http://www.osteriabarberini.com/

Salumeria Rosciol
Via dei Giubbonari, 21

www.salumeriaroscioli.com
To buy cheese and cold cuts go to Roscioli or Beppe e Suoi Formaggi
Campo di fiori market - 8- 1 pm


Gelato
La Gelateria Frigidarium
Via del Governo Vecchio
http://www.frigidarium-gelateria.com/

Visit
Vatican
Buy your ticket online so you don’t wait in line It will take minimum 4 hours to visit

http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html

Coliseum
http://www.rome.info/colosseum/ Buy tickets in advance so you don’t wait in line

Pantheon
Trevi Fountain
Piazza Di Spanga (Spanish Steps)
Piazza Navona (Square for a cocktail)
Castel Sant' Angelo


In both cities it is custom to dress up and do the nightly stroll to see and be seen.
The Italians have this mastered its called ''La Passeggiata''. If you smoke you can buy some Toscana Extra Vecchio Cigars and enjoy on your stroll.
 

archetypal_yuppie

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What neighborhood are you staying in while you're in Rome? I highly recommend a casual evening in Trastevere, it's a much less touristy area with a lot of good spots to eat/drink. You can walk the little streets until you find something you like.

It's a ~45 mins slow walk to/from the spanish steps, and on the way you see a lot of interesting ruins, have a choice of a few nice bridges to cross.

I prefer exploring vs. guided tours, and this walk suits that style very well.

If you're looking for a great dinner spot 10 mins from the spanish steps, head to Santopadre, which is kind of in the direction of the trevi fountain. Very authentic, no menu, but the owner/family speaks some english.

Given the fantastic meal and lack of a menu, even though we had ~400 euros on us we were a bit worried about having enough cash. I think it came to ~75 euros, so we were blown away.

Of course, not acting like a doofus American tourist will get you much better service/experience if you do seek out less touristy places.
 

gomestar

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+1 on the Trastevere evening stroll. Work off the glutton from Pizza ai Marmi.
 

Mr Melanzane

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Rome- Galleria Borghese. More compact and questionably better than the slightly shabby Vatican museums. Of course Sistine Chapel is in the latter.
 

gnatty8

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lol, will be there September 11 through 21, let's meat..
 

FunLovinStyle

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Three days in Rome is good for getting a feel of the city. The trick is to do a little bit of planning in advance: map out the main things you want to see and then visit them in an order that reduces backtracking. In that way, Rome becomes a very walkable city, and you'll find that walking between sites is just as beautiful as the sites themselves.

On a one-day trip to Rome a few years ago, my wife and I did the following in about eight hours:
  • started at the Colosseum (ordered tickets online in advance to avoid standing on line)
  • walked across the street to the Roman Forum (same tickets as the Colosseum, if I recall)
  • walked across to Palatine Hill / Circus Maximus
  • walked over to Capitoline Hill and the Victor Emmanuel Monument
  • walked up to the Trevi Fountain with lunch at a little pizzeria on the corner
  • walked down to the Pantheon
  • walked a few blocks to Piazza Navona
  • grabbed a taxi to St. Peter's Square

Now, granted, that was a full day, but it was a wonderful day. You may or may not have interest in all of those things (my wife could care less about the Forum or Palatine Hill ruins so we only spent perhaps 30 minutes at each), and you can certainly spread them out over a few days. I would also include a walk through Trastevere.

The more planning you do in advance, the better. Order tickets for museums/major sites in advance wherever possible. And then, with all of that, have the flexibility to change your mind when you get there. You may want to linger somewhere particularly appealing to you and skip something else you had in mind. It's an adventure.

Finally, I strongly recommend the Rick Steves books. His tips on buying entrance tickets and self-guided tours are phenomenal.

Enjoy!
 

ama

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I've done that trip (+ Venice, but Venice is really boring) twice in the past two years. Can't recommend Trastevere enough. One of my favorite neighborhoods in the world.
 

sonick

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I have a friend going to Rome for a few days pre-cruise for the first time, here's what I sent him (note he has two full days there so itinerary is condensed)

This is where I got tickets for Colosseum/Palatine Hill/Roman Forum; gives access to all three sites and skips the lines
(click on "COLOSSEUM" option) http://www.ticketclic.it/Gb/index.cfm

For St Peters at the Vatican, you can reserve your time here and skip the line
http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/z-Info/MV_Info_Orari.html

Here's that site I was telling you about for info on rome: http://www.roninrome.com/

Here are Rick Steve's audio tours: http://www.ricksteves.com/news/audio-tours.htm

Arrival day just wander around and get the lay of the land. You will probably run into a few landmarks randomly, there's so much history around every corner.

Day 1: (going from South to middle of Rome)
  • Colosseum/Palatine Hill/Roman Forum
  • Piazza Venezia
  • Campo di Fiorini
  • Piazza Navona
  • Pantheon
  • Trevi Fountain

Day 2: (going from North to middle of Rome)
  • Vatican/St Peters
  • Piazza del Popola (take metro rail from Vatican to Flaminia station, saves time)
  • Spanish Steps
  • Walk South down Via Del Corso + shopping, where you'll end up in the area where you ended off Day 1


Other notable neighborhoods and places I recommend checking out:


  • Trastevere & Piazza di Santa Maria
  • http://www.soralella.com/ Michelin restaurant on Tiber Island
  • Pizzeria ai Marmi in Trastevere
  • Jewish Ghetto
 
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