Best of Rome in 7 Days Tour 2012

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Colosseum

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Roman Forum

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Vatican Museum

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Trastevere Neighborhood

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Pantheon

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Trevi Fountain

You'll get all this!

During your week in Rome, you'll be amazed by Ancient Rome's Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, and Ostia Antica. From the Renaissance and Baroque eras, you'll marvel at St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and Borghese Gallery. You'll also enjoy today's Rome, with a cooking demonstration, neighborhood walking tours, memorable restaurants, and time to explore on your own.

  • An extra-small group, limited to 20-24 people — less than half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of Rome come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 18 sightseeing events • Panoramic bus tour • Appian Way visit • St. Peter-in-Chains Church (Michelangelo's Moses) • E.U.R. visit • 7-day Metro Pass • Ancient Rome walking tour • Roman Forum tour • Colosseum tour • San Clemente Church tour • Pantheon • Trastevere walking tour • Borghese Gallery tour • Vatican Museum tour • Sistine Chapel • St. Peter's Basilica • Evening walk through Rome including Trevi Fountain • Day trip to Ostia Antica • Catacombs of San Callisto • Italian cooking demonstration...and more
  • All group transportation, including metro and city bus, and bus for Ostia Antica day trip
  • 6 nights accommodations in a memorable, centrally-located hotel
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves' Rome guidebook, Italian phrase book, map, day pack, moneybelt and earplugs
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2012
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Daily itinerary

Daily Activity Key

  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.
Day 1: Welcome to Rome

Let's get together at our hotel for a meeting at 3 p.m. this afternoon. After an orientation walk through our neighborhood, we'll enjoy an "Am-I-really-here?" la dolce vita stroll through the heart of Rome, soaking up the city's evening ambiance at the classy Piazza Navona, the remarkably-preserved, 2,000-year-old Pantheon and the magical Trevi Fountain. Our day will end with a chance to get acquainted during a "Welcome to Rome" dinner together. Walking: moderate.

Day 2: Panoramas Rome

Today we'll hop aboard a private bus for a panoramic tour of Rome and an introduction to the city and its history. We'll start to peel away the jumbled layers of this fascinating city, learning about Rome as Italy's political capital, the capital of Catholicism, and the center of the ancient world. Along the way we'll stop at St. Peter-in-Chains Church to marvel the remains of Michelangelo's unfinished masterpiece, the tomb of Pope Julius II, including the famous statue of Moses. We'll also learn about Italy's fascist past at E.U.R. and see what our world might look like if Mussolini had had his way. Then we'll head back to Rome along the ancient "Queen of Roads," the Appian Way, and stop to tour the eerie Catacombs of San Callisto, the official burial site of early popes, bishops, and Christian martyrs. Free for dinner. Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 3: Ancient Rome

After breakfast we'll get oriented to Rome's efficient metro system, and ride back in time to Ancient Rome. We'll arrive at multi-layered San Clemente — a 12th-century church sitting atop a 4th-century basilica and a previous Roman temple. Then we'll tour and hear vivid tales of the larger-than-life Colosseum and Ancient Rome's birthplace: the Forum. You'll have free time to wander through the nearby Palatine ruins, or climb to the top of the Victor Emmanuel Monument to enjoy the city view (don't forget to savor a foamy cappuccino in between). Later this afternoon we'll take a more intimate look at Rome, with a Vespa-dodging walking tour through the city's proud and colorful Trastevere neighborhood. Then we'll be treated to an enthusiastic cooking demonstration — creating today's tasty, Sicilian-style dinner. You'll have the rest of the evening free to make your own neighborhood discoveries. Walking: strenuous.

Day 4: Day Trip to Ostia Antica

Today we'll venture outside the city, touring the ruins of Rome's first colony, Ostia Antica, the ancient seaport which connected Rome to its ever-expanding Mediterranean empire. Unlike Rome's politically-oriented Forum, our walk through Ostia gives us a chance to envision the daily lives of merchants and craftsmen, and appreciate beautifully preserved mosaics. Arriving back in our Rome neighborhood, you'll be free for dinner on your own. Walking: moderate.

Day 5: Vatican Museum

We'll spend much of today on the Vatican side of the Tiber River. At the sprawling Vatican Museum we'll tour the seemingly endless collection of treasures as we make our way to the single work of art that dwarfs them all: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. We'll then have an orientation to the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's moving Pietá. You'll have the remainder of the day free time to explore this immense church, climb the dome if you're feeling energetic, and then enjoy lunch and dinner on your own, perhaps along a nearby market street. Walking: strenuous.

Day 6: Rome's Baroque Treasures

We'll begin with a guided tour of sheer beauty in the Borghese Gallery. Bernini's most graceful and lifelike sculptures reside here — his athletic David and delicate Apollo and Daphne — as well as masterpieces by Canova, Caravaggio, Titian and Raphael. Your afternoon is free to relax in the surrounding park, ramble through more of Rome, or do some last-minute shopping. Tonight we'll have one last dinner together to share travel memories and toast new friends. Salute! Walking: moderate.

Day 7: Tour Over After Breakfast

This morning we'll say our final farewells and head for home — or further adventures in Italia. Arrivederci, Roma!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Rick Steves tours are physically active!

This is an integral, essential part of the "back door" experience. On our Best of Rome in 7 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry your luggage up several flights of stairs to reach your hotel room.
  2. Be on your feet for up to 4 hours walking and standing, both inside museums and outdoors in all weather conditions (hot sun, rain, etc.).
  3. Sleep with no (or weak) air conditioning and street noise in some hotels.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate through the city on your own.

Pre Tour

Getting ready for your Rick Steves' tour can be overwhelming, so we've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Rome before your tour begins, use Rick Steves' Rome guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Italian and get over your jet lag with lots of fresh air and exercise.

Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Rome that we do not do as a group: Capitol Hill museums; National Museum; Etruscan Museum; Santa Maria Maggiore; Testaccio neighborhood; Castel Sant' Angelo; Day trips to Naples/Pompeii (very long day, worth an overnight); Tivoli (Hadrian's Villa, Villa d'Este). Most museums are closed Mondays. Confirm your sightseeing plans with any tourist information office.

Those with a couple of extra days to spend may want to extend their time in Italy. Rome is well connected for quick trips around the country. Florence is only 90 minutes away by train, Naples is two hours south, and Milan and Venice are less than five hours north.

For a more rural experience, explore the hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria. These regions are most easily seen by car but public transportation can work for those with extra time and patience! Some of Rick's favorites include Orvieto, Civita, Assisi, Perugia, San Gimignano and Siena. When traveling off-season, always call ahead for hours and closures to avoid disappointment.

Transportation

Rome is a major transportation hub, making additional travel before or after your tour quite easy.

Flying within Europe can be reasonable. Ask your travel agent or check Rick's list of European budget airlines. For links to helpful rail and air websites, go to www.ricksteves.com/plan/links and look under "Transportation."

Read Rick's Guide to Eurail Passes and decide if your travel plans merit a railpass (or contact our Rail Department for advice at rail@ricksteves.com or 425/771-8303, ext. 214). Italy's point-to-point ticket prices are quite reasonable therefore you may not need a railpass. You can get an idea of costs from the above guide or in Rick Steves' Rome or Rick Steves' Italy guidebooks.

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your tour hotel, as well as contact information for your hotel in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

For specific details about traveling in Italy, please see Rick Steves' Italy guidebook. If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Weather

Late spring and summer tours will enjoy warm temperatures and longer days. Fall and winter bring cooler days and longer nights that reveal more of romantic Rome's flood-lit statues and fountains.

For more specific weather information, see www.weatherbase.com or www.weather.com.

Packing

For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.

Tour Guide Raves

Cecilia Bottai

"Cecilia was the best...she was helpful, knowledgeable, funny and a friend. I felt so lucky to have her as our guide. She is a tremendous part of the Rick Steves' group. You are lucky to have her."

— Debra in Tacoma, WA

"Ben was our fearless leader and shined in every way imaginable. I was constantly impressed by his presence, his knowledge and his commitment to the group. Plus he's one classy dude. I can't say enough good things about him."

— Brian in Phoenix, AZ

Favorite tour memories from recent alums:

"It was the culmination of different experiences that made it 'wow' and magical...from exploring and getting lost in all the picturesque alleys, to eating cinnamon gelato at the Pantheon, to the fabulous guided tours of the Vatican and Borghese Gallery, to bonding with my fellow tour guests."

— Elisha in Austin, TX

"Walking from the Colosseum into the Ancient Forum absolutely 'floored' me. To be surrounded by the places and history that I've read about since childhood was like walking in a long-held dream."

— Katherine Marie in Los Angeles, CA

"The Borghese Gallery was absolutely beautiful!"

— Wendy in Rochester, NY

To see more comments on Rick Steves' tours, read through our tour member reviews.

Videos & More

This region is rich in history, art and culture. To help you get the most from your trip, we've put together this collection of travel resources from Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, as well as recommended books, films and music.

Watch

Rick Steves' TV Clips & Shows

(For more Rick Steves' TV clips on this region, visit Rick on YouTube.)

Films
  • Roman Holiday (1953)
  • Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
  • Spartacus (1960)
  • La Dolce Vita (1961)
  • Gladiator (2000)

Listen

Rick Steves' Radio Interviews

(For more radio interviews on this region, see Rick's Audio Europe™ files for iPod, PC & MP3.)

Rick Steves' Audio Tours
  • Rome: Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum
Rick Steves Audio Europe™
Music
  • Opera: Puccini, Rossini, Verdi, Andrea Bocelli, Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Ezio Pinza, Three Tenors
  • Classical: Vivaldi's Four Seasons
  • Pop/rock: Pino Danieli, Dean Martin, Mina, Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti
  • Movie Soundtrack: Big Night

Read

Rick Steves' Articles

(For more articles on this region, see Rick's Best Destinations.)

Books: Non-Fiction
  • Rick Steves' Rome
  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — Edward Gibbon
  • Rome and a Villa — Eleanor Clark
  • The Seasons of Rome — Paul Hofmann
  • When In Rome — Robert Hutchinson
  • Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling — Ross King
Books: Fiction
  • The First Man in Rome — Colleen McCullough
  • I, Claudius — Robert Graves
  • Roman Blood (mystery set in Rome in 80 BC, first in a series) — Steven Saylor
  • Cabal (mystery set in modern Rome, third in a series) — Michael Dibdin
  • Angels and Demons — Dan Brown