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6 hours in Roma

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Help... first time going, will undoubtedly go again, but only 6 hours for the first time, as I wait for a flight. I leave the airport around 4pm and need to return there by 10pm.

Where should I go to get an authentic Roman experience, enjoy some atmosphere, soak up some of Rome and of course to eat well.... suggestions appreciated.

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  1. I' m certain that you will get better suggestions than this, but...with only a few hours, I'd get a cab for Piazza Navona (the center of Rome, IMO). After wandering for an hour or two, exit the south end of the piazza, veer to the right at the first street and ahead of you will be Al Di La, an enoteca with quick food and wine racks to the ceiling. Great fun.

    1. I'd get to Spanish Steps. Walk towards Piazza Del Popolo. Head up to the right to Gardens of Villa Borghese. Stroll and watch sunset. Back to del Popolo for dinner at Porto di Repetta - small , family run, they have farm outside town for produce. English speaking Maitre D and very friendly.
      web.tiscali.it/portodiripetta

      Cab back to airport via drive by Vatican which is on way out of town.

      1. The airport is a good 45-minute ride in traffic to Rome center. Better leave at least an hour to return. Keep in mind that many restaurants will not open for dinner until 7:30 PM, so you will be rather rushed to do that. May be better to pick a site to visit (Coliseum and Roman Forum close to one another; St Peter's Basilica; Trevi Fountain) and look for a place to have a drink at a wine bar and get some quick appetizers.

        1. 6 hours is better than nothing - go to Piazza Navona and then wander to the Pantheon and Trevi - all very touristy but at least it will give you a feel of the place. When you leave Piazza Navona and try and stick your nose into San Luigi del Francesci to see Caravaggio's frescos on the way to the Pantheon....stop off have a drink and some gelati..

          1. I would make a reservation for the Borghese Gallery by email, ticketeria.it, for the 5-7 viewing; then cab to the Campodoglia, walk up the cordonata & look out over the Forum. Then walk to the Trevi fountain to toss that coin over your shoulder so you may return for more than 6 hours, then amble on to Campo di Fiore, Piazza Farnese to look up at the frescoed ceilings from the street, & then dine alfresco at Pierluigi.

            1 Reply
            1. re: RomeAddict

              You've got to be joking - there's no way in the workd that one could do all that and get back to the airport by 10 PM.

            2. I assume you're passing through Fiumicino airport? A consideration if you decide for whatever reason to not stray far from the airport (traffic tie-ups would be my concern; flight delays might also complicate things): take a cab (or bus?) 15-20 minutes to the nearby seaside town of Fiumicino and dine at Bastianelli dal 1929, on the canal on via Torre Clementina 86. We ate there last month and the seafood was spectacularly fresh and tasty. It's a bit on the elegant side (servers in white jackets) but not at all stuffy and not overpriced. You will have a delicious, relaxed meal and be back at the airport without stress. But of course you will not have an authenticf Roman experience. For that I would cope with the traffic at that hour and head to a popular neighbourhood such as Trastevere, where sitting outdoors at a pizzeria such as Da Ivo (via San Francesco da Ripa 158; not just pizza) -- or any pizzeria that is clearly popular with locals -- with a half-litre of red should give you a good dose of early-evening Roma.

              3 Replies
              1. re: DylS

                Fiumicino is a good idea for a pleasant meal without concerns of traffic.
                Trastevere is an excellent suggestion too for logistical reasons. The airport train stops at Stazione Trastevere (not the train to Termini but the local train to/from Fara Sabina), whence a no. 8 tram or no. 3 bus will reach the heart of Trastevere in just a few minutes. It's better than Piazza Navona even for a taxi. Testaccio (served by same train to Piramide) is also logistically suitable. The 8 tram goes as far as Largo Argentina. If you get off at the stop just after the Tiber, you're in the Ghetto, one of the most typical and oldest areas of Rome. Skip Piazza Navona.

                1. re: mbfant

                  I love Navona for Bernini's Fountain of Four Rivers & since it's still sequestered behind scaffolding I whole-heartedly agree w/mbf...skip it...unless you like tacky carnival atmospheres and underwhelming restaurants preying on tourists. I do love the adjacent street of Governa Vecchio and nearby the Coppelle area. Since you are so limited, have a cappucini at the Pantheon piazza at da Rienzo & soak in the magnificence of that remarkable building...then walk down the left of it to see "Minerva's chick", the adorable elephant with obelisk statue by Bernini in front of SM Sopra Minerva (open until 7, Rome's only Gothic church w/a ceiling as the Sistine chapel was prior to Michealangelo) & chuckle at the rear-end tail salute he immortally gives the friars (bldg directly behind said behind) for insisting on the block of stone beneath the elephant's middle in spite of Bernini's insistance it not be there. Never let it be said the artists didn't have the last word.

                  1. re: mbfant

                    I think it really depends on what you mean by an authentic Roman experience and atmosphere. What does Rome mean to you? Is it ancient Rome? The glory of the Renaissance? The cafe culture?

                    Rome is a tourist city -- it helps to remember that it's been a tourist city for a couple of thousand years, so tourists are really part of the fabric of the city. But still, I found the places where the tourists congregate (the Piazza Navona, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain) to be ... not very enjoyable. Given that, I'd take mdfant's advice: take a train to Pyramide and then transfer over to the subway to the Colosseo station. Walk out of the station and see the Colosseo. Totally worth it. From there, if you want to see more sights, you can walk through the Forum to the Campodoglio, and then back down the other side into the Ghetto area. Central Rome is really compact, and you can see a lot, but you have to prioritize.

                2. Whatever you do and eat will be immensely enjoyable, I'm sure. Keep in mind, though, that Roman pizzerias traditionally open at 8 PM, whereas more "turisty" ones offer pizza at lunch, or at 6 PM. I am not saying this to stop you from choosing pizza, only to warn you in case you get your heart set on any particular pizzeria- call them first.

                  1. take the train from the airport, forget the taxi. Just follow the signs once you get off the plane, and if you are at Fiumicino, look for Taza d'oro on the second floor of the airport for a great sandwich and a darn good coffee when you come back. (my favorite is the spinach with moz.) Get to the Trevi fountain. With your back to the fountain, there is a deli place on your right. Go to the back of that store for some of the best foccaccia ever. There is also a small marked path from the Trevi fountain that leads you, mostly traffic free on a two hour walk past fabulous food places, shops, the best ice cream ever, to the pantheon. fayefood.com

                    1. I love Rome but dont see this as at all enjoyable - perhaps it depends on where you have been - where you are going after, but I'd be incllined to find some place to have a lovely, leisurely meal near Fiumicino, talk a walk and leave it at that. I guess Ostia Antica is nearby if you need something Roman to do.

                      The trip into and back from Rome (with waiting time) would eat up a lot of your available minutes. If I were going into the city however, and had to pick one spot, I think it would be the Campidoglio especially toward nightfall- the view over the Forum, the unsurpassable square, Marcus Aurelius, and the ancient Santa Maria Antiqua Church. You could walk down from there to one of the winebars or restaurants near Largo Argentina or in Monti and then head back out. But I think the ratrace of getting into and out of the city, without a real chance to relax when you get there, deprives it a lot of its charm and magic.

                      1. Hi,
                        Only 6 hours is not long but given traffic and all, I would suggest you just head straight for the Pantheon, you can easily walk from here to Piazza Navona and there are many restaurants around both of these areas. Just sit back in one or both of these Piazzas and watch everone walk by. This will help capture the energy and magic of Rome. It is truly a spectacular city. There are some fabulous gelaterias around both areas and fabulous places to eat. If you are o n a budget, eat at one of the restaurants just behind Piazza Navona. Have fun!