Longdogs, thank you for your advice regarding catacombs. I will be sure to keep one eye on the sights and a second lizard-eyed on what’s going on around me
Puddle Duck, such good information! I actually plan on seeing more of the Roman Forum than the Colosseum, where the architecture is fascinating but the history is hauntingly heavy . I’ll post a link separately, but there is a phenomenal (put out Smarthistory.com that has a series of great little lessons on art history) that shows what Rome looked like in the 4th century, which has helped me a lot in getting my bearings. I couldn’t agree more about the ticket lines , so I’ve ordered tickets with guides that will also allow for some free time for exploring. As far as Rome goes, I have booked the Vatican at night, the Borghese Gallery, and the Forum/Colosseum, so far. Several now-read history books and art history books are piled up around the house, and I’ve discovered la great podcast titled fittingly “The History of Rome”, so I feel fairly prepared - though I am sure to really know Rome it would take a lifetime. Good advice on the walking; I plan to walk as much as possible just to take it all in.
Dood, thank you for being excited about my trip . Like you, I am more about enjoying the ambience of Italy and its scenery (hence several days hiking in the Dolomites and relaxing in the Lake district). I completely agree with you about the food, and I am inclined just to wander around hoping to find a place that is small, local, and out of the way of the major tourist areas. I think what hooked me on the museums was taking a great art history course and dabbling with some oil painting. I can’t wait!
Rhian, you had me laughing because your description of it being smelly, crowded, and ancient was exactly how my twenty-something niece described it when she visited last summer, but she too loved it! Your romantic (ha, I just thought about the etymology of that) view of Italy and how to take it in is exactly how I want to visit. What I don’t want to do is just race from one sight to another without really absorbing the culture. Bellagio is on the list, but I haven’t heard of Chiavenna, so I’ll do a little research on that.
Lion Queen, thank you for the link. I’ll find room for you somehow…
Annie, I’m most grateful for all the specifics. I am indeed going to Sorrento and Lake Como though obviously at opposite ends of the trip. I’ve already been strategizing how and what to see at the UffIzi, and I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the Dalmation coast :-D. I know little about it but have heard that it’s gorgeous and rich in a history of its own. More reading on that is forthcoming. I had hoped to see something at La Scala, but it’s August so no opera then , though the theatre is open for viewing. I can’t imagine going to Italy and not seeing something! I plan to see the Castello Sant’Angelo on the way to the Vatican.
You all have me even more excited than when I started the thread. Traveling is like Christmas for grownups
Now I just have to figure out what to wear .