Rome is big enough to rarely be crowded

Q&a

January 07, 2007|By San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News

We'd like to visit Rome next Easter. Will the city be too crowded to take tours and enjoy ourselves?

You can expect crowds, largely because it's a popular time for Italians to visit Rome. But navigating the city and the Vatican shouldn't be too difficult.

Emanuela Boni of the Italian Tourist Board says Easter Sunday (April 8) is a long weekend for Italians because most have the following Monday off. And since it's a Roman Catholic holiday, many are likely to visit Rome.

You can expect long lines at museums and popular sites, but because the city is so large and spread out, you probably won't feel any more overwhelmed by crowds than you would during high tourist season.

One suggestion: If you want to avoid long lines at Vatican museums, purchase a reservation ticket for 10 euros (about $13.27) from a site such as culturalitaly.com. You will still have to pay an entrance fee, but you'll bypass the crowds waiting to get in.

Remember, Vatican museums are closed every Sunday except the last Sunday of each month.

For more information, go to italiantour ism.com.

My best friend and I are going on a 53-day backpacking trip through Europe. What's the best way to carry money?

Your best bet is to carry a bank ATM/debit card plus a credit card that can also act as a debit card with a pin number. Backup for your ATM/debit card is important. If you lose your ATM card, or it doesn't work for some reason, you'll need another source of funds. In general, though, ATM cards work well, and ATMs are available in most corners of the world. The cards also offer the most favorable exchange rates. One note: Many ATMs are open only during a bank's hours.

Be sure to call your bank and your credit card provider before leaving home and let them know what countries you'll be in; travelers who fail to call are sometimes prevented from using their cards abroad.

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