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Rome in January

stmartinfan

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My daughter is doing a month-long college seminar in Rome in January. Can anyone who's traveled there in the winter give us some idea about what kinds of clothes she'll need. Is it cool enough that she'll need a Minnesota-style winter jacket or simply sweaters/sweatshirts?

Any other tips for this trip? Our family has traveled often, but this will be her first adventure on her own - although under the structure of the college program.

How about cell phone? I know she won't have service with her regular one but does need a way of keeping in touch. Tips about safety in Rome? Ways to stretch her limited budget? Great pre-trip reading/resources?

Thanks for any suggestions the TUG travel experts can offer.
 

falmouth3

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I was there in Jan. about 4 years ago. It was very cold, in the low 30's the week we were there. But it's normally more like highs in the 50's. Very little snow, if any, but it snowed on the hill where we were staying the first night. It was gone by mid-morning. We were glad that we had our winter stuff with us since we left Boston the day after a blizzard.

Sue
 

Carol C

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Advise her to pack clothes that can be layered. That way she'll be prepared for all varieties of weather.

Speaking of Rome in winter...it wouldn't be my favorite time of year to spend a month there. But on the bright side, if there's a garbage collectors' strike, at least the piles of garbage won't stick as bad in wintertime. :clap:
 

isisdave

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We visited in January 2007 and it was highs in the 50s, low about 40, no snow. Comfortable unless it gets windy. Bring a hat.

The metro's a bargain at just 1 euro, although there are only two lines. Buses go everywhere but are subject to surface traffic.

Rome's a big city and is subject to all the dangers of all big cities, plus a few of its own. Read the guidebooks and pay attention. There is little serious crime, but lots of stuff like purse-snatching and pickpockets.

She should spend a day at Ostia Antica. It was darn near deserted in January and is something not to miss.

There are many threads here on cell phones for Europe. The school should have some information on that. For calling home, consider using Skype from her computer.

What a great opportunity for a young person. She'll enjoy it.
 

x3 skier

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hibbeln

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We were there in February a few years back. A friend who is married to an Italian and thus travels there a lot warned me not to be fooled by the temperatures that were posted online. She said "it always feels cooler and damper than you would think"! She was right. 40 and 50 there felt colder than 40 or 50 here in the midwest!

One thing we noticed in Italy is that the shops, coffee shops, etc are NOT universally heated. So when you are in the midwest (we're in Michigan) you can hop into a Starbucks or pop into a store to warm up as you're walking. There you'll find the shopkeeper usually huddled in an unheated store in a heavy wool overcoat. Restaurants in Rome were usually warm, I think just because of the kitchens, but when you got outside of ROme to less heavily trafficked areas, we noticed that the warmth of a restaurant was directly proportional to how busy it was. Body heat of patrons + heat from a busy kitchen = a warm restaurant. We ate many dinners in restaurants in Sicily with our winter coats on!

Also, heating isn't always available in flats all day. We rented a flat in Rome and the heat turned on in the building once in the morning (starting at around 7 a.m?) for about 2-3 hours and then again in the evening (5 p.m. or so?) for another 2-3 hours. Then you had to count on the apartment holding the heat for the time inbetween. Our first day we didn't understand that and turned the heat down in the morning when we left (as we would do at home) and didn't return in the evening until after the heat had turned off for the day......so we missed the evening heat-turn-on and nearly froze our keisters off overnight!

Absolutely have her take layers of clothes. But she will want to have some fashionable things,too, because those Italian gals really dress up and put on the make-up. If she has a black leather coat, take that. Or a black wool peacoat or overcoat. But definitely take along her warm Minnesota coat, too. Polar fleece type gloves. Good walking shoes with thick soles (something more along the lines of the soles on Sketchers rather than tennis shoes, she'll understand that). The cobblestones are COLD in Rome and the cold seeps right through the soles of your feet. She will be doing a LOT of walking. Wrapping a scarf a couple times around your neck is as warm as putting on an extra sweater. She will be able to get some nice souvenir scarves, hats, etc in jaunty Roman fashion when she's there, but have her pack one of each also.

But tell your daughter she will also THOROUGHLY enjoy it! We had such a great time there in February without a lot of tourists around. It was wonderful and we really felt like it was "our" town.

I'm attaching a photo (this is my first attempt at attaching photos). These are my kids (goodness they were little) and really they should have been dressed warmer. They could have used hats, for sure!!! Notice their thick soled boots.
 

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hibbeln

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I'll try adding some more photos that show crowds of people around Rome, have your daughter look at them and she'll see what people are wearing (yep, there are even puffy down coats in the crowd!).
 

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hibbeln

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Looks like it'll just let me do one photo at a time. I'll do a few more.....
 

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hibbeln

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Last one......I promise! This is one of my sons in the morning when the heat finally turned on in our flat after our oops-we-left-for-the-day-and-didn't-leave-the-heat-on-and-missed-the-evening-warm-up. He took a heavy wool blanket and threw it over the radiator and enjoyed it immensely when the heat finally kicked on in the morning!
My guess is that some of these old buildings have one huge boiler in the basement, and the steam heat is turned on at certain times. We noticed this in hotels we stayed at in Sicily also.
 

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stmartinfan

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Great info, Tuggers! I appreciate people taking the time to comment - especially the info about temperatures in winter. We lived in Germany for a couple of years, and I remember how cold and damp many of the big cities felt when we'd go on a get away trip in winter. It sounds like that experience is common in Rome, too.
 
R

Rolf

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