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  1. #1
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    Rome or Istanbul ?

    I want to visit either Rome or Istanbul at the end of May. Which one would you pick?

    I've been to Italy before but only Florence and Venice. Istanbul does have the mosques and bazaar but is there enough to see there for 4-5 days? Thanks.

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    I've seen both but I prefer Rome, especially if you've never been in Rome. Plus in May it's like mighty beautiful there and TONS to see. Istanbul is pretty, you can do the ferry and take a look at the Asian part of it, the mosques and the Sultan's palaces but still, if it was for me Rome has more to offer.

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    I was just in Rome in September, and I loved it! I haven't been to Istanbul, but one of my close friends has and she loved it.

    Incidentally, she brought modest clothing, a very modest swimsuit, etc for Turkey. She was very surprised at all the tiny bikinis and flashy clubwear she encountered!

    Rome was fab though. I liked it a million times better than Florence.

  4. #4

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    I've been to both; I absolutely love both. You can't go wrong with either.

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    I concur with emason and would add that you will eat fantastically in either city. I would probably choose based on your interests. If you prefer Classical art and architecture with some Renaissance and Baroque thrown in, then Rome would obviously be your choice. If you enjoy non-Western art and culture, then there is definitely enough in Istanbul to fill 4-5 days. If you are completely 50/50, you could just pick the one that you would have fewer opportunities to visit in the future.

  6. #6
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    Oooh...If I had to chose, I would go with Rome. The culture, the history, the food and wine...though as far as shopping goes I have to admit I'd probably prefer the giant market in Istanbul as I'd rather go looking for strange things than designer clothes and antiques in Rome are likely to be retail price.

  7. #7

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    I felt more comfortable in Rome than I did in Istanbul, but I don't exactly know why. The food in Istanbul was amazing, but I tend to prefer middle eastern food to italian food.
    Logic is in the eye of the logician --Gloria Steinem

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilovesalchows View Post
    Rome was fab though. I liked it a million times better than Florence.
    I was the opposite, I looooved Florence. Rome was just okay. I've never been to Istanbul, but I know a few people who have and loved it.

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    I love Rome. But I fell completely in love with Istanbul and want to go back there many times. It's just different.

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    I spent 6 days in Rome (one day trip to Pompeii) and we still didn't see everything we wanted! It was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone. Even the hostel was a good experience.

    I can't speak on Istanbul having never been there, but it does sound like a cool place to visit. Going to Turkey seems like more of a culture shock than Rome, so if that's what you're looking for, choose Istanbul.

  11. #11

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    Both cities are fabulous. I haven't been in Rome for about 10 years but I was in Istanbul this fall and I loved it. The people are very friendly, it's easy to get around, and there's a ton to do. And of course, the food is amazing. I was only there for a long weekend but I definitely think there would be plenty to keep you busy for 4 - 5 days.

    You have two great choices, I'm sure you'll have a fantastic trip whichever you pick.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by orbitz View Post
    I want to visit either Rome or Istanbul at the end of May. Which one would you pick?

    I've been to Italy before but only Florence and Venice. Istanbul does have the mosques and bazaar but is there enough to see there for 4-5 days? Thanks.
    Each, in its own way, is unforgettable. It would be difficult to say.....

    — Rome! By all means, Rome!

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    I went to Rome many years ago for our 10 year anniversary and I would kill to go back, I fell in love with it. However, I do know some Italian, I love Italian food and I'm Catholic so I was more comfortable there then I would have been in some other parts of the world. I'm sure Istanbul had plenty of things to do for 4-5 days.

  14. #14
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    Rome, absolutely. Admittedly I was in Istanbul in November and almost choked to death on the kerosene smell, and I'm also Eurocentric, but I had five days in Rome and didn't even begin to see everything I wanted to see. Classical and church history, art, food, friendly people, Rome has it all.
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

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    Both cities are on my "kick the bucket" list. Rome would probably be easier to visit on your own. I'd probably want to book a tour for Istanbul unless I were traveling with someone who knows the city.

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    I went to Istanbul two years ago and I loved it. I was with friends, we did cruise on Bosphorus, Haghia Sophia and Blue Mosque (both amazing), Topkapi and if you love ancient arts, near Topkapi there's also Archaeological Museums (beautiful! ), I like Turkish cuisine so it was great also going out to eat in the evening. On the other hand, we had organised the travel strictly, so I didn't really enjoy the city and I don't know a lot (we stayed about 3 days).

    Anyway, being Italian, I prefer Rome: I love just going there and founding new churches, archaeological remains, museums and so that I still don't know...I've still so much to visit there

  17. #17

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    <seethes with jealousy>

  18. #18
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    You really can't go wrong either way, IMO. I loved both cities and I think there's plenty to enjoy as far as food, sites, etc. in both. It really depends on what atmosphere you are in the mood for. Rome might feel more comfortable as far as familiarity of the atmosphere and I agree that Istanbul would be more of a culture shock (although it would probably feel more European than the other countries that are immediately surrounding it).

  19. #19
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    We are booked for Italy the first two weeks in July - Rome, Florence (villa in Tuscany 20 km from Florence) and Cinque Terra (Italian Med).. I'm most excited by Rome.. If you end up going to Rome make sure you come back and let me know your top 5 'must do things'...
    Thanks to PI .. I discovered I'm actually a Nontheist

    "Love is better than Anger, Hope is better than fear" Jack Layton 1950-2011

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4rkidz View Post
    We are booked for Italy the first two weeks in July - Rome, Florence (villa in Tuscany 20 km from Florence) and Cinque Terra (Italian Med).. I'm most excited by Rome.. If you end up going to Rome make sure you come back and let me know your top 5 'must do things'...
    SO JEALOUS. I met some people at the hostel who had come from Cinque Terre and their photos were stunning. I never even heard of it until then.

    Not the OP but here's my Rome top 5 must-do:

    1. Colosseum (especially at night)/Roman Forum
    2. Vatican/Castel Sant'Angelo
    3. Via Appia (but I'm a huge ancient Rome nerd)
    4. Trevi Fountain
    5. Food, food, food

    Also, Pompeii is a must. It's an easy day trip, only a 2-hour train ride, and one of the most stunning things I've seen in my entire life. If there's not enough time for Pompeii, at least go to Ostia, which has similarly preserved ruins and is only 30min away.

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