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Rome or Istanbul ?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by orbitz, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    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.
  2. mila19

    mila19 New Member

    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.
  3. ilovesalchows

    ilovesalchows Well-Known Member

    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. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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

    alexikeguchi Well-Known Member

    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. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    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. Allen

    Allen Glad to be back!

    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.
  8. KikiSashaFan

    KikiSashaFan Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. Jimena

    Jimena Well-Known Member

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

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    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. Jenya

    Jenya Let me show you Tel Aviv

    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. Tinami Amori

    Tinami Amori Well-Known Member

    Each, in its own way, is unforgettable. It would be difficult to say.....:eek:

    :kickass: — Rome! By all means, Rome!
  13. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    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. PRlady

    PRlady flipflack

    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.
  15. Civic

    Civic New Member

    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.
  16. kia_4EverOnIce

    kia_4EverOnIce Active Member

    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. LilJen

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    <seethes with jealousy>
  18. jenny12

    jenny12 Well-Known Member

    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. 4rkidz

    4rkidz plotting, planning and travelling

    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'... :D
  20. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    :eek: 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.
  21. fragoletta

    fragoletta New Member

    I am taking my parents on a car trip through Italy in a several days and I insisted on passing through Cinque terre on our way down to Rome. :) I knew I've made a good call.:D
    On the OT: I don't think you can choose wrong. I've never been to Istanbul but it's close to my home so I'm sure I'd enjoy it. It would definitely be exotic. Anyway, I'd recommend Rome because it's one of a kind. End of may, the weather should be wonderful and there are so many things to see. I was there in december and kept thinking I may have made the wrong choice getting stuck in Milan!:D

    Whatever you choose, I have 1 advice: HOLD ON TO YOUR PURSE, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE!
  22. kia_4EverOnIce

    kia_4EverOnIce Active Member

    it's totally European, maybe just traffic shock (an hour to pass a couple of kilometers! lesson learned: avoid car, use public transports :lol:)!

    if you have time and you like hiking in the Cinque Terre there are good routes with wonderful views (connecting the Cinque Terre, 5 lands)

    I'm also an ancient Rome nerd, but be carefully with Via Appia...it's not exactly the safest place in town :)
    As vesperholly said near Rome, Ostia is beautiful, and I would add also Tivoli with the ancient villa of Hadrian, one of my favourite places!
  23. Tinami Amori

    Tinami Amori Well-Known Member

    For a first time visitor "Ostia" needs to be clarified.

    You probably mean "Ostia Antica", 2 stops from Rome after Magliana on the local train.

    "Ostia" is a small industrial city by the airport, it's pretty residential and commercial.

    "Lido di Ostia" is a beach-front resort town, very small, and has nothing but 12 water-front hotels, 1 km of beach, and small town set-up.

    Ostia Antica - is the "ruines".
  24. mila19

    mila19 New Member

    So I'll throw in some other thoughts. There's a reason why they say "Roma kaput mundi" ;)
    Ostia Antica is nice but honestly you have the Fori Romani in the middle of the city which are much more worth seeing if you run out of time, that is. Just be sure to enter first to the Fori entrance not the Colosseum side and buy the ticket there also for the Colosseum so you can skip the line :D
    If Istanbul has the mosques than Rome has a church, or two ;), in every corner and they are all so beautiful, even for me who's not a religious person. Then you have the Villa Borghese gardens, Trastevere which at that time of the year is to die for, the Musei Vaticani and tons of other museums and then you have the different Piazza like Navona, Spagna, Piazza del Popolo, Campo Marzio etc. One of my favourite places is Isola Tiberina, which is an island in the middle of the Tevere river. I've lived there for 7 months and still think I'm missing some part of it. I agree Pompei is nice but I think to recall there's been a sisma last year and one of the bigger houses got damaged but still between Ostia Antica and Pompei I'd pick the last.
  25. kia_4EverOnIce

    kia_4EverOnIce Active Member

    jealous of living on Isola Tiberina :)
    as a latinist, please, "caput mundi" :)
    Anyway, I agree on going first to Fori and buying there tickets for the whole zone. Since you go to Fori, also Palatino is a must (is the same area, but somehow tourists often miss it)

    ehm....actually not a sisma...just bad preservation that caused damaged to two or three houses...archaeological preservation is quite embarassing now there :angryfire
    Between the two, yes Pompei is better and I also love Herculaneum (smaller, but more impressive IMO), but Ostia Antica is nearer, and so is Tivoli ;)
  26. mila19

    mila19 New Member

    Cellphone typing sindrome :p
    That would make it even worse then :p I remember Bondi was pretty sad about that. Now he's sad because of other things :p
  27. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    Yes, Ostia Antica, thanks :)

    The Forum was interesting but it's so ruined that it's hard to understand. You must take a book that describes what everything is, or you'll miss the importance of it. I had Rick Steves, which was fine (except totally wrong about roving bands of thieving gypsy children), but I would've preferred something illustrated.

    My BFF (traveling companion) and I stumbled upon the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele, which we were extremely impressed by. I'd never even heard of it, but we walked down Via del Forii Imperiali to see Trajan's Column, and BAM there it was - and H U G E. Too bad Italians hate it and building it destroyed part of Capitoline Hill.

    Which part? We took a bus way out to the tomb of Cecilia Metella, then walked up to the catacombs of San Sebastiano. It was totally fine, very "idyllic country" setting. I don't know if we were lucky or what, but I felt very safe the entire time I was in Rome.
  28. Hanna

    Hanna Politicking for more stationary lifts

    It's off topic regarding Rome/Istanbul but the Cinque Terre really is beautiful. I went there for a few days 1.5 years ago after wanting to do it for a long time! The hike between the villages (with the exception of the road between Manarola & Riomaggiore) is not for those in bad condition though, especially if the weather is hot! We hiked from Monterosso to Manarola during the day in about 26C weather (late September) and it was breathtaking but also exhausting and I'm not even in terrible shape. Bring LOTS of water and other drinks, you'll need it!

    My parents are in Rome right now and are loving it. :)
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  29. kia_4EverOnIce

    kia_4EverOnIce Active Member

    I was speaking generally of the park of Via Appia, Metella and some catacombs are ok, but if you go through the park looking for other "ruins" it's not always the same sadly...
  30. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    It's hated because it is so out of place and doesn't fit with the rest of Rome. Rome is all warm earthy colors - umber, sienna and ochre and then smack in the middle is that white marble wedding cake. One teacher I had climbed to the top of it every time she was in Rome, because, as she put it, that's the only place in Rome one can get a great view of Rome without the wedding cake in the middle of it.