Skip the queues at Italy's best sights
There are usually long lines to get in so avoid queues by buying a combined ticket with the adjacent Palatine Hill, a lush and lovely green space that doesn't have lines.
A combined ticket is valid for two days and includes not only the Palatine and Colosseum but also the Forum, all of them essential tourist sights.
Alternatively buy a three day Roma Pass online, by phone (00 39 06 3996 7700) or in various places in Rome when you arrive. This gets you straight into the Colosseum via a special gate, free travel on buses and the Metro (subway/tube), a couple of free attractions and discounts on others.
The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
The queues for Vatican tickets are likely to be long (well over 100m) and time-consuming (1-2 hours) at busy times. Closed Sundays. The Museums are FREE on the last Sunday of the month from 9.a.m - 12.30 a.m. and September 27th (World Tourism Day).
Jump the lines for a few $$!
Go to Rome Museums, pay the fee and get a booking number for any/all of these sights which you deliver to an office at the front of the queue and kaboom! you're in (tho' you still have to pay the standard entry fee).
pre-purchase your ticket at the Vatican ticket office for a small extra fee and reserve your half hour time slot, but don't be late or you'll end up at the end of the queue. Buy tickets months in advance if possible.
- Join a guided tour that gets in to the museums through a special entrance. You won't have to book in advance for these, just cruise Piazza San Pietro (in front of St Peters) and pick what suits. Naturally you will pay a hefty surcharge on top of the entry fee. Vatican Pictures, Vatican Museums Pictures.
This superb collection of sculptures and paintings, including Bernini's Apollo and Daphne, requires an advance reservation in advance
to get in. Borghese Gallery (picture) is closed on Mondays. Opening times 9.a.m. - last entry (for 2 hours) 5 p.m.; 2 hours is maximum time inside.
Go to Rome Museums, pay the fee and get a booking number for this sight. Then call 00 39 06 32 810 to reserve a time slot (from Italy should be OK). Reservations are for 2 hour time slots and you pick up the ticket promptly 30 minutes beforehand.
- Reserve a ticket up to 7 weeks in advance at Ticketeria or by phone, and follow instructions as above. Borghese English website.
Another magnificent Italian collection of art in a superb environment, with the waiting-in-line pain cured by application of a little money lotion+know how.
The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 8.30 am - 7 pm.
Go to Uffizi online to book a day and time slot or show up and (probably queue to) buy advance tickets in the reception of the new Uffizi's 'Palazzo Pitti'.
Prices vary according to age, numbers in party, EU citizenship etc.
After receiving or printing your advance ticket you will go to a reserved tickets counter at the correct day and time (don't be late or you will lose entry rights) to get the ticket that permits you to enter through a no-queue door.
St Mark's (San Marco) Basilica
The highlight of this gorgeous cathedral in the centre of Venice is the incredible mosaic work, 8000 sq.m of ancient gold, bronze and semi-precious stones. However, this is only lit up at 11.30 am during the week and 2 pm on Sundays. Inevitably every tourist in-the-know wants to see this display so large queues form beforehand.
The Basilica is open during the week from 9.45 am - 5 pm and and from 2pm on Sundays. Tourists are not supposed to hang about, 10 minutes is suggested.
The best way to beat the queues and suck up some interesting, free information is to join an official tour, 11 am daily except Sundays, April thru October. Tours meet in St Mark's atrium next to the centre doorway, on the right and we believe that prior booking is not required for individuals. However if you want to be sure (or if you represent a group) then book at San Marco online from April to October; booking costs €1, the tour is free.
n.b. Suitable clothes only (no tank tops!); no suitcases, backpacks or large bags allowed; no photos or video can be taken; the visit lasts for 10 minutes; and lastly, silence!
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