Lines. Lines. Lines. If you don’t book ahead or utilize the Roma Pass, then your impression of Rome’s top sights will be just that: Lines. Don’t waste hours of your day standing in line. Instead, buy a Roma Pass and/or reserve ahead at these three key attractions: the Vatican Museums (recommended), Colosseum (recommended) and Borghese Gallery (required).
The Vatican Museums: Reservations STRONGLY Recommended
Home to the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms and Laocoön, is it any wonder there’s always a huge line? Sure, you could wait in line for hours to get inside these museums…but why? You’ll have to pay a little extra to skip the line with an online reservation, but it’s well worth it. That two hours waiting in line can be much better spent exploring these massive museums. Plus, as you stride past that excruciatingly long line, filled with dour, sweaty faces, you’ll feel like a real travel pro as you proudly clutch your pre-booked ticket. The booking fee will surely be the best €4 you’ll spend in Rome.
On the Vatican Museums’ website, choose the “Full entry ticket Skip the Line,” which goes on sale 90 days in advance. You’ll need to choose a specific time and date. Please note, you can’t use your Roma Pass to visit the Vatican Museums.
A word of advice: The Vatican Museums offer free access on the last Sunday of every month. So expect extra crazy crowds on these days.
No Roma Pass? Cutting the Line at the Colosseum
There’s no better symbol of Rome’s gory glory than the Colosseum. Even though the gladiators are long gone, you’ll still find a crowd of tourists clamoring to get inside the Flavian Amphitheatre. The Colosseum can accommodate only 3,000 visitors at a time, so be prepared to fiddle on your iPhone for a few hours if you didn’t pre-book skip-the-line tickets. Thankfully, buying tickets online up to 90 days in advance couldn’t be easier. But don’t wait, especially in summer. Go to the website and choose your day and time. Be sure to show up at the correct entrance (there are three) at least 30 minutes before your scheduled entry time.
Roma Pass holders can use a special line to get inside the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. And, therefore, don’t need a reservation.
Borghese Gallery: Booking Required for Bernini’s Brilliance
The Borghese Gallery, housed in an extravagant 17th-century villa and home to dozens of masterpieces by the likes of Bernini and Canova, is strictly reservation only.
Due to its smaller size, the Borghese Gallery can only hold 360 visitors at a time. You must pay a fee to book your time slot on the Borghese Gallery’s online portal. Your ticket will grant you only two hours inside the Borghese Gallery, so please use the restroom beforehand! Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early with your ticket in-hand.
You can use your Roma Pass for a free or discounted ticket to the Borghese Gallery, but you must arrange a two-hour slot beforehand.