The queueing city of Rome
Going to Rome you have to know that no matter when will you go there will always be thousands upon thousands of tourists wanting to do the same things you do, which means a lot of queuing. Given the fact that in summer the temperature can reach even 50 degrees you will probably want to avoid wasting a few hours in sun. This is where “skip the line” comes in. You can skip the line to see the Vatican, Colloseum and Galleria Borghese. Usually it means paying a few euros more but it’s defintely worth it, especially for Vatican City.
We went to Rome in late September and tried to see the Vatican at lunch time, when the line should be smaller than usually. Sadly for us it meant an hour of waiting anyway. If you have a skip the line ticket it takes just a few minutes, up to 10 in high season. Theres a lot of ‘tour guides working for the Vatican’ around the queue, however it’s up to you if you are going to trust them – we didnt when we heard them lying about the closing time of the Sistine chapel. The safest way would be to buy it from the official Vatican website:
If you want to try your luck and go there without skipping the line then the queue length along one side of the city walls takes around an hour of waiting.
Getting a skip the line ticket to the Colloseum mostly depends on the time you go. In late September we waited only around 20 minutes, however the ‘tour guides’ around were saying that it will take at least an hour. The general rule, which applies to both the Colloseum and Vatican city, is that if you have any questions you should find someone around the gate who is Italian and has some official ID – then you are sure that they acutally work there and you can trust what they say. Remember, when someone keeps insisting that they can help you with skipping the line it probably means you will pay a few times more than the regular price.
In both locations they will check your bags, in the Colloseum you have buckets to get rid of your water. Again it might be a problem in high season to go around it without water.
Also in the Colloseum you can get tickets to see the Panteon and Forum Romanum. Sometimes they arent avaible, which of course happend to us. However, walking back from the Circus Maximus we realised that the best view of Forum Romanum is actually free:
So, what else you should do before going to Rome? For sure you should check how the things you want to see actually look like. Walking around the Altare della Patria we heard a few Americans admiring…. the Trevi Fountain! When we realised they weren’t joking we went to show them on the map where it is and they were quite surprised that they were around a mile away from it!
If you are planning to drive to Rome please check the ZTL article.