What to prebook in Rome?

Which are the museum tickets that I need to book in advance?

Recommended answer 1 of 2

Attractions that need pre booking

  • Colosseum
  • Vatican Museums
  • The Galleria Borghese Museum

Activities that require pre booking

  • Colosseum Underground tours
  • Vatican tours
  • Scavi Tour
  • Papal Audience
  • Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini

Colosseum

Tickets can be bought online and printed from the comfort of your own home. Tickets bought online allow visitors to skip the ticket line and head straight for the security line, often saving an hour’s waiting time. The tickets are also ‘open’ – meaning you can use them on any day of your holiday.

Colosseum Underground and tours of the Third Ring

The hypogeum - basement of the Colosseum.
Giving visitors an in-depth, 90 minute tour of the inner Colosseum, the Colosseum Underground tours are a must. Underground tours often include access to areas traditionally off-limits to visitors, including the narrow passageways and chambers where ancient Roman gladiators and their animal combatants were held.

These tours are always in-demand and should be booked in advance; bookings begin every third Monday of the month and tickets are available a month in advance. Also important to note is that tour tickets do not include entry to the Colosseum itself – you’ll still have to pay to get in.

The Galleria Borghese Museum

Situated in a classical villa built by Flaminio Ponzio, and formerly belonging to patron of the arts Scipione Borghese, the museum now offers visitors views of sculptures and paintings by artists such as Caravaggio, Titian, Bellini, and Raphael. The gallery requires prior reservations for all guests, even for those already holding a Roma Pass. The gallery also limits the number of people allowed in at any one time, so make sure to call +39 06 841 3979 in advance before leaving your hotel. Tickets can be picked up thirty minutes in advance of entry.

The Vatican Museums

Situated in the temporal home of Roman Catholicism, Vatican City, the Museums contain some of the world’s most famous works of art and architecture, and attract tourism year-round. The Sistine Chapel is a part of the Vatican museums and tickets are not sold separately for the Sistine Chapel alone.

The Vatican becomes densely packed during peak seasons and waiting times often extend beyond an hour. If they want to avoid waiting, guests can opt for one of the Museum’s official guided tours, or purchase early access and night tour tickets to avoid crowds entirely. There are multiple ticket options when visiting the Vatican city, so here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular:

Vatican Museums Guided Tour

Basic guided tickets allow visitors to travel in groups with an official Vatican tour guide. Guides are mostly English-speaking Italians and possess a fairly comprehensive knowledge of the histories of the various exhibitions. Once you’re done in the security line, heading up a small staircase on the left will bring you to a small booth for guided tour ticket-holders. Tours are popular and should be booked in advance. The Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays, barring the last Sunday of the month. Tours are not available on these days however, so visitors should plan accordingly.

Early Access Tours with Breakfast

Breakfast tours begin at 7:15, before doors open for regular visitors at 09:00. American-style buffet food is provided at 07:30 and guests can eat in the tranquil Pinecone Courtyard with views of St. Peter’s Basilica. These tours usually operate with comparatively small group sizes, and prices begin at around one hundred euros, so guests are guaranteed a relatively quiet morning. Once satisfied, visitors may rent audio-guide headsets and begin a quiet tour of the Museums and Sistine Chapel – all before they open to the public.

Vatican by Train

Combining existing tours of the Vatican museums with a trip to Castel Gandolfo and
The Pope’s summer palace, this trip will take up a full day of your itinerary and offer a comprehensive view of the papal properties and gardens. The train departs from the Vatican’s private railway near St. Peter’s and pulls in near the magnificent Lake Albano, within walking distance of the summer palace.

Scavi Tour

Only two-hundred and fifty visitors are allowed into the necropolis under St. Peter’s basilica, the ancient catacombs and burial place of St. Peter himself. Access is strictly ticketed and applicants should enter their name, dates and language preferences in an email to: scavi@fsp.va. If you’re already in the city, you can visit the Excavations Office in person or call on +39 06 6987 3017 to request tickets.

Papal Audience

The Vatican is the home and workplace of the head of the Roman Catholic Church, and regular audiences with the Pope are held on Wednesdays. Pilgrims and tourists alike may collect tickets from the Swiss Guards at the colonnade in St. Peter’s square.

Pope Francis has been known to draw crowds up to one-hundred thousand strong, and has a reputation for engagement with his audiences. Tickets are free and can be collected from 3pm until 7pm during the summer and until 6pm in the winter; guided tickets can be purchased online before your visit.

Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini

Lying underneath the magnificent Palazzo Valentini and housing some of the most well-preserved Roman remains in the city, the Domus offers visitors a glimpse into the lifestyle of some of Rome’s most illustrious residents of antiquity. Tours include walk-through explanations of the various chambers and explanations of the remains throughout.

The Domus is a visually stimulating and exciting glimpse into Rome’s archaeological history, and as such is suitable for younger people and teens. Tickets can be booked forty-eight hours in advance and should be picked up at least an hour ahead of your scheduled visit.

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Recommended answer 2 of 2

Istituto Giapponese di Cultura

It’s a magical place situated inside the Japanese garden. You can book a free tour visiting their website.

The best time to visit the Japanese garden is in the spring when trees bloom. In this period reservations are in high demand, so you have to book in advance!

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