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How to avoid the queues... Vatican, major sites

Munich, Germany
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How to avoid the queues... Vatican, major sites

Hello... Any sneeky suggestions on how to avoid the massive queues for a Vatican visit i.e St Peters. I believe going thru a prebooked tour would be the way to go? But which one? Also I remember from when I was a teenager that you could buy colosseum tickets around the corner at a 'kiosk' and avoid the queues at the site itself... does this still exist and where is it? Any advice re these matters would be fantastic... A little queueing is expected but I am not a professional at this like the experts from sunny Britain...

Cheers

pittsburgh
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1. Re: How to avoid the queues... Vatican, major sites

Hello,

You can buy tickets to the colosseum at the palatine hill entrance and skip the line at the colosseum. The forum is now a part of the combo and you get 2 days to see all three sites.

As for the vatican. You can prepurchase tickets or a tour at:

biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/tickets/do…

This is the vatican website and will allow you to bypass the lines. There is a 4 euro fee for tickets purchased online. You will still have to go through the metal detector but you will bypass the majority of the line. If you do the museums first you will skip the security line for the basilica as you can exit the museums into the basilica. If you see the basilica first you will have to wait in the security line.

These are the only 2 sites that usually have a line. You should be fine at the other sites.

Donna

St Paul, MN
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2. Re: How to avoid the queues... Vatican, major sites

I have been to St Peter's Basilica 4 times and there was only a line to get in to the Basilica once you were past the X-ray screening, once on Dec 9, 2006. The St Peter's Dome is a separate line and there was alrways a line to buy tickets for that also.

I have been at least outside the Vatican Museum six times, and got in two of those times. One time with the shortest time, I waited in the line one hour and 40 min. The other time I signed up for a tour of the Vatican Museum online ahead of time and got to skip the tine for 30 euros apiece. You can now pre-buy the tickets from the Vatican online. There have been posts on this Forum that suggest that after 1 pm there is often no line at all at the vatican Museum.

I had an apt near the Coloseum in March 2006 and walked past it frequently. There was always a line there also. I bought a Roma Pass and used the Colosseum as one of my free entries and got to skip the line there every time that I have beeen inside. If you buy tickets at the Forum entrance (?kiosk?) I am told that the line is less long. I have only been in that line once in May 2008, and it was more than just a couple of people long.

livininrome
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3. Re: How to avoid the queues... Vatican, major sites

The lines in Rome are greatly exaggerated by some unscrupulous tour companies, who use this to sell their so-called "skip the lines" tours. The truth is, there are only certain times of year when these lines are long, and even then they can be avoided without paying through the nose for a tour guide.

As mentioned in previous responses, you can buy your Colosseum ticket either from the Roman Forum entrance on via dei Fori Imperiali, or from the Palatine Hill entrance. There is also an option to buy online, but it is not necessary really.

I was actually in the Colosseum last week as my family were visiting, and bought our tickets at Palatine Hill. As it turned out, it wasn't necessary as there was no line whatsoever at the Colosseum. And ironically, there were 50 or so people in the "group line"! These unfortunate people paid extra in advance to join a group with "special privileged entry", only to line up while watching everyone else simply buy their tickets and go in.

As for the Vatican, the link to the Vatican website is on one of the previous replies, so you can pre-book to skip the line. Again here, however, beware of exaggerations as to how long the line can be. The reality is, the long lines are only in the peak summer months, and even then only in the morning. The tour companies who exaggerate this frighten everyone into doing the same thing, i.e. getting up early to get down to the Vatican asap, thus fulfilling the propecy of long lines.

What will probably happen this year, now that people can buy their own tickets online, is that most people will exercise this option, and create a waiting line at the so-called "privileged entry" - even while others walk straight in. I predict there will be many situations this year at the Vatican like my one at the Colosseum last week, and I expect to see many TA posts complaining "even though I paid €18 to skip the lines, I was in a security waiting line for almost an hour, and there were many people who just walked straight in without waiting, to pay €14 for their entrance". Watch this space ...

My advice, if you are visiting in the summer, and you want to go in the morning, or on Monday or Saturday, book online. If you are going in the afternoon between Tuesday-Friday, even in the peak months June-August, don't expect more than a 20 minute wait for security entrance, and 5 minutes once inside to buy your ticket. This could be shorter than the "skip the line" line. Nuff said.

Incidentally, if you are coming between April 18-26, this happens to be Culture Week, when most museums and places of historic or cultural interest are free.

Don't expect the tour companies to tell you this either, as many of them include tickets prices in the tour fees, and let you think you are paying for your ticket while in fact they are taking your saving for themselves. When visiting the Colosseum, just go to one of the three ticket booths, collect your free ticket, and enjoy!

Good luck!

Rome, Italy
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4. Re: How to avoid the queues... Vatican, major sites

Great answer livininrome!

I live next door to the Vatican and walk by the Museum entrance every day... and as you say, often there are NO LINES. My youngest son is visitig us so yesterday (Staurday) walked over at 11:30 AM and went straight into the Museum - no line, no waiting.

These "urban legends" do nothing but mistakenly drive unknowing folks to utlizie the "skip the line" tickets vendors... and the Vatican has finally joined that bandwagon this year... Why charge you €14 when we can get you to pay €18? Revenues are up at the Vatican! And know that every vendor who offers the "skip the line" feature ALSO pays the Vatican €4 for the priviilege! These vendors must buy these tickets in advance so perpetuating this "concern" covers overhead! I learned this when I served as a consultant to a tour company that landed a "skip the line" contract.

People are now booking "skip the line" tickets through the Vatican online at 2 PM.... There's rarely ever a line at 2 PM unless it's Holy Week or Christmas! With the extended hours started in 2008 by the new Director (last entry at 4 PM), I rarely see lines after 11:30 or 12 noon... except perhaps on Mondays, "free" Sundays, and holidays! But that does not stop the stories and tales of woe from continuing.

I have not waited in a line more than 10 minutes in over a year... but I tend to go into the Museum after 12 noon. Regardless of this posting, and yours, I'm sure folks will continue to book "skip the line" tickets. I understand that, because as a visitor your time is so limited... but I caution you not to react to the continual barrage of horror stories from two yars ago, four years, etc. It's a different Vatican today!

But again - GREAT answer livininrome... wish I could have said it so well!

livininrome
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5. Re: How to avoid the queues... Vatican, major sites

Ron in Rome - an even better response! I'm sure many people will read this thread and hopefully take heed, but unfortunately as the days pass this thread will pass into the archives and most people post new threads when asking questions instead of using the search function, so people will continue wasting their money on tickets to skip a non-existing line ... what can we do?

If only it were possible to make this information available to people as a sticky thread ... I wonder if this is possible?

Belfast Northern...
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6. Re: How to avoid the queues... Vatican, major sites

Just back home today from Rome and visited the Vatican museums on Friday.

We were advised by the tour touts that we would wait at least an hour and half to get tickets and that we should go with them to avoid the wait.

However on arrival at the entrance we found no queue and walked on through.

I suppose it depends on when you visit but we found no problems.

We had a similar experience on visiting the forum etc

no queues and able to walk on through.

Rome was fabulous and we cannot wait to go back

Munich, Germany
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7. Re: How to avoid the queues... Vatican, major sites

I will be there in 3 weeks... so the concensus then is maybe not to bother with booking ahead? cheers

Tasmania
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8. Re: How to avoid the queues... Vatican, major sites

Thank you so much for your posts, livininrome and Ron in rome - saved me a lot of planning and questions! Its insightful people like you that make TA such a valuable resource :-)

Chester England
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9. Re: How to avoid the queues... Vatican, major sites

I will be visiting in July, will there also ber no lines then or am I best booking tickets that skip the l;ines

Thanks debs

Munich, Germany
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10. Re: How to avoid the queues... Vatican, major sites

debs... dont be so lazy and write your own thread...