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Rome, Florence

Online tickets or tours?

My husband and I are heading to Tuscany in a couple weeks. We will be in Rome on 4/3-4 and then Florence on 4/7-8. I want to get tickets OR book a tour for some of the main attractions... Pantheon, Colosseum, Vatican, Uffizy, Accademia,...... I have been given varying advice on what to do about entrance to these sights. Some say book a tour because they will get you to the front of the terrible lines, but those are very expensive. Some say just be sure to buy tickets online and brave the lines in April. Or, buy one of those passes that get you into a bunch of places, but not all. Also, I guess the first Sunday of the month is free at some of the places? Could you please advise me on this? Its getting so close and I'm not sure what to do! Thank you!

6 Answers

answered by
Kim from Birmingham (England)
Yes many places are free first Sunday of the month, but also very busy on those days. Essential to buy tickets for the Uffizi and Colosseum online ahead of time in order to skip the queues. The queue for the Uffizi in particular is very long without a pre-booked ticket. 
See this page for Uffizi booking details:
This is the official site for booking Colosseum tickets:
For the Vatican I can recommend the ‘Pristine Sistine’ tour by Walks of Italy. It is expensive - but in my opinion totally worth the money. Superbly knowledgable guides, early admission to the Sistine Chapel, and straight into the Basilica after the Vatican museum tour, without having to join the often extremely long queue. My only worry is it may be fully booked for your dates by now :( If that’s the case, you should book Vatican tickets in advance as you will be in a long queue otherwise.
No need to book for the Pantheon.
In Florence be sure to see the Duomo and the Baptistry. Also walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo for stellar views of Florence - sunset is a great time to do it. If you’re interested in renaissance art check out the Brancacci Chapel, it’s a true hidden gem.
In Rome you should try to see the Borghese Gallery. In my opinion the best gallery in Rome (and there are a lot of galleries there!) Pre-booking essential, and unfortunately by now the tickets for your dates will be long sold out. However, there are almost always no shows, especially on first Sunday of the month, (when entrance is free but pre-booking still required) so you should turn up there and try for a couple of those. I suggest arriving there at around 4pm for the 5pm entrance slot. Get a coffee, and start queuing no later than 4.30pm. Keep fingers crossed! 
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Mary from Leicester
The comments about tours and audioguides in my Rome post apply equally to Florence.
I advise you to buy Uffizi Gallery tickets online in advance. I've visited both Florence 5 times (and Rome the same) and have never seen anything other than a very long queue for the Uffizi. Official site for online tickets:
The Accademia di belle arti dosn't usually have long queues so you could leave buying tickets until the day. If you don't want to risk it, here's the official site (you can use it for the Uffizi as well:

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Uffizi Gallery (attraction)
  2. Accademia di belle arti (attraction)
1 thankscomments (2)

answered by

Rome-in-a-Limo is great for Rome

answered by
Dave from Houston
Sounds to me like you might be trying to cram too much into a couple days. An important part of visiting Rome and Florence is just walking the streets, eating the food, and getting a feel for those amazing cities. We've been to Rome four or five times for a week or so each trip. If I only had two days in Rome my first order of business would be to have lunch at Ristorante Al 34 and order their amazing veal shank (Stinco di vitello, pictured here). For museums I'd want to book reservations at the Borghese Gallery and Museum (in advance online) one of the world's greatest museums. I'd want to explore the Roman Forum for sure, and wouldn't want to miss the Pantheon.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ristorante Al 34 (restaurant)
  2. Borghese Gallery and Museum (attraction)
  3. Roman Forum (attraction)
  4. Pantheon (attraction)

answered by
Linda from Lafayette (California)
I went in March last year and it wasn't too crowded yet. For the Colosseum and Vatican City, I booked a private tour. The guide was wonderful and no lines.  I didn't look at any other way to go to them. The Pantheon there was no entry fee and just waited in line, there were about 50 before us. We went late in the day. For the Uffizi Gallery, I think you have to buy tickets ahead of time for a time slot. Even if it's not required, I would do it. It was very crowded. Same for the Galleria dell'Accademia. I've never felt I would get my money's worth from those passes. You would just have to see where you think you might go and if it pays.
Bottom line, i suggest you buy tickets in advance wherever possible to at least bypass the ticket lines. The entrance lines are still bad. If you only splurge for front of the line tickets for one or two, I would  opt for the Vatican and Colloseum/Forum. 
Lastly, if you want to see Michelangelo's work without the crowd, find his statue of Moses in an off the beaten track in Rome. It's free, few people and glorious. 
Have fun

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Colosseum (attraction)
  2. Vatican City (attraction)
  3. Pantheon (attraction)
  4. Uffizi Gallery (attraction)
  5. Galleria dell'Accademia (attraction)
  6. Rome (city)

answered first by
Mary from Leicester
First of all, Rome is in Lazio, not in Tuscany. I'll give info about Florence in a separate post. 
Whether you choose to go on a tour is entirely up to you but, personally (and given that many places have both leaflets audioguides in English) I wouldn't do so. As well as being more expensive, it's not my idea of fun to traipse around with a group of other people at someone else's pace: I prefer to set my own pace, spending more time with things that interest me and much less with those that don't.
You don't need a ticket for the Pantheon: it's still a functioning church. There won't be queues as such, just more or fewer people according to the time of day. It's open from 8.30am (9am on Sundays) to 6 or 7.30pm depending on the time of year. It's best to go early or late to avoid crowds (the same applies to St Peter's Basilica and, indeed, to all Rome's sites and sights).
I'd strongly advise you to buy tickets online in advance for the Vatican Museums. Queues can be, and usually are, very long indeed. The Vatican Museums really are vast and you need to allow as much time as possible to explore them (they have audioguides if you want). Use the official online site for tickets:
I'd also strongly advise you to buy Colosseum tickets online in advance (they have audioguides too). Again, queues are always very long. Official ticket sales:

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pantheon (attraction)
  2. Vatican Museums (attraction)
  3. Colosseum (attraction)

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