Skip-the-line tickets are essential to visit top sights in Rome such as the Vatican Museum with the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, and Borghese Gallery while only some tours will give priority access to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Online time-slot reservation tickets are essential to visit some of the top sights in Rome such as the Colosseum and Villa Borghese Gallery. Although tickets are still sold on-site at the Vatican Museum, the slow-moving queue is endless — advance skip-the-lines tickets are the only sensible way to visit the museum and see the Sistine Chapel. Currently, there are no priority lines for anybody at the security checkpoints at St Peter’s Basilica but guided tours of the Vatican Museum often allow direct access to the church complex. The Capitoline Museums are usually easy to enter even without advance-purchase tickets.
The tourist high season in Rome is increasingly long — making advance reservations whenever possible is sensible even at sights where online purchases are not mandatory. Tickets to top sights in Rome and the Vatican City sell out, often weeks in advance, even in months that traditionally used to be the shoulder or lower season.
Online Tickets for the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel
Skip-the-line timeslot admission tickets are the only sensible way to see the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. The surcharge is absolutely worth it to avoid queuing in line for hours.
A great option to see especially the Sistine Chapel is to take an early morning tour before the museum is open to all visitors. Evening guided tours on many Friday and Saturday nights are also at less busy times.
Guided tours are a good option for fast access. Many use routes available only to tours to reach the Sistine Chapel faster and without the crowds inside the museum – the Sistine Chapel is still likely to be packed though. Tour members may stay inside the museum until closing time while some use the quick entry door to St Peter’s to skip the long security lines.
→→ See Buy the Best Skip-the-Line Tickets and Tours to See the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel for more information. The Sistine Chapel is included in all Vatican Museum tickets – there are no separate tickets or time-slot reservations for the Sistine Chapel.
Online Tickets Are Essential to See the Colosseum in Rome
Tickets to visit the Colosseum in Rome, whether as part of a tour or as an individual visitor, are currently only sold online and almost always include time-slot reservations for admission to the Colosseum, as well as free admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill within a specific time limit. Separate tickets to see the Colosseum only are not sold to individuals.
While some tickets may still be picked up at the ticket windows of the Colosseum and Roman Forum, no actual tickets are sold here — even same-day or immediate-use last-minute tickets are only available online.
The cheapest tickets are sold by the Colosseum’s official website partner but are only released about a month in advance with availability patchy. Legitimate resellers such as Get Your Guide and Tiqets often have better ticket availability (and better cancellation conditions) while tours may be booked months in advance.
All Colosseum tickets have time-slot reservations and are in effect skip-the-line tickets but there are no priority lanes for the security lines.
Admission-only tickets are the cheapest way to enter the Colosseum and Forum but keep in mind that almost no information (or even maps) is available within these two sights.
→→ See Buy the Cheapest Tickets and Tours to Visit the Colosseum and Forum in Rome for an explanation of the various tickets available — prices go up (and availability down) the more visitors want to see of the Colosseum.
Reserve Time-Slot Tickets for the Borghese Gallery
The Borghese Gallery in the Villa Borghese is one of the finest art galleries to visit in Rome. Art highlights include the largest single collection of Caravaggio paintings in the world, several Bernini sculptures, Canova’s Pauline Borghese as Venus, and paintings by top artists such as Raphael, Titian, Correggio, Domenichino, Rubens, and Cranach.
It is never the scrum of the Vatican Museum here as tickets for the Borghese Gallery are limited and only around 360 people are allowed to enter at any given time and allowed to stay in the art museum for a maximum of two hours. Buy time-slot reservation tickets well in advance of visiting or only tickets or tours from resellers would be available.
Fast Admission to St Peter’s Basilica in Rome
Admission to St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican in the heart of Rome remains free and currently, no priority lines operate at the security line checkpoints. No skip-the-line or time-slot reservation tickets are sold and tours of the basilica have no special priority checkpoint access.
However, visitors who take a Vatican Museum tour first, are usually led from the Sisitine Chapel directly into the St Peter’s Basilica complex without having to pass through security again. (Individual travelers could usually use the option too — directly after the Sistine Chapel exit to the right rather than the left.) This shortcut is not always in operation and never on Wednesday mornings if there is a papal audience, late afternoon, or at any time when St Peter’s is not open to tourist visits.
To avoid queueing, visit St Peter’s first thing in the morning — in peak season, many sensibly start queuing even half an hour before the checkpoints open. This is especially important if planning to climb the dome or to visit the crypt (grotto) as these may involve further queuing later in the day.
Top Sights Require Advance Reservations
See also Top Sights in Italy Require Advance Reservation Skip-the-Line Tickets for more popular tourist attractions in Italy that either require advance reservations, e.g. The Last Supper in Milan and Leaning Tower in Pisa, or where time-slot tickets are very wise investments, e.g. to enter the Uffizi and Accademia Gallery in Florence.
Time-slot reservations and skip-the-line tickets are increasingly available for top sights in Europe. Some sites require advance reservations such as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona while the Anne Frank Huis and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam only sell tickets online – no queuing or purchasing of tickets at the museums at all.