We all have a list of sights we want to see while in Rome and this list usually features at least some of Rome’s most famous attractions. The Colosseum, the Vatican, the Pantheon are must see and rightly figure in most Rome itineraries.
I am a huge advocate of Rome must see attractions: as much as I encourage people to see the city’s hidden gems, I believe it would be mad to skip the most popular sites in favor of others. Mos of Rome famous sites are famous for a reason and not seeing them would you’d be missing out on something truly special.
However, must see sites come with the non insignificant disadvantage of being very crowded. Long lines in Rome can be a kill joy so in this post I will try help find strategies to skip the lines at Rome’s most popular attractions and share where to get the best tickets for each.
What sites in Rome you should not miss?
What sites in Rome are must see depends largely on your interests. An art lover will shiver at the idea of not visiting the Sistine chapel while other visitors may prefer immersing themselves in the atmosphere of the city wandering along its famous cobbled streets and watching local life go by.
However, there are a few sites that regularly feature on all guidebooks as the main ones to see and these are the ones I address below. They are:
|Rome must see attraction||Ticketed Y/N||Skip the line available Y/M|
|Colosseum + Roman forum||Y||Y|
|St Peter Basilica||No||Only with tour|
Let’s see how to skip the line on each of them.
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How to avoid the line at the Colosseum
The Colosseum is one of the most visited attractions in Rome if not the most visited and it has waiting ticket lines to match. Almost in any season you are likely to find long queues to get tickets and then to pass security (yes, two different lines) and you can easily find yourself spending hours in the sun waiting.
Skipping the line at the Colosseum is not just worth it but paramount and these are a few ways to do it.
Skip the Colosseum line with a reserved entrance tour
The best way to skip the ticket line at the Colosseum is to buy a reserved entrance ticket from the Colosseum website itself. Guided tours are organised by a company called Coopculture and they operate on a time slot system: on the site, you select date and time for our tour, pay, print out the ticket and you are good to go. On the day of the tour, you show up at the meeting point, pass security and you have a guaranteed spot in the Colosseum tour.
This solution is the cheapest if you want a guided tour and while you will still have to pass security like everyone else, usually guarantees speedy entry, since the number of bookings for each time slot is limited.
Tours of this type happen in English, Italian and Spanish and the website to book them this one.
These tickets include entry to the Roman forum which you can visit on the same day as your tour or the day after in your own time.
Get a Colosseum skip the line tour with a tour guide
Another way to skip the Colosseum line is to buy a skip the line tour from one of the many companies offering them.
This solution is usually more expensive than the one above but comes with advantages: the first is that usually the guided tour includes the forum (not all),which in the previous solution you visit on your own.
The second advantage is that many of these groups are smaller in size, so your get more attentions from the guide and more options to ask questions. Last but not least they usually are available if not last minute closer to the time of the tour: while the Coopculture tickets must be booked weeks if not months in advances, many of these other tours offer the flexibility to book later .
Please note that like for all tours, skip the line tickets holders need to pass security and therefore queue for that. However, the reserved entrance tickets usually have much smaller lines so are anyway worth it.
Get Colosseum tickets at the Forum ticket booth
The third way to skip the Colosseum line is not really a skip the line solution but can still come in handy if you are planning on visiting the Colosseum without a guide. You can buy standard non guided tours of the Colosseum tickets at several ticket offices and usually the one at the forum has the shortest lines.
Shortest doesn’t mean non existent and you will still find yourself inline here but you may get away whit a 10 minute wait rather than a 3 hour one if you come here first thing in the morning and choose this ticket booth rather than the one at the Colosseum itself.
This is not my recommended way for visiting the Colosseum but can be a good one if you are not interested in a guided tour.
How to skip the line at the Vatican
The Vatican get crazy long lines, probably the longest I have seen in Rome. The last time we visited, at opening, the line was several blocks long and was just going nowhere fast: if you want to visit the Vatican, skip the line tickets are a must.
There are several ways to get Vatican skip the line tickets.
Skip the Vatican line with early reserved entrance tours
If budget allows, a fantastic way to see the Vatican avoiding the lines and the queue is to get a reserved entrance early morning tickets.
The long line at the Vatican is a problem but only the tip of the iceberg: the people waiting outside turn into a thick, impassable crowd once inside and enjoying the museum let alone seeing anything it is quite and undertaking.
Getting a early morning entrance tickets solves the two problems: you get in pretty much straight away, have guide for yourself and just a handful of more people and see the museums in all their empty splendor.
If you can spare the cash, this is the best way to visit the Vatican museums without a crowd.
Get skip the line reserved entrance tickets
The second way is to book traditional skip the line tickets either from the museums themselves or from a reputable tour provider.
In this case, you have to book the tickets for reserved entrance, queue for security and then at ticket stall to exchange your voucher for the actual ticket.
Overall this operation can take a while but it usually immensely better than arriving unprepared.
How to skip the line at St Peter’s basilica
St Peter’s basilica is beside the Vatican museums but is a separate ‘attraction’ with a different queue and different access rules.
The basilica is a working church and as such it is free to visit: the Vatican does not sell tickets to visit the basilica and therefore no skip the line option as such is available.
However, this does not mean that there is now way of getting in a little faster. If you want to skip the line to visit st Peter’s basilica there are a couple of ways.
Visit the basilica after a guided tour of the Vatican museums
Official guides of the museums grant you access to the basilica from inside, meaning you can see it avoiding the main entrance where the line forms. This is a great way yo visit the basilica and to make the most of your skip the line Vatican ticket
Get a basilica tour
The other way is to book a self guided tour of the basilica itself with audio guide. With this, you will still have to queue for security but you will be able to access ahead of the line.
Please remember that to visit the Basilica and the Vatican you need suitable attire. Learn more here
How to skip the line at the Pantheon
I should apologize for the title of this paragraph because as such, there is no way to skip the line at the pantheon.
The church is free to visit and the line is just something you have to endure if you want to get in. However, if you see a ridiculous line outside of the pantheon, wait before despairing: the Pantheon is in the very centre of Rome and you are likely to pass in front of it many times in the space of the same days or a few days in the city.
This means that you are likely to find a time when the line is smaller: usually before 9 in the morning and late in the evening the crowds thin out.
If you can, head here right after an early breakfast at opening time and you are almost guaranteed to have the pantheon all for yourself.
How to avoid the crowds at the Trevi fountain
The Trevi fountain is both majestic and infuriating, probably my least favorite must see site in the whole of the city.
While beautiful, the fountain is assaulted by crowds to such as extent when you get to its square you can hardy see it – quite a thing considering how massive it is!
The Trevi fountain is a free attraction in the centre of Rome and, as such, you cannot buy tickets for it nor skip the line.
The best way to see fontana di Trevi without the crowds is to come very early in the morning or late in the evening: if you get a hotel in the area, this is easy and one of the most beautiful ways to have a somewhat personal experience of this most photographed of places.
How to avoid the crowds on the Spanish steps
Like Trevi there is no skip the line option for the Spanish steps since they are a feature of the city and as such free.
Like the fountain however they see more and less crowded times: my favorite time to visit the Spanish steps if the very early morning (before 9) and the late evening, when the city lights spark on the step and in the city below them
How to skip the line at the Borghese gallery
I close this list of Rome must see sites with one of the most popular museums for visitors, galleria Borghese.
The gallery is amazing and online you have several companies advertising skip the line ticket.
However, unless you are attracted by the specificity of the tour they offer, buying skip the lines tickets for Galleria Borghese is usually not needed.
The gallery required advanced booking and this means usually you do not get much of a line since only ticket holders can access.
When planning a visit, you can get tickets online from the gallery website and the all you need to do is show up about 30 minutes before the visit to leave your bags and you are good to go.
As you can see, some lines in Rome are unavoidable but there are ways to skip the line at Rome must see sites!
I hope you found this post useful and it helped answer the question: how can I skip the line at Rome must see attractions?