Book advance tickets for top sights in Italy

The Early Bird gets the Last Supper—yes, there are some museums, monuments, and sights in Italy for which you really need to reserve admission tickets ahead of time

In the age of the Internet, many sights across Italy offer the opportunity to book your admission tickets in advance for a set entry time...usually for a booking fee of €1 to €5.

Are reserved tickets necessary?

For many attractions, no. You can usually waltz up to the door and get right in—maybe you'll have to wait all of five minutes in line.

In these cases, I recommend you don't book ahead, as it can cramp your travel style, locking you into too many scheduled events and leaving little room for spontaneity. Plus, you can avoid paying that superfluous $2–$7.

However, for a select few major museums and monuments, reserving an entry ticket ahead of time can save you a wait of one, two, or even three hours in line—well worth the paltry booking fee.

In some cases—especially if it's a sight that allows only a limited number of visitors in at a time—reserving ahead may make the difference between getting in and getting turned away at the door.

It's true; frequently I see people arrive at the ticket window only to discover that entry to see Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper in Milan, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or the Galleria Borghese in Rome, has already been sold out for the next two or three days.

In fact, the Last Supper can sell out weeks in advance.

So, from among the dozens of admissions you can book online, here are the sights in Italy for which I truly recommend booking admission tickets before you leave (or at least a few days in advance from on the road).




  • Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper - Limited admissions; very often is sold out WEEKS in advance. Seriously, don't risk showing up without a booking (unless it;s low seas and you're going to be hanging around Milan for three or four days and can come back.) » more
    » BOOK IT: tel. +39-02-8942-1146, (limited tickets) or Select Italy (typically more dates/times available)

  • Opera at La Scala - You can get last-minute seats to the opera at Milan's Teatro alla Scala, but they will not be good seats! Treat yourself to a night at one of the world's permier opera houses—and go ahead and book decent seats well in advance. » more
    » BOOK IT: (Book online, as telephone bookings ridiculously require you to then fax them a credit card number) or Select Italy



  • The Leaning Tower - If you are really looking forward to climbing the Leaning Tower, you need to either show up at the crack of opening hours or book ahead—at least 15 days—since they're sold first-come, first-served and often sell out. Hint: to avoid waiting in the regular Leaning Tower line, while booking your tickets online, tick the box indicating that you want to pick up your tickets either at the Central Ticket Office or the Museo delle Sinopie—much shorter lines. » more
    » BOOK IT: (online bookings only, though for general info: tel. +39-050-387-2210) 
    » BOOK IT WITH A TOUR:, Context Travel


  • The Scrovegni Chapel - Annoyingly, they've started requiring advance reservations—at least one day in advance—at this jewel box of a chapel covered inside with frescoes by Giotto—they also now rush you through in 15 minutes; I used to spend hours in this place, just studying the frescoes. Still, it's worth it.
    » BOOK IT: tel. +39-049-201-0020, 

Tips & links

Skip the lines
If you'd like a guided tour along with your get-out-of-the-admisison-line-free ticket, you can book one via our partner Viator:

Don't overplan

I will freely admit to being as guilty as anyone of this, but: Please try not to overplan your trip to Italy. That's a two-fold plea:

  1. Plan everything, but don't feel compelled to stick to the plan. I think it's a fine idea to work out all the details of what you plan to do—if nor no other reason than it will help you get a handle of what you are able to get done, and start making the hard choices of what you have time for and what you should leave for the next trip to Italy. (Always assume you will retrun!)

    But then do not book absolutely every second in advance (that leaves no room to adjust things as you go to accommodate changing interests, sudden festivals, or unexpected invitations), and please do not attempt to stick to the schedule if it turns out to be overly ambitious and startrs making you miserable.

    Rememeber Clark W. Griswold, the Chevy Chase dad in the Vacation movies, always bound and detemrined to get to WallyWorld come hell or dead aunties? Yeah, don't be that guy. No one in that family was having any fun.
  2. Don't try to pack too much in. A vacation is not meant to be all about checking sights off a list or dashing from place to place to fit in as much as humanly possible. It's about enjoying yourself.

    So do that. Enjoy yourself. Take a hint from the Italian concept of la bel far' niente—the beauty of doing nothing—and take a break from the sightseeing every once in a while.

    Leave some time to stop and sip the cappuccino.
Useful links
Consider a tour

I'm all for planning your own trip‚ and this website is set up to help you do just that—but some people might just as well prefer to leave all the planning, logistics, transportation, lodging, and gathering of information to the professionals and simply sign up with a guided tour.

Nothing wrong with that. Just take my advice and choose a tour that emphasizes small groups over large crowds, local transport over big tour buses, and fun cultural experiences over sightseeing checklists. You'll have a better time, and probably spend less for it. Here are a few of my favorite tour companies who emphasize just that.

1-5 days

1-2 weeks

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Skip the line
If you'd like a guided tour along with your get-out-of-the-admisison-line-free ticket, you can book one via our partner Viator:


Useful links
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