Book advance tickets for top sights in Italy

Book ahead, Italy, Italy (Photo )

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<

Many sights in Italy now allow you to book your tickets ahead of time online.

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.

However, for a select few major museums and monuments—I'm looking at you, Uffizireserving an entry ticket ahead of time can save you a wait of 30 minutes to an hour in line.

In some cases—especially if it's a sight that allows only a limited number of visitors in at a time, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or Leonardo da VInci's Last Supper in Milanreserving ahead may make the difference between getting in and getting turned away at the door.

How much do advance reservations for sights cost?

This is the odd thing.

Some sights charge a token fee (a few euros, maybe up to €4 ($5)) to book tickets in advance.

Others actually shave a few euros off the price if you book in advance (maybe €2 ($2)–€4 ($5)).

Either way, booking ahead makes sense if you expect the wait to be a long one.

Which Italy sights shoudl I book ahead of time? 

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).

IN ROME

IN FLORENCE

IN VENICE

IN MILAN

IN PISA

  • 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: Opapisa.it (online bookings only, though for general info: tel. 050-835-011 or 050-835-012) or Viator.com
    » BOOK IT WITH A TOUR: Viator.com

IN PADOVA

  • 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. » more
    » BOOK IT: tel. 049-201-0020, Cappelladegliscrovegni.it or Select Italy
    » BOOK IT WITH A TOUR: Viator.com
Activities, walks, & excursions links
Passes & Discounts links
Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for sightseeing

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is?... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the museum il museo eel moo-ZAY-yo
...the church la chiesa lah key-YAY-zah
...the cathedral il duomo [or] la cattedrale eel DUO-mo [or] lah cah-the-DRAH-leh
     
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
Closed day giorno di riposo JOR-no dee ree-PO-zo
Weekdays (Mon-Sat) feriali fair-ee-YA-lee
Sunday & holidays festivi fe-STEE-vee
     
ticket biglietto beel-YET-toh
two adults due adulti DOO-way ah-DOOL-tee
one child un bambino oon bahm-BEE-no
one student uno studente OO-noh stu-DENT-ay
one senior un pensionato oon pen-see-yo-NAH-toh

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).