Sights to book ahead

The Imperial Room, with Bernini's Rape of Persephone, Sights to book ahead, Rome, Italy (Photo by Damian Entwistle)
The Imperial Room, with Bernini's Rape of Persephone, Galleria Borghese, Rome

The Early Bird gets the Papal Audience—yes, there are some museums, monuments, and sights in Rome 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 ($1) to €5 ($6).

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 to ten 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, I've seen it happen at the Galleria Borghese many times. 

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

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.).

 

More on Must book ahead

Sights in Rome

★★☆
The Imperial Room, with Bernini's Rape of Persephone (Photo by Damian Entwistle)
Galleria Borghese
Rome: Via Veneto & Villa Borghese

Rome's Borghese Gallery is packed with amazing works by Bernini, Caravaggio, and Raphael, and ranks as one of my top three small museums in the world

 

Experiences in Rome

★★☆
Pope Francis I greeting the flocks at a papal audience in Rome's St. Peter's Square (Photo courtesy of SMCS Music Office)
Free
Papal Audience
Rome: Vatican

How to get tickets to hang with his Holiness on St. Peter's Square in Rome

 

More on Should book ahead

Sights in Rome

★★★
The Colosseum at sunrise (Photo by picmasta)
The Colosseum
Rome: Downtown Ancient Rome

Rome's Colosseo still ranks as the world's most famous sports arena, site of gladiator combat and the wholesale slaughter of wild beasts to amuse the public

 
★★★
The spiral staircase (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
Vatican Museums
Rome: Vatican

Rome's Vatican Museums encompass some of the greatest art in the world, from Roman and Egyptian antiquities to paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael, to the Sistine Chapel with its amazing ceiling frescoed by Michelangelo