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Rome: Avoiding the long Colosseum ticket line/queue: Palatine Hill ticket office locations

Rome: Avoiding the long Colosseum ticket line/queue: Palatine Hill ticket office locations

Old Mar 13th, 2013, 10:22 PM
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Rostra-- you are AWESOME. Seriously. I would have gotten so lost because the last time I went, I remembered that you could go down from the Capitoline museum. I still have a few questions:

(1) OK so we want to enter from entrance #41. What should I tell the driver in terms of dropping us off there? Is there a name or address for that particular entrance? How far is the Trevi Fountain driving wise from this entrance?

(2) Do you know where the closest taxi stand is for the Colosseum? We have a vatican tour immediately after the Colosseum (it's a crazy day).

Thanks!




kybourbon--thanks for the detailed description of how to get that awesome view. If we have time, we'll do this.
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Old Mar 14th, 2013, 10:50 AM
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>>

Tell or write down 'Foro Romano' on 'Via dei Fori Imperiale'.

But if that's his living as a driver he'd likely understand from a tourist 'Roman Forum' and know exactly where it is.

Also print out that map he would know the Colosseum and the Piazza Venenzia and just point out the #41 on it.

The Trevi Fountain from #41 is ~3/4mi (1000m) 'as the crow flies', a less than 10min zig-zag drive in the city?

>>

On that map across the street from the Colosseum see the blue [M] COLOSSEO that's the Metro entrance (you can't miss it when there) there is a taxi stand just to the right. I recall taxi signs are orange [TAXI].

Also before you cross the street you might see a taxi doing a Colosseum drop-off and then just grap him.

Always have a 'Plan B' though. The Colosseum is a huge tourist site so it's very likely you will have no problems with taxis there.

But if for some odd reason you do, walk up the Via d. Fori Imperiali to #41 (Roman Forum drop offs, taxi stand close-by?) and try there and if all else fails onward to the Piazza Venezia taxi stands (I used to know where they were but with the new Metro constuction I'm not sure).

Also walk-up the leftside facing traffic and attempt taxi flag-downs as you walk.

The Colosseum taxis there usually pick-up and sometimes prey on tourists.

So make sure he's using the meter which should start with the base fare at 2-3e?

I'm guessing it's an honest 10e or so ride so if he tries to quote a price for the trip don't agree on anything over 15e or 20e if desperate and No tip.

Also if you say pay with a 20e or higher bill make sure it's handed to him open (like you're showing someone a bill) and even if you don't know the Italian words use English when you hand it to him (TWENTY? FIFTY?) so he knows that you know and he actually sees the bill's denomination.

Because sometimes if just handed a 20 or 50 they will switch it to a 5 or 10 and act like that is what you gave them.
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Old Mar 14th, 2013, 12:31 PM
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Good info! I hope most of it will still be current when we visit in May of 2014. Thanks for posting.
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Old Mar 14th, 2013, 01:24 PM
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john - If you are trying to get to the Vatican Museum and aren't in that big of a hurry, you can hop the metro at the Colosseum, change at Termini and get off at Ottaviano or Cirpo. Both stops put you a couple of blocks to the entrance.
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Old Mar 18th, 2013, 12:31 PM
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Rostra--thanks so much for the taxi tips. I got lucky and was granted a Scavi Tour at 1:30 pm so I'm doing half of the Underground Colosseum Tour (will leave when they move from lower level to main level) and jumping into a taxi. Hopefully all will go well =)
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Old Mar 18th, 2013, 05:23 PM
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Maddie, Just a thought.

Your actual arrive time to the Roman Forum entrance is iffy, could be earlier could be later which would cut your Forum visit.

With a full 1.5hr I would include the Palatine Hill as a 30min walk-thru.

Do you know *exactly* what time you can leave the Colosseum tour when it hits the open area?

If so, how much time do you have from there to be physically at that Scavi security entrance by 1:20 (the required 10min before a tour starts)?

I just think it would be terrible if your timing is just minutes off and you missed the Scavi Tour *if* your timeframe is "super tight" as you say and possibly there is a queue for the taxis or a traffic jam in route added.

If it were me and I could get a refund on the Colosseum tour I'd cancel and visit it on my own, walk around the 1st and 2nd level and explore.

This way you could do; Forum to Colosseum unrushed and leave in plenty of time to get to the Scavi entrance.
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Old Mar 18th, 2013, 05:26 PM
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kybourbon - thanks for the info. Sounds like a good way to get there. BTW have you finished all the $150 Borgogno Barolo you found on clearance for $7 at your wine store that you told me about in my Piedmont trip report? I'm still jealous!
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Old Mar 18th, 2013, 11:05 PM
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Rostra-- I bought a group of 9 tickets on the phone for our Underground Tour and so I'm hesitant to call again and cancel the entire order. My plan is to speak to the tour guide at the beginning of the tour (at 12pm) and see if it works for her to have me leave at 12:25 pm (ish). If it's too disruptive, I'll just go straight to St Peter's. I've seen the Colosseum before but I've never done the Underground portion. If I miss it, it was only 10 Euro or so, so not a big loss. The rest of my family are doing the Underground Tour and will head on over to the Vatican for their Vatican museum tour later on.

My *thought* is if I'm in a cab by 12:40pm, I can get dropped off near St Peter's by 1:00pm and hopefully be at security by 1:10pm and at the Scavi Office by 1:20pm.

Do you think that's overly optimistic?
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Old Mar 19th, 2013, 05:33 PM
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Maddie, earlier when you mentioned "my entire family" I didn't think 9! Wow

>>

Sounds good. I think that if you get thru the Swiss Guards by 1:30 you'll be fine.

I don't ever remember the 4 tours I was ever on starting exactly on time.

With 10mins from the Swiss Guards to the office where ~12 people had to buy tickets, we were all done and waiting before the guide even showed-up likely ~10+mins later?

[Disclaimer] I have not done the tour since they changed the entrance and added Security but I'll get you in the area from what I have heard and perhaps someone can even pinpoint it exactly the map below.

Go to
http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/E...quare-Area.htm

The taxi if you tell him "St Peter's" will drop you off at the bottom of the diagram where the colonade is open opposite the Basilica*.

Walk thru the colonade at #3 --> and turn Right and walk looking for the Security trailer/van and possibly I assume the Swiss Guard Gate nearby?

This is a street map of the area where someone can hopefully give you a better idea of the exact location.
www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/europe/vaticancity.jpg

And I assume you know the rules, no cameras, daypacks or large purses.

>>

I hate to be the pessimist again .

The tour *starts* 12pm or is this the time the group has to be *there*?

If the later I *assume* the guide must do his or her ticket or confirmation thing 1st?

Then I *assume* the prep talk, history, what you
will be seeing, what not to do on the tour, etc.

So what I'm getting at is and hopefully someone who has taken the tour can answer;

What time will the tour group actually enter and leave the 'point of no return' where you likely *Must* remain with the group in this restricted area?

And if you can get back into the 'General Population' on your own if they cut you loose?

So perhaps someone can give you a possible or impossible answer for a 12:25 exit and you can plan accordingly.

That way either you can it a shot or skip the tour and have more time to revisit it on your own.
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Old Mar 19th, 2013, 06:23 PM
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I have visited the colloseum twice in past few years. I spend 5 euros and buy the ticket/ audio guide which is a totally separate line from the long queue of people just buying tickets. There is NO line and for 5 euros it has saved me a 2 hour wait.

Just go all the way to front and you see a separate line separated by rope from the ticket line.
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Old Mar 20th, 2013, 10:41 AM
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My ( ( * ) ) was made into star icons , but anyway on the diagram the taxi will drop you off at #1.

http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/E...quare-Area.htm

Now later when you pass thru Swiss Guard Gate you will walk over to the Scavi ticket door at #28.

Now just ~20ft before #28 there is a brass plaque in the pavement which is #26, that is were the obelisk now in St. Peter's Sq #5 once stood in ancient times and was put there by Caligula for his Circus (racetrack).

Later Nero improved on the Circus and that is where he persecuted Christians (backed-up by ancient Pagan writers) and one of them is believed to be St. Peter according to Christian writers.

www.mmdtkw.org/AU0639dCircusBasilicasPlans.jpg This accurate diagram shows the outline of that Circus, excavations have found the 'Starting Gates' on the right and a building project found a section of the curved end on the left.

On the Spina which is the section in the middle of the Circus (===+===| where the obelisk once stood was where St. Peter and other Christians would have been crucified.

So with alittle imagination you can actually start your tour where the taxi drops you off.

Where the taxi drops you off at #1 you will be walking thru the Starting Gates, into the Circus and then out of the Circus at #3 and later back into the Circus to the Spina #26.

The tour will take you out of the Circus again and down to the ancient street (Via Cornelia) that ran alongside the Circus.
The street is lined with Pagan tombs and will be your 1st stop.

And then you will go a short distance away from the street ||``* to the *grave of St. Peter which was beneath the main altar of the original Basilica and today is beneath the altar of the new Basilica.

This will give you some idea of what the Circus looked like in 64AD, it was a private Circus where Caligula and Nero could *play* chariot drivers and watch private races.
http://roma.andreapollett.com/S6/CEUVAR-MR4.JPG

It wasn't as elaborate as the drawing shows meaning 2 storied with massive starting gates and a grand entrance at the opposite end with a large crowd seating area.

But it was a fully functioning Circus with starting gates, spina, walled all around with very likely a small elaborate seating section for the Emperor and his entourage.

The Spina though was very elaborate and simular to the one in the Circus Maximus.

The future St. Peter's Basilica will be built on the leftside, the starting gates are at the far end where you will enter on your imaginary tour.

If you want to get into detailed details of the history of the excavations go to
www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/Scavi.htm

And read 1 of the 2 links there, 'Bones of Saint Peter' or the 'Tomb of Saint Peter'.

The 1st written by an author and what's nice here is all the photos and illustrations links are on the 1st page, so easy to reference.

But the 2nd is written by an archaeologist who worked at the site and made a very major discovery, I'd go with the 2nd the 'Tomb of Saint Peter'.
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Old Mar 21st, 2013, 09:27 AM
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Rostra,

Thank you SO much for the detailed explanations. I had no idea that #26 was where the Obelisk once stood and was where St. Peter was crucified--only that the Obelisk had been moved and may had been the last thing St. Peter saw before he died. I'm so excited for the Scavi tour --- it was amazing that they granted me a tour.

As to timing--more questions. How long does it take to walk (fast pace) from #1 to #3? How long does it take to walk from #3 to #26? I remember the Piazza being big, but in my mind I don't think it would take too long to get from #1 to #3. Also...how do I know where #3 is with all the Colonnades looking exactly the same?

I don't want to "clog" up your great Colosseum/Forum thread. Should I start another thread?

Thanks again for your help. It really is the most help I've received on the Internet ever.
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Old Mar 21st, 2013, 12:49 PM
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>>

Ok, lets go to the diagram;
http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/E...quare-Area.htm

The open space of the Square at its widest point is 196m (----+---) so using that as a gauge;

#1 to #3 150m. From #3 to #28 Scavi Office is 200m *if* you can walk straight there remember I don't actually know where the Security and the Swiss Guard's entrance is?

So IF you could walk that course, 350m is 0.22mi and the average walking speed 3mph/hr or 1m@20min so 0.25mi.
So it's a 5min walk if you could walk directly there and there was no Security check.

>>

Just head to the middle of it ( <-- where #3 is at that's the exit, you can't miss it.

To get a better idea of the route and distance here's a aerial photo http://rajivawijesinha.files.wordpre.../basilica_.jpg

>>

This old/new thread has run it's course but you should *definitely* start a new thread because people that have taken this tour in the last couple years and know *exactly where* the NEW entrance is and the Security Check (where, what it looks like...a trailer/van?, and how long it takes) are likely skipping over this thread?

So a new thread with that info will not only help you out it will also help out other future Scavi Tour visitors.

Title it something like 'How to find the St. Peter's Scavi Tour entrance and Security Check'.

I would also add the diagram so they can walk you thru it using the numbers http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/E...quare-Area.htm

Also include the street map in case the entrance is outside that diagram www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/europe/vaticancity.jpg
Which it might be because IIRC years ago seeing a Swiss Guard street entrance that was outside that diagram?

But the bottomline is;

Once you exit the Colonnade at #3 and turn right you *will* find the Swiss Guard entrance because after you exit there there is no tourist way to re-enter Vatican City except thru that guarded entrance and only with a tour confirmation unless you walked all the way around to the otherside of
Vatican City to the Vatican Museums' entrance or all the round and back to St. Peter's Sq.

In effect you are walking around a walled city so would have to pass *all* of the entrances.

In searching I found this which has some really cool website links, facts, opinion, etc.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...or-fiction.cfm
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 10:13 AM
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Yes, there is now a security check before the scavi office. it's on the left as you look at the Basilica, between the colonnades and the post office/toilet building.

honestly, it's difficult to miss and is obvious when you get there.

go through it, and the Scavi office is ahead on the right under a little portico.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2013, 06:07 PM
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annhig, a couple/few years ago they moved the Scavi entrance.

This is from the official Scavi Office;

"Entrance to the Excavations Office is only through the gates located on the Via Paolo VI (outside of the Colonnade, just to the south [left], near the entrance to the General Audience Hall.)�

Upon arrival, present the Swiss Guards with your letter of confirmation received from the Office which indicates the scheduled time of your visit."
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/in...090216_en.html

Maddie this could get confusing.

Remember if you say to the taxi driver "St Peter's" he WILL take you to #1 that's a given.

It's very likely he will not know where the Swiss Guard Scavi Entrance is, so that's why I went with #1 and a couple minutes walk because trying to comunicate with him and where he drops you off in that Largo might get confusing.

Where as at #1, walking thru the colonade at #3 and turning right is a sure thing.

So lets go with the official directions above;

The "General Audience Hall" is #20
http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/E...quare-Area.htm

But it is mostly outside the diagram so go here. www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/europe/vaticancity.jpg See the 'Audience Hall'.

Ok the Scavi directions are for someone arriving from the bottom of the map and not from your directions from #1.

"Entrance to the Excavations Office is only through the gates..."

Ok so we know we are looking for a Swiss Guard Gate?

"...located on the Via Paolo VI (outside of the Colonnade,"

Ok we know it is outside the Colonnade.

"just to the south [left],"

So south which is down from the colonnades and to the "left" where the 'Audience Hall' is.

"...near the entrance to the General Audience Hall.)"

This Hall is the really called the Paul VI Hall and as the Scavi directions state;

"Entrance to the Excavations Office is only through the gates located on the Via Paolo VI..."

So the Street/Via below the Hall is very likely that street where it says 'Largo"?

I'm really certain that the Swiss Guard entrance you want is in that Vatican Wall bold outline that is below the 'Audience Hall' and then turns left ____|.

I mentioned early about seeing a Swiss Guard entrance years ago and that was where it was I'm 90% certain.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2013, 08:36 AM
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>>>Rostra on Mar 22, 13 at 10:07pm

annhig, a couple/few years ago they moved the Scavi entrance.>>The taxi if you tell him "St Peter's" will drop you off at the bottom of the diagram where the colonade is open opposite the Basilica*.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2013, 12:17 PM
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>>

That is not what annhig said.

"...it's on the left as you look at the Basilica, between the colonnades and the post office/toilet building."

My confusion was she does not place it *outside* the colonnades so I thought she was talking inside the Square.

Or is the Security Check actually *in* the Colonnades near #11?

Your photo places it actually further-up correct? Past the colonnades and past the
post office/toilet locations in that long galley that ends and connects to the Basilica?

So is this correct; Security and the entrance gate are in that space between the Basilica and that building on the left like in your 2nd photo?

>>

Debatable.

[I wrote]
>>>The taxi if you tell him "St Peter's" will drop you off at the bottom of the diagram where the colonade is open opposite the Basilica*.>>

We are talking about a 3min walk.

>>

Yes it is I now see. But I still go with my concerns with the taxi driver getting confused or Maddie.

It has happened to me. I wanted to get dropped-off where the FCO train left from.

I drew an outline map showing Termini and even the route to there and the exact location with the street and cross street.

So he pulls-up to the front entrance of Termini, turns around and says to me (the dumb tourist in his eyes) "That's Termini!".
And I now have the long hike vs. a flight of stairs to the train.

>>

"Traffic wise" it is slightly shorter but possibly a busier street with the tours buses and cars heading to that underground parking garage and other cars heading beyond.

Back to confusion; If he drops her further down the street say just 10's of meters in front of a building where she can't get her bearings she might lose alittle time.

>>

2 minutes longer than getting dropped-off at #1 where Maddie has a printable drawing showing *exactly* what she will actually be seeing and *exactly* where she has to go.
And with the taxi dropping her off *exactly* there.

kybourbon, I would possibly do what you said if I were taking a taxi to the Scavi tour entrance and maybe not.
It's not that major of a short-cut.

But I have an excellent 'sense of direction' and have walked thru there before and with your photos I would know exactly where I was going no matter where I was dropped-off in that area.

I just think it's a better option for anyone not familar with the area to take any chances, just tell the taxidriver "St. Peter's" and you're off and running.

And then do the 3min walk.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2013, 01:47 PM
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Opps.. I forgot to add this another location on my post.

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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 11:36 AM
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MaddieEms, The Swiss Guard entrance is between #12 and the building on the left.
http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/E...quare-Area.htm

[Photo]
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8338/8...9758d01e_z.jpg

[An aerial view showing a 'red arrowed' route from the Colonnade directly to the Scavi Ticket Office.]
http://i1194.photobucket.com/albums/...12/vatican.jpg
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Old Mar 24th, 2013, 07:59 PM
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Rostra - I find your posts overly confusing. You are using a map from a website that hasn't been updated/maintained since at least 2008 and is not entirely accurate. You are posting too many things about locations that really have nothing to do with anything. It doesn't seem you have done this or been at St. Peter's for several years. Things have changed (and may have changed again with the new Pope).

YOu can't exit just anywhere from the colonnades so posting a lot of numbers from an old map or talking about bathrooms/post office has nothing to do with it (nor does the #12 or #11). The colonnades have barricades (clearly shown in the pic link I posted (see the little black barriers?). You can only exit where there aren't barricades (not at 11 or 12 - not possible!). FWIW there is usually (perhaps always now) a jumbotron at the location of #11. Here's the enlarged version of my pic link.

http://www.panoramio.com/photo_explo...esc&user=64657

I'm sure these barricades can be moved if need be,but they have been there on my last few trips.

>>>Remember if you say to the taxi driver "St Peter's" he WILL take you to #1 that's a given.
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