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Tips for Visiting Rome i.e. St. Peter's Basilica & the Colosseum

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Mar 4th, 2016, 01:30 PM
  #1
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Tips for Visiting Rome i.e. St. Peter's Basilica & the Colosseum

Husband and I will have just a day to visit these areas either by a tour from our cruise ship or on our own. If on our own, any tips on the best way to get tickets ahead for these two attractions and in getting there? I know there will be tons of people i.e. are bathroom facilities plentiful enough to not cause a super long wait, which is a big concern? If you have done one of the Royal Caribbean tours, any insight into those would be helpful. Thank you very much.
TravelinVic is offline  
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Mar 4th, 2016, 01:42 PM
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If you're taking a Mediterranean cruise you might find this helpful:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rick...ves/1100050663
thursdaysd is online now  
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Mar 4th, 2016, 01:53 PM
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Try your best to ignore all the faux marble in the basilica.
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Mar 4th, 2016, 02:47 PM
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Vic,

the art to avoiding the crush to get into St Peter's is to get there early. I don't know what time you will be able to leave your ship but unless you can get there before 9.30 am you are almost bound to hit big queues.

The good news is that there are public toilets to the left of the Basilica, near the post office. That's before you go in. If you need the loos while you're in there, there are some on the roof, at the top of the stairs/lift up to the Dome. There's a cafe up there too. Whether you can access them without paying [and queuing] to go up into the Dome I'm not sure. Finally there are some on the right [near the ticket office for the Dome] where you can rent and audio -guide:

Here's an extract from the website that says just about the same thing though it doesn't mention the ones on the roof:

For St. Peter's:
There are three main restroom areas. Along the Charlemagne Wing (left side), beyond the colonnades on the upper right side, and in the bag check area on the lower right side of the facade of the basilica. The bag check area has the newest restrooms and from here you can rent the audio tour of the Basilica.
(This assumes you are facing the basilica, in the square. I do not believe there are any restrooms in the main area of the church.)

for the Colosseum you can buy tickets on line:

http://www.coopculture.it/en/colosseo-e-shop.cfm

if you don't want to be committed to a particular time, just buy the ordinary tour tickets.

to get from St Peter's to the Colosseum, you could just get a cab [there are loads of taxis in the area before the Colonnades] or you could get a bus from the end of the Corso Vittorio Emanuale, or the metro, though I think you'd have to change lines. Either way it should take about half an hour.

There are toilets in the Colosseum, though I can't remember where exactly.
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Mar 4th, 2016, 05:36 PM
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I think you will find the toilets in any of these places to be very crowded in the middle of the day - as in lines of 15 to 20 people, esp for women.

Frankly if there are entry times guaranteed I would use the ship's tour (which I ordinarily would never reco) just because the the very limited time and the long lines at these specific sights.
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Mar 4th, 2016, 05:37 PM
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Colosseum toilets are past the turnstiles and to your right - so you need to have bought a ticket to use them.
You do need a ticket to use the toilets on the rooftop of St Peters - it's 7 euro for elevators and 5 euro for stairs.
You are bound to hit lines for St Peters - if your stop is an overnight one try to go as late in the day as possible to avoid the lines.
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Mar 5th, 2016, 05:37 AM
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Blueeyedcod - rooftop toilets. Very interesting! So do you mean there are elevators AND stairs that each take you to toilet areas?
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Mar 5th, 2016, 09:26 AM
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They are the elevators and stairs to get to the top of the cupola.

There can also be extremely long queues to get into the Colosseum, even if you already have a ticket. I don't think even tour groups can avoid these. There's a maximum number of people who can be inside at one time, and the maximum is often exceeded.

I would suggest taking a stroll around the ancient Roman area, viewing everything from the outside. You can walk all the way around the Colosseum, and then up Via dei Fori Imperiali. When you get to the top of Via dei Fori Imperiali, just past the Roman Forum, you can climb up to the top of the Capitoline Hill, where you can get great views over the Forum. This piazza was designed by Michelangelo. The central building is the Rome city hall, and the other two buildings house the Capitoline Museums. There are two statues on the piazza which are reproductions of famous works inside the museum. One is the equestrian statue of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and the other is the Capitoline Wolf, the symbol of Rome nursing Romulus (the legendary founder of Rome) and his twin brother Remus. Then you can walk back down the other side of the Via dei Fori Imperiali, seeing the Imperial Forums, Trajan's Market, and Trajan's Column.

That should take you about an hour, and you'd have time to have a snack and use the toilets at the Caffé Capitolini, which is part of the museum, although you can reach it from the outside without paying to go into the museum. Just go around to the back of the righthand building (when you're facing the central building). The views of the city there are wonderful. I believe there are also bathrooms inside the metro station at the Colosseum.

As for St. Peter's Basilica, the long queue is for security, and there's no way to avoid it. There is a tour that advertises fast-track entry with an audio guide, but I've never used it:

http://rometoolkit.rgi.ticketbar.eu/...ters-basilica/

I don't know if you'd really have time for a tour, though. Otherwise, your only hope is to get there very early.
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Mar 5th, 2016, 11:41 AM
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Blueeyedcod - rooftop toilets. Very interesting! So do you mean there are elevators AND stairs that each take you to toilet areas?>>

to be precise, the lift and stairs take you up to the roofs of St Peter's which are level with the bottom of the Dome; the charge is for climbing the Dome which you access from the roof. you start off walking round the wall of the Dome where you can inspect the mosaics that you can barely see from ground level and then you take some more stairs that spiral up inside the curved parts of the dome until you reach the top.

It so happens that there are also toilets and a cafe up on the roof as well.
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Mar 5th, 2016, 12:13 PM
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Are you planning on seeing the Sistine Chapel? If so, see it first. The chapel is at the end of the Vatican Museum tour.

You can walk directly from the Chapel into St Peter's Basilica, without going outside to stand in line for St Peter's. Ask the guide when you are in the Chapel, which exit takes you to St Peter's.

You can buy a ticket for the tour on-line.
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Mar 6th, 2016, 12:15 AM
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From my experience, the lines at the Vatican were controlled and easy to follow. The lines at the Colosseum were more like large clumps or people and it was tricky to figure out where to stand. We pre-purchased a tour from Coop.it website. If I would have listened to the sales people outside (not affiliated with the Colosseum) I would still be in line.
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Mar 6th, 2016, 01:32 AM
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Mar 9th, 2016, 08:51 AM
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Thanks a million everyone for all the info - really appreciated!
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Mar 9th, 2016, 09:41 AM
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The door from the Sistine Chapel directly to St. Peter's Basilica is supposed to be for people on guided tours only. However, they're often not strict about this. I wouldn't ask a guard though, as you might hit a particularly punctilious one. Just look for the door that says "Tours".
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Mar 9th, 2016, 04:37 PM
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That's why I said ask a guide, not a guard.
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