Tours of Rome and Roma Pass

Old Mar 17th, 2014, 01:31 PM
  #1  
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Tours of Rome and Roma Pass

We will be visiting Rome for a limited time in August. I am thinking of booking tours for The Colosseum and Vatican City through either Walks of Italy or Angel Tours. Does anyone have a preference one over the other or a better suggestion? Also will I need a Roma Pass if I book with these tours? Thanks for any advice you can give me. This will be our first trip to Rome.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 03:05 PM
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I do not think you would pay for a Roma Pass if you choose one of the tours. However, if you do go on your own you definitely need the Roma Pass. It will allow you to walk right past the long ticket line and right into the Colosseum. Do take water because it should be very hot.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 03:14 PM
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I've never taken a tour of either, and have visited these places multiple times. The Colosseum is very well marked with informative signs in Italian and English; I really don't feel it needs a tour. If you want one, the Colosseum has its own tours that are quite inexpensive, and that get good reports. Their regular tour is €5, and the tour of the underground level and third level is €9. The information is the same on both tours, so there's no need to take both. If you take the underground tour, you can remain behind to visit the first and second levels on your own, but the only way to see the underground and third level is to take a tour.

The underground and third level require some climbing of very steep steps, so I wouldn't take that tour unless you're fairly fit. There is an elevator between the first and second levels for people who would have trouble with the steps. It's not very well signed, because they don't want everyone taking it. You'd have to ask where it is if you don't see it. There was an elevator to the underground level as well, but the last I heard it was out of order.

You can see the description of the Colosseum tours here, although at the moment the only way to reserve one is to call them; they have English speaking operators.

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

There is no tour of Vatican City that I know of. You can visit the Basilica of St. Peter, the Vatican Museums (where the Sistine Chapel is located) and the Vatican Gardens. Everything else is off limits. The Vatican Museums has its own tours as well, that are fairly reasonably priced, but one of the private tours might be better than theirs. I've heard very good things about Context Travel and Dark Rome is usually fairly highly rated as well. Again, I've never taken a tour there, and never felt the need of one. I visit with a good guide book.

The crowds inside the Vatican Museums are almost unbearable for me, so, if you get a tour, try to get one that has early entry privileges, or, if you'll be there during the peak season (May through September) you might reserve a Friday evening entrance (or tour). During a typical day, I've seen guides struggling to keep their groups together in crowds that resemble the Lexington Ave. line in Manhattan at rush hour. I can't imagine the tour would be very enjoyable. Also, many tours skip some of my favorite parts of the museum, such as the Egyptian Collection and the Etruscan Collection. I think some of them skip the Pinacoteca (picture gallery) as well. The Vatican Museums also have an audio guide you can rent.

Some of the tours offered by the Vatican Museums also include St. Peter's Basilica, but these are not offered every day of the week.

The Vatican Gardens can only be visited by a tour, and I don't know if they allow private guides to conduct the tours. The garden tour includes entrance to the museum, but not a tour there.

You can see all the tours offered by the Vatican Museums at mv.vatican.va .

The Roma Pass will save you money if you visit three or more of the covered sites in the three days of the pass AND if you use public transportation a fair amount, or if you visit two of the more expensive covered sites and use transportation very frequently. The pass covers only state and municipal museums and archaeological sites. The Vatican Museums are not covered; St Peter's Basilica has free admission. I think that most people who buy it don't get the full value of what they paid. If you buy the pass and want to take a tour of a covered site, just tell the tour company that you'll be using the pass, and they should deduct the cost of admission from the cost of the tour.

You don't need to take a tour to skip the lines. If you buy a ticket to the Colosseum or the Vatican Museums online, at one of the sites I indicated above, you can print it at home and that's all you need to skip the ticket queue. As I said before you can't buy tours to the Colosseum online, but you can buy entry tickets. For the Vatican, you can buy both online.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 05:12 PM
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>>>Also will I need a Roma Pass if I book with these tours?
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Old Mar 18th, 2014, 04:22 PM
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Thanks everyone for the great information.
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Old May 28th, 2014, 02:28 AM
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