While tickets for many of Italy’s museums and sites can be bought when you get there, some should definitely be booked in advance to avoid standing in long ticket lines or not being able to get a ticket at all. If you’re visiting Italy’s top 5 cities in high season, it’s highly recommended to buy museum tickets in advance whenever possible.
These 5 popular museums and sites should always be booked before you go, as they can be crowded even in low season or they require advance reservations:
Colosseum in Rome
The Colosseum is Rome’s most popular tourist attraction and ticket lines can be very long. There’s also a security line that you have to go through before entering so if you don’t buy a skip-the-line pass in advance or book a guided tour, you’ll have two lines to endure, taking up much of your valuable time. The Colosseum & Roman Forum Pass gives you entrance to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill and is good for 48 hours.
Visiting Tip: With a guided tour, you not only skip the ticket line but you get through the security check more quickly since tours have a special entrance. The Roman Guy offers my readers a 5% discount with promo code ITALYMARTHA when you book any of these tours:
Arena Floor with Roman Forum
Belvedere Express Tour with Top Tier Access
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
The Vatican Museums complex draws huge crowds, bringing in several million visitors a year. To avoid the ticket lines, buy advance tickets or book a guided tour. Get in ahead of most of the crowd by booking your entrance tickets for the earliest time slot possible. The Sistine Chapel is included in the Vatican Museums ticket. Saint Peter’s Basilica can be visited for free.
Vatican Museums Tip: Guided tours are the best way to skip the lines and see top art works without being overwhelmed by the vast complex and crowds. Use promo code ITALYMARTHA for 5% off these tours with the Roman Guy:
Pre-opening Privileged Entrance with Sistine Chapel
Express Tour with Early Entrance
Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St Peter’s Basilica Skip-the-line Tour
Vatican Detailed Itinerary with Privileged Entrance
The Last Supper in Milan
Da Vinci’s beautiful painting of The Last Supper in Milan’s Santa Maria della Grazie Church is one of Italy’s most popular art works. Because the number of people inside at one time is limited, tickets sell out quickly. Tickets go on sale 2 to 3 months in advance and it’s very rare that you can just go to the church and get tickets for the same day so be sure to buy them in advance as soon as you know your date.
Uffizi Gallery in Florence
Housed within the Uffizi Gallery are many Renaissance art treasures, making it one of the top museums to visit in Italy and top things to see in Florence. Ticket lines can be very long but you can skip the line by buying your tickets in advance for the time you want. There are 45 rooms filled with paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints by top Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, da Vinci, Raphael, and Giotto.
If you want to see the famous statue of David you’ll have to go to the Accademia Gallery, another of Florence’s top museums.
Borghese Gallery in Rome
Reservations are mandatory to visit the Borghese Gallery in Rome and visitors are allowed to stay inside only for a 2 hour period, making it much less crowded than some of the other top museums. Housed in the Borghese Gallery are many Baroque masterpieces including stunning marble sculptures by Bernini. For an in-depth look at the art from an expert, take the entertaining and educational Borghese Story-Tellers private tour.
- Buy reserved Borghese Gallery Tickets
Train tickets: Tickets for the fast trains (frecce) in Italy usually cost less if bought in advance. * Find out about Rome trains, rail stations, and buying train tickets on Rail Europe.
- Rome Museum and Site Tickets to Buy in Advance
- Florence Museum Tickets to Buy Before You Go
- Venice Museum Passes
See more things to do before you go in our Italy Trip Planning Guide
This post may contain affiliate links to sites I believe are of benefit to travelers. There is no cost to you but the small amount of revenue helps defer the cost of bringing you this free information.